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SOC102H1 Midterm 1 Reading Notes

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Lorne Tepperman

Lecture 1 Inequality: Real or Imaginary Problem? Social Problems Ch. 1 Progress : industrialization and urbanization; inventions and scientific discovery; and exposure to new and different ideas and cultures o possibility of social improvement/social 'amelioration' cannot be omniscient narrators objective elements: measurable features of a negative social condition o cannot be mistake wrong from right (ie. sexual abuse is ALWAYS wrong) Subjective elements: people's evaluations of objective conditions o moral labels, different for each person (ie. homosexuality) o emotional reactions o lead to 'social construction' of social problems: searching for one to blame, banding together to fight the problem objective and subjective = define social problem as a condition (empirical) and process (sequence of events) sociological imagination: make connections between personal life, social world and person/private issues o microlevel analysis: studying interactions in small groups (ie. experiences and understanding from a personal level) o macrolevel analysis: studying interactions in large groups (ie. social trend in bureaucratic organizations) Seven value preferences o life over death; health over sickness; knowing over not knowing; co-operation over conflict; freedom of movement over physical restraint; self-determination over direction by others; freedom of expression over restraint of communication all social reality is conditional and temporary o people's subjective view of reality shapes their behaviour Social constructionism: research approach examining the ways people interact to create a social reality moral entrepreneurs: people who 'discover' and try to publicize deviant behaviours o crusading reformers who see a problem in and world and won't rest until the problem is rectified Claims making: promotions of a particular moral vision of social life o informs people what the problem is and what should be done about it symbols: gestures, artifacts and words that mean something else o how children learn to interact roles: specific duties and obligations expected of those who occupy a specific social status 4 basic assumptions of the social constructionist position (Burr, 1995) o the world does not present itself objectively to the observer language and images used to create emotional response o historical and culture specificity is recognized o knowledge is sustained by social process how reality is understood in a given moment = determined by the higher powers o knowledge and social action go together social group: set of people (formal/informal membership) who feel unified when people interact, they share views on reality and act upon them conceptual frameworks of admin = only serve those in dominant positions of power, not for majority of people institutional ethnography must deconstruct the language used to confuse and obscure public understanding of reality o ie. proroguing = crushing justifiable opposition, but sounds more professional and acceptable whistle blowers: employees who go against the organization to provide the truth to the public and are punished for doing so moral panics: short lived, intense periods of concern biological perspective: focus on genetic, hormonal, neurological and physiological factors o ie. testosterone levels = aggression psychological perspective: focus on cognitive, perceptual and emotional processes o limit research to thoughts of personalities of individuals o use experimentation to control individuals Sociological perspective: focus on group relations and culture Main Sociological Approaches o Structural Functionalism: elements in society are interconnected and interrelated well-functions societies require social cohesion and control social change = social disorganization = deviance and crime social problem = stronger social cohesion Manifest functions: visible and intended goals, consequences, or effects of social structures/institutions latent functions: hidden, unstated and sometimes unintended consequences of activities in an organization/institution norms: rules and expectations of society pertaining to appropriate behaviours under various social circumstances regulate behaviour and large violations = social problem o Conflict Theory (Karl Marx) : conflict and change = basic to social life social problems result from inequality, conflict and change many groups struggle for domination over other groups man vs. woman = basic feature of all societies bourgeoisie (elite owners of production) vs. proletariat (working class) cons: communist communities have failed to prosper/erase inequality overemphasized importance of economic inequality o symbolic interactionism: society = product of face-to-face interactions social problems are socially constructed problematic behaviours are socially learned and practiced in social settings socialization and labeling shape deviant identities and subcultures focuses on small group interactions Georg Simmel: urban lifestyle = relentless and alienation due to extensive stimulation from the city Labeling theory: an activity is a social problem is groups of people define it as such Herbert Blumer: stages to social problems Social recognition: first identifying a problem Social legitimating: society formally recognize social problem as a serious threat to society Mobilization for action: remedial actions planned by organizations Development and implementation of an official plan: may be govt implemented Cons: social problems may exist without being formally recognized (ie. Date rape and wife battering a few decades ago werent social problems) o Population Health Perspective: global measure of how well society is working all common social inequalities have health consequences social problems revealed by declines in population health goal in dealing with social problems is to avoid/reduce harm Lecture 2 Racial Inequalities Social Problem Ch. 3 human races are more alike than different o only tiny fraction of a humanitys genetic makeup varies by characteristics typically associate with race race and ethnicity are not the same thing o people who differ in appearance may share the same cultural values, whereas those who look the same may not o ethnic groups form through social interactions form through exclusion/inclusion and around signs/rituals/language/folklore culture: values and practices that frame peoples lives o not constant or permanent Canadas multicultural policy (1971): visible minorities argued that they had suffered through the Depression just as other English/French-Canadians had o Demanded equal treatment and the right for their cultural survival o Traditional multiculturalism: protect the rights of individuals Protects individual job seekers against bias o Modern multiculturalism: survival of diverse cultural groups Employment equity to promote the hiring of disadvantaged group members o Problems: criticized for highlighting differences, building isolated communities No national identity Treating minority groups in a special way violates the former Canadian norm of equal treatment Vertical mosaic: John porter: socio-economic hierarch in which French and English Canadians live at the top and other ethnic minorities are positioned below o Selective immigration that fulfilled specific workforce needs during industrialization o With each decade, Canada came up with new and dangerous jobs which were mostly left for the newly immigrated o Entrance status: generation to generation, people stuck in the same economic position as when their people first immigrated push factors = immigrating to escape war, bad living conditions, lack of human rights pull factors = immigrating to find better jobs and better education for the children Chain migration: successful migration of one family member creates a chain for the kin and community network
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