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SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

Chapter One- The Sociological Perspective Seeing the General in the Particular  SOCIOLOGY is the systematic study of human society  Peter Berger described the sociological perspective as seeing the general in the particular o Sociologists would identify general patterns in behavior of individuals o Realize that individual’s act differently based on what category they fit into (women versus men, or children versus adults, etc.) o General categories we fall into shape our particular life experiences Seeing the Strange in the Familiar  Sociological perspective is also seeing the strange in the familiar  Society influences all decisions that we make o Think about going to university: we think we wanted to go because it is close to home, or to secure a good job; we don’t realize that we also feel pressured to go by society because it is the apparent “norm”. College/university attendance is the norm for people between 18-24 in this day and age in our society  Other factors include socio-economic background (higher education is expensive), race/ethnicity, and religion o Therefore it isn’t reasonable to say that attending university/college is a PERSONAL choice Seeing Personal Choice in Context  Society influences personal choice o Think about how many kids a woman has. It appears to be a personal choice but society is really influencing you to have a certain number (i.e. in the States the average is 2, in Niger average is 7)  Even suicide is influenced by society o Social ties connect people and are stronger amongst the poor, amongst married people and amongst people who practice certain religions (i.e. Catholicism contains large social ties as the church community comes together) o Wealthy have more freedom than the poor o In Durkheim’s time, men had more freedom than women and therefore less social ties Seeing Sociologically: Marginality and Crisis  Two situations help people see clearly how society shapes individual lives: o Living through a social crisis o Living on the margins of society  Living on the margins of society means feeling like an outsider; not being part of a dominant group o i.e. black people living Finch area in Toronto understand the importance of race in people’s lives, whereas white people wouldn’t consider race at all or the privileges it provides o To become better at using the sociological perspective, we must step back from our familiar routines and look at our lives with new curiosity  Periods of change/crisis make everyone feel off balance and this encourages us to use the sociological perspective o i.e. the depression in the 1930’s, when employment rate soared to 25% and people without jobs couldn’t help but see general social forces at work in their particular lives o Instead of thinking “something is wrong with me; I can’t find a job!” they realize “The economy has collapsed, there are no jobs to be found!” o Social change encourages sociological thinking and sociological thinking brings out social change  i.e. the more we learn about our world the more we may want to change it in some way  Becoming aware of gender inequality has caused some men and women to try to reduce it The Importance of a Global Perspective  As new information technology draws the farthest reaches of Earth closer together, many academic disciplines are taking a global perspective o Global perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it  Sociology shows us that our place in society shapes our life experiences, so it stands to reason that the position of our society in the larger world system affects everyone in Canada o i.e. Canada’s relationship with the U.S.(the destination of 85% of our exports and our nation’s attempts to come to terms with the emerging economic powers of China and India)  The world’s 193 nations can be divided into 3 categories o High income countries- nations with highest overall standards of living  60 countries including Canada, U.S., Western Europe, Japan  These countries produce the most of the world’s goods and services and the people living there own most of the world’s wealth o Middle income countries- nations with a standard of living about average for the world as a whole  76 nations including many in Eastern Europe, most of Asia  These countries are likely to live in rural cities or in cities and are likely to ride bikes or animals or drive cars  Average of 6-8 years of schooling o Low-income countries are nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor  57 nations including many in Africa, Haiti  Too little water and food and very low chance to improve lives  This textbook compares North America with the rest of the nations of the world for four reasons o Where we live shapes the lives we lead- to understand ourselves and appreciate how others live, we must understand something about how countries differ o Societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected- trade is a major factor amongst nations, and cultural diversity is displayed in festivals, streets, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. o Many social problems that we face in Canada are far more serious elsewhere- poverty is a problem in Canada but is more serious in Latin America, Africa, etc. Moreover, Canadian women have lower social standing than men, gender inequality is even greater in the world’s poor countries o Thinking globally helps us learn more about ourselves- we cannot walk the distant streets of other cities without thinking about what it means to live in Canada  In an increasingly interconnected world, we can understand ourselves only to the extent that we understand others; sociology is an invitation to learn new ways of looking at the world around us Sociology and Public Policy  Sociology has played important role in development of Canadian policy o Sociological research influenced the Royal Commission on Health Services from which Canada’s medicare system arose  Many sociologists have done policy-relevant work outside the context of royal commissions o Raymond Breton was the director of Montreal’s Institute for Research on Public Policy and did influential work in the areas of ethnicity, cultural boundaries, Quebec nationalism, regionalism, and constitutional change  Hundreds of people with sociological training who are employed by the government, polling agencies, the media, and universities have impacts on public policy and Canada’s response to social issues Sociology and Personal Growth  Using sociology benefits us in four ways o The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of “common sense”  The idea that we are free individuals is something we take for granted; we assume we decide our own fate; we might praise very successful people as superior and less successful people as personally deficient. However, a sociological approach encourages us to ask whether such common beliefs are true and to the extent they are not, why are they so widely held o The sociological perspective helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives (we have a say in how we play our cards, but it is society that deals us the hand. The more we understand the game, the better players we will be) o The goals sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society (the more we understand how society works, the more active citizens we will become) o The sociological perspective helps us live in a diverse world  North Americans only account for 5% of the world’s population; there are a lot of other people out there who live completely differently from us. We are biased on our own way of life and consider it “better” or “more natural”  The sociological perspective encourages us to think critically about the relative strengths and weaknesses of all ways of life including our own Social Change and Sociology  Three stages of society: o Theological stage (church in the Middle Ages) o Metaphysical Stage (the Enlightenment and ideas of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau o Scientific Stage (physics, chemistry, sociology)  A new industrial community: o Laboring started being done in factories rather than at home under the control of strangers who owned the factories  This took people out of their homes and weakened the traditions that had guided community life for centuries  The growth of cities: o Across Europe, landowners took part in what historians call “enclosure movement” (they fenced off more and more farmland to create grazing areas for sheep, the source of wool for the thriving textile mills)  As cities grew larger, these urban migrants faced many social problems, including pollution, crime, and homelessness  Political change o Europeans viewed society as an expression of God’s will and everyone played a part in the social plan Sociological Theory  Structural-functional approach o A framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together o Points to social structure and maintaining that social structure (any relatively stable pattern of social behavior) o Social functions: the consequences of any social pattern for the operation of society as a whole o Auguste Comte founded this theory o Manifest functions: the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern o Latent functions: the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social patterns  Social-conflict approach o A framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change o Highlights inequality and change, rather than stability like the structural-functional approach does o Main example: inequality between men and women (feminist approach)  Symbolic-interactionism approach o A broad focus on structures that shape society as a whole is the MACRO focus o Also contains “micro-level” orientation (a close-up focus on social interaction in specific situations) o Symbolic-interactionism approach is a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals  Postmodernism approach o Critical of modernism with a mistrust of grand theories and ideologies o Proposes that human sciences cannot be scientific because of human subjectivity, which makes discovering objective truth imposible o Asks “how does power permeate social relations or society, and change with circumstances?” Chapter 2 – Sociological Investigation Science – logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation Empirical Evidence –information we can verify with our senses Scientific Sociology – study of society based on systematic observation of social behaviour Variable – concept whose value changes from case to case Measurement – procedure for determining the valuing of the variable in a specific case Operationalize a variable – specifying exactly what us to be measured before assessing a value to a variable Reliability - consistency in measurement Validity – actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure Cause and Effect – relationship in which change in one variable cause change in another Independent Variable – variable that causes the change Dependent Variable – variable that changes Correlation – relationship in which two (or more) variables change together Spurious Correlation – an apparent but false relationship between two (or more) variables that is caused by some other variable Control – holding constant all variables except one in order to see clearly the effect on that variable Replication – repetition of research by other investigators Interpretive Sociology – study of sociology that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world Critical Sociology – study of sociology that focuses on the need for social change Gender – personal traits and social positions that member of a society attach to being female or male Research Method – systematic plan for doing research Experiment – research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions Hypothesis – statement of a possible relationship between two (or more) at variables Hawthorne effect – change in a subject’s behaviour cause simply by the awareness of being studied Population – people who are the focus of the research Sample – part of a population that represents the whole Questionnaire – series of written questions a researcher presents to subjects Interview – a series of questions a researcher asks respondents in person Participant Observation – a research method in which investigators systematically observe people hole joining them in their routine activities Secondary Analysis – research method in which a researcher utilizes data collected by others Inductive logical thought – reasoning that transforms specific observations into general theory Deductive logical thought – reasoning that transforms general theory into specific hypotheses suitable for testing Basics of Sociological Investigation Starts with two simple requirements 1. Applying the sociological perspective - Reveals patterns of behaviour that call for further study 2. Be curious and asks questions Three Ways To Do Sociology Scientific Sociology - Study of sociology based on systematic observation of social behaviour - Requires careful operationalizing concepts - Measurements must be valid and reliable - Relies on quantitative data - Cannot bring personal bias or values into the study - Limitations o Human behaviour is very complex, so they cannot predict individuals actions o Presence of the researcher may affect individuals responses o Social patterns change - Stands closest to structural functional approach Interpretive Sociology - Focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world - Sees reality as being constructed by peoples - Relies on qualitative data - Better suited to research in the natural setting where sociologist interact with people - Figured out why people do things not just what people do - Three sources of data o Observation o Participant observation o Interviews - Stands closest to symbolic-interaction approach Critical Sociology - Study of sociology that focuses on the need for social change - Rejects the scientific principal of objectivity - Claims that all research has a political character - Linked to social-conflict approach ** if research involves participants, it MUST be ethical!!!!!!!!! - They must know what they have gotten themselves into and consent to it Methods of Sociological Research Four common methods of investigation 1. Experiments - For investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions - Asks not just what happens but why - Test a hypothesis - Performed under controlled conditions - Tries to specify casual relationships between two or more variables 2. Survey Research - Subjects respond to a series of statements or questions in a questionnaire or an interview - Most widely used - Good for studying attitudes - Yield descriptive findings 3. Participant Observations - Field study - Investigators systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities - Do not have a particular hypothesis in mind at the beginning - Can observe for more months to years - Must maintain some distance as an “observer” - Mostly quantitative data, but sometimes collects some quantitative data - Personal approach  must be accepted into group 4. Using Available Data: Secondary and Historical - Researchers utilize data collected by others - Easier and more efficient then own data collecting data - Often uses government data - Problems o Data might not be available / exist o Questions of the meaning and accuracy of other peoples works Theory and research are linked in two ways: 1) Deductive logical thought starts with general theories and generates a specific hypothesis suitable for testing 2) Inductive logical thought starts with specific observations and builds general theories Overall Summary 10 Steps in Sociological Investigation 1. What is your topic? 2. What have others already learned? 3. What, exactly, are your questions? 4. What will you need to carry out research? 5. Are there ethical concerns? 6. What methods will you use? 7. How will you record the data? 8. What do the data tell you? 9. What are your conclusions? 10. How can you share what you have learned? Chapter 3: Culture -way of life including people’s actions, possessions, and internal feelings -derives from the word cultivate “growing” a way of life Chapter opener: Musher Abraham Okimasis from Eemanapiteepitat Indian reserve, was the first Indian to win the 1951 world championship dog sled race -humans may share biological characteristics but develop ideals about life through culture that affect every custom from getting married to apparel What is Culture? -culture refers to ways of thinking and material objects, comprises everything that we create with our minds and hands, thus linking to one’s past and guiding one’s future -nonmaterial culture refers to ideas created by society; material culture refers to physical things created -people tend to view their own lives as “natural”, culture shock arises when travellers experience an unfamiliar way of life -humans rely on culture rather than instinct (like most animals) to ensure survival -culture is a way of life(shared by society), human trait(rely on it for survival), and product of evolution(culture replaced biological instincts) Culture and Human Intelligence -Stone Age achievements (walking upright, advantages of hunting in groups, use of fire, tools, weapons, and clothing) mark a distinct evolutionary course -250 000 years ago Homo Sapiens (“thinking person”) emerged and developed so that about 40 000 years ago “modern” Homo sapiens developed cultures and cave art -12 000 years ago, permanent settlements in specialized occupations (now Iraq and Egypt) mark the birth of civilization, because they changed the natural environment to benefit themselves Culture, Nation, State And Society -culture: ideas, values, and artifacts that make up a shared way of life -nation: commonly used to refer to a political entity- a state or country; also refers to people who share a culture, ancestry, and history -society: organized interaction of people within a nation, state, or other boundary who share a culture How Many Cultures? -experts documented almost 7 000 languages, which are declining Thinking About Diversity Box: Aboriginal Languages in Danger of Extinction -of the six aboriginal languages spoken, only four are not on brink of extinction -researchers suggest that Canada should take action to preserve all of them because they represent spirituality, diversity, knowledge and many other things to an individual and Canada as a whole The Elements of Culture -cultures vary but have common elements such as symbols, language, values, and norms Symbols -build a reality of meaning and carries particular meanings by people who share culture -culture shock leads individuals to feel lost as they don’t understand some symbols or behaviours -symbols allow people to make sense to their lives and without them, human existence would be meaningless Seeing Sociology in Everyday Life: New Symbols in the World of Instant Messaging -the world of symbols are changing and advancing everyday -today there is a great amount of the population, changing symbols through the use of instant messaging (IM) Language -Helen Keller was blind and deaf, she was limited through social development until her teacher used sign language as a form of communicating with her -language: is key to culture, it is a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with each other (through the alphabet and many sounds) -cultural transmission: one generation passes culture to the next. Language is very important to this, as it is the key to accumulated wisdom. People have transmitted culture through speech (oral culture tradition) -Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language Sociology and the Media box: Canada in Six Words or Less -images or beliefs of Canada are widespread -examples of very sarcastic, negative comments Values and Beliefs -values: culturally defined standards that serve as broad guidelines for social living, they support beliefs -beliefs: specific statements people believe to be true -cultural values and beliefs form our perception and the core of our personalities -values may be inconsistent and conflicting -values in higher income countries (focus on individual happiness, take life for granted) differ from lower income countries (traditional, focus on necessities in life, values of family and religion) Thinking Globally box: Canadians And Americans: What Makes Us Different? -Canadians and Americans have many differences. For instances Canadians value collective universal Medicare, whereas Americans like the option to choose and pay for Medicare Norms -norms: rules and expectations that a society uses to guides its members -proscriptive norms stat what we should not do, whereas prescriptive norms state what we should do -most important norms in a culture apply everywhere and at all times -Two types of culture include mores: norms widely observed and hold moral significance; and folkways: norms for routine or casual interaction -social control: attempts by others to regulate people’s thoughts and behaviour Ideal and Real Culture -ideal culture: social patterns mandated by cultural values and norms -real culture: actual social patterns that only approximate cultural expectations Material Culture and Technology -every culture includes a wide range of physical human creation, called artifacts -material culture reflects a society’s values and technology -technology: knowledge that people use to make a way of life in their surroundings New Information Technology and Culture -industrial production focuses on factories and machinery that generate material goods -post industrial production focuses on computers and other electronic devices that create, process, store, and apply information Cultural Diversity in Canada -Canada exhibits striking cultural diversity, over the last 30 years, it is the world’s most multicultural country -sociologists call Canada a cultural mosaic High Culture and Popular Culture -diversity may be rooted in social class, as people in society uses the term culture to represent sophisticated art forms (literature, opera, ballet) -high culture: cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite -popular culture: cultural patterns that are widespread throughout society -people often make judgements about high culture and popular culture. They shouldn’t do this because neither group has uniform tastes and interests. In addition, high culture is not inherently better than popular culture; supporters in high culture have more money, power, and prestige. Subculture -subculture: cultural patterns that set apart some segment of a society’s population -in some cases, important cultural traits such as ethnicity or religion divide people Multiculturalism -multiculturalism: social policy designed to encourage ethnic or cultural heterogeneity -Eurocentrism: the dominance of European cultural patterns. This legacy is a debate on whether we should continue to stress Western European cultural contributions and exclude other cultures -multiculturalism generates controversy because it requires rethinking of core norms and values. Areas of debate, including language question whether Canada should officially recognize minority languages by federal law. -multiculturalism is an effort to enhance appreciation of cultural diversity. It has developed in response to the American “melting pot” idea, which was thought to result in minorities losing their identities as they adopted mainstream cultural patterns Counterculture -counterculture: cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted within a society Cultural Change -cultural change is continuous, change in one dimension is usually associated with other transformations -cultural integration: the close relationship among various elements of a cultural system -cultural lag: cultural elements changing at different rates, causing various degrees of disruption in cultural systems -causes of cultural change are invention(creating new cultural elements), discovery(recognizing and understanding something not understood before), and diffusion(spread of cultural traits from one society to another) Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism -enthnocentrism: the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own -cultural relativism: the practice of judging a culture by its own standards. This is a logical alternative to the biased enthnocentrism A Global Culture? -societies have more contact with one another than before, involving the flow of goods, information and people -global economy (the flow of goods): involving international trade -global communications (the flow of information): satellite based communications enable communication across the world -global migration (the flow of people): knowing about the rest of the world, motivates people to travel. Technology today enables people to makes relocating easier -a global culture may enable people to experience new things but people still see the world through their own cultural lenses (international trade is not evident everywhere, not everyone everywhere can afford new goods and services, and cultural practices are not immediately accepted or adapted when someone moves) Theoretical Analysis of Culture The Functions of Culture: Structural-Functional Analysis -cultural universals: traits that are part of every known culture -level of analysis: macro -what is culture: is a system of behaviour by which members of societies co-operate to meet their needs -what is the foundation of culture: cultural patterns are rooted in a society’s core values and beliefs -what core questions does the approach ask?: How does a cultural pattern help society to operate? What cultural patterns are found in all societies? -summary: views culture as a relatively stable system built on core values. All culture patterns play some part in the ongoing operation of society Inequality and Culture: Social-Conflict Analysis -level of analysis: macro -what is culture: is a system that benefits some people and disadvantages others -what is the foundation of culture: cultural patterns are rooted in a society’s system of economic production -what core questions does the approach ask?: How does a cultural pattern benefit some people and harm others? How does a cultural pattern support social inequality? -summary: sees culture as a dynamic arena of inequality and conflict. Cultural patterns benefit some categories of people more than others. Evolution and Culture: Sociobiology -socio-biology: a theoretical approach that explores the ways in which human biology affects how we create culture -level of analysis: macro -what is culture: is a system of behaviour that is partly shaped by human biology -what is the foundation of culture: cultural patterns are rooted in humanity’s biological evolution -what core questions does the approach ask?: How does a cultural pattern help a species adapt to its environment -summary: explores how the long history of evolution has shaped patterns of culture in today’s world **The symbolic-interaction approach, with its micro-level focus on behaviour in everyday situations, is explored in Chapter 6 (“Social Interaction in Everyday Life”)** Culture and Human Freedom -culture forces us to choose as we make and remake a world for ourselves -culture can limit the choices we make, it is largely a matter of habit which dives us to repeat troubling patterns Chapter 3 Bolded Definitions: What is Culture? culture: the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together shape a people’s way of life nonmaterial culture: the ideas created by members of society material culture: the physical things created by members of a society culture shock: personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life The Elements of Culture symbols: anything that carried a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture language: a system of symbols that allows people to communicated with one another cultural transmission: the process by which one generation passes culture to the next Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: people perceive the world through the cultural lens of language values: culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and beautiful, and that serve as broad guidelines for social living beliefs: specific statements that people hold to be true norms: rules and expectations by which a society guides the behaviour of its members mores: norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance folkways: norms for routine or casual interaction social control: attempts by others to regulate people’s thoughts and behaviours ideal culture: social patterns mandated by cultural values and norms real culture: actual social patterns that only approximate cultural expectations technology: knowledge that people use to make a way of life in their surroundings Cultural Diversity in Canada high culture: cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite popular culture: cultural patterns that are widespread throughout society subculture: cultural patterns that set apart some segment of a society’s population multiculturalism: social policy designed to encourage ethnic or cultural heterogeneity Eurocentrism: the dominance of European cultural patterns counterculture: cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted within a society cultural integration: the close relationship among various elements of a cultural system cultural lag: cultural elements changing at different rates, causing various degrees of disruption in cultural systems enthnocentrism: the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own cultural relativism: the practice of judging a culture by its own standards Theoretical Analysis of Culture cultural universals: traits that are part of every known culture socio-biology: a theoretical approach that explores the ways in which human biology affects how we create culture plus box on page 358, "Aboriginal Elders: Cultural Custodians" -aboriginals widely respect their elders. They are shown to hold insight, wisdom, and authority -they have experience, knowledge, and possess many stories plus box on pages 598-99, "The Canadian Revolution through the Information Revolution" -Canadians are now more equipped to make their own decisions and voice their own opinions -they have access to more information, making them more independent plus box on page 601, "We're Different, Eh?" -Canadians are shown to be very different from Americans -many may seem Anit-American Chapter 4 Summary – Society: Society – refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share a culture Gerhard and Jean Lenski: Society and Technology -their work helps us understand the great differences among societies that have existed throughout human history Socio-cultural evolution – changes that occur as a society gains new technology (term was coined by the Lenskis) -societies with more advanced technology can support more people -The Lenskis’ work has defined 5 types of societies: Hunter/Gatherer societies, Horticultural and Pastoral societies, Agrarian Societies, Industrial Societies, and Post Industrial societies Hunter/Gatherer Societies: Hunting and Gathering – The use of simple tools to hunt animals and gather vegetation -all humans were part of this society from approximately 3 million years ago until 12,000 years ago -very few of these societies remain today, although some do (some Africans and Aboriginals) -people in these societies have little free time, and spend most of their time looking for their next meal -Adults do most of the work in these societies, and these societies usually have a shaman or spiritual leader who enjoys high prestige but has to work like everyone else -use simple tools such as spears and knifes -main enemy is forces of nature who effect their food supply -due to improved technology throughout the world, these societies are disappearing Horticultural and Pastoral Societies: -began about 12000 years ago Horticulture – The use of hand tools to raise crops -growing crops and gardens for food -First used in fertile regions of the Middle east -hunters and gatherers living where food was plentiful would not adopt this -people living in dry or infertile regions (e.g. the Sahara) would be more likely to adopt pastoralism Pastoralism – The domestication of animals -growing plants and animals led to increased food production so population boomed -pastoralists were nomadic, horticulturists settled down -a surplus of food now meant not everyone had to work at gathering foods, so specialization in the creation of goods or performing services arose -more socially diverse than hunters and gatherers; they had elites, poor, military men, etc. -hunters and gatherers believed in many Gods, Pastoralists and Horticulturists believed in one God as the creator of the world Agrarian Societies: -began about 5000 years ago Agriculture – Large scale cultivation using plows harnessed to animals or more powerful energy sources -development of permanent surplus and an even greater surplus of food and materials -more specialization of goods and services, so money was now required as a means of exchange -agrarian societies have extreme inequality—e.g. slaves and peasants vs. Elites -agriculture raises men to a position of social dom
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