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SOC-1101 (9)
Lecture

Lec 1

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC-1101
Professor
Grant Wainikka
Semester
Fall

Description
SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012  Mid-term  Final  Ultimate Questions  Modern world is dominated by science and its child which is technology  Steve Jobs dealt in technology  technology comes from science  In the application of technology, steve jobs was talented and as a business man  He was a technology guy, using technology right now as am i  Technology comes from Science  New Kids On the Block  social sciences, natural sciences, been around much longer o Social sciences, psychology, economics, political science  Sciencesociologists knowledge of the world is attained from research  What sociologists try to use is the scientific method  Scientific approach cannot answer all questions we have about life  Some of the more important questions we have about life/existence  Science cannot deal with these issues  Science cannot handle ultimate questions  Is it possible to lead a meaningful life, full of significance and content  Are all ways of life futile  Science has no answer  Important question 2. Is there an unmoved mover? o Means a first cause of the univers (unmoved mover) o Science can’t give us an answer to that  3. What happens to us when we die? o Questions on the soul are specifically reserved for religion and sometimes philiosphy o Religion deals with ultimate questions  Science deals with factual questions  Factual questions are imperical questions  Imperical questions represent evidence and evidence is obtained from using the scientific method  Scientific method brings facts to bear on a question  When science talks about a first cause of the universe, it can appeal to scientific facts or what appears to be the first cause, the big bang theory (happened 13.7 billion years ago)  Big bang in world  According to many physicists  Stephen Hawkins  nothing existed  If you know a little bit about philosophy, it is illogical to say something comes from nothing  Something must have existed prior to the universe  What religion says about that is first cause or God  We can work out when big bang took place  But when we asked what came before the big bang then you have to employ religion  That is why god figures are common in religion and are responsible for creating the universe SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012  Many people get carried away with science that gives us answers virtually to everything  Science gives us some answers and can answer some questions where we can gather evidence o We call that empirical evidence  Science is based on experience  Experience shapes perception, how we see reality, what patterns we see in the world  When he talks about experience he is talking about culture by and large  Experiences in research  Four stages o Stage 1  values determine what problems you investigate. For example if you are in occupied movement, you are going to use conflict theory, and occupy are mostly left wing, and Marxists. They don’t like capitalism, they don’t like current system of economics, they see captilism as cruel exploitive. So values help shape things you investigate. Conflict theory normally investigages exploitation, general nastiness of place we live in o Stage 2 values lead researchers to for e.g. if you are feminist you are going to take feminist approach investigage feminist o Stage 3 if you are feminist you will be influenced by previous research. o Stage 4  what you gather will help you perceive the world. Absence of objectivity  presence of bias.  Sociological research is not completely objective, there are subjective elements involved.  How does research filter perception  Summary on previous slide  Values are shapped by subjective inclinations or ooutlooks theories, previous research, methods  reality all of these are filters or forms of bias. This is much more objective way of learning about social learning of the world as oppose to common sense everyday opinion.  Finally when it comes to experience, every day life, our biases easily influence our everyday observations  and leads us to draw incorrect conclusions  what sociology does to do is collect data, and tries to reduce bias, but never completely gets rid of it  as a matter of fact, the bias can be found in natural sciences we call them sumptions  Two types of sociological Studies o There are descriptive types of studies and there are explanatory types of studies o Descriptive  1. Static  means a point in time. Photograph freezes reality at a certain point in time. That is what static research does. Static studies are not interested in relationships. However, they can deal with trends, what takes place over a period of time, who doesn’t try to explain what causes a trend. Static studies show a snapshot of what something was at a state in time. Infant mortality  number of infant deaths per 1000 births  example of static study what was the infant mortality rate in Canada 4.92 infants per 1000 births don’t make it to 6 months.  that is static study. Best predictor of development is infant mortality. Underdeveloped communities have high infant mortality. Another SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012 example of descriptive, static study, number of murders in Toronto in 2009  69. Population in scarborough, 2010, 593, 000 people lived in scarborough.  2. Trend  example of trend  divorce rate in Canada from 1952 – 2002 climb from 15% to 50%. Gradually increasing. This is a descriptive trend. It doesn’t attempt to tell you why divorce rates increase. It just gives you number  many reasons though. One of the reasons is the women movement is that women have more independence, economic independence, and don’t need to be married to survive.  it is easy to get out of marriage today. At one time divorce was almost impossible to attain  came with problems. Difficult to find a balance  Explanatory Studies o Try to explain why things happen or try to explain relationships between what we call variables. So for instance, how can we explain university attendance. One of the best explanations is parent income is associated with university attendance. Higher the income of parents, the more likely their children are to attend university. That is explanatory. Parental university and social class of parents is one of the most solid predictors of university attendance by offspring. Another explanatory study, people who live in cities, larger the cities, are more likely to commit suicide than people who live in villages, small towns, or the country side. Infant mortality is related to wealth. Wealthy people, middle class, upper middle class, infant mortality rates are lower  more educated, more knowledge, more likely to get prenatal and postnatal care for children. Mother more likely to be working, can’t spend amount of time looking after her children and so on. o Another example, when the economy improves, crime rates go down. A good economy, with lots of jobs, different social situation, than a poor economy that need money. Unemployed people can become desperate and more likely to commit crime. Found to be a consistent cause of crime. One of the reasons why the death penalty was abolished a few years ago in Canada, parliament abolished it despite the fact that many people are in favour. Statistics, studies, empirical studies, explanatory studies have found consistently that the death penalty does not deter, prevent murder. In US, the state controls the death penalty – whether it has it or not – and states that have it, their murder rates are not that much different than states that have the death penalty. Texas for instance, is big on penalty. Observed over time that death penalty does not deter murder, and many people thought it was good to abolish it. Those people who are in favour of it, another argument, people that behave like Cliffard Olsen, child predator, the death penalty represents just punishment for doing that. Paul Bernado and Karla Homolka o Cliffard Olson killed 12 childrenoperated in BC, died in prison of cancer.  Social Accounting o Both type of studies can be used to develop social policy. You may get job in provincial government, and you maybe involved in forming policy for government and you will base policy on evidence, sociological evidence. o Rational policy is evidence based policy. SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012 o Social accounting can often be found in the census form which gives you figures, sometimes gives trends and what the trend observes in Canadian census overtime, we are called an aging society. An aging society means that people 65 and over has become larger proportion of the total population. That proportion keeps growing. And proportion of young people, is shrinking. We call that situation an aging society. This can create all kinds of problems. Death problems in Europe. Those problems are due to the fact that European societies are aging society even more than Canada. Why have we become an aging society  People are living longer.  Life expectancy keeps on increasing.  End of the second WW2, soldiers came home from long wars, men and women reunite, and babies  Baby Boom another reason for agin society. Baby boom that took place after second world war  One of the demographers  people who study population  branch of sociology.  Demographers study population, and end of the WWII, there was a baby boom  Boomers were born 1945-1955  this produces a population bulge  As those infants, baby boomers become children, you have to build more schools for them, high schools, expand university facilities  Boomers are now reaching stage where they are becoming old age pensioners  Census tells us this portion is happening  This proportion over 65 is growing over few years  And what’s going to happen?  The pension plan run by the Feds is going to go broke  Our aging societies, old people, the proportion of younger, productive worker people, so tax base gets smaller, and expenditures for old age pension grows  This kind of evidence tells policy makers that we got to do something about this  that is rational policy based on evidence  We know this before the fact  We know that pensions will have to be reformed  When you guys go to work, there is no longer a mandatory age of 65, it is gone.  You can work till 80s or more.  That change isn’t as important as next change.  You can only collect government pension from Feds, it used to be 65 they bumped it up to 67 and they are talking about bumping it to 70  Descriptive studies, trend studies can be collected by Canada census that gives us information that allows us to get policies that make sense. Allows us to predict that certain things can happen and allows us to prepare  There is a pension plan for everybody  That is practical use for collecting social statistics. Allows us to make for rational social policy  Point 3, building blocks of research SOCA02 Lecture 1 January 12, 2012  Sociologicalts use tools when they use scientific method o Concept  label, term used to identified similar processes and things o Concept album came along an the most popular concept albums were made by pink Floyd. Concept album is album built around by concept. Concept album called Wall. Wall is first, second, or third, keeps changing, biggest selling album of all time. Concept  Mama’s gonna put all your fears into you, going to make your nightmares come true. What is the concept? Comfortably none and takes a negative look at education. Alienation is a big concept in sociology. A term that stands for something. Alienation has sub concept. What pink Floyd tries to do is that modern life is represented by an absence of power, people
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