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Basic Figures of Sociology.docx

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Functionalist theorist Emile Durkheim  Religion had a powerful bind in society o Jewish origin impacted on his beliefs of religion o Modern society had lost its collective conscience from traditional social practices such as religious celebrations, gossiping, gift-giving, etc. o ‘collective conscience’, the binding glue of a community – a shared code of morality o ‘collective effervescence’ – a shared feeling of delirious celebration, rather than actual spirituality o Anomie – state where people were no longer united by a single code of right and wrong  Togetherness of society diminishing due to individualism o Saw the secularism in modern society  Sociology could not focus on social facts o There are variables of people’s values and goals o No actual “social fact”  Social stratification a part of social function o Focus on how social structures within which power and struggle operate are possible o Mechanical cohesion of the past v. organic cohesion of the present  Early societies were held together by mechanical cohesion  In mechanical cohesion, a moral code existed where people recognized each other’s obligations and dependence – when they are not recognized, anomie is formed  union based on minimal division of labour  people have roughly the same life experience  shared common beliefs  Division of labour was a crucial force in the historical evolution of social structures  Anomic division led to class division  once it became more extensive, no one could survive without the cooperation of others  Weakened the mechanical cohesion  Became the key means which created the organic cohesion  Education was society’s way to continue the same social conditions Talcott Parsons  Developed the sick role o Societies are dependent on the individuals that play their roles o When they are sick, it is not in society’s interests to force sick people to continue working  People who are sick may be physically incapable of working  Performance would not be of quality o Giving individuals a break from their normal roles is sensible however it is easy for people to take advantage of being sick o ‘sick role’ represents a way to deal with the threat of the sick members being incapable of fulfilling their roles while minimizing the temptation to claim illness o Organized around two rights and two responsibilities:  Rights  People have the right to be excused from responsibilities when they are sick  They can expect understanding, sympathy and support from others  Responsibilities  Expectation is that they view their situation as undesirable and want to get better  They are responsible to be proactive about it (do anything to get better)  Education had two functions: (1) selection and (2) socialization Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore  Regarding social stratification, known for the Davis-Moore thesis o Inequalities exist in all societies and are necessary o Society must distribute its members into various social positions and persuade them to perform the duties of these positions so that society continues to function properly o Positions are rewarded with the highest economic gains o Highest rank has greatest social importance and those that require the greatest training/talent o Rewards must be really good in order to compel people into going through a lengthy, expensive education (i.e. medical doctor)  Educational system is based on consensus and shared values, members of society generally agree that the reward system is fair and just o The Davis-Moore thesis has been criticized  does not take into consideration that people attend school because they have the money, not necessarily the talent or knowledge  There are differences in who gets into the high salary jobs, with minorities and women represented disproportionately at the lowest pay tiers  Social inequality between the top and bottom is extreme – inequality is much greater than simple differences in effort and reward. Conflict theorist Karl Marx  Examined the economy – the production and distribution of the basic necessities of life  Claimed that religion dulled the pain of the proletariat’s oppression  Expected a working-class revolution would replace capitalism and create socialism  Concept of alienation – humans separated/alienated themselves from nature and developed technologies to control it  Generally a good thing as it was necessary (for a world of shared wealth)  Capitalism used alienation for working people  Alienation acts a double-edged sword  Emphasized on revolt and revolutionary change  The relative truth of a social theory has to be tested in practice and changed as a result of experience  Positivist approach  Sought to discover the ‘laws’ of the modern and capitalist society  Believed that positivist laws would result into a working-class revolution (end of capitalism)  Opposite of Spencer – the last would be the first  Purpose of social theory is not to understand the world but to change it  Women are oppressed in all spheres  In order to liberate women, they should be freed from domestic work and integrated into productive work like men  Also saw that women would never be equal until society has moved to socialism  Capitalism relied on unpaid household work of women  Society is divided into social stratifying classes based on their part of the means of production o As the bourgeoisie, who owned the means of production, pursued their self-interest in the form of profit and exploited the proletariat who had little choice other than to sell their labour o Coined the term proletariat – wage workers, those who traded labour for wages o Proletariats, majority of the people, labouriously produced more goods and this surplus went to the support the elite, priests, etc. o Under capitalism, everyone needed to have an income in order to obtain property and survival o Those who exist outside the capitalist system (unemployed) serves as a reserve army of labour in case there is a situation where there is a shortage of workers o Inequality this system produced was neither desirable nor inevitable o Class consciousness is an awareness of workers’ shared interests and their ability to act in those interests, developed by the proletariat class – may cause a socialist revolution, the eradication of capitalist economies, and a new mode of production Friedrich Engels  Collaborated with Karl Marx  Studied male dominance  Women held position of power as mothers (in history), then men acquire control over it (including women’s rights) as private property developed  Patriarchy (male dominance) was the historical defeat of women, since then male dominance has persisted  On sexuality o States that in tribal societies with no concept of private property, promiscuity often prevailed so that every woman belonged equally to men as every man to woman. o He found that paternity was no mere honorary titled linked to procreation but rather carried serious mutual obligations, fundamental for the social constitution of some people. o Engel argued that with the advent of private property, this all changed. o Engels believed that the women’s sexual oppression would disappear when the economic cause (of private property owning) disappeared. Max Weber  Understood that modern society was o becoming increasingly individualistic o highly rational, the most direct example was modern science and use of reason  However the goals we seek are not always rational, i.e. profit  We seek a goal that we value on purely emotion grounds, such as justice or religious salvation  Therefore we are not always rational o rising ‘disenchantment of the world’  Power inherited through bloodline and charisma replaced by legal-rational authority and regulations o coined the term ‘charismatic authority’ is the ability to exercise power over others though personal charisma  Focus on the unintended consequences of people’s actions  Capitalism created a new middle class that were paid higher salaries and had more autonomy at work – higher status than mere factory workers  Capitalism was not an inevitable development of European feudalism o Capitalism was present a long time ago but slowed down in development due to religious beliefs, political values, or family traditions o Capitalism emerged when Protestantism came in and transformed once industrialization came  Microsociology (understanding someone subjectively based on values)  People act subjectively (based on personal intentions and beliefs); therefore you must consider subjective factors in order understand their behaviour  We accept authority follow rules as long as we believe that the laws are for the good of everyone  In contrast, we would disobey if we believed that law represents only the interests of the rich and powerful  Binary nature of facts (objective) and values (subjective)  Ownership of property and economic inequalities were central to the system of social stratification o Stratification was based on more than who owned the means of production o Theory of stratification involves three independent factors:  Class  Status  Power John Porter  On power o Power related to the French and English founders of Canada o Holds migrants at an entrance status o Non-charter groups like the minority and immigrants yield less economic power and money Symbolic interactionist W.I. Thomas  People have different perspectives of the scenario they are in and their actions result from their interpretation G. H. Mead  Developed symbolic interactions which was later developed by Hubert Blumer  We learn to see ourselves the way others see us - I
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