Class Notes 1
Sociology is the study of social patterns within a society and their effect on groups of individuals.
Sociologists are concerned with…
Patters among groups of individuals like why women earn lies money than men, how immigrants adapt to a
new country, or how the environ movement began
Organizationslike what is the relationship of local churches to the government that affects their programs
Social norms like the daily norm of men shaking men’s hands but giving women hugs, or the norm of
getting married by the time you turn 35. These are all patterns that apply to many people in our society (can
be on many different sizes of the scale)
Different from psychologists who take precise measurements and focus on cognitive studies sociologists
are more social; different from econ
This perspective allows us to examine ourselves as within a society collection of institutions, culture, and
Sees our view of the world and lives as a result of our exposure to society
Not as focused on any one person’s power “any one person can change the world”no, downplays
individual more of your impact on society or society’s influence on you
Avoid blaming the victim. Ex: people can be poor bc they’re lazy, but sociologists focus on the institutions
like schools, etc and social factors and culture that contribute to their poverty/laziness, “laziness is not
endemic in them…why did this come about, how do we fix it?”
What do we do?
Analyze Social Statuses: the groups people belong to because of their time in history and place in society.
The power of social status to shape behavior
A theory is a general statement that explains how two or more social facts are related to one another. Ex:
as the employment rate goes up, the divorce rate goes up not a theory bc doesn’t explain how its related.
Ex: as employment rate rises for women, they feel more selfsufficient so they feel more comfortable to
divorce their husbands. (totally made up)
Three major frameworks that sociologists subscribe to in forming theories and analyzing their world:
Symbolic Interaction (not mutually exclusive)
Primarily concerned with meaning. Views symbols, that is things to which we assign meaning as the basis
of social life. Our reality comes from the meaning we give it reality does not exist apriori (reality doesn’t
exist, we create reality through the ways we decide to interact, reality is not pred