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Lecture 1

Sociology 2140 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Social Fact, Fide, Social Group

Course Code
SOC 2140
Cathy Thorpe

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Social problems: combination of objective and subjective criteria. Criteria varies across societies, among
individuals and groups within society and across historical periods.
Social problems share two important elements
- Objective element: awareness of social conditions through one’s own life experience and
through reports in the media
- Subjective element: particular social conditions are harmful to society or to a segment of
society, and that we should and can change them
Spector and Kituse argue that claims-making activities are central to the development of the
particular view of social fact as bona fide social problem
- Claims making activities: strategies and actions that individuals or groups undertake to define
social conditions as social problems that require remedy
- S and K explain there is little utility in trying to determine whether a condition actually exists if
wat we are trying to do is understand what people perceive as a social problem
Therefore, social problem is social condition that a segment of society demonstrates to be significantly
harmful to members of society and in need of remedy
Structure of society: organization of society into different parts: institutions, social groups, statuses, and
- Durkheim’s research demonstrated that suicide rates were social facts: phenomena created by
social organization rather than individual acts of desperation
- Structural theorists argue that society needs to have cohesion in its different parts with
complementary functions and values
- Establishemnt and enuring organization of social relationships
- 5 traditional: family, religion, politics, economics, and education
- Some argue that science, tech, media, medicine, sport and military also play improatnat roles in
cotemporaty society
- Many social problems arebecause of inadequacies in instituions or conflicts between instituions
Social groups
- Instituiosn are made up of social groups: 2+ people who hae common identity, interact and orm
socal relationship
- Social group categorized into 2 catoegores
oPrimary groups: small number of individuals, are characteried by intimate and informal
interaction ex: family and friends
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