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SOCI 3060 Fall Exam Study Notes

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SOCI 3060
Natalie Weiser

1 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY MID-TERM EXAM NOTES SOCIOLOGY PSYCHOLOGY -the focus is on society and asks how soci- -the focus is on the individual and asks how ety works does a person ‘work’ or develop -society is the source of language, values, -looks at the processes that occur within the ideas, and interests individual (vs. the external) (perception, cog- -study of organized life: small groups, com- nition, memory, learning, personality) munities, and institutions -relies more on controlled lab experiments -society is both external and internal; we’re-nature vs. nurture encompassed by it, we’re born into it and it -childhood/past experiences shape adult- pre-exists us and will be here after us; we’rhood socialized beings, society shapes us (gen- -personality traits are focus of study and der roles, occupations, etc...) they are inherent -society as a dramaturgical performance, -looks at how the person develops, how the people are “actors” person works and how a person’s qualities -looks at how society develops, how society influence behaviors in situations functions and how qualities of society influ--passive individual ence behavior -passive individual -how would a sociologist/psychologist assess a situation like the Columbine shooting? what factors would they take into account? SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY -the systematic study of people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in social contexts -makes up for the passive individual perspective of both sociology and psychology -bridges sociology and psychology PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY -looks at how thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by other people -topics include: person perception (how do we come to perceive people?), conformity and obedience (what factors influence conformity? how do you get people to be obedi- ent?), group behavior (do you behave differently when you’re by yourself?) -was once defined as the study of attitudes (what causes attitudes to change? how do attitudes affect behavior?) 2 -attitudes are positive or negative evaluations of “objects of thought” like social issues, groups, institutions, objects, or people -attitudes have 3 components 1)Cognitive: how you think about something; beliefs 2)Affective: how you feel about something; emotions 3)Behavioral: how does something influence your behavior? -cognitive components may be, at best, mediocre predictors of behavior -you can study the strength of attitudes and the accessibility of attitudes (fre- quency) -group behavior is two or more individual who interact and are interdependent single mothers in Toronto a bad example of group behavior because they don’t interact -sociologists would argue that they are because there would be patterns within the group -how do you have in a group vs. when you are alone? -example: the Bystander Effect -less likely to help someone if you are in a group than if you are alone; diffusion of responsibility SOCIOLOGICAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY -looks at how society shapes the meaning of social interaction -asks what are the effects of broad social conditions on thoughts, feelings, and behav- iors -central unit of study is social interaction, the ongoing action that social actors take to- ward one another -social interaction is reciprocal -there are many socializing agents -it’s not just cause and effect stimulus response, it’s ongoing different response (dynamic, changing and situational) -the same action could be perceived different ways based on context -sociological SP studies real life events while psychological SP more likely to use lab ex- periments -sociologists are concerned with how we learn to become members of society and how we take up roles (ex: “identity” arises through social interaction SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM 3 -a perspective within sociological SP that emphasizes the study of how people negoti- ate the meaning of social life during their interaction with other people -key terms: symbols, meanings, interaction, definitions -SYMBOL: representation of something else; ideas or objects; language and gestures -INTERACTION: the relationships between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’; putting yourself in the others shoes; how are you being assessed? -SI level of analysis is face to face (micro) interaction -MACRO: large scale patterns in society (institutions; statistical analysis) -provides context to micro analysis -MICRO: face to face interaction (social life on a very small scale; what do people do on a daily basis is social situations?) -what would a micro/macro level analysis be for something like studying home- lessness or divorce? -stats/government level; policy vs. daily life; life histories, lived experience -know about both micro/macro to get a full understanding 5 CENTRAL IDEAS OF SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM 1)Individuals are inherently social 2)Interaction occurs within individuals as well as between individuals 3)Individuals define the social situation they are in 4)Human interaction is the result of what is happening in our present situation 5)Human beings are active PRAGMATISM -the philosophical foundation of SI -no such thing as a common, objective reality -knowledge is just a perspective -no absolute truth -objects don’t have ‘inherent meaning’ or value -key components of thought: 1)Humans don’t just respond to their environment, they interpret it; not stimulus re- sponse 2)What we remember is useful and applicable to our everyday life 3)The objects that we notice are defined according to usefulness 4)To understand someone, you need to understand their actions 4 AGENCY -SI assumes that individuals have some control over their social world -agency refers to our ability to act and think independently from the constraints imposed by social conditions -we have agency to shape our social reality -SI sees us as ‘actors’ as opposed to ‘reactors’ -there is a template but there are a number of ways to play a role QUALITATIVE RESEARCH -characterized by many methods and theoretical assumptions -methods vs. methodology: interviews, focus groups and surveys vs. the episte- mology or theory behind the methods -qualitative data is non-numerical and obtained from semi-structured or unstructured re- search methods -used for an interpretive and exploratory examination of social meanings, relationships and processes -quantitative research and data is hard, objective, positivistic, and focused on numbers and measurement -qualitative research and data is soft, subjective, interpretive, and focused on words and meaning -questions qualitative researchers ask are usually how or why questions as opposed to how many and how often -think of a research scenario: what are potential qualitative and quantitative approaches? GOALS OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH -a thick description of social life -detailed explanations of social processes -uncover nuances of attitudes and behaviors -discover underlying meanings and patterns of relationships ex. how is stigma managed? how is identity ‘x’ created and maintained? -generate theory on micro or macro level -introduce new concepts to sociological knowledge -build on existing concepts and theories -critique research based on the claims it is making 5 WHAT METHOD TO USE -the method you use depends on several factors: 1)Theoretical/Epistemological Orientation - you can’t put people’s thoughts, feelings into numbers so a quantitative approach won’t work 2)Population of interest - who are you studying? people not listed in the phonebook (homeless or hiding) would not be good for a television interview 3)Research question - what do I want to know? What facet of the question am I getting at? -methods tend to allow participants to describe experiences in their own words or be- have naturally within a setting -field research -in-depth interviewing -focus groups (multiple perspectives at the same time) -content analysis (systematic review of written documents or media) FIELD RESEARCH -direct observation of people’s behavior at a particular site -ethnography: descriptive analysis of a group or organization -participant observation: researcher becomes a part of the group being studied -the advantage is that you can understand the perspective of the participants -disadvantages are that you could influence their behavior with your presence, you could become overly involved and biased, the time commitment is quite large INTERVIEWS -qualitative research method employing an unstructured or semistructured series of questions and probes (open ended questions) -flexibility: there is no predetermined set of answers -interviewer can probe topics that require further elaboration -can be a stand alone method or combined with others -WHY WOULD YOU USE ‘x’ METHODS TO DEMONSTRATE ‘y’ THEORY? BLUMER AND SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM -coined the term SI -3 central principles of SI, according to Blumer 1)We know things by their meanings 2)Meanings are created through social interaction 6 3)Meanings change through social interaction -Blumer says that the failure of the researcher to see objects for the meanings that re- search participant gives them is a huge mistake -how do you apply these ideas to methods? understanding the social world from the perspective of the people they are studying; get into their shoes -Blumer calls for direct examination of the empirical social world in a 2 phase process, exploration and inspection 1)Exploration - going out and doing research -understanding the perspectives of those being studied; understanding roles -using qualitative methods like ethnography and participant observation -methods that allow participants to explain in their own words why they do what they do 2)Inspection - systematically inspect the data (data analysis) -analyze or code field notes, transcripts, personal documents -build a rich, inductive understanding of the social world THE RESEARCHER -traditionally, the researcher should have no effect on the research but NOW, the posi- tion of the researcher and the researcher’s identity has a major effect on research -”positionality” refers to the way your position can impact your understanding of re- search participants -”reflexivity” refers to being forthcoming about how your identity impacts the research results -no longer distance researchers, we are always looking at a problem or topic through a particular lense -Becker says we’ll always be on someone’s side and we should acknowledge it THE SELF -the self is a process in which we construct a sense of who we are through interactions with others; constructed as we engage in interaction or activity -the interactionist approach to the self sees the self as a process of reflexive activity that includes our subjective stream of consciousness as well as our conception of self as a physical, moral, social being -the self is a process in that it changes over time and across contexts (there is no ‘core’ fixed self) -there are different selves for different contexts 7 -you don’t really own your self, it is provided by other people SOCIOLOGICAL VS. PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF -for sociologists, the self is fundamentally social in nature and a person’s self is acquired through social relationships (you need social interaction to have a ‘self’, it’s fluid and dy- namic) -for psychologists, the self is a more private possession and is seen as being relatively stable, existing inside the individual (the ‘self’ is something you carry inside yourself from interaction to interaction) -the self (sociology) vs. personality (psychology) SELF AS OBJECT -the core of SI concept of the self is the idea that human beings are objects to them- selves -you can think about, visualize, talk about, and act towards yourself -you act towards yourself any time that you think about yourself as a thing (feel good about yourself,dislike your hair, think you’re smart...) -the ability to be self-reflective is a fundamental aspect of human life SELF CONCEPT -self concept is the sum total of thoughts and feelings that we have about ourselves as objects; the self concept can be thought of as an object that we can talk about and re- flect on -we can measure the self concept as social psychologists, while psychologists would study the personality -the Twenty Statements Tests are a way assessing the individual’s self concept and aims to get at the contents and structure of the self -statements fall into the categories of the physical self, the social self, the reflec- tive self, and the oceanic self MEAD ON THE SELF -the self can be both subject and object when we take into consideration other people’s perceptions of us -without the perceptions of other people there can be no sense of self 8 -the self changes depending on the context -rejecting the claim of the ‘core’ self THE ‘I’ AND ‘ME’ -the ‘I’ and the “Me’ is an internal dialogue or self-indication -as we have internal dialogues, or self indicate, we negotiate the meanings of different object (including the self) -talking to oneself or thinking can’t take place unless individuals treat themselves as so- cial objects -a large part of our internal dialogue takes place between the two components of the self: the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’ -the ‘I’: the active part of the self -the self as subject; the active creative, spontaneous part of the self -when the ‘I’ is acting, one is not consciously aware of it; instinctual -the initiator of action -the ‘Me’: the self as an object -‘Me’ is the object of action -you view yourself as a social object -the ‘Me’ is developed by internalizing the attitudes of others; the more social part of the self -the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’ are always engaged in ongoing and fast dialogue and the ‘I’ is con- stantly making sense of what is happening to the ‘Me’ -if a surprise quiz is announced, the ‘I’ would react by stating “I am unprepared” or “I am going to leave class now”; the ‘Me’ would react by checking itself with statements like “People are going to look at me” or “What will the teacher think of me?” -in terms of agency, you could always choose to ignore the ‘Me’ because action is influ- enced by social standards but not determined by it; you can take part in spontaneous or impulsive behavior WHY IS THE ‘I’ AND ‘ME’ IMPORTANT? -before we act on impulses that are initiated by the ‘I’, we think of ourselves as social ob- jects (‘Me’) and imagine how we would react or how others would react to us -you are always imagining your appearance in the eyes of others and control your ac- tion by responding to that imagined appearance; human beings control their conduct through ongoing ‘I’ and ‘Me’ interaction ’I’=impulse ‘Me’=reflection 9 SELF-INDICATION -self-indication occurs while we are deciding what action we will engage in based on our internal I/Me conversation -it is the process through which we define and make sense of things in the world around us (thinking) -we will act toward a situation and understand a situation in relation to the way we see our self in that situation (take a step back and place ourselves in a context) -the same action can be defined in very different ways in different contexts MEAD’S SOCIAL STAGES OF SELF DEVELOPMENT -play is an extremely important part of the development of a self -children learn to take the role of the other as they play -put oneself in the position of another to understand how someone else thinks and feels -this allows us to anticipate how a person will act and in turn shapes our actions -example: The False Belief Test with the children and the candles in the crayon box -3 social stages of self development: 1)Imitation/Preparatory Stage: children under 3 years mimic the gestures and words of others; imitation and mimicking is not symbolic understanding or interaction -at this stage, children don’t have a sense of self that is separate from others -social objects at this stage (including the self) are not yet defined or understood as having as socially constructed meaning 2)Play Stage: children age 3 - 5/6 play by taking on the role of specific people; signifi- cant others - people important to the individual who the individual wishes to please or impress -significant others provide patterns of conduct for children -the acquisition of language is key to the play stage and the child becomes able to label and define objects with words; these words or symbols have a shared meaning with others -the child can only assume the perspective of one significant other at a time -the play stage is a process of learning to step outside of yourself and see your- self from the perspective of significant others 10 3)Game Stage: begins around age 7 with organized play or team games; the game stage illustrates the importance of assuming perspectives of several other simultane- ously -individuals must be able to take on multiple roles in order to play games -begin to take on the role of the generalized other - the internalization of a society or group’s rules and perspectives -the generalized other is a way to abstract people, relate to them in the same way SI VIEW OF THE SELF -psychology and “common sense” ideas of the self point to a fixed set of core personali- ty traits that we are born with; the self is unchanging -sociological SP view the self as a social process where people develop a sense of themselves in the same way that they develop an understanding of other social objects -SI stresses that an individual’s self is responsive to and shaped by social forces -Cooley agreed with Mead that the self was a social creation COOLEY AND THE LOOKING GLASS SELF -‘Looking Glass Self’ a term coined by American sociologist and one of the founders of of sociological SP, CH Cooley in 1902 -describes the process through which a self develops -the self relies on the imagined responses of others for its development -you learn to see yourself through the reflection provided by others; the self relies on other people’s responses to you -we imagine another person’s mind and their subsequent response to us and our ac- tions -3 elements of the ‘Looking Glass Self’ -we imagine how we appear to those around us; through the eyes of significant others (ex. “Others think that I am smart”) -we imagine how others judge us based on their actions and expressions to- wards us; interpreting reactions and coming to conclusions (ex. “People like me be- cause I am smart”) -we develop a self-concept on the basis of our interpretations of others’ reactions; we internalize interpretations and feel shame or pride (ex. “I like myself because other people think I am smart/ I am smart”) 11 -we rely on the impressions of others in forming our own self-assessments but our read- ings of their reflected appraisals may not always be accurate; our sense of self develops based on what we think other people are thinking - not their actual appraisals -we can never actually see ourselves directly in the way others see us - it’s imagined; even if they are misinterpreted appraisals, the misinterpreted appraisals become a part of our self-concept -misinterpretation of appraisals highlights our active selves or our agency -the looking glass self starts in childhood (parents as the “mirror”) and is a lifelong process -our sense of self is a reflection of the responses of friends, family, co-workers, and strangers -what you end up liking or not liking about yourself is, largely, the result of acts of others toward you and your acts toward them; interpretations of actions DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEAD AND COOLEY -both Mead and Cooley’s concepts require the use of imagination -for Cooley, the process of the Looking Glass Self is a process through which you devel- op a self-identity through the ref
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