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SOC102H1 (285)
Chapter

Inequality readings 1

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC102H1
Professor
Lorne Tepperman
Semester
Fall

Description
Sept 11 reading (1) Probs 1: What are social problems? During formative period (1800s) -Progress: industrialization and urbanization, scientific inventions, discoveries. -social improvement or social amelioration Objective elements -measurable features of a negative social condition (crime, poverty, alcohol abuse) -can be studied without being judged as trivial or serious eg. Sexual abuse, environmental pollution. -based on positivism: a philosophical premise of a material reality we can perceive with our senses Subjective elements -people’s evaluations of objective conditions -subjective responsessocial construction of problems (search for villains) -claims-making: trying to capture attention and mobilize public opinion around problems and solutions Social problem -condition: that threatens the well-being of a significant part of society -process: in which members of society come to see a condition as a social problem that needs collective action Social imagination -ability to see connections between one’s own life (micro-events) and the social world in which one lives (macro-events) -sociologist C. Wright Mills (1959) eg. Unemployed people affect not only them and their family but also millions of people through economic recession *micro sociology- interactions between individuals in small groups *macro sociology- interactions between societal levels Hagan + McCarthy’s homeless youth study 1) There are identifiable homeless youths to study 2) Find out the necessary facts about reasons young people live on the streets 3) Devise explanations about reasons young people live on the streets OR: POST MODERN APPROACH— ask youth for personal accounts of homelessness OR: SUBJECTIVIST/CONSTRUCTIONIST APPROACH— determine reasons why few people consider youth homelessness a major issue Seven value preferences that guide sociological research 1) life over death 2) health over sickness 3) knowing over not knowing Sept 11 reading (2) 4) cooperation over conflict 5) freedom of movement over physical restraint 6) self-determination over direction by others 7) freedom of expression over restraint of communication Social constructions Social reality: social construct (ideas) that is infinitely flexible and always open to interpersonal influence Thomas Dictum: when people define a situation as real, the situation will be real in its effects Social constructionism: a sociological research approach that examines the ways people interact to create a shared social reality (Berger + Luckmann) Moral entrepreneurs: elites, interest groups, common leaders who stereotype and label some situations as problems
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