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Sociological Theory 2040.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCI 2040
Professor
Secil Erdogan- Ertorer
Semester
Fall

Description
Sociological Theory -2040 September 19, 13 Theory: a system of generalized statements or proposals about experiences There is a difference between scientific theories and other idea systems such as the ones found in religion or philosophy. Scientific theories: 1) Explain and predict the phenomena in question -Relate things to each other 2) Produce testable and therefore falsifiable hypothesis Theories in social sciences are different from theories in the natural sciences because social sciences are when we study human beings where as in natural sciences we study objects such as atoms. Sociological theories are more evaluative and critical than natural sciences. There are different levels of theories: Macro perspective vs. Micro perspective Micro-level: Macro-level: Major approaches/Paradigms in sociology Universal laws are intended to explain and predict events occurring in the natural or physical world. Ex: Isaac Newton founded 3 laws of motion. 1 Law: the law of inertia which states that objects in motion will remain in motion, while objects at rest will remain at rest unless are acted on by another force. What we’ll learn: (Fall term) Classical: theories that are from mid 19 - early 20 century (Winter term) Contemporary: from 1935 to present Theory: ­ Talks about social life and social reality ­ Example: Crime, homeless people ­ Theories try to make logical explanations that may explain society ­ A theory is a system of interconnected ideas that organizes knowledge about the social world ­ Why do people commit crimes? ­ You try to explain crime rates and in order to explain it you need to relate it to other factors ­ Ex: crime rates are increasing due to economic conditions ­ Ex: how does the media affect us? Major Approaches/Paradigms in sociology: Positivism: positivism is the approach of natural sciences. You can see how things react in a lab you can measure it. (Sciences) it means using natural science methods. Positivists. Say that social sciences should use the same methods that are used in natural sciences. We should use “empiricism”, which means you can experience, see and observe. It means it is tangible. For example we can observe the patterns in society. Example: social science experiments where you can put people in certain situations and see how they work. They also use a “deductive” approach. This means that before we start working on any problem, you have a question and a theory in your mind. For example: how are crime rates related to economic crisis? For example if I wanted to do research I would start with a theory that might say crime rates increase after class. If you start with an assumption it means deductive. And then you go observe and test your hypothesis. People who take a positivists approach means that we should have the problem in our mind FIRST and then go observe and test if its true. Positivists believe that we should rely on scientific statements that are objective (value free, no judgment) Some theorists are positivists HOWEVER… There are some theorists who claim that positivism wouldn’t work in social sciences because we are working with human beings. These people are called Interpretivism. They think that natural science methods are limited. They prefer to use “inductive methods”, which are subjective methods. They don’t start with a hypothesis in mind but they have an idea in mind. Example: I wonder why the crime rates are increasing. You don’t say the reason before you observe. This is because if you already think that you may force yourself to find something that proves it. Your theory comes from the process of observation instead of you always having it. You should be able to understand your research subjects who are HUMAN BEINGS. These people think we cannot be objective because we are human beings and have values that we cannot ignore but we must include these values and meanings into research. Critical approach: -Research is not value-free because we are human beings and we have values - Activists believe we should take action and do something to change this - For example: although we are trying to find the reason behind the increasing crime rates, we must do something to decrease it. =Praxis: social theory and everyday practice work together. They do not JUST talk about society but they change society -They believe we should use theories to make people realize these social injustice’s and show people what’s actually happening behind the curtains. Industrial revolution: -Machines that replaced hand done work -Mechanization began in the textile business -Things became more affordable -1 person can do the work of many -Industrialists (people who owned these factories) -Industrial revolution brought work to some but also brought pollution to cities -Today we live in a global village, which is brought by technological revolution What distinguishes a micro level theory from a macro level theory? Examples French revolution: 1789 -Political transformation where people were experiencing problems such as an economic crisis and people who were frustrated with the king and the church. -People wanted to change the economical and political system. -The French revolution started in France BUT effected Europe, America and all over the world. -Old-fashioned, aristocratic, religious privileges faded -It was the first time people were given rights -First time democracy was introduced -Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen -Time where people started talking about rights including womens rights The enlightenment: 17 & 18 centuries -Big cultural movement of intellectuals -The purpose was to change society and advance knowledge in society -They put emphasis on scientific thinking because people didn’t rely on science for knowledge but also relied on religion, common sense, and traditions -This was the first time we saw the development of civil society -It was the first time citizens thought about the economic, political, and cultural conditions of society -People began doing this now because they used to never have a say in anything because the king ruled everything but after the French revolution people began to have a say -Enlightenment put emphasis on reasoned investigation and systematic observation of phenomena -Science and experiential research -first time they divorced theories that were based on religion In the mid 19 century a new science emerged called SOCIOLOGY -People started thinking that we should be able to study these changes in society -They said society could also be the subject of scientific examination -Scientifically explain both the causes and the effects of social change First sociological thinker: Auguste Comte who coined the term sociology in 1839 -He use the term social physics to refer to sociology Clearly he is a positivist -He also talked about social evolution and how society changes in time Emile Durkheim: talked about social facts and talked about the conditions around us, which determine our actions, he called them social facts. He said there are external forces that shape our behavior. To him this should be our topic in sociology. He says we should study how these social factors change us. PQ: What does Emile Durkheim mean when he argued that External forces that shape our behavior? Karl Marx (communist): talks about economic dynamics (changes) of capitalism and social and moral problems Max Weber: Talks about the material conditions and idea systems of modern societies th September 26 13 Karl Marx: Activist, communist ­ Pursued to explain the nature of the capitalist economies that came to the forefront in western Europe in the 18 and 19 centuries ­ He predicted that capitalism would be replaced by communism ­ Core ideas: reaction to the awful economic and social conditions brought on by the industrial revolution. ­ After industrial revolution people moved to big cities to work at factories. ­ Working at the factory provided more money and the land was being sold. ­ Marx was basically writing about this new society ­ Marx aim was NOT to interpret what was going on but he also wanted to CHANGE IT. ­ According to Marx: people from economic classes and forces/ means of production ­ Means of production = raw materials, technology, machines, factories, and land that are necessary for the production of goods ­ Question: is a muffin tray is a means of production? Answer: TRUE and FALSE depending on the aim - Forces of production: also includes labor power (skills and knowledge) along with the mean
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