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Midterm Review Notes.docx

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SOC 1100
Deanna Behnke- Cook

Lecture 1 - Jan 17 SOC Perspective • Seeing the general in the particular (Peter Berger) o Sociologists identify general social patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals • Seeing the strange in the familiar o Giving up the idea that human behaviour is simply a matter of what people decide to do o Understanding that society shapes our lives • Seeing Personal Choice in Social Context o The power of society to shape even our most private choices o Example:  Durkheim on Suicide  Suicide in a comparative perspective • Seeing Sociologically: Marginality and Crisis o People at the margins of social life are aware of social patterns that others rarely think about o Periods of change or crisis encourage us to use the sociological perspective Importance of Global Perspective 1. Where we live shapes the lives we lead 2. Societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected 3. Many problems that we face in Canada are more serious elsewhere 4. Thinking globally helps us learn more about ourselves Applying the perspective  Developing public policy in Canada o Personal Growth: o Assess ―common sense‖ o Opportunities and constraints o Empowerment o Helps us live in diversity Origins of Sociology  Social change and Sociology: o A new industrial economy o The growth of cities pushed people away from working the land o Political change: Shift in focus from moral obligation to God and monarch to the pursuit of self-interest o A new awareness of society in England, France and Germany Science and Sociology • Auguste Comte (1798-1857) sociology to study modern social reality scientifically • Three-stage historical development: o Theological o Metaphysical o Scientific Positivism: A way of understanding based on science • Society operates according to laws like the physical world What is different about Canadian Society: • Sociology began in the early 20th century • Teaching and research began first in Quebec • Harold A. Innis: Economic development • Marshall McLuhan: Influence of electronic media • John Porter: Inequality and ethnic relations in The Vertical Mosaic Sociological Theory o Theoretical Approach: A basic image of society that guides thinking and research  Structural-functional  Social-conflict (includes Feminism /Gender-conflict and Race-conflict approaches)  Symbolic-interaction Structural-Functional Approach • A macro-level orientation • Society as a complex system whose parts work together for solidarity and stability • Key elements: o Social structure is any relatively stable pattern of social behaviour o Social function refers to the consequences for the operation of society as a whole • Important Sociologists: o Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Herbert Spencer, Robert K. Merton • Critique o Focusing on social stability and unity, ignores inequalities o Such inequalities cause tension and conflict o The approach ends up being politically conservative Social-Conflict Approach • The basics: o A macro-level orientation o Society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change • Key elements: o Society is structured in ways to benefit a few at the expense of the majority o Factors such as race, sex, class, and age are linked to social inequality • Important Sociologists: o Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois • Critique: o Ignores how shared values and mutual interdependence unify society o If it pursues political goals, it cannot be scientific Feminism and the Gender-Conflict Approach • A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and men • Closely linked to feminism, the advocacy of social equality for women and men • Women important to the development of sociology: Harriet Martineau and Jane Addams • Race - Conflict Approach • A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories • People of color important to the development of sociology: Ida Wells Barnett and W.E.B. Du Bois Symbolic Interaction Approach • The basics o A micro-level orientation o Society as the product of everyday interactions of individuals • Key elements o Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another o Society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings • Important Sociologists: o Max Weber, George Herbert Mead, Erving Goffman, George Homans & Peter Blau • Critical Review: o Ignores larger social structures, effects of culture, factors such as class, gender, ethnicity, and race Post Modern Approach • Postmodernism is critical of modernism with a mistrust of grand theories and ideologies • Human sciences cannot be scientific because of human subjectivity • The postmodernists o Observe with a goal of understanding, not data collection o Deconstruct and demystify assumptions, hierarchies of knowledge, and ideological motivation of social science Basics of SOC investigation • apply perspective, ask questions - know there are many forms of truth • science as form of truth: o Logical system o Direct observation o Empirical evidence • Concept: a mental construct that represents some part of the world in a simplified form • Variable: a concept whose values change from case to case • Measurement: a procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specific case • Defining Concepts, Operationalizing a variable: Specifying what one intends to measure in assigning a value to a variable • Reliability: consistency in measurement • Validity: actually measuring exactly what one intends to measure • Cause and effect o A relationship in which change in one variable causes change in another • Types of variables • Independent: the variable that causes the change • Dependent: the variable that changes (its value depends upon the independent variable) • Correlation • A relationship in which two or more variables change together • Spurious Correlation • An apparent but false relationship between two (or more) variables caused by some other variable • To expose it use control, holding constant all variables except one in order to see clearly the effect of that variable • Conditions for cause and effect to be considered • Existence of a correlation • The independent variable precedes the dependent variable in time • No evidence suggests that a third variable is responsible for a spurious correlation between the two original variables • Ideal of Objectivity o Personal neutrality in conducting research o Max Weber said sociologists select topics that are value-relevant but cautioned them to be value-free in their investigations • Replication o repetition by other researchers, can help science be self-correcting • Limits of scientific soc o Human behavior is too complex to predict precisely any individual’s actions o The mere presence of the researcher might affect the behavior being studied o Social patterns change o Sociologists are part of the world they study, making value-free research difficult • Interpretive Sociology o The study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world:  Sees reality as being constructed by people themselves in the course of their everyday lives  Relies on qualitative data • Critical SOC o The study of society that focuses on inequality and the need for change o Researchers should be social activists in pursuit of desirable change o Works for equality o Sociology as Politics:  Critical sociologists say that all research is political or biased—either it calls for change or it does not • Methods o Scientific sociology corresponds to the structural-functional approach o Interpretive sociology is related to the symbolic-interaction approach o Critical sociology is linked to the social-conflict approach • Gender And Research o Androcentricity and Gynocentricity: Approaching the topic from a male-only or female-only perspective o Overgeneralizing: Using data collected from one sex and applying the findings to both sexes o Gender blindness: The failure to consider the impact of gender at all o Double standards: Using different standards to judge males and females o Interference: a subject under study reacts to the sex of the researcher o Feminist researchers claim:  Research should focus on women  Research should be grounded in women’s experience of subordination  Among women founders of social science:  Harriet Martineau  Florence Nightingale • Research Ethics o Must strive to be technically competent & fair-minded o Must disclose findings in full without omitting significant data & be willing to share their data o Must protect the safety, rights, and privacy of subjects o Must obtain informed consent; subjects are aware of risks and responsibilities and agree o Must disclose all sources of funding & avoid conflicts of interest o Must demonstrate cultural sensitivity Lecture 2 - Jan 24 • Methods: o A research method is a systematic plan for doing research:  Experiments  Surveys  Participant observation  Use of existing data o None is better or worse than any other; methods are chosen according to who we wish to study and what we wish to learn • Experiment o Investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions, using a hypothesis, an unverified statement of a relationship between variables o Steps:  Specify independent and dependent variables  Measure dependent variable  Expose dependent variable to independent  Measure dependent variable to determine if predicted change occurred o Control  To be certain that the change in the dependent variable was due to the exposure to the independent variable, the researcher must keep constant other factors that might intrude  One method is to break group into experimental and control groups  Experimental group is exposed to independent variable  Control group is exposed to a placebo o Hawthorne effect: a change in behaviour caused by awareness of being studied • Surveys o Subjects respond to a series of statements in a questionnaire or interview to collect data o Population: the focus of the research o Sample: a part of the population that represents the whole o Random sampling: every person has an equal chance of being in the sample o Questionnaire: a series of written/read (interview) questions: closed-ended (fixed response) or open-ended (allowing free response) • Participant Observation o A research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities o Most of this research is exploratory and descriptive o Strives to get an insider’s view o Is flexible, and this allows investigators to explore the unfamiliar and adapt to the unexpected o Available Research  Secondary and Historical Analysis: reanalyzing data collected by others e.g., census data  Content Analysis: counting content of materials e.g., letters and textbooks • The Interplay of Theory and Method o Inductive logical thought  Reasoning that transforms specific observations into general theory  Induction ―increases‖ from specific to general o Deductive logical thought  Reasoning that transforms general theory into specific hypotheses suitable for testing  Deduction ―decreases‖ from general to specific o Steps for SOC investigation  Select and define topic  Review the literature  Develop key questions to ask  Assess requirements for study  Consider ethical issues  Select a research methodology  Collect the data  Interpret the findings  State conclusions  Publish the findings o Problems with Stats  People select their data  Data may not be the whole truth  People interpret their data  As if numbers can only mean one thing  People use graphs to ―spin‖ the truth  Manipulating timeframes on graphs  Using scale to inflate or deflate a trend Culture • The ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together shape a people’s way of life • Nonmaterial culture: The ideas created by members of a society • Material culture: The physical things created by members of a society Culture Shock • Personal disorientation when
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