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Lecture 1

SOCI 140 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Null Hypothesis, Parenting Styles, Concerted Cultivation

Course Code
SOCI 140
david Trouille

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GSOCI 140: The Individual in Society – Lecture 1: Thinking Sociologically
“Sociological competence”:
Sociological competence, or folk sociology:
-“The remarkable fact that people are able, with very little introduction, to figure out
how to practice their lives with others”
-Much of this is tacit (unspoken) knowledge; “the world taken-for-granted”
Based on shared “definition of the situation” and “background experience”
Video of 5 minutes of people walking down the street:
Shows people being able to practice their lives with one another
People with others, women usually together, solo people tended to be men
Pace of people – fast means alone, together usually means slower
Groups seemed to keep distance from other groups, people have agreed an
acceptable amount of distance
People move in walkway, stop on the side, how do we figure out where it is
acceptable to stop?
Why do people stop? Near the stores, stores put big windows up so people stop
to look at them
Princess Bride movie clip – battle of wits
Trying to predict other peoples behavior
-How does this happen/work?
How does a baby figure this out (social norms)
Sociological incompetence (breakdowns in social order)
-All of us come up against situations we simply cannot understand
Video of ‘holding random people’s hands’
Social order is common place
Many people in video thought that the ‘holding hands’ was an honest mistake
Becker says ‘everything has to be some place’, common place for everything,
holding hands in this situation was out of common place
There is a way for people to act around strangers; this wasn’t it
-Yet rare, deviant
Beckers trick for thinking sociologically:
Null hypothesis trick
-Random (no selection bias)
Reveals constraints, social organization
-Crazy, doesn’t make sense
“What is a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” or “It seemed like a good
idea at the time”
Final decision is the end of a long line of prior decisions (Bruce to Caitlyn/sex
change operations)
Dependencies, contingencies: it’s not infinite. If you look at it at a certain angle, it
is coincidental, but if you look at it with a wider angle, there are only so many
possibilities. Coincidences aren’t infinite.
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