September 18, 2013: Between Constraint and Freedom
*Social ordering influences how we experience everyday life
− November 19, 1925 in Poland
− Served in Polish army, WWII -2953
− Left Poland after anti-semitic campaign in 1968
− Theoretical contributions on post-modernism, globalization and ethics
He argues that:
− the popular perception that we have absolute freedom to make choices... conflicts with the fact
that our lives are dependant on our membership to social worlds
− How is our freedom limited?
− I can choose, but there are consequences
− I can choose, but the range of choices I can make are limited
− not enough, competition
− dependent on the others' choices, “gatekeepers”
− I can choose, but not enough resources
− Choices available, but I may not know them
− Born into group membership
− Not a choice
− Group membership provides us with knowledge, experiences, and emotions that appear
− They are deeply part of the “taken for granted” upon which we rest our security
Film: 2 Days in October
− participants in events that took place in October
− U of Wisconsin
− Vietnamese Jungle
− anti war campaigns
− men taken out of school to join Vietnam war
− University demonstration
− How did the varying life experiences of the participants who are featured in the film affect their
perspective on the war?
− What are the different life-worlds shape our views on world events?
− How does the article on stealing a bag of potato chips relate to the video and Bauman's article?
September 25: The Rewards and Risks of Sociological Consciousness
1995 Chicago Heat Wave
born in Vienna,Austria-> March 17, 1929
Received his PhD at the New School (NYC) in 1954
Major theoretical contributions
Sociology and Freedom:
− In what sense if at all can sociology be called a liberating discipline?
− Sociology is subversive
− sociology is conservative
− the world taken for granted
− official understandings − we are not in control of the world
− we are creators of the “out there” social world
− Debunking, disenchanting and demystifying
− debunk: look beyond face value, expose falseness
− disenchant: freedom from illusion
− called these the subversive roles of sociology
− encourages to see that we are active participants in the social world
− freedom of ecstasy, ek-stasis
− gain diff perspective
− not take world for granted
− undermines status quo
− exposes world that the world that appears to be natural is made by humans
− “Order is the primary imperative of social life”
− by relativizing the social world we know things could be otherwise, there are other
− argues that sociology is conservative, and more it seeks to to conserve social organization
Sociology as a Humanistic Discipline
− Why bother teaching sociology
− Do sociologists have the right to disenchant and debunk?
− Relativizing is not easy to learn
− us acting upon society, not vice versa
− power is not unidirectional, but omnidirectional
− by relativizing we begin to develop a sociological consciousness
− argues that hopefully the sociological consciousness will break down prejudices
− we make deliberate choices
− less prejudices, more careful, more skeptical and more compassionate
− consciousness as a precondition to freedom
− The Puppet Theatre
− the sociological consciousness allows us to see the strings attached to us
− unaware to the person pulling the strings
− social orders influence our behaviour and how we interact with others
Sociology as a Form of Consciousness
− What is the definition of society?
− “Large, complex of human relationships [...] a system of interaction”
− Not based on numbers
− when intricate relationships can be analyzed, an object of study beyond the individual
− society is an emergent property (phenomena that arises over time when people interact with
− interaction between institutions and social actors
− society is not out there: we are a part of it, it is a part of us
− What is the definition of social?
− “Quality of interaction, interrelationship, mutuality”
− Weber:Asocial encounter is when people orientate their actions to others
− a chain of definitions, norms and mores (accepted social practices)
− when a sociologist thinks about the social thinks about shared experiences
− when people conform their behaviour to what people expect
− shared by all social actors that govern the quality of social interraction
− What do sociologists study?
− Economists study exchange, distribution consumption
− sociologists study relationships within economics
− the social is not separate, but “in, with, and under” all human activity
− current flow of human life − societies require social organization to meet needs (food, technology, housing)
− Examine beyond the world-taken-for-granted
− see behind the facade of social order
− the informal power structure
− Sociological consciousness: examine social relations to understand how vested interests
influence society, underneath the official understanding of the social world where power
The Rewards and Risks of a Sociological Consciousness
− (Berger says) Liberating: we become aware of our complicity
− ironic because as we become aware of our complicity in creating a social order, also leads to
− we get backstage view through official versions, freedom of ecstasy
− limited freedom: remember the puppet theatre!
− Not the rebel who remains inside the social order or cynic inside of social order
− it is the freedom to reflect and choose to engage with the world, choosing with consciousness
− debunking and demystifying the social world reveals the fragility and precariousness of what
we take for granted
− other ways and possibilities of living
− what we assume to be the natural order, is the take-it-for-granted world
− we are challenged to give up the benefits of maintaining the social world
− threatens the status quo, vested influences
− Pinak Selek
− turkish sociologist taht researches vukerable communities in turkey, kurds
− accused of being conected to bombing
− imprisoned two years before found innocent
− Agnes Heller
− Hungarian Marxist philosopher
− critiqued the soviet unions influence in hungary after revolution
− expelled from communist party and academia from 1958-1963
− both spoke out against status quo
Case Study: 1995 Chicago Heat Wave
− From July 12-16, 1995, Chicago underwent an intense heat wave
− highest temperature:106 deg. Fahrenheit (41 Celsius)
− Over the 5 days, 750 heat-related deaths
− Majority of victims were seniors
− Public health officials referred to these deaths as the “harvesting effect”
− means people who died during or after were going to die anyway, but the disaster
accelerated the process
− Related to Berger?
− Use notion of freedom of ecstasy, or relativizing
− looking beneath official understanding of the disaster
− the social determinants of this phenomenon
− why is it a social phenomenon rather than just a health phenomenon
− Most heat-related deaths were low-income areas
− Victims were largely poor, black seniors who lived alone
− Isolated male seniors had higher mortality rates
− could not afford A/C
− Little social cohesion in low-income areas
− women tended to be socially integrated
− fear of crime (did not open windows, doors or socialize) − poor housing conditions
− few or no family members
− few or no support workers
− what appears to be an unusual and tragic public health disaster... had underlying social
− urban planning
− care for seniors
− poor social cohesion
October 2 , 2013: Social Order and Social Organization of the University
− We create the social order although sometimes we are born into one.
1. Shelagh Ois’poem - a student’s perspective on the social order of the university.
− reveals that there is a social order to the university
− social order has an influence on her experience at the university's
− recognizes that the influences on her will influence how she moves forward
− “they direct me where to go” discusses authority
− pathways as ways of shaping how you walk, not physically
− metaphor: rules and regulations, things that channel your actions
− shape you in a waythat you stay“awayfrom the trees”
− an outside world you're not accustomed to
− being among trees not conforming, able to think
− challenging the extent to which the universityworks, and how its order keeps us from wandering off
into the trees
− Shelagh Ois challenges the “without thinking” attitude.
− "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."Rosa
Luxembourg 1918, written when she was in prison.
2.The central purpose of Hans George Gadamer’s essayis to encourage us to exercise our freedom
whenever and however we can.
− asking all of us to think about the waythat the social order of the universityimpacts the way we
think and experience things
− links to the freedom to be reflective
− ….The task of our human life in general is to find free spaces and learn to move therein.” (p. 59
− “Freedom will not be guaranteed us, if we do not know how to use the small space of freedom
that has been left us.” (p. 52 in original.)
(b) To what does Gadamer contrast “the idea” of the university?
− Has lasted for a long time, the essence of what it is has remained
− the reality is now different, though
− idea vs reality of something
− “Everyone must come to terms with reality in their own way and I believe that whoever wants
to come to terms with reality has to recognise that ideas and reality always belong together and
are always apart” ( pge. 47 of original)
3. Gadamer’s Idea Of The University:
(a) The central purpose of the university, according to Gadamer. − “… the word, education … means ‘living with ideas’’”.
(b) The conditions that make it possible to live with ideas, according to Gadamer.
− “Two things are required for this, solitude and freedom.”
− the word education means...
− “ ... a distancing from everything profitable and useful.
− What Gadamer means by a condition of solitude.
What Gadamer means by freedom.
− Freedom to think otherwise
− Read "Vari Hall Politics" and Sarah Schmidt's article to see how the freedom to think otherwise
and to speak differently has been the focus of struggles at York University as well as other
universities in recent years.
− The moment that the hall began to be used for meetings and contraversial issues, the hall was
restructured with obstacles to make it difficult to protest there
4. The REALITY of the university
− The modern university contains serious obstacles to achieving the IDEAof the university.
(a) Teaching and learning have become instrumental – tools for something else.
− relationship between the teacher and student should be equal
(b) the conditions of the university are shaped by a bureaucratic form of organization that creates
fractures in the community. Refer again to the reading "Vari Hall Politics." to see how, according
to the professors writing these messages, the university administration uses powers associated
with its bureaucratic position to define a learning environment to suppress learning experiences
that students choose for themselves.Also note how these messages reveal serious fractures not
only between students and the university administration but also between faculty members and
the university administration.
(c) Gadamar refers to these fractures as the three alienations. What are these three
− [Because of the third alienation] “ ‘Living with ideas’has become enormously difficult for
today’s student.” (p. 52 in original)
− “For we live in a society which, in order to preserve its own order, teaches and rewards
adopting (sic) to fit into its institutionalised structures of being.” (emphasis mine, p. 57 in
− Shelagh's poem - following the paths given=institutionalized structures of being
− Mario Savio, a spokesperson for students at the University of California, Berkely during the
Free Speech Movement of 1963 and 1964
− Savio:(Speaking of students who come to university) “And they find… that for them to
become part of society, to become lawyers, ministers, business men, people in government,
that they very often have to compromise those principles that were most dear to them. They
must suppress the most creative impulses that they have; this is a prior condition for being
part of the system. The university is well structured, well tooled, to turn out people with all
the sharp edges worn off …
5. Gadamer's opening for creative action “the free space”.
6.Finding free space is a task.
− “Bureaucratised teaching and learning systems dominate the scene, but nevertheless it is
everyone’s task to find his free space (italics mine). The task of our human life in general is to
find free spaces and learn to move therein.” (p. 59 in original.)
− “Freedom will not be guaranteed us, if we do not know how to use the small space of freedom
that has been left us.” (p. 52 in original.)
− “Fellow students, every student who has taken his (sic) studies seriously, should be aware that
he (sic) has received something: to risk his (sic) own judgments and not simply allow
himself (sic) to be manipulated.” (p. 58 in original.)
− Shelagh Ois’ poem is her attempt to create some “free space”
− The creation of the U of T assembly in 2010 is a second good example of working to find the
− “Here, we are working to build something different. This is the most representative political
body at this University.All of us have voice and vote in this body. We all experience this
University’s failings, we think it can do better, and we, unlike our friends in Simcoe Hall, are
willing to listen to, and work with each other to make sure it does do better.
− “Many of us have already committed hundreds of hours to this process and we will all have to
dedicate countless more. This is not an easy task. The corporate university restructures our
lives. It compartmentalizes us, individuates us, ranks us.And in doing this, the corporate
university makes it more difficult for us to find each other, to trust each other—to organize and
“We live in a modern industrialised world, in a modern bureaucratic state, in a thoroughly
organised system of social life, upon which we all depend, and in this system we have been
allotted a modest space of freedom.”
Opposition to the expert
definition: going against norms of “professional authority”
ie doctors not always knowing the best route, considered an expert but do not have grand
authority and know everything
definition: organized through a system (bureaucratic, capitalist->, production->economy)
− university needs to be separate from society, but also speaking to society
− industrial society is weighing too heavily on the university and students
− don't want to keep people out, but want to preserve a separate space
alienation (general definition): separation, fracture between aspects, space of isolation with no benefit
− alienation between teachers and students
− intimidation, unequal. Transfer of knowledge, teacher produces knowledge as a product
and provides to student without consideration of what the student says, no dialogue
− alienation of the sciences from one another
− faculties of learning, kept separate and no interaction
− alienation between oneself and the society in which the students live
− separation from our neighbours, controlling of space, security, th
October 9 , 2013
Order/Orders, Order/Ordering: The Gender order(s) Example
1. Common understandings of “social order/organization”.
− originates “out there”, as external forces/restrictions/constraints,
− happens to us, somebody putting us in the patterns
− something to which we conform
− something to which we passively adjust
− something from which we must escape to be free
− an enemy of “the individual”.
− the only we can escape is to step outside of it, to be an individual, as though we can escape
being a part of a social world
− Attitudes about social order
− ie potato chip boys
− worth us seeing us not as captives of the social world
2. An alternative view of social order(ing)*
(a) located in a shared reality (inter-subjective social reality)
(b) based on rule-making rather than rule-following.
− instead of seeing people as following see how they are making them
− actors that are not followers are not conformists
(c) an ongoing process;
- order vs ordering because it is a continuous process
- created as it has been or in a new way
(d) a process in which we, as social actors, are actively engaged; adaptive vs transformative
- our social actors are participants not pawns in the social drama
- have a choice, can choose our actions to be adaptive or transformative (changing)
- it is always action, not just passively doing nothing, always impacting and acting
(e) social life as the realm in which we develop our sense of self
- being an individual comes from being a part of society
3. Developing a friendlier relation to social order:
− typically negative connotations
− we are participants in social order
− no longer someone else imposing their will on us
− enables us to be willing to think that it may be otherwise
4. From this week's readings
(a) a plurality of social orders.
- may be many social order, within the concept of gender different orders and conflicts
(b) social actors participate in many social orders
(c) social actors are actively engaged in managing “slippage”
- inhabit different social orders and spaces, there are times when there are conflicts
- everyday we must manage as we move from different social orders
- going from employee to parent at night
(d) gender order is a social order
(e) Connell challenges the idea of gender socialization
(f) Connell’s article and the debate over Baby STORM displays that the gender order is not static
(g) social actors relationship to social order is not based only cognition but also on feelings. Lecture 5 Concepts
− Metaphor − Judgement and opinions − social ordering
− Away from the trees − Institutionalized structures of − creative social actors
− Thinking otherwise being − Adaptive action /
− Living with ideas − Free space Transformative action
− Freedom and solitude − U of T assembly − Friendly relation to
− Three alienations − external forces/constraints social order
− Bureaucratized teaching − conformity − managing slippage
and learning − inter-subjective reality − plurality of orders
− Vari Hall politics − rule-making vs rule following
Lecture 7: The language and Grammar of Social Order and Social Organisation: Context
− C. Wright Mills sociological imagination, a “quality of mind,” links the lived experiences
of individuals to the contexts in which they act.
− Context: Placing peoples individual life into a broader context of the conditions that they
are living in. Context can be within the family or a small group to a broader society. Global
context is the main work of modern sociology.
− ‘ Rob Ford Crack Bittie’Context at looking where the effects are: going to hit Ford’s
office and him OR whole Toronto?! Where are we going to focus?
− Context can be narrow but also context CANT BE INSIDE THE CONTEXT. What
context we use to understand something is going to affect what we see. So a lot of debates
are focused around what is the proper context
Part I: Sociological Imagination in the post–modern or hyper-modern context
1. Mill’s sociological imagination applies to the late 20and early 21 century. Mills wrote
for sociological imagination in 1950’s so the question is, does it still remain relevant?
2. Dandaneau introduces the concept of post modernism.
- Mill’s idea of sociological imagination is even more important for us to use today
because things have changed in a direction, which makes it more difficult for people
to get a good barring on where they are in the world.
- Most people have a feeling of not being in control of their lives, the sociological
imagination can help with that problem.
- Dandaneau says that Mill wasn’t just looking at the present, he had a sense of
what is coming in the future. He introduces us to the idea of post modernism
(a) "Modernism" in the context of social theory. Theoretical ideas.An idea or a concept term
that social theorists had used to cover up a particular period of development in the Western
world. This is where social theory is influenced by the history of Europe and societies that were
tied to that particular development.
(b) People say that social theory is European-centric. Sociology, kind we are learning, is taught
from this perspective. Sociology has been criticized for seeing development of society in too
much of a frame of European based society only.
(c)Used to describe a period of history of Europe (17 century and on) when European societies began to shift from being religious in orientation to becoming more secular. Guided more by non
religious thought and ideas. That began to happen around 16 thcentury. Shifted from God
centered universe to Human centered universe = ‘ enlightenment’. We are able to use our own
human reason to develop theories, advancement in science and technology, to create a better
world. This is known as the modern period.
(d) Science and technology are going to the root to human progress, not theological knowledge but
secular knowledge. In that modern context which lasted a number of centuries, the expectation is that
human life is going to only get better – notion of inevitable progress. That is the build in assumption of
· In the 20 century (ww 2) intellectual thought started questioning – science development isn’t a
way towards better human development. The promise of the enlightenment isn’t being realized, other
things are affecting the world we are living in. Technology is able to create bad things, not good things.
There was a drop in human moral so they began to think more negatively with regards to thinking
where the world is heading. We look much more critically at things like science and technology.
· People noticing a shift in the pace of social culture scientific development. The most significant set
of inventions that play into this issue are communica