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Simon Fraser University
Sociology and Anthropology
SA 250
Ann Travers

Unit 1: What is Sociological/Social Theory? Study Guide Notes: • Sociological theory usually refers to the work of professional sociologists; social theory is a broader term that describes the process by which humans attempt to make sense of their worlds. • social theory- talk about the social world ⁃ that it is a practice that most of us engage in on a daily basis Where does social theory come from? ▪ social theory is that efforts at explaining the social world are particularly necessary in times of disruption and rapid change ▪ the developing modern world differed dramatically from the traditional society that had existed for hundreds of years before it. ▪ The first professional social theorists attempted to document the differences between the new society they found themselves living within and the traditional society that was so rapidly disappearing. -the term “enlightenment” refers to historical period of widespread economic, social, and political change. • this period of rapid social change combined with an increase in the number of people who could read and write. Durkheim: -concerned about the bases from social unity as society changed from the traditional to the modern Marx: -focused on social inequality and conflict in the new capitalist/industrial organization of society Weber: -concerned about the limiting effects of Western rationalism -convinced about its superiority to other forms of social organization All three sociological theorists shared a vision of society progressing from a less to a more complicated form. Social theorizing as a process for making sense of the world and for articulating different conceptions -a process that is essential to enable discussion and debate Social Theory originated in the 18th century- it reflected the perspectives and experiences of the rather narrow group of people who had literacy skills to speculate about the social forces at work in their world THEME: what social forces are at work in Western society
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