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Midterm

Soc 101 midterm 1 study notes.docx

14 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 101
Professor
Barry Mc Clinchey

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Soc 101 Chapter 1-Sociological Theory POV of different sociologists 1) Functionalist-think about what is best for society as a whole. 2) Conflict theorist- argue society, do not work in everyone’s best interest; society is set up so we are competing for the resources that are available. 3) Symbolic Interactionists- focus on small, specific groups and their interactions. 4) Feminists- women’s POV Why Theory? -Antionio Gramsci believed that everyone is a social theorist -he also believed that anyone can come up with ideas or make judgements about different tastes -we already use our intellects to explain how society works The Nature of Social life -many social theorists want specifically to understand the nature of social life -why is it so often unthinkingly orderly, routine, and generally predictable? -C. Wright Mills suggested that we should connect personal problems with the larger societal forces -“The sociological imagination” is this way of thinking The sociological imagination -Mill’s ideas were ignored for some time in mainstream sociology -he believed that we must address social problems by linking an individual’s personal troubles with the way society is organized and structured -Mill’s also suggested that the discipline of sociology should understand an individual’s private troubles as rooted in widespread public issues -when we do so, we exhibit “the sociological imagination” The Birth of Sociology in the Age of Revolution -sociology was developed in the 19 century by European scholars who were aware that their world was changing rapidly and fundamentally -what was new when sociology was invented about two centuries ago was the idea that society could be studied scientifically -The Enlightenment encouraged the use of reason to understand the world Auguste Comte (1798-1857) -coined the term sociology -he believed that sociologists should attempt to discover natural social laws of human existence -Comte believed that social thinking passed through 3 stages: 1) The assumption that the world was run by supernatural, powerful gods 2) The idea that nature replaced the belief in a miraculous god 3) The application of science to understand the social (natural) world Positivism -throughout most of the 19 century, sociological thinking involved the search for law-like certainties that could explain social life -following Comte, this approach became known as positivism Classical Sociology -Many of the questions sociologists are interested in don’t have a rational basis -many social theorists seek to understand people’s intentions and bring the elements of thinking and choosing into their analysis -Comte realized two apparently contradictory things appear true of society: it basically stays the same over time and it is constantly changing Functionalism -functionalist theorists seek to identify the basic functions that must be fulfilled in all societies -from a functionalist perspective, if something exists in society and persists over time (religion, sports, crime), then it is important for the reproduction of society Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) th -the most famous sociologist of the 20 century -argued that the simplest societies held together by practices such as religious celebrations and gift- giving. When wives/gossip/stories/gifts were exchanged, relationships were strengthened and given meaning -a second source of togetherness originated in regular, sacred gatherings/events/feasts -without religion, people were no longer united by a single code of right and wrong, an uncertainty Durkheim termed anomie -the task of sociology was to put an end to anomie and conflict -Durkheim’s social theory examined society as a totality of interconnected parts -an approach that is fundamental to his theory (functionalism) Karl Marx (1818-1883) -did not describe himself as a sociologist -inspired movements of revolution and reform that have had deep and lasting consequences for sociological theory -in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Marx’s theories entered sociology directly as part of a critical and radical reorientation of the discipline -challenged functionalist arguments and emerged as conflict theory -Marx sought to understand social life by focusing on how it distributed the basic necessities of life -the transition to capitalism was marked by a surplus of goods. This surplus went to the elite capitalists -Marx referred to wage workers as the proletariat -Marx believed that the proletariat were exploited by capitalists, religious leaders, and the government -religious messages pacified workers -he referred to religion as the “opium of the people” because it dulled the pain caused by capitalists -ultimately, the fate of capitalism depended upon the working class to revolt against the system -usher in a more cooperative system known as socialism -no highly industrialized society has ever made the transition to socialism Power and Resistance -alienation refers to the separation of things that go together -capitalism is especially alienating for working people -the existence of power and resistance are important concepts of conflict theory -discipline over the body and mind become so ingrained that people may respond to discipline without thinking -as everyone possesses power, they also have the ability to resist power and domination Max Weber (1864-1920) -spent much of his time studying individualism in a capitalist context -he believed, however, that rationality was the most important change in modern society -he sought to uncover the social, cultural, and political factors that shaped modern society -formal rationality involves ascertaining the most efficient means to achieve objectives. Modern societies are characterised by such authority -traditional authority is said to occur when societies follow existing customs -charismatic authority is evident when charismatic leaders influence society -in modern societies, politics have become rationalized -policies and regulations in political institutions lead to a formal set of rules known as bureaucracies -Weber believed that capitalism was an unintended consequence of the Protestant Reformation -Religious values were the cause of capitalism in Europe -modern capitalism created a new middle class of professionals, technicians, and office employees who were paid higher salaries and given more autonomy at work -Weber’s focus was on class, status and power Pierre Bourdieu -following Weber, Bourdieu (1930-2002) examined the various ways that people acquire power and control -tastes and preferences impact our place in the world -Cultural capital refers to the educational and knowledge resources a person uses to acquire prestige and social standing -Social Capital refers to how a person uses personal connections to employ power George Ritzer -Ritzer drew upon Weber’s ideas to analyze the spread of rationality in the global economy. He referred to this as McDonaldization -The fast-food chains techniques have become the model for other institutions in almost every aspect of society. Microsociology -at the end of the 19 century, the Chicago School of Sociology sought to explain the social world by examining how individuals perceived it -this is known as microsociology because the unit of analysis is individual (or small groups) -micro-sociologists believe that the social world is made up of interactions between individuals -intersubjectivity refers to how people orient their behaviour to what they think others think -when people enter into a social interaction, W.I. Thomas noted that the possess a “definition of the situation” -G.H. Mead suggested that people have the ability to take of the role of the other (empathy). We can think reflexively. -according to Ervin Goffman, people’s actions are analogous to theatrical performances -people role play to maintain social appearances -microsociologists argue that the world is built from the bottom up Feminist Sociology -male sociologists have traditionally monopolized the discipline of sociology -feminist theorists have attempted to address the resulting bias by focusing their efforts on patriarchy -there are many different types of feminists (maternal, radical socialist) -although they perceive society differently, they generally agree that women have been more successful at acquiring rights as opposed to actual equality Dorothy Smith -she maintains that feminist research should begin research from the standpoint of everyday experiences of women -she suggests a methodology known as “action research” -she advocates a sociology for the people Modernism and Post-Modernism -much contemporary feminism is rooted in a wider approach known as post-modernism -it rejects the entire tradition that began with the Enlightenment -the 19 century was marked by both the Enlightenment and Romanticism -the latter view revealed the irrational, emotional, and expressive aspects of people -while positivists sought out prediction and control, romanticists considered the emotional and willful aspects of human beings -post-modernists reject the idea that humans are rational and social life “real” -they also reject the idea of a single truth -they believe that there are many different truths in the world to be explored on issues such as gender, sexuality, and authority Chapter 2- Research Methodology Introduction -this chapter focuses on the methods that sociologists use to generate theories -many sociologists consider the discipline to be a science, while others consider it to be an art or humanity, some don’t categorize it at all Qualitative and Quantitative Sociology -if viewed as a science, efforts are often made to quantify social life -this is referred to as quantitative sociology -if viewed as an art or humanity, then sociological research is often designed to tap into the rich meanings of human experiences -this is called qualitative sociology Sociology as a science -science is said to entail several characteristics: 1) Knowledge is based on facts 2) Facts are part of the real world and can be observed 3) Scientists make objective observations 4) We usually use the scientific method to discover truths about the world 5) Scientific truths of the world are better than other truths -this includes other social sciences including psychology, economics, and political science -OBJECTIVITY: objective observations alone do not lead to scientific conclusions (objectivity is not allowing personal feelings into the picture) -personal opinions, biases, and cultural understandings are a part of most sciences -some people believe that if objective claims about the world cannot be made, then science is an impossible task -relativists believe that there is no ultimate truth Theory and research -theories are abstract ideas about the world and most sociological research is used to evaluate these theories -theories cannot be tested directly because they contain abstract ideas -rather, they must be translated into observable ideas in a process known as operationalization -operationalization is the process of translating theories and concepts into hypotheses and variables -in order to test theories, we require and observable equivalent of their main claims. These are called hypotheses. -hypotheses express relationships between variables -variables are the empirical equivalent of theoretical concepts -variables must be observable and they must be capable of taking on a range of different values (ethnicity, age, years of schooling, annual income) Validity and Reliability -when operationalizing theories, it is important that the variables and hypotheses match the theories and concepts in question -Validity: you are actually measuring what you think you’re measuring. - Reliability: getting consistent results (consistently right results depend of validity) -we want to ensure that the measures used are both valid and reliable Validity Samples -research findings are derived by studying samples of the larger population -when using samples, researchers are concerned with the proper selection of participants and using the appropriate techniques to examine them -the internal validity of a study refers to the extent that study conclusions are supported by the data and methods used Reliability -the reliability of a measurement process refers to its consistency; that is, it produces the same measurements of a phenomena time and time again -in qualitative research, validity often refers to the consistency of findings rather than the consistency of measurements Bias and Error -error refers to the unintentional, accidental mistakes that inevitably creep into a piece of research -bias refers to the systematic inaccuracies in the research process. Respondent biases are a common form of research bias -error can influence a study, you should know it is there but may not -error affects the results -error often affects qualitative analysis -true experiments are not often done in sociology because we can`t manipulate many of the variables and because experiments in a lab often can`t be applied to real life Research Techniques Surveys -most widely used social scientific research technique -they are an excellent way to generate data on populations that cannot be studied in person (ie too large a sample) -the goals of most surveys include: 1) Describing the characteristics of the group 2) Testing theories about that group 3) Generalizing beyond the survey sample Pseudo-Surverys: refer to those done for
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