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SOC102 Chapter Summaries Master-Copy.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

May 14 : Probs 1 Social Problems Chapter 1 What is a social problem? A condition/pattern of behavior that warrants public concern/collective action What is sociology Systematic study of societies The rise of sociology itself coincided with the rise of modern societies There are two aspects to social problems 1) Objective Elements Measurable features of a negative social condition (eg crime, sexual abuse, pollution) 2) Subjective Elements Our evaluations of objective conditions and the processes that influence their evolution (eg moral labels) By bringing together objective and subjective elements (changes in measurable reality and our perceptions of measurable reality, we can define a social problem as a condition and process Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills The ability to see connections between ones life and the social world This enables people to distinguish between personal troubles and public issue This connection is made by closely analyzing reality at two levels o Microsociology: local/personal level o Macrosociology: major bureaucratic organization and social institutions Social reality Social reality is a social construct, a set of ideals, beliefs and views that are flexible and open to interpersonal influence Peoples subjective view of reality, not reality itself shapes behavior Moral entrepreneurs Those who classify social problems and try to make a change Claims Making Anything people do to propagate There are 4 basic assumptions made The world does not present itself objectively to the observer Historical and cultural specificity recognized Knowledge is sustained by social process Knowledge and social action go together Do social problems only become real when attention is drawn to them? How can we tell if a social problem is real? Are there differences/inequalities in the groups? Is there exclusion? Are there second-order outcomes? Social Problems are not the exclusive domain of sociologists Biological Perspective: focus on genetic, hormonal, neurological factors Psychological Perspective: focus on cognitive, perceptual and effective processes Ways of looking at society Structural Functionalism A Theoretical paradigm emphasizing the way each part of society functions to fulfill the needs of society as a whole Everyone/everything has a function in society including poverty o Manifest Functions: Intended/easily recognizable o Latent Functions: Unintended/hidden from participants Conflict Theory Marx and Engels, emphasize conflict and change as the regular and permanent feature of society Marx believed in two broad groups o Bourgeoisie: elite owners of the means of production o Proleriat: working class who must sell labour for wage Symbolic Interaction Paradigm that studies the processes by which individuals interpret and respond to the actions of others, and that conceives of society as the product of this continuous face-to-face interaction Focuses on small group interactions o Labeling theory: a social problem is only a social problem once it has been labeled Population Health Perspectives Approach to health with goals of reducing health inequalities th May 16 : Points 9 Starting Points- Chapter 9: Classes and Workplaces The satisfaction people feel from their work depends on what they want to get out of their work and what they are expecting. Class: a group of people who share the same relationship to the means of production or to capital (Marx) or a group of people who share a common economic situation based on income, property , authority, etc. (Weber). Marx conflict between classes is an inherent problem for capitalism Durkheim conflict between classes in inherent in industrialism In our age of capitalism its the managers and directors who control capital, not the owners. Also, state institutions exercise a lot of power in society Marx capitalism alienates workers. They become isolated and estranged from the products they make, their co-workers and sometimes even themselves. The anger employees feel can be channelled to other places (violence against women, children, minority groups). Functionalism Workplace inequalities translate into broader social and economic inequalities. Functionalists argue that poverty and inequality have an important place in society. In this case the inequality cause by capitalism is a graded ladder where people who are at different rungs have different jobs and incomes. Meaning that poverty is a way to motivate people to move up the ladder. The jobs at the top of the ladder require the most education but have the most benefits. Functionalists think that everyone needs work along with hope and love. Work allows you to acquire material necessities for you and your family. Work also allows you to satisfy your need (emotional) of wanting to be a productive and valuable member of society, to gain praise and recognition and to interact and co-operate with other people. Work is a platform for social interaction, social solidarity and cohesion. Its a place to work out your social and creative impulses. Critical Theory Relies on ideas from Marx and Weber Want to know Who benefits from the way power is organized in society? (Especially the workplace). In this theory, unemployment is a condition that is manipulated by the capitalists who run things. It allows them to boost profits Marx capitalism is a cycle because you get burst of high productivity which leads to overproduction. Overproduction forces prices down and when prices go down the capitalists stop investing. When investment stops the economy slows causes a recession (where people lose their jobs) Boom and bust cycle gives you periodic cycles of unemployment. Reserve army of labour: the people who form the easily mobilized, easily disposable workforce that is at the mercy of the employers. (Their employment situation is like this because they are often unemployed and are therefore impoverished) Marx class relations under capitalism cause all the conflict that happens between societies. Feminist theories Have a critical analysis of the workplace but they note that women and men, whether of the same class or not, have quite different experiences at work. Since women get paid less than men, capitalists profit more from the work that women do than from the work that men do. This creates job dissatisfaction for women, a lack of job control and high rates of depression (and other psychological issues). Symbolic Interactionism Want to know How the labels of wealthy and poor are constructed through social interaction Stereotype of the poor: minority member who relies on welfare instead of getting a job. Perhaps is involved in crime and spends their money on drugs, alcohol, etc. Stereotype of the rich: greedy, snobbish, callous, wasteful. Most likely born into a family that was already well off. Focus also put on what work and unemployment mean to individuals. A lot of people see occupational titles as status symbols (basing their assessment on income) Social Constructionism Ask How did this arrangement emerge
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