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Chapter Six soc.docx

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Robert Brym

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Sociology Chapter Six: Sociology: Networks, Groups, Bureaucracies andSocieties BeyondIndividual Motives  Ex. The holocaust and how every german hated the jews How Social Groups ShapeOur Actions 1. Norms of solidarity demand conformity.  When we form relationships with friends, spouses, etc. we develop shared ideas or norms of solidarity about how we should behave toward them to sustain the relationships  Because these relationships are emotionally important to us, we sometimes pay more attention to norms of solidarity than to the morality of our actions  Example: a study of Nazis who roamed the polish countryside to shoot and kill jews and other enemies of nazi Germany found that the soldiers often did not hate the people they systematically slaughtered. They felt they had to get their assigned job done or face letting down their comrades. They committed atrocities because they wanted to maintain group morale, solidarity and loyalty.  Corporations rarely have reported crimes because employers may worry about being reprimanded or fired if they become whistleblowers but they also worry about letting down coworkers 2. Structures of authority tend torender peopleobedient.  Most people find it difficult to disobey authorities because they fear ridicule, ostracism and punishment  This fact was strikingly demonstrated in an experiment conducted by social psychological Stanley Milgram  Milgram’s experiment teaches us that as soon as we are introduced to a structure of authority, we are inclined to obey those in power  This is the case even if the authority structure is new and highly artificial, even if we are free to walk away from it with no penalty and even if we think that by remaining in its grip we are inflicting terrible pain on a human being 3. Bureaucracies are highly effectivestructures of authority.  Bureaucracy: large, impersonal organization comprising many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. A bureaucracy has a permanent salaried staff of qualified experts and written goals, rules and procedures. Ideally, staff members always try to find ways of running bureaucracy more efficiently  Efficiency means achieving the bureaucracy’s goals at the least cost  The goal of the Nazi genocide machine was to kill Jews and other undesirables  To achieve that goal with maximum efficiency, the job was broken into many small tasks  They used bureaucratic organization because of its efficiency of conformity Peoplethink individual motives prompt our actions andfor goodreason.  In addition, deeply held emotions partly govern our behaviour Social Networks  Social networks: a bounded set of individuals linked by the exchange of material or emotional resources, everything from money to friendship. The patterns of exchange determine the boundaries of the network. Members exchange resources more frequently with one another than with non-members. They also think of themselves as network members. Social networks may be formal (defined in writing) or informal (defined only in practice). Finding aJob  Many people learn about important events, ideas and opportunities from their social networks  Friends and acquaintances often introduce you to everything  MarkGranovetter o You may have strong or weak ties to another person o You have strong ties to people who are close to you such as family members and friends o You have weak ties to acquaintances such as people you meet at parties and friends of friends o He found that weak ties are MORE IMPORTANT than strong ties in finding a job which is contrary to common sense o Acquaintances are more likely to provide useful information about jobs than friends or family members because people who are close to you typically share overlapping networks o The information they can provide about job opportunities is often redundant o Acquaintances are likely to beconnectedto diversenetworks Urban networks  German sociologist: FerdinandTonnies contrasted community with society  According to him, a community is marked by intimate and emotionally intense social ties, whereas a society is marked by impersonal relationships and self interest  A big city is a prime example of a society in tonnies judgment  Where tonnies saw only sparse, functionally specific ties, network analysts found elaborate social networks, some functionally specific and some not  Far from living in an impersonal and alienating world, torontonians lives are network rich TheBuilding Blocks of social networks  The most elementary network form is the dyad: a social relationship between two nodes or social units  A triadis a social relationship among three nodes  The difference between a dyad and a triad may seem small  However, the social dynamics of these two elementary network forms are fundamentally different, as sociologist GEORG SIMMEL SHOWED early in the twentieth century Dyadic relationship (Marriage) Bothpartners tendto be intensely and intimately involved  The dyad needs both partners to live, but to die it needs only ONE to opt out  A marriage can endure only if both partners are intensely involved  If one partner ceases active participation, the marriage is over in practice if not in law  The need for intense involvement on the part of both partners is also why a dyad can have no free riders or partners who benefit from the relationship without contributing to it  In a dyadic relationship, the partners must assume full responsibility for all that transpires Triadrelationship tend to be less intimate and intense  Equally significantly the triad restricts individuality by allowing one partner to be constrained for the collective good  This situation occurs when a majority outvotes one partner  The existence of a triad also allows coalitions or factions to form Is Group Loyalty Always Functional? Primary and Secondary groups  Social group: comprises one or more networks of people who identify with one another and adhere to defined norms roles and statuses o We distinguish social groups from social categories  Social category: comprises people who share a similar status but do not identify with one another o There is a basic distinction between primary and secondary  In primary groups, norms, roles and statuses are agreed on but not put in writing. Social interaction leads to strong emotional ties. It extends over a long period and involves a wide range of activities. It results in group members knowing one another well  Secondary groups: larger and more impersonal than primary groups are. Compared with primary groups, social interaction in secondary groups creates weaker emotional ties. It extends over a shorter period and involves a narrow range of activities. It results in most group members having at most a passing acquaintance with one another  Power of groups can ensure conformity Benefits of Group Conformity  Conformity is an integral part of group life andprimary groups generatemorepressureto conform than do secondary groups  Strong social ties create emotional intimacy  They also ensure that primary group members share similar attitudes, beliefs and information  Friendship groups an gangs demonstrate these features  Group members tend to dress and act alike and speak the same lingo, share the same likes and dislikes and demand loyalty especially in the face of external threat  Conformity ensures group cohesion  EX: soldiers: demonstrates the power of conformity to get people to face extreme danger TheAschExperiment  SOLOMON ASCH demonstrates how group pressure creates conformity  Asch assembled a group of seven men  He showed the seven men a card with a line drawn on it, then a second card with thr
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