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Chapter 1-5

Sociology Chapter 1-5.docx

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

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Sociology 101: Exploring Sociology Chapter 1 9/12/2012 4:26:00 PM Sociologist studies society  government, education, religion, issues; gender, religion, groups Sociology is the systematic study of human groups and their interactions Sociological Perspective refers to the unique way in which sociologists see our world and can dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live Charles Wright Mills The Sociological imagination  developing an appreciation of how individual challenges are influenced by larger social forces Personal troubles result from individual challenges Social issues are caused by larger social factors  The ‗trick‘ is in understanding how these personal troubles may indeed be due to larger social issues Quality of mind refers to one‘s ability to look beyond personal circumstance and into social context Peter Berger  Seeing the general in the particular is the ability to look at seemingly unique events (particular) and then recognizing the larger (general) features involved  Think about what is familiar and see it as strange (thinking about the irregulars e.g. what is happening) What Makes You, You? Agency refers to the idea that each of us has, to some extent, the ability to alter our socially constructed lives. Structure is the network of relatively stable opportunities and constraints influencing our individual behaviours. E.g. family *Can you see, in your own life thus far, that both agency and structure have played a role in who you are? Which is more influential? Why?* Engaging your sociological imagination Our perception of ourselves and others are the products of many factors, for example: 1. Minority Status 2. Gender 3. Socioeconomic Status 4. Family Structure 5. Urban-Rural Differences How have factors such as these affected the person you have become today? Quantitative vs. Qualitative Sociology  Quantitative Sociology o Tends to be positivist in nature (analyze variables) o Measureable behaviour (occurs) o E.g., crime rates over time  Qualitative Sociology (creating our own sense of life) o Anti-positivist in nature o Non-measurable subjective behaviours (we create them) o E.g., experiences of living in poverty o Positivism and Anti-Positivism  Positivism is a theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based on science o There exists an objective knowable reality o Singular explanation o Value-free  Anti-positivism is a theoretical approach that considers knowledge and understanding to be the result of human subjectivity o Rejects each of the positivist assumptions Macro and Micro Approaches  Macrosociology refers to attempting to understand society as a whole (Big Picture)  Marx, Durkheim and Weber  Microsociology refers to attempting to understand individual or small group dynamics  Sociology in Canada  Four features which define Canadian Sociology o Geography and Regionalism  Ability to survive overtime o Political economy  Clement-interest in the interactions of politics, government and the social and cultural constitution of markets, institutions and actors o Canadianization Movement  Influenced by American sociology o Radical Nature  Greater focus on macrosociology as well as feminist ideas Sociology in Global Perspective  Looking beyond our own boundaries to consider the dynamic forces of globalization  Globalization is a worldwide process involving the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services  Capitalism as a defining feature of the global economy  Connecting local realities to global collective consciousness How does Globalization affect you? Chapter 2: Sociology and its classical Theoretical Foundations 9/12/2012 4:26:00 PM “Seeing” the World Theoretically  theory is a statement that tries to explain how facts or events are related ‗how they work‘  Develop skills that are necessary to see the world from alternative perspectives  Each theory has both strengths and weaknesses  Each theorist offers unique insights into our social world Classical Sociological Theory (1600-1750)  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) o People are responsible for creating their social worlds o Natural state: how humans existed prior to the emergence of social structures o people are motivated by self interest and the pursuit of power  John Locke (1632-1794) o God was responsible for the emergence of society and government o Tabula rasa: people are born as blank slates o Right to self-preservation and to private property o Individual autonomy and freedom 2. Functionalism developed in the 1800s Broad understanding of how society works  Social world is a dynamic system of interrelated and interdependent parts o Every part of society working together (e.g the healthcare depends on the government)  Social structures exist to help people fulfill their wants and desires o Society functions the way that we understand that it does  Human society is similar to an organism, when it fails to work together, the ―system‖ will fail o All of the system must do their functions or all will fail  Society must meet the needs of the majority  Dominant theoretical paradigm between the late 1920s and the early 1960s Herbert Spencer  Survival of the fittest justifies why only the strong should survive o Only the hard workers become successful  Societies evolve because they need to change in order to survive  Environmental pressures allow beneficial traits to be passed on to future generations  Social Darwinism draws upon Darwin‘s idea of natural selection; asserts societies evolve according to the same principles as biological organisms  Laissez-faire approach (opposes regulation of or interference with natural processes) Emile Durkheim First Sociological Hero  Founder of modern sociology  Human action originates in the collective rather than in the individual  Behaviour is driven by the collective conscience  Social facts are general social features that exist on their own and are independent of individual manifestations  Anomie is a state of normlessness that results from the lack of clear goals and creates feelings of confusion that may ultimately result in higher suicide rates  Mechanic solidarity describes early societies based on similarities and independence  Organic solidarity describes later societies organized around interdependence and the increasing division of labour Talcott Parsons  Interested in explaining why people do what they do  Social Action Theory is a framework which attempts to separate behaviours from actions to explain why people do what they do Robert Merton  Social structures have many functions  Manifest functions: the intended consequences of an action or social pattern  Latent functions: the unintended consequences of an action or social pattern Criticisms of functionalist approaches:  Inability to account for social change  Overemphasis on the extend to which harmony and stability actually exist in society The educational system provides both manifest and latent functions. TRUE 3. Conflict Theory  society is grounded upon inequality and competition  power is the core of all social relationships; scarce and unequally divided among members of society  social values and the dominant ideology are the vehicles by which the powerful promote their own interests at the expense of the weak  rooted in the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau Karl Marx Dialectics: a way of seeing history and society as the result of oppositions, contradictions and tensions from which social change can emerge (Hegel) Idealism: human mind and consciousness are more important in understanding the human condition than is the material world  human consciousness and human interaction with the material world could change society  relations of production based on power Dynamic relationship between the material and social elements of society Marx, Cont’d  proletariat (the workers) and bourgeoisie (rich owners)  alienation: the process by which workers are disconnected from what they produce  Exploitation: the difference between what workers are paid and the wealth they create for the owners  Ideology: set of beliefs and values that support and justify the ruling class of society  Dominant ideology maintains the position of the ruling elite  False consciousness: belief in and support of the system that oppresses you  Class consciousness: recognition of domination and oppression and the collective action that occurs to address it 4. Symbolic Interactionism  micro versus marco approach  highlight the ways in which meanings are created, constructed, mediated and changed by members of a group or society  Max Weber o Verstehen: a deep understanding and interpretation of subjective social meanings  Georg Simmel o Society is the summation of human experience and its patterned interactions  We create it, we interact, we work together, we experience  People act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them; and these meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation (Blumer) George Herbert Mead  Mind, self and Society (1934), the social organism is not an organic individual but a social group of individual organisms (p.130)  Human mind results from the individual‘s ability to respond and engage with the environment Charles H. Cooley  Sympathetic introspection: putting yourself into someone else‘s shoes  Looking- Chapter 3: Modern Social Theories 9/12/2012 4:26:00 PM What are Modern Social Theories  Should not be thought of as completely separate from classical theories  Draw on each others work in their formulations  Theme of power runs through modern theories o Western Marxism o Feminist Theories o Post-Structuralism o Queer Theory o Post Colonial Theory Western Marxism Antonio Gramsci  Diverged from Marx in his analysis of how the ruling class ruled  Domination; physical and violent coercion  Hegemony; ideological control and manipulation o Society‘s dominant ideas reflect the interests of the ruling class o Involves consent  Superstructure divided into the state and civil society o Prevailing consciousness internalized by population and becomes common sense Bell Hooks – by an African American  Black feminist thought  Rarely recognized black women as separate from black men  Criticized feminist theorizing that automatically positions households as places of patriarchal oppression for woman  Hooks argues against universal assumptions about women‘s experiences 3. Foucault’s Post-Structuralism  Concerned with how knowledge is socially produced  Foucault (power, knowledge and discourse)  Power created within social relationships, multidimensional, found everywhere and always at work  Knowledge can never be separated from relations of power  Discourses guide how we think, act and speak o Tells us how the world is and how it ought to be  Discipline is how we come to be motivated to produce particular realities  Power operates by producing some behaviours while discouraging other  Discipline (form of power) works through surveillance  Surveillance: acts of observing, recording and training  Normalization: a social process by which some practices and ways of living are deemed normal, and others abnormal Panopticon  provides a central viewpoint to see what everyone is doing without allowing them to know that they are being watched/surveyed 4. Queer Theory  problematizes the standard of equality based on sameness  Three main areas of queer theory: desire, language and identity  Desire o Aim to disrupt categories of normal and acceptable sexuality  Language o Unable to capture whole truth of reality o Normal vs. abnormal  Identity o social production o constructed through social relations and discourse 5. Post-Colonial Theory  focus on the political and cultural effects of colonialism  Imperialism: ―
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