Socio Chap. 1
Sociology: the systematic study of human behaviour in social context. Our relations with
other people create opportunities for us to think and act but also set limits on our thoughts
The chief value of sociology is that it can help us clarify the scope, direction and
significance of social change. It can also suggest ways of managing change.
Durkheim showed that even non-social and antisocial actions are influenced by
social structures (levels of social solidarity affect suicide)
Sociologists analyze the influence of three levels of social structures on human
Microstructure: the pattern on relatively intimate social relations formed during face-to-
face interaction (families, friends, work associations)
Macrostructure: overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and above one’s
circle of intimates and acquaintances. Macrostructures include classes, bureaucracies, and
power systems, such as patriarchy.
Patriarchy: the traditional system of economic and political inequality between women and
The rise of sociology was stimulated by three revolutions. The scientific revolution
(encouraged that sound conclusions about the working of society had to be based on
solid evidence not just speculation). The democratic revolution (people are
responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve
social problems. The industrial revolutions (involved the rapid growth of economic
transformation, gave sociologist their subject matter)
The post-industrial revolution is the technology-driven shift from manufacturing to
service industries and the consequences of that shift for virtually all human
Globalization is the process by which formerly separated economies, states and
culture become tied together and people become increasingly aware of their growing
The causes of post industrialism and globalisation form the great sociological puzzle
of our time
There are four major theoretical traditions in sociology.
Functionalism: analysis how social order is supported by macrostructures. It stresses that
human behaviour is governed by relatively stable social structures. They can maintain or
undermine social stability. It emphasis that social structures are based mainly on shared
values or preferences, and it suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most
social problems. Emile Durkheim
Conflict theory: analyzes how social inequality is maintained and challenged. Focuses on
large, macro level structures and the relations between or among classes. It shows how
major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and
social change in others. It stresses how members of privilege groups try to maintain their
advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase their. And it typically leads to the
suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase the sum
total of human welfare. Karl Marx
Symbolic interactionism: analyzes how meaning is created when people communicate in
micro level settings. It emphasis that an adequate explanation of social behaviour requires
understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their social circumstances. It
stresses that people help to create their social circumstances and do not merely react to
them. This increases our understanding and tolerance of people who may be different from
us. Protestant ethic Weber
Feminism theory: claims that patriarchy is at least important as class inequality in
determining a person’s opportunities on life. It hold that male domination and female
subordination are determined both by biological necessity but by structures of power and
social conventions. It examines the operation of patriarchy in both micro and macro
settings. It contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should be changed
for the benefit of all members of society.
Culture is the sum of socially transmitted ideas, practices and material objects that
people create to overcome real-life problems.
A society exists when people interact and share culture. When they become more
complex, culture becomes more diversified and consensus declines in many areas of
Culture survives because of abstraction/symbols, cooperation/norms,
Ethnocentrism impairs the sociological understanding of culture as much as taking
our own culture for granted. It involves judging another culture exclusively by the
standards of one’s won
Our lives are increasingly governed by rationalization (application of the most
efficient means to achieve given goals and the unintended negative consequences of
doing so) and consumerism (a lifestyle that involves defining ourselves in terms of
good we purchase)
Culture relativism is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected
as equally valid.
Postmodernism: involves the diverse missing of cultural element form different times and
places, the erosion of authority, and the decline of consensus around core values.
Bureaucracy: is a large impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined positions
arranged in a hierarchy. It has permanent, salaried staff of qualified experts and written
goals, rules and procedures. Staff members strive to achieve goals more efficiently.
Although the diversification of culture increases human freedom, the growth of complex
societies also establishes definite limits within which diversification may occur. This is
illustrated by the process of rationalization and the growth of consumerism.
Sex refers to biological differences between males and females, while gender refers to
the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours we associate with masculinity and femininity.
Individuals form a gender identity or a sense of biological, psychological and social
belonging to a particular sex. Individuals also learn to play a gender role, that is, to
act in accordance with expectations about how members of their gender are
supposed to behave
Sexuality refers to the activities intended to lead to erotic arousal and produce a
genital response. It is guided by a set of social scripts.
There are two major perspectives on the relationship among sex, gender, and
Essentialism: it stresses the biological roots of gender and sexuality, ignoring their
historical and cultural variability. Relies on brain studies/socio-biology and Freud. It
stresses those differences between male and female are natural and universal. Critics: it
Sociology: the systematic study of human behaviour in social context. Our relations with other people create opportunities for us to think and act but also set limits on our thoughts and action. The chief value of sociology is that it can help us clarify the scope, direction and significance of social change. I t can also suggest ways of managing change. durkheim showed that even non-social and antisocial actions are influenced by social structures (levels of social solidarity affect suicide) sociologists analyze the influence of three levels of social structures on human actions. Microstructure: the pattern on relatively intimate social relations formed during face-to- face interaction (families, friends, work associations) Macrostructure: overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and above one"s circle of intimates and acquaintances. Macrostructures include classes, bureaucracies, and power systems, such as patriarchy. Patriarchy: the traditional system of economic and political inequality between women and men.