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Lecture 2

SOC 153 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Sociological Theory, Hawthorne Effect, Scientific Method

5 pages82 viewsSpring 2018

Course Code
SOC 153
Jaylene Liang

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Ferrante Chapter 2
3 Major Sociological Paradigms:
Sociologists draw on three broad perspectivesfunctionalist, conflict, and symbolic
interactionto guide analysis of any trend, issue, or situation.
Functionalist Perspective: Functionalists focus on how the “parts” of society contribute in
expected and unexpected ways of maintaining an existing social order. They also focus on ways
“parts” can disrupt that social order.
- Functionalists define society as a system of interrelated, interdependent parts. To
illustrate this vision, functionalists use the human body as an analogy for society.
Function: The contribution a part of a society makes to an existing social order.
Social Order: Refers to the way people have organized interaction and other activities to
achieve some valued goalto take care of the sick, to pass on knowledge, to encourage
interest in robots, and so on.
Manifest Function: Intended or anticipated effects that a part has on the existing social order.
Latent Function: Unintended or unanticipated effects that a part has on the existing order.
Dysfunctions: Disruptive consequences of a part to the existing social order or some segment
within that social order.
Manifest Dysfunctions: A part’s anticipated disruptions to an existing social order.
Latent Dysfunctions: Unintended, unanticipated disruptions to an existing social order.
Critiques of functionalist perspective:
Strength: it gives a balanced overview by considering a part’s intended and unintended
consequences to the existing social order.
Weakness: it leaves us wondering about a part’s overall effect on that order.
Conflict Perspective: The conflict perspective focuses on conflict over scarce and valued
resources and the strategies advantaged groups used to create and protect the social
arrangements from which they benefit.
Façade of Legitimacy: An explanation to justify the existing social arrangements that downplays
or dismisses any possibility that the arrangement advantages some groups over others.
Critiques of Conflict perspective:
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Strength: it forces us to look beyond popular justifications for why particular social
arrangements exist, and to ask questions about whose interests are being protected and
promoted and at whose expense
Weakness: it presents a simplistic profile of those who hold advantaged positions.
Symbolic Interaction Perspective: Symbolic interactionists focus on social interaction and
related concepts of self-awareness/reflexive thinking, symbols, and negotiated order.
Social Interaction: Everyday encounters in which people communicate, interpret, and respond
to each other’s words and actions.
- These theorists ask, when involved in interaction, how do people “take account of what
each other is doing or is about to do” and then direct their own conduct accordingly
(Blumer 1969)? The process depends on
- (1)self-awareness,
- (2)shared symbols, and
- (3)negotiated order.
Self-Awareness: occurs when a person is able to observe and evaluate the self from another’s
viewpoint. People are self-aware when they imagine how others are viewing, evaluating, and
interpreting their words and actions.
Shared Symbols: A symbol is any kind of object to which people assign a name, meaning, or
value (Blumer 1969). Objects can be classified as physical, social, or abstract.
Negotiated Order: The sum of existing expectations and newly negotiated ones.
Critiques of symbolic-interactionist perspective:
Strength: it focuses on up-close and personal factors that shape the course of interaction and
Weakness: it can get caught up in interaction dynamics and lose sight of the larger structural
issues in which that interaction is embedded, including the existing social order and a profit-
driven economy.
Methods of Social Research
Research Methods: Various strategies that sociologists and other scientists use to formulate or
answer meaningful research questions and to collect, analyze, and interpret data gathered.
Data: applies to observations recorded, responses to survey and interview questions, and much
Scientific Method: Sociologists adhere to the scientific method; that is, they acquire data
through observation and invite others to critique and replicate the research.
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