In Class Book Discussions 09/05/2013
I.All Souls – MacDonald
Community feel; loyalty
Gemeinscheft social relations between individuals, based on close personal and family ties; community.
Contrasted with Gesellschaft.
Upperclass was liberal
It is apparent that Michael McDonald utilized the Sociological Imagination in order to change his outlook
Pg. 30 When the Jamaica Plan project became predominantly African American and fights broke out
The busing problem – change in the school system
United Irish families
Increased the dropout rate
Some MacDonalds transferred to Catholic school
The people of Southie had no say making it an external force
As family members started dying the structure obviously changed as a result they had to leave Southie
There was a presidential election going on at the time
The crack down on drugs that occurs towards the end of the book
Gentrification: forcing poor people out so that wealthy people can move in, to increase the value of
neighborhoods. It eliminates the need for busing, welfare…etc.
Moving to old colony Kevin sold drugs for money
Frankie robbed a truck for money and ended up dying
Increase of unemployment
The mother attempted to
Pg. 34 Having to lie to the social worker to get by. This is a personal problem that became a public trouble.
Davey – they have to bring him to an asylum.
Whitey brought violence, drugs, gangs and danger to Southie. As his power increases through fear and a
quid pro quo system. He recruits younger people. He is the only one who can protect them.
At Frankie’s funeral, one mother points out that drugs are the problem
Kathy was going to funerals all of the time and became apathetic, entered into a coma
His moms troubles with men causes the family hardship
Nickel and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich
A woman wants to see if she can survive off of minimum wage
Work fare giving people the incentive to make people go work while receiving benefits
Why she couldn’t in the office:
It is different to apply in person
She needed to handle rent, 911 expenses, the physical toll
Barb is working at Walmart
Caroline moved from Florida to Minnesota but Caroline has 2 kids – her house is free standing with
separate bedrooms, but her house has many problems The family is making 40,000 a year
You cannot base poverty statistics based on food prices because they do not fluctuate as much as housing
Time theft: when the employee is not working constantly through their shift
Barb plans out her breaks so that she maximize the amount of time she gets to sit down
There’s no room for error – injury, car problems, watch breaks, illness, sleep deprivation…everything needs
to be working at all times
Women have more vulnerable in housing situations
Afterwards you are more appreciative
You become more empathetic towards labor intensive professions
Barb is now able to see the signs of poverty
You can have low paying jobs and then claim that there is a labor shortage
An employer can more easily take away benefits, not lower wages.
Waterlily – Deloria
Gloku Little Chief
Sacred Heart – marries Waterlily, but dies
It is important to gift because it is unifying
They do not have an economic problem because they rarely have a surplus
Bravery – strength – resilience
Hospitable – generous – kind
Deloria wanted to expose that Native Americans weren’t savages at all
The Prince, Machiavelli
How to book on being a good prince
Rulers must use their cruelty at the right time
It is the best to be loved and fear – if you cannot be both, be feared
You must have good arms to have good laws
Machiazelli supports rulers having their own rulers
He does not think that mercenaries are good because they are working for money
Auxilary are not good either
In times of peace rulers should be training
People prefer a miserly king rather than one who spends a lot.
People who don’t accept rules and laws are called beasts and must be ruled by force
Not all people can follow laws
If you have a fortress, make sure the people all like you Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
Based on the reading of Wigans Pier, The Sociological Imagination, Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
o How clearly can you see the connections between the world of the individual and that of the wider
“The Road to Wigan Pier” by Orwell demonstrates the separation between reality and
perception. The piece also identifies how people need to seek out the Sociological Imagination.
The narrator purposefully seeks out the struggle the miners face.
o Can you see your own “personal troubles” as “public troubles”?
• I was in a car accident, and my personal mistake become a public danger.
o How do individuals who are negatively affected by the same social forces turn their personal troubles
into public issues?
o How does this help them change their individual and collective destinies?
1. Being able to cherish good values ▯ motivation to act
2. Not being able to cherish values or feeling as if your values are threatened
3. Apathy – not caring (people during the 1950’s/60’s)
George Orwell: (1903–50), British novelist and essayist, born in India; pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair. His
work is characterized by his concern about social injustice. His bestknown works are Animal Farm
(1945) andNineteen EightyFour (1949).
Author of Wigan’s Pier. The piece is a recognition of hidden efforts.
Mills defined sociological imagination as "the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and
the wider society."
Understanding the sociological imagination allows on to change/ liberate yourself from current/inherited
It is apparent that Michael McDonald utilized the SI in order to change his outlook Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
Catalyst for change – first step
Makes citizens more engaged when it becomes a topic of public discussion
Brings light to a hidden craft
The piece could have an impact on miners. Empowering.
Obligates citizens to consider their power usage. “If I turn off the light I can save a pregnant woman from
having to haul a bucket of rocks”
United Airlines Flight 93
was a passenger flight which was hijacked by four alQaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001, as part of the
September 11 attacks.
They wanted to make their lives/deaths meaningful
I. Functionalism ▯ (in the social sciences) the theory that all aspects of a society serve a function
and are necessary for the survival of that society.
• Functionalism asks what is the role/function of _______ in society?
o _______ ▯ religion, class, poverty, wealth
Society is a complex organism
i. Each part is not necessarily replaceable; they are interdependent
1. Government is the brain of society Industry/Working class are the hands
2. Small business/transportation are the feet of society
3. Energy is the heart of society
The more complex society gets, the more vulnerable it becomes
Durkheim: (1858–1917), French sociologist; one of the founders of modern.
Human desires are unlimited (Frued and Mead would agree)
Observes US in the 90’s and notices that life is more fruitful. And argues that the more prosperity will cause
an increase in desires as well. Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
What has caused people to limit their desires? ▯ [19 ce. A worker wants to wear a durby hat…nobody else
in his class wears one. He is prevented by social group]
There are social pressures to confirm to a certain lifestyle
In society we have these desires but social conventions limit us ▯ he believes there are functional
We give legitimacy to social norms and therefore they have the ability to limit us
When the body is functioning/society is working well everybody knows their limits
Marriage keeps society controlled
When norms and structure changes, people oft commit suicide
Durkheim studied rates because getting into peoples’ minds was a reductionist method
anomie: lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group
Types of Suicide
Emile Durkheim classified different types of suicides on the basis of different types of relationship between
the actor and his society.
(1) Egoistic suicide:
According to Durkheim, when a man becomes socially isolated or feels that he has no place in the society
he destroys himself. This is the suicide of selfcentered person who lacks altruistic feelings and is usually
cut off from main stream of the society.
Being too far from other people.
This is a facet of modern society
(2) Altruistic suicide:
This type of suicide occurs when individuals and the group are too close and intimate. They do not have a
strong identity outside of the. This kind of suicide results from the over integration of the individual into
social proof, for example Sati customs, Dannies warriors. Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
People are too close to the group.
For example: cults, suicide bombers, kamikaze pilots
(3) Anomic suicide:
This type of suicide is due to certain breakdown of social equilibrium, such as, suicide after bankruptcy or
after winning a lottery. In other words, anomic suicide takes place in a situation which has cropped up
(4) Fatalistic suicide: (not in book)
This type of suicide is due to overregulation in society. Under the overregulation of a society, when a
servant or slave commits suicide, when a barren woman commits suicide, it is the example of fatalistic
suicide – for example that a child who is too oppressed and needs their own space. (NOT ON TEST)
We become numb or apathetic to the metropolis because we are constantly over stimulated. ▯ blas é
However, this attitude is functional and allows people to continue at their pace
We utilize mental reserve since we stay focused.
Conservative View: do as you are told
Humanist view: our moral judgment and conscious should raise questions
Milgrem Experiments :
The studies began post WWII, as many people wanted to blame the Holocaust on the Nazi’s. They wanted
those men to be sick and mentally grotesque.
During the Nuremberg trials, social scientists went to Europe to study the Nazi’s and found that they were
totally normal. They refused to post their findings out of fear.
The subjects felt the need to degrade the victims in order to justify themselves
The experimenter was in uniform and kept saying commands Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
It was clutch to defer responsibility from the subject to the experimenter
o Reification – putting something upon a pedestal
In general people reify science by saying it is the end all be all of knowledge.
The closer the subject is to the victim , the less likely he is to be fully obedient – similarly, the
proximity of the experimenter makes a difference
Does punishment effect learning?
Having moral values, does not necessarily mean that we have the audacity to do the right thing
Context is critical
The Milgram experiment had many results
It was easy for the subject to keep shocking he patient because:
The subject felt part of something bigger
The subject defaulted blame to the experimenter
Since the experimenter was in close proximity to the subject it was harder for the subject to say ‘no’
Since the learner was in a separate space it was easier for the subject to keep going
Zimbardo: The Mind is a Formidable Jailer
The mind is what allows someone to be imprisoned
He extends the theory to marriage by saying that people get so caught up in their roles that it is difficult to
have an outside role
Once in a role, it is easy to stay there
The prisoners were stripped of their names and given numbers; they were given smocks and they were
given nylon caps Sociological Imagination 09/05/2013
The new clothing was very restricting for men
In addition, the prisoners were arrested in front of their friends and families to increase humiliations
The prisoner had very little air circulation and they lost sense of time
The prisoners were constantly forced to do physical activity which kept interrupting their sleep
The anonymity of the guards ▯ shows the effects of the powerful role. For example. The prisoners couldn’t
know their names
One of the rules for a guard was that the use of time could not be held against them
How this jail is not like a real prison:
There are less guards in real prisoners as compared to thf mock one
There weren’t any gangs
There were no drugs
Many of the real prisoners are mentally ill
Things that went wrong:
Some of them had emotional breakdowns and couldn’t last
The guards became increasingly harmful
During the riot, the prisoners mocked the guards
There were rumors that one person (who escaped) was going to try and get the rest out
Even Zmabrdo went down and believed that the guy who left was going to help them escape. Everyone
was just playing along with the game
Because of pressures we are able to totally change ourselves POWER – bureaucracy 09/05/2013
is the Marxist thesis that material and institutional processes in capitalist society are misleading to the
proletariat, and to other classes.
Division of labor
Industry – it is very efficient
Made materials cheaper with the basic theory of supply and demand
Child Labor raised many questions since they had such long hours
Reproducing the worker
We no longer need specialized workers
You can pay workers less because they have less skills
People who have been raised in a capitalist society don’t want to speak up because they believe that if you
work hard you will be rewarded.
Conflict theory: people who stand in a common relationship to the means of production (in other words, the
means by which they make a living, and this would include the tools, factories, land and investment capital
necessary to produce wealth) constitute a social class
Social Stratification (pg 67)
Status, status grouping, positive and negative status
Power (pg 72)
Consequences of stratification for society POWER – bureaucracy 09/05/2013
Structural – functionalist view of stratification
The grouping of people in categories of differing accessibility to wealth, prestige, and power
The difference in opportunity to rewards in society
Rankings are not necessarily based on money, but based on prestige
Nouveau Riche: French for “New Money”
As compared to people with old money people with new money do not necessarily have a high status. They
may not be socialized to have money. For example they may have lower levels of education.
Classes may be distinguished by taste
Stratification was virtually universal because systems of inequality were necessary for assuring the proper
functioning of society
The stricture inequalities of stratification serve the functional imperative of attracting those with the most
talent and abilities into professions that are necessary for the maintenance of social order
Developed by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore
Supported by Durkheim
Weber says that money alone is not everything. Taste, status and other things
factions are adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the public good. And it does not matter if those
interests are good for the general public
We cannot eliminate factions because we would need to eliminate liberty POWER – bureaucracy 09/05/2013
You can force everyone to agree with the same things to try and prevent them
Causes of factions:
It is human nature to desire what you want
Too control factions
Allow them to express their views
Elect people who are willing to compromise – he will find the common good
If you come from a large district than people will have closely examined you m
People vote based on
The media – only wealthy candidates can afford to publicize themselves
William Domhoff is a sociologist and has developed a theory of how power is distributed.
4 theories of power distribution
Class Dominance Theory Everyone in a certain class has the same taste and has the same experiences.
Economic Class – based on wealth (supported by Weber)
Social Class – based on social network/institution POWER – bureaucr