Sociology Chapter 1 Review Sept. 29, 2013
Chapter 1: A Sociological Compass
LO1 The Sociological Perspective
Durkheim’s Study of Suicide:
● believed that suicide is influenced by special forces
● exmained rates of suicide and rates of psychological disorder for different groups
● checked out the degree of social solidarity in different categories of the population.
● ties (connections to people ie. married vs. unmarried)
● norms that existed in society
The Sociological Explanation of Suicide:
● the more social solidarity in a group, the more firmly anchored its individuals are to the
social world and the less likely they are to take their own lives
● married adults are half as likely as unmarried adults to commit suicide, because
marriage creates social ties and a sort of moral cement that bind the individual to society.
● Jews are less likely to commit suicide than Christians because centuries of persecution
have turned them into a group that is defensive and tightly knit
Suicide in CAnada Today:
● less firmly rooted in society and less likely to share moral standards, young people in
Canada today are more likely to commit suicide.
● only 25% of Canadians attend religious services
● unemployment rate is up at 8%
● rate of divorce as increased
LO2 The Sociological Imagination
● C, Wright Mills called it the ability to see the connection between personal troubles and
● For ex. Job loss. Factors could’ve been unemployment, global (manufacturing pressures,
work oversees), demographic (discrimination), or education (have to have a certain
● 3 different sociostructural considerations: Micro, Macro, and Global. These help to
broaden our understanding of the problem and suggest appropriate courses of action.
Origins of Sociological Imagination:
● began in 1550 and encourages the view that sound conclusions about the workings of
society must be based on evidence and not just speculation. ● for ex. Galileo pointed his telescope at the sky, made some observations and showed
that it fit Capernicus’ theory. He used evidence to make a case for his view
● began in 1750. Suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and human
interventions can solve social problems.
● The French and American Revolution showed that society could experience change in a
● The french and American revolution showed that society could experience change in a
short period by replacing unsatisfactory rulers
● suggested that people control society
● began in 1755. Involved the creation of factories, and formation of working class
● people moved to city and worked long hours and had stikes
LO4 Sociology Theory and Theorists
Functionalist Theorists incorporates 4 features:
● 1. human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relation or structures. For
ex. Durkheim emphasized how patters of social solidarity influence suicide rates.
● 2. functionalist theories show how social structures maintain or undermine stability. They
analyze how parts in society fit together and how each part contributes to the whole. For
ex. Durkheim argued that high social solidarity contributes to the maintenence of social
order. However, the growth of industries and cities lowered the level of social solidarity
and contributed to social instability.
● 3. Functionalist theories emphasize that social structures are based mainly on shared
values. So when Durkheim wrote about social solidarity, he thought of it as a kind of
moral cement that binds people together.
● 4. Functionalism suggest that reestablishing equilibrium can best solve most social
problems. For ex. Durkehim said that social stability could be restored in Europe by
creating new associations of employers and workers that would lower worker’s
expectations about what they should hope for in life.
● 1. shows how major patterns of inequality produce stability in some circumstances and
social change in others.
● 2. privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to
acquire advantage. ● 3. theory leads to the suggestion that lessening privilege will lower the level of conflict and
increase human welfare.
● Class conflict lies at the centre of his ideas
● argued that owners of industry are eager to improve the way work is organized and adopt
new tools etc. These innovations allow them to produce more efficiently.
● believed that workers would ultimately become aware of belonging to the same exploited
● he believed that working class consciousness would encourage the growth of trade
unions and labour parties which would try to put an end to private ownership of property
and replace it with a communist society.
● argued that occupational groups(white collar workers and professionals) would stabilize
society because they enjoyed more prestige and income than blue collar workers in the
● in his view, politics and religion are important sources of historical change.
● Weber was critical of the idea that everyone in the society could be sorted into 2 groups
● Weber was interested in people’s interaction with eachother, more interested in
microstructural level, and people’s interpretation of the world and circumstances
● against structural determinism
● he strongly believed that INDIVIDUALS can create their social world, and can help
reshape the social world
● interested in how individuals respond to the world
Goffman’s Dramaturgical Model
we are all actors and over the course of the day were putting on a series of different
we’re performing because we’re interacting w people and we want them to believe something
about ourselves, and think certain things about us
tension between who we want people to believe and how we actually are
”the front stage and backstage”
front stage:your performance, to convince people who you want them to think you are
back stage: leave behind certain things about yourself, because it doesn’t support the
performance you’re giving.
Symbolic Interactionismmicro The Principles of Symbolic Interactionism:
● 1. emphasizes that social life is possible only because people attach meanings to things
● 2. stresses that people help create their social circumstances and don’t react to them.
For ex. Erving Goffman highlighted the way people present themselves to others,
managing their identities in order to created desired impressions on their audience.
● 3. By focusing on the subjective meanings people create in small social settings,
symbolic interactionists sometimes validate unpopular and unofficial viewpoints.
Feminismmicro and macro
● begins the experience of women, and trying to understand the opportunities of women
● Marxism was popular. People were thinking lot’s about class and his ideas. Marx’s ideas
did not fit with women’s experiences.
● patriarchy is some kind of social convention. It’s more about the ideas and beliefs that
one has of men and women
● feminist theorists are also constantly thinking about change.
● may look at gender and equality nationally, in terms of different countries (macro level), or
heterosexual relationships or family dynamics (micro level)
● strict demands placed on them and lack of opportunity prevented them from attaining
higher education and making major contributions
● Harriet Martineau (180276) was born in England and the first female sociologist. She
was a leading advocate of voting rights and higher education for women, as well as
gender equality in family.
1. Feminist theory focuses on various aspects of patriarchy. They believe that patriarchy is
as important as class inequality, in determining a person’s opportunities in life.
2. Holds that male domination and female subordination are determined not by biological
necessity but by structures of social power and social convention
3. feminist theory contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should be
changed for benefit of all members of society. The main sources of gender inequality
include differences in the way boys and girls are brought up; barriers to equa