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SOC101Y1 (470)
Chapter 1

Sociology Chapter 1.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

Sociology Chapter 1Sociology the systematic study of human behaviour in social context Social causes are distinct from physical and emotional causes understanding social causes can help clarify otherwise inexplicable features of famine marriage etc The Sociological Perspective y when people commit suicide we are likely to focus on their individual states of mind rather than on the state of society The Sociological Explanation of Suicide thy 19 century French sociologist Emile Durkheim suicide is more than an individual act of desperation resulting from psychological disorder but strongly influenced by social forces y suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups y in turn the more social solidarity in a groupmore firmly anchored individuals are to the social worldless likely they are to take their own lives if adversity strikes y as level of social solidarity rises the suicide rate declines up till a certain point then rises again altruistic suicide occurs when norms tightly govern behaviour so individuals actions are often in the group interest Ie when soldiers knowingly gives up their lives high solidarity egoistic suicide results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties to others anomic suicide occurs when norms governing behaviour are vaguely defined Ie when people live in a society that lacks a widely shared code of morality the rate is likely to be high y Durkheim Suicide varies with the degree of integration of the social groups of which the individual forms a part Suicide in Canada Today y The rate of suicide among youth in Canada today is negligible in Durkheims France y Less firmly rooted society and less likely to share moral standards young people in Canada today are more likely to take their own lives than 50 years ago when enduring a personal crisis From Personal Troubles to Social Structures y Patterns of social relations affect your innermost thoughts and feelings influence your actions shaping who we are y Social structures relatively stable patterns of social relations y Usually see things from our point of viewour experiences appear uniqueremoteimpersonal y 3 levels of social structures that surround and permeate us1 Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations formed through direct interaction Ie families friendship circles work associations strength of weak ties
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