SOCI 100 Chapter Notes -Labeling Theory, Cornucopia, Ecofeminism

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SOCI 100- Textbook Notes!
Ch.1 Introducing Sociology
Sociology: the systematic study of social behaviour, or the study of society.
Societies: the largest-scale human group, whose members interact with one another, share a common
geographic territory, and share common institutions.
Macrosociology: the study of social institutions (i.e. roman catholic church or marriage) and large social
groups (ethnic minorities and college students)
Microsociology: the study of the processes and patterns of personal interaction that take place among
people within groups.
Sociology imagination: an approach to sociology that situates the personal experiences of individuals
within the societal context with these experiences occur
Social institutions: one kind of social structure, made up of a number of relationships. People use
institutions to achieve their intended goals, as students use schools, or patients use hospitals.
Role: the expected pattern of interaction with others.
Critical theory:
- basic division between society’s “haves” and “have-nots”
- Always about unequal distribution of power
- Domination of one group by another (i.e. the bourgeoise (owners) vs. the proletariat (working
- Also focuses on contending ‘status groups’ (i.e. men vs. women/ and ethnic groups) struggles
of domination
Symbolic interactionism:
- Focuses on small group interactions
- Glue that holds people together in social relationships
- Labelling theory
- interaction: the process, by which, and manner in which, social actors- people trying to meet
each other’s expectations
- Relate to each other, especially in face-to-face
- Symbolic interactionism: sees a product of face-to-face interaction between people using
Feminist theories:
- (sort of a branch from critical theory) focuses on relations of inequality- relations of dominance
and subordination between men and women.
- Gender based in equality make women’s lives different from mens.
- Feminism is the view that domination of women is not a result of biological determination but is
a result of socio-economic and ideological factors.
- Uses both micro and macrosociology = stresses that personal lives political issues are
Postmodern theories: = an attack on modernism
Modern functionalism:
- Presents society as a set of interconnected elements that operate together to maintain the
overall stability and efficiency of the society
- Each part of society contributes to the whole and keeps it in equilibrium.
- 3 founding theoretical approaches that can/do coexist together:
o Functional theory
o Critical theory
o Symbolic interactionism
CH.2 Material Settings
Functionalism/ functional analysis:
- It is concerned with the conditions that maintain social equilibrium and the dangers associated
with losing equilibrium (i.e. war, famine, and epidemic)
- EXAMPLE: Thomas Malthus (1798) regards to population issues food available vs. population
o Positive checks famine, wars, disease= prevents overpopulation
o Preventative checks abortion, infanticide, delayed marriage= prevent over population
Demography: the study of human populations, their growth and decline through births, deaths and
Critical Theory:
- Sociologists says: people in power take actions that benefit themselves the most and support
theories that justify their actions
- Arguments about ‘overpopulation’: problems poor countries face result not from
overpopulation but from unfair distribution of the world’s wealth.
o Improper land use, civil war, other social/ political factors
- Modernization= balance of less deaths and less births
- ZPG (zero population growth)= occurs when births are exactly balanced by deaths (population
remains constant)
- View social problems in the city as resulting naturally from growth and specialization.
- Others (functionalists) focus on those tendencies of the city that promote social
disorganization, weak social controls, and consequent deviance and distress
- ‘they’ look at for universal laws of social development and for the ways that particular
institutions or arrangements (cities) help society move to a new equilibrium, with a higher level
of functioning.
Critical theory:
- Always ask whose interests are served by the actions of the dominant groups in society and
their ideologies
- Urban problems (homelessness/ poverty)= working of capitalism
- Cities suffer urban problems because no powerful group is interested in preventing this
- Economic inequality unequal distribution of urban wealth and poverty
Symbolic Interactionism:
- Studies how people experience city life on an everyday basis
- ‘they’ doubt that everyone in the same structural setting (i.e. cities) has the same experience.
- Focuses on the meaning of life in different groups and subcultures.
- Subcultures: ethnic groups, youth gangs, emos etc.
- Recognize everybody is implicated in the pollution of the environment
- Several types of cultural ideologies:
o (1) cornucopia view of nature: views nature as a storehouse of resources that only exists
for the use of humans
o (2) growth ethic (similar to materialism): celebrates, the imagined, ability of technology
to easily solve all and any problems the world has.
o (3) individualism: privileges personal goals and desires. Over collective interests =
deplete a shared limited resource.
Critical theory:
- Emphasize that when environmental problems arise, they hurt the poor more often and poorly
than they do the rich