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Sociology Lecture Notes

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Sheldon Ungar

Sociology Lecture 1: Intro, Sociological Imagination September 13, 2012 Concepts: definition  examples i.e. image, stories  data  use & application Concept: Moral Panic -moral panic: exaggerated threat to societal values -attributed to folk devils -news articles: Invasion of the Baby Snatchers and US a leader in death by child abuse -panic revolves around the concept that children are in danger of strangers  child homicides by strangers -homicides of children under 5  highest done by parent (27% mom, 27% dad), then acquaintance and then other family members (slide 13  missing graph) -strangers are least like to commit homicide of children -highest age group murder rate in Canada = babies younger than one year -21 of 23 victims in 2001 killed by a parent -examples of other sources moral panic: terrorism, gangs (depending where you are i.e. living in protected community), epidemics/pandemics, second-hand smoke (it’s not as dangerous as it’s made out to be), AIDS (in North America but not Africa) -establishing moral panic: -need clear and timely evidence of degree of harm -may be unavailable -future oriented -compare claims about harm -how much larger must they be? Sociological Imagination -book written by C.W. Mills -sociological imagination: translate personal troubles into public issues -understand how life chances affected by broader social forces -examples of sociological imagination : cancer (not all cancers), unemployment, date rape -Cancer Alley in Louisiana  chemicals concentrated in streets  poor areas without lawyers at their disposal to change it -sociological imagination has intersection of three variables: 1. History 2. Social Structure i.e. class, race, gender 3. Biography (of individual) Concept: Cohort -set of people born at the same time -experience similar tings at the same age -especially teen years -most famous cohort: Baby Boomers  born after WWII between approximately 1948-1960 -second most famous cohort: the following names are for same generation: Baby Bust, MTV generation, Generation x, 20 something, know nothing, generation with PR problems -antagonistic terms -2 major differences between baby boomers and Gen X cohorts: 1. time born (history)  affects opportunities 2. size of the cohort (social structure)  demographic bulge -cohort effects: -family -baby boomers: stable families (mothers stayed home), very low divorce rate -generation X:  not bindings ties; less parent presence because of working mothers, more kids of divorce, hang out in bigger groups because they don’t have stable families -economic outlook: -baby boomers: jobs were plentiful and people were not concerned -generation X: less job because of economy and because baby boomers have most of the jobs, increase in service industries -percent of young adults (20-29) still living with parents jumped from 30% in 1981 to 45% in 2001, fewer number of marriages and later marriages -politics and culture: -baby boomers: democratic, self-conscious, arms race in education  universities are being built, dominate the media, protests, 1960s-1970s  increase in STDs, changes in drugs -heroes: -current generation: the only hero really is Nelson Mandela one reason is that the media has destroyed heroes i.e. Clinton -60s: Kennedys, astronauts, Martin Luther King, some athletes -new impacts of baby boom: -plastic surgery -concern with menopause -gardening -bowling/lawn bowling -next discovery: -personal growth through death -seven effective habits of dead people -age conflicts over resources -pushed by demographics -includes medicine i.e. US and Canada’s health care system is heading toward bankruptcy -debt being leftover for the next generation -power: who votes? Lecture 2: Suicide and Sociological Theory September 20, 2012 -philosophy and psychology approach suicide as an individual issue: psych  depression and failure (but psych perspective is incomplete -sociology loks at iti from a social point of view, the sociological imagination  broader social forces affecting one’s life chances -Sue Rodriguez: lost case for fight for assisted suicide -Dr. Jack Kevorkian created apparatus that administered a lethal injection those who wanted assistance with suicide -US military suicides: -1 per day Afghanistan 65000/year among vets traumatic brain injury -suicides was 25X the death rate in the Afghan war still majority of vets not kill themselves  social solidarity, anomie (when soldiers come back, they’re not really considered heros  have high unemployment rate and substantial injuries) -applying the sociological perspective: -suicide appears to be an anti-social, individual act -but Durkheim showed that suicide RATES decreased with SOCIAL SOLIDARITY and increases with ANOMIE Social Solidarity -solidarity: support system and close ties to people (family, friends, groups) -social solidarity vs. lonely crowd -the more social solidarity you have, the more protection you have, less likely to commit suicide -women have far more social solidarity than men  women arrange more events, family-oriented -have better and more friendships -men have superficial friendships but women are more admitting Anomie -normlessness -social change as producer of anomie -i.e. moving to a new city  don’t know people, don’t have a routine -example: Great Depression -men have more anomie i.e. typically men would get fired from jobs, behaviour may change more frequently, norms are unclear for men -therefore due to lower social solidarity and higher anomie, men have a substantially higher suicide rate than women (not only in Canada, but all over the world) Logic -IMPORTANT: if suicides were just the result of individual depression or mental illness, they would NOT vary systematically by group, time -depression rates are higher for women but that’s because women come forth saying that they have it Applying Social Solidarity and Anomie -young vs. old: as you age, social solidarity goes down i.e. older people have friends that die and older people are more isolated; older people tend to suffer from more anomie (i.e. retirement -rural vs. urban: rural people have more social solidarity because rural people know their neighbours, etc. but this is changing because more and more rural people are getting satellite TV; anomie is higher in urban areas -catholic vs. protestant: Catholics have more social solidarity and protestants is more individualistic -non-aboriginal vs. aboriginal: non-aboriginal have more social solidarity and less anomie -illusions that we live by: -regime of “truth” foisted on us by constant repetition  unquestioned, un-open to questioning -example: strangers -example: Americans love military (this is not true)  live of soldiers after the war is not good -Durkheim and Suicide -increase in suicide because suicides are rising and also coroners are putting suicide as cause of death more and more since society is becoming more secular Sociological Theory: Functionalism vs. conflict -the rise of sociological theory: -in medieval Europe, the social order was seen as God-give and fixed -this changed with the French revolution and then the industrial revolution -these revolution created the problem of social order -conservative reaction: -those who lose in the revolution  draw on Thomas Hobbes, stress need for restraint and order -the basis of functionalism -liberal reaction: -see it as liberating  get rid of the aristocracy -can rationally structure society -Auguste Compte = “father of sociology”: -positivist: belief in scientific method -social laws equivalent to the laws of nature -dual perspective on society: -theories that stresses order, harmony and continuity and there are theories that focus on power, conflict and change -order theory (conservative)  functionalism: -by Emile Durkheim -shared values keep society together -successful socialization is thus critical for stability: key institution is family -biological metaphor: each part of society plays a part in holding it together i.e. organs of the hold it together -primary questions: -what are its positive consequences? -its functions or benefits for society as a whole? -how does it contribute to social stability? -three types of functions: -manifest functions: most obvious function i.e. hospital functions to take care of sick people -latent functions: less obvious functions that are not that well-known -dysfunctions: i.e. in a hospital, visitors can pick up sickness they did not have before -functionalists stress latent, then manifest functions  they downplay dysfunctions (because theory is based on confidence?) -how does it apply to education: -manifest functions: imparting knowledge and basic skills, teach basic norms and values of society, assorting people by competence (kind of latent) -latent functions: -dysfunction: devaluing the degree because too many people are getting it and misfit between expectation and reality -conflict theory: -by Karl Marx -class conflict as the key: role of power (gender, ethinicity) -conflict theory: -Marx regarded workers (the proletariat) as alienated in capitalism -they were exploited by the bourgeoisie (owners of means of production) -he argued that the proletariat would become (relatively impoverished and revolt) -primary questions: -who benefits (gains) from social arrangements: -whose interests are involved? -how do the privileged maintain their advantage? -application to education: -how to select students in advance? -what are the group benefits -role of certification (legacy positions  set aside positions for children of the elites who went there) -modern functionalists take apparently “inexplicable” features of society and examine how they contribute to social stability i.e. prostitution -prostitution as victimless crime? -like gambling (used to be a crime) and soft drugs (soon may not be…) -both parties agree? -no complaint from parties involved? -police as outsiders who enforce morality? -functional approach of prostitution: -manifest functions: provide access to people who can’t get it otherwise -latent functions: means of income, upholding the family -dysfunctions: spread of disease, disrupting neighbourhoods -conflict approach: -male exploitation of the women  prostitutes are kept on drugs, they are beat -stopping prostitution seems to be impossible Lecture 3: Methods and Data Analysis Used: class, race, ethnicity, gender, family size, context Ignored/inadequate: family composition (i.e. single family), race, class, age -sociology vs. journalism: -how would sociologists study the “4 families”? -use random sample to represent population -measure and quantify variables i.e. systematic counting -sociology as a science: -confirm the obvious: -what everyone knows -common science Vs. -reality is complex -“debunk” the obvious with data -the obvious: alcohol fosters crime: -a basic argument for Prohibition in US -will lower crime rates -law as dysfunctional (functionalism): -spawns organized crime -unintended consequence -data is socially constructed: -may not measure what it’s supposed to measure -explanations over time: -rise in suicide due to: -social changes in society -changes in recording death certificates -administrative decisions and suicide rates? -children’s suicides -prostitution charges: -1972: soliciting law (charges decrease) -1983: supreme court narrowly interprets soliciting (charges increase) -1985: Bill C-49  makes it easier to prosecute and number of charges went up significantly but this does not determine the underlying rate of prostitution  charges are determined only by court decisions -determined as much by political and administrative procedures by what is happening in the real world -law/social control  increase in observed rates -look at Figure 2.3 (in textbook): Research Cycle, look at validity and reliability in the text Variables -take on two or more values i.e. gender, religion, SES -independent variable(s): comes first in time; may “cause” or affect the dependent variable -dependent variables: the one being affected by the IV Methodological issues -reliability = consistency in measurement -validity = precision in measurement -generalizability = assessing the relevance of findings beyond the case studied -causality = assessing cause-and-effect relations among variables -looking at tables (gender and drinking behaviour): -needs a very specific title and must be numbered -the “boxes” of the table are called cells -the gender by drinking behaviour is a 2 x 2 table (row x columns) -margins = numbers at the end of the table (the total for each category) -percentages are always calculated along the independent variable**  slide 21 = percentages calculated in the wrong direction -in correct percentages, can see that gender makes a 15% difference -slide 22: perfect relationship:  all females are light drinkers and all males are heavy drinkers  perfect relationship indicates that if one knows the gender of subject, they’ll know if the subject is a heavy or light drinker -slide 23: strong/near-perfect relationships -slide 24: no relationship (0% difference between males and females) -slide 25; weak relationship -looking at tables (age and drinking behaviour): -slide 26: 2 x 3 -slide 27: 3 x3 Causation and spuriousness -causal relationship: -IV comes first in time -IV related to (affects) DV -relationship is not spurious -not caused by “third” variable -always look for alternative explanations -spuriousness  third variable that related to the two variables (which means it seems the two variables are related) -size of the fire is related to the number of fire trucks that arrive at the scene and the size of the fire is also related to the damage therefore, number of fire trucks does not cause damage -seriousness of illness is related to hospitalization and the increased rate of death, therefore hospitalization does not cause the increased rate of death -density of living conditions  delinquency but it is poverty/income level that affects density of living conditions and delinquency and causes delinquency Multiple variable models Changed divorce laws (social change) (IV variable)  >anomie (intervening variable)  >suicide (dependent variable) -low class, low parental supervision and poor school performance (best predictor) all contribute to increase in delinquency Sociology Lecture 4: Methods - Media and Violence -what TV show causes most violence: TV news, -science: -conjectures = idea that you want to go after -testing -refutations = science does proceed by proving things right but it proceeds by refuting; refuting is disproving if you can’t prove it -sociology can’t really predict to the real world -methodology: -way of assessing validity and confidence in our knowledge -question: does violence in the media lead to violent behaviour? -once question is formulated, literature must be reviewed: select a theoretical approach and select method -need a hypothesis: specifies a relationship between two or more variables; a testable statement -i.e. observed aggressive behaviour on television cause increased violence in children -social learning theory: people imitate behaviour of models: -use similar other -use successful models Phillips’ Suicide study -methods 1. Content analysis  front page suicides in California 2. Daily motor vehicle fatalities  before and after publicized suicide ***publicized suicides are usually celebrities -basic finding: 3 day-after peak (large increase in motor fatalities 3 days after a publicized suicide); controls for day, week, month, holidays (slide 15) -social learning effect  imitation through different means -detailed “specification” of effects -more publicity, greater the number of deaths -time of death goes down (i.e. takes less time to die) -similar others (age, area; certain characteristic of people more likely to get into the motor fatality) -suicide vs. murder-suicide -need to replicate and extend research in theory Philips Boxing study -looked at heavyweight championship (1973-1978) -then looks at homicide rates (before/after fights) -found a 3 day-after peak: 12.5% increase in murders -murder increase greatest after most publicized fights Research Design (select method) -systematic plan to test hypotheses and eliminate alternative explanations -each design has strengths and weaknesses: triangulate designs (use one or more designs) -4 designs: 1. Correlational design -increase in violence in TV shows can lead to increase kid’s violence in real world -the two are related over time -but note: correlation is not causation -measure TV violence  need to do longitudinal content analysis -random sample of TV shows: what years and what shows? -longitudinal counts of crime rates: official statistics, self-reported measures -how measure aggression? -physical vs. verbal -how accurate are official statistics? -e.g. errors in recording; do they matter? Only in very specific circumstances -usually crimes stats are usually lower than they are because crime is underreported -errors don’t matter if the rate is constant over time; also with the advent of computer, better track of information but does not necessarily mean increase in crime -changes in definition -i.e. from rape to sexual assault -TV violence  real world violence vs. alternative explanation: third variable leads to the real world violence -examples of third variables: demography (# young men), level of parental supervision (social control), availability of weapons, changing values, crime rates rise first and TV follows -data actually shows that with the increase in video games and video game console, there is a decrease in serious crime rate  goes against common sense 2. Natural Experiment -put people into experiment when they are not aware of it and manipulate their environment -i.e. experimental group: high exposure to TV violence; control group: low exposure to TV violence  compare the results from the two -issues: how would you control exposure to TV, number of subjects required (need many, people drop out, contaminate data), lag time, contaminate by measurement effects 3. Laboratory Experiment -randomly assign to: experimental group (violent film  observe behaviour) and control group (non-violent  observe behaviour) -is it really aggressive behaviour? (are you intending harm?), demand characteristics in situation, research improvements 4. Survey Design -questionnaire (answer on your own) or interview (some asks questions)  measure aggressive behaviour and measure exposure to violent TV  see if the two are related -how to measure aggression: ask kids (going to lie), ask parents (kids are less likely to tell their parents), ask teachers (the best but still limited), if from the past, there may be the problem of recall -measures taken at same time vs. longitudinal, self-selection  violent kids select violent TV -then: -collect, analyze and report the data -Japan: violent TV, but very low crime rate -firearm deaths around 2000: Japan = 125 million people  38 deaths, UK = 58 million  137 deaths, Canada = 30 million  172 deaths, US = 260 million  16,315 deaths -in Japan there is high social control, low availability of guns -homicide rates and gun availability (slide 43): -homicides: US = 7.4, Switzerland = 2.7, Israel = 1.4, Japan = 0.6 Sociology Lecture 5: Social cohesion Disorder Slide 4 -disorder becomes key element of societies’ collective memory -inverted triangle: permanent  intermittent  rare -rare disorders: 9/11 in US and October crises in Canada -intermittent disorders: France and Greece = labour disputes and strikes, student protests; China 2700 military persons supresses massive protests of migrant workers -permanent disorders: -Afghanistan: -Russian invasion (1979-1988) -Taliban rule: civil war, clan loyalties, war lord, totalitarian order -US-led invasion 2001 on -Second Congo War 1998 on -8 African nations -over 5 million dead esp from disease and starvation -millions displaced -rape Problem of Social Control -try to use the “law” to legislate order: an example -prohibition: -symbolic politics -small town USA -the non-drinkers had been organizing for fifty years and the drinkers had no organization -by 1875 fully one-third of federal revenues came from the beer keg and the whiskey bottle, a proportion that would increase in the years ahead -Voldstead act 1919: prohibit intoxicating beverages  society split in two, as resist the law -smuggling: the liquor came from ships anchored beyond the three-mile and ferried to shore by an enormous fleet of sailboat, skiffs, dinghies, rowboat and even a few seaplanes -Bronfmans (Seagram’s) -Chicago, Al Capone -miniscule chances of boats being seized -exemptions: sacramental use, family farm (wine), medicinal purposes (allows hard liquor) -medical use: -15,000 physicians had lined up for permits before prohibition was 6 months old; for most of the 1920s a patient could fill a prescription for one pint every 10 days, and a doctor could write a hundred prescriptions a month on numbered, government-issued forms… Threats to social order -inequality, egotism and meaninglessness can all lead to potential disorder Slide 21; egotism can lead to inequality and meaninglessness -egotism: -Hobbes: insatiable wants  force and fraud -Freud: civilization and its discontent; society is there to repress individual (id) -selfish gene: genes seek to maximize survival; aggression maximizes it -inequality: -differences in class, status and power -from contestation (e.g. elections) to rebellion and revolution -“superiors” impose ideology and social controls -meaninglessness: -when the taken for granted breaks down -threats to sense of order: black death plague, mass suicide, mass murder, systematic rape, heresy -“why be moral?”  quote from Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky -Nietzsche: brought about the idea of the lucid person  rules are arbitrary -Leopold and Loeb  wanted to create the perfect crime because they thought they were superior beings “Napoleonic complex”; ordinary people follow the law -reasons not to kill: get caught (ppl tell on you, ruin family reputation), others do it to you (imitation), loss of freedom, religion (hell), guilt; emotion (other than guilt)  sensibilities -prudence: -weigh costs/benefits  ppl commit crimes all the time… -a lucid person does not have any illusions -“if God is dead, everything is permissible”  no incontrovertible “reason” to act morally Sociology Lecture 6: Solutions to Order -society the product of human activity -we are its creators -individuals are the product of society -as creators: -Robinson Crusoe -Gilligan’s Island -creation  Catholics: fish on Friday -individuals as products of society: -fish becomes institutionalized and normative -mythologized  human origins hidden -“fish police”  constraining -social metaphor: compare society to a bus  bus goes a certain way and change routes unlike subway in which the paths are fixed -are there cultural universals?: music, story-telling, language -there are universals but they are not very specific -i.e. incest taboo  comes from inbreeding and the genetic consequences that come from it -i.e. violence within the group (but still not clearly defined i.e. spousal violence) -funerals (i.e. mourning) but it varies -some are emerging: i.e. human rights -virtually all social practices are relative: larceny, incest, infanticide, parricide—everything has at some time been accounted a virtuous action (Blaine Pascal?) -ethnocentrism: the tendency to judge other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture -individuals must be socialized -i.e. feral children  children not socialized properly i.e. raised up by animals or locked up children -socialization and order (conformity, constraint) -learn basic values and norms of society -internalize these “in” the self -springs to action -obey or feel guilt  plus seek approval of others -vs. oversocialized conception of persons -how does deep socialization go? -Stalin: -socialization  “New Soviet Person” -complete control of media and education -indoctrinate through sontant propaganda -bans religion  undermine ethnic groups (cleansing) -censorship  no access to print outside party -up to 60 million killed; recall Dostoevsky: 19 century thinkers worried that if God were dead, anything would be permissible -gruesome example: soldiers on front lines were not allowed to retreat and if they did, they would be shot (had to take off uniforms first before they die), soldiers taken prisoner by German -but how deep does socialization go? -Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: states that language determines consciousness and hence our perceptions of reality  i.e. is a person’s experience of snow limited by the number of words available to describe it? -culture-specific syndromes: -19 century women fainted at the slightest thing but present women don’t do this Oversocialized Conception of Persons -never fully socialized  id, I -irreducible -socialization varies by group, place, etc. -role of conflict -solution #2: sanctions/force -reward desirable behaviour -punish undesirable -everyday occurrence -force: ultimate means of social control  restraint because of prudence -use or threat of force in Canada: War Measures Act in Quebec crisis; Quebec referendum…? -limits of sanctions (force): -red light problem: depends on surveillance -people avoid formal sanctions: most social control is informal (minor sanctions and rewards) -solution #3: social exchange -balance inputs and outcomes O /I = O /I a a b b -why was Saddam Hussein still in power?  use of force but no automatic; generals can rebel (Syria) -provides key benefits in exchange for ruling; especially to military leaders and top troops -emotional and social order: -emotion: strong arousal, is named, is positive or negative -emotion effect hypothesis: the strength of beliefs depend on the emotional energies invested in them -fundamental beliefs often “ungrounded”  not able to explain or defend -how society creates emotions: -emotion rules: stipulate what we should feel and when -emotion rules and socialization -groups can socialize using: shame (loss of face), guilt, fear and hatred -emotion work: -by the self: to repress wrong emotions (emotion fallout), to bring out the right ones -ceremonies created so “do” emotions: show trials, moral dramas -Albert Camus; need a terrible spectacles to hold the people in check i.e. capital punishments: “the rabble loves cruelty” -Stalin and emotion: -great revered leader: -ubiquitous statues and images -stories of heroism and miracles -great patriotic war: save the father land -also fear/terror -moral dramas: -public spectacles: pits good against evil -status degradation process: creates moral indignation; The Pillory -creation of deviants: -society needs deviants: even in society of angels (Durkheim) -creates them: “show trials” (people who are blamed for failures in society and put to trials that are public) degradation ceremonies Moral dramas in North America -people “do” strong emotion work: can involve whole society or split it -1950s: Red Scare Soviet Union made their first atomic bomb which caused panic in US and built up mistrust; resulted in atomic spies i.e. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Klaus Fuchs, Alger Hiss -1960s: Vietnam War; youth rebellion; Chicago 7: Hippies and Yippies (Abbie Hoffman); Charles Manson -1970s: Watergate -1980s: Iran Contra –Oliver North; selling of junk bonds –Michael Miliken -1990s: O.J. Simpson (recall Rodney King), Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka, Clarence Thomas vs. Anita Hill -2000s: 9/11 -easier to create negative emotions than positive -Orwell: Big Brother -Dante: inferno vs. heaven -moral dramas of heroism: Terry Fox, astronauts Sociology Lecture 7: Goffman -John Osborne’s play: Look Back in Anger -why a failure? -how does it differ from everyday self-presentation? -in having dramatic impact: must display correct feelings: show not just on surface, but go in a few inches -successful interaction not a given, but an accomplishment -not feel self-conscious or “on” i.e. job interviews, lying, on a date, strangers, new situation, being evaluated, illegal act, lower status than others -another example of accomplishment: coordinating acts; mutual understandings -third example of accomplishment: be in “role” i.e. women professionals in inappropriate clothings -fourth example of accomplishment: versus breakdowns or infractions (embarrassment) -accomplishing social order: -Harold Garfinkel: ethnomethodology (“method of the folk”)  interested in violations of rules (breaching), uncover hidden norms; much of our conversation as a gloss  other people don’t understand what we’re talking about -rituals to enact/accomplish order: -affirms both selves vs. threaten them -greeting rituals  attenuation rule  nature of greeting depends on how long it’s been since you’ve seen them -parting rituals -minor infraction: -cross cultural infractions  embarrassment -embarrassment vs. “civil disattention”: i.e. coming out in the women’s
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