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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Sept. 21.docx

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Vanina Leschziner

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SOC483Y1 – Lecture 2 – Wednesday September 21, 2011 Readings: Durkheim- selection from conclusion pg. 433-448 Simmel- pg. 122-128, 135-136, 330-333 (easier to understand…) How did they understand “where thoughts came from?” Goals for today: How they both understood society…connection between individual and society Where did mental schema come from for both? DURKHEIM- more anthropology based (French 1858-1917) Functioning- needs to work otherwise weeded out- thus founder of functionalism – everything needed a function (came from Herbert Spencer) - Founder of sociology - How did Durkheim view society? – relied on organistic/body metaphor - SOCIETY AS A COLLECTIVE AND SOCIETY AS A WHOLE OPPOSED TO INDIVIDUAL MOTIVATIONS - Collective Conscience – society not sum of individuals, collective in and of itself – society has a reality of its own “sui generis” – it exists above and beyond us - Durkheim assumes we all have individual consciousness but collection conscience is prior, has life of its own - NOT JUST SUM OF INDIVIDUALS , HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN , TO LIVE IN GROUPS, LOGICAL THOUGHT CLASSIFICATION 2) Solidarity: organic/mechanical solidarity - important for Durkheim - distinction between organic and mechanical stems from division of labour:  mechanical solidarity: in early societies without real division of labour - because people had a lot in common they all did their own parts but most people had pretty similar roles so solidarity results mechanically  organic: growing specialization and division of labour: modern - growing individualism: people have more unique roles such as doctor/mother/professor and it is unlikely that people share similar work - interdependence holds people together in organic society o society as an organism: different elements of society serve individual functions but working together as organs in a body o increase in individual consciousness with increased specialization/differentiation  *Spends a lot of time thinking of concepts – building blocks of our thinking!  - Durkheim wants to explain where those concepts come from  - How it is we come to have certain ideas about time/space/social order  - This book is important because it refers to why there is a need for the classification of knowledge Elementary Origins of Religious Life - Why did he study religion? Very elementary form of social organization, then move to social level - he studied the most basic form of religion because it is easier to start with simplest then move on to complex - Started with religions of “primitive people” – simple functions – simple to observe  Totemism: giving spiritual value to objects; represents God - All social life revolved around the totem: it means that the totem represents God but it also represents society:  GOD = SOCIETY (they are one in the same thing) This implies 2 things: 1. There is a temporal organization that revolves around the totem different ceremonies for different times (sunset, harvest..) This comes from a religious order and a natural order… 2. Spatial organization about it: and some things that are done to the left/right - way people organize time and space around religious life: religious and natural basis (natural: not just an arbitrary concepts but based in real actual practices) We go up in levels of complexities and abstraction – Many of his concepts originate in lower orders-  natural/religious/social/logical   Implications for social organization: 1. Natural Order 2. Religious Order 3. Social Logical Order (can be separated) - For Durkheim these are all interconnected (as opposed to other thinkers) and are one and the same because they all come from a natural order - Like Primitive Classifications – he uses concepts most in this work and Religious – where he develops a sociology of knowledge – big departure from previous work What does that mean/why is that important? - The way we order stuff comes very much from collective life - Many thinkers believe that religious and logical order don’t stem from natural order, especially not society - Social construction: idea that changes, isn’t permanent; post-modern social construction as arbitrary: it could have been something else that was constructed instead - Durkheim doesn’t believe that social construction is arbitrary, they have a natural basis - Durkheim was trying to reconcile 2 schools of thought when coming up with his theory: Empiricism and Apriorism Empiricism: theories/hypothesis have a basis in empirical data – via sensorial experience developed, Durkheim says that because through experience it would not be rational – no rational thinking in that for Durkheim so he says you should not think of concepts in this way Apriori: things are naturally given; things are not purely artificial constructs but that they are naturally given, not socially constructed – they have an objective reality – that they are already there - Durkheim would not use word “Social construction” – who is author discussing with/against? th - Durkheim discussed with others of the time – late 19 century France- empiricism was prominent he was an empiricist and thought we needed a lot of empirical data to make a claim - When he says they are apriori- he talks with likes of Kant (hard core empiricist) – acknowledge objective reality, how important concepts are besides our personal experience, so influential, such power over us thus they are a priori – they proceed our personal experience… concepts only in so far we share them  Durkheim’s concepts incorporate both theories (empiricism and a priori):  temporal/spatial categories derive from natural works  Concept can only come to life if activated in a society, to reconcile how social and apriori Durkheim is interested in what happens when we come into a society, concepts already there, socially created…  Pre-individual and pre-subjective but not pre-social  Ex: 1+1 = abstraction -- where as + is a symbol – not a priori Concepts are the building blocks for logical thought (Gold Retriever is a concept we use to refer to category of dogs) Connection between logical order and social order- which are connected- even primitive societies have logical thought + concepts What is Classified First? - The first thing we classify as human being is people - We start classifying people into classes, and only after we start organizing people do other classifications emerge - Preliminary Classification: many of the words we use today to classify groups of things have their origins in groups of people  has to be a connection between classifying people and groups - Durkheim: if individuals didn’t live in society, categorization would be useless because we can rely just on our own intuition - It is only when people need to communicate do we need categories to classify Dialectical method – goes both ways, informing one another but Durkheim does not think in this relationship way - Concepts – collectively characterizing, needed only when we interact with others/social group WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOMESICKNESS AS A CONCEPT THAT HAPPENS AS A RESULT OF THE LOSS OF INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS* - Logical thought is intrinsically social - Logical thinking will increasingly be detached from our personal experience and gain some experience - Why is intuition not logical? I.e., hunter-gatherers knowledge of poisonous plants, most bitter plants are poisonous but they only knew that they were poisonous from personal experience - Logical concepts are stable, fixed and crystallized, universal (out there) not individual experience, they belong to the community, not individual, they were collective/shared/ social and necessary to communication and shared via language - Senses and perceptions such as knowing not to eat poisonous plants is not a static concept, it varies over time and over experience  It takes time for concepts to change  Individuals don’t need logic because they can rely and survive on personal experience and intuition but in collective we need logical concepts Because we have the need to classify people into groups we transpos
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