Complete SOCY1050 notes

18 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Queensland
Geoffrey Lawrence

Sociology 1050 WHAT IS SOCIOLOGY? The study and understanding of:  Structure and dynamics of society  How social structures and institutions affect attitudes, actions and opportunities  How individuals construct, maintain and alter social organization  Challenging what is accepted and taken for granted Sociological imagination: allows us to distinguish between a trouble and an issue; the ability to see the macro in the everyday  Grasp history and biography  Understanding of realities of ourselves in connection with larger social realities -ASKING AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN SOCIOLOGY Sociologists seek to:  Find explanations to understand social phenomena  Look for explanations in depth and breadth Cause and effect Correlation does not = cause Researchers search for casual mechanisms Quantitative researchers: use control variables Qualitative researchers: make inferences and theoretical statements about empirical contexts History of social research Positivism: knowledge can only be comprised of empirical evidence  Developed by Auguste Comte  Scientific method based on observation and measurements  Humans only constituents in patterns of behaviour Post-positivism: a theory is only scientific when it can be falsified and tested  Developed by Karl Popper  Acknowledges that the social world is a human construction and truth depends on context  Error and bias are inevitable in human sciences and must be accounted for Interpretivism: reality is relative and multiple  Rooted in Max Weber’s verstehen  Social actors’ subjective constructions of reality of prime concern  People have ‘agency’ and create their own worlds and actions Postmodernism/Post-structuralism: open to both falsification and subjectivity with the rejection of rationalism  Abandonment of reason  Progress is an illusion  Research designed to elicit an emotional response or insight and to challenge what we take for granted  Reality is chaotic and unknowable  History has no predictive component THEORIES & PERSPECTIVES IN SOCIOLOGY Theory: an explanation or interpretation that explains some empirical phenomenon  Grand theories: theories of everything to explain the world of human conditions  Middle range theories: for more refined cultural context  Everyday theories: of us; social theories The origins of Sociology 1. Feudalism: a system of land ownership, patronage and protection ruled by the church and crown 2. The ‘Age of Enlightenment’: a cultural movement of philosophers began to challenge the feudal system; concerned with finding truth and explanation through evidence and reason  Science challenged theology  American and French revolutions challenged divine rights of monarchies  Printing press allowed ideas to flourish 3. The Industrial Revolution: focus on mechanization, improved cropping and enclosure of common lands  Migration from rural to urban centers  Wealth moved from the landed gentry to industrial Capitalists  New form of oppression and squalor 4. Modernity  Political: individual rights, democracy, the separation of Church and State  Economic: Industrial Capatalism, global markets  Social: The nuclear family, class mobility, specialization and the division of labour, scientific rationalism Classical Sociologists Auguste Comte  Wanted to create a science of social life An evolutionary view of the social world: Theological > Metaphysical > Scientific > Positivistic Positivism: the view that all knowledge can be produced through the scientific analysis of empirical evidence Herbert Spencer Society evolves from the simple to the complex - ‘survival of the fittest’  Ranked societies according to their complexity and sophistication Karl Marx Materialist view – history is not driven by ideals, or philosophies or other ideas, but by the mode of production dominant at the time  Technological and agricultural innovation were current modes of production  Dominant ideas belong to those who own the means of production  Social stratification based on economic class Alienation – man becomes alienated from labour as it becomes a necessity  Proletariat sell their labour power in order to survive Capitalism would eventually give way to communism:  Abolition of property in land  Equal liability of all to work  Centralization of credit in the hands of the state through nationalization  Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries  Free education for all children Emile Durkheim Believed society should be studied scientifically (a positivistic view)  Saw social facts as the basis for social behaviour i.e. gender, religion, the family  Social facts held a coercive power over the individual Focus on social cohesion – how could societies maintain social stability with the breakdown of old institutions?  Mechanical solidarity: collective purpose and beliefs of traditional societies  Organic solidarity: specialization of work in industrial, urban society ‘Anomie’ and suicide – believed those who commit suicide are likely to be the least integrated in society  Egoistic  Altruistic  Anomic  Fatalistic Max Weber Focus on interpretivism  Knowledge comes from the sense the individual makes of their social world Believed the rationalism of industrial society led to dehumanization and disenchantment Class was the result of ‘differential market opportunities, status, privileges and the hierarchies of authority’  Work and accumulation for the glory of god, not for one’s self  Social conditions were the result of ideas, rather than material conditions The ‘iron cage’ of bureaucracy – authority based on rules, procedures and law  Essentially fragments the soul Materialistic Conception of History Stresses importance of man’s production of his own necessities Theory of Capital Capital fundamentally a social relationship, between administrator of capital and the wage laborer ‘Insatiable lust for surplus value’ – desire to accumulate capital Struggle of the working class to satisfy capital requirements Sociological Imagination - Mills GLOBALISATION Globalisation: a process through which space and time are compressed by technology, information flows, trade and power relations – allowing distant actions to have increasing significance at the local level  Globosceptics: view globalisation as divisive  Globoenthusiasts: consider a more globalised world will be a more prosperous and peaceful one Features 1. Global production  Transnational corporate  International division of labour  Feminization of the labour force 2. Global regulation  Nation states decrease expenditure and promote ‘free markets’  Lower barriers to foreign trade and investment  Decrease the payments for public goods  Promote individual contracts and challenge unions  Stability and regularity in relations 3. Interdependency – not just interconnection 4. Underlying principle of neoliberalism Liberalism: a belief that individual decision-making and action provides the most appropriate basis for the socio-political and economic organization of society Neoliberalism: not only the above, but that given the state has ‘intervened’ in social and economic relations, the best outcomes for society will be realized when the state ‘retreats’ from involvement in economic and social matters 5. Global culture  Standardisation and ‘McDonaldisation’ (the process by which the principles of fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate sectors of Western society) Concerns of McDonalds:  Obesogenic diets  Non-unionised, cheap labour  Environmental degradation  Health risks of fast foods  Based on efficiency, calculability, predictability and control Globalisation and inequality Financialisation: the increasing role of financial motives, financial markets and financial institutions in the operation of domestic and international economies Modernity Modernity Postmodernity Production oriented Consumption oriented Production of material goods Production of images, cultural products Fordist work principles Flexibility in workplace relations Strong trade-unionism/welfare state Reduced unionism/welfare state Belief in science and ‘progress’ Questioning of science and ‘progress’ Nation state a key organizing unit Globalization reshaping nation state Local citizens = national identity Global citizens = fractured identities Bureaucracy is rational, inevitable Bureaucracy breaking down under technology Durkheim Traditional society = mechanical solidarity  Rigid beliefs + conformity Modern society = organic solidarity  Social differentiation  Moral consensus Marx  Capitalism is progressive but class divided  The working classes will mobilize to overthrow the owners of the means of production  A worker-state of ‘socialism’ will emerge Weber The ‘Protestant Ethic’: Belief system > behaviour > capitalism Forms of authority: Traditional (king, church) > charismatic (personalities and ideas i.e. Hitler) > legal-rational (bureaucracy, ‘ideal type’) Bureaucracy (an ideal type of legal-rational authority)  Complex tasks broken into manageable parts  Command and responsibility within hierarchy  Impersonal decision-making RACE AND ETHNICITY Modernity  individualism  Kinship and religion no longer offer a solution to identity  Identity is used as an anchor against competing discourses, temptations and choices Ethnicity = cultural identity derived through ancestry, encompassing:  Language  Traditions and symbols  Attachment to a place  Social norms Ethnicity in Australia 1788: First fleet arrives in Australia  ‘Social Darwinism’ targets indigenous and non-whites 1901-1958: White Australia Policy  Discrimination underwritten by law:  Could not vote  Lower wages  Children removed involuntarily  Indigenous people have lost their cultural and ethnic roots Multiculturalism Assimilation  Multiculturalism (the active accommodation of diversity)  Recognition of different cultural and linguistic needs  Relatively open immigration policy Criticisms:  Creates ‘ethnic ghettos’  Imports tensions from homelands  Emphasises minority rights  Creates a divided society Theories of Ethnicity Primordial: ethnicity is a cultural given Biology = the foundation of social attachment  Ethnic ties are extensions of kinship Instrumentalist/constructivist: ethnicity is a resource for differentiation; open to change and selective appropriation Hybrid ethnicity: individuals offered a choice in identity; a voluntary affiliation or involuntary label? Race Race is a social construction Racism: applies essentialist qualities to a particular racial group  often manifest as an appeal to kinship ties and bloodlines  claims that other races will diminish the dominant racial grouping GENDER & SEXUALITY Gender and sexuality in Australia  Women given the vote in 1901  1970: 32% of boys completed Year 12; 28% of girls 2004: 69% of boys completed Year 12; 80% of girls  Women make up 80% of single parent households  Women do 70% of unpaid household labour  Homosexuality legalized across Australia in 1994 Sex is the biological dimension of human physiology Gender is a social construction with strong norms of behaviour Gender How much of gender is learnt and how much is determined by biology? The biological argument  Hormones  Brain physiology  Reproductive roles The social argument Biology does not account for the complex roles enacted by men and women across different cultures  Children internalize norms through socialisation Genders are culturally produced  Macho behaviours in some cultures and classes  Outsourcing of child care  Subjugation of women as property  Role of the media Judith Butler: questions any natural basis to gender  Gender is a performance imposed by expectations of gender  We constitute our identity through gender performances Socialist explanations Capitalism intensifies men’s control over women to ensure that inheritance is father to son  Requires escalating demand for the consumption of products  Creation of women as a class of consumers aids development of Capitalism Functionalist explanations Genders learn and conform to social roles in order to maintain order and social integration  Reinforced with social rewards and sanctions Ignores the conflicting gender messages in society + individuals can also exercise agency about which roles they adopt Masculinity (RW Connell)  Hierarchy of masculinity rather than universal concept  Hegemonic masculinity refers to one that subordinates other through dominance  Explains the ‘patriarchal dividend’ in which men are rewarded for their hegemonic social roles i.e. better paid employment, less domestic labour Gender and reproduction Greater choice in contemporary society due to:  Availability of conception  Eduction  Greater workplace equity  A woman’s agency about sexual partners, education and relationships Sex and sexuality Is sexuality a product of nature or nurture? The biological argument Female and male anatomy is different with different roles in reproduction  Biological explanation for men’s promiscuity and women’s predominantly caring orientation The social argument Humans are far more shaped by their environment than by biological urges  Civilization has curbed biological urges Humans use sexuality to convey meaning, rather than simply reproduce Sexual identity Various categories i.e. heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, gender queer etc. Largely influenced by cultural norms The history of sexuality Repression of sexuality instigated by Catholic church to stabilize the community  Adultery and homosexuality cast as sins  Focus on family and reproduction – sex in other circumstances characterised as deviant  Respectable women did not enjoy or encourage sex Bourgeoisie continued this discourse – sex beyond marriage was a threat to class and status  Strict regulation of populace as a control measure  Prostitution tolerated as a satisfactory outlet for sexual deviance Prostitution Modernity  Breakup of small communities and increasing normalization of sex in modernity allowed sex for material gain to become anonymous Contemporary society  Prostitution has a commercial and regulated status in many countries  Prostitutes generally socially marginalized, though their clients are not Does sex work imply an inequality of power?  Consider: sex tourism, sex slavery and drug related extortion of sex workers Life on the Boundaries of a Dichotomous Gender System (Lucal) Author uses self as ‘case study’ to examine gender constructs Use of sociological imagination – seeing general social patterns in the behaviours of particular individuals Provide theoretical insights into the processes and social structure of gender Rigidity of gender in society: ‘two and only two’ gender categories recognized Consequences on identity and interactions Polarized view on gender Those who do not gender appropriately are not placed under a third category but into the one which their gender display seems most closely to fit Author’s ‘gender bending’ an attempt to dismantle sexism Gender is a social construction – sex and gender are separate concepts Individual’s gender cues our social interactions with her or him Successful interactions require participants to present, monitor and interpret gender displays We are aware of traits which traditionally signify each gender We ourselves present an established set of behaviors, appearances, mannerisms and cues which we associate with certain genders Patriarchal constructs of gender Individuals assumed to be male until they display feminine qualities Women must mark themselves as ‘other’ Those other than transsexuals view their gender as ‘naturally obvious’ People who do not conform to gender rules are not acting in a socially competent way The Many Faces of Gender Inequality (Sen) Gender disparities:  Mortality inequality  Natality inequality: sex-selective abortion  Basic facility inequality: schooling, participation  Special-opportunity inequality: higher education  Professional inequality: employment, workplace promotion  Ownership inequality: homes and land asymmetrically shared, disparity in inheritance laws  Household inequality: gender relations, unequal sharing of housework and childcare Inequality in South-East Asia: Female mortality rates significantly higher Women receive less attention and health care ‘missing women’ concept – number of women we could expect to see if mortality rates were not so unequal Higher incidences of malnutrition, medical neglect and cardiovascular diseases STRATIFICATION AND SOCIAL CLASS Social stratification: structural inequalities between different people according to race, gender, economic status and occupation which is largely beyond the control of the individual Historical systems of stratification 1. Slavery: Humans as property born into a certain status  Neither economically efficient or humane  Requires constant supervision and coercion  Very little opportunity for mobility 2. Caste system: social position according to birth  Maintained by strict occupational, geographical and marital separation of castes  India: underwritten by religious belief in reincarnation 3. Feudal system: divided into nobility, the clergy and commoners  Allows for some mobility  Existed in many pre-industrial societies i.e. Europe, China 4. Class: stratification based on wealth and occupation  Allows for more mobility  Inequalities relate to structures or systems Historical systems of stratification Karl Marx Newly industrialized societies rooted in capitalist economic relations  Proletariat exploited by bourgeoisie both materially but also spiritually Criticisms:  Industrial societies did not polarize – a middle class emerged  Technology also benefited workers  The state intervened to address the imbalance Max Weber Social class emerges from the ‘market’ but life chances = economic resources + status  Status exists independently of economic class  Less emphasis on class consciousness and greater possibility for class mobility  Economic class is objective; status has a subjective meaning Erik Olin Wright A contemporary fusion of Marx and Weber Class = control over capital + physical means of production + control over labour power  Upper class: employers  Middle class: the employed and self-employed  Working class: unskilled workers (blue and white collar) John Goldthorpe Status based on relative positions of authority and autonomy Affluence could come with lack of autonomy and dull repetitive work Concentrates on employment relations  The relative autonomy and authority of one occupation over another Class in contemporary society Class in Australia  47% in middle class employee occupations  38% in white and blue collar working class jobs  Australians don’t like to identify as ‘upper class’  Working class are most likely to self-identify as such The death of class (Pakulski and Waters) Economic class is no longer a relevant basis of analysis  Class ideologies disappearing  Mobility increasing due to education and skills  Widespread property ownership  Increase in self-employment  Globalisation has led to outsourced unskilled labour More relevant indicators of disadvantage:  Inability to consume status markers  Gender accounts for much inequality, as does race and ethnicity Class lifestyle and capitals (Pierre Bourdieu) Class is an objective position in ‘social space’ determined by capital  Economic capital: the income and wealth at one’s disposal  Cultural capital: material markers of success and lifestyle  Symbolic capital: the benefits accruing from social/cultural standing and prestige – ‘reputation’  Social capital: the benefits accrued from membership in durable social networks RELIGION Religion: a cultural system of commonly held beliefs and rituals that provides a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose by creating an idea of reality that is sacred, all encompassing and supernatural  A form of culture  Beliefs that take the form of ritualized culture  Provides a sense of purpose and meaning  Profound effect on human behaviour Theories of religion Marx Religion is the result of a lack of
More Less

Related notes for SOCY1050

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.