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Chapter 1

Chapter 1- Sociology 100.docx

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Ashley Monks

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21/09/13 Chapter 1- Review Sociological Maps: C. Wright Mills; allows us to grasp the interplay of [people] and society of biography and history Sociology: The systematic study of human behaviour in social context Chapters Goals 1. Sociology has power to dispel foggy assumption and to help see operation of social world more clearly (E.g. Suicide, not breakdown of individual functioning but influenced by social relations also) 2. Sociological research designed to improve the world 3. Sociology uses scientific methods to test their ideas, increasing its validity 4. Sociology helps people understand their current world The Sociological Perspective - Suicide: antisocial and non-social act a. Everyone in society condemns it b. Committed in private c. Comparatively rare; 11 suicides for every 100,000 Canadians annually The Sociological Explanation of Suicide - Emile Durkheim, pioneer of sociology, claimed sociology is strongly influenced by social forces - He examined rates of suicide and rate of psychological disorder for different groups - Argued that suicide rates varied as a result of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different categories of the population - High-solidarity groups have lower suicide rates than low-solidarity groups - Unmarried adults more prone to suicide than married, Christians more than Jews, Seniors more than middle-aged, men more than women Types of Suicide - Altruistic Suicide: occurs when norms tightly govern behaviour, occurs in high solidarity settings (E.g. Soldier giving up life, patriotism) - Egoistic suicide: results from poor integration of people into society because weak social ties to others (E.g. unmarried, jobless) (low solidarity) - Anomic Suicide: occurs when vague norms govern behaviour, high anomic is society where people lack wide shared code of morality (low solidarity) Suicide in Canada Today - Suicide rates higher in Canada today, due to low social solidarity - Today 25% attend religious service, 15% of those born after 1960 - Unemployment up, rose from 3-10%, young people unemployment twice as high as adults - Divorce increase, birth outside marriage increase, child has less parent supervision The Sociological Imagination - Social structures: Relatively stable patterns of social relations - Social imagination: The quality of mind that enables one to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures (C. Wright Mills) - Aspects of social structures, like level of social solidarity, affect ones innermost thoughts, feelings, influence actions and help shape who you are - “Neither the life of an individual nor history of society can be understood w/o understanding both” (Mills) - Mills argues that sociologist main task is to identify/explain connection b/w people’s personal troubles and social structures in which people are embedded - Three Levels of Social Structures  Microstructures: patterns of intimate social relations formed during face-face interaction (family, friends, colleges)  Macrostructures: Patterns of social relations outside the circle of intimate members (E.g. Patriarchy, religious institutions, social classes) Page 1 21/09/13  Global structures: International organizations, economic relations amongst countries; allows for world to be interconnected politically, culturally and economically Sociology at the movies Shake hands with the Devil - Documentary on Canadian General Romeo Dallaire - He asked permission to destroy Hutu arms, which was denied - He risked his life to save 30 000 Rwandans - Examine from sociology context:  Belgians colonized Rwanda, causing split b/w Tutsis and Hutus (E.g. measuring width of noses to establish b/w the two)  Intense competitions for scarce resources nurtured the genocide  Heroism: usually preceded years of social learning that predisposes future hero to act compassionately even if doing so he doesn’t follow the herd Origins of Sociological Imagination - Philosophers wrote about society, belief that god/nature controlled society, provided blueprint on way for people to live life - Sociological imagination was born when 3 modern resolutions pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way 1. The Scientific Revolution - Began in 1550 - Rise of the scientific method: using evidence to make a case for a particular point of view, not speculation; a firm pillar of the sociological imagination 2. The Democratic Revolution - Began in 1750 - Suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can solve social problems - E.g. The American Revolution & The French revolution (showed that people can replace rulers, control society, improve their lives) 3. The Industrial Revolution - Began in 1775 - Presented social thinkers with host of pressing social problems crying out for solution (E.g. country to city side, long work hours, dangerous employment in mines, loss of faith, poverty, crime, wars, revolutions, strikes) Auguste Comte and the tension between science and values - Auguste Comte coined the term sociology in 1838 - He wanted to understand world as it was, not as he or anyone else imagined it should be - Tension: He moved to Paris and shocked by revolutions that challenged his way of thought - Belief in traditional authority, he urged slow change and preservation traditional way of life Sociological Theory and Theorists (FOUR) Functionalism - Emile Durkheim - Four Features 1. Human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relations or social structures • Macrostructures • E.g. social solidarity 2. Structural functionalists: analyze how parts of society (structures) fit together and how each part contributes to the stability of the whole • Social structures either maintain or undermine social stability 3. Functionalists theories emphasize that social structures are based mainly on shared values • Social solidarity: moral cement that binds people together Page 2 21/09/13 • Functionalism suggest that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems • In ancient times functionalism was a conservative response to widespread social unrest • E.g. Worker Strike: help workers agree on wanted less, social solidarity rises Conflict Theory Four features 1. Conflict theory focuses on large macro level structures (E.g. class relations, patterns of domination, struggle between high and low social standing) 2. Theory shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others 3. Theory stresses how members of privileges groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to acquire advantages 4. Theory suggest that lessening privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase human welfare Karl Marx - Class conflict: the struggle between classes to resist and overcome the opposition of other classes, lies at the center of his ideas - A large and growing class of poor workers opposes a small and shrinking class of wealthy owners - Marx claimed workers would develop class consciousness, this working-class consciousness would encourage the growth of trade unions and labour parties, these parties will eventually develop a communist society Max Weber - Questioned Marx prediction about the inevitable collapse of capitalism - Argued that non-manual (white collar) workers would actually stabilize society because of their desire for prestige and income - Argued that class conflict is not only driving force in history but religion and politics important too Symbolic Interactionism Weber and the Protestant Ethic - Believed that both economy and RELIGION cause early capitalist development - Protestant ethic: belief that religious doubts can decrease if one works diligently and lived modestly - Unintended effect: people who adhered to protestant ethic saved and invested, promoting capitalism - Subjective meanings and motives must be analyzed in any complete sociological analysis, thought contributed by Weber The Principles of Symbolic Interactionism - Four Features 1. Focus on interpersonal communication, microlevel social settings 2. Social life is possible only because people attach meanings to things, subjective meaning 3. Stresses that people help create social world, not just react to them  E.g. Erving Goffman: dramaturgical approach to symbolic interactionism  Idea that people present themselves by managing their identities in order to create a desired impression on their audience  Idea of Front Stage, Back Stage, Scene 4. Sometimes validates unpopular and unofficial view points  This increases ou
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