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33 Pages

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Sociology 1020
Kim Luton

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CHAPTER ONE TEXTBOOK NOTESIntroMajor concern of sociology is to explain why members of some groups behave differently than members of other groups o Groups can include Whole societies eg CanadaUSASmaller groups that can share the same status eg doctors unionistSocial categories possess a common social characteristic eg Having no kids being over 6 ft tallMany Sociologist have a view point developed by Emile Durkhein Emile DurkheinConducted an investigation into suicideBelieved other experts focused too much on the individualHe thought social factors group structure relationships within groups also effected suicde o Social Factspoint to a social group level explanations of behaviour eg Ethnicity gender place of residence marital statusSocial facts are shared and are unlike psychological factors o Psychological factors individual internal processes drivesmotivesIn his study he found that men had higher rates of suicide than woman protestants higher than Catholics older people higher than younger and single people high than marriedConnected these finding to be relation to social isolation more isolated more suicideFound social links act as buggers against suicide o Egoistic Suicides Suicides that occure because of lack of social ties o Altruistic Suicide suicide caused by excessively strong social ties eg Suicide Bombers o Anomic suicides societies marked by insufficient regulations Individuals experience feeling of uncertaintylack of limits thus are more prone to suicide o Fatalistic Suicides societies with too many rules and too few options the degree of regulation like strength of social ties is a social not an individual variable Sociologist are concerned with rates of behaviourSociologist never argue that behaviour is fully determined by the common experiences that may arise from group membership Sociology Its Modern Origins and VarietiesKindled by French and Industrial Revolutions o French expanded potential for democracy o Industrial led to a new economy and further grow of trade and cities and a radically new organization of workRevolutions resulted in rural societies giving way to urbanized heterogeneous dynamic societies New societies were marked by increasing conflict and social problemsAt the same time science was disproving earlier beliefs about natural phenomenon which were rooted in religious dogmaScientific explanations were based on observation and reasonAuguste Comte o Saw sociology a both a science and religion o Believed sociology could bring socieites to a new level of cooperation o Sociologist would be the priests who would guide societies o A decline of religion the brutality of the French and industrial revolutions made development of sociology seem necessary o Thus sociology was botnAfter the birth of sociology there were disputes about o Which approach to research it should take o The extent to which group membership effects individuals behaviours o How society is structured How Society is StructuredSome Believed o Society is based on consensus and cooperation o A collection of organs each performing a necessary function o Therefore segments of society organs work for the benefit of society as a whole human body o Hence social ills are temporary and can be curedOthers Believed including Karl Marx o Society was made up of individuals and groups held together by its strongest members o Strongest members use their power to coerce weaker members into submission o Social ills are built into the fabric of society o Cures an only come from radical social change in which new more cooperative leaders become in chargeTo Simplify Some Believe societies are founded on Cooperation Functionalism Others believe that power ad conflict control societies conflict theory FunctionalismUses 3 main concepts function equilibrium and differentiationFunction o Means that social arrangements exist because they somehow benefit society o Each part is vital for the functioning health as a whole o Eg Female prostitution serves a function because its something that persists in society If it held no function it would disappearEquilibrium o Stability based on a balance among parts and consensus o Equilibrium is the natural state of society o Society will always return to equilibrium after it adapts to temporary and minor problems called dysfunctions o A change in one part of society will be felt in other parts of societyDifferentiation o The development of new social forms o Society adapts to its dysfunctions and is improved in the process Conflict TheoryPower not functional interdependence holds a society togetherConflict is societies natural stateRevolutions upheavals not gradual change fuel social change and improvementMajor source of social conflict is inequalityInequality must be eradicated not applauded as functionalist argue as a way to see that societies difficult jobs will be filledSociety is composed of groups acting competitively rather than filling a function for the wholeBelieve existing social arrangements benefit the powerfulAdmit to some degree of cooperation but believe it results from coercion and dominationMarxism o Contemporary society is held together by capitalist domination which pits proletariat workers against the bourgeoisie in a constant struggle for the profit from labour o Only through revolution can workers change capitalistdominated structure of society Symbolic Interactionism and the Micro PerspectiveBoth functionalism and conflict theory downplay role of individuals macro focusSee societies as shaping individualsHowever we do know that individual actions can effect the larger groupSocieties cultures make individuals who make societies cultures that make individualsMicrosociologist begin analysis with individuals and their interactions o Individuals are active agents o Have goals objectives intentions motives or utility functions o Have knowledge about which kinds of behaviours are going to achieve themMicrosociologist emphasize subjective over objectiveBehaviour and attitudes depend on how individuals perceive define or construct their social worldHumans thinkinteract on the basis of information encoded in strings of symbolsSymbol something that represents something to which it has no intrinsic obvious connection eg Why does green mean go
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