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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Principles of Sociology Introduction September 4.docx
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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 1100
Professor
John Irwin
Semester
Fall

Description
Introduction:  understanding the society that shapes our lives, understand their own lives/lives of people around them, common sense gave incomplete explanations about people, behaviour, society  studying societies methodically, study peoples lives, understand how society changes,  socail changes ,inequalities, conflicts captivate because of issues like war and peace  personal problems simmiliar among people, and private side of public issues  C.Wright Mills called this knowledge or ability sociological imagination; ability sociologist know they need to deal with personal problems collectively and often politically with full awareness  solving problems entail clear thinking and careful research  goal to explain social life, critque life, critique social inequities and work towards effecting social change Sociology: the systematic study of social beahviour in human societies  study social units people create when they join with others  macrosociology: study of large social organizations, focus n complex social patterns that people form over long periods - study large social units/organizations over long periods of time -stress how slowly things change, how persistent a social pattern is, as it plays itself out in onegeneration after another  microsociology: focuses on the typical processes and patterns of face to face interaction in small groups, study marriage, business meetings - study common everyday interaction and negotiations that together product lasting secure patters -how quickly things change, elusive thing we call social life  combo of both study gives better understanding of the world Sociological Imagination: C.Wright Mills, enables us to relate personal biographies, what we need to use to understand how societies control and change their members, - it allso allows for the creation of sociological theories to make sense of complex social world, based on carefully gather evidence, most interesting/useful evidence from theoretically infromed research - different from empirical research tradition that created it.  level of analysis refers to the size and scale of social life under examinations, macro = big.  meso deals with scale between micro and macro  functionalism: explain social in terms of how it fits together and how each part helps the whole to run smoothly  conflict theory social life in terms of power and inequality, focusing on the gap between the haves and have nots, in the social world  symbolic interactionism refers social meanings actors give and take from their own and others social beahviours and how we need to understand these personal meanings  feminism: how male dominance over women is embedded in situtions and culture treating gender as a central analytical lens to understand  theoy is applied, tested and refined in hopes of ongoing research Sociological Theory: are abstract general ideas that help organize and make sense of the social world, highlight the place of the individual within larger cultural contexts and social structures  must go beyond common sense descriptions of people,places,events.  link concepts with empirical evidence which can be test and evaluated  metathoeretical work that builds on existing theory and evidence gather by other researchers to generate original arguments.  best sociological theory engages with empirical evidence systematic data gathering, which can be categorized into three major types,  statistical data based on measuring large numbers of observable social phenomena,  observational data, based on qualitative interviews or notes taken through observing people in their everyday activities,  historical comparative data, based on written, photographic, oral records of lives,institutions,events, in different places and times  used multivariate, interpretive, and historical comparative theory respectively.  each theory has different assumptions about reality, contains its type of epistemology Multivariate theory sees society as a being made up of objectively identifiable patterns that we can understand by using the language of hypothesis testing and empirical measurement Interperetive: unique nature of human behaviour in contrast to the natural world, studying the consious and self aware character of group life requires a method that is sensitive to these features. reality for them is a social product relative to the particular social group in question, product of their unique perspective Historical comparative: importance of historical processes and events of particular times and places, societies will be every different today from past times, Multivariate Theory:  Emile Durkheims Suicide great case of multivariate logic within sociology  understand human behaviour in terms of what he called social facts  social facts, large group patterns external to people yet capable of directing peoples behaviour  social behaviour can be explained through understanding social facts deemed relevant at hand  social explanation of suicide rates vs indivudal accounts, example of large scale survey(multivar)  Durkheim believe if larger scale rates were different and varried by the social facts characterizing the groups, then suicide is not merely individual problem, product of larger social forces  Durk found suicide would increase during both economic crises/  suicide had less to do with economic crises but more with lack of social stability, pathological moderization of soceity, and the erosion of community  level of social solidarity was the most imp fact to determine rates of suoicide  sociological basis for patterns of individual action, Interpretive: based on data in the form of observation and interviews  Georg Simmel/Max Weber  Max Weber: versteben, refers to the understanding the meanins carried by actors that lead them to make decisions  The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism  followers of Calvin wanted heaven so resist from luxury, self discplined lifestyle hard work will bring sign of their eternal salvation in heaven  Weber believed this attitude was the rise of capitalism, through deep religious beliefs,  many of these capitalist only kept working hard, lived in plain circumstances not wasting money but working hard  Georg Simmel important influence on interpretive theory, neglected b/c he's jewish, -forms of association in social life, patterns and regularities of social interaction over and above their specific content  Herbert Blumer: define symbolic interactionism, and it give it its name. -argue the centrality of meaning in the formation of action and decision, unlike weber , blumer incorporated the influence of ethnographic methods used by Rober Park to show the importance of up close observation, intimate familarity with the social group understand -participating, spending time with group and form concepts based on the meanings the members can carry = understanding of group life -basis development of modern ethnographic research/qualitative analysis Historical Comparative Tradition: specific process that explain sequence of conntignet events that occurred across time  empirical evidence in form of texts/documents/artifacts/oral histories/historical archieves/library collections/museums  evidence is organized use theoretical inferences to judge their significances, their relation to the events of time  Alexis Tocquvilee: Democracy in America: comparison of different national histories to explain difference in culture/political structure/individual behaviour  Karl Marx: historical materialist analysis of Capitalism in Europe: rise of textile industry in Britain to enclosure movement forcibly removed peasantry from their means of subsistence(feudal land) peasants removed to make room for wool industry  historical account how the modern day class structure arose, shift from feudal to capitalist society Theoretical Diversity:  combining all three theories = offer very powerful approach  Durkheim work suicide: shows that the systematic pattern of suicide patterns predict by relig/gend/marital/blinds us to symbolic meaning central to suicidal behaviour at the micro level  Social Science is best served by truing to combine the three types of theorizing outline above in order to overcome the specific shortcomings of each of the approaches when used allow Dorothy Smith: Feminist Ethnography  ethnomethodology: stress the value of studying the methods/routines of everyday life that people must use to make sense of establish order in their lives  looking at this world from the view of a women, the world looks different, hierarchies established that display male dominance  advocates for stand point theory, challeged the dominance of male perspective in sociology, theory do research using approach called institutional ethnogrpahy, examines social life/traditions relations of ruling by men are created/reinforced both at home/work  studies the power relations (insitutions/organizations) in society, by the strategy of qualitative research method/ exploring ther first hand perspective of those negatively affected  ethnographic resaerch with insight of the marxist version of historical comparative theory,  interested in changing society like Marx, combines both interpretive and historical comparative  argues against ethnographic/interpretive theories that do not connect observations to structures of inequality Randall Collin's Micro Theory of Stratification: combines Max Weber theories of class/status/power with the microsociology by Goffman  stresses how status/power differences in society over broader range of conflicts more than economic only  society is pervasively dominated by battles of social prestige,race,ethnic,religious,gender difference and cultural distinction  importance of institutions that control people through the use of force/violence  Believe to change society is diff from understanding it in objective manner  combines objective science with research into social inequality  -in his work, conflicts of power,prestige,economic resource play themselves out in society  theory of inequality derives webers emphasis on the importance of status/prestige and Goffmans micro interpretive work  study of inequality to microsociological processes and well as macro sociological st
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