Chapter and Class Notes - Soc PART ONE.docx

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Northeastern University
SOCL 1101
Shelley Mc Donough Kimelberg

Nicole Hicks Sociology 1101, Spring 2013 Chapter One - Intro  Sociology is the study of human society, like social life, human behavior, and interactions between individuals, and interactions between societies or groups  Sociological Imagination = coined by C. Wright Mills (1959) -- seeing the connections between our personal experience and the larger forces of history (social context), seeing that we are not alone in our experiences -- thinking like a sociologist o Allows us to see how people are "falsely conscious of their social positions" o Who we are as individuals is not merely our biological factors. We are a product of our social location, aka where we are located in society (like job, race, gender, age...) -- context matters! o Hollywood often employs the sociological imagination as a plot device... fish out of water  Sociology is like making the familiar strange o Ask why we got to college, asking ourselves what we take to be natural that ISN'T -- this allows us to see the complexity in life  Social Institution = a group of social positions connected by social relations, performing a social role o Think of college... it fills lots of roles and links to other societal institutions  Ex: it decides what "legitimate" education is, segregates by age, it is a brand, and is also a set of stories told within a certain social network  Ex: A college is not just the buildings, not just the name, not a mission, not the ever changing students or professors.... so it is just a social institution  Colleges are possible because of the legal system (no fake diplomas), k-12 schooling (preparing and screening students), and the Educational Testing Services (monopoly on all standardized tests), the wage labor market (pays staff)  Social identity is the sum of individual stories told between individuals or social network  Sociology is relatively new and was arguably started by French Auguste Comte as "social physics" or "positivism" (mid 1800s) -- rose out of the need to make moral sense of social order, since church authority was on the decline << emerged during a time of social upheaval in Europe o Key idea = apply science (as opposed to religion) to the study of the social world (Positivism!) o Enlightenment thinkers thought that humans were governed by natural, biological instincts -- to understand society, we need to strip away the layers of society, to get to the basic bio stuff o New emphasis on the relationship between the individual and society  Classical sociological theory was developed by the big three: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim o Marx was a German historian, economist and sociologist (1818-1883) - came up with Conflict Theory (see definition on next page)  Class conflict drives social change -- the root of conflict is class, and the relationship between laborers and management. Capitalism breeds inequality and can only end in revolution  Wrote The Communist Manifesto, well-known, and Capital o Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist (1858-1917) - positivism = (new concept) you can study social behaviors as predictable facts using data, like in physics. Came up with functionalism (see next page) and organic solidarity, or the division of labor in modern society  Big idea was div. of labor -- people are interdependent (vs. mechanical solidarity, where everyone does the same thing and has the same beliefs), and human behavior cannot be understood in terms of the individual; social forces are key o Max Weber (Vay-burr) was a German sociologist and all-around thinker (1864-1920). Developed Organization Theory, the idea that...  Studied the importance of rationality and bureaucracy in modern society, but says bur. traps people in an "iron cage"  Thought that ideas, values (religion) and meaning are not just related to class and economics -- it can be but not always... think a police officer (high authority, but not high class $), or drug dealer (high $ but not high authority)  Wrote a book that connected religion (protestants) to economy (capitalism)  American sociology started in the Chicago School, and was based on the idea that human behavior and personalities are shaped by their social and physical environments, aka social ecology o Study at Chicago was based on the theory of the social self, or that the self emerges from an interactive social process (Cooley, "looking glass self") -- can't understand the environment if you're outside of it  W.E.B Dubois was the most important black sociologist of the time, first to question ideas about race and ethnicity, interested in criminology - said that the "problem of the color line" was 20th century's biggest issue o Double Consciousness = African Americans have to constantly maintain two behavioral scripts (one = that of any American moving to the new world, two = looking at oneself through the view of another, racist, always being cautious)  Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) -- first woman sociologist... argued that the analysis of society must include women, which was a brand new idea  Jane Addams (1860-1935) - founded the Hull House (1st American settlement house) -- activist. Applied sociology to help others  Theoretical perspectives, or paradigms (pear-a-dimes) = a model or a way of thinking/asking questions that is specific to a certain discipline during a certain time << like a lens. This changes what questions are asked, how answers are interpreted, etc. Changes research. Types of paradigms: o (Structural) Functionalism = the idea that the best way to analyze society is to identify the roles that different aspects play... society is a system of different, interrelated parts which work together for the functioning of the whole --characterized American sociology for most of the 20th century -- modern extension of organicism, which said that society is like a living thing, in which each part plays an important role keeping it together...each has a reason**, social harmony  Early roots in Durkheim (division of labor) - to understand society of a whole, you must look at each part  Inequality is a necessary and beneficial aspect of society o Conflict Theory = (embraced in the 1960s and 70s, esp. in the U.S) conflict among competing interests is the driving force for any society -- aka Marxist theory, viewed society oppositely than functionalists. Competition drives social change, and this happens through revolution and war (no baby steps or evolution!)  Conflict theorists believe that this inequality among social classes is unfair  Think Civil War, Vietnam, etc. All of this conflict lead to this theory o Feminist Theory = similar to Marxist theory, emphasis on conflict and political reform -- kind of a catchall for many theories, all believing that society subordinates women o Symbolic Interactionsim = a micro-level theory in which shared meanings, orientations and assumptions form the basic motivations behind peoples' actions -- focused on face-to-face interactions, meaning, motivation, symbols...  By acting in response to the meaning that social signals hold (like stopping at a red light), we collectively make their meaning so. Like the judge of the court is a judge because we call him so and treat him as such, like it is an objective fact, when it actually is just a made up title  Key figures: George Herbert Mean (focused on kids, play, interaction, and how we develop "self"), and Erving Goffman (used theater analogy (dramaturgical model) to explain our "frontstage" and "backstage" behavior)  Midrange Theory = Tries to predict how certain social institutions tend to function -- doesn't try to explain everything, nor is it microsociology -- it generates falsifiable hypotheses... you can actually test their predictions  Sociology is a combination of history, anthropology, psychology, biological sciences, economics, and poly sci.  Microsociology (micro level of analysis) = tries to understand local interactional contexts -- ethnography, including interviews and observation, like symbolic interactionism  Macrosociology (macro level of analysis) = concerned with social dynamics across the entirety of a society, like conflict theory or fundamentalism -- political systems, economic systems  Contemporary theories in sociology include globalization, multiculturalism (several different cultures can coexist in one country), and postmodernism << lack of regional barriers in today's world  Postmodernism = the notion that these shared meaning have eroded, opposite of sym. int. -- a red light can have multiple meanings to different people. There is no longer one version of history that we can call correct; everyone has become a symbolic interactionist and decided that all of these seemingly objective things are just social constructs. **There is no one objective truth Chapter Two - Methods and Research  Social scientists have a set of standard rules that they follow in investigating their questions, called research methods o You must be part of the group you're studying to get accurate data (not surveys!) but then there's the problem of getting too close, and ethical issues arise o There are two types of research methods, or ways of gathering data  Quantitative Methods gather data in numerical form. Often this mimics the scientific method by using a treatment and control -- surveys, sampling bank records, weighing people on a scale, etc.  1. Surveys typically have a structured order, so all respondents are asked the same questions in the same way/order. The question format is usually "forced choice"/multiple choice o Concerned with incidence (how common a behavior is), trend (how the behavior has changed over time) and differential (how it varies from group to group) o Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal (longit. takes longer... follows people over time, instead of just asking a question right this second)  Qualitative Methods are often used to document the meanings that actions have in social participants or to describe the mechanisms by which social processes occur -- spending time with people and recording what they say or do, interviewing (open-endedly), reviewing archives -- an example would be 2. participant observation (aka ethnography) o 3. Content Analysis = analyze text or media (books, film, conversations...) and codes the content to create categories that can be analyzed, mostly quantitatively o 4. Experimental methods try to alter the social landscape in a specific way for a specific group of people, often including comparisons to a control group that did not experience the intervention (pretend you could tell one half of a classroom to get married, and one not -- often ethical issues  Natural Experiments occur when the factor of interest changes itself... like Hurricane Katrina occurring, as opposed to trying to move a certain population (deconcentration of poverty) for your experiment o 5. Audit Studies = experiment when variables are strictly controlled - try to match participants with like characteristics -- often used to study discrimination (ex: is "motherhood" penalty real?, does gender matter? -- give someone the same exact resumes but one female, one male...see who gets hired)  Actually found that moms got a bump down, while fathers got a bump up, even over single men (bottom: mom - single woman - single man - dad:top)  Research Process Cycle: 1. Define problem --> 2. Review literature --> 3. Develop hypothesis --> 4. Choose method --> 5. Collect Data --> 6. Analyze results --> 7. Report Findings --> Back to 1. Define problem  Once you pick a question, there are two approaches to research o Deductive = an approach that starts with a theory, forms a hyp., makes empirical observations, and them analyzes the data to confirm or reject the original theory o Inductive = an approach that starts with empirical observations and then works to form a theory  A correlation or association shows simultaneous variation in two variables, like the correlation between income and health (they tend to vary together), while a causality is the idea that change in one factor results in a corresponding change in another. Correlation is easier to assume that actual cause. Correlation DOES NOT imply causation! o For example, if you look at only health and income, it may appear that one causes the other, or bad health causes you to have a lower income. It could be the other way around though, and low income could cause bad health. In reality, it could also be the cause of another factor. Reckless tendencies could negatively affect health, while also decreasing income  Some researchers use lottery winner to experiment because the amount won is wealth, but not determined by health. So, changes in health after winning could be assumed to be caused by the money won o To determine casualty (direct cause and effect) you need: correlation, time order (have things always been this way, or has it changed recently), and ruling out alternative explanations  Sometimes, we think that A is causing B but in reality, B is causing A. This is called reverse causality o This can mostly be avoided if time order is established (ex: if a person's income only drops after they get sick, we can be more sure that it was sickness that led to the dec. in income)  STILL, people can alter their current behavior based on future expectations. Think, you choose to save less money today because you think your 6 kids will become rich and support you  Spurious correlations occur when two variables appear to be related, but are actually both the result of a third variable (more firefighters are sent to a scene when there is more financial damage. that doesn't mean that more firefighters caused more financial damage).  The dependent variable is the outcome you're trying to explain while the independent variable(s) is(are) measured factors that the researcher thinks has a casual impact on the dependent variable. The control variable is what you want to hold constant or "screen out" to see the true impact of the ind. var.  The hypothesis is a proposed relationship between two variables, with a stated direction. The direction of a hyp. is whether you think your variables will move together (positive) or apart (negative) o Ex: Prejudice is negatively related to education -- as education increases, the level of expressed prejudice decreases  Operationalism is the process of picking a precise method for measuring the term being examined -- ex: if you want to study poverty, you need to specify what exactly you're studying (operationalize it) -- do this so you don't end up comparing apples to oranges if looking at two studies on "poverty." -- Define the variables  If a measure has validity, then it measures what you want it to (like if you step on a scale and it measures your height, its invalid)  Reliability is how likely you are to obtain the same result again (using the same measure) -- you can be reliable and invalid, like a scale that is 10 pounds off... but it will be 10 pounds off the next time too  Generalizability is the extent to which we can claim that our findings tell us about a group larger than we one we studied o How can we determine if we can?  When you do field work, you have to keep reflexivity in mind, which means being aware of the "white coat" effects of the researchers (you!) -- analyze and consider our role in/affect on our research (Maybe the researcher has a lot more money than the subjects... how does this affect what the subjects will tell them?)  The population is an entire group of people, objects, or items from which samples are drawn. The samples are the subset of the population, who you actually get data from  Following the 1960s, focus included feminist methodology = a set of systems or methods that treat women's experiences as real empirical and theoretical resources, that promote social science for just women o Three things make research feminist -- treat women as real research, engage in social science that brings policy changes to help improve women's lives, balance power between researcher and subjects -- don't exclude men, but add women  Golden rules in research = do not harm, get informed consent, have voluntary participation  Problems are often socially constructed -- social problems are not objective. One person may think it's a problem, but another may not see it that way. Problems are only problems because someone says it is o Ex: Smoking... it didn't used to be a problem. ADD/ADHD, didn't used to be a thing. Gay marriage... two ways. It used to be a problem, and now it's not. OR, before, no one talked about it, and now it's a big deal Chapter Three - Culture and Media  Paradox: Do mass media create culture or merely reflect it?...both!  Culture = Human - Nature o Culture is a way of organizing or shaping life, created by humans to solve universal problems (usually in very different ways) -- NOT part of the natural environment o **Culture is a set of beliefs, tr
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