Study Guides (390,000)
CA (150,000)
UTM (6,000)
SOC (800)
SOC100H5 (100)

study guide for exam

Course Code
Barry Green
Study Guide

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 10 pages of the document.
Chapter 1: The Sociological Imagination
Structural Functionalism:
C.Write Mills was not a structural functionalist. - SXEOLVKHG³3RZHU(OLWH´- we have JRYt run
by a powerful elite (~3% of population): it was a threat to the idea that everyone is equal.
According to Mills, the 3 fundamental part of studying sociology:
1.) Social Structure: this is not tangible but can show evidence of it. An example of
structure is ³7KH´IDPLO\ -> kinship whether it is by blood relation (children) or by
partnership (marriage). The importance of kinship depends on society. Every society has
some form of structure!
- Another example of social structure is the socio-economic status in our society (upper,
middle or lower classes). This is based on income, wealth, # of years of education, career.
All this has a direct effect on opportunities in life, longevity, what we get to do or not do..
- All of us have immediate experience of how the structure and different elements of
society affect each other ex. Status of the economy, the level of education and the career
that individuals decide to pursue.
- The elements of our society interact in different ways from the rest of the world
2.) Patterns of Social Change: society is constantly changing- we need to understand
history to understand where we are, how it impacts us and how we are changing
- Historical change -> Social change
- Sociology looks both backwards and forwards to in an effort to understand contemporary
changes that they do not understand and that may challenge cherished values
- ex. Technology -> cars has changed the way we work so this is how suburbs were
3.) Characteristics of the people who form society ± These individuals are controlled by
structure and take on social roles -> positions occupied in social life.
- These roles often take time to get comfortable with (ex. University life). Some roles are
easier to adjust than others and there are also different levels of commitment to these
- Our options are often limited; we often fall into categories ex. Social class, gender,
ethnicity, etc
- Social roles have been there long before we have- ZHGLGQ¶WFUHDWHWKHPDQGZHGRQ¶t
have much immediate control over how they affect our lives; it may lead us to feel
trapped b/c forces beyond our control rise above what we directly experience.
- Some society allow greater individual freedom than others.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Mills distinguished between Personal problems and Public issues GLIIHUHQFHOLHVLQWKH¶V
immediate relations with friends and family; occurs when hardly anyone else has this problem
Public issues go beyond the personal and local setting to broader social forces that affect the life
of many people (a significant portion of the population) . Ex. Unemployment
- Credentials are usually what we look at in society; marriage, >1 year cohabitation. All
of these structures of the country are all part of the overall structure
Relation of two different structures of society: The legitimacy of bigamy is argued by the
structure of marriage and the structure of religiosity ± both strucutures are recognized by the
constitution but the question lies in who has more authority.
sociological imagination -> the capacity to understand the relationships between elements of
society and their impact on individual life chances
- Mills argues that it is the sociological imagination that has become the central feature of
society. It is the sociological imagination that seeks to explain social processes, the nature
of our traps and the underlying structural factors that give rise to them.
Mills argues that to understand individual experiences, we have to look beyond their personal
circumstances. We have to examine the structures of society by looking at those social institutions
which reach into personal circumstances, and shape individuals 'troubles'. Many 'personal troubles'
can only be fully understood by examining broader 'public issues'. This means being aware of social
structure and to trace the links between the wider society and the lives of individuals. '
Sociology aims to study the structure of society at the same time as individuals live. And this is
called 'social imagination':
- structures include material constraints (economic resources and class position) as well as
cultural ones (including gender roles, ethnic values and state regulations); and
- agents and individuals pursue ultimate concerns, life projects, commitments and human
needs and have emotional feelings (including the family concern, professional goals and
passions for music and cooking).
Mills argues that the sociological imagination allows people to understand their 'private
troubles' in terms of 'public issues'.
e.g., unemployment, war and marital breakdown are all experienced by people in terms of
problems they produce in their personal lives.
Æ however these issues can only be fully understood in the context of wider social forces;
unemployment rate may be increasing in society so that it becomes a public issue.

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

Structure and Agency
Note: sociology has hundreds of theories/ paradigms of the social world -> Some textbook
emphasize different ones. The Hale textbook chooses 4 theories. In sociology, not just
Structure: based on order ±all parts of the social world has to function well for it work properly
(like puzzle pieces that fit together) : if one structure has a problem, it will affect the other
structures because each part of the structure (institutions) contributes to the equilibrium state
- There are all kinds of constraints in the structural world
- Although order limits our options, it gives us predictability, stability and equilibrium
Deterministic Model: ,WFRQWUROVXVEXWZHGRQ¶WKDYHFRQWURORYHULW-> We have limited choice.
Therefore, the structural model is seen as controlling the individuals
Structural Functionalism: sees the world as a living system of organisms ± like all living things,
it needs certain things to survive.
- It is the structure that matters ± DFWRUVLQWKHV\VWHPGRQ¶WKDYHPXFKFKRLFHDQGKDYH
very limited free will; like an actor who has a script ± WKH\FDWLPSURYLVH± have to stick
university but that decision is based on so many other factors such as what programs are
offered in that campus, whether we meet the requirem ents, etc.
- Structural functionalism is based on the consensual model ± power is shared by
consensus. We accept the social world the way it is ± we do this by teaching children at a
choice, the advantage to this order of things is that it offers predictability, security,
When you have a structure: The higher status (the wealthier, more powerful) individuals are
more likely to have greater influence ; peasants try to change some things through
Alternative: Action/ Agency: deal in roles, interpret
- We take on roles but within the rules and constraints of our roles, human beings are
agents of their own lives
- Gives us free will ± how we act within these roles and how we control ourselves and
others, we can control the order of things and the situation at hand.
- Ex. We go to an interview ± we try to interpret the interviewer; reading an individual by
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version