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What is Sociology? Briefing the Sociology: Your Compass for a New World 3rd Cdn Ed. Chapter 1

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SOCI 1010
Timothy Mc Cauley

1 Chapter One: A Sociological Compass Social solidarity: refers to: 1. The degree to which group members share beliefs and values 2. Intensity and frequency of their interaction Personal Troubles vs. Social Structures: - Social structures: relatively stable patterns of social relations - Three levels of social structure: 1. Microstructure: patterns of relatively intimate social relations formed during face-to- face interaction (eg: family, friendship cycles, and work associations) 2. Macrostructures: overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimates and acquaintances (eg: classes, bureaucracies, power systems) o Patriarchy: traditional system of economic and political inequality between women and men o Understanding macrostructure helps us with everyday life, and help live happier lives 3. Global structures: patterns of social relations that lie outside and above the national level (eg: international organizations, patterns of worldwide travel and communication, economic relations between countries) - Personal problems are connected to social structures at all levels The Sociological Imagination: - Sociological imagination: quality of mind that enables a person to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures (C. Wright Mills 1959) - The difficulty of developing quality of mind Origins of the Sociological Imagination: 1. Scientific Revolution: began about 1550; encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of society must be based on solid evidence, no just on speculation o using evidence to make a case for a particular point of view 2. Democratic Revolution: began about 1750; suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve social problems o Suggests that people control society 3. Industrial Revolution: often regarded as the most important event in world history since development of agriculture and cities; refers to rapid economic transformation that began in Britain in 1780’s; involved large-scale application of science and technology to industrial processes, creation of factories, and formation of a working class o Presented social thinkers with a host of pressing social problems crying out for a solution 2 Chapter One: A Sociological Compass Theory, Research, and Values: - Theory: tentative explanations of some aspect of social life that state how and why certain facts are related - Research: the process of carefully observing reality to assess the validity of a theory - Values: ideas about what is right and wrong; help sociologists formulate and favour certain theories over others Sociological Theory and Theorists: Functionalism (Durkhiem) - Functionalism: stresses that human behaviour is governed by relatively stable social structures - Underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social stability - Emphasizes that social structures are based mainly on shared values or preferences - Suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems - Dysfunctional consequences: effects of social structures that create social instability - Manifest functions: visible and intended effects of social structures - Latent: invisible and unintended effects of social
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