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SOCA02H3 (310)
Chapter 1

Chapter One SOCA01

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Shelly Ungar

Chapter One  The Sociological Perspective  suicide appears to be supremely antisocial and non - social  First - condemned in society  Second - committed in private  Third - Comparatively rare: in 2006, 10.8 suicides for every 100,000 people in Canada compared to world average of 16 suicides to 100,000  Finally - people who commits such acts, focus on individual states of mind rather than the state of society  More interested in events that cause individuals to become depressed or angry enough to resort to killing themselves  Do not think about patterns of social relations that encourage or inhibit such actions  The sociological Explanation of Suicide  Émile Durkheim (1897-1951) - suicide is more than just an individual act of desperation that result from a psychological disorder, commonly believed at the time  Durkheim showed social forces strongly influence suicide rates  Durkheim examined rates of suicide and rates of psychological disorder for different groups  Reasoned that suicide rates tend to be high where rates of psychological rates are high, and low where rates of psychological disorder are low  However, his analysis of European government statistics, revealed nothing of the kind  For example, he discovered that there were me women than men in insane asylums, but there were four male suicides for every female suicide  Jew had highest rates of psychological disorder in France but had the lowest suicide rates  Psychological disorders occurred most frequently when a person reached adult hood, but suicide rates increased steadily with age.  clearly there was not correlation between psychological disorder and suicide  Durkheim held that suicide rates varied because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different categories of the population  Social Solidarity: refer to (1) the degree to which group members share beliefs and values, and (2) the intensity and frequency of their interaction  According to Durkheim, the greater degree to which group members share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity the group exhibits  more firmly anchored individuals are to the social worlds and less likely to take their life if adversity strikes  Durkheim expected high solidarity groups to have lower suicide rates that low solidarity group did - at least up to a point figure (1.2) pg 6  To support argument Durkheim noted that married adults committed less suicides than single adults, because marriage form social ties that bind them to society  Women less likely to commit suicide because they form more intimate social relation of family life compared to men  Durkheim wrote ' suicide varies with the degree of integration of the social groups of which the individual forms a part • doesn't mention why an individual may take their own life ♦ explanation is in the field of psychology  Suicide in Canada Today  In Canada today, suicides have increased substantially since the 1960's  Social solidarity has eroded in Canada since early 1960's especially for Youth  Facts that support this  Church/Mosque/Synagogue attendance is down particularly for young people • about 15 percent of people attend religious services for people born after 1960  Unemployment is on the rise, again especially for youth  Rate of divorce has increased sixfold since the early 1960s • births outside of marriage are also much more common ♦ as a result children are brought up in single parent families more now than in the past  From personal Troubles to Social Structures  Social Structures: are relatively stable pattern of social relation  Microstructures: are the patterns of relatively intimate social relation formed during fat to-face interaction. Families, friendship circles, and work associations are all examples of microstructures  Macrostructures: are overarching patterns of social relation that lie outside and abbot you circle of intimates and acquaintances. Macro structures include classes, bureaucracies, and power systems, such as patriarchy  Patriarchy: is the traditional system of economic and political inequality between women and men  Global Structures: are patterns of social relation that lie outside and above the national level. Ty include international organizations, pattern of worldwide travel and communication, an the economic relation between countries  Sociologist's one of many tasks is to identify and explain the connection between people's personal troubles and the social structures they are in  In order to broaden our social awareness involves recognizing that three levels of social structure surround and permeate us  1. Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations. • example: say you're looking for a job. If you were to ask close friends and relatives for leads and connection to land a job, you are most likely searching within a group of people you already know. It would be better to ask more remote acquaintances to broaden your group, and furthering your search; thus, give you more information about job possibilities and unsure that word about your job search spreads farther  Macrostructures are patterns of social relations that lie outside and above you circle of intimates and acquaintances. Includes class relations, bureaucracies, and patriarchy ♦ For example: married women who work full time are more responsible for more housework, child care, and care for seniors, compared to the husbands. Though there are many day care and after school programs for children, it poses a problem for those who can't afford such services. Patriarchy is a source of dissatisfaction in marriages. Sociological research shows that when spouses shared domestic responsibilities equally they are happier with their marriages and less likely to divorce. Understanding how the macrostructure of patriarchy crops up in everyday life and doing something to change that structure, can help people lead happier lives  Third level that surrounds and permeates us comprises global structures, which is increasingly important as inexpensive travel and communication allow all part of the world to become interconnected culturally, economically and politically. • Britain, France , and other imperial powers locked some countries into poverty between the 17th and 19th century. In the 20th century the poor countries borrowed money from theses imperial powers and western banks to pay for airports roads, basic health care, and etc. These poor countries pay more in interest on loans than they receive in aid. Thus relying exclusively on foreign aid and charity can do little to solve problem of world poverty. For helping the world's poor a priority would be to start campaigning for the cancellation of foreign debt in compensation for past injustices.  The Sociological Imagination  Sociological Imagination: is the quality of mind that enables a person to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures.  C. Wright Mills (1959) emphasized the difficulty of developing this quality of mind  his languages is sexist but his argument is true and inspiring to days as it was in the 1950  Sociological imagination is a recent addition in the human repertoire  Though many philosopher in medieval and ancient times spoke of society, they believed that God and nature controlled society, and people were urged to follow this  Relied on speculation rather than on evident to reach conclusion about how society works  Origin of the Sociological Imagination  Scientific Revolution: began about 1550. Encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of society must be based on solid evidence not just on speculations  Democratic Revolution: bean about 1750. Suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve social problems  Industrial Revolution: often regarded as the most important event in the world history since the development of agriculture and cities, refers to the rapid economic transformation that began in Britain  S.R. encouraged the view that we must base conclusion about workings of society on solid evidence not just on speculation.  Link S.R. to certain ideas such as Newton's laws of motion and Copernicus's theory that the Earth revolves around the sun. In 1609, Galileo pointed his telescope at the heavens, and showed that his observation fit Copernicus's theory. This is the core of the scientific method: using evidence to make a case for a particular point of view. When sociology emerged, commitment to the scientific method was one firm pillar of the sociological imagination.  D.R. suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve social problems  Four hundred years ago, European that God ordained the social order. TheAmerican and French revolution helped show that society could experience mass change in a short period and that people control society. If people could change society, then a science of society could help improve it • justification for sociology as a science arouse out of the democratic revolution that shook Europe and NorthAmerica  I.R. created a host of new social problems that attracted the attention of social thinkers. Growth of industry caused people to move from rural to urban cities. These people worked long hours in dangerous and crowded areas, lost faith, reacted to the filth and poverty with crime, revolution and war. The scientific revolution suggested that a science of society was possible  Theory, Research and Values  French social thinker Auguste Comte (1798 - 1857) coined the term sociology in 1838  Comte tried to placed the study of society on scientific foundations  Wanted to understand the social world as it was, not an imagination of it  Comte was a conservative thinker, motivated by strong opposition to rapid change in [French] society  Moved to Paris, and observed rapid growth of cities due to multiple factors  Rapid social change was destroying much of what he valued  He urged slow change and the preservation of all that was traditional in social life.  Scientific methods of research and a vision of the ideal society were evident in sociology at its origins  Though he praised the scientific method, Comte never conducted any research, neither did Herbert Spencer, the second founder of Sociology  Believed he discovered scientific laws governing the operation of society  influenced by the theory of evolution, believed evolution of biological species can be applied to societies as well  'individuals struggle to survive, the unfit die before they can bear offspring, and the fittest survive' - Spender though this process allows 'barbaric' societies to become 'civilized'  Deep social inequalities exist in society, but that is just as it should be if societies are to evolve  Spencer Ideas came to be known as 'social Darwinism  Today many sociologist do not believe that society are like biological systems  Belief in the importance of science and a vision of the ideal society is seen in the work of three giants in early history of Sociology  Karl Mark, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber  Witnessed Europes transition into Capitalism  They wanted to explain the great transformation of Europe, and suggest ways of improving people's lives  Developed ideas that were prescription for combating social ills  Theory, Research and Values  Theory  Theory: are tentative explanation of some aspect of soci
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