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Chapter 1

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SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

SOC 1100* 4/3/2013 5:02:00 PM  Chapter One  The Sociological Perspective  Sociology=what peoples lives are like  Studying sociology=why we behave the way we do  Society around us influences how we act and even what we think and how we feel  Wisdom of sociology is that society guides our actions and shapes our values  Sociologists=understand and predict the behaviour of individuals, groups and people  The decisions people make are not “free will”  Sociology teaches us that the social world guides all our life choices  Sociology: the systematic study of human society  Sociology is an invitation to learn new ways of learning at the world around us SEEING THE GENERAL IN THE PARTICULAR (Peter Berger)  By this he meant that sociologists identify general social patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals  Society acts differently on various categories of people (eg. Children compared to Adults, women vs men, rich vs poor)  Sociology shapes our life experiences  Sociological Perspective: seeing the general in the particular SEEING THE STRANGE IN THE FAMILIAR  Familiar being what you think  Giving up the idea that human behaviour is simply a matter of what people decide to do (so many different choices and how we behaviour)  Understanding that society shapes our lives and what we think and do  Living in an individualistic society may take a lot of practice o see how society affects us - ALWAYS CHOOSE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOUR - Parenting styles: 1) *authoritarian 2) permissive 3) democratic SEEING PERSONAL CHOICE IN SOCIAL CONTEXT  The power of society to shape even our most private/personal choices (eg. Durkheim on suicide, suicide in a comparative perspective)  Emile Durkheim, o showed that suicide is a public act, social act, based on social experiences o Society and society forces have a huge impact on who we are o Some categories of people are more likely than others to take their own lives (eg. Men, protestants, wealthy people, and unmarried have higher suicide rate) o Social Integration: categories of people with strong social ties had low suicide rates, and more individualistic categories of people had high suicide rates o Freedom weakens social ties and thereby increases the risk of suicide rates (there is no connection) o Social Cohesion: how deeply your views or values are rooted in the ground (how strong) SEEING SOCIOLOGICALLY: MARGINALITY AND CRISIS  Two situations that help people see clearly how society shapes individuals lives: 1) living on the margins of society 2) living through a social crisis  People at the margins of social life are aware of social patterns that others rarely think about  Periods of change or crisis encourage us to use the sociological perspective  The use of sociological perspective=look at our lives with new curiosity  Mills used what he called sociological imagination(meaning the same as sociological perspective)= help people understand not only their society but also their own lives. (eg. The great depression, the society clasped, no jobs for individuals were found)  Sociological thinking can bring about social change, the more we learn about how the system operates, the more we may want to change it (eg. Gender inequality) THE IMPORTANCE OF A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE  Global Perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it  Global awareness is a logical extension of the sociological perspective o Society shapes our life experience, the position of society in the larger world system affects everyone in Canada  Level of economic development, 1) High-income countries: are the nations with the highest overall standards of living 2) Middle-income countries: nations with standard of living about average for the world as a whole 3) Low-income countries: nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor Global Perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it High-income countries Middle-income countries Lower-income countries The causes and consequences of global wealth and poverty,  Canadians are socially, economically and culturally integrated with the rest of the world. There are especially strong links between Canada and the United States, 1) Where we live shapes the lives we lead. o Poor and rich countries have different sized families and live very different lives. o To understand ourselves and appreciate how others live, we need to understand how countries differ 2) Societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected. o Canadians have become linked to individuals o Electronic technology (eg. Phones, TV, transportation, business, media, ads) o Cultural influence (affects how we teach one another)  3) Many problems that we face in Canada are more serious elsewhere. o Poverty o Gender inequality 4) Thinking globally helps us learn more about ourselves. o Open minded o Better understanding  Applying The Sociological Perspective  Guiding many of the laws and policies that shape our lives  An individual level, important personal growth and expanded awareness  Sociology=good preparation for the world at work SOCIOLOGY AND PUBLIC POLICY  Sociology has played an important role in the development of Canadian public/social policy (rules)  Sociology and research conducted affects policy’s  The government, polling agencies, the media and universities have impacts on public policy/social issues SOCIOLOGY AND PERSONAL GROWTH  Sociology can have an important role in our own personal growth  More active, aware, and critical in our thinking  Four ways, 1) The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of “common sense”. o Free individuals 2) The sociological perspective helps us see the opportunities and constraints. o Economic and goals 3) The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participant in our society o Knowledge is power 4) The sociological perspective helps us live in diversity o Learn from one another CAREERS: THE “SOCIOLOGY ADVANTAGE”  A background in sociology is excellent preparation for, o teaching and doing research o doctors, nurses and technicians o criminal justice o advertising, banking, business, education, government, journalism, law, public relations and personnel management  Sociology is great when working with people  Gain sociology advantage  The Origins of Sociology SOCIAL CHANGE AND SOCIOLOGY  Sociology is a powerful social force  Three kinds of change in the development of sociology 1) A new industrial economy (manufacturing) 2) The growth of cities pushed people away from working the land (enclosure movement) 3) Political change, shift in focus from moral obligation to God and monarch to the pursuit of self-interest (individual liberty and individuals rights)  A new awareness of society, make people aware of there surroundings. In England, France and Germany SCIENCE AND SOCIOLOGY  Auguste Comte o The father of sociology o Described a new way of looking at society o How could society improve o Understanding how society operates o Study modern social realty scientifically o Three stage historical development 1) theological stage: the church in the middle ages 2) metaphysical stage: the enlightenment and the ideas of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau 3) scientific stage: physics, chemistry and sociology  Positivism: a way of understanding based on science (Comtes approach) o Society operates according to laws like the physical world  Science is still a crucial part of sociology  Karl Marx- not just to understand society but to bring about change toward social justice CANADIAN SOCIOLOGY: DISTINCTIVE TOUCHES  Sociology began i
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