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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Understanding the Social Imagination.docx

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SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

SOC103 How Society Works CHAPTER 1 Understanding the Social Imagination MODULE 1.1 – The Sociological Imagination  Sociology: systematic study of human groups and their interactions  Sociological perspective: a view of society based on the dynamic relationship between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live CHARLES WRIGHT MILLS AND THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATIONS  Suggests that individual challenges are influenced by understanding the larger social forces and affects a person’s ability to understand and resolve them  Personal troubles: personal challenges that require individual solutions  Social issues: challenges caused by larger social factors that require collective solutions  Quality of mind: ability to view personal circumstance within a social context  Social imagination: ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives o Involves stepping outside your own condition and looking at yourself from a new perspective o Internal reflection requires us to think about ourselves differently and by doing so, become more informed about the social forces that have come together to make us who we are PETER BERGER’S VIEW OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE  Defines the social perspective as the ability to view the world from two distinct yet complementary perspectives: 1. Seeing the general in the particular  Ability to look at unique events or circumstances and recognizing the larger (or general) features involved  EX. In a specific and particular incident, it occurred at a specific time and place that you saw someone; to see the general is to recognize that you may have seen one person, you know there are many more you do not see 2. Seeing the strange in the familiar  Thinking about what is familiar and seeing it as strange  EX. Studying and taking notes to write an exam is familiar; considering that grade tell us how smart we are is strange WHAT MAKES YOU, YOU? ENGAGING THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION  Agency: the assumption that individuals have the ability to alter their socially constructed lives  Five social factors affect our perception of ourselves and others 1. Minority status 2. Gender 3. Socio-economic status  Ascribed status: advantages and disadvantages assigned at birth  Achieved status: attributes developed throughout life as a result of effort and skill 4. Family structure 5. Urban-rural differences MODULE 1.2 – The Origins of Sociology  Ibn Khaldun recognized as the first social philosopher working from the sociological perspective  1828: Auguste Comte coined the term sociology THREE REVOLUTIONS: THE RISE OF SOCIOLOGY  Three revolutionary events inspired the rise of sociology: 1. The Scientific Revolution  1650–1800: the emergence of the Renaissance, insight by thinkers such as Galileo, Newton, and Copernicus began to gain wider acceptance despite resistance from the Church SOC103 How Society Works  Positivism: theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based on science o Comte believed that if the world was interpreted through a scientific lens then society could be guided by observation, experimentation, and logic 2. The Political Revolution  Society endorse democratic principles, challenged social convention and inspired new ways of understanding the social world  Niccolo Machiavelli challenged the birthright of the nobility and asserts that anyone could become a prince  Rene Descartes statement “I think therefore I am” confirmed humans are able to understand their world through rational reflection  Thomas Hobbes asserts that humans are driven by two primary passions: fear of death and desire for power; true nature of human kind is self-preservation, which can be achieved through cooperation  John Locke asserts that ideas are not innate and that all knowledge is the result of experience  Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggests humans exist in a natural state (solitary and self-centred) but recognizes the benefits society could achieve through social contact 3. The Industrial Revolution  Changed family structures, how people made a living, and even people’s thoughts, dreams, and aspirations  Led a series of social problems, including child labour, crushing poverty, malnourishment, and exploding crime rates FROM EUROPE TO NORTH AMERICA: THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIOLOGY  Macrosociology: the study of society as a whole o Issues on a societal level, such as poverty, capitalism, war, and political change  Microsociology: focus on individual and/or small groups and how they behave in particular face-to-face social networks  Symbolic interactionism: a perspective asserting that people and societies are defined and created through the interactions of individuals SOCIOLOGY IN CANADA  Canadian sociology is a product of its experiences and resistance to American sociological tradition  Five defining features help distinguish Canadian sociology: 1. Geography 2. Francophone sociology  Political, religious, and social injustice in Quebec and with their relationship with the rest of Canada 3. Canadianization  Hire and train more Canadian sociologists in order to investigate and understand Canadian society from a Canadian perspective 4. Political economy  Political economy: interactions of politics, government, and governing, and the social and cultural constitution of markets, institutions, and actors 5. Radical approach  Simultaneous emergence of Canadianization movement and women’s movement led to a politics of knowledge that proved helpful to b
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