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SOC 103

SOC103H1 – Chapter 1 Introducing Sociology • Sociology: emerged 200 years ago in response to new social problems that arose from industrialization, urbanization & political revolution Two social revolutions were especially important for the growth of sociology • Industrial Revolution: changed people’s lives by drawing them into harsh urban conditions and new kinds of exploitative, impersonal economic relationships. • French Revolution: which overthrew the monarchy, convinced people throughout the Western world that new social and political arrangements were possible and should be developed • How to live in post-revolutionary societies Present-day sociology is deeply concerned with how we know what we know: how we view and judge different pictures of reality. Herodotus: world first historian, devoted his attention to the differences between Egyptian, Greeks, and Persians Voltaire: French Enlightenment thinker, reflected on differences between English Protestants and French Catholics Max Weber: analyzed different religions to understand why capitalism arose in northwestern Europe, but not elsewhere Sociology: the systematic study of social behavior, or the study of society Society: largest-scale human group, whose members interact with one another, share a common geographic territory, and share common institutions Sociology: began with comparisons, look for explanations to explain our differences, to find patterns in people’s social relations, oriented to solving problems-to find better ways of living together • New problems of living in an industrial society • Move social theorizing away from: o Moral philosophy  To blame is not to understand  Social life is innately contradictory and paradoxical (many good intentions produce bad results)  While everyone has agency and free will, everyone is also constrained and manipulated. • Thus everyone is more or less, to blame for something o I.e. People living in developed nations benefits from the oppression (low wages and poverty) of workers in the southern hemisphere (less- developed nations) o I.e. Everyone who enjoys a high level of material consumerism benefits at the expense of future generations (whose natural non-renewable resources we are using up) o Common sense explanations  Common-sense knowledge is that uninspected package of beliefs, understandings, and propositions that people (merely) assume to be prudent and sound. o Psychological and psychiatric theories to explain widespread social problems  Often ignore the root social causes, thus, miss finding a solution • I.e. schoolyard bullies usually act the way they do because they themselves are victims. Seeing bullies in this way-as victims as well as victimizers-is sociological, because it looks at the broader social factors that influence how individuals act within society. Many psychological problems-even varieties of mental illness- have social origins. Need to get to the interpersonal root of the problem to break the cycle • Consider the unequal distribution of social rewards. What people get in life is largely the result of circumstances beyond their control. I.e. patterns associated with unequal opportunities. Such patterns perpetuate from one generation to the next, shaping the ways people can lead their lives. The difference in life experiences from one person to the next is rarely a simple result of higher intelligence, more hard work, or other personal characteristics. Ways of looking at sociology Macrosociology: study of social institutions (for example, Roman Catholic Church or marriage) and large social groups (i.e. ethnic minorities or college students) Microsociology: the study of the processes and patterns of personal interaction that take place among people within groups Functional theory • Society as a set of interconnected parts that work together to preserve the overall stability and efficiency of the whole • Individual social institutions: families, the economy, government, education, etc • Robert Merton: that social institutions (one kind of social structure, made up of a number of relationships, i.e. stable patterns of meaningful orientations to one another. People use institutions to achieve their intended goals, as students use schools, or patients use hospitals) perform both manifest (those intended and easily recognized) and latent (unintended and often hidden) functions o I.e. Education is intended to provide students with knowledge, skills and cultural values that will help them to work effectively in society. Both the school and its participants-formally recognize these roles (the expected pattern of interaction with others). At the latent level, education also works as a regular babysitter for young children and teenagers and also works as a matchmaker o I.e. Durkheim’s example of crime. Crime is serves the latent function of mobilizing popular sentiment and helps clarify the social boundaries for proper behaviour, thereby strengthening social solidarity o Functionalists explain social problems by focusing on the failure of institutions to fulfill their roles during times of rapid change. By this reckoning, industrialization and urbanization in North America a century ago caused a sharp increase in social disorganization, leading to an upsurge of crime, mental illness, poverty, unsanitary living conditions, and environmental pollution. o Durkheim introduced the term anomie, or normlessness, to reflect the condition typical in times of rapid social change, in which social norms are weak or in conflict with one another. o From the functionalist perspective, the best way to deal with social problems is to strengthen social norms and slow the pace of social change  Police restraining a protester during a riot illustrates what can happen when social control and norms break down, a condition Durkheim termed anomie o Sociological imagination: an approach to sociology that situates the personal experiences of individuals within the societal context in which these experiences occur Critical Theory • Arises out of the basic division between society’s haves and have-nots • Focuses on the unequal distribution of power – the domination of one group by another • Reject functional explanations, criticizing their limited attention to power struggles • Karl Marx: where critical approach originates o Marx attributed social problems not to industrialization & urbanization (like functionalists), but to capitalism o Bourgeoisie (elite owners of the means of production) vs. proletariat (working class, who sell their labour) o Bourgeoisie class controls the economic system, they use their economic power & political influence to remain in power • Solution to social problems is to abolish class differences and private ownership of the means of production • Max Weber: shifted the focus beyond classes to contending status groups. This enabled critical theory to also address other struggles for domination: i.e. conflict between men and women, and between people of different racial or ethnic groups Symbolic Interactionism • Functional theory and critical theory focus on large elements of society, such as social institutions and major demographic groups • By contrast, symbolic interactionism focuses on small-group interactions, the glue that holds people together in social relationships • The shared meanings, definitions, and interpretations of interacting individuals • They analyze how certain behaviours come to be defined or framed, and how people learn to engage in everyday activities • Labelling theory: that any given social problem is viewed as such simply because an influential group of people defines it so • Howard Becker: argues marijuana smoking is a social problem because influential moral entrepreneurs make it one • Herbert Blumer: proposes that social problems develop in stages that include social recognition, social legitimating, mobilization for action, and finally the development and implementation of an official plan, such as a government-sanctioned war on drugs • Roles of stigma and stigmatization as forms of social control Interaction: the processes by which, and manner in which, social actors-people trying to meet each other’s expectations-relate to each other, especially in face-to-face encounters Expectation: a shared idea about how people should carry out the duties attached to a particular status Feminist Theories • Branch of critical theory, since it also focuses on relationships of inequality • In practice, most feminist research is a mixture of symbolic interactionist and critical theory. • Common theme in the many types of feminism is the view that domination of women is not a result of biological determinism but is a result of socio-economic and ideological factors – of what Weber called closure and usurpation. • A unique set of assumptions informs feminist research: all personal life has a political dimension; both the public and private spheres of life are gendered (that is, unequal for men and women); women’s social experience routinely differs from men’s; patriarchy-or male control-structures the way most societies work; and because of routinely different experiences and differences in power, women and men view the world differently (i.e. consequences of divorce) • First, feminist research pays the greatest attention to gendered influences on social life, or the gendering of experiences. Some experiences are specifically female or male. I.e. violence against women, women’s economic vulnerability through job insecurity and divorce, and women’s vulnerability to male- dominated standards of attractiveness and social worth. • A second interest is in the problem of victimization. Feminists are especially interested in women’s victimization and the experiences of other victimized groups. Feminists are especially interested in intersectionality: the interaction of gender with other victimizing social characteristics such as class and race, to produce particular combinations of disadvantage • Feminists stress the gendered nature of both deviance and control. Ex. They call our attention to the relationship between events in the private sphere (e.g. domestic violence) and events in the public sphere (e.g. the cultural and legal tolerance of domestic violence). They note the gendering of law enforcement practices (ex. how they police treat prostitutes compared with how they treat prostitutes’ customers). They note the survival of patriarchal values in the legal system-ex, the centuries of failure to concede that a husband might be guilty of raping his wife. Postmodern Theories  Form of critical theory, interested in unmasking ideologies that protect the dominant social order  Assert that reality is fragmentary: all we have are disjointed, often conflicting accounts of reality. Any claim that there is a single knowable and known truth, or that any one account is the truth, is false and illusory.  Efforts to find and promote universal or essential truths are self-deluding or are forms of propaganda designed to confuse and dominate the population.  It is the job of the postmodern sociologist to analyze these universalizing accounts and expose their flaws. At best, postmodernists hold that we can discover only particular explanations for particular situations, not universal, timeless laws of social life  By denying universal knowledge and highlighting the value of local or particular insights, has an attraction for counter-cultural movements.  Attacks modernism-a 19 and 20 century approach to studying social phenomena  Modernism: holds the view that through science we can discover the truth about reality, and there is only one truth per situation. If so, it should be possible to change and improve society through social engineering, using discovered truths or natural laws about the social order. It follows from this that social progress is possible and, perhaps, inevitable if we take a scientific (or as the first sociologist, Auguste Comte, called it, a positivist) approach to social life. Then, social life will continuously improve through the application of science, societies will become more highly evolved socially, culturally, and perhaps morally, and life will be better for all  Opposes modernist and Enlightenment rhetoric, argues that rationality is neither sure nor clear, and that our knowledge is situation-specific-always limited to particular times, places, and social positions.  Objectivity: central to the debate between modernism and postmodernism  Postmodern position hinges on the denial of objectivity, which undermines postmodernism’s epistemological stance (what is the nature of knowledge, first proposed by Weber): for if objectivity is impossible, how can the blanket claim that objectivity is impossible be true, or even judged?  From the postmodern, anti-hegemonic perspective, the modernity project depends on a propaganda machine that, in turn, rests on widespread, unquestioned beliefs about science, universalism, and normality  Many modernists and social engineers believe it is the job of science is to find out what is normal, then work at propagating normality. The job of applied science is to establish norms that, through surveillance and control, turn abnormal people into normal people. From a postmodern perspective, this raises several questions: Is there any such thing as normality, and if there is, what makes it so good?  The mass media as a propaganda machine that postmodernists are bound to attack  Michel Foucault, postmodernist, all of modern society is a prison, a panopticon as Jeremy Bentham named the design for a prison in which unseen guards could constantly watch their prisoners. Foucault’s work Discipline and Punish aims at uncovering a new type of domination in modern society: domination afforded by technologies of power. Foucault links the birth of the modern prison in the 19 century to a long history of institutions. Out of this institutional evolution comes a disciplinary society, with new means of enforcing power. In this new society, power is diffuse and internalized – controlling people far more completely than any despot could do before. At the core of Foucault’s picture of a modern disciplinary society are three primary techniques of control: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and continual examination. Control (power) over people can be largely achieved merely by watching and examining them. In Discipline and Punish, the prison provides maximum surveillance, so it is an institution powerfully charged with negative meaning. However, Foucauldian analysis is applicable to any space-including schools, factories and offices-characterized by power differentials. Classic Studies – Suicide  Durkheim: passionate about learning the keys to organization of society and its effects on individual members. Work titled Suicide laid the foundation for quantitative methods in modern sociology, and established sociology as a distinct, recognized discipline. Sociological method: social facts must be studied as realities external to the individual. That is, group suicide rates not only reflect individual behaviours, they reflect something that is compelling individuals to certain behaviours  He rules out the plausibility of strictly psychological explanations of suicide. Listing four types of suicide due to insanity-maniacal, melancholic, obsessional, and impulsive suicide o Ex. Jewish community, although having the highest rate of recorded neuropathy (neurosis), had the lowest rate of suicide. He argues that if suicide were strictly psychological (insanity), then it would show no social patterns, so insanity and other purely individualistic explanations are insufficient  Egoistic suicide: when people fall out of the social groups they belong to, or when the groups’ bonds are weakened by excessive individualism. Ex. Protestant have higher suicide rate than Catholics  Altruistic suicide: motivated by sense of society duty. Too much social integration. Interested in the greater good and glory. i.e. suicide is higher among soldiers, suicide bombers  Anomic suicide: resulting from an absence of social regulation and norms, as sometimes happens after a sudden social shock or disturbance such as a financial crisis or natural disasters  The rates of suicide correlate inversely with a person’s degree of integration into domestic, religious and political society  For people to keep will mentally, they need a stake in conformity Modern Functionalism • Emerged from Durkheim’s work, building on his macrosociological view on social trends • Robert Merton and Talcott Parsons • Society as a set of interconnected elements that operate together to maintain the overall stability and efficiency of society • Each part of society contributes to the whole and keeps it in equilibrium • Ex. Individual social institutions-families, the economy, the state, the schools, etc-are said to each make a vital contribution to the functioning of the larger society • Functionalists note that social institutions often fail to fulfill their manifest (intended) functions, especially during times of rapid change • Sudden, major changes sometimes disrupt traditional values and common ways of doing things. Durkheim named this condition anomie • As traditional forms of guidance break down, social control declines and people bond less with one another, they become more likely to commit deviant acts (crime, drug abuse, etc) • The general solution to this problem, according to functionalists, is to strengthen social norms and slow the pace of social change • The functionalist emphasis on the interconnectedness of society • I.e. It helps explain why recent trends in family life, such as the rise in rates of cohabitation, divorce and single parenting, have important consequences for work (and vice versa) Functions of deviance and conformity • As Foucault suggests, social institutions and groups are continuously imposing rules on us • Why do we choose to obey? Durkheim suggests without rules we would perish • Sociologists note that all societies allow a margin of tolerable or invisible deviance-deviance that will go unseen, or if seen, unpunished. • Conformity is easier when we know there are occasional opportunities to break the rules • Psychologists typically focus on individuals and the factors that influence them in a social context, i.e. the person is abnormal • Sociologists look for answers for deviance outside the individual, why do people conform? • Both conformity and deviance are normal , universal, and continuously present • Sociologists in the functionalist tradition often follow either the social control theory or the rational choice theory • Social control theory: posits that even normal people have deviant impulses. People conform to the rules when they develop a stake in conformity, thinking they will benefit, or at least avoid punishment, by doing so. Feeling secure and socially connected, they are unmotivated to deviate, locked in reciprocal obligation • As people get locked into conventional conformity, some get locked into deviance, so called criminal careers. Sampson and Laub show that an early involvement in crime weakens the social bonds to significant others and conventional institutions. The failure, early in life, to build social networks outside crime can trap people in a criminal lifestyle. Some people are able to escape this lifestyle by undergoing a key life event, such as marriage, parenthood, etc. These events can lead to new social bonds that impose controls on behavior and reduce the risk of further criminal behavior • Rational choice theory: second approach, that is arguably part of functionalism, is concerned with the reasons that normal people might purposely set out to commit criminal acts. Proponents of this theory assume that most people are competing for desired social and economic resources, because they value the dominant goals of society: success, wealth, power, respect, fame, etc. Under some circumstances, if they believe they will not get caught, or if caught, will not be punished-people are motivated to maximize their own welfare even if they have to break the rules. Illegal work (crime) and legal work are merely points on the same continuum of income-generating activities: just ways of making money. The links between crime and legal work involve trade-offs among crime returns, punishment costs, legal work opportunity costs, etc. Often, ordinary people engage in illegal work because of the low wages and harsh conditions they experience in legal work. Many criminal offenders engage in both legal work and crime • Businesses as well as individuals behave rationally where crime is concerned, weighting the benefits and costs of criminal activity. IN this sense, corporate crime-crime by seemingly upstanding people-is similar to street crime. The factors that encourage corporate crime include the failure of government regulation, lack of corporate self-regulation, and a lack of public awareness about corporate crime, etc. Thus, sociologists since Durkheim have shown that people break social rules all the time, when the norms are weak or the controls over deviance are weakened. Beyond that, many rule-breakers may have been improperly trained in childhood to obey the rules. The rules themselves may conflict with one another, creating what sociologist Robert Merton (confusingly) called anomie. Finally, the rules themselves may be in doubt because of a rapidly changing culture, or because of conflicts between the main culture and competing subcultures. • Durkheim pointed out that not only are deviance and crime common, they are universal-found in all societies at all times. This lead him to the interesting speculation that perhaps deviance and crime are necessary and societies could not survive without them. If so, can think of crime and deviance as analogous to forest fires, which, while damaging to particular ecosystems, nevertheless complete the carbon cycle, promote new growth, and enable species’ diversification. The functions of conflict • From the functionalist viewpoint, not only can deviance be constructive, but so can conflict • Like crime, which clarifies the social boundaries between right and wrong, conflict clarifies the boundaries between people who take opposing positions. And like punishment, which (according to Durkheim) strengthens social cohesion among the law-abiding members of society, intense conflict strengthens social cohesion, co-operation, and unity among people who share the same point of view. It does this by dramatizing the difference between the opposing groups • Conflict is unavoidable, but social order requires finding ways to limit and channel this conflict Critical Theory • Do not consider conflict a destructive force in society. Instead, they believe it focuses attention on social problems and brings people together in efforts to solve them (the vehicle for positive social change). • Ideologies are beliefs that guide people’s interpretations of and reactions to external events. • The ideology of the dominant social class, known as the dominant ideology, justifies that class’s power and wealth • We don’t rebel against inequality because we been programmed to believe in values promoted by the dominant ideology. • Works of Max Weber, following Karl Marx, inspired sociologists to develop critical theory. Weber expanded the approach to include conflicts arising over cultural values, social status, and issues of personal honour. Weber was as interested in what he called status groups, and political parties as in what he and Marx called social classes o Status: a socially defined position that delineates people’s rights and responsibilities • From Weber’s point of view, even a modern corporation, with multiple owners and managers, experiences economic conflict with its employees. Further, Weberian theorists argue, we will see conflict in any large society with status groups, classes, or political parties. Conflict isn’t restricted to classes, or to capitalism. It even applies to the international Communist Party • Horkheimer has contrasted modern critical theory with earlier forms of the theory by pointing to some important differences. The more traditional version, steeped in 19 century positivism, used scientific methods to formulate generate laws about society. By contrast, the 20 century version (and beyond) has taken a more subjective, less dogmatic approach to shed light on society and thus bring about change. This less scientific approach, Horkheimer has argued, is necessary, because he, like Weber, sees a distinction between social science and natural science. He claims that rarely can an observation about society be truly objective According to Goffman, any distinguishing features that separate the individual from the norm may open the individual to stigma Conflicts over power and authority • Central to Max Weber’s traditional version of critical theory and its concern with power and conformity is the phenomenon of compliance: Why do a few people get to make society’s rules while other people have to follow them? • The answer has to do with power, the ability to get your own way or to force another person to do what you want • However, more often than by any other means, compliance is gained through the exercise of authority • Authority is what might call legitimate power: power that is exercised in what seems to be a justifiable way, by people whom we think have the right to exercise it. Ex. Police authority confers the right to carry and use a firearm/taser, the elected government has the authority to demand that we pay taxes • Weber identified three main sources of authority in history, calling them traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic. He pointed out that the large social change we call modernization was associated historically with massive cultural shift from traditional to rational-legal bases of authority. There was new importance placed on scientific (empirical) investigation, the rule of law, and democratic decision-making • Major social upheavals are also associated with a shift from traditional to charismatic authority-authority associated with the leadership and teaching of so-called charismatic figures like Jesus, and more recently Gandhi and Hitler. These emotional and moral upheavals always give way (in tome) to a stabilizing process that Weber called the routinization of charisma. Thus, even social upheavals have a regular, predictable pattern, but the shifts from tradition to charisma, and charisma to routinization can be shattering • Weber’s conflict analysis is more powerful than that of Marx, because it generalizes from class conflict to all kinds of intergroup conflict. Some might even argue that Marxian class analysis can be viewed as a special case of Weberian group analysis • In Weber’s framework, the capitalist class-like other dominating groups-is set on social closure-forming a power elite-and seizing wealth through exploitative labour practices. What’s more, Weberian conflict analysis can be used to analyze conflict between nations and empires, even the conflict between peer groups, i.e. bullying by cliques in high school, and useful in studying conflict between different ethnic groups within Canadian society Business leaders such as Bill Gates may exercise legitimate power because of their wealth and economic influence Classic Studies – The Vertical Mosaic • John Porter, Canadian critical theorist, influenced by founding sociologist Max Weber. His work, the Vertical Mosaic, examined the inequalities faced by different ethnic groups in the Canadian labour market. It puts to rest many common misconceptions about Canada as a classless society. Canadian society is a vertical social hierarchy of wealth and power. However, unlike the US, Canada is also a culture of mosaic of unassimilated ethnic groups who hold different positions in this hierarchy • Porter reports that Canada is socially stratified, with economic power in the hands of a small elite group that promotes and protects one another’s interests. Porter also finds “status inequalities” in the patterns of ethnic division and ethnic loyalty that separate immigrants from non-immigrant and WASPs from non-WASPs. Elites are mainly people with a WASP background, though a few have a French background. Native American and Inuit people, reportedly the most disadvantaged in Canada, have the least power and influence. • English and French preserve their historical advantage in part by monopolizing higher educational opportunities. For this reason, Porter calls for a transformation of the education system, to open it up so the most able people from every background can advance occupationally and economically • Porter also calls for cultural assimilation. This has worked well in the U.S., he argues. There, immigrants are encouraged to shed their ethnic traditions and adopt an American identity, while in Canada they are allowed – even encouraged – to preserve their traditions. This lack of assimilation fosters a multi-ethnic, mosaic effect in Canada, because of this, a lack of immigrant access to higher education. This in turn deprives ethnic minorities of upward social mobility and economic assimilation • Many agree that today, ethnic origins pose little obstacle to educational and occupational advancement, though racial minorities continue to suffer a disadvantages • Porter’s support for a more open, more accessible educational system influenced a huge expansion of post- secondary education in Canada Modern Critical Theories • Out of the works of Marx and Weber comes modern critical theory • From Marx, they took the idea that conflict arose from hierarchical relations of dominance & subordination due to class structure • From Weber, they took the idea of conflict arises also out of horizontal relations of difference & distrust from status structures in which groups complete to seize (i.e. usurp) and protect their resources. Such status groups may include ethnic, religious, linguistic, regional, gender, or even age groups. To protect their turf and ensure their survival, they practice closure, but setting up group boundaries and promoting social cohesion within the group. To achieve and keep dominance, they practice usurpation, capturing new resources for the group. In this battle of status groups, crime and deviance may arise out of intergroup conflict (ex, gang flights over turf), with the less powerful group resisting and trying to undermine the more powerful one. • In short, critical theorists understand that conflict develops between any groups with differing or (especially) opposing goals, i.e. rich and poor, men and women, workers and management • For conflict theorists, there is one basic sociological question: who benefits from the existing social order and who suffers? • Both Marx and Weber see ideas – whether as ideology, propaganda, or religion-as important in justifying domination. • Take the role of the media, which are complicit in this spread of ideological ideas. The media often distort people’s understanding of the causes of conflict in our society. They are likely to single out young people, poor people, and racial minorities are particularly given to conflict, deviance, crime and even violence • Jurgen Habermas: in the Theory of Communicative Action, a critical analysis of Western institutions and rationality, Habermas stresses the humanist side of Marx’s work and examines tensions between philosophical theory and practice. At the same time, he has liked scientific methods to social analysis and argued for social improvement, not revolution. Habermas represents the fusion approach Classic Studies – Stigma • Symbolic interactionism • Erving Goffman: interested in studying people’s face-to-face interactions, not large impersonal societal structures o In the classic study Stigma, Goffman examined people who are stigmatized by the people around them o Considered how this stigmatization affects their social interactions and sense of self • Social stigma: caused by anything that distinguishes a person from the norm (which discredits them) • In their interactions, people try to present themselves as normal • Discreditable individuals are especially anxious to protect their identity which motivates them to hide stigmatizing features through processes he called passing and covering o Passing: effort to hide discreditable facts about one’s identity. Stigmatized individual tries to appear normal by making up stories about their past, or denying discreditable stories (i.e. ex- mental patients/convicts hiding their history) o Covering: aim is to deflect attention from a visible stigma. I.e. removing the disability from sight in an effort to appear normal (blind man wearing large dark glasses) or taking on a new identifier (ethnic minority changes their name) • Often these strategies don’t work so people then deal with stigma by associating only with people who are similarly stigmatized. • Goffman’s has been criticized for its methodological approach. First, Goffman did not use interview data or other forms of primary sources to any significant extent. The book was based on qualitative data, yet Goffman had had little contact with the stigmatized people about whom he wrote. Goffman’s theoretical analysis was unsupported by rigorous factual evidence. Goffman’s work was exploratory and theory-forming, rather than theory-testing Symbolic interactionism • Society as a product of face-to-face interaction between people using symbols • Society and its social relationships are dynamic (fluid), always changing, and always under renovation by living people (Blumer) • Interested in the tactics people use to redefine definitions, relationships and situations • Founder: Erving Goffman • Social construction of reality: Berger and Luckmann, claim the purpose of sociology is to understand the reality of everyday life-how it is experienced, coordinated, and organized. They point out the everyday world is intersubjective, meaning that we must all find communicative meeting places for common or shared understanding. They also stress that everyday world is taken for granted. It is the job of the sociologist to make us all aware of the socially constructed nature of the world • Social structures, as patterns of behaviour, arise out of processes by which people interpret and respond to each other. • In naming the approach symbolic interactionism, Herbert Blumer described the basic elements of the model with three propositions: 1) human beings act toward things on the basic of the meanings that things have for them, 2) these meanings arise out of social interaction, and 3) social action results from a fitting together of individual lines of action. o Social structure: any enduring, predictable pattern of social relations among people in society; the subject matter of sociology. All social structures control us, so that we act in a certain way in a given situation, despite personal differences; they change us, so we behave differently in different situations, despite our more or less fixed personalities, and although they resist the efforts of individuals to bring about social change, they also produce social change • Georg Simmel (one forerunner of the interactionist approach): studied the effects of urbanization on people’s lives in cities. He sees the urban lifestyle to be markedly different from rural or small-town life: as relentlessly, supremely alienating, with inhabitants numbing their emotions to cope with the excessive stimulation that city life offers • Shared situational norms: guide the course of interaction • Negotiation: ways in which people try to make sense of one another, ex., by conferring, bargaining, making arrangements, compromising, and reaching agreements. Definitions of the situation typically emerge out of interpersonal negotiations. • The impressions we give one another (even first impressions) have consequences for how people interact with us. • Although interactionists argue that society is dynamic, they recognize that situations physically and socially constrain what people can reasonable do and therefore limit the kind of definitions that are available. This means that although a definition of the situation constrains interaction, it is not rigid. (There may be some defined circumstances under which you may wear a bathing suit to church or a ratty pair of jeans to your girlfriends’ house) Social constructionism approach • Most important thinking to emerge from symbolic interactionism in recent decades • Social constructionism: examines how people interact to create a shared social reality o Any idea, however natural or obvious it may seem, is just an invention of a particular culture or society • Grows out of the symbolic interactionism work of George Herbert Mead: children learn to interact with others by acquiring a shared system of symbols, including language, which allows them to share and negotiate meanings. Shared meanings (including shared symbols) make social interaction possible. Social life is thus the sharing of meaning, the co-operate (social) construction of reality • Berger & Luckmann: all knowledge is created, preserved & spread by social interaction. Our understanding of the world is socially constructed • Goffman: thinks of society as a theatre in which people compose and perform social scripts together. Often, we become the person we pretend to be. It is inside our social roles that we find and express (or hide and protect) our true identity • Meanings are socially imposed and constructed. I.e. a red rose is considered beautiful and romantic, while a daisy is simple, and a cabbage, ugly. These are social constructions, but they are powerful nonetheless. (Would you give your loved one a dozen cabbages on Valentine’s Day?) • The meaning of anything, including a social problem, is the product of the dominant culture & symbolic practices in a group or society Anthony Giddens • Was a positivist, however, he also recognizes the contingency and conditionality of social life • Positivism: study of social life conducted in hope of discovering and stating general principles that apply across a wide variety of times, places and settings. A product of the European Enlightenment, positivism is the polar opposite of postmodernism, which rejects the notion of finding general narratives • Theory of structuration: Giddens, social structure is not a visible, concrete thing, but the result of ongoing performances. Society has rules and we have agency (free will) but we operate within society’s framework. The daily reproduction of social structure is like theatrical production, microscopically changing over time • He sets out the principles that serve as guidelines for New Rules of Sociological Method, the fusion approach • Criticized for placing an excessive emphasis on individual agency. In Giddens’ view, the • The modernist self is almost constantly reinventing and re-interpreting itself, having shaken off the bonds of tradition. When applied to politics, this notion makes the left-right political dichotomy obsolete, thus blurring the distinction between previously opposed ideologies, and reducing the value of traditional class analysis • Has revived and refined the sociological goal of positivism-a goal enunciated by sociology’s first proponent, Auguste Comte • Giddens’ notion of social structure as performance makes ample room for the notion of cultural discourse- a means of social communication and accountability that is central to postmodern understandings of reality • Still, Giddens is criticized for providing grand narratives of late modernity that are hard for some to accept. I.e. issues related to women and gender. Giddens is highly disputed • Elchardus: notes that Giddens’ analysis leads to a view of modernity as a highly individualized social order. However, Elchardus proposes instead to view modernity (which he calls post-tradition) as a change in how social control operates, and not as an individualized and reflexive movement away from control. Elchardus claims that social control is emerging in new forms, which, although centred on the self, are influenced by education, media, consumption, and therapy. Here, the theoretical influence of Foucault is obvious • Like Habermas, Giddens is key to a comprehensive, fusion approach to sociology • His recognition of reflexivity and multiple narratives, and macro-and micro-perspectives, is key in any attempt to provide a systematic account of life in the present-day world New Insights • Erdmans notes that the art of life-story telling has begun to supplant traditional scientific methods in studies of feminism, culture, history of ethnic groups and minorities, and postmodernism. This narrative method of research, incorporates oral histories, life stories, personal narratives and auto-ethnographies. Erdmans points out how story-telling allows the people or groups being studied to speak for themselves. Such narratives methods are useful in studying issues like civil liberties and universal rights, where it is important to hear the voices of participants, in their own words, making sense of their lived reality • Mills a proponent of critical race theory, likens CRT to feminism. Like feminism theory, CRT has many types and subtypes, meaning sociologists will vary in the ways they analyze social situations and prescribe political remedies. Says Marxism is incompatible with CRT because Marx himself had nothing to say about race relations. SOC103 – Chapter 2 Ways of Looking at Population Functionalism • Concerned with the conditions that maintain social equilibrium and the dangers associated with losing equilibrium (war, famine, epidemic, etc) • Thomas Malthus o Demography: study of human populations-their growth and decline through births, deaths, and migration. o First to worry of the Earth becoming overpopulated. This was arguably the world’s first piece of functional analysis-even pre-dating Durkheim o Earth’s available food increases additively (arithmetically), population increases exponentially (geometrically)  A population increasing exponentially at a constant rate is adding more people every year than it did the year before, while an arithmetical increase in food supply means that it grow by the same amount each year  Thus, food per capita would inevitably decline and people would starve, posing a threat to the survival of the human race o Proposed checks (or limits) that would keep population in line with the food supply  Positive checks: prevent overpopulation by increasing the death rate  Preventive checks: prevent overpopulation by limiting the number of live births  Carrying capacity: number of people who can be supported by the available resources at a given level of technology Critical theory’s approach to Malthus • Critical theory denies that a social equilibrium is attainable, or that any social arrangement will benefit everyone equally • Problems poor countries face today result not from overpopulation but from an unfair & harmful distribution of the world’s wealth • Recent famines in less-developed nations is the result of improper land use, civil wars, and other social and political factors • Famines have not historically been a significant positive check on population size. • Poverty and inequality often cause problems that are similar to those caused by overpopulation and may also contribute to overpopulation o Ex. Peasants often produce large numbers of children to do the farm work and care for them in their old age • Zero population growth (ZPG): births are exactly balanced by deaths, temporary solution Ways of looking at urban life Functionalism • Look for universal laws of social development, and especially, for the ways that particular institutions or arrangements-like cities – help society move to a new equilibrium, with a higher level of functioning • View social problems in the city as resulting naturally from growth and specialization o More wealth in the city means more theft and robbery, higher density means more intense competition for local resources (like housing), and more privacy translates into more private vice, such as drug use • Also look at the tendencies of the city – its size, variety, and fluidity in particular-that promote social disorganization, weak social controls, and consequent deviance and distress. From this perspective, social problems such as crime, addition, and mental illness are foreseeable consequences of urbanization. They are the price to be paid for the positive aspects of city life. While they hardly contribute to the quality and survival of the city life, they illustrate the functional problem of finding a new social equilibrium in the context of rapid social change. (Robert Merton argues that even crime, addiction, and mental illness are functional adaptations to anomie • Common conscious: Durkheim’s term for people from rural settlements sharing the same experiences and developed similar values, norms, and identity • Mechanical solidarity: Durkheim’s term for who the lives of people in rural settlements were often interconnected in a tight, homogeneous social order • Organic solidarity: the new urban-industrial society was based on interdependent, though not necessarily intimate, relationships. Members of the new society were no longer self-sufficient; all were dependent on one another for survival and prosperity Critical theory • Always ask whose interests are served by the actions of the dominant groups in society and their ideologies • Attribute urban problems such as homelessness & poverty not to the effects of size, variety, and fluidity, but to the working of capitalism • Cities suffer urban problems because no powerful group is interested in preventing this from happening. And unlike functionalists, critical theorists believe that solving urban problems requires more than housing • The problem of cities is ultimately, a problem of economic inequality-an unequal distribution of urban wealth and poverty. • This distribution of wealth determines whether city-dwellers will live or die, stay or leave. In many cities (especially in the US), well-off residents have held the inner city to distant suburbs, suggesting a lack of interest in solving the urban problems facing poor people. In other cities of the world, well-off residents remain in the inner-cities in gated compounds or homes protected by walls and electronic security. This segregation also signifies a satisfaction with the prevailing degree of economic inequality Symbolic interactionism • Study how people experience city life on an everyday basis • Georg Simmel: cities are so inherently stimulating and quick-paced that to prevent sensory overload, inhabitants need to reduce their sensitivity to events and people around them • Tend to doubt that everyone in the same structural setting, i.e. in a city, has the same experience • Herbert Gans: the meaning of city life varies among groups and subcultures • Subculture: a group of people who share some cultural traits of the larger society but who, as a group, also have their own distinctive values, beliefs, norms, style of dress, and behavior. Urban subcultures allow individuals who are otherwise isolated within an impersonal city to form connections with others-often, their neighbours, i.e. gangs, ethnic urban community • The corporate elites, who determine the future of urban areas, are also an urban subculture Ways of looking at the environment Functionalism • Recognize that everyone is implicated in the pollution of the environment, some more than others perhaps. • Several types of cultural ideologies help support our ecologically harmful practices o Cornucopia view of nature: nature as a storehouse of resources that exists only for the use of humans o Growth ethic: especially popular in North America, is linked closely with materialism, celebrates the (imagined) ability of technology to easily solve all the problems in the world, including those that technology itself has caused. It promotes the belief that things will always get better and therefore encourages us to discard just about everything in favour of the production and consumption of new items o Individualism: Western notion, which privileges personal goals and desires over collective interests, is the driving force behind the so-called tragedy of the commons. This term, coined by environmentalist Garrett Hardin, refers to the unwelcome result of actions by any self-interested individuals, acting independently, that taken together deplete a shared limited resource, even though none intended to have these effect Environmental geography: the systematic study of the interaction between humans and the surrounding natural world, focusing on the human impact on the environment and vice versa Critical Theory • Emphasize that when environmental problems arise, they hurt the poor more often and more severely than they do the rich • Over 90% of disaster-related deaths, occur among the poor populations of developing countries. By contrast, developed nations experience 75% of disaster-related economic damage, since there is more property to lose in developed societies • Sociological research shows that disasters result more often from the spread of capitalism and the marginalization of the poor than from the effects of geophysical events • Possible solutions involve the redistribution of wealth and power in society to provide resources rather than the application of science and technology to control nature • I.e. the South Asian tsunami would have been greatly lessened had the region’s protective coastal mangrove forests not been significantly destroyed earlier to make room for aquaculture farms and upscale tourist resorts, and had the coral reefs not been slowly decimated by years of unsustainable fishing methods Symbolic Interactionism • How the meaning and thought patterns learned in social interaction affect environmental problems, with a particular focus on how they influence people’s perception of these problems • Social constructionist framework is especially relevant/ Sociologists who approach environmental problems from this perspective ask why and how certain environmental problems enter the public consciousness • Offers insights into how environmental polluters manipulate symbols to protect themselves from criticism • In an effort to boost their image, businesses use the strategy known as greenwashing, this technique involves redesigning and repackaging their products as environmentally friendly or green Feminist Theory • Questions the prevailing capitalist celebration of increasing growth, unlimited resources, and unregulated commerce. Ecofeminism emerged as a social movement that linked the exploitation of marginalized groups with the degradation of nature in Western cultural values. • Ecofeminists, ex. Unite around a central belief in the convergence between women and nature. • Francoise d’Daubonne coined the term ecofeminism to identify theoretical work on the potential for women to bring about an ecological revolution and to ensure the survival of the planet. It encourages political analysis that explores the links between androcentrism and environmental destruction. Ecofeminists adopt a feminine way of engaging with environmental social problems that is said to be nurturing, co- operative, and communal • The domination over women, leading to gender inequality, is analogous to domination over nature that leads to environmental destruction. Some explicitly link the exploitation of women and the rape of the wild • Where, then, is the natural world headed, and how will humanity resolve some of the problems around population, ecology, and resource depletion? This was the concern of a landmark study carried out nearly 40 years ago under the sponsorship of the Club of Rome Classic Studies – The limits of growth • Limits to Growth: Meadows, Rangers & Behrens III, consequences of human population growth for human survival. Created World3 model, a computer model examining interlinked changes over the next 100 years. Investigated 5 major tends of global concern: o Accelerating industrialization, rapid population growth, widespread malnutrition, depletion of non- renewable resources, and a deteriorating environment o How exponential growth affects finite resources • The researchers assumed that each of these variables increases exponentially while the capability of technology to increase availability of resources grows linearly – an assumption as old as the first demographer, Malthus. The results of the simulation shocked the world and provoked debate about global overshoot. Most of all, the research focused attention on humanity’s tendency to demand too much of Nature – much more than the biosphere can readily supply or replace • The book analyzed 12 different scenarios, which all showed that, should then-current economic growth and population trends continue, within 100 years the world’s natural resources would be either almost exhausted or too expensive to buy • Came to two key conclusions: o If current rate of resource depletion continues, humanity will reach the limit to growth in the next 100 years o Cutbacks in consuming to achieve a state of global equilibrium could change the negative outlook • In the 2004 update, they stress that humanity is coming seriously close to global overshoot. The new book asserts that in the next 70 years or so, the system-collapse will no longer be preventable, as environmental decline is almost inevitable. The authors conclude that it is too late for sustainable development. Now we must choose between unrestrained collapse and what we might call harm reduction – a conscious reduction (to supportable levels) of the energy and materials we consume. • In this updated version, World3 is used to provide 10 new scenarios, in which the gap between the rich and poor expands, the industrial production in developed nations declines, and essential non-renewable resources become harder to obtain and more expensive to use Why Demography?  Demographers ask a variety of important questions about a population. o Size, density, composition, health status, how long do they stay  Changes in the population lead to, or can result from, changes in other societal processes  Population processes and social processes are closely intertwined. Rapid population shifts can change societies  Population size: a large population puts more pressure on the natural environment, but it is more likely to innovate, but they need systematic production of food  Conversely, industrial, mainly post-agricultural, societies don’t really need large populations to the same degree. Population quality is more important than population quantity, so the growth rate typically slows down dramatically until populations actually start to shrink  As humanity grew in number, people changed from transient hunter-gatherers, to settled agriculturalists, then to urban industrialists and post-industrialists  Third, large, dense populations tend to invent new social and economic roles, or as Durkheim said, they divide the labour of society in specialized ways. Productive tasks are broken into smaller, detailed tasks that require training. Increasingly, social rules are distinguished not only by age and sex but also by characteristics associated with skill, aptitude, and interest  The health and longevity of a population also affect how a society works. A healthy, long-lived population is likely to contain a higher level of human capital. o Human capital: a skill or skill set, usually including educational attainment or job-related experiences, that enhances a worker’s value on the job; the result of foregone income and a long- term investment in personal improvement  Other things being equal, this human capital, based on the health, education, and training of the population- contributes to higher productivity and increased prosperity. As well, leaving aside immigration, a healthier, longer-living society has a lower rate of population turnover. As a result, people develop stronger loyalties to the community.  At the same time, an older, longer-living society relies more on immigration to provide needed population renewal through new skills and human capital. So, population turnover has both a negative and positive effect. On the negative side, it continuously undermines traditional culture and existing social networks. On the positive side, however, it continuously re-invigorates the culture and introduces new social elements that may enrich existing social networks through diversity.  Ex. A sudden rejuvenation of the population through increased childbearing, such as occurred during the so- called baby boom after WWII in North America Population trends reveal a society’s history • We can learn a lot about societies and their histories by examining population trends. By noting patterns in population composition – differences and similarities in age and gender-we can make good guesses about what a society has gone through, whether a baby boom, an epidemic, a war, or another circumstance that has significantly affected the population o Population composition: the makeup or mix of different social types in a population, i.e. the different numbers of men and women, old and young people • Often, demographers use a model called a population pyramid to study such trends. o Population pyramid: a graphic depiction of the age-sex composition of a population • A baby boom substantially , and usually unexpectedly, increases the number of children born in a given cohort, and thus shows a bulge on the bottom of the pyramid o Cohort: a set of people with a common origin or starting point; birth cohort – a set of people born in the same year or set of years • When a graph no longer even resembles a pyramid, it is nearly rectangular, meaning that population growth is at a replacement level (Western, developed nations) • Sex selection, often perceived as synonymous with femicide World population • World population was relatively unchanging for most of human history until the 18 century • 1750, world’s population at 800 million, today it is just under 7 billion, most of this increase occurred in the last two centuries • Ansley Coale divided human history into two parts. o Beginning of humanity’s existence over a million years ago (Stone Age) to 1750 CE  Slow (almost no) population growth, people being born staying consistently equal to the number dying o From 1750 to the present  Population grew exponentially, a larger number of people has been added each year for the last 260 years • Yet, ironically, many of the countries with the lowest fertility will experience the highest population increases in the next few decades. Ex, China, although having below-replacement fertility, there is already a huge Chinese population. Classic Studies: Risk Society: Towards a new modernity • In pre-modern societies, people tended to see natural dangers as God-made or supernatural in origin (fate & destiny) • Most of us now understand human-produced risks such as wars & pollution-even plagues & droughts-to be results of modernity • Ulrich Beck: labeled contemporary society a “risk society”, in this era of advanced modernity, societies are dominated by the presence of manmade risks o Reflexive modernization: shift in thought between the modern and postmodern eras on the social role of technology • No technological benefits come without risks and even harms; so by its nature, our high-technology society is a highly risky society • Risk is a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities introduced by modernization • Risks are inevitable. Risk is not the same as catastrophe, but the anticipation of the future catastrophe in the present. • Risk leads a dubious, insidious, would-be, fictitious, allusive existence: it is existent and non-existent, present and absent, doubtful and real. As such, the risk society must be a cautious, careful, and even fearful society • Critics of the Risk society hypothesis contend that natural risks and social risk have always been interconnected. If so, these critiques weaken Beck’s claim that Western society has transformed from a safe and organized industrial society to a uniquely chaotic and dangerous society. • After the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, people began to doubt the benefits derived from technology. The Natural Environment • Humans compete with other species for survival. We have developed tools and strategies that give us an advantage over these species. I.e. invented weapons to hunt animals, the wheel, learned how to domesticate and harvest animals for food, trying to win the war against virus and bacteria • Currently, 2.3 billion people live in areas that lack an adequate water supply, by 2050, 3.5 billion people will be in this situation • Like water, most of the natural resources we need are non-renewable: there is only so much petroleum, aluminum, iron, and wood on (or in) Earth • Preventative strategies: First, recycling, second, invent alternatives (i.e. nuclear energy) or find natural alternatives (i.e. wind or solar power). Third, find another is to find another planet to inhabit, or perhaps to look for new resources in currently inaccessible places (i.e. under the sea or at the centre of the Earth). A fourth is to reduce the rate at which we use these resources, however, this is only a short-term answer-it only slows down the inevitable disappearance of these vital finite resources Location, Location, Location • Human geography: the systematic study of the location of human enterprises and characteristics; for example, health, education, commerce and trade; closely linked to other social sciences like sociology Buildings and Cityscapes • Cities as planned human ecosystems • Cities have always been centres of commerce and administration, locations of trade and government. Thus, the historical rise of cities coincided with the rise of markets and states • Generally, cities have relied on other regions for the supply of food, importing most of it from rural areas. The growth of cities, then, was only possible when surplus food was available in rural areas. • That said, from time to time most cities have troubled and even conflictual relations with their rural and semi- rural neighbours. Cities have always provided markets for the neighbouring rural communities, and the surrounding areas have provided commuting workers as well as food. But this division of roles has also meant a differentiation of activities, morals, and wealth. • Cities have been richer and more powerful than their farming areas, a fact that has often caused envy, irritation and hostility • Cities have developed more varied, cosmopolitan and civilized social practices versus their traditional rural neighbours • Cities have been more culturally tolerant and a constant source of political creativity • The recurring political conflicts over immigration, abortion, capital punishment, decriminalization of marijuana, and gay marriage have all largely centred on this urban-rural dividing line Urbanization • 2009: for the first time, the world’s population was divided more or less equally between urban and rural areas • 1950: less than 30% did and in 2050: 70% will • Most developed nations have urban centers spread all around the country, a developing nation tends to have only a few, massively populated urban areas that act as magnets for the rest of the national population • Megacity: a geographic locale with a large concentrated population, sometimes defined as exceeding 5 million people • However, in Peru, an urban area may contain only 100 people, while in Japan, an urban area will always contain over 50,000 people • Other factors besides size enter into these varying definitions, including population density, the presence of governmental authority and policies, and economic activity • Paradoxically, although half the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, most of today’s urban growth is occurring in towns, villages, and cities with 500,000 citizens or fewer, not megacities of 10 million or more • Only 37% of all the world’s urban dwellers live in cities with more than a million people, and only 8% live in megacities • Real-estate agents, sometimes say that three things affect the price of a home: location, location, location • The entire reach or catchment area of a city is usually called the Greater Metropolitan Area-the urban, semi-urban and suburban areas within an hour’s drive of downtown. In Canada and other developed nations, many GMA residents live in surrounding communities-some call them bedroom suburbs-and commute downtown to work every day o Bedroom suburb: a residential area near a large city that provides housing and services for people who commute each day into the downtown urban area Built environments • The built environment of cities is in direct conflict with the natural environment • Technological innovation in the past few centuries has largely been driven by the needs associated with living and working in a vertical urban environment Manuel Castells • Empirical sociologist, striking feature of his work is its saturation in empirical detail & evidence. • Advocates disposable theory: to emphasize his antipathy towards the abstract theorizing that periodically enters social sciences. • During the 1970s focused on urban social movements & the changing post-industrial urban life. • In the 1980s, he turned his attention to the relationship between info & communications technology & economics & the role of info networks in the emergence of a global economy. • In The Information Age (1996), he argues that social movements & other means by which people create meaning for themselves are distinct from the dominant economic & social organizations or networks. • Marxist urban sociology shows how in the post-industrial city, social movements can bring about radical transformation, especially in areas where political entities control such matters as public transportation and housing, which can be termed areas of collective consumption • For a social movement to be considered effective, local activism must produce profound, class-related social change • Questioned whether the term urban had become obsolete • He stresses that the organization of the economy, of state institutions, and of the ways that people cerate meaning in their lives through collective action, must be understood as both discrete and inter-related entities. • His typology of identities was used examine racial dynamics within labour unions, and how the identity practices of different factions within a union, perhaps based on class, religion, or age, might bring about racially inclusive strategies (Johnson, 2009). • Knox et al (2009): draw upon Castells’s notion of a space of flows to study the movement of people, baggage & planes through an airport • Equally important, he considers how more complex and dispersed social networks affect worker’s experiences and identities • Liquid modernity: Baumann (2000), turnover of flow of people through social structures • Airports as what Castells calls a space of flows. By promoting flow, they help to extend and integrate a global economy and global-that is, globally-influenced local-culture • Researchers show how these flow processes are controlled by modes of ordering to simplify global exchange and interaction • Horizontal organizational networks: networks across distance (i.e. internet). In opposition to the traditional vertical hierarchies o Ex. A single Australian hacker caused a international incident in summer 2010 exposing US classified documents • Pregowski: new media have resulted in a need for netiquettes: good manners and ethical conduct in cyberspace. • Devadas (2008): recognizes that present-day flows & networks contrast with borders, differentiated zones & spaces, & immobility • Fourth World: sub-populations socially excluded from the global society, i.e. the nomadic, pastoral & hunter-gathers • Castells contributes to our comprehensive, fusion sociology by providing a sense of the hugeness of social analysis SOC103 – Chapter 3 Social Structures • Social forms: Georg Simmel, social arrangements that arise out of interaction often below the cultural radar (below people’s consciousness) o Can be defined as social objects – symbols, roles or relationships – help people achieve goals co- operatively o Fashions, words like tweet, tweeting, Facebook posting styles, prenuptial agreements, etc are social forms o Social forms can’t be idiosyncratic: unique to one individual o People may not always know about social forms, and they are not socially enforced, but they appear everywhere and influence our behavior nevertheless. Classic Studies - Outsiders Howard Becker: In Outsiders  Labeling theory: social groups create deviance my making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, labeling them as outsiders.  Deviance: result of a group expelling an individual or subgroup, becoming someone outside the community’s accepted rules o Studied deviance through observations of jazz musicians and marijuana users  Outsider status not due to failings on their part, but to their actions and the way others respond o Once labeled deviant, people tend to set themselves apart and develop their own language and patterns of behavior. Stresses a sequential rather than a simultaneous mode of deviance because learning and group formation are involved o The deviant behaviour in time produced the deviant motivation (criticized for ignoring personal motivation) Identity, roles, and role-sets • Social Scripts: guidelines we follow to carry out interactions & fulfill role expectation as seamlessly as possible (i.e. respect police) o Follow a number of scripts (mostly unconsciously) because we play a variety of roles (student, friend, sibling) o Most closely associated with Goffman’s dramaturgical approach  Can understand and think about social life in terms of a theatrical production, i.e. prom night  But social life is not a scripted play, we have some freedom to act as we choose in society (within the context)  The social script we follow usually imperfect. • Social structure: that predicable, enduring feature of social life • Role: the expected behaviour of an individual in a social position and the duties associated with that position o Fulfillment of these expectations promotes effective interaction (clues to success are contained in the role itself) o The roles we play and social scripts we follow are related to our identity: all the ways in which we view and describe ourselves (female/male, friend, student, attractive, unusual, etc) and in which others perceive us o Dramaturgical perspective: the social roles we play are the source-not necessarily the expression-of our identities. o Symbolic interactionists: the social roles we play are the main origin of our identities, roles and identities are interrelated o Roles shape our identities and, perhaps, interact with and even conflict with our personalities and basic inclinations o Roles and identities are embedded in categories and communities. Nowhere is the production and reproduction of social structure more obvious than in communities • Community: group of people who interact and communicate often with one another and share common interests, values, and goals o Immersed their person identities in the community enterprise, the conform to community standards • Demographic categories: (men/women/old/rich/poor etc) are different from social communities. o People belonging to the same category do not communicate or interact with each other merely based on their shared membership in that category, i.e. 19 year old from Mississauga, less likely to identify with demographic categories • Category mobilization: what social movements are about – women’s movement, etc (can turn into a social community) • Charles Horton Cooley: concept of the looking-glass self to illustrate how we form our identifies (used before labeling theory) o Looking-glass self: people come to see (and value) themselves as others see them • Goffman notes that roles and identities are so closely intertwined that the two almost overlap: o Role embracement: a person willingly accepts both the social role and the identity associated with it  I.e. woman who becomes a nun assumes the identity (as well as role) of a deeply religious, upright person o Role distance: take on a role but keep separate their behaviour from the identity associated with that role  While you embrace your role as a son/daughter, you distance your role as affectionate child from a dependent child o Role Exit: process a person undergoes when leaving a role.  Rejects/loss of certain activities, rights, and responsibilities, and also the loss of an identity associated with the role  You are a student now, but after earning your diploma, you will likely not describe yourself as a student any longer • Interactionist perspective: identities are socially determined, based on the social roles we play. They are not inborn, like personality • We internalize the roles we play so that they become an integral part of our identities. I.e. embracing the role as a new parent. • Role-set: collection of roles an individual plays (as a new parent you take on new roles associated with it; soccer coach, moral guide) • Talcott Parsons: a classic pairing is the doctor and patient pair. Doctors and patients are interdependent, one cannot play his or her particular role without the other o Doctor as socially approved deviance, society accepts “sick role” as an excuse • Interactionist approach: social roles are unlike theatrical roles in that they are not predetermined • Individuals – not societies-can exercise control over the roles they play. They can choose certain roles and avoid others • George Herbert Mead: studied roles, argued that people adopt roles throughout their lifetime in a process called role-taking o Role-taking: the process in which we take on existing defined roles (learned from people as well as society at large) o To take on a role, such as becoming a doctor, is to take on a prearranged set of expectations. • Symbolic interactionists: role adoption is a dynamic process-a sequence-that is under the control of our own motivations, the motivations of others around us, the groups we are seeking to enter, and the culture and society • In Mead’s view, the interaction of roles depends mainly on symbol systems, especially language o Symbol: a thing that stands for or represents something else, and provides a means of communication (e.g. through spoken words, written words, facial expressions, or body language) o Interaction is possible only because we humans understand the meaning of certain symbols expressed as language. Without language, social life would be impossible, because communication, interaction, and negotiation would be impossible. Our understanding of other people’s communication depends on us interpreting their message correctly • Ralph Turner o Role-making: process of creating new social roles in and through interaction o The script means to be widely known and generally accepted forming a stable subculture, needs status for role-play • Status: a person’s social position, which is associated with a role and its associated scripts • Ralph Linton: people play roles but occupy statuses • It is easiest to understand a status system in the context of a formal organization. I.e. army ranks. • Functionalist image of society, without an orderly agreed-on hierarchy of statuses, there are no stable roles, and without stable roles, no stable interactions • For this reason, Parsons views statuses as central ingredients of social order • When socialization is incomplete or faulty, or people refuse to accept the rights and duties associated with hierarchical statuses, there is a breakdown of social interaction and disorder follows. Society resists breakdown by using methods like embarrassment and shame to restore the social equilibrium o Status sequence: the array of statuses we occupy over a lifetime, through which we pass in a socially recognizable order • Both teachers and students are expected to play certain roles, as part of their identities • We learn how to live in society through socialization, which we experience throughout our lives. Role conflicts and role strains • Role strain: a result of role conflict, when the demands of some roles conflict with the demands of others (reveals itself as stress) o I have a job but I’m also a mother o We often deal with them through three socially acceptable mechanisms  Prioritizing: as a student you decide your grade has to take the highest priority, no partying tonight  Mastering status: making one role more important than all the others: Quite work and be a full time mom  Compartmentalization: division of activities into categories or sections: Keeping groups separate (keeping family away from friends) Classic studies: The sociology of secrecy and of secret societies • Secrecy: Georg Simmel o Everyone feels the need to deviate. o Our first world is the world of socially acceptable activities o Our second (constructed) world is deviant and often secret o Social life is like a game of hide-and-seek o Secrecy is a normal part of social relations, it is functionally necessary in complex societies o Both secrecy and a lack of secrecy can be harmful o Lies are especially dangerous in modern societies, because individuals base important decisions on assumptions they cannot easily confirm (White lies as positive) o Lies and secrets are not the same thing, but they are often related by the suppression of needed information. Yet, we all need some concealment o A secret society is an interactional unit characterized in its totality by the fact that reciprocal relations among its members are governed by the protective functions of secrecy o Secret societies hold a particular importance for religion and politics. Members of a secret society (i.e. al Qaeda) are necessarily concerned with protecting their most important ideas, sentiments, and information. They do so by controlling the flow of public information o Secrete societies develop in one of two frames dependent upon the extensity of secrecy within the group. Where there is a high level of security and protection of the group and its higher members, the secrecy incorporates info about all aspects of the interactional unit including its very existence. At a lower level of concealment, only some aspects such as membership regulations or goals remain secret. o Far more remarkable, since less obvious, are social forms: they control our behaviour even though we may be quite unaware of how or why this is happening Dyads, Triads, and small groups • Social scripts direct our behaviour • Social forms: are descriptive, emerge without people’s intention-and often even awareness-in a social situation. • Georg Simmel defines sociology as comprising two elements o Content: the purpose or motive of an action or interaction o Form: the mode of interaction among individuals through which the specific content achieves social reality • Consider an example of social forms that involves two scenarios: o Two person groups (binary groups) tend to either agree easily or fall into hard-to-resolve conflict o Odd-numbered groups may take a long time agreeing but they usually do not fall into polarized, hard-to-resolve conflicts  One person of a triad is likely to serve as a peacemaker or intermediary, which is not available in a dyad • Larger-sized groups tend to follow similar patterns, depending on whether they have an even or odd number of members • The idea of social forms opposes what has been called the voluntarist position: a social psychological approach, argues that our social behaviour is a clear reflection of our goals, values, and intentions, and that our identities shape our interactions. • However, sociologists believe that our social behaviours often have little to do with our true goals, values, and intentions. People do what they have to do to gain social acceptance. Further, their interactions shape their identities, not the other way around. So, we strive to fit into the social form confronting us, and tailor our actions to its requirements • We develop our social purposes or motives after being thrust into social roles • Robert Bales: studied groups, found in a group setting three social forms emerged: a task leader, an emotional (peace-keeper) leader, and a joker (helped relieve tension). • This fulfillment of roles happens without planning or even a conscious awareness of group needs. • This is a small-scale version of the functionalist model of social systems put forth by Parsons and his students, including Robert Bales. • The functionalists argued that all social systems-groups, communities, organizations, societies, and empires-have these systemic, self-maintaining features that enable them to survive, to move forward, and to achieve their goals • At the extreme, symbolic interactionism argues that we are all, everyday, creating and invigorating the social structure which would not exist without our intentional, co-operative efforts. • At the extreme, functionalism argues that social systems persist outside the efforts and intentions of individuals, they force us to conform whether we are aware or unaware, willing or not. • From this perspective, functionalists far more easily explain social forms than symbolic interactionists TBG: Teams, Bands, and Gangs • TBG: as social forms, operate very similarly, despite their very different goals and activities o Join because they want to be members o Defined memberships, set of goals and main activities and hierarchies, they are like families with leaders like parents o They have a stable division of labour (task specialization) • However, social form the social network: unlike TBGs, has no membership list, no sense of group identity, and no shared goal. o Yet, social networks, like TBGs, also help people to achieve their individual goals Cliques, Networks, and small worlds • The social network is another social form hat is of increasing interest to sociologists • Imagine 20 people connected, either directly or indirectly, to one another • A direct connection is a link of kinship, friendship or acquaintance • Within this set of n = 20 people, there can be 190 different paired direct connections – mathematically expressed as [n(n-1)/2]. o If the network size merely doubles to 40 people, the number of direct connections explodes, rising to nearly 800 direct connections • Indirect connections are as interesting as are direct connections to sociologists • Mark Granovetter: weakly tied networks, based mainly on indirect links, may be even more useful than strongly tied networks, based mainly on direct links • A great deal of info, social support, and other valuable resources flows through incompletely connected, or weakly tied, networks • Other things flow as well: rumours, diseases, innovations, and job info. I.e. all these spread most rapidly through networks of weak ties, because weakly tied networks have a vast outreach, connecting large numbers of people at a few removes • Anatol Rapoport o Biased nets: info that is permitted to pass only through strong links (e.g. brothers, sisters, fist cousins, or best friends)  Info will just recycle among the small group of people o Random nets: info permitted to pass only through weak lines (e.g. third cousins or tenth-best friend)  Info will rapidly spread to new nodes o I.e. international epidemic (random nets) and diseases associated with genetic inbreeding (biased nets) o Dyadic relationships: a social network is only as strong and stable as the pairwise connections (the social exchange) o Node: each figure in a network (usually individual people, but nodes can also be groups, institutions, cities, or even countries, especially with globalization) o Virtual networks: cyberspace relationships, i.e. Facebook  75-85% of younger generations in NA say they have a profile on at least one social networking site • Social networks have small world property. That is, mo
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