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SOC103H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Émile Durkheim, Symbolic Interactionism, Anomie

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Chapter 1: Introducing Sociology
Social Revolutions Important for the Growth of Sociology:
1) Industrial Revolution
Drew people into harsh urban conditions and new kinds of exploitive, impersonal
economic relationships
2) French Revolution
Convinced people that new social and political arrangements were possible and
should be developed
Sociology: the systematic study of social behavior, or the study of society
Oriented towards solving problems
Society: the largest-scale human group, whose members interact with one another, share a
common geographic territory, and share common institutions
Functional Theory: views society as a set of interconnected parts that work together to preserve
the overall stability and efficiency of the whole
Often characteristically explain social problems by focusing on the failure of
institutions to fulfill their roles during times of rapid change
Key figure: Robert Merton
Argued that social institutions perform both manifest (intended) and latent
(unintended) functions
Key figure: Emile Durkheim
Introduced the tern anomie (normlessness): reflects the condition typical in times of
rapid social change
Critical theory: arises out of the basic division between society’s ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’
about the unequal distribution of power; views society as a collection of varied groups that
constantly struggle with each other to dominate society and its institutions
Key Figure: Karl Marx
Attributed the social problems of the modern age to capitalism
o Bourgeoisies: elite owners of the means of productions
o Proletariat: working class sell their labor in exchange for a livable wage
Symbolic Interactionism: focus on the ‘glue’ that holds people together in social relationships:
the shared meanings, definitions, and interpretations of interacting individuals
Interested in the consequences of people being labeled
Labeling Theory: rests on the premise that any give social problem is viewed as such simply
because an influential group of people defines it so
Key Figure: Herbert Blumer
Proposes that social problems develop in stages that include social recognition, social
legitimating, mobilization for action, and the development and implementation of an
official plan
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Feminist Theory: many consider to be a branch of critical theory focuses on the dominance
and subordination between men and women
Assumptions that Inform Feminist Research
o All personal life has a political dimension
o Both the public and private spheres of life are gendered
o Women’s social experience routinely differs from men’s
o Patriarchy structures the way most societies work
o Because of routinely different experiences and differences in power, women
and men view the world differently
Gendering of Experiences: gendered influences on social life
Problem of Victimization
Intersectionality: the interaction of gender with other victimizing social characteristics
Postmodern Theories: argues that our knowledge is situation specific
Denies the modernist few of sociology that science will explain everything
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