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SOC 101 (4)
Chapter 2

Exploring Sociology Chapter 2 Notes covers all of chapter 2 for in the textbook

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Bishop's University
SOC 101
Sara Cumming

Classical Social Theories Theory a statement that tries to explain how certain facts or events are relatedused by social scientists to direct research and inspire discussion and debate about how world works Seeing the World Theoretically It is important to see world through different theorist and find the strengths and weaknesses of both No theorist is right but it is useful to consider why something can or cannot be explained Philosophical Roots of Classical Sociological Theory Roots of sociology begins with Thomas Hobbes circa 1600Enlightenment circa 17001750 and set the foundation of sociological theory Thomas Hobbes 15881679One of first theorists to suggest people are responsible for creating the social world and held responsibleaccountable for the society they created not GodAnalysis of how humans existed before formal social structures government in a condition of natural stateHumans were curious about their social and physical environment and inspired to learnmotivated by selfinterest and pursuit of power war of all against allstate of fearHowever also state people are naturally rational beings in order to gain peace and protection they willing to enter collective agreement in giving up some individual freedom and autonomy to an absolute authorityLeviathanImportant transition in forgoing independence and autonomy in return for collective benefit and security to gain personal power and influence within the confines of lawIf corrupt government it is justified by collective to overthrow French and American revolutionsHumans are active assertive and dynamic beings and government needs to provide security for people to fulfil selfinterests John Locke 16321704Argued that God was responsible for emergence of society and governmentPeople are born tabula rasa blank slateno knowledge before experienceGod granted people right to selfpreservation and private propertyBelieved government is about preserving individuals rights and maintaining property rather than protecting individuals from warring against each otherthey only have obligations and no rights agreed with Hobbes about overthrowing incapable governmentGod alone will judge mistakes deemed lawful by stateAdvocacy of individual freedom and autonomy led to democracy and US constitution Charles De Montesquieu 16891755Early theorists philosophical answers were generally given in two parts 1 original natural state that was either warlike Hobbes or peaceful Locke and 2 people created society by agreeing to social contract that subjugated them to governmentMontesquieu suggested that people never existed outside or without society and were actually created by societyWrote The Persian Letters that demonstrated the first use of sociological perspective in writing from a view of a different cultureEmployed ideal types classic or pure forms of a given social phenomenon eg to some the US is an ideal type of capitalismCategorized 3 types of government Republic democracy and aristocracy Monarchy and Despotism and each form of government demonstrated different underlying social principlesRepublicvirtue Monarchyhonour DespotismfearBelieved forms of government did not happen by chance and true nature or spirit of society is not what it is how it exists but instead what it wants to becomeGreat contribution in appreciation for cultural diversity JeanJacques Rousseau 17121778Insights into state of nature and social contract continue to inspire reflection and debateRousseau agreed with Montesquieu that human did exist within a state of naturea state where people were presocial natural man is simply man divested of what he has acquired in societyDid believe a natural state primitive state before laws or morality but did not think it was awful experience where people were fierce instead it was relationship based on equalityWhen we are inconsistent with our natural rules we suffer social problems high crime and suicide ratesRousseau supported our natural state of societyRousseau suggested humans were only animals that were perfectible and more populationcollective arrangements for scarce materials needsinequality of skillgovernment protecting those with private propertySocial contract was free and equal it was submission of personal autonomy to the collective but also gave social benefitsSocial contract was a equality much like nature but in a new form and on a higher level Zeitlin 2004Recognized government can be corrupt and must be accountable and representative of collective will
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