Sociology- The study of human society. (Individual behaviour in a social context)
Recognizing and understanding patterned behaviour
Understanding social structure and social change.
General in the Particular- Looking at particular instances and seeing a general pattern.
- Individual behaviour shows that of categories (e.g.men)
- Different effects on categories not on specific individual personalities
Canadian Airborne Regiment-Attempts to explain the atrocities committed by
Canadian peacekeepers. The airborne regiment focuses on war, chain of command and
nature of weapons but peacekeepers are not taught about recruitment, attitude, skill and
equipment in terms of problem solving, negotiation or dealing with stress. Thus they go
prepared for war, violence, instead of going with an attitude of helping and negotiation.
Seeing the strange in the familiar- No free will or decision making.
-The guiding hand of society is in thoughts and deeds brings social rules and constraints
-Societies guiding hand is what makes us feel natural in one setting.
-Chaos is not familiar, comfortable or predictable, people feel comfortable when they can
Structural Functional Approach
-Society is a complex system which works together to promote solidarity and stability
-There is a social structure and thus social constraints, doesnt deal with social change.
-There are: Stable patterns to human behaviour, Shape society and its components (e.g.
family), Social functions (every component has a use/meets a need of society), Social
structure has a life of its own, and the structure persists whilst generations come and go.
Social Conflict Approach
-Sees society as a stage of inequality which generates conflict and change.
-Highlights division a social structure benefits some whilst depriving other =conflict
-Privilege is passed on through generations (the powerful stay powerful whilst the deprived
stay deprived) =continuing inequality=continues conflict
-The disadvantaged often bring about social change
Symbolic Interaction Approach
-Through interaction meanings change.
-Envisions society as a product of everyday interactions
-Society has no real existence.
-Sustained by the continuing interaction between people, society changes according to our
behaviour. Idea that society is fluid and constantly constructed and reconstructed.
Sociological Investigations Asking questions, How do we know things? Answer -faith,
consensus, common sense and expertise.
Science-A logical system that bases knowledge on systematic observation
Empirical Evidence- Information we can verify with our senses. Concept- Something that represents a part of the world.
Variable- Concept whose value changes from case to case. (e.g. Stress)
Measurement- Process of determining a variable in a specific case.
Operationalising a variable-Specifying exactly what you will do to measure in assigning a
value to a variable.
Relationships among variable
Scientific ideal-where we know a change in one variable causes a change in the other.
Sociology-nothing is certain or proven
Independent variable- The variable that changes
Dependent variable-The variable changes in response to the independent variable.
Correlation-A relationship where 2 (or more) variables change together
Positive correlation-Amount of studying goes up grades go up
Negative correlation-Amount of partying goes up grades go down
Spurious Correlation-A correlation caused by an external variable
Control variable- A variable held constant to clearly see the effect of another
-If controlling a 3 variable eliminates the correlation the original relationship is spurious
Hypothesis- An idea which you will prove or disprove
Scientific Sociology-Fits best with the structural functional approach, can identify patterns
of behaviour but tells nothing of the actors.
Positivism- Sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and
Empirical- Information we can verify with physical senses
-Study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world.
-Deals with meaning attached to behaviour, reality is constructed by people, fits with
symbolic interaction theory.
Doing interpretive sociology- 3 basic sources of data observation-notes, participation-
participate in culture and interviews-get info through in depth questions.
-Type of participant observation
-Understanding is based on analysis based on personal contact
Critical Sociology-Study of society that focuses on the need for social change.
-Uses bias in research, subjects have equal part in process, they are activists. Often carried
out on behalf of people who are disadvantaged.
-Based on social conflict approach.
Survey research-random samples, questionnaires, interviews.
Participant observation-observing and participating in a culture.
Using data already available to you. Culture-Basis of societys survival.
-The values, beliefs, behaviors and material objects that constitute a persons way of life.
-Everything humans create with their hands or their minds-passed from generations.
-Tool kit for intelligence, allows for the development of personal identity.
-Makes society and social interaction possible+there are distinguishes between cultures.
-Its what makes our own social environment feel natural or right
Nonmaterial culture-The intangible things created by a society (language, symbols,
religion, science) THE MIND
Material Culture- The tangible things created by a society (clothing, cars) HANDS
Culture Shock-The disorientation that comes from encountering an unfamiliar way of life.
Society-People who interact in a defined territory and share culture.
Experiences social conflict, equilibrium, strain and also social solidarity.
Society and Technology-Gerhard Lenski
-Sociocultural evolution-Change due to society gaining new information, particularly
technology. (Not the gadget technology but the knowledge)
- Technology triggers social change & gives people more control over their environment.
Hunter-Gatherer society-Members constantly search for food with basic weaponry.
-Based purely on survival and cannot support non-productive members.
-Women hunt small game and pick fruits/berries whilst men hunt large game. Equal
Horticulture-Technology, hand held tools, assisting in the growth and harvest of crops.
Pastoral-technology based on the domestication of animals
-Can support large numbers of people, are nomadic because animals need fresh grass
-Domestication of animals and crops creates a surplus so people can choose jobs.
Agrarian Societies-A technological revolution-Agriculture.
-Large scale farming from attaching plows to animals and then tractors.
-Increases population(to thousands) =greater job specialization
-Shift into money not barter system but increases inequalitieswoman have lesser roles
Industrial Societies-Demand for educated people plus high standards of living.
-Technology that powers sophisticated machinery with advanced sources of energy.
-Rate of social change increases as technology increases (cars, electronic communication)
-Work moves from homes to the factory, occupational specialization increases.
-Family is not longer the primary setting for economic production.
Post-Industrial Society-Technology that supports an information based economy.
-Focuses on computers, and other devices, that create, process, store, find, communicate
and apply information.
-Rise in white collar jobs and creates the idea of global culture through cultural diffusion. Karl Marx-Observed the industrial revolution and saw the expansion of empire and the
gap between the small elite and the rest.
-Capitalists owned the means of production (factories) and the proletariat provided labour.
-Ongoing conflict of profits and wages coming from the same pool of funds.
Social Institutions-Societies subsystems organized to meet basic human needs.
-Families produce children and raise them to be functional in society
-Marx believes economy trumps all social institutions
-Families made workers, education made people get a job, religion said
accept your settings which also favoured capitalists/the economy.
False Consciousness-Social problems explained in terms of shortcomings of the individual
rather than flaws of society. (religion and education does this)
Class Consciousness-Recognition of workers that they are a unity in opposition to
capitalists and capitalism
Class Conflict-Fighting between classes over distribution of wealth and power.
Alienation (Marx)-Isolation from powerlessness
Revolution-overthrow of Capitalists (capitalism) to achieve equality.
Max Weber-Ideas are the key to understanding society.
-Societies differ in the way its members think of the world (e.g. Pre-Industrial follows
tradition whilst industrial societies follow rationality)
Rationality-Calculation of the most efficient way of achieving a goal
Rationalization of Society-Historical change from tradition to rationality as the dominant
mode of human thought.
-Protestantism gave rise to Capitalism
Rational Social Organization- distinctive social institutions, large organizations, specialized
tasks, awareness of time, knowledge of technology, impersonality.
Bureaucracy-transformed the larger society as industrialism transformed economy.
Alienation (Weber)-Regulation and dehumanization (monotonous routine, human robots)
Emile Durkheim-All social things have functions in society (e.g. crime)
-Society exists beyond ourselves, patterned behaviour is the basis of social structure.
-Created by people but society takes on a life of its own.
Social System-Elements of society working together towards equality
Anomie- Condition where individ