How did sociology start?
Auguste Comte invented the term sociologie
o Early nineteenth century
Plato's book The Republic
o Fifth century BCE
o The perfect society
o Rise of science, skepticism about religious belief, and generalized doubt about political tradition
o 200 years ago
o Response to new social problems that arose from industrialization, urbanization, and political
Two social revolutions -important for the growth of sociology
The Industrial Revolution changed people's lives by drawing them into harsh urban conditions and new
kinds of exploitive, impersonal economic relations.
The French Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy, convinced people throughout the Western world
that new social and political arrangements were possible and should be developed.
Both revolutions gave scholars the impetus to study social change and social problems
Three important figures - First to question how the social world works and how people live together in societies.
Sociologists take several main approaches - "paradigms" of sociology
Leads them to ask somewhat different questions
Views sociology from "multiple paradigms approach"
To minimize confusion, -fusion approach"
o Agreed upon body of sociological knowledge for 200 years
How we view and judge different pictures of reality
Our relationship to the world is mediated through symbols, assumptions, and culture
In different societies and at different times in history, people do things differently.
They have rules about behaviour and tolerate different ways of behaving
Sociologists look for explanations
Reasons why we do things this way and they do things that way
Sociology & social sciences arose to explain such differences and to find patterns in people's social relations
Whenever people have met other civilizations, they have wondered about them, and in turn reflected on their own
World's first historian devoted his attention to differences between Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians
o Differences that often led to mistrust and war
o French Enlightenment thinker
o Reflecting differences between English Protestants and French Catholics
o Analyzing Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, and other religions, to
understand why capitalism arose in northwestern Europe, but not elsewhere
Sociology began with important comparisons Sociology has always been oriented to solving problems - to find better ways of living together
Nineteenth & twentieth centuries, sociologists struggled to develop a language that could describe the new
problems of living in an industrial society, and to make theories about the nature of these problems
Social life is innately contradictory and paradoxical
Good intentions produce bad results
Social institutions yield both good and bad outcomes
Many groups are laudable in one respect but reprehensible in another
Sociologists find that "common sense" to understand the world is not enough
Common sense is uninspected package of beliefs, understandings, and propositions that people assume to
Blind assumption often leads to incomplete and inaccurate explanations
Use study and research to seek scientifically sound explanations
Avoid using psychological and psychiatric theories to explain apparently widespread social problems
Looking for psychological explanations is to ignore the root social causes and misses finding a solution
o Bullies act the way they do because they come from troubled home/neighbourhoods, they're pushed
around thus they push people around. Seeing bullies as victims and victimizers is sociological because
it looks at the broader social factors that influence how they act in a society. Many psychological
problems (even varieties of mental illness) have social origins. This helps us understand the social
contagion of violence, eg bullies grow up to bully their children, thus a cycle and we must find the
root of the problem to explain and understand to fix the problem.
Sociologists ask us to consider the unequal distribution of social rewards - just world
What people get in life is largely the result of circumstances beyond their control
o Eg patterns associated with unequal opportunities
o Patterns perpetuate from one generation to the next, born in higher social classes tend to stay there
and so do people of humbler circumstances
Difference in life experiences from one person to the next is rarely a simple result of higher
intelligence, more hard work, or other personal characteristics
Two main macroanalytical approaches
Structural function theory
While the major microanalytical approach is symbolic interactionism
Feminist theory and postmodern theory are important additions to and variants of these major forms
Views society as a set of i