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Greg Bird

Tuesday September 17, 2013 Sociological Theories Course Learning Outcome 6: Articulate the differences between commonsense perspective and the four main sociological perspective of our social world - Four main theoretical traditions in Sociology o Functionalism o Conflict Theory (Critical Theory) o Feminism o Symbolic Interactionism - Functionalism o Stable patterns of social relations or macrostructures that govern human behavior o Functionalists look at the big picture o Macrostructures exists within each one of us and beyond us i.e. gender, class relationships, race o Functionalists argue that these large macrostructures are extremely important on maintaining social inequalities o Social structures based on shared values and norms/customs/traditions o Social problems solved by finding an equilibrium o Social problems solved by finding an equilibrium - Conflict Theory o Macrostructures create divisions and conflict between dominant and subordinate groups o Focus on power, whose is power, whose not in power o How are the powerful groups divided from the disempowered, how do they keep the disempowered disempowered? o Ruling groups try to secure their advantages and produce social stability  Force and persuasion o A good leader knows when to be a fox and when to be a lion o Ruled groups struggles to change the system and create one that is more equitable o Social inequality produces conflict, not consensus - Conflict Theory according to Karl Marx o Capitalists societies defines conflict b/w the owning class (bourgeoisie) and the working class (proletarians) o The bourgeoisie use social structures to maintain their power, while proletarians struggle for equality. Real social changes only happen through conflict. o If the working class can become conscious of their common exploitation (class consciousness) they will form a social movement  Abolishes private property  Establishes a communist society - Feminist o Patriarchy: Social structure that subordinates females to male domination o Distinguish b/w biological sex and gender o Male domination determined by social structures, not biology o Examine patriarchy in micro, marco, and global social structures o Eliminating gender inequality is beneficial for everyone in society - Symbolic Interactionism o Focus on micro-level interactions b/w individuals o Social reality is constructed through the daily interaction of individuals o Human Agency: people do not just react to social circumstances; they actively create subjective meanings - Symbolic Interactionism: Erving Goffman (1922-1982) o Dramaturgical Approach: people are social actors who manage their identities to create desired impressions from their audience (like actors)  Social interactions are similar to being in a play  Defined roles, Front Stage & Back Stage o Most of our lives in spent on the front stage, we are constantly playing a character and it becomes emotionally exhausting o The back stage is where the truth comes out - Functionalism: How social institutions foster social stability? - Conflict Theory: Social conflict between powerful and subordinate groups - Feminism: Patriarchal social structures that subordinates females to male domination - Symbolic Interactionism: Creation of social meaning through social interactions Thursday September 19, 2013 Sociological Research Methods - Research cycle: o Formulate a Question o Review Existing Literature o Select Method o Collect Data o Analyze Data o Report Results - Stanley Milgram Experiments on Obedience to Authority (1961) o What is that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust has mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?” That is, “was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?” - Milgram’s Experiment o Research Question: How willing are people to obey authority, even if the instruction goes against the conscience?  Sample group randomly selected from the population  Sample bias ≠ Random Sample - Milgram’s Experiment Settings o “Teacher” = subject o “Learner” = actor o Shocks increased by an increment of 15 volts per wrong answer o Labels: slight shock, moderate shock, strong shock, very strong shock, intense shock, extreme intense shock, danger: severe shock, and XXX (450 volts) - Example lesson in Milgram Experiment o Word Pair: Bird-Dog (recall last word) o List: Bird-Cat-Mouse-Dog-Giraffe o Incorrect answer = electric shock by increase of 15 volt shock o 75 volts (grunts), 150 (complain), 150-285 (ask to be release, pleading more intensely, to agonizing screams), 330+ (silence) - Authority – Obedience o Not personally responsibility (not an agent) o Verbal Nudge: “Please continue… The experiment requires that you continue…it is absolutely essential that you continue…you have no other choice, you must go on.” - Variables in Milgram Experiment o Independent variable  presumed cause  Manipulate the independent variable  Authority is the independent variable o Dependent variable  presumed effect  Dependent variable: obedience - Milgram Experiments o Hypothesis: Subjects refuse to administer serious shocks o Data Collection: observing the experiment and results from 40 subjects  26 of 40 subjects (65%) administered the highest shock (450 volts)  Clearly exhibited discomfort with the experiment - Findings: Teachers were more submissive when… o Authority figure was in close proximity o Teachers believed they could pass on responsibility to the authority figure o The experiment appeared to occur in a legitimate organization
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