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SOC 1101 Study Guide - Final Guide: Social Order, Ruling Class, Erving Goffman

Course Code
SOC 1101
Liam Kilmurray
Study Guide

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Jan 13, 2015 The Discipline of Sociology SOC 101
"If horses would adore gods, these gods would resemble horses" (Xenophanes ca. 520 BC).
According to sociologists, many of the things we do are processes that extend beyond
our individual choices, and are rooted in the structural conditions of the social, political,
and economic order in which we live (Marxist influences)
Sociological Inquiry
Structural aspects of society are enduring patterns of social relations and institutions.
oEX: Political systems, voting, or economic system and taxation "structures"
Society is organized through these "patterns" within which individual and group action is
carried on.
The Sociological Imagination
Originated by Sociologist C. Wright Mills
Define as: "...the ability to see the relationship between individual experience and the
larger society."
More than homo economicus, as Mills argued, need for extrapolation, compilation,
rumination on the understanding that humans have of their own society, of their own
place in the world, cosmos, humor, etc.
Ex: Drinking Tea
oBecomes an act of health, or of self medication
oDrink it as a ritual (people drink it at certain times during the day)
oSeen as a drug due to the caffeine inside of it
oSeen as a social activity
oOne can examine tea drinking from a Variety of theoretical perspectives
British Working Class staple of the 19th Century reveals....
They were exploiting the resources of their empire
oPersonal trouble: When a person commits suicide, there are likely personal and
private reasons for it (poor self esteem, hatred of oneself and the like)
oPublic issue: Suicide may also be a result of a variety of social reasons: lack of
social cohesiveness; the negative impact that Europeans have had on Aboriginal
peoples; poor education and economic bases (structural forces, etc.)
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes (1748 - 1836) first coined the term Sociology
Used later by A Comte
Like Xenophanes, sociology attempts often to distinguish between, and analyse, belief
and knowledge
The Development of Sociological Thinking
Classic origins go back to logic beginnings
oAristotle and Plato, for example
oHowever, earlier thinkers stated what they thought society ought to be like, rather
than describing what society actually was.
The growth of the natural sciences in the 17th-18th centuries, beginning of the process
of applying scientific principles to the analysis of society

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This was especially applicable after the Industrial Revolution
History of Sociology
Post enlightenment, post French Rev.
Academic sociology emerges after, and in response to, rationality, modernity, empiricism,
capitalism, urbanism, emergence of nation states
Industrial Revolution and emergence of Capitalism are crucial, as new rules, new
associations, new populations, new societies threw up new issues, problems: physical,
psychological, and social
Western world, at the time, rife with poverty, creativity, wealth, disease
Early Thinkers: A Concern with Social Order and Stability
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
oPopularized the term Sociology and is considered the founder
oHe believed that societies contained:
Social Statics - forces for social order and stability (friendship, kinship,
marriage, spirituality, sexuality)
Social Dynamics - forces for conflict and change (poverty, pollution)
Natural science applied to society
oFacts must be observed, but observation and understanding require theory
oComte's emphasis on the interconnectedness of social elements was a
forerunner of modern functionalism
oMontpellier (book)
3 stages to social development:
Theological phase precedes the enlightenment, blind belief, gods and
Metaphysical phase involved the justification of universal rights as being
on a vauntedly higher plane than the authority of any human ruler to
countermand. Not god, but reason, stages of investigation, that reveal
Positive phase: people could find solutions to social problems and bring
them into forced despite the will of God. Science started to answer Qs.
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)
o"The intellect of women is confined by an unjustifiable restriction of... education..
As women have none of the objects in life for which an enlarged education is
considered requisite, the education is not given... The choice is to either be "ill-
education, passive, and subservient, or well-educated, vigorous, and free only
upon sufferance"
oMade Comte's work more accessible
Edited his work
oHer own work - Analyzed political economy, reviewed current works
oUntil recently, she received no recognition in the field of sociology, partly because
she was a woman in a male-dominated discipline and society

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oShe was an active sociologist studying social customs and consequences of
industrialism and capitalism
oShe examined religion, politics, childrearing, slavery, immigration in categories of
race, class and gender
oStaunch supporter, and close friend of Charles Darwin, and an avowed
"In the present state of the religious world. Secularism ought to flourish.
What an amount of sin and woe might and would then be extinguished."
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
oBelieved that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas
Conflict (especially class conflict) was necessary in order to produce
social change and a better society
Class conflict: the struggle between capitalist class and the working
Bourgeoisie: Comprises those who own and control the means of
production (capitalist class)
Means of production: refer to the tools, land, factories, and
money for investment that form the economic basis of a society.
Proletariat: Comprises those who must sell their labour because
they have no other means of livelihood (working class)
oBelieved Capitalist system made poverty
Capitalist class controls and exploits the masses of struggling workers by
paying them less than the value of their labour
oThe results in workers - Alienation: a feeling of powerlessness and
estrangement from other people and from oneself.
oMarx predicted that the workers would become aware of its exploitation and
overthrow the capitalists, creating a free and classless society.
o1917 - First Capitalist country created (?)
oHugely influential in sociology, conflict studies, anthropology, etc.
Max Weber (1864-1920)
oEmphasized cultural and political factors as key influences on economic
development and individual behaviour
oEconomic systems are one but not the only source of change
oFamous "Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism)
oValue free sociology; research should be conducted in a scientific manner and
should exclude the researcher's personal values and economic interests.
oHe realized that sociologists could not be totally value free, so they should
employ Versthen - ("understand" or "insight") to gain the ability to see the world
as others see it
oFamous for his study of bureaucracies and religion
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) - Undoubtedly father of sociology
oEarly focus was on religion and society
oBelieved that people are a product of the social environment and behaviour
cannot be fully understood by biological or psychological traits
oSocieties are built of social facts - these are patterned ways of acting, thinking,
and feeling that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control
over each person.
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