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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Chapter 1 Understanding the Sociological Imagination The sociological perspective views the social world through the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which they live The sociological imagination, as defined by C.W. Mills, is the ability to view yourself as the product of social forces. In this way, you enrich your understanding of personal circumstances by seeing them within a wider social context Peter Berger emphasized that the ability to recognize general social patterns in particular events is one of the hallmarks of the sociological perspective. Berger further encouraged the ability to perceive the strange in the familiar-that is, to question the assumptions behind seemingly rational, everyday social phenomena Sociology emerged from the need to understand the striking social changes that occurred in Europe in the form of three revolutions: scientific, industrial, and political A positivist approach views science as the rightful foundation of all understanding; it holds that there exists a single, objective reality that is knowable through observation, experimentation and logic Anti-positivists contend that we cannot understand our social world solely through science; we need to appreciate human subjectivity and judgements of moral value Macrosociology, or the study of society as a whole, had its early influence in the theories of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. Microsociology, the study of individual or small-group dynamics within a larger society, had influences by George Herbert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and Herbert Blumer Canadian sociology is influenced by four factors that differentiate it from the American tradition: geography and regionalism, focus on political economy, Canadianization movement, and the nature of Canadian sociology In today`s interconnected world, it is vital to consider the dynamic forces of globalization and the inequities that result from the primacy of capitalism in the global economy Chapter 2 Classical Social Theories Early social philosophers contributed to classical sociology theory through these fundamental tenets: Thomas Hobbes` assertion that government`s appropriate role lies in preserving peace while allowing individuals to pursue their self-interests; John Locke`s belief in individual freedom and autonomy; Charles de Montesquieu`s comparative methodology and his appreciation for cultural diversity; and Jean-Jacques Rousseau`s analysis of the social contract and his belief in individual autonomy Functionalism encompasses a view of the social world as a dynamic system of interrelated parts. Its early thinkers include Auguste Comte and Vilfredo Pareto; later theorists include Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Robert Merton Conflict Theory holds that power lies at the core of all social relationships and is unequally divided, and that the powerful maintain their control of society through the dominant ideology. The most influential conflict theorists are Karl Marx and his collaborator, Freidrich Engles Symbolic interactionism emphasizes that society and social structures are created by the interactions between people and that these structures can be changed. This theory, unlike the preceeding two, has a micro sociological orientation. Its early theorists are Max Weber, and Georg Simmel; later American theorists include George Herbert Mead and Charles H. Cooley Chapter 3 Modern Social Theories Gramsci`s concept of hegemony holds that the ruling class dominates through the permeation of its ideology. Its prevailing philosophy, culture, and morality become internalized by the population and appear as common sense. In this way, the subordinate classes never feel wholly oppressed by ruling class culture Dorothy Smith`s feminist theory begins with the actualities of people`s lives and address how people are influenced by social relations outside their particular worlds. bell hooks critiques the erasure of black women`s identities in the context of the women`s movement, and focuses on the inseparability of race and gender Michel Foucault understands power not as an entity, but as constituted within social relations. This approach thus perceives individuals as having the agency to resist and even change power relations. Foucault links power with knowledge through his concept of discourse, a system of `truths` that serve to structure how people think about certain subjects. Discipline, according to Foucault, is a form of modern power that works through normalizing judgement rather than force or coercion Queer Theory`s three principal areas of critique are desire, language, and identity. With regards to desire, queer theorists aim to disrupt categories of `normal` and acceptable sexuality and allow for its multiple expressions. Language is not understood as having the power to create reality in that far from being neutral; language is laced with implicit values. Identity is perceived not as inherent within us but rather as constructed: it is fluid, multiple, and emerges through our relationships with others Post-colonial theory is concerned with relations of power, whether past or present, between colonizing powers and those colonized. Edward Said`s concept of Orientalism outlines the West is considered superior to the East. This Orientalism takes three forms: academic, imaginative, and institutional Critical race theory holds that racism is endemic in American life, institutionalized, and linked to historical practices. It also recognizes the experimental knowledge of those who have experienced racism, is interdisciplinary, and works toward the elimination of racism. The understanding of `whiteness` as a racial identity implies an important recognition that whites are generally viewed as the default position, with only those who do not fit into this category being marked Giddens understands globalization as occurring through the separation of time and space, whereby social relations shifted from local to global contexts. Two mechanisms associated with the process are symbolic tokens (money) and expert systems of knowledge. Giddens also links globalization to such institutions as capitalism, industrialism, and world military orderChapter 4 Research, Methodology, and Ethics Sociological theory and research questions are inextricably linked; the theoretical perspective a researcher uses will influence the type of research questions he or she asks Sociological research entails using either quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (non-numerical, richly detailed) approach, or a combination of the two. Researchers employ either deductive reasoning (moving from theory to data) or inductive reasoning (moving from data to theory) The essential concepts involved in formulating a research project are hypothesis, independent and dependent variables, validity and reliability, correlation and causality, and research population The six main research methods used in sociological research are surveys, interviews, participant observations, secondary analysis, participatory action, and a mix of two or more of these Just as the theoretical perspective informs the questions a researcher asks, the research questions in turn influence the choice of research methods Sexism has been prevalent in academic research. According to Margit Eichler, the seven types of sexism found in research are androcentricity, overgeneralization/over specificity, gender insensitivity, double standard, sex appropriateness, familism, and sexual dichotomism Key principles in ethical research include respect for others, upheld through informed consent, and balancing participant risk with benefits to the wider society Chapter 5 - Culture C
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