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Final

Exam Notes.doc


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101
Professor
Barry Mc Clinchey
Study Guide
Final

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Chapter 1: Understanding the sociological imagination
The sociological Perspective
Sociology = the systematic study of human groups and their instructions
Sociological perspective= a view of society based on the dynamic relationships between
individuals and the larger social network in which we all live
*Basically the decisions we make the actions we take is what sociology studies
Charles wright mills suggested that people who do not, or cannot, recognize the social
origins and character of their problems may be unable to respond to these problems
effectively
Personal troubles = personal challenges that require individual solutions
Social issues= challenges caused by larger social factors that require collective solutions
Example to understand personal trouble vs. Social issues: midterm if everyone does
well and you do bad that is personal trouble, if everyone does bad that is a social issue
Mill says that people rarely equate their personal troubles with social issues which mills
thinks is a lack of quality of mind
Quality of mind = mills term for the ability to view personal circumstance within a social
context, people who lack this see the world in black and white terms
Sociological imagination: this is Charles W. Mill’s term for the ability to perceive how
dynamic social forces influence individual lives
Peter Berger defines sociological perspective as the ability to view the world from two
distinct yet complementary perspectives: seeing the general in the particular and seeing
the strange in the familiar
Seeing the general in the particular:
oIs the ability to look at seemingly unique events or circumstances and then
recognize the larger (or general) features involved
Seeing the strange in the familiar
oThis perspective is seeing something familiar and seeing it as strange
Both Charles w mills and peter berger talk about sociological perspective
What makes you, You? Engaging the sociological imagination

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Agency: the assumption that individuals have the ability to alter their socially constructed
lives
Five social factors that influence people and who they are:
oMinority status: includes physical & mentality disabilities, gays, and forms of
discrimination
oGender: women and men get are treated differently
oSocio-economic status: this term is used to describe a combination of variables
to position or score people on criteria such as income level, level of education,
occupation.
Ascribed status: attributes (advantages or dis) assigned at birth (e.g sex)
Achieved status: attributes developed throughout life as a result of effort
and skill (e.g. grades)
oFamily structure: income and single parent families effect income which in turn
effects the child’s development
oUrban- rural differences: people growing up in city’s and small towns are brought
up different
The Origins of Sociology
Sophist were greek educators that use to go around and taught people how to live well
and be happy
Plato writes about being happy together as a society , after plato many others explored
the individual in a society
Auguste comte coined the word “sociology”, he is also referred to as the father of
sociology
Ibn Kaldum is recognized as the first social philosopher working from a sociological
perspective
Three Revolutions: the Rise of Sociology
Three events inspired the rise of sociology: the scientific revolution, the political
revolution, the industrial revolution

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The scientific revolution:
oAuguste Comte believed that the hard sciences (chem, physics, bio) used to
explain the physical world should be used to explain the social world
oComte’s Law of Three Stages (defines how advances of the mind created three
different types of societies):
Theological stage: longest period of human thinking, beginning with our
earliest human ancestors and ending during the middle ages (more about
god and science was used as a way to discover god)
Metaphysical stages: a period where people began questions everything
like gods and the church (people used feelings. Passions, and fears that
were explored as an attempt to understand ourselves better
Positive stage: this was the stage during Comte’s lifetime, this stage is
when the world would be analyzed through a scientific lens
oThe 3 laws are not credible today because; 1.) it assumes human thinking is
good as it gets now 2.) idea of last stage emerging during comte’s life time is
somewhat self-serving
oPositivism: a theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based
on science
There exists an objective and knowable reality:
Since all sciences explore the same singular reality, over time all science
become more alike (ex. Overlap of material in different courses)
No room in science for value judgement (ie. No good or bad science just
different perspective)
oAntipositivisim: a theoretical approach that considers knowledge and
understanding to be the result of human subjectivity (they argue against the
statements positivism makes)
Humans social world cannot be understood through numbers and
formulas
No single methodological approach can reach a complete understanding
Science cannot be separated from our values
Values = cultural assessments that identify something as right, desirable,
and moral
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