SOCI 1010 Lecture Notes - The Sociological Imagination, Scientific Revolution, Solidarity

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16 Oct 2011
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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
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