SOCI201 ▯ 1
Chapter 1: What is Sociology
Deﬁne and apply sociological imagination
4 types of suicide
categorize sections into 3 types
What is Sociology
-is the systematic study of human behavior
-is the study of power forces
-reveals the possibilities of human action
-shows us the correct route to induce positive social change
• is an essential aspect of sociological thinking
• critical thinking means using careful observation to arrive at conclusions about our social world rather than base
our understanding, upon authority, casual observation, illogical reasoning etc.
-book written by Mills
-when you have the ability to look past individualistic explanation for human behavior and see larger perspectives
-there are things beyond your control that effect why people do what they do
we can apply sociological imagination by thinking of individualistic interpretations and
seeing social issues, things that a beyond the control of the person.
The sociological explanation of suicide
• Durkheim wrote book in 1897.
• demonstrated suicide is more than just an act of desperation resulting from psychological disorder
▯ -though suicide was inﬂuences by social factors
• Durkheim argued that suicide rates vary because of differences in degree of SOCIAL SOLIDARITY in different
private troubles social issue
cheating -lazy -accessibility of information
-Procrastination -pressure on competition
poverty -lazy -less opportunity
-careless with money -class society
obesity -lazy -low quality food is cheap
The more a groups member share beliefs and values, and the more freq and intensely they interact, the more
social solidairty there is in the group. SOCI201 ▯ 2
• therefore the more SS there is in a group, the more ﬁrmly anchored individuals are to the social world and they
less likely they are to take their own lives.
• Durk expected groups with high degrees of SS to have lower sucide rates than groups with a lower degree of SS
▯ -single people are more likely than widowed
▯ -marriage usually creates social ties and a sort of moral cement that binds the individual to society.
▯ -Women are less likely
▯ -women are more involved in the intimate social relations of family life.
• in general suicide varies with the degree of integration of the social groups of which the individual forms a part.
He found this U shaped curve.
High SS settings - Altruistic and Fatalistic
Low- egoistic and anomic suicide
1. Integration (how the individual connects with other people)
▯ ▯ -too high: Altruistic suicide
▯ ▯ ▯ eg. soldier in military - kamikaze pilots
▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ terrorism - they think they are going to achieve a higher justice
▯ ▯ -too low: Egoistic Suicide
▯ ▯ ▯ eg. single people (males)
2. regulation (Laws and control)
▯ ▯ -too high: Fatalistic -
▯ ▯ ▯ eg. Tyranny, prisoners
▯ ▯ -too low: Anomic Suicide - when a whole culture is imploding at a fast rate, to ▯ ▯ a point
where there is no regulation at all
▯ ▯ ▯ eg. Cults, genocide, First Nations people
▯ ▯ -There is something about being colonized by a foreign power, a whole culture is destroy
▯ ▯ and the rate of suicide increases.
-school shooters are an example of egoistic suicide
-Heath Ledger suicide would be Fatalistic
-students in university with unrealistic expectation fall under Fatalistic. thats why there are reading breaks.
causes of suicide are process beyond a person control SOCI201 ▯ 3
Levels of Sociological Inquiry
• Micro-level sociology (Social Psychology) which examines individual behavior
• patterns of intimate social relations formed during face-to-face interactions. eg. families, friends, and work
Macro-Level: occurs at the national level (study of social institutions)
• patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimate and acquaintances, including
class relations and patriarchy. eg. Government and businesses supporting unequal division of work in the
• Global-level investigation of international phenomenon
• International organizations, patterns of world wide travel and communication , and economic relations are
examples. ie. inexpensive travel and communication allows all parts of the world to become
interconnected culturally and politically.
• Order theories including functionalism
• conﬂicts theories including work of Marx and Weber
• Symbolic Interactionism
• Feminist theories
• The Post Modern (not a theory)
when we look at durkheim’s work, he was a functionalist theory
Sociological theory came about in response to:
• ill effects of the industrial revolution (the application of scientiﬁc techniques to the work process)
Democratic Revolution (1750) suggests people are responsible for organizing society and that human
intervention can therefore solve social problems
• the rise of nation state
The enlightenment/Scientiﬁc Revolution (religious fracturing)
• Scientiﬁc Revolution encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the working of society must
be based on solid evidence and not just speculation
when religion loses power, there is a belief of rational people and reasonability
Functionlism (How society creates Order)
▯ -Is maxx weber a conﬂict theorist? Yes
• In a nutshell, functionalism examines the factors that hold society together
• Functionalism examines “norms”; social rules that ppl are expected to follow
• Lack of social bonding results of “anomie”, a feeling of normlessness or without purpose
• Anomie may lead to social problems including suicide
• Durkeim’s quote exaggerates that in a society full of saints, there will always be some measure of manufactured
deviance to created scandal; will never have a perfect society
a little bit of crime is good for society
• scap goats tell us that we are good people
• Marx suggested that we can roughly delineate two groups in any given society at any given point in time: the
bourgeoisie and the proletariat (the rich and the poor respectively) SOCI201 ▯ 4
• the two groups compete for control of the means of production (things that create wealth in society -machinery, real
estate , etc. ) Conﬂict theories examine the forces that pull society apart.
• only thing the proletariat has to sell is their labour
• In such societies, some people will feel alienated
• based upon groups and individual faced against each other in a competitive manner
Marx compared the process of commodity production to stealing because the worker is never paid the full “value”
of what he/she creates
• this process is similar to pimp/prostitute relationship.
• Weber also looked at the forces pulling apart society but he believed that capitalism was but one of several factors
that inﬂuences social behavior
• he also examines political and religious inﬂuences upon human behavior
• sociologist often claimed that Weber was involved in a lifelong debate with Marx’s ghost
• Best known for “Verstehende sociology” which infers that meaning behind human action.
• Functionalism and Conﬂict are macro-level theories.
• Mirco Structure theories
• examines human behavior from the micro-sociological level.
Maintains 3 basic principles:
• humans act toward things on the basis of the meaning they have for us
• this meaning is developed in interaction with others
these meanings are modiﬁed in an interpretive process (constantly changing)
• Identity can play a key aspect
• symbols and ﬁrst impressions have an affect on interactions (ie sizing ppl up when they are dressed
there are many feminisms, broadly speaking they all maintain that:
• patriarchy, a system of male domination should be examined
• patriarchy is the result of social forces rather than biological imperative
patriarchy should be explored at the micro-level and the macro-level inquiry
• patriarchy should be eliminated.
The Post Modern
This is not a theory**
• existing theories have been unsuccessful in explaining life in contemporary societies
• all subjective opinions
• theories are merely constructions or narratives
• focuses on consumerism, the explosion of information systems and oppression.
-a man comes home from work early and ﬁnds his wife in their bed spanking another man, he decides to... -Symbolic
-Marx explains the breakup between Belinda Stronich and her husband as a separation of rich and poor.
-Durkein would want to have a relationship with an orderly, because he’s an order theorist.
Conclusion: SOCI201 ▯ 5
• Sociology is the systematic study of human behavior
• it came about to the scientiﬁc democratic, and industrial revolution
• there are four major theoretical traditions in sociology including functionalism and feminism. Post Modernism is a
critique of many of the ideas inherent within these traditions.
How to do Sociology; Research Methods
• identify how we learn about our social world
• identify and apply four requisites for establishing causality
• compare and contrast the differences between variable and hypotheses
• ascertain when it is appropriate to use classic experiment, survey research and/or ﬁeld research designs.
We know our world by 5 means:
1. Personal experience
3. Expertise (authority)
-epistemologies: how we acquire knowledge about the world.
-Theory is a set of claims about what exists in our social world and the inter connections amongst phenomena
-an ideology is a set of beliefs and the interconnections that one holds despite evidence to the contrary.
• the sciencetiﬁc approach demands that we engage in systematic research to test or generate theories (on exam)
• inductive research:
observations about the world
• make generalizations
• and induct a theory
• already have a theory
• generate a hypothesis
• make a new theory or validate the theory
• Qualitative and Quantitative research
Requisites of Casuality
• refers to the property of being connected
• in order to meet the demands of causality, two variables must be connected
• example: lemons and lime go together, but one is not caused by the other
• temporal sequence
• refers to the proper order of things
• in order to say one thing causes another, it must occur before the other.
which is the cause and which is the effect?
• low self esteem causes promiscuity
• non-spurious relationships
• Relationships must be non-spurious in order to meet the demands of causality.
• one could illogically infer that since ﬁres and ﬁre engines go together, one must cause the other
• clearly another variable is the cause of the ﬁres SOCI201 ▯ 6
• when another unrecognized variable is the cause of a relationship of interest, it is deemed spurious
(third unknown variable).
• how do you know if there is a variable? be an expect in the area of interest.
• use of theory
• Theory is the culmination of knowledge that should be tested.
Can open up questions that need to be answered
• in contrast, it is illogical to simply identify statistical correlations
We learn about our social world by:
1. Classical Experiment
2. Survey research
3. Field Research (observation studies)
• an event or attribute to which we can assign a value (usually numerical)
• An independent variable (ie age) causes a change in the dependent variable (ie happiness)
▯ Some example:
• some researchers believe that using any sort of entrance drug such