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Soc103 Midterm Notes.docx

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SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

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Soc103 Midterm Notes Lecture 1 Chapter 1 Sociology: The study of society- socius ( being with others) ology ( the study of) term was coined by Auguste Comte ( born at the end of the French Revolution) Auguste Comte - Started writing about the enlightenment and during the enlightenment science was born. Before the enlightenment most people believed just what the clergy told them. Strong belief about social and religious tradition. Wasn’t this idea that people can just be critical of things. Most important thing was the idea of human inquiry the idea of why don’t people solve things themselves. He thought why don’t we use scientific methods to solve social problems. Sociology is also called positivism: Society could be understood as a set of empirical facts that you could study using scientific methods What is Society? The Social? 1. Society: the sociologist thinks society as denoting a large complex of human relationships, or to put it in more technical language, as referring to a system of interaction ( BERGER) 2. The Social: as one in which people orient their actions towards one another. The web of meanings, expectations and conduct resulting from such mutual orientation is the stuff of sociological analysis ( BERGER) - To understand the social you have to abstract it from everyday life Thinking sociologically means being critical of common sense ideas The Sociological Imagination: Charles Wright Mills - Sociological imagination: the ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives - highlighted the difference between what he called personal troubles and social issues - Personal troubles: personal challenges that require individual solutions - Social Issues: Challenges caused by larger social factors that require collective solutions - According to mills many personal problems never became social issues Peter Berger’s view of the Sociological Perspective - The general and the Particular o Ability to look at seemingly unique events or circumstances and then recognize the larger or more general features involved - Seeing the strange in the Familiar o Thinking about what is familiar and seeing it as strange Three Revolutions: The Rise of Sociology - The Scientific Revolution o Application of scientific method to understand the social world - The Political Revolution o The enlightenment inspired a great deal of social and scientific change. With the view of the new world separate from the teachings of the church, society evolved to endorse democratic principles - The Industrial Revolution o Human to machine. Industrial revolution replace agriculture and our dominant means of supporting ourselves and our families Defining Features of Sociology - Objects of analysis o Research Areas o Research Topics o Research Questions  Objects of analysis pertain to the social behaviour - Methods o Quantitative ( surveys, polls, questionnaires) o Qualitative ( participation observation, formal/informal interviews, content analysis) - Social Theory o Functionalism o Conflict theory o Symbolic Interactionism Sociology and Its Classical Theoretical Foundations What is Social Theory? - Theories in sociology are abstract, general ideas that help organize and make sense of the social world Functionalism - Macrosociological perspective has 2 key elements o The social world is a dynamic system of irrelated and interdependent parts o Social structures exist to help people fufill their wants and desires as defined social values Classical Social Theory 1840s-1920s - The enlightenment o Know the world through rational thought and observation NOT faith o Scientific discoveries o Intellectual developments, Descartes supported the idea that human beings have the capacity for rational thought o Planted the seed for critical investigation - Political Revolutions o American revolution o French Revolutions o Both inspired more widespread adaptation of democratic principles, the rights of citizens etc o Traditional order was being overthrown, classical theorists were interested in the transistion from traditional society to more modern society - Industrial revolution o Three key effects  Dramatic, rapid urbanization  Change in family relations/gender relations  Increased secularization ( decline in religious practices) Emile Durkheim - Was a positivist - Concerned with social solidarity o Organic  Present in modern societies  High dynamic densities (high levels of difference of opinions, tates, interests etc)  High degree of labour specialization o Mecahincal  Present in traditional societies  Low dynamic densities  Low degree of labour specialization  ( works like a bike chain in that everyone works together but they more or less have the same job) o Social solidarity: similarity in belief  Collective conscience: similar ideas of morality  Collective consciousness similar ideas about space, time, reality  In traditional society was relatively high - Developed the idea of social fact: o General social features that exist on their own and are independent of individual manifestations o Is Durkheim’s unit of analysis o External to the self o Beyond the biography of the self o Affects individual actions, behaviours, thoughts… o Examples ( religion, fashion, education) can use stats to study social facts Karl Marx - Was a political economist NOT a sociologist - Founder of conflict theory o Based on the assumption that society is grounded upon inequality and competition over scarce resources that ultimately result in conflict, which often inspires social change  Power is the core of all social relationships and is scarce and unequally divided among members of society  Social values and the dominant ideology are vehicles by which the powerful promote their own interests at the expense of the weak - Historical materialism o Human history is the result of human action o Human action is determined by material realities - The Labour theory of Value o Use value o Exchange value o Surplus value - Ideology - Alienation: Marxist concept to describe the process by which workers lack connection to what they produce and become separated from themselves and other workers Max Weber - Founder of interpretive sociology - Developed schema for studying and analyzing micro interactions at a macro scale - Emphasis on verstehen: Weber’s term for a deep understanding and interpretation of subjective social meanings Level of analysis Theory Key figures Object of analysis Epistemological perspective Macro Conflict theory Karl Marx Commodities Historical- C. Wright Mills
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