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Introduction to Sociology.docx

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Christian O.Caron

Reading #1- September 11 , 2013 Introduction to Sociology Introducing Sociology in Commit Sociology VOL #1 -Systematic study of human behaviour in social context Sociological Explanation of Suicide: -Durkheim argued that suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups -Altruistic suicide occurs when norms tightly govern behaviour so the individual’s actions are in the group’s interest -Egoistic suicide results from lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties -Anomic suicide occurs when norms governing behaviour are vaguely defined -Person’s likelihood of committing suicide decreases with the degree to which they are anchored in society -Suicide increases with unemployment rates -Suicide increases with the decreasing attendance at church, synagogues, or mosques -Suicide increases with the rate of divorce -High proportion of youth suicides are committed by members of sexual minorities Social Structures -Patterns of social relations affect your innermost thoughts and feelings, influence your actions, and shape who you are -Relatively stable patterns of social relations are social structures -Microstructures -Patterns of intimate social relations -Formed during face-to-face interaction Ex: families, friends, strangers -Marcrostructures -Patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimates -Includes class relations, patriarchy, and economic & political inequality -Global Structures -Ex: International organizations, patterns of worldwide travel, economic relations between countries Origins of Sociological Imagination -Ability to see connection between personal troubles and social structures is known as the sociological imagination: -Scientific Revolution: -Linked to specific ideas such as Newton’s law of motion -Using evidence to make a case for a particular point of view -Democratic Revolution: -Realization that people control society and can change it -Industrial Revolution: -Growth of city= people moving towards city -Working much longer hours, lost faith in religion, lead to poverty and crime Theory- tentative explanation of some aspect of social life Research- process of carefully observing social reality to assess the validity of a theory Values- ideas about what is right and wrong, good and bad Functionalism -Stress that human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relations -Underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social stability -Emphasize that social structures are based mainly on shared values -Suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems -Social structures may have different consequences for different categories of people -Consequences may be dysfunctional -May be manifest (visible and intended) -May be latent (invisible and unintended) Conflict Theory -Generally focuses on large, macrolevel structures -Shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability or social change -Stresses how members of privileged groups maintain their advantages while other groups struggle to increase theirs -Leads to the suggestion that decreasing privilege will lower level of conflict and increase human welfare Symbolic Interactionism -Protestants believed religious doubts could be reduced & state of grace ensured if they worked diligently -Known as the Protestant Ethic -Weber emphasized importance of unde
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