2009-2010

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Published on 27 Sep 2011
School
McMaster University
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCIOL 1A06
Sociology 1A06
Term 1 of 2
Dr. Colavecchia
1. The Sociological Imagination and Sociological Theories
New Society:
- Glossary
Altruistic Suicide: occurs in the setting that exhibit high levels of social solidarity, according to
Durkheim. Results from norms very tightly governing behaviour.
Anomic Suicide: occurs in the settings that exhibit low levels of social solidarity. Results from
vaguely defined norms governing social behaviour.
**Conflict Theory: generally focuses on large, macro level structures, such as the relationship
between or among classes. It shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social
stability in some circumstances and social change in others. It stresses how members of
privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase
theirs. And it typically leads to the suggestion that eliminating privileges will lower the level of
conflict and increase the sum total of human welfare.
Dysfunctional consequence: are effects of social structures that create social instability
Egoistic Suicide: results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of
weak social ties to others.
Ethnomethodology: is the study of how people make sense of what others do and say in terms
of norms that exist independently of individual social actors.
**Feminist Theory: Claims that patriarchy is at least as important as class inequality in
determining a person’s opportunities in life. It holds that male domination and female
subordination are determined not by biological necessity but by structures of power and social
convention. It examines the operation pf patriarchy in both micro and macro settings. And it
contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should be charged for the benefit of
all members of society.
**Functionalist theory: stresses that human behaviour is governed by relatively stable social
structures. It underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social stability. It
emphasizes that social structures are based mainly on shared values or preferences. And it
suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems.
Global structures: are patterns of social relations that lie outside and above the national level.
They include international organizations, patterns worldwide travel and communication and the
economic relations between and among countries.
Globalization: the process by which formerly separates economies, states and culture are
becoming tied together and people are becoming increasingly aware of their growing
interdependence.
Industrial revolution: 1780s. shift to industrial work
Latent functions: are invisible and unintended effects of social structures.
*Macrostructures: are overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and above one’s
circle of intimates and acquaintances. Include classes, bureaucracies, power systems- patriarchy.
Manifest functions: are visible and intended effects of social structures.
*Microstructures: are patterns of relatively intimate social relations formed during face-to-face
interactions. Families, friendship circles, peers
Patriarchy: is the traditional system of economic and political inequality between men and
women
Post-industrial revolution: tech driven shift from manufacturing to service industry.
Protestant ethics: 16th-17th century protestant belief that religious doubts can be reduced, and
a state of grace ensured, if people work diligently and live ascetically. According to Weber, the
protestant ethic had the unintended effects of increasing savings and investments and thus
stimulating capitalist growth.
Research: the process of systematically observing reality to assess the validity of a theory.
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Scientific RevolutionSocial Solidarity: refers 1. to the degree to which group members
share beliefs and values and 2. the intensity and frequency of their actions.
Social structures: stable patterns of social relations
*Sociological imagination: the quality of the mind that enables a person to see connections
between personal troubles and social structures.
Sociology: systematic study of human behaviour in social context
**Symbolic Interactionism: focuses on face to face communications or interactions in micro
level social setting. It emphasizes that an adequate explanation of social behaviour requires
understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their social circumstances. It stresses
that people help to create their social circumstances and do not merely react to them. And by
underscoring the subjective meanings people create in small social settings, symbolic
interactionism validates unpopular and nonofficial viewpoints. This increases our understanding
and tolerance of people who may be different from us.
Theory: tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and why certain facts
are related.
Values: ideas about what is right and wrong.
- Summary
- Durkheim’s showed that even non-social and antisocial actions are influenced by social
structures. Specifically, showing how levels of social solidarity affect suicide rates.
- because of the rise in youth suicide, the patterns of suicide rates in Canada today is not exactly
the same as Durkheim’s France but his theory explains the contemporary Canadian pattern well.
- Sociologist analyzes the connection between personal troubles and social structures.
- Sociologist analyze the influence of three levels of social structure: micro, macro, global
- Values suggest which sociological research questions are worth asking and how the parts of
society fit together. Values underlie sociological theories. A theory is a tentative explanation of
some aspect of social life. It states how and why specific facts are connected. Research is the
process of carefully observing social reality to access the validity of a theory.
- There are four main theories: FUNCTIONALISM: analyzes how social order is supported by macro
structure. CONFLICT: analyzes how social inequality is maintained and challenged. SYMBOLIC
INTERACTIONISM: analyzes how meaning is created when people communicate in micro level
settings. FEMINISM: focuses on the social sources of patriarchy in both micro/macro settings.
- Rise of sociology stimulated by: Scientific, Industrial and Democratic revolutions.
- The causes and consequences of post industrialism and globalization form the great
sociological puzzle of our time. The tension between autonomy and constraint, prosperity and
inequality, and diversity and uniformity are among chief interests of sociology today.
- Lecture note Review
Sociological imagination
- C. Wrightmills: born from three revolutions therefore forced to think about society in
different ways.
- Individual experience connected to a social context. Example: unemployment
- understand relationship between social structures and private troubles
Order vs. Change Theory
- Order theories support status quo: social norms, common/ most popular in society
- Change theories: change and revolution
Micro vs. Macro
- Macro: society shapes us
- Micro: we shape society
STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM
- Order theory—emphasis on order and stablitlity
- Macro level
- Everything serves a function and is inter-related: human body; which creates stability:
society in a state of equilibrium consensus among society
- Talcott Parsons: nuclear family is the most ideal; if collapse society would fall apart
because of the importance of family and their roles within society. Believed In strict sexual
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division of labour was needed females and males have separate roles in order for society to
function properly.
- Emile Durkheim: human behaviour governed by social structure, social structures based
on shared values.
- Robert Merton
- Social change is problematic
Criticism
- ignores conflict
- Assumes individuals and social groups share same vales and have same ideas
- Views social change as problematic—destabilizing
- supports status-quo; inequality and social hierarchy
CONFLICT
- Change theory
- Macro level
- relates to song: Revolution by Tracy Chapman
- Where you are in the world will affect the way you view the world: Fish example Class
conflict: produce social stability.
- Not stable or orderly but unstable and full of conflict.
- Upper-class vs. middle class/working class
- Karl Marx
- Weber: classes stabilize society
SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
- Change theory
- Micro level
- Interpersonal relationships; interactions create society; do not merely interact with
existing structures.
- Subjectivity: own interpretations shaped by our own experience; increases
understanding of why people are different.
- Example: creating family at thanksgiving.
FEMINIST
- Change theory
- Micro and macro level
- Focuses on gender relations and gender inequality Patriarchy
- Male domination and female subordination determined by powerful social structures and
social conventions.
- Women’s social reality: unpaid labour “glass ceiling” (women in male dominated
profession): focus on work style or men vs. women; women consider whole group where as men
concerned about the individual; men tend to have jobs more suited to economic sector where as
women tend to have jobs in the social sector.
- Beyoncé: “just a boy”-video: put them in other gender’s shoes. Puts everyone else
before themselves “I’d put myself first” men put themselves first; sexual double standard on
promiscuity; emotional work in relationships; institutes promote inequalities.
2. Research Methods and Ethics
Glossary:
Causation: involves a relationship between two variables where change or variation in one
variable produces change or variation in a second variable. Four criteria are essential to
establishing a causal relation between two variables: time ordering, nonspuriousness, and
theoretical rationale.
Dependent Variable: variable assumed to depend on or be caused by one or more other
variables (independent variables); the variable that is the effect, or outcome, in a cause-effect
relationship.
Experiment: controlled test of the casual effects of a particular variable or set of variables or set
of variables on a dependent or outcome variable.
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Document Summary

Dr. colavecchia: the sociological imagination and sociological theories. Altruistic suicide: occurs in the setting that exhibit high levels of social solidarity, according to. Anomic suicide: occurs in the settings that exhibit low levels of social solidarity. Results from vaguely defined norms governing social behaviour. **conflict theory: generally focuses on large, macro level structures, such as the relationship between or among classes. It shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others. It stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs. And it typically leads to the suggestion that eliminating privileges will lower the level of conflict and increase the sum total of human welfare. Dysfunctional consequence: are effects of social structures that create social instability. Egoistic suicide: results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties to others.