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Sociology (1,513)
SOC103H1 (103)
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Chapter 1

CHAPTER ONE

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC103H1
Professor
Taa
Semester
Winter

Description
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  European Enlightenment o Eighteenth century o Rise of science, skepticism about religious belief, and generalized doubt about political tradition  Emerged o 200 years ago o Response to new social problems that arose from industrialization, urbanization, and political revolution 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. Karl Marx   Emile Durkheim  Max Weber 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 Key thing  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 societies  Herodotus o World's first historian devoted his attention to differences between Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians o Differences that often led to mistrust and war  Voltaire o French Enlightenment thinker o Reflecting differences between English Protestants and French Catholics  Max Weber 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 be right  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 o 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  Critical theory  While the major microanalytical approach is symbolic interactionism  Feminist theory and postmodern theory are important additions to and variants of these major forms Functional Theory  Views society as a set of i
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