September 14 th
Three Key Questions:
How is society organized?
*Macro and micro
How is social order/control maintained?
*Self-control or social control?
A combination of the two of them allows people to live and whatnot.
How does society influence you, form your personality and character?
How should society work?
*Philosophers and religious ideals
How does society work?
Observe systemically and gather evidence of truths.
^Sociologists ask “how does”, which requires research to answer.
Common Sense – tends to bring stereotype, falsehood and misunderstanding
*Tradition, morality, authority
*Irrational and non-scientific (unproven explanations) – marry traditions with evidence
*Most convincing and prevalent; why?
Sociological Imagination; Private Troubles are Social Problems
We’re taught to internalize and blame ourselves.
“My jeans feel tight” > It’s our fault for eating whatever or not going to the gym, but we don’t
blame the fashion industry, etc.
Example; Flunking Out
Common Sense: (narrow)
*lack of work ethic; lower intelligence; irresponsible
Sociological Imagination: (broad)
*having to work part/full time
*deregulation of tuition – economic burden
*cost of living – move during the school year, etc.
*government policies regarding OSAP
If kids drop out of Trent, are they stupid (common sense) or are there other factors to be considered
A Sociological Imagination: A Frame of Mind
*Who are you?
*Self as a product of complex relations with others *Biography is linked to history and structures
Understanding history helps understand the current position.
Mind, Self and Society
*Self is interactive that emerges through socialization
*Plurality of roles
*Identity is acquired and achieved
*Personalities and emotions are not fixed qualities, but are acquired relative to time and place.
First year university student won’t be the same person four years later, experiences change who
How do we produce our social worlds? How do they affect us?
Does society originate from the individual?
To understand ourselves, we must study society
Some argue that individuals create society, but institutions affect how we think & act – is it us
determining what we want or are we constantly negotiating? There is a constant struggle
between individuals and society.
The Rise of Sociology; Industrialization and Human Suffering
Industrialization in Western Europe -> Sociology; It produces extensive social changes which left
homelessness, death, etc. Sociologists began to get vocal about change and its affects.
Industrialization: Western European Context
Rapid urbanization and loss of traditional economies
*Farming and rural life
Waged labour: money for labour
Separation of families
Disease, homelessness, prostitution
It changed how people lived – forced to move to urban environments which took away
traditional economies & notion of life – their familiar means were undermined.
Wanted to figure out why capitalism caused this suffering
Rational explanation of why social problems emerged at this time
What are laws of social stability?
What does society need to function properly?
*End of human suffering
What did capitalism change? Find it and stop it from happening again. Find the things that keep
us safe & civil, etc. Not about getting rid of capitalism. Find a way to manage capitalism to keep
us safe and provided for.
Classical Sociologists Comte
*Scientific study of society to document how it changes and impacts of change
*Society as laboratory
How society should work to how it does work.
*Evolutionary theory of social change
*Survival through adaptation
Society as organism. When your body is sick, you’re not helpful – your body attacks what’s
wrong (ie. A cold with white blood cells). Society is the same way – quarantine people with HIV,
etc. Society will adapt to stress and accommodate or banish whatever the threat. Turning away
Jews, legalizing gay marriage, etc. Very similar to Darwin with survival of the fittest.
*Human potential is determined socially not biologically or psychologically
*Society built on social facts
*External requirements of how to behave and think
*Personal choice as socially determined
*Rewarded or sanctioned
*Produces collective conscience
When society falters, the human consequent is real – we should build society that helps human
growth. To be a brilliant artist was determined by the environment. Social facts are the idea that
there are rules and expectations for behaviour – we’ll be unproductive and lazy without (i.e.
coming in the lecture hall and sitting in the seats) Without t