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FALL TERM TEST STUDY NOTES (first half of Fall Term notes)

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York University
SOCI 1010
Amber Gazso

FALL TERM TEST: INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY STUDY REVIEW INTRO SEPT 9  Sociologist: study society; almost everything that we agree is society; focus on people and how they behave as individuals and in groups – and the struggles among the two; seek to understand how we construct our social world.  Sociologists theorize how we experience social interactions in society and how society appears organized o They theorize interactions between the important binary distinction in contemporary social theory: agency [the human capacity to interpret, evaluate and choose, and then to act accordingly; choices individuals make] and structure [pre-existing arrangements that influence our behaviour; e.g. the labour market, „family‟, democracy] UNDERSTAND SOCIETY SEPT 16AND19  Sociology: systematic study of social behaviour in human societies; study of human group life; focus on how people and societies change  Theory: general statement about how some parts of social world fit together and how they work; an interpretation of reality  Nature of social life: why it is so often unthinkingly orderly, routine, and generally predictable?  ***Sociological Imagination: a book written by sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959. o Goal was to try to reconcile two different and abstract concepts of social reality – the individual and society. o Address social problems by linking an individual‟s personal troubles with the way society is organized and structured; an individual‟s private trouble are rooted in widespread public issues o Connection between our own lives [biography] and social change within society [history]  Macro sociology: unit of analysis is society, institutions, social structures, social systems; study of large social organizations (e.g. government, university) and social categories (e.g. ethnic minorities); society as a whole o Functionalists: argue that all parts (institutions) of society have a function o Conflict theorists: argue that basis of social organization (society) is class struggle or conflict  Micro sociology: the unit of analysis is the individual; focus on individuals‟ perceptions of and meanings given to their social world; how society is shaped by individuals‟ interactions with others  Meso sociology: in between, middle level, e.g. organizations and communities An individual (micro) experiences a workplace (meso) as part of a larger economic system (macro)  19 Century Enlightenment: society could be studied scientifically o Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857): coined the term „sociology‟ to capture an interest in discovering „natural‟, social laws of human existence (positivism)  Classical Sociology: Functionalism: to identify the basic functions that must be fulfilled in all societies; if something exists in society and persists over time – religion, for example, or sports, or even crime – it must perform some necessary function important for the reproduction of society  ***Émile Durkheim (1858 – 1917) o Studied religion: societies held together by regular gatherings/events in which the tribe feasted and celebrated its community (the sacred) o Studied suicide: when people were no longer united by a single code of right and wrong, Durkheim termed this anomie [a condition, in which people within a society are no longer successfully controlled by established moral rules) and thought it explained suicide  Modern society no longer unified; societal members now individualized  Understanding of anomie in correlation with study of suicide: the well-being of an individual within society must be acknowledged with respect, and that suicide was a result of alienation experienced by an individual within society because of lack of social norms regulating social control and stability o Studied the changing division of labour o Modern societies held together and all parts and people function to maintain social life through organic solidary (best analogy: all organs within a large organism perform together so keep organism alive and functional)  Conflict theory: class struggles (conflict) are the basis of social life; power and resistance; analyze struggle between those who have power and control scarce resources and those who do not  ***Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) o Focused on material changes in society, how basis necessities in social life were distributed unequally over time o Explains changes in society through economic and social change o Transition to capitalism [unequal economic exchange between employers (capitalists) and workers] was marked by a surplus [a measure of exploitation of the working class] of goods that benefited elites or the bourgeoisie  Proletariats: wage workers who provided the labour power to capitalism; lacked property; forced to survive by selling its labour to the bourgeoisie  Bourgeoisie: capitalist class – those who own the means of production (factory owners), the merchant (economically dominant) or ruling class. o Religious msgs (the opium of the people) dulled the pain caused by capitalism o Capitalism could be overturned if working-class (proletariats) revolted against the system (bourgeoisie)  ***Max Weber (1864 – 1920) o Sought to uncover social, cultural, and political factors that shaped modern society o Focused on formal rationality (efficiency to achieve objectives) as an important change in modern societies o Distinguished between traditional and charismatic authority; has been replaced by legal- rational authority: determines how we choose those who govern us and the rules they must follow. o Bureaucracies: policies and regulations in political institutions lead to a formal set of rules o Capitalism was an unintended consequence of the Protestant Reformation: religious movement that began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the creation of Protestant churches (separated from the Roman Catholic Church in accordance with the principles of the Reformation) o Focused on class, status, and power and suggested a multi-variable analysis of modern society  Pierre Bourdieu (1930 – 2002) o Various ways people acquire power and control o Cultural capital: education and knowledge resources a person uses to acquire prestige and social standing o Social capital: personal connections are used for power  Symbolic Interactionism: symbols (things to which we attach meaning) are the basis of social life; analysis of how people‟s behaviours depend on how they define themselves and others  Modernism and post-modernism: departure form the sociology associated with the Enlightenment; embraced of the irrational, emotional, expressive aspects of life; common principles: reject „realism‟ and the idea of a single „truth‟ DO SOCIOLOGY SEPT 23AND26  Quantitative sociology: sociology viewed as a science; efforts are often made to quantify social life  Qualitative sociology: sociology viewed as an art or a humanity; research often designed to tap into the rich meanings of human experiences  Sociological research: to explore, to describe (goal is simply to learn more about a group or topic); to explain (often involves testing diff. theories against each other).  Major paradigms: positivism and Interpretivism o Positivism: we can see and study something independent of ourselves; we search for “facts”; evidence confirms our findings are “true” o Interpretivism: we are intimately connected to what it is we are studying; we search for multiple meanings; evidence is relative; the are multiple “truths”; we interpret these meanings  Operationalization: translation of abstract theories and concepts into observable hypotheses and variables. Once abstract ideas are operationalized, we can test them in a study. o Hypotheses: express relationships between variables; an observable equivalent of a theory or at least a set of observable statements that are consistent with a theory. o Variable: the empirical or observable equivalent of concepts; they must be observable and they must have a range of diff. values they can take on; must have variance (e.g. ethnicity, age, years of schooling, annual income, etc.).  Validity: the accuracy of a measure, indicator, or study; many different dimensions to validity can be established through formal tests, logic, or depth in understanding; your measures measure what you want to measure; the consistency of findings rather than consistency of measures o External validity: translation to findings o Internal validity: conclusions are supported by method used and data collected Vs.  Reliability: the consistency of a measure, indicator, or study; produce same results overtime. Note that reliability is different from validity and does not refer to the accuracy of a measure or study.  Generalizability: we can generalize (simplify) our findings to larger populations by using proper sampling techniques in quantitative research  Transferability: we can create opportunities for others to find our findings transferable to other populations by providing enough description of our sample and our findings in qualitative research  Bias: the unintentional, accidental mistakes; refers to systematic inaccuracies in a data or analysis; more serious than error; distort findings in systematic ways. o Respondent biases:  Acquiescence bias: respondents simply check off answers to questions without thinking about them  Social desirability bias: respondents try to answer questions the way they think the researcher wants them to instead of answering the way they themselves want to  Sampling: a sample is a subset of a larger population; samples can be randomly selected, to which each unit in a chosen population has an equal chance of being selected (Simple Random Sample)  Purposive: we deliberately select people or objects that match chosen criteria  Convenience: we include people or objects by convenience (ease) Methods Of Research:  Surveys: collect quantitative or numerical data that can be generalized to a larger population; excellent way of gathering data on large populations that cannot be studied effectively in a face- to-face manner Designing Good Survey Questions: o Focus: each Q should have one specific topic o Brevity: shorter questions are preferable to longer questions o Clarity: use clear, understandable words; avoid jargon o Bias: avoid biased words, phrases, statements, and questions o Relevance: Q‟s asked to respondents must be relevant to them and to your research  Field Research: collect qualitative or non-numerical data that may or may not be generalized to a larger population; aim to collect rich, nuanced data by going into the „field‟ to observe and talk to people directly When selecting a research method, the research method chosen must be determined by the research problem in the question o Ethnographic or participant observation research: also known as ethnography; sociologist become involved in the personal lives of research subjects for extended period of time; field notes are important part of this research process o In-depth interviews: popular field research technique; may be used in conjunction with participant observation; extensive interviews often recorded and later transcribed to text; interviews may be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured o Documentation: usage of various doc. to examine human behaviour; preferably used when working in large institutions (e.g. criminal justice system, churches, families, etc.) o Existing data, secondary data analysis: many studies do rely upon data collected already – secondary data analysis; e.g. official statistics, survey data, magazines, case files, etc.  Research Ethnics: important ethnic principles created as a result of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi doctors and concentration camp officials after WWII o Voluntary participation: pe
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