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Mid Term 1 - Review

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University of Ottawa

What is sociology?  The study of society, a concrete abstraction: not something you can observe but is real (affects us all) i.e. everyone wears clothes – enforced by law Humans are social animals  Driven/Compelled to be together. Reason why humans survived and are dominant  Makes us happy – being accepted/loved o 90% live in urban areas – always with people (cell, tv) A person and people are fundamentally different things  Person is rational thing with personality  People create expectations o Culture is created as an emergent property  You can take 2 things (people) that are dangerous on their own and when put together  new thing (oxygen + hydrogen)  Not naturally created These emergent properties have huge benefits... but also have a dark side  Benefits o With emergence of dif roles, less time spent on fundamental needs (farmer) o Emerg of roles is not on individual level (class clown).  Dark side o Child labour in Pakistan (quarter of a billion under age of 15 work, 5 million under age of 9) o Economy = concrete abstraction (ex University  good job) Sociologist study  How people create, reinforce and challenge society  How society affects individuals and people Why are things the way they are (and not some other way?)  We simplify complicated things/make mental short cuts (use a car, how does it work?) o In life, do specific things to achieve others (plan a trip) What is “society”?  Concrete abstraction: nothing you can touch, taste or see.  Formal rules, laws, norms, expectations – Lives are strongly patterned o Cannot co-exist if we went around doing whatever we wanted 1 1. Societies are the product of human interactions a. Social structure produced through consensus (agreement, negotiation) i.e. roles of household flexible b. Social structure creates conflict (legal system: protects us, but also property) i. Wealthy vs. poor c. Allan Johnson: “participate in something larger than ourselves” 2. While people create societies, societies are autonomous from any single person a. “Self-perpetuating” – runs itself, in motion. With every new generation we create, no reinventing, recreates itself (i.e. voting) b. “Self enforcing: - mutual expectations reinforced by all of us (i.e. elevator) c. “The world is full of choices but it‟s the things we don‟t choose that make us who we are” – ex. ethnicity, gender. (woman lawyers, black people high end store) d. Karl Marx: Individuals make their own choices but not freely – framed, structured and manipulated by society Sociology is the study of individuals and their behaviours in context of society and its forces. o Presents freedom of choice vs. conflict from overcoming norms Why are people attracted to the mirror image of themselves?  Seeing strange in the familiar – make things appear strange (# hrs in wk at school) o Structures children, creates transition, learn how to behave in class... (obsequious)  Path from childhood  adulthood o Education system is a giant “sorter”: takes individuality and reduces it to # (A-D)  Creates “classes” of people C. Wright Mills: Try seeing the world through new eyes. o To learn the mechanics of the world, detach yourself. (Relationship, networks) Macro sociology: looking at the “big social forces and institutions” (i.e politics, educational system)  Why do they exist? Social forces channel choices/choice path of society.  Compelled to be together, constantly in contact (i.e. elevator)  People behave in “patterned” ways, coordinate behaviour acc. to norm to create a sort of “dance”, follow predetermined “scripts”/expectations (i.e. greetings on sidewalk)  Culture shock: when the norms are unknown, cannot adapt  awkward. How to study society: 1. Looking for patterns: social trends/patterns. 2. Asking “Why do these exist?” (i.e. race acc. to income – not about skills) 3. Asking “How do these exist?”: we play a role in it (i.e. name on resume|ethnicity) 4. Building theories – create a testable theory from observation 2 Socialization Nature vs. Nurture:  Human behaviour is determined by  Influences in your life genes  Hot temper, competitiveness (pass down  Survival instinct – take care of yourself. behaviour through generations) - Newgenics: creating a “perfect society”/perfect genes and then reproducing them - Phrenology: measuring the aspects of person‟s head (bumps) – intelligent/not, crim/not? Understanding Human Behaviour: Looking for Laws in all the Wrong Places  Look for patterns, tendencies and trends.  We are authors of our own destiny – change to get along and be part of “larger thing” The exceptional nature of the human infant  Human babies, no instinct (no hardware, but software) – learners/blank slate o Not instinct to have family/make friends o Horses/Whales recognition of many things at birth, lots of instinct Primary Socialization  Early in life – constantly regulate environment. o Teach kid how to react, behave and expectations (acceptability, empathy)  Seeing beyond the self – others are important/legitimate  Recognition of abstractions – building blocks of personal identity o Manners, listening to authority, label – name.  Construction of identity – beginning of what categories of gender mean At issue – Gender socialisation  Parents teach children roles by color they wear and how they treat them (boys = rough)  Children observe patterns at home/outside families  “Pink/Blue Issue” – Dorothy, Cinderella, Alice, Snow White = blue (Virgin Mary) o Statistics show that dif gender  dif educational tracks o Genderization: labelled a boy/girl? (ears pierce @ 3 yrs) Sex vs. Gender  Sex – reproductive equipment, biological  Gender – learned over the course of life, variable/contingent. Hair, clothes, beh. o Ex. 2/3 woman rather have a man as a boss: straight-talking vs. mood swings How does gender socialisation happen? 3  Direct o Language being told, observed roles  Indirect o Reward and sanction, peer reinforcement Secondary socialization  Beyond the family – institutions, peer groups  Re socialisation – i.e. first year student university (learning the norms) The impact of institutions  Reinforcement principle relates to our home life, either go hand in glove or is conflictual o Reading pleasure at home  good student o Media - teaches stereotypes, norms, and controversy, capacity to deal with issues The influence of peers  Affect lifestyle choices (smoking, university)  Standards, cues, feedback and Group formation/identity markers o Core lesson: constant and everyday experience, what lets us get alongknow what people do Roles  Emile Durkeim – one of founders of socio (how we get along) o Metaphor to clock: small group of people (gears) make world (clock) o Organic solidarity: cohesion comes from everyone doing dif things after become dependent of everyone else o Organic idea: broader grouping (Canada) = human body. Organ on own makes no sense/cannot function, unless all at same time.  When one thing doesn‟t work wellwhole structure suffers Three Paradigms within Sociology 1. Structural Functionalism: perspective that looks at function of structures a. Ex. Why are some people spiritual? What does it do? 2. Symbolic Interactionism: social structure emerges out of interactions with another a. Roles emerge out of the way we treat others (ex Family and children) b. Interaction via symbols 3. Conflict theory (neo-Marxism): looks at the world channelling conflict a. Treat rich/poor people differently – based on choices of the powerful 4 A “Structural Functional” View of Roles  Society is made up of roles that individuals assume – roles more important than individual o “Framework” that allows society to function The “Role Set”/Power of Roles Influencing Human Behaviour  Roles only make sense in relation to one another (prof without students?) o Zimbardo Experiment: 24 “most stable” students – guards/prisoners.  Did actions they would
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