Intro to Sociology 1001 with Jennifer Bronson
Lecture 2 / 29 August 2013
Attendance was NOT taken on August 29.
Society and Illusion
One believes an illusion to be true.
Our world is symbolic.
Like poverty or childhood.
What is the largest group or system of symbols in social life? Languages.
Objective knowledge is often based in illusions.
Subjective knowledge is socially constructed such as facts/values.
Social context is the influence of society on individuals.
Our lives unfold in specific social environments such as: economic, family,
communities, social context and they determine our life chances.
Agency = Constraints
Example: Do all American born babies have the same chance to develop, grow,
reach their full potential and thrive? No.
Social Structure is the external force that constrains interaction; most visible though
institutions and social stratification/hierarchy.
Social Hierarchy is a set of relationships that places individuals and groups into different
statuses, some of which are elevated about others; system of inequalities.
Institutions are longstanding and important practices (learning to read, distribution of
goods) and organizations that regulate these practices that provide the frameworks for out
This includes: the media, family, education, government, and religion.
Norms are the basic rules of society that help us know what is appropriate and what’s not
in various situations.
Norms govern social interactions.
Stereotypes are beliefs about members of a group that are usually false and exaggerated,
but are the basis of assumptions made about individual members of a group. Discrimination is any behavior, practice, or policy that harms, excludes, or disadvantages
people based on group membership.
Why do these matter for a sociological imagination?
Age of Enlightenment
This period in time coincides with scientific advancement of the 16 and 17 centuries.
This was a period of serious progressive, philosophical, scientific and other intellectuals
developments that parallel with the birth of “modernity”.
This challenged religion as an explanation of the social world.
It created utopian and idealism in nature.
Humans are basically rational, evil is due to ignorance and superstition. If people
can just be rational, utopia will come.
This disconnected from the material reality of people’s lives and social
History of Sociology as a Field
Sociology is a product of the new social order that emerged in Europe during the 18 and
Scientific advancements, industrial revolution
o Industrialization was the growth of factories and large-scale goods
This was a transition from Agricultural Society to an Industrial
New factory jobs meant people having to move to the city which
created new social problems.
o Did the Industrial revolution uplift people and humanity or just reinvent
This created poverty, slums, overcrowding, infectious diseases and
a need for sanitation.
Cities provided people a chance to meet and organize, and created
trade unions and th