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Sociology 2240E Lecture Notes.docx

Course Code
SOC 2240E
Charles Levine

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Difference between fact claims and ought claims
Rationality linking means to ends
Reasonjudgment about whether or not one ought to do what one can do
Enlightenment periodif rationality and reason were used properly it would
save everyone
o Men such as Rousseau for example, had many ideas to change the
Rousseau talks about the rights of men and how women were
inferior and powerless
Rousseau was conceptualizing the systems in society by doing
o Wollstonecraft tears apart Rousseau for women’s rights
System vs. the interacting person
The more society develops the more insensitive it is to who you are
Essay books
o Durkheim: The Division of Labor in Society (Book One)
Interested in how society evolves what it is and how it
Social solidarity how does society manage to be stable
Thinks we are animals without the social, therefore if it
isn’t working properly we revert to animal instincts
God is society created by society so it can value itself
o Strategy that society uses to assert itself as a
sacred entity
We achieve solidarity by dividing labour
Mechanical to organic solidarity
o Durkheim: The Division of Labor in Society (Book Three)
Abnormal conditions of social solidarity
Says society hasn’t quite gotten to where it should be
Forced division of labourneed to create equal opportunity in
the occupational area and the fact that it doesn’t yet exist
Challenging Karl Marx
o Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Thinks there’s a relationship between religion and capitalism
Modern western capitalism
Claims it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for John
Calvin and Martin Luther protesting against the church
Protestants started to believe they were here for a purpose
Here to fulfill responsibilitiesvery hard working,
laziness not tolerated
Don’t spend, save
Constructs a new kind of sociologyqualitative methodology
o Karl Marx: Early and Selected Writings

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Oppression, suppression and unequal distribution of power
Explains exploitation, alienation, production etc.
Everyone is a function of money power
Capitalism cannot persist not logical
o Mead: On Social Psychology
Father of Symbolic Interactionism
Tries to understand why and how our minds, self concept and
society coexist
Reflections of the same thing manipulation and
articulation of symbols (language)
Raises the problemin what sense are we free? In what sense
are we autonomous?
Cognitive templatea way of thinking
Involves 6-7 questions that any theorist has to answer if they are going to
think or write social theory
o Most social theorists don’t even know they have answered them
o These questions are deep structures of cognition
o Things we know and think of without being aware
o Classification certain objects should be in the same category
Equality operationputting objects or people into the same
Ex. 2 red pens and 2 green pens can be divided into categories
of colour, regardless of their size or shape etc.
o 1. What is society?
People begin to internalize norms and values and therefore
create social order and solidarity this generates a social
Culture a system of norms and values that gets transmitted
through the actions of speaking persons and symbols (ex. Our
A culture is made up of institutions
Institutionorganizations and a commitment to certain
Ex. Education, military, government etc.
What keeps all of the institutions together is not just
culture but modes of interdependence (everything
working together within the culture)
“Greater than the sum of its parts” – it’s the relationship
among the parts that are equally important
This system is based on biology (if one part in the
human body fails, the rest fails)

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Each person is a role occupants within these
o If you fail to play these roles, you become a
Organicistexplicitly intend to use a biological metaphor in
order to understand society
Atomistsis an organism with one exception; is an organism
most of the time, under certain circumstances however,
individuals can psychologically distance themselves from the
social in order to critically evaluate it
Interested in what are the circumstances that stimulate
people to do this and how do they do it?
Reflexivitypsychologically distancing, people make
who they were an object to their own perception
o Ex. If someone were to be given 1 billion dollars,
they would question whether they should
remain a student or not
o This is stimulated when something doesn’t seem
Nature of what comes out of reflexivity
Moral cannot be differentiated from conformity
Atomists say morality exists in the minds of persons,
therefore it only exists under one circumstance; when
the mind of a person perceives a dilemma (ex.
Unfairness), otherwise it is not present all the time. We
access it when we need to
When you sense a dilemma, you make a moral judgment
of what is right and wrong
Universally valid points of view
o 2. What is human nature? Do we have instincts? What are instincts
and W.G.A.S (who gives a shit)?
If something is an instinct it has to be present in every member
of the species, but to be logically rigid, it has to be immutable
(cannot be changed, however can be destroyed)
Eating, will to survive, breathing etc.
Dispositionsanother way of saying instinctstrue by
Some sociologists say we are egocentric/self interested,
greedy, smart and dumb by nature
However, one sociologist says not logical to say that
they are these things by nature
Under what circumstances are they these things, under
what circumstances would they not be these things
o Environment changes things (nurture)
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