Scientific study of society, social groups and social behavior
outside factors and contributions
social norms, rules, and standards
relations ships groups, individuals, etc.
legislation and public opinion
individual vs. group, group vs. group, and individual vs. individual (individual as part
of a group)
Methodology how? collecting data, predictive sense, etc.
Knowledge knowledge base grows many studies legislation, groups, etc. body of
Theoretical and social perspectives
Berger demon within How does sociology change the way we view our social world?
social beings= human beings
II. Sociological Perspective
1. Individuals by their nature are social beings
People generally don’t like being alone
2. Individuals are socially determined
norms and standards culturally defined primarily nurture over nature
ex. Male vs. female, masculine vs. feminine, etc.
3. Individuals create, sustain, and change the social forms within which they conduct
III. Social Research
A. Sociologically Mindful
1. How do we know what we know?
2. Sources of knowledge have limitations
how far can we generalize? Disconfirmation in belief, etc. what happens when it
3. What is truth?
Where does our information come from?
How do they (sources) know what they know? biased? not always a definite
answer multiple truths perspective/methodology
4. Mindful of new knowledge and who it comes from
C. Mindful Skepticism shouldn’t always believe everything
D. Partial truth and the inevitability of uncertainty
We can’t know everything E. Perpetual inquiry and conversation
IV. Two Levels of Analysis
A. Micro level of analysis
Microsociology study smaller groups
Micro vs. macro and in between
1. Primary and Secondary groups
Primary small, informal, and longlasting, facetoface, intimate interaction
sense of belonging
profound effect on identity
ex. family, friends, roommates, floor mates, church
Secondary large, impersonal, task oriented, and formally organized
ex. residence hall, large class, the university, work place, school
B. Macro level of analysis
1. Society as a social system
how things work together
2. Social structure
how things are structured/organized in society, groups, etc.
defines meanings, rules, how we define certain things.
ex. gender, sexuality, etc.
4. Social institutions
family, education, government, economy, religion, etc.
C. Wright Mills
What is the sociological imagination?
What does it mean?
Mills/Johnson The sociological perspective matters
1. Ability to see the connections between our personal experience and the structure of the
society in which we live. Most people see themselves from the limited perspective of
family, friends, classmates, and fellow workers.
2. We are able to distinguish between personal troubles and public issues.
personal ex. in terms of identity can lead to other social problems
public magnitude system/structure ex. unemployment in large quantities
the 2 can be tied together
3. We are able to see the connection between the events and conditions of our lives and
the social and historical context in which we live.
What aspects of social structure contribute to private troubles and public issues? age, class, gender, race, sexuality, etc.
Ex. Being unemployed
Public vs. Personal
Individual’s faulty character vs. various elements of social structure and culture.
Do SOCIAL FORCES rather than individual skills largely determine whether a person is
employed or not?
society is constantly changing
most jobs aren’t coming back What are people going to do?
large factors macro
1. A perspective provides us with a way of looking at the world
2. Sociological theories
The Forrest, the Trees, and the One Thing
step away from individual thinking
1. Practicing sociologist?
“Practicing sociology is a way of observing the world, to think about it and make
sense of it.” (36)
2. Practice what? What is sociology?
The central insight about the social world
What would it be? CORE IDEA
3. Issue of diversity
Difference and privilege
People don’t like to talk about privilege Why?
*who you know is important networking
People only think in terms of individuals
Change the individual= change the world
What about society? Idea of social systems
Society as a SOCIAL SYSTEM
How they affect us
Position in the system
“We are always participating in something larger than ourselves ‘We’ is not a
homogenous term.” (46)
(Native Americans, LGBT high rates)
WHY? Ideas include: depression, neglect, life not worth living, stress, drugs/alcohol, no
sense of control, “coward”
individual’s fault psychological
Alternate cause: environment, friends/family, etc. most likely something social
Bergenfield suicide “multideath pact”
Mills sociological imagination
Private vs. Public
One vs. Group
“MultiDeath Pact” collective act
collective identity within their own history conceptualization lost
What would make four people want to die together?
Why in a collective suicide note did they ask to be waked/buried together?
What was the nature of the social bond that tied them so closely?
Structure of the H.S. Who gets labeled as “burnouts”?
Labeling and hurt Can kids be labeled to death?
“Stranded Teenage Wasteland”
Expectations of schools and parents
the “forgotten half” 20 million between 16 and 24 are not likely to go to college
service jobs and the American dream
Jobs, lack of security, resentment
“spiritual burden” passed to children?
faith in the next generation
suicide pact negation
lack of legitimate space
didn’t fit? Why not move away? issue of class privilege
“teenage suicide won’t go away until kids’ bad lives do” (20)
“An Intersection Between Biography and History”
A. Researchers’ Observations and Concerns
What were they?
1. Consider researcher’s standpoint
female, Latina, sociologist in terms of her family background
2. Why does the author mention “My intellectual journey” in the title?
3. Reinterpretation of her own experience by considering the larger historical/social
context of MexicanAmericans and the deevaluation of housework
4. Undocumented livein maids what did she observe?
5. Juanita values and norms isolation and loneliness surrounding domestic service
What were they?
Values “culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable,
good, and beautiful.” –broad guideline for living
Society guides behavior of members
proscriptive Thou shall not!
prescriptive What we should do
B. Research Process exploration study 1. Chicanas born inside U.S. Denver
2. How did she gain access to domestic workers?
snowball sampling kept asking for names of other workers
sample part of a population
3. domestic workers and stigma domestic service
stigma spoiled identity
4. use of nonstructured, freeflowing, openended interviews. 25 openended
5. What did she ask?
C. Historical Background
1. After Mexican-American war maintain their Mexican citizenship and leave
the country or become U.S. citizens (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848)
2. Land grants and loss of land (2,000,000 acres of private land and 1,700,000
acres of communal land)
3. Push-pull factors that forced rural Hispanics off the land
4. Importance of Migration to urban areas and the labor market for Chicanas
D. Profile of Chicana Household Workers
1. Paid domestic workers have been invisible; low paying and low status jobs
2. Not unionized and not counted
3. Often seen as part of the underground economy
4. Sample = 25; welfare recipients as well as working class women; age 29 to
68; family size, married v. unmarried; educational backgrounds; work
experience 5 months to 30 years; other employment
E. Paid and Unpaid House work – “the double day” or the “second shift”
1. Importance of social relationships surrounding housework
2. Domestic house work, while demeaning, can be higher paying and less
demeaning than other jobs
3. Other issues: hours, work hour flexibility,
4. Stigma – Job related and the reality of limited job opportunities
5. Work and identity – lower class status defused by emphasizing family and
community 6. Separation of work and family as an analytical construct is not applicable to
7. Other research questions asked (page 30)?
8. As a Feminist: raises the challenge to any feminist notion of “sisterhood”.
9. House work is ascribed on the basis of gender (gendered work and
occupations); further divided along class lines and race/ethnicity.
10. Privilege = the use of one class of women by another class of women to
escape aspects of sexism
30 Years Since Hell: The New Mexico Prison Riot
‘The media is the message’, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’…
all of the blame was put on the prisoners
didn’t say anything about the reality that some of the inmates were trying to stop this
left out background information issues
stereotypes of prisoners all bad not necessarily true
did not mention why this happened
alcohol was used before the attack but why did it happen after that?
doesn’t promote understanding promotes stereotypes
how do they cover the news in a certain amount of time? Who decides what information
is included/left out?
could it do with the fact that it was reviewing something that happened 30 years ago?
other news stations may have done a better job
to what extent does the media invoke fear?
issues in terms of time, advertising, audience, etc.
need to be sociologically mindful look at the sociological imagination
Internet/media important tools in society
“Descent into Madness: The New Mexico State Prison Riot” (Mark Colvin)
What is the history and social structure of the prison?
How did the break down in the social structure of the prison enable violence and
disorganization to occur?
idea of breaking down the solidarity of the prisoners ‘snitch game’ somebody who
rats out someone else
lack of leadership within the prison inmate population
no efficient system constantly changing new wardens, guards changing the rules, etc. problems in relation to order/structure lack of structure in relation to the inmate
1976 inmates staged a strike wanted better prison conditions did not work no rules
to follow broke down inmate leadership snitch game (get revenge)
different gangs within the prison that wind up taking over horrific outcome of the
breakdown of social structure
example of applied sociology sociologist is hired by an organization to look at a
problem and come up with ideas/solutions
researched the incident what exactly happened?
looking at this from a sociological perspective
A. New Mexico Prison Riot
B. Human Costs in terms of lives and monetary costs many injured/killed
C. The Role of Labeling who is doing the labeling and what is the outcome?
1. Prisoners as “animals”
2. “Evils of a taxpayer supported prison system”
D. Colvin is interested in providing context for understanding
I. Background to the Riot
A. 1976 peaceful protest relating to prison conditions
1. Result: crackdown on organized prisoner activity ridding the prison of inmate
leadership destroying structure
2. Inconsistency of both security procedures and discipline of prisoners (perceived
as harassment by many prisoners) no more norms
3. “Snitch System” emerged
4. Labeling an inmate as a “snitch” (seen by inmates as a person having a weak
5. Snitch game and inmate solidarity
6. Disorganized social system, violence, and riot
7. inmate to inmate violence
“The Culture of Fear- Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Thing”
What is culture?
-rituals, relationships, behaviors- in a given area
-behaviors and actions of a group
-identity of a particular group of people
-shared heritage of a people- shared meaning
-passed down from generation to generation
-family, communication, language, media, friends, etc. -language is very important- verbal communication and nonverbal
communication (body language, facial expressions, etc.)
-language and body language vary from culture to culture
-things often get lost in translation in terms of meaning
-gender- relates to meaning- what it means to be a man/woman- biology ~
masculinity/femininity- culture~ many cultures have a gender ‘normative’- gay, bi,
-symbols- verbal/nonverbal- norms/rules/standards/values- good/bad
-subculture- a culture within a culture
-counter-culture- ex. Hippies in the 60s- not accepting the norms/standards of
Culture of fear
-pervasive in American society
-How do you know what you know?
-fear of the unknown
-we assume the worst
-media focuses on the negative- good stories don’t sell
-how does the media deal with negative situations?
-ex. Afghanistan- axis of evil/weapons of mass destruction
-the media often makes things seem worse than they are- cause a fear within
the public- to what extent has It created fear?
-to what extent is the media telling the truth? And what part of it is causing more
-We should be vigilant and take caution but also realize when things are over-
exaggerated/aren’t really as bad as they seem
-interrupting the function of society- media as a propaganda machine
-‘Are we really fearing the wrong thing?’ –Glassner
-issues are multi-sided, not just two-sided- we need to think differently and
1. We are often afraid of the wrong thing
2. What should we worry about?
a. Unemployment insurance
c. Income inequality
Death rates from cancer and heart disease
Extreme inequality threaten instability
-many different factors
-race, gender, age, etc.
d. The loss of a common ideology of a better future
-Robert Reich (Brandeis University) “we lose the glue that holds the nation
together.” -Direct threats to our livelihood
-system of beliefs/values- ideology
-belief that every generation is going to be a little better off than the next
-hope that we can achieve the same or more than our parents did- better
lives for ourselves in the future
-technology affecting the American worker
-globalization- more than trade- it’s a whole new world out there
-what if people don’t believe in the ideology anymore? To what extent will
that lead to instability with the US?
-Where will we be in 10 years?
-What should we fear? What information do we have that tells us a great
A. Fear and the Media
1. access, power, and interests
B. Morality and Marketing
1. Richard Nixon: People react to fear not love
2. Glassner- “Immense power and money await those who tap into our moral
insecurity and supply us with synthetic substitutes.” (67)
-To what extent are we insecure about the country/nation? the
Def: “the process of learning to participate in group life through the
acquisition of culture.” (Shepard: 2005)
1. Children learn the culture of the society in which they are born – learning
cultural values and norms.
2. Socialization is a life long process.
Infants become human only through learning their culture.
3. The socialization of youth requires social interaction.
4. Integration of the individual into the social group
5. Another essential: Language – How do people think and perceive the world
6. Socialization and the Life Course
A. Total Institutions – places where people are separated from the rest of
society (See Goffman, 1961). [“Anybody’s Son Will Do”]
B. Desocialization the process of relinquishing old norms, values, attitudes
and behaviors. C. Resocialization - the process of learning to adopt new norms, values
attitudes and behaviors.
7. The process of learning about ourselves as individuals –social identity and
social self through the interaction with others. [The personality emerges as a
II. Personality as a Social Product
1. Charles H. Cooley (1869-1925) – the looking glass self
a. feedback the individual receives from other people – How do other
people react to us?
b. self-fulfilling prophecy – the individual is defined for others (eg.
Deviant label or stigma) – Self concept
2. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) - taking the role of the other
a. self conscious - by the age of 2
a. play stage - taking the role of the other
significant others (4-7)
b. game stage – incorporate the pressures of society – the generalized
other (around 8)
THE SELF EMERGES AS ARESULT OF SOCIALEXPERIENCE
III. Institutions and Gender Socialization
V.Sex and Gender
How is Gender sociologically constructed in American Society?
A. Starts with the individual being assigned to a sex category in relation to
physical characteristics – genitalia
For society gender means difference
1. What is the importance of gender categories?
Western System of Gender –ABinary System
Two genders: men and women What about a third gender?
“Two spirited people”
A. Cultural definition of what is considered masculine and feminine
B. “Doing gender” constantly
1. Body motion and human communication [“tertiary sex
C. Transvestites and Transsexuals
1. Transvestite – a person who dresses in the opposite gender clothes
2. Transsexual – a person who had sex change surgery. (Lorber)
Example of gender categories observed
What is “gender bending”?
[Example: theatre and dance]
Gender ideologies (Ideology = a system of belief and values) – norms and
1. Ways of being masculine and feminine
2. The social construction of gender
3. Gender roles and expectations
4. Gender roles and change
5. Gender and the social organization of one’s life
6. Creating a gendered world for a new born
Gender-based division of labor – macro and micro levels and inequality
1. Choosing people for different positions: talents, abilities training v.
race, ethnicity age, gender
“Decline of the Date and the Rise of the College Hook Up”
(England and Thomas)
1. Change of dating and sexual norms in the college subculture
hook ups usually sexual no strings attached
dates not usually expectations of sex on the first date more emotional
hook ups seem to be more common than dating now
2. Subculture: “a system of values, attitudes, lifestyles, and modes of behavior of a social
group which is distinct, but related to the dominant culture of society.” (page 69)
3. subculture What have you observed about the college subculture at Syracuse
girls several hook ups quickly labeled ‘slut’ guys several hook ups ‘macho’/’cool’
hooking up may lead to dating
some people are not mature enough to date yet
in college some people don’t want to start dating someone because eventually they
will have to go back home
4. What about the dating/relationship scene?
genders? guys vs. girls
5. Study: sample of 615 students; indepth interviews of 270 students undergraduate
6. What about gay, lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender undergraduate students?
in many Native American societies third gender twospirited people
7. What about graduate students?
many went through hook up stage more mature want to settle down
8. What is hooking up? In what context does it occur?
9. What about “random hook ups”?
more alcohol more blunt?
10. Hook ups and drinking?
11. What did students say about being under the influence of alcohol?
12. How is sex defined by study participants?
Where do relationships come from on campus today?
a. exclusive relationships 33% dates, 44% hook ups
b. Defining the relationship
Gender and Hooking Up
Men/Women labeling and reputation
Respect and hooking up
Relational vs. Recreational Sex
More women than men wanted to turn hook ups into relationships gender differences
Sexual intercourse in relation to “love”gender differences?
What is defined as having sex?
What has changed? (From the 70s to today)
Safety in relation to hook ups THE SELF EMERGES AS A RESULT OF SOCIAL EXPERIENCE
III. Institutions and Gender Socialization
IV. Sex and Gender
How is gender sociologically constructed in American society?
A. Starts with the individual being assigned to a sex category in relation to physical
For society gender means differnce
1. What is the importance of gender categories?
Western System of Gender A Binary System
Two genders: men and women
What about a third gender?
“Twospirited people” in Native American societies
A. Cultural definition of what is considered masculine and feminine
B. “Doing gender” constantly
following in the societal norms of masculinity and femininity
automatically categorize someone as male or female
1. Body motion and human communication (“tertiary sex characteristics” Lorber)
C. Transsexual a person who had sex change surgery (Lorber)
Example of gender categories observed
What is “gender bending”?
(Example theater and dance)
men wearing earrings/ women with short hair, baggy clothes, no makeup
“What it Means to be Gendered Me” (Lucal)
1. What are the implications of living in a gender system that recognizes “two and only
2. What about individuals whose gender display are more ambiguous? (what about the
a. “Gender display refers to ‘conventionalized portrayals’ of social correlates of
gender.” (cultural set of behaviors, appearances, mannerisms, and other cues) Concept of “doing gender” (West and Zimmerman 1987)
1. Gender labels cue our interaction with him or her
2. No social place for a person who is neither man nor woman
Gendered Me Living with it Dealing with it?
feminist, sociological perspective
1. Being treated differently auto store
2. Fraternity went to her brother’s fraternity saw her as a man nodded at her, not her
brother she was “doing gender” better
3. Being yelled at while driving was yelled at because she was perceived as a man
4. Other negative consequences and stigma
5. Is she really challenging gender?
6. The author believes that: “the purpose of gender, as it is currently constructed, is to
oppress women” (agree?)
a. Clarity of boundaries that allow people to assign rights and responsibilities as well
as resources and rewards
b. Are patriarchal or heteropatriarchal constructions of gender actually the problem?
7. According to Lucal in her class on the sociology of gender, her students can see her
as “the embodiment of the social construction of gender.” What does she mean?
(also in terms of occupations)
“doing gender” following the norms of society men and women act a certain way
hair/way they dress activities they participate in sports, etc. (ex. Football is considered a
man’s sport people don’t expect to see women playing and when they do they are often
“two and only two genders” no transition for people who don’t want to conform limits
the range of what people can categorize themselves as one of those two or wrong
“ambiguous genders” more ambiguous frowned upon how they portray themselves in
“oppress women” history men considered higher than women
“Anyone’s Son Will Do”
Basic Training What are the reasons for basic training?
Is it about teaching skills or is it about changing young recruits?
Socialization Process turning young men/women into soldiers
Goal: Take orders and obedience (submission to authority), internalization of military
values and ultimately willingness to fight and die the supreme sacrifice.
Question: How is this being accomplished? a. Destruction of individual’s beliefs and confidence and replacing them by total
identification with the unit, group loyalty, and interdependence.
Question: Why are soldiers willing to fight?
Video: Full Metal Jacket
Sex and Gender Social Construction of Gender
Describe the process Lorber defines as the “social construction of gender.” How do
individuals and society create masculinity and femininity? Provide several examples.
media pictures of masculinity and femininity in ads
binary gender system
blue/pink, toys as children, etc. society’s “norms” from the time we’re born
How does the value of a social category affect those inscribed into it? For example, how
do the different societal values of masculinity and femininity affect men and women?
the way society sees you affects the way you feel about yourself
male is masculine, female is feminine
How does the social construction of gender legitimate women’s inequality? How could
the social construction of gender be changed to give women more power in society?
throughout history males are perceived as powerful and dominant
men and women each have their own strengths
people are often afraid of change
“Media Images and the Social Construction of Reality”
(William A. Gamson, et. al.)
1. Article considers a media system, which is suitable for a democracy
Question: Do you consider this an important issue?
Question: From your perspective, what type of media system should this be?
2. How do you view the media today?
3. Does it promote “active citizenship”?
4. What does the article mean by television imagery being a site of struggle?
5. What is meant by “the undetermined nature of media discourse allows plenty of room
for challengers such as social movements…” ? I. Mediagenerated images of the world and the social construction of meaning
A. Production of images and political and economic meaning
1. Controlling forces and processes variables to consider
a. Ownership and the market issues of competition and diversity (LCD)
Does competition encourage a diverse media?
b. Advertising v. create content that is likely to create a buying mood
n. content that is critical to corporations (Example: NIKE)
c. Global Media Ownership Ownership media global giants and the
r production of imagery
1. Different parts of the media empire can reinforce one another
d. Corporate Ownership loss of limited autonomy; “homogenization of imagery
that celebrates existing power relationship.”
e. Messages media images production: visual imagery, sound, and language. The
importance of decoding media texts and thus media imagery (Hegemony, framing, and
1. Not passive but active Hall (19282) “reminds us that people are not cultural
Viewers’ Work “VIEWERS WHO ARE WIDE AWAKE AND DRAW ON THEIR
WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE IN MAKING SENSE OF WHAT WE SEE ON TV.”
Using Media Imagery
1. “culture as a tool kit of symbols, stories, rituals, and world views, which people may
use in various configurations to solve different kinds of problems.” (389)
2. Media imagery as essential tools in understanding imagery (Are images playing an
essential role in the construction of meaning?)
3. Critical thinkers, experiential knowledge, and popular wisdom and the social
construction of reality.
1. Media system suitable to democracy
a. Understanding of social forces and broader context. Currently according to
the the authors remote
b. Overwhelming conclusion is that the media promotes apathy, cynicism, and lack
lack of political participation
2. GOOD NEWS
a. Messages are many voiced and can be read oppositionally
b. Television imagers is a site of struggle c. Challenging of social movements provides competing social constructions of
“Muslim Americans in the News Before and After 9/11”
issues of stereotypes, images
1. How are Muslim and Arabs stereotyped? What roles do they traditionally play in fil
2. News in America long displayed antiMuslim and antiArab bias
3. Research: News media coverage over an 18month period
4. Did the reporting after 9/11 reflect negative biases and stereotypes?
5. How was the research concluded? content analysis
6. What did the research show months after 9/11
more articles more information people became more aware of the culture
increase in education information rather than stereotypical information
Animating Youth: The Disneyfication of Children’s Culture
Henry A. Giroux
Shaped by visual media such as video games, films, and television, including
Hollywood animated films
Cultural authority and teaching values, roles, and beliefs
1. Homogeneity and historical purity
2. Security, childhood innocence
3. Disney’s conservative view of the world
Disney as a Political and Economic Empire
1. Corporate giant but also cultural institution
2. Movies, videos, hotels, theme parks, retail stores, television network
3. Civic Image teacher of the year award
4. Does Disney provide the image on which America constructs itself? (67)
5. What is Disney’s version of Main Street, USA?
1. Animated fantasy tends to fall outside the world of values, the meaning of
knokknowledge, etc. (68)
2. Role of Disney films shaping identity and meaning
3. How much influence?
Animated Films: Good or Bad for Children?
1. What is being presented?
2. Consumers and Commodification
3. Representation of gender and race 4. What are these animated films teaching children?
5. Issues of power and dominant ideologies
Gender Roles and Gender Identity: Little Mermaid and the Lion King
1. Roles narrowly defined
2. Dominant male narratives
3. Female subordination: The Lion King
2. Aladdin and Arab culture
3. Racially coded language
Caste and Class: Nature and the Animal Kingdom
1. Harmony and Domination
Pedagogy and Thinking Through Images
1.What do kids bring to the classroom?
2. Trivialization of History
3. Schooling of minds
4. Disney must be held accountable in both ethical and political realms
I. Social Stratification and Social Inequality
Social Stratification “creation of layers (strata) of a population who possess uunequal
shares of scarce resources” (Shepard 2005: 210)
power, privilege, and prestige
wealth inheritance, house, car, etc., minus debt (different than income)
how is the middle class fairing today?
attack on unions labor is now globalized union busting take away c