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Test #1 Review

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Sheldon Ungar
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Sociology Test #1 Review
New Society 6/e, chapters 1, 2, and 3
Chapter 1: Introduction
Suicide Sociology: Emile Durkheim French, one of pioneers: suicide more than
just individual act of desperation resulting from psychological disorder—strongly
influenced by social forces
Psychological disorder causes suicide if suicide rates:
High where rates psychological disorder high
Low where rates psychological disorder low
Collected statistics form mental institutions & government documents to see the
rate of suicide & rate of mental illness in different population of the country
Rate of anything is the number of cases of instances per 1000 or 100,000 people.
Not the absolute case in each category
4 male suicide for every 1 female suicide
Major religions in France: Jews had highest rate of illness but lowest rate of suicides
Found no relationship between any rates of suicide. That suicide is the result of any
known mental illness
Suicide rates vary because differences in degree of social solidity in the different
groups, determined by the frequency its members interact and the degree they
share beliefs, values & morals
Suicide rates are lowers at intermediate levels of social solidarity and highest at low
and high levels of social solidarity
Women more likely to commit suicide: more involved in intimate social relations of
family life
Protestants vs. Jews is based on the notion that each individual must find their own
path to god
Catholics are more collective than Protestants & therefore protestants have high
suicide rate
Seniors more prone than young and middle-ages are to commit suicide, because
most likely live alone, have lost spouse and lack job and wide network of friends
As social solidarity increases, the rate of suicide declines
Types of suicide: altruistic, egoistic & anomic
Altruistic: suicides that occur in high solidarity; norms tightly govern behaviour, so
individual actions are often in the group interest
Egoistic: lack of integration of individual into society because of weak social ties to
Anomic: norms governing behaviour are vaguely defined (Anomic meanswithout
Sociologists today: seek to identity a social problem that may be regarded as
important for political, intellectual

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Sociology Test #1 Review
Just like France, men 4 times for likely than women commit suicide
Suicides between ages 15-64 much more common
Suicide highest people age 84+
Higher people ages 20-59 than 60-84
People ages 15-19 almost 0 in France, nearly 10 per 10,000 in Canada
Shared moral principles and strong social ties have eroded since early 1960s for
Canadian youth:
Religious institute attendance down for youth
Unemployment is up, especially for youth
Divorce increased and out-of-marriage birth increased. Children often brought up
by one parent; enjoy less frequent and intimate social interaction with parents and
less adult supervision
Level of social solidarity now lower, less firmly rooted in society, less likely to
share moral standards, youth more likely find themselves in personal crisis
Sociologists identify and explain connection b/w persons personal troubles and
social structures in which people are embedded
3 levels of social structures:
Microstructures – patterns of intimate social relations; formed during face-to-face
interaction, e.g. families, friend circles, work associations
Macrostructures – patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle
of intimates and acquaintances, e.g. class relations & patriarchy
(economic/political inequality b/w women and men in societies)
Global structures – e.g. international organizations, patterns of worldwide travel
and communication, and economic relations b/w countries.
Sociological imagination – ability to see the connection b/w personal troubles and
social structures
Three revolutions had to take place before the sociological imagination could
The scientific revolution (16th c) encourages the use of evidence to substantiate
theories. Philosophers argued we could have a science of not just the planets but
of the sociological behavior.
The democratic revolution (18th c) encouraged the view that human action can
chance society. Rejections of the notice that king and queens ruled by right, we
allow them to be kings and queens not god. If we feel they are ruling unjustly, we
can get rid of them, that people ought to be able to control society event if by
violent action. Human action can change society and it is not preordain.
The industrial revolution (19th c) gave sociologists their subject matter. Masses of
people moved from countryside to factories. Increasingly they lost fate in their

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Sociology Test #1 Review
religion. They confronted faceless bureaucracies. They reacted to the filth and
poverty of their existence by crime, violence & war.
French social thinker Auguste Comte coined term sociology
Wanted to understand social world as it is, not as he/anyone else imagine it should
be; unusual because philosophers of this time sketched blueprints for ideal society
Tension in Comtes work: conservative thinker, motivated by strong opposition to
rapid change in French society—time of scientific, social, and political revolution
Comte angered because rapid change destroyed many of things he valued—respect
fro authority
Same tension in Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber witnessed Europes
transition to industrial capitalism an wanted to understand/explain it
All committed to scientific method for research
Theory – sociological ideas generally stated in this form; tentative explanation of
some aspects of social life that states how and why certain facts are related, e.g.
social suicides showed facts about suicide rates relate facts about social solidarity
Research – conducted after theories are formulated; process of carefully
observing social reality to assess validity of a theory. Because research can call
validity of theory, they can be called tentative
Before formulating theory, must decide which problems are important to study
and how parts of society fit. Values – what is rights and what is wrong, good and
bad; help sociologists formulate and favour certain theories over others
Durkheim, Marx & Weber formulated 3 major theoretical traditions in sociology:
functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interaction:
1.Human behaviour governed by relative stable patterns of social relations, or social
structures, e.g. suicide rates influenced by social solidarity
2.Underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social stability, e.g.
Durkheim analyzed how growth of industries in 19th century Europe lowered level
social stability and contributed to social instability
3.Emphasize social structures based on shared values, e.g. Durkheim social
solidarity moral cement binds people together
4.Suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems,
Durkheim social stability could be restored late 19th century Europe by creating
new associations of employers and workers that would lower workers
expectations about what they could expect out of life.
Functionalism experienced during great Depression
Talcott Parsons foremost proponent functionalism. Best known for identifying
how various institutions must work to ensure smooth operation of society
Criticized exaggerating degree to which members of society share common values
and social institutions contribute to social harmony
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