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Soc 101 Week one Readings

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Soc 101 Week One Readings-Chapter 1 & 2 Chapter One: Understanding Social Imagination -Sociology: systematic study of human groups and their interactions -Sociological Perspective: unique way sociologists see our world and dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social networks which we all live -small choices = rich social significance C.W. Mills:  People who do not/cannot recognize the social origins and character of their problems may be unable to respond to these problems effectively  Individual and social link (cannot understand one without the other) -Social Issues: caused by larger social factor that requires collective solutions -Personal Troubles: personal challenges requiring individual solutions -Personal troubles never becomes social issues because people rarely equate what is happening to them to the larger social world -Quality of Mind: ability to view personal circumstances within a social context -Sociological Imagination: ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives -Cheerful Robots: people who are unwilling to see the social world which they exist Peter Berger  Seeing the general in the particular is the ability to look at seemingly unique events and then recognize the larger features involved  Tune their social perspective by thinking about what is familiar and seeing what is strange  Cornerstone of sociological thinking -Agency: assumption that individuals have the ability to alter their socially constructed lives -Structure: network of relatively stable opportunities and constraints influencing individual behaviors -How does being considered minority impact the way in which that a person sees themselves -Gender: Canada, particularly, ruled by men -Socioeconomic Status: income level, level of education, occupation and area of residence -Ascribed Status: attributes assigned at birth -Achieved Status: attributes developed through life as a result of effort and skill -Family Structure: regardless of a child‟s age, higher income  better physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behaviour well-being -Urban and Rural Differences: structural differences K‟ung Fu_Tzu (Confucius): elaborate discussions. How individual fits in society Three Revolutions  Rise of Sociology: To understand and manage social change 1. Scientific Revolution Great thinkers challenging The Church  Auguste Comete (1798-1857) o Techniques used in science to explain social world o Law of Three Stages th  Theological Stage (up until 13 century): God is responsible for all  Metaphysical Stage: questions everything and challenges the church. People can understand the universe themselves  Positive Stage: through a scientific lens  Positivism o There exists an object and knowable reality o Since all scientists explore the same singular reality over time all sciences will become more alike o No room in science for values and judgments  Anti-Positivism o Hard science can explain physical world, the social world cannot be understood solely through numbers and formulas o All sciences will not merge over time and no single methodological approach can reach a complete understanding of our world o Science cannot be separated from our values -Quantitative: measurable behaviors -Qualitative: cannot be counted 2. Political Revolution  Machiallelli: „The Prince‟ – Humans are motivated by self-interest and desire for material wealth  Descartes: „Cogito ergo sum‟ – I think therefore I am  Hobbes: Fear of death and desire for power are humans main motivations  Locke: ideas are not innate and all knowledge is a result of experience (people are born a blank slate)  Rousseau: „Natural State‟ – Individual desires are solitarily and self-centered, idea of the „Social Contract‟ 3. Industrial Revolution  Change in family structures, how people make a living, peoples thoughts, dreams and aspirations  Rural to Urban migration: brought issues of child labour, poverty, malnutrition and higher crime rates -Macrosociology: big picture -Microsociology: individual/small groups Sociology in Canada  Geography and regionalism  Focus on political economy  Canadianization movements  Radical nature Chapter Two: Classical Social Theories -Theory: statement that tries to explain how certain facts or variables are related to predict future events  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) o People are responsible for creating the social world around them and that society can be changed through conscious reflection o Natural State: human conditions before social structures o People are self-interested and are pursuing power o Enter a collective agreement, give up some freedom to an absolute authority for protection o Government role to preserve peace and allow individuals to pursue their own self- interests o Collective has a right to revolt if the government is corrupt  John Locke (1632-1704) o God is responsible for emergence of society and government o Essay concerning human understanding  “Tabula rasa” blank slate o God granted certain people rights o Sanctity of individual autonomy o State: pressure individual‟s right to maintain property and protect from one another o Government: no rights only obligations  Charles De Montesquieu (1689-1755) o People never existed without society o Humans are defined and created by society o Strange in the familiar o Analysing laws of society enables one to see what society deems to be important o Law defines the spirit of the people o Ideal types of government: Republic (virtue), Monarchy (honour) and Despotism (fear)  Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) o Humans exist within a state of nature o Natural state: primitive conditions before laws in which people were pitted against each other symbolic idyllic relationship based on equality o State of nature = hypothetical concept o Humans only animal that is perfectible and people could achieve potential only through society o Government: protect people and secure people o Government is the corrupting element in society The Enlightenment 1650-French Revolution -Philosophes: philosophers who advocated critical thinking and practical knowledge -Recording of how people saw the world and their place in it -Masses to take control of their lives and challenge oppressors  Conservation reaction to enlightenment o Society exists on its own laws and is independent of individuals o Society, not the individual is the most important unit of social analysis and it produces the individual not the other way around o Individuals are not the basic unit of social interest (roles, relationships, structures and institutions) o Smallest unit of social analysis is the family o Parts of society are interrelated and interdependent
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