Sociology Chapter 1 January 11 2011
The sociological perspective
Sociology teaches us that the world guides all our choices.
Sociology is the systematic study if human society. Point of view in
sociology is called the sociological perspective.
Looks at individual behaviour in a social context
• recognizes and understanding patterned behaviour
• helps us understand social order/structure
• helps us understand social change
Seeing the general in the particular
Society acts differently on various categories of people (children vs. adults,
men vs. women)
General categories where you fall in to shape your particular life experiences
Our individual life experiences are shaped by the society in which we live- as
well as by the general categories into which we fall.
Seeing the strange in the familiar
Society shapes what we think and do.
The sociological perspective provides additional insights that may not be
Seeing personal choice in social context
Categories of people with weak social ties are more likely to commit suicide.
-men, wealthy, Protestants, unmarried people
The higher suicide rate among men may be a result of their greater affluence
and autonomy in Canadian society
Seeing sociologically: marginality and crisis
There are two situations which can help people see how society shapes individual lives
Living on the margins of society (black, gay, old, disabilities)
Living through social crisis
The more we learn about how ‘the system” operates, the more we may want
to change it in some way.
The importance of a global perspective
The study of the larger world and our society’s place in it
Applying the sociological perspective
It helps us assess the truth of “common sense”
-are our common beliefs true? Why are they so widely held?
Helps us see the opportunities and constraints