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[SOCIOL 2S06] - Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (64 pages long!)


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCIOL 2S06
Professor
David Young
Study Guide
Final

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McMaster
SOCIOL 2S06
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Intro to Sociological Theory 2S06
September 8th, 2015
2 tests both worth 25%
Tutorial participation 10%
Paper
Exam
Michelle Dillon Intro to Sociological Theory 2nd ed
Three parts to this class:
1. Classical theory
2. Early contemporary theory
3. Feminist, race and globalization theories
Studying Sociological Theory
A) Reasons for studying sociological theory
Interpreting social conditions – make sense of social world around us through sociological
theory
EX. Karl Marx's ideas about capitalism > the role of transnational corporations
Comparing Different Perspectives – made of many different perspectives, can compare them
EX. Max Weber's ideas about bureaucracy > the role of transnational corporations
B) Understanding the Emergence of Sociological Theory
the discipline of sociology emerged in the late 19th century, could not have emerged any earlier
than the 19th century
sociology grew out of historical and intellectual developments
The Enlightenment
was a period of intellectual development and change in philosophical thinking during the 17th
and 18th centuries
Key Aspects if Enlightenment Thinking
reason – philosophers of enlightenment emphasized reason, involves human ability to logically
think about things, logically think, apply and evaluate knowledge
rationality – involves the use of reason to assess explanations of reality
Empiricism – involves the use of evidence to describe and analyze phenomena, allows us to go
beyond abstract rational thought
create logical explanations of reality (theories) > test the explanations against evidence (obs) =
basis of science
The Enlightenment and Traditional Authority
Philosophers emphasized reason and rationality (moving beyond non- rational explanations of
the world based on myth or religion)
rejected traditional authority (traditional values and institutions)
social change
The Conservative Reaction to Enlightenment
conservative thinkers rejected rationality and reason
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emphasized the importance of religion and traditional vales or institutions
maintain society as it was, oriented to social order
The Impact on Sociology
The enlightenment some forms of sociology focused on being rational, empirical and scientific
some forms developed focus on pushing for social change
the conservative reaction had a little impact, strong focus on social order
Friday September 11 th
, 2015
The development of French Sociology
Claude Henri de Saint-Simon
French Arisotcrat/nobleman
his ideas imacted sociology both conservative and radical strands
largely wanted to preserve society as it was, interested in social order
did see need for some changes in society but also influenced by enlightenment
saw need to have social phenomena understood through empricism and science
Auguste Comte
presented issues that Simon raised in a more systematic fashion
1) his use of the term “sociology - talked about the ideas 'social physics', later 'sociology' (the
science of society)
study of society needed to be modelled after the NATURAL sciences, laws governing the social
world – up to sociology to uncover those laws
two major issues: SOCIAL STATICS (social structure and the stability of them) and SOCIAL
DYNAMICS (social change)
2) the law of the 3 stages (three intellectual stages in the development of the social world)
1. Theological stage: existed prior to 1300, focused on understanding the social world through religion
2. Metaphysical: (world entered into this) approx 1300-1800, focused on understanding the social
world through philosophy, then moved beyond
3. Positive Stage: began in 1800, understanding the social world through science, called this to reflect
his optimism for understanding the world of science, social world; made his term “positivism” - refers
to a system of thought which recognizes only that which can be scientifically verified of logically
proven
3) Emphasized the need for social order and disorder, argued that intellectual disorder > caused
much social disorder
Talking about the theological stage (religious ideas) and ideas that associate with the
philosphical ideas can continue to exist in the third stage (positive stage) – there's all of these
disorders/conflicts stemming from all three ways of understanding the world and all of this
intellectual disorder therefore causes this social disorder
argued that this disorder will be DIMINISHED when we put these two other ways of thinking
aside and FOCUS ON SCIENCE, put aside religion and philosophy
Emile Durkheim
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