sociology lec 1&2 3.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

SOCA01 INTRODUCE TO SOCIOLOGY SEPT 13,12 Syllabus (pointout) - Textbook for SOCA01 and SOCA02 > Tepperman (A01) & How societies work (A02) - mid-term test outside of class - makeup test on OCT 25 in class time o m/c on reading and lec & videos - midterm and final exam are separate and not cumulative Introduction Theories: *Do we really need sociologist? - everybody is a sociologist - common-sensical explanation of social life are usually o untested o marred by voluntaristic (belief that your thoughts can change everything in the world) bias > unrealistic o (people with good ideas, attitude & values have good lives) - Sociological knowledge o Tested in research o Aware events are shaped not by individual agency only, but also by cultures and social structures that cause, or even face, people to experience conditions they would rather avoid. *What is Sociology? Tepperman, Albanese Curtis (author): - Sociology is a study of social behavior in human societies - Emphasis on agency, current in sociology of 2000’s - Social cause: neo liberalism (government should not intervene in markets) & rational – choice theory - Knezevic; sociology is a study of social relations, created in an interaction of agency, social structure & culture 1. AGENCY: Purposeful human action 2. SOCIAL STRUCTURE: a relatively stable network of social relations that enable and constrain individual agency SOCA01 Sept 20,12 LEC 2 3. CULTURE: ideas (understanding, values (ideas about worth), norms (forms of behavior to follow)) about society (referring to the ideas about society) Ex: - gender -religion -music *Sociological assumptions - Earl Babbie (methodologist): 1. Society has an existence of its own (not a sum of individuals, not an allusion – of post -modernism) 2. Society creates itself (through human interactions) 3. Cultures vary over time & place 4. Individual identity is product of society (c.f. symbolic interactionism) 5. Social structure must satisfy survival requirements (c.f. functionalism) 6. Institutions are inherently conservative (or they would not be functional: They enable unthinking routine activity) 7. Multiple paradigms or fundamental models of reality are needed (society is highly complex; various theoretical approaches direct attention to various aspects of society) Thomson: Binary thinking - the use of either/ or propositions is termed Binary thinking, one of the most important binary distinction, in contemporary social theory is between structure and agency - structures refer to pre-existing arrangements that influence our behavior, while agency refers to choices individual make - culture was added to this binary pair (dualtiy) during “cultural turn” of 1980’s o social science researched culture - social cause: “post-materialism” of highly educated American middle class in the 1980‘s  RSA Animate – Smile or Die o Illustrates voluntaristic – bias & why its wrong SOCA01 INTRODUCE TO SOCIOLOGY SEPT 13,12 o Positive attitude: arrogance to reality o Mandatory optimism & cheerfulness  There to make people comfortable (delusional)  (You change the physical world with your thoughts) Problem: Delusion is a mistake (WILLFUL IGNORANCE) - financial meltdown of 2007 (evidence) - hardwired to be vigilant & on guard  MAIN POINT: - All you need to do is will the changes to change all unfortunate events in your life  People must have been sending negative vibrations into the universe in order for the 2006 tsunami to have happed  Flip side: people who don’t have enough money or good health only have themselves to blame o Objection * pessimists (less disappointed) are more realistic than optimist (more positive & happy) * SOCA01 Sept 20,12 LEC 2 Theoretical Approaches to Sociology Thomson and Naiman: Two levels of social structure Sociologist analyse two levels of social structure that frame and influence human agency: - Microstructures (patterns of intimate social relations formed during face-to face interaction) - Macrostructures (overarching patterns of social relations in whole societies) - Other sociologists also consider mesostrutures
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