Textbook Notes (367,753)
Canada (161,369)
Sociology (1,112)
SOC 3310 (13)
Chapter 1

WEEK 2 - Chapter 1, Mills.docx

4 Pages
Unlock Document

SOC 3310
Norman Dubeski

WEEK 2 Chapter 1 – The Understanding of Society  pg. 1 – 14 The Structure of Sociological Theory - Express theories systematically and discuss in a comprehensive way how far they can explain social life, insight into behaviour and society, relates different events to general principles to see the similarities - Classical definition of a theory is a deductive one – starts with general concepts, lays rules about how to classify observations, then gives general propositions about the concepts o Once subject matter classified, generalized theory allows to deduce specific statements about its nature - The key concepts of a theory also allow us to see parts of social reality that would otherwise escaped us - Theories differ in 3 different significant aspects: subject matter, assumptions underlying their approach, and types of questions they believe social theory can and should answer Subject Matter - Theoretical perspectives divide into: o Large scale characteristics of social structure and roles (macrosociology)  Functionalism and conflict theory: 2 approaches concerned with overall characteristics of social structure & general nature of social institutions  Emphasize relation b/w general categories of social position, discuss social evolution o Person-to-person encounters and the details of human interaction/ communication (microsociology)  Symbolic interactionism and phenomenology examine human interaction in minute detail  Don’t categorize aspects of social structure, consist of vocabulary to discuss particular actions of people, micro  Rational choice concentrate on individuals decisions- link to structural qualities, mainly micro Assumptions - Most important assumptions concern human nature - Sociologists differ on whether they emphasize human behaviour as determined or emphasize human creativity o Biggest contrasts b/w functionalism and rational choice, and symbolic interactionism an phenomenology o First view: role individuals play in choices, approach based on human behaviour having causes and therefore explainable o Same view in functionalism: behaviour predictable (function of forces/norms), don't ignore peoples decisions but see behaviour as ultimately determined o Conflict theory: less deterministic but similar, emphasize purposive individual, groups act to secure ends o Rational choice: also emphasize purposive individuals and groups acting to secure their ends o Functionalists: identifying general values of society& analyzing roles they play in events, treat behaviour as more passive o Symbolic interactionism and phenomenology: emphasize human action, view humans as active therefore impossible to predict behaviour& develop sociological laws of a scientific type, don't deny regularities in behaviour but emphasize creative may people interpret meaning through interaction  “me”: incorporates learned attitudes and meanings , “I” innovative and unpredictable  Phenomenology: concerned with nature of interpretations but rather than contrasting me/I they point to pervasive nature of assumptions, our social world/experience of society are built up as we go along (not objectively real) - Perspectives also differ on whether human behaviour motivated by interests or values (clearest in case of functionalism and conflict theory) o Functionalists: basic purposes formed by birth into particular society (don't exist independently), underlying needs that you must meet, socially instilled values emphasized o Conflict theories: emphasize interests (treat as self-evident) that are primary and common to all societies and are the main reason behind behaviour in every case o Symbolic interactionism: values incorporated into the “me”, interests hardly incorporated o Phenomenology: values rather than interests o Rational choice theorists: social values and tastes define peoples preferences, base arguments on objectives seen as universal Methodology - Methods of argument and research  deductive or inductive reasoning - Deductive: begin with explanatory hypotheses about research problem, use logical reasoning to deduce empirical implications, require basic concepts be spelled out before theyre used in formulation of hypotheses o Functionalism: Merton says deviance from lack of congruence b/w values and opportunities o Conflict Theorists: Dahrendorf explains industrial conflict by relating to general principals of conflict and organization o Rational Choice: Collins defended deductive scientific analysis o Marxist: relate social evolution to material change, superstructure of politics& ideas to substructure of economic life - Inductive: begin by observing/immersing themselves in data, believe it is too rigid to start with a clearly defined o Symbolic Interactionism: feel deductive reasoning implies falsely that action& interpretation are determined by prior events and believe sociologists should focus on understanding instead o Phenomenologists: believe deductive theories by proposing general positivist law falsely imply the existence of a single objective reality about which one can advance testable generalizations, argue what any human describes is their view of reality based on assumptions o Critical Theorists: attack traditional theory for suggesting that deductive arguments can be assessed objectively and for aiming at pure knowledge, however their work is inductive in a different way
More Less

Related notes for SOC 3310

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.