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University of Toronto St. George

SOC101: SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS Tuesday, September 14, 2010 Lecture 1: - developing a sociological view is to believe perception and experiences are determined by social and historical factors of which we have minimal control. - Even the idea that we have control over our lives is based on the social institutions we are currently presented with. What is sociology? - sociology is concerned with the study of modern human societies. - The problem of action; why do we do what we do? - The problem of order; how do we explain the social orderorganization? - Not psychology, not history, not (only) political science, not social work - Concerned with observable aspects of society. Birth of sociology - August Comte: mid 1800s. coined the term sociology. Two revolutions: - the scientific revolution in 16 c. encouraged the use of evidence and systematic method to substantiate theories. th - The industrial revolution 19 c. gave sociologists their subject matter. Exponential growth of industry gave way to a newer dynamic for cities. Sociological imagination: - the ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical and institutional forces to ones individual life; C. Wright Mills (1959) - Embedded histories and institutions shape who we become in the world. Sociological example: - Suicide; suicide rates over the years have shown patterns. - Durkheim showed a groups level of social solidarity is determined by the frequency with which its members interact and the degree to which they share beliefs, values and morals. And groups with low social solidarity tend to have higher rates of suicide than groups with more social solidarity. Interaction: - face to face communication among people who act and react in relation to one another. - Interaction order is a system of face to face relations organized by status. - A status is a recognized position in a social interaction; ie student goes to prof to ask a question, different status (one has more power than another). - A great phenomenon in the realm of sociology. Even simple interaction holds in it the basis of the social order. Arlie Hocshschild: - emotion management involves people responding appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves. - Emotion labor is emotion management that one does as part of ones job and for which one is paid. Half the amount of womens jobs involve emotional labor where as only a fifth of mens jobs do. - Status shield is a social status that protects its owner from the negative emotions or actions of another. www.notesolution.comNS CH.1 notes: Social structures: - microstructures: patterns of intimate social relations, formed during face to face interaction. - macrostructures: patterns of social relations that lie outside and aboveyour circle of intimates and acquaintances; class relation, patriarchy (inequality of men&women) - Global structures: international organizations, patterns of worldwide communication and travel, economic relations on a global level. Commonsense reasonings: - based on tradition - knowledge based on authority; news - based on casual observation; always uncertainty in the casual - based on overgeneralization - based on selective observation - knowledge based on qualification; exceptions to the rule; hypothesis rather than rule - based on illogical reasoning - based on ego-defence - based on premature closure of inquiry; deciding all the evidence has been gather preemptively Sociological ideas: - theory: tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and why certain facts are related. - Research: the process of carefully observing social reality to assess the validity of a theory. - Values: ideals about what is right and wrong, good and bad. Sociological theories: Functionalism: - human behavior is governed by relatively stable patterns of social relations. - social structures maintain or undermine social stability; - social structures are based mainly on shared values; - re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems (lowering discontent). Conflict theory: - focuses on large macrolevel structures, such as relations between or among classes; - major patterns of inequality on society produce stability in some circumstances and social change in others; - members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs; - eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase human welfare. Symbolic interactionism: - focuses on face-to-face communication or interaction in microlevel settings; - adequate explanation of social behavior requires understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their social circumstances;
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