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Week 1, Lecture 1- Sociological Perspectives.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Greg Bird

Week 1, Lecture 1: Sociological Perspectives Sociological Perspectives vs. commonsense perspectives of the social world The Sociological Perspectives: - Examine patterns of social relations - Provide unique and enlightening perspectives on social events that differs from commonsense understanding - Can be used to analyze how people commonly understand the world - There are 4 main perspectives that provide an alternative way of looking at the world: 1. Functionalism 2. Conflict Theory 3. Symbolic Interactionism 4. Feminism Emile Durkheim’s Theory of Suicide: - French sociologist (1858-1917) - Functionalist - Suicide (published in 1897) o Challenges commonsense notions of suicide o When we talk about suicide it is “someone committing a selfish act”, commit it out of self-interest o These views cause us to completely ignore the persons relationship with society, it is too individualistic, occurred without outside causes o It is an extremely social act – suicide results from social conditions:  Being socially isolated, bullied, poverty, outcome of war - Suicide Rates Higher Amongst: o Unmarried men o Christians o Seniors  Social isolation, Marriage at younger ages, Christians are part of the majority so they don’t have a tight knit community like Jewish population is based on, Seniors cannot contribute to society through work and have no income, age and death of partners or friends and family, less socially integrated - Two Social Forces Influencing Suicide Rates: 1. Social Integration – connection between individuals and the group 2. Social Control – regulating norms, values, expectations, individual responsibilities, etc. o Suicide if too much or too little, need balance Continuum of Suicide Weak Strong Social Control Anomic Fatalistic Social Integration Egoistic Altruistic Type of Suicide Individual
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