What is the sociological perspective?
It shows us that the society around us influences how we act and even what we think and how we
feel. Learning to see the world sociologically is useful in many ways—and it is also fun!
Seeing the general in the particular.
What is sociology?
The systematic study of human society
See the strange in the familiar
Seeing personal choice in social context
What is sociological imagination?
The same thing as sociological perspective – seeing the general in the particular.
What is global perspective?
The study of the larger world and our society’s place in it.
Seeing the community of Orangeville and how it relates to Ontario and Canada and how it relates
to the world.
*Where we live shapes the lives we lead
*societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected
*many social problems that we face in Canada are far more serious elsewhere
*thinking globally helps us learn more about ourselves
High-income countries *high standards of living (60 countries including US, Cda, Argentina and more)
Middle-income countries *standard of living is about average (76 countries, many in Eastern Europe, 7
in Africa and almost all of Asia and Central and South America)
Low-income countries *low standard of living, poor (Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Haiti is the only
one in the Americas)
How and why do we apply the sociological perspective?
- guides many laws and policies that shape our lives
- personally leads to important personal growth and awareness
- good prep for world of work
Where and why is sociology in public policy?
- sociological research influenced Health policies
- sociological research influences education, crime, families, multiculturalism, public policy
and Canada’s response to a wide range of social issues
- helps us assess the truth of common sense
- helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives
- empowers us to be active participants in our society
- helps us live in a diverse world
- careers in sociology, researchers gathering info on social behaviour, studying for programs and policies
they set in place; criminal justice (who is at most risk of becoming victims or criminals, review how effective various policies and programs are at preventing crime, why people turn to crime); health care –
nurses, doctors and technicians learn patterns of health and illness and explore race, class, etc
What are the origins of sociology
Sociology was rooted by the choices made by individuals which has impacted major historical
events. (Powerful social forces led to the development of sociology)
Social change and sociology
*new industrial economy (factory-based)
*growth of cities
*political change (spread of new ideas about democracy)
*new awareness of society
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
John Locke (1632-1704)
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
French Revolution – Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Science and sociology
Auguste Comte (1798-1857) coined the term sociology in 1838 to describe a new way of looking at
K’ung F-tzu (onfucius)
St. Thomas Aquinas
Christine de Pisan
- cared how society could be improved
- goal was to understand how society actually operates
- sociology as a product of 3-stage historical development:
o theological stage, religious view that society expressed God’s will
o metaphysical stage society seen as a natural rather than a supernatural system
o scientific stage used to study the physical world to the study of society
Comte’s approach is POSITIVISM (a way of understanding based on science); society operates
according to its own laws, much as the world operates according to the laws of nature; we are creatures
of imagination and spontaneity, so human behaviour can never fully be explained by rigid ‘laws of
Canadian Sociology: Distinctive Touches
Canadian sociology includes a unique francophone component; economic and political trends; some
followed the US tradition and others followed British tradition
- Harold Innis: Canadian economy depended on resource extraction and exportation (the
staples thesis); explored role of communications and its technology and the media
- Marshall McLuhan, controversial, media theorist, impact of electronic communication on
culture, politics, countries, personal identities – medium is the message
- Barry Wellman studies the communication/media method
- John Porter, “The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada”;
context of development and underdevelopment; social stratification, ethnic inequality, elites,
French/English relations and bureaucracy
- Wallace Clement a student of John Porter, furthered the study of elites and stratification - Erving Goffman, pioneered micro-analysis (face-to-face), symbolic interactionist (each
person to play his/her own part), actors on a stage, participant-observer who conducted
experiments to understand order in specific settings; breaking rules to observe the responses
- Dorothy Smith, experience of female academics, life stories of those women, feminist
inspired by Karl Marx, studying social organization through everyday life
- Raymond Breton, world-renowned expert on ethnocultural and immigrant communities,
ethnic and linguistic diversity, multiculturalism, French/English relations, Quebec
nationalism, regionalism, national unity, and constitutional issues. “institutional
completeness” – general framework for institutional analysis in the study of inter-ethnic
What is sociological Theory? A statement