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SY101 Exam Review Part 1

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Kimberly Ellis- Hale

SY101 Exam Review: Lectures Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective C. Wright Mills • Sociological imagination: a way of looking at the world that links apparently private problems and important social issues • Sociological perspective: a different way of looking at familiar worlds, one that stresses the social contexts (locations) in which people live and how these contexts influence their lives o Social location: employment, income, education, gender, age, and race o External influences: people’s experiences which are internalized and become part of a person’s thinking and motivations • Sociological imagination/perspective enables us to grasp the connection between history and biography Levels of Analysis • Macrosociology: focuses on broad features of society (e.g. social class and patriarchy) o Groups of people o Seeing what is happening from above (helicopter approach) • Microsociology: emphasizes social interaction (e.g. survival strategies of homeless) o Experiences/relationships within a wait room o Doctors and nurses interaction o Seeing what is happening at low level view (street view) Origins of Sociology th • Emerged middle of 19 century with use of scientific method to rest ideas • Factors: o Industrial Revolution  Sociology was born out of a revolution  Agriculture to factory/country to city  Birth of capitalism o Imperialism o Scientific method  Objective, systematic, empirical The Scientific Method • Key figures (all overlap and commented on the change that happened or what they were living through) o Auguste Comte (1798-1857)  Positivism o Karl Marx (1818-1883)  Class conflict o Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)  Social integration vs. suicide o Max weber (1864-1920)  Religion and capitalism Auguste Comte • Created a system that change would be managed by men who were disciples of sociology (his works) Karl Marx • Student in Germany (a highly conservative country) • Watched what was happening with the Revolution in France and Britain • Men’s relationships needed to change • Was kicked out of Germany for causing disturbance • Arrived in France – was further inspired and continued developing ideas • Kicked out and ended up in England • Refined economic theories • Wrote widely with clarity and understanding • Lived what he believed • Watched his children die from starvation • Contributed substantially across subjects (including economics, sociology, etc.) from a non-privileged position • Developed surplus value of labour Emile Durkheim • Notion was society works well when it has different components for a stable society • Latent and manifest intentions • Used social fact to explain social fact (e.g. suicide) • Statistics and demographics used to show that there were patterns in society that married persons were less likely to commit suicide • More suicide from particular religions • Age and men were also social facts that were used to explain the social fact of suicide • First sociology department Max Weber • Spent most of life arguing with Marx • Agreed that Marx had part of it right – there are forces but disagreed that economic system is not the only • Can we explain capitalism from religion • Certain societies developed capitalism more quickly than others o Most were protestant because they believed you were born saved (evidence of salvation was success; made money but reinvested it) • Other things can drive human history • More important to understand why someone did it than just look at social facts • Understanding is achieved when people are interacting The Role of Values in Research • Weber wanted sociology to be value-free and objective • What obstacles are there to doing completely objective research? Figure 1-1: The Debate Over Values in Sociological Research Verstehen and Social Facts • Weber and Verstehen o To understand people need to grasp by insight; pay attention to subjective meanings; the ways people interpret their own behavior • Durkheim and Social Facts o Social Facts: patterns of behaviour that characterize a social group Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology 1. Symbolic Interactionism 2. Functional Analysis (Functionalism and Structural Functionalism) 3. Conflict Theory 4. Feminist Theories 5. Post Modernism 6. Queer Theory 7. Critical Race Theory 1. Symbolic Interactionism (Weber) • Microsociological level • Studies specific behaviours of individuals caught in identifiable face to face social settings or encounters • Emphasized symbols (things to which we attach meaning) as the basis of social life (symbols such as aunt, uncle, grandmother) • Varies based on culture, society, gender, social class 2. Functional Analysis (Durkheim) • Macrosociological theory which view society as a unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together • Functions, dysfunctions • Latent functions (taking turns, showing up on time) and manifest functions (reading, writing, math) • Poor have a role • Crime has a role 3. Conflict Theory (Marx) • Class struggles is the key to all human history o Bourgeoisie: own means of production o Proletariat: the mass of workers • Feminist Theories/Perspectives 4. Feminist Theories • Marxist: class and economic position explain gender inequalities • Liberal: legal restraints and customs (if one were to change law policies there would be equality) • Non-Marxist Radical: patriarchy oppresses women o Power, dominance, hierarchy and competition • Commonalities of Feminist Theories o Biological sex difference and differences in strength (not perfect) o Gender Division of labour is hierarchal o Relations between genders o Knowledge of science, ourselves and society largely derived from men’s experiences 5. Post Modernism • Modernity (Weber): describes a society which had emerged from feudalism and was characterized by change, collective action, reason and progress (sameness) • Post Modernism (C. Wright Mills): a rejection of modernity, a recognition of cultural diversity, an emphasis on symbols and discourse analysis o About locating the metanarratives (one way of seeing the world: beginning, middle, end) among all narratives o There are many voices with many understandings and they all deserve approach 6. Queer Theories • Judith Butler: Gender Trouble o Fluidity of gender identities • Gayle Rubin: Thinking Sex o Discusses general societal intolerance of sexual difference as a moral panic • Social dynamics constitute the substance of queer theory • Challenges all notions of fixed identity • Seeing the world from the perspective of a minority with no walls between men and women, races, etc. 7. Critical Race Theory • A multidisciplinary examination of: o The social construction of race and race identity o The reality of racial discrimination Applied and Clinical Sociology • Purel basic: research and theory aimed at making discoveries about life in human groups • Applied: blending of sociological knowledge and practical results • Clinical: deals with specific problems for particular organizations Chapter 2: What Do Sociologists Do? Valid Sociology Topic • Any kind of human behaviour and social interaction o Macrolevel analysis: military, race relations, multinational corporations o Microlevel analysis: how people interact on street corners, how people decorate their homes, family violence 6 Research Methods 1. Surveys o Select sample from target population o Random samples o Strategies for asking questions  Questionnaire and interviews: • Self-administered questionnaire • Structured interviews • Close ended questions  Establishing rapport 2. Participant Observation (Fieldwork) o Participating in research setting  Observation and recording o Highly descriptive analysis, but not always viewed as objective by more conventional researches o Rich description often provides significant theoretical insight 3. Qualitative Interviews o Structured conversation o Researcher’s personal characteristics very important  Some believe some research needs to be done by certain kinds of people (e.g. research on women abuse – the interview should be done by a woman researcher) o Distinctive feminist methodology: a conversation among equals 4. Secondary Analysis o Advantage to new researchers and graduates because they do not have to do all the setup work o Analyze data already collected by others o Data Liberation Initiative  Statistics Canada encourages others to analyze their data because they have so much of it  The university pays a small fee and Statistics Canada allows for free downloading of data  Advantages: available, cheap, fast o An excellent source of information but one can not be sure of how systematically the original data was gathered o The analyzer may not like how the information was fathered/included or did not like the questions asked but they have no power over that, they can only analyze/critique it 5. Documents o Examine films, books, newspapers, diaries, bank records, police reports, household accounts, immigration films, etc. o Usually best to utilize multiple sources or types of sources – one resource may not allow for great enough insight o Access to source material can pose a problem 6. Unobtrusive Methods o Observing the behavior of people who don’t know they’re being studied (not following/spying but instead looking at what’s left behind) o Look through trash (e.g. a group of people asked if they were good recyclers and the result was yes, but after sifting through their trash they found many things that should’ve been recycled) o Analyze graffiti – can be used to identify culture; not all bad o Examine grave yards – can provide data on mortality rates, area’s ethnic make-up and can be informative about culture (historically) o Playground example analyzing the most popular playground equipment Deciding Which Method to Use • Quantitative Research Methods o Measurement, numbers, stats o Structured questionnaire on surveys o Social facts explaining social facts (age, ethnicity, religion) • Qualitative Research Methods o Observation, description, and interpretation o Participant observation or qualitative interviews o No social facts o Understanding with participant to get an idea of social phenomenon Refer to Figure 2.1 Two Common Social Research Strategies or Paradigms Refer to Figure 2.2 The Research Model Ethics in Sociological Research • Research must meet professional ethical criteria • Openness (sharing research results), honest, and truth • No falsification of results or plagiarism • Protect identity of sources • Know where the funding comes from and if there are any strings attached Brajuha Research (1986) • Arson and an ethic double bind • Release of names The Scarce Research (1991) • Animal Liberation Front and confidentiality The Humphrey’s and the Tearoom Sex Study • Recognized public/law enforcement self highly simplistic stereotyped beliefs about men who commit impersonal sexual acts with one another in public restrooms • Research helped persuade police to stop using their resources on arrest for this victimless crime Discussion • Another infamous research project is the Stanford University Prison Experiment led by Philip Zimbardo in 1921 • Find out about the experiment. Why is it considered unethical? • Watch documentaries: “Quiet Rate” (2003) or “The Human Behaviour Experiments” (2006) • How Research and Theory Work Together • C. Wright Mills (1959) argued research without theory is of little value and is simply a collection of unrelated facts. Theory unconnected to research is abstract and empty. • Theory stimulates research • Research stimulates the development of theory • E.g. the amount of shark attacks and the amount of ice cream bought had a positive correlation – does eating ice cream affect shark attacks? No, it is the warm temperature that causes both to increa
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