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SOCIOL 3- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 75 pages long!)


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCIOL 3
Professor
David A.Smith
Study Guide
Midterm

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UC-Irvine
SOCIOL 3
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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SOCIOL 3 – Lecture 1Notes
Social Problems
The Sociological Imagination (1959)
- Book/Essay by C. Write Mills
3 Key Elements of S.I.
1. Historical
2. Anthropological
3. Critical
Life Cycle of a Social Problem
Step 1: Initial Awareness – Something is wrong; Needs fixing
Based On: 1. Ideology
2. Self-interest
Step 2: Public Issue – Noticed by Key People/Media
Becomes a topic of legitimate debate/demonstration
Step 3: Active Debate (Causes/Policies) – Bargaining Process/ “Politics”
“Systemic” vs. “Personal” Attribution
Step 4: Political “Solution” – May be Provisional
*Back to step one
Lessons of Social Problem Life Cycle
- Different people/group see issues in distinct ways depending on ideology and material
interests
- Even the most “technical” social problems are ultimately “political”
- Powerful people (and those with media access) get to set agendas and mold discussions
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SOCIOL 3 – Lecture 3 Notes
Broad Theoretical Approaches in Social Science/ Sociology
Three Perspectives on Social Problems
1. Social Pathology
- This is the oldest approach: “Social Darwinism” or survival of the fittest
- Some people are less “fit”  “fit” people isolate them and let them die
- Modern Proponents: “Innate Inferiority or “The Bell Curve”
2. Social Disorganization
- Truly a “sociological” view that emerged in 1920’s – 1930’s
- Frequently linked to “functionalism” – holds the idea that rapid change causes
problems, rising “deviance”, etc.
- Policy: Restore equilibrium, readjust society, and help deviants “fit in”
3. Social Structural
- “Newest” approach: Critical Sociology 1960’s
- Emphasizes how society routinely generates conflicts and inequality
- Policy: Change institutional political economy not individuals
Weakness of the Three Perspectives
1. Social Pathology
- Based on faulty early 20th century biology
- Completely non-sociological
- Thoroughly a “person blaming” approach
2. Social Disorganization
- Deep functionalist assumptions
- Emerged in an era of rampant anti-Marxism
- Strong tendency toward “person/group blaming”
3. Social Structural
- Based on assumptions about conflict and change from 1960’s
- Extreme version denies any personal responsibility by perceiving people as “robots”
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