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Chapter 1-4, 8 SOC103 Midterm notes.docx

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Ryerson University
SOC 103
Sal Guzzo

Chapter 1 – The Sociological Perspective  Sociology = systematic study of human society and social interaction.  we study sociology to understand how human behaviour is shaped by group life and in turn how grouw life is affected by individuals.  C.Wright Mills – the sociological imagination helps us understand how seemingly personal troubles (suicide) are related to larger social forces. Allows us to see relationship between individual experiences and larger society.  industrialization and urbanization contributed to the emergence of sociology as a discipline  Auguste Comte coined term sociology to describe new science engaging in the study of society  Harriet Martineau is viewed as a founding member of sociology due to her enlightened perspective that social progress must involve gender/social equity  Emile Durkheim argued that societies are built on social facts, that rapid social change produces strains in society, and that the loss of shared values/purposes can lead to a condition of anomie  Karl Marx stressed that within society there is a clash between owners of production and workers  Max Weber said it is necessary to acknowledge meanings that individuals attach to their own actions  Functionalist perspectives – assume society is stable, orderly system characterized by societal consensus (criticized for overlooking importance of change in societies)  Conflict perspectives – argue society is in continuous power struggle among competing groups (race, class, gender)  Feminist perspectives – focus on sig. of gender in understanding and explaining inequalities that exists b/w men and women  Symbolic interactionist perspective –focus on how people make sense of everyday social interactions, which are made possible thru use of mutually understood symbols (focuses on microlevel and not macrolevel of society)  Alternative perspective – postmodern theorists believe entirely new ways of examining social life are needed and that it is time to move beyond functionist, conflict and interactionist perspectives Chapter 2 – Sociological research  Five ways of knowing – personal experience, tradition, authority, religion, and science  2 types of empirical studies. (Descriptive studies = describe social reality or provide facts explanatory studies = explain relationships and the reasons certain events do or do not occupy)  Deductive approach – researcher begins with theory, then collects and analyzes research to test it  Inductive approach – researcher collects/analyzes data then generates theory based on analysis  Key steps in quantitative process – 1. Selecting/defining research problem, 2. Reviewing previous research, 3. Formulating hypothesis which involves constructing variables, 4. Developing research design, 5. Collecting/analyzing data, 6. Drawing conclusions and reporting findings  Sociological research methods – surveys, existing data, participant/complete observation Chapter 3 – Culture  Culture – encompasses the knowledge, language, values, and customs passed from one gen. t the next in a human group/society  Culture is essential for individual survival because we are not born with instinctive information about how to behave/care for ourselves like animals  Culture can be stabilizing force for society, providing sense of continuity. Can also generate discord, conflict, violence  Non material and material expressions of culture – material culture consists of physical creations of society and non material culture is more abstract and reflects ideas, values and beliefs of a society  Cultural universals are customs and practices that exist in all societies include activities and institutions, such as storytelling, families, laws  4 nonmaterial components of culture common to all societies = symbols, languages, values and norms. Symbols express shared meanings (cultural ideas, concepts) language is a set of symbols through which groups communicate, values are cultures collective ideas about what is/is not acceptable, norms are specific behavioural expectations within culture  Types of norms – folkways are norms that express everyday customs, mores are norms with strong moral/ethical connotations that are essential to stability of culture, laws are formal standardized norms enforced by formal sanctions  High culture = classical music, opera, ballet. Associated with elite audiences. Pop. Culture = activities and services of a culture that appeal to members of middle/working class  Discovery and invention through diffusion (transmission of culture from one society to another) causes cultural change  Cultural diversity is ref. thru race, ethnicity, age, religion, occupation. Diverse culture has subcultures and counter cultures. Subculture = distinctive ideas and behaviours that differ from larger society and counter culture rejects dominant societal values  Culture shock – anxiety people experience when they encounter new cultures  Ethnocentrism – assumption that ones culture is superior to others  Cultural relativism – counters culture shock
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