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Sociology (1,513)
SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 1

Starting Points Chapter 1 Notes.docx

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Dan Dolderman

Starting Points Chapter 1 Notes Objectives: * Come to understand the main competing approaches of sociology and see how they can be fused together to give us an understanding of society * Learn about the history and development of sociology as a social scientific discipline Chapter Outline * 2 social revolutions were important for growth of sociology > Industrial revolution (people into harsh urban conditions) > The french revolution (convinced that new social and political arrangements were possible) * Key thing I learn from sociology > how we know what we know. > how we view and judge different pictures of reality * reasons why we do things this way and they do things that way * using common sense to understand the world is not enough * The central goal of sociologists is to replace such faulty common sense reasoning with scientific explanation. Ways of looking at… Sociology * 2 main microanalytical approaches that have emerged in sociology are the structural functional theory and critical theory. Also symbolic interactionism. Functional theory * Functional theory views society as a set of interconnected parts that work together to preserve the overall stability and efficiency of the whole. * Robert Merton argues that social institutions perform both manifest and latent functions. > Manifest functions = those that are intended and easily recognised > latent functions = by mobilising popular settlement, it helps clarify the social boundaries for proper behaviour * Durkheim argues crime is universal, thus it is latent function for society * Durkheim introduced the term anomie and formlessness Critical theory * arise out of the basic division between society’s “haves” and “have nots”. > critical theory, whether they focus on class, gender, race, or something else - are always about the unequal distribution of power - about domination of one group by another * Critical theory originates in the works of Karl Marx. * Proponents of Marxist critical5 theory argue that social problems stem from economic inequality of two groups. > bourgeoisie (rich) and proletariat (poor) * Marxist solution to social problems required abolishing bourgeoisie Symbolic Interactionism * focuses on small group interactions. * focus on the glue that holds people together in social relationships. * labelling theory, a major theory in the symbolic interactionist tradition > any given social problem is viewed as such simply because an influential group of people defined it so. * Herbert Blumber argues that proposes that social problems develop in stages that include, social recognition, social legitimating, mobilisation for action, and finally the development and implementation of an official plan Feminist Theories * focuses on the relations of dominance and subordination between men and women * first wave of feminist movement = mid 19th century - early 20th century * common theme in the many types of feminism is the view that domination of women is not a result of biological determinism but is a result of socio-economic and ideological factors > Weber called closure and usurpation * For men and women, they experience their divorce differently. * feminists are especially interested in women’s victimisation and the experiences of other victimised groups > especially interested in intersectionality (interaction of gender with other victimizing social characteristics such as class and race Post Modern Theories * especially interested in unmasking ideologies that protect the dominant social order. * modernism holds the view that through science we can discover the truth about reality, and there is only one truth per situation * post modernists argue that rationality is neither sure not clear, and that our knowledge is situation-specific- always limited to particular times, places, and social positions. * post modernists assert that reality is fragmentary > all we have are dis jointed, often conflicting accounts of reality * Postmodern movement, by denying universal knowledge and highlighting the value of local or particular insights, has an obvious attraction for counter-cultural movements and parties. * Foucault’s picture of modern disciplinary society are 2 primary techniques of control > hierarchical observation, normalising judgement and continual examination Classic Studies… Suicide * Durkheim argues that if suicide were strictly psychological, the sign of a person’s insanity, then it would show no social patterns. * Altruistic suicide means suicide that is motivated by a sense of societal duty. > this type of suicide explains why the rate of suicide is higher among soldiers that among civilians. * anomic suicide means suicide resulting from an absence of social regulation and norms, as sometimes happens after a sudden social shock or
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