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Soc 101: Exam #1 Summary Notes

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Sara Cumming

Soc 101 Winter 2012 Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective Sociology = systematic study of human groups and their interactions Social perspective = the unique way in which sociologists see our world and can dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live o the ability to move from the particular to the general and back again o the ability to see the general in the particular and the strange in the familiar C.W. Mills says failing to appreciate how individual challenges are influenced by larger social forces diminishes a persons ability to understand and resolve them o Personal troubles (individual challenges) vs. social issues (larger social factors) You doing poorly on a test vs. everyone doing poorly on the test o When people face situations of personal failure (ex. test), very few ask for help o Quality of mind = the ability to view personal circumstance within a social context Ex. students lack quality of mind if they think failing the test was only their fault/trouble without considering how well the rest of the class did o Sociological imagination = the ability to understand the dynamic relationship between individual lives and the larger society (seeing yourself from a new perspective) This internal reflection can help improve quality of mind Berger says sociologists need to think about what is familiar and see it as strange (ask why?) What Makes You, You? Engaging the Sociological Imagination Everyone has agency to some extent (the assumption that individuals have the ability to alter their socially constructed lives) Minority Status o People who are members of visible minority groups, have physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and who are lesbian/bi/gay face various forms of discrimination o It is possible that these social experiences influence the person you become Gender o Virtually all human societies remain patriarchal (rule by the father in which men control the political and economic resources of society) o Men earn about 35% more than women Socio-Economic Status o SES describes income level, education, occupation, and area of residence 1 o Ascribed status = situation in which a person is assigned advantage (or disadvantage) simply through birth o Achieved status = the status a person has been able to gain through personal attributes and qualities (ex. Oprah; started out poor/disadvantaged due to race and became rich) o Although some may transcend their low SES, they are the exception not the rule The majority of those born poor remain poor! Family Structure o Regardless of a childs age, higher income tends to be related to better physical, social/emotional, cognitive, and behavioural well-being o Family structure does influence a childs development to the extent that female lone-parent families tend to have lower incomes than two-parent family structures Urban-Rural Differences o People who live in small towns report that they are distinct from urban dwellers and that their rural connections are an important defining feature Macro and Micro Approaches to Sociology Macrosociology = the study of society as a whole o ex. looking at the big picture first, the at individuals second Microsociology = the study of individual or small-group dynamics within a larger society o ex. looking at individuals first, and society as a whole second Early European Macrotheorists: Marx, Durkheim, Weber Karl Marx = greatest contribution was his insight into the nature of human relationships o Believed that people are naturally competitive with each other b/c they have unlimited wants but unequal ability to fulfill them (all relationships have power imbalances) Emile Durkheim = established sociology as a serious scientific endeavour o He believed that people wanted to work together for collective benefit o He believed that low levels of social integration and regulation were a source of various social problems, including rising deviance and suicide rates Max Weber = analysis of how the social world is becoming increasingly rationalized over time o People are more focused on selecting the most efficient means to accomplish things o While rationalization may make society more productive and efficient, it may also result in people who act like machines and dont appreciate the larger social world 2Early American Microtheorists: Mead, Cooley, Blumer George Herbert Mead = viewed the individual mind and self as rising out of the social process of communication; we become ourselves through social interaction (symbolic interactionism) Charles Horton Cooley = people define themselves by how others view them o the looking glass self by considering how others view us, we actually become the kind of person we believe others see us to be Herbert Blumer = known for his analysis of meaning, language, and thought o This led him to conclude how people create their sense of self within a larger social world Sociology in Canada The American dominance of North American sociology is largely due to population Canadas Geography and Regionalism Brym and Saint-Pierre = one defining feature of Canadian sociology is its ability to survive over time (the development and maintenance of a community in the face of hostile elements (ex. cold winters) and outside forces (ex. political and intellectual pressure from the United States)) Regionalism Quebec, which offers a
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