Society- systematic study of human society
Seeing the General in the Particular.
Berger described sociological perspective as seeing the general in the particular (identify general
patterns in behaviour of particular individuals
Winslow wrote Canadian Airborne Regiment: A Socio-Cultural Inquiry, which attempts to
explain atrocities committed by Canadians in Somalia-not as Canadian peacekeeper
characteristics, but as a warrior culture.
The conclusion was that structural and cultural environment matters, not individual personalities
(the Canadians wouldn’t have done that on other terms)
Seeing the Strange in the Familiar
Society shapes what we think and do
Why did we choose to go to Guelph? Friends, close to home, ensure a good job? But is that the
whole story? S.P provides insights that may not be readily apparent.
In our society, university or collage attendance is associated with the 18-24 yrs period of life.
Other factors include socio-economic background, race, ethnicity, and region
o So is University a personal choice?
Seeing Personal Choice in Social Context
How many babies women have ? 2 in Canada, 4 in Ethiopia, 7 in Niger.
Durkeim Suicide . Men, Protestants, wealthy people and unmarried have higher rate. Women,
Catholics and Jews, the poor and the married have low rates
Social Integration- Categories of people with strong social ties has low suicide rates and more
individualistic categories of people had high rates
Male suicide rates are higher in Quebec and No.We.Territories where marriage rates are low, and
in Yukon where divorce rates are high
First Nations community x5 our suicide rates, because of the massive social change and upheaval,
affect levels of social integration by putting norms and values in influx.
Black men and women have lower rates than whites. Because more social choices and stronger
social ties and solidarity/cohesion.
Seeing Sociologically: Marginality and Crisis
The greater the peoples social marginality, the better able they are to use the S.P
o Being an ‘outsider’
Ex. Being black in Toronto area where rap artist lyrics talk about how their hopes and dreams
have been crushed by society. Whereas while majority think less often about their race and
privilege it provides, believing that race doesn’t matter
Ppl at margins of society = women, gay, lesbians, disabilities and the old
Wright Mills, used the idea with the Great Depression, - unemployment rates went up, and people
without jobs always noticed those with jobs, and felt like an ‘outsider’
o Rather than saying ‘I cant find a job, whats wrong with me’ they took sociological
approach and said ‘economy has collapsed, there are no jobs to be found’ o Mills believed they were using sociological imagination to help people understand their
own society and own lives.
The Importance of a Global Perspective
Glo. Per.- study of the larger world and our societys place in it.
Glo. Awareness is the next step in S.P.
o Since our place in society shapes our life experiences, position of society in larger world
system effects everyone in Canada
High Income countries- nations with highest overall standards of living. 60 countries. Canada,
US, Australia, New Zealand.. people = more well-off because live in rich part of the world
Middle-income Countries- nations with a standard of living about average for world as a whole,
76 nations, a lot of Asia, Central and South America.. 6-8 yrs of school. Vast social inequality in
these places – people who are very rich and people who are very poor
Low-Income Countries- nations with low standard of living in which most people are poor.
Africa, Afghanistan, Vietnam.. unsafe water, very little food
4 reasons why compare Canada with rest of the world
1. Where we live shapes life we lead (different sized families)
2. Societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected (technology-impact
food, music, clothes. Trade across national borders = global economy)
3. Many social problems that we face in Canada are far more serious somewhere else
4. Thinking Globally helps us learn more about ourselves (what do we define as a good
Applying Sociological Perspective
Sociology and Public Policy