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Lecture 2

GSOCI 140 Lecture 2: GSOCI 140- The Individual in Society – Lecture 2- Social Constructing


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCI 140
Professor
david Trouille
Lecture
2

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GSOCI 140: The Individual in Society – Lecture 2: Social Constructing
The two sides of sociology:
1) Making familiar what people do not understand
-The strange, foreign, deviant – trying to see how “They’re just like us”
2) Gaining new understanding of the familiar
-How are the things that we take to be natural (biological, inherent, inevitable)
socially constructed?
To make the familiar unfamiliar, sociologists show how “reality” itself arose
through human activities. We socially construct “Reality”.
Sociologists try to show this to reveal who has the power, inequalities,
assumptions, inconsistencies, paradoxes, contradictions
“Reality”
Much of our everyday knowledge is based on accepting as real the existence of
things that can’t be seen, touched, or proved (“the world taken for granted”)
-Examples:
We socially construct marriage, marriage doesn’t have to be the way it is,
marriage isn’t biological, and it is an idea, we assume it exists
independently of us
Dates & time: ‘Thursday’, “It feels like Thursday”; days are things that we
treat as real, they aren’t real.
Correspondence between socially shared or objective reality and subjective
experience
-The goal of socialization, internalization
Shared meanings (intersubjectivity) promote the coordination of action. We need
to share with each other what ‘bad’ words are, and what an angry facial
expression is
-A world shared and reaffirmed with others
-Language is a socially constructed thing that is used to share meaning
Behaviors that are very different from what is expected become “weird” and not
normal. People who exhibit these behaviors are seen as nonconformists.
-Or people that show these behaviors are from a different social context than
we are used to
Essential views of reality
Objective reality exists independently of us (snow exists, the word doesn’t, we
constructed the word “snow”), subjective reality doesn’t.
Deterministic: “It has to be this way”
Tautological: the essence also serves as the explanation
(Human) nature
Not created by human activities, independent of our own volition
-Examples:
Our body is biologically dependent on food
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