[SOCI 1001] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (32 pages long!)

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7 Feb 2017
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SOCI 1001
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Social Theory
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
10:50 AM
Sociological imagination: a general perspective
Social theory: tools for asking and answering more specific questions
o Context: major social changes in the later 19th century and early 20th centuy
From agricultural to industrial economy
From rural life to city life
Transitions from monarchies to democracies
Declining influence of religion in public life
o Our changes
Industrial to knowledge economy
Rapid changes in technology
Globalizing social networks
Increasing diversity of lifestyles and family forms
o Social theory emerged as a way off better understanding these changes and social problems
they created
o Social theory definition
Systematic set of ideas about relationship between individuals and societies
Different kinds
"grand" theories try to explain universal features of all societies
Others apply to specific issues (race, gender, religion, etc.)
Sociology has multiple and often competing theories
o 3 common themes
How does the individual act in the context of society?
What is the basis for social order? What is it that holds societies together?
What are the circumstances or conditions under which societies change?
o Classical social theory
Karl Marx
Emily Durkheim
Max Weber
Georg Simmel
W.E.B. Du Bois
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
o Context
Political change, conflict, and revolution across Europe and US
Low wages and worsening conditions for workers in cities
o Big question
What are the conditions that lead to revolutionary social change?
o Big idea
All societies produce more good than they need to survive = "economic surplus"
Societies differ based on who controls this surplus (and who gains extra rewards
from everyone's work)
Creates conflict between the group that controls the surplus and everyone else
(classes)
Haves and have notes will always be in conflict
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Conflict will intensify over time, until the dominated class overthrows the
dominant class
How will it work under capitalism?
Two groups
Bourgeoisie: owners of capital
Proletariat: do not own capital, must seek paid employment to meet basic
needs
Predicted Proletariat would eventually rise up against bourgeoisie and create a
"socialist" society
What actually happened?
Improved working conditions just enough so people do not overthrow
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
o Context
Major economic and technological changes fundamentally changing society
o Big question
How do societies maintain cohesion and feelings of social solidarity/belonging?
o Two forms of social solidarity
Dominant form of solidarity in primitive societies built around extended clans and
tribes
Characterized by a very minimal division of labor
Low levels of diversity (everyone knows each other and looks the same)
Shared roles and experiences produce feelings of solidarity
Organic solidarity
Dominant form in more advanced societies
Extensive division of labor and mutual dependence among strangers
Members of society need each other but have very little else in common
Solidarity forged through shared, sacred beliefs
Shared commitment to individual freedom ("cult of the individual")
Religious and political notions of the "sacred" can also play this role (flags,
nationalism)
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