• Lemert, “Social Theory: Its Uses and Pleasures” and “Modernity’s ClassicalAge,”
pp. 1-27 in ST
• Gouldner, “Toward a Reflexive Sociology,” pp. 320-324 in ST.
• Mills, “The Sociological Imagination,” pp. 266-269 in ST.
What is theory? Charles Lemert
• Idea of how something works
• It can confirm hypothesis
• Testable idea
• Gives ability to reason
• Empirically tested
• Charles Lemert says theory is a normal accomplishment of figuring out what
people are doing around each other
• It is an idea of mundane, concealed, hidden stuff or common sense stuff (why did
you drag yourself to school, who’s sitting where, why did you put your laptop
Principles of Pertinence
• Ideas that are relevant in some way or another
• Principles are ideas
• Pertinence are its relevant
• Way to talk about theory
Enlightenment (age of reason) “ I think therefore I am”
• Expanding our minds, being rational, no religion, positivism, moving away from
• Was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in the late 17th and 18th
century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition
• Its purpose was to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in
tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method
• Theory developed from traditional to modern society
• Marx:Alienation and capitalist
• Weber: Rationalism In sociology, rationalization is the process whereby an
increasing number of social actions and interactions become based on
considerations of efficiency or calculation rather than on motivations derived
from custom, tradition, or emotion.
• No longer making things for yourself but for sale and profit
• Interdependent: no one needs to know how to make a whole (Car or machine)
everyone had little tasks in making it
Towards a Reflexive sociology: Gouldner • Reflexive Sociology gives a new perspective in understanding society and
these understandings, according to Reflexive Sociology, should also depend
on the sociologist him/herself, his/her values, beliefs and experiences.
• Reflexive sociology also challenges sociologist to look at the society s/he
studying through the understanding of his or her self.
• Thus Reflexive sociology would like the sociologists to look at his subject not
as 'aliens" or "other", separate, but, like him or her, individuals that have the
skills and talent, in varying levels; trying to understand the society they are
• The ultimate goal of a reflexive sociology is the deepening of the sociologist’s
own awareness, of who and what he is, in a specific society at any given
• Sociologists often speak about walking in the shoes of others and seeing the
• But in order to do either of these things one must first be reflexive or
demonstrate reflexivity. If you want to walk in the shoes of others you must
first know what shoes you walk in. Otherwise, you will not be able to feel the
blisters and bunions that others may experience.
• Similarly, in order to see the bigger picture you have to have an understanding
of the more narrow view through which you see the world. For example, I
cannot even begin to understand what it means to experience reality as an
Asian female if I do not first acknowledge that I experience the world as a
Positivism –Auguste Comte
• Idea of how we know what we know
• Testing stuff: trial and error
• Knowledge comes from the senses
• Auguste comte society undergoes three different phases in its quest for the
truth. These three phases are the Theological (based on whole-hearted belief
in all things with reference to God.), the Metaphysical (The idea that man is
born with certain rights, that should and cannot be taken away, that must be
respected and central at its heart.) and the Positive Phases (The central idea of
this phase is the idea that individual rights are more important than the rule of
any one person.).
• Positivism is a way of thinking developed by Auguste Comte and is based on
the assumption that it is possible to observe social life and establish reliable,
valid knowledge about how it works. This knowledge can then be used to
affect the course of social change and improve the human condition.
• Positivism also argues that sociology should concern itself only with what can
be observed with the senses and that theories of social life should be built in a
rigid, linear, and methodical way on a base of verifiable fact.
Epistemology • Away of knowing the world
• Different ways of knowing
• Different ways of constructing
• Rise of structuralism: systems of meaning and making language
Sociological imagination: Mills
• As the ability to situate personal troubles and life trajectories within an
informed framework of larger social processes.
• Another way of describing sociological imagination is the understanding that
social outcomes are shaped by social context, actors, and social actions.
• To expand on that definition, it is understanding that some things in society
may lead to a certain outcome.
• The actors mentioned in the definition are things like norms and motives, the
social context are like country and time period and the social action is the stuff
we do that affects other people. The things we do are shaped by: the situation
we are in, the values we have, and the way people around us act. These things
are examined to how they all relate to some sort of outcome. Sociological
imagination can also be considered as the capacity to see things socially, how
they interact, and influence each other.
• The significance of the article is to have an understanding of the relationships
between society and an individual. Since an individual doesn't usually affect
society, but society affects an individual it shows that the main societal
behavior can cause complete changes in people's lives and cultures.
• Such incidents I have seen where society affects an individual is when a
person's surroundings change. I have seen people act professionally while they
are at work with proper clothing attire and when at home they dress casually
and let their personalities out.
• Lemert, “The Golden Moment,” pp. 209-221 in ST
• Berger and Luckmann, “Society as a Human Product,” pp. 291-294 in ST
• Merton, “Social Structure andAnomie,” pp. 174-183 in ST.
• DuBois, “Black Reconstruction and the Racial Wage,” pp. 183-186 in ST
• Merton, “Manifest and Latent Functions,” pp. 236-239 in ST.
Watched a video: rocky balboa inspirational speech
• WW2 (USA)
• End of the phase
• Historical period generates ideas • Big millions killed changed the world (not just western)
• Great depression, economy fails
• Response: maybe should use state/ government to help people get job, value
people as citizens
• Very powerful countries against each other
• Nuclear weapons developed
• Great Britain split up
• Marked the end of an era
Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann: Society as a Human Product
• How society and institutions work
• How reality is
• We go on about doing the things we do
• All of this stuff is made up, we make it, we give meaning to it
• We can all walk out but we don’t
• Habitualization: repeated steps, how do we get to this point when or how do we
develop these habits, any action that happens frequently and turns into a pattern
• This leads us to institutions: durable, sets of regular social relations that have
structuring effects of the social world ex. Family church and marriage
• These structures all shape you
• Institutions happens
• Reciprocity: back and forth, your doing something, I’m doing something, these
become habits, norms and have an institution. The quality or state of being
reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influence
• In order to understand institutions ands thing that’s shape us we have to
understand the habits that develop
Robert Merton: Social Structure andAnomie
• People become disconnected and start doing weird and unusual stuff
• Why is that some people do not conform?
• If you do not conform you will not be guaranteed into society
• The position you occupy dictates what you do
• The greatest pressure for deviations is poor people
• People act deviant when they cannot make it into the system, it pushes them into a
• Our social world tells us to do stuff, however social institutions only tell us to do
stuff in specific ways, they control us
• Doctrine of luck: explains about merit and rewards, system is not design to work
• Anomie: emerging state of social deregulation
• This temr comes from durkheim • He wants to figure out how some structures put a pressure on certain people to do
non confirmative stuff (wants us to understand deviance)
• Understand deviance and sociological terms
• Symptom of dissociation between culturally prescribed aspirations and socially
structured admins for realizing these acts (understand deviance as a symptom of
• Deeper thing is what our structure, our system and our culture is telling is to
• That is what you aspire but things are not that easy to go through
• Deviance happens when there is a disconnection from a goal and the path to take
to get there
• Conformity, reblisions, ritualism, innovation, retreatism,
DuBois, “Black Reconstruction and the Racial Wage
• Watched the south park episode
• Talks about structure, wealth, race,
• Wedge between white and black people (they are divided)
• Systems of habits cant work for some groups
Manifest and Latent functions: Robert K merton
• Through out the day one faces multiple situations.
• These situations will almost always have an intended consequence and a not so
intended consequence (Merton, pg. 308).
• A manifest function involves the preplanned or conscious actions, while a latent
function involves the unintended and unconscious actions (Merton, pg. 308).
• I can analyze myself using the concept of manifest and latent functions. I am
currently enrolled in five classes this semester. The manifest functions of
continuing my undergrad education is to gain professional qualifications which
are recognized and respected worldwide, becoming independent, enhancing my
career prospects, and meeting new people with diverse backgrounds. The latent
functions however are paying so much money for classes and books. Also another
thing you don’t realize is by going to university it develops you in a way that you
become more cultured and matured.
• James, “The Self and Its Selves” pp. 122-126 in ST.
• DuBois, “Double-Consciousness and the Veil,” pp. 126-130 in ST.
• Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and “Women and Economics,” pp. 130-134 in ST.
• Cooper, “The Colored Woman’s Office,” pp. 135-139 in ST.
• Simmel, “The Stranger,” p. 139-142 in ST.
• Coooley, “The Looking Glass Self,” p. 142 in ST.
• Lacan, “The Mirror Stage,” p. 257 in ST. James: The Self and Its Selves
• We don’t know where we are going, moving to different places
• Selves and self, what we see a fluctuating material or simply mine, or nothing to
do with it at all
• He is stretching out the imperial me, three types social, spiritual and material
• Social: recognition from friends and family
• Material: your friends and family
• Spiritual: who you think you are, your morals and values, consciously thinking of
what your body is doing, who you are related to?
• No metaphysics
• Pragmatism theory
• Part of the metaphysical club ( about a group of famous americans)
• Without actions there is nothing
• Key point: first thinker to say lets talk about the self, the I and the me in social
terms as opposed to metaphysical terms, it is shifting of your frame
Dubois: Double-Consciousness and the Veil
• It is ideal to Canada
• Double concisuosness shows you something in the social world that you might
not have thought about
• Incident at school, exchanging cards with a white girl, she refused him, which
made him different from other, no desire to put that veil down
• Veil is his skin color, why did god make me a stranger and outcast in my own
house, there a lot of walls I am separate
• Talking about African American as sort of seventh songs lets him see himself
through the eyes of others
• White class given more priority, blacks as second class citizens
• You don’t want to change yourself, but be bothAfrican/American
• Americans are more outspoken about racism, Canadians are more quite
• What does the reading show us: he sees himself as what others see him
• Whites know they are privileged but they aren’t aware of it
• Video: Tuskgee airmen: racism and injustice to cancel color pilot project
• He is trying to fight for his country
• He is looking through the veil how does my country feel about me and how do I
feel about my country
• Dubois was a student of William James
Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper,”
• Commited suicide breast cancer, advocate of of euthanasia
• Got depressed after having a daughter
• Guys wont get this, because its women’s perspective • The doctors put her into a room and locked her up
• Metaphor for patriarchy and sexism
• Change the role of women in society
• Guys don’t care they are privileged
• She wants freedom, mental stimulation
• Treatment they prescribed for her, contrast directly with what she really needed
Gillman “Women and Economics
• They are not valued, women depend on men, not equal
• Women doing double shifts
• Woman dominated jobs are paid less
• Men do less work but are paid more
• Very radically and current
James - “The Self and Its Selves”
• James was a pragmatist (the separation of mind/body, we see it different but
it is one in the same)
• Enlightenment period and rationality tied into Decartes ideas
• Along with the pragmatist comes the “self”
• What we see “fluctuating material;” me/mine
• Broadening notion of the self, not just what it is in your head but family, home
and friends are included
• Material self/social self: recognition, fame and honour
• Spiritual self: something physical consciously thinking about is doing
• Pure ego: gut feeling, intuition
• Who you are is related to what you do and the institutions you are related to
• Self is wrapped up in the things you do and the relations you have
• Think about the self in social terms rather than metaphysical
DuBois -“Double-Consciousness and the Veil,”
• Dubois was way ahead of his thought process from the period this was written in
• Incident at school where a boy was a student was refused by a white girl whom he
gave a card to because he was different from the others
• He was separated by a veil (analogy for skin colour)
• “Why did God make me a stranger and outcast in my own house?” • He describes AfricanAmericans as born with a veil and can see themselves in
relation with the other world
• AfricanAmericans have a two-ness in society: They areAmerican and Negro at
the same time (two souls, two thoughts)
• AfricanAmericans are struggling between beingAmerican andAfricanAmerican
• Double-Consciousness relates to James reading because of the concept of the
“multiplicity of self”
• Heuristic potential: showing things revealing things, trying to show stuff (new)
that we haven’t seen before
Gilman - “The Yellow Wallpaper,”
• Woman got depressed after the birth of her daughter and was locked in the room
by her doctor. She took her life because she had breast cancer.
• Yellow wallpaper is a metaphor for husband, patriarchy and sexism
• Males do not see this are they are priveleged
• Being locked up in a room is the opposite of what she needed mainly because she
wanted to be free to be able to write and express herself
• There is a male arrogance
• The story told by her husband almost makes her believe that there is something
wrong with her
“Women and Economics,”
• Men do less but get paid more
• Women are not valued, women depend on men and they are not equal in terms of
• Women do double shifts but still get paid less than men
• Women dominated jobs are paid less
Cooper, “The Colored Woman’s Office,”
• Intersectionality: black women have to negotiate between many different and
overlapping identities (beingAfricanAmerican, being a woman)
Simmel, “The Stranger,”
• Wrote this referring to the Jews in Europe
• In the group, but not in the group at the same time
• Stranger is the element to the group multiplicity relating to James • Also related to Dubois “veil” concept being inside and outside of society
• The stranger is historically related to trade and liquid forms of wealth
• The stranger untainted by local prejudice
• Stranger not confined by social norms
• For example: In the GTA, immigrants blamed for the problems that might happen
• Our professor can be in the same group as us, but not confined by the same rules
Coooley, “The Looking Glass Self,”
• 3 main components
-Imagine how we appear to others
-Imagine how you are going to judge that appearance
-Develop sense of self-based on this
• For example: people Photoshop their pictures and put them on Facebook
• Is facebook a looking glass self: you like your pictures?
• We are often not sure ourselves? Ex.At an interview
• Being yourself or not
• Do you dress differently at school or at home?
Lacan, “The Mirror Stage,”
• Mirror is not what it seems
• The mirror is lying to the baby
• It is pleasing, unifying but it is just an image
• We do not always get out of this mirror stage
• Video shown in class:?
“The Looking Glass Self”
• “The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not the mere mechanical reflection
of ourselves but an imputed sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon
• People change behavior according to certain individuals
• Shaping self concepts based on their understanding on how others perceive them
• People conform to how they think others perceive them to be so it is difficult to
act differently from how a person thinks they are perceived
• 3 main components
1. Imagine how we must appear to others (can be wrong since it is based on
assumptions, therefore, we often change behavior on how we feel) 2. Imagine and react to what we feel their judgment of that appearance must be
3. We develop our self thru the judgment of others
• Our perception of self does not come from who we are but how others see us
• People in our environment are mirrors on how we see ourself
• As long as we interact with others, we are responsible for our changing self image
• Outsider has no relation to wanderer comes today and leaves tomorrow
• Stranger comes today and stays tomorrow
• Stranger lives and participates in the group, yet he is distant from the other natives
of the group
• Stranger is “extraneous” to the group and even though he is in constant relation to
the other group members, his distance is more emphasized than his nearness
• Because of this peculiar position, the strangers often carry out special tasks that
other members of the group are either incapable or unwilling to carry out e.g.
• Stranger is far enough that he is unknown but close enough that it is possible to
get to know him
• There should be strangers in society
• Erikson, “Youth and American Identity,” pp. 253-255 in ST.
• Goffman, “Presentation of the Self,” pp. 255-257 in ST.
• Marcuse, “Repressive Desublimation of One-Dimensional Man,” pp. 324-325 in ST.
• Garfinkel, “Reflexive Properties of Practical Sociology,” pp. 325-329 in ST.
• Bourdieu, “Structures, Habitus, Practice,” pp. 329-333 in ST.
• Geertz, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” pp.
288-291 in ST.
Erikson – “Youth and American Identity”
• NotAmerican youth but the place they are at in their lives
• Even though their body has matured, their mind is “not quite there” yet
• Youth are confused about their role as there are conflicting cul