Chapter 1: A Sociological Compass
What is sociology?
The systematic study of human behaviour in social context
THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
• In that paragraph just talks about analyzing suicide sociologically
• 11 out of 100 000 Canadians commit suicide
What is the sociological explanation of suicide?
• Emile Durkheim argued that suicide had to do with social solidarity or social forces not
• More social solidarity = more anchored
• Social Solidarity: the degree to which groups share beliefs and values AND intensity/ frequency
of interaction. (basically if people like you and see you)
What is Durkheim’s theory of suicide?
• Suicide rates decline and rise as social solidarity increase
• Altruistic suicide : on the high side of social solidarity, basically when norms govern everything
you do. (soldiers giving up lives)
• Egoistic suicide: Low side of social solidarity, people aren’t in society because of weak social ties
• Anomic suicide: vague norms govern behaviours so people that live in a society that doesn’t share
a moral code.
What is sociological imagination?
• Social structure = stable patterns of social relations (level of social solidarity in group affects
thoughts actions etc)
• Sociological imagination: Wright says that its the quality your mind that allows you to see a
connection between your problems and social structure.
What are the different structures?
1. Microstructures: intimate, faceto face (families)
2. Macrostructures: outside micro and family, Patriarchy is inequality between men and women.
3. Global structure: international organization, economic relations etc THE BIG BIG PICTURE
Personal problems affect all 3 social structures.
What are the origins of Sociological imagination?
1. Scientific revolution
a. Has to have evidence to make a case
2. Democratic revolution
a. People should be in charge of organizing society
3. Industrial revolution
a. 1775 now has social thinkers to solve problems such as long hours, lost faith in religion
Who is Auguste Comte and what was the tension between science and values?
• Auguste Comte basically called sociology ... sociology. • Okay so.. he wanted to adopt science methods, but he didn’t like rapid change.
SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY AND THEORISTS
• Emile Durkheim theory of suicide is a example of functionalism
• Basically a theory that human behaviour is controlled by stable social structures
• 4 features
1. Stable structures & analyses Macrostructures
2. Social structures maintain social stability
Parts of society that fit together
3. Social structure are based on shared values
4. Reestablishing equilibrium can solve problems better.