Unit 1 1/24/2014
What is Sociology?
The study of society which includes people interacting with and being shaped by others
and their environment
One’s environment can include organizations, cultures, subcultures, etc.
Unlike other disciplines, Sociology focuses not on isolated individuals, but on individuals
living in a particular social context constrained by larger social structures.
Social Context refers to the time pace, and setting in which we are living
Ex: Appropriate times to curse
Social Structures refer to the recurring patterns of behavior, created through interaction,
the exchange of information, and relationships.
Ex: The family, gender, marriage, capitalism, etc.
Society refers to people who live in a specific geographic territory, interact together, and
share a common culture and identity.
Characteristics of Societies:
Societies vary in size
Ex: American society vs. the Kombai in Papuay New Guinea
Societies vary by culture
Societies coexist with other societies
Societies are always changing and evolving
Ex: Just think of how different your way of thinking about the world is compared
to a grandparent, greatgrandparent, or maybe even a parent or peer.
Ex: We can also look at the evolution of science and technology over the past
200 years (or 50). 2
Mills explains that the sociological imagination brings together history and biography.
In order to understand human behavi