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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 textbook summary


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC200H1
Professor
Eric Fong
Chapter
2

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Paradigms, theory & research
INTRO
- theories provide logical explanations of patterns
-1st they prevent our being taken in by flukes (chance occurances)
- 2nd theories makes sense of observed patterns in ways that can suggest other possibilities 8enables us
to take effective action)
- 3rd theories can shape & direct research efforts, pointing towards likely discoveries thru empirical
observation
- not all research seek to explain: description, public’s opinion etc other purposes of research
- a theory seeks to explain, a paradigm provide ways of looking
SOC SCI paradigms
- paradigm = a model for observation & understanding, which shapes what we see & how we
understand it
- our views and feelings are the result of the paradigm in which we have been socialized
- benefits with recognizing that we are operating within a paradigm: we are better able to understand
the views/actions of others who are operating from a DIFF paradigm, we can sometimes profit from
stepping out of our paradigm (opens eyes to new ways of seeing things).
- SOC SCI paradigms – DIFF ways of looking at human SOC life
Macrotheory & Microtheory
- macrotheory =aimed at understanding SOC at large, “the big picture” of institutions, whole societies,
and the interactions among societies
- microtheory = aimed at understanding SOC life at the intimate level of INDs and their interactions
Early positivism
- Comte coined the term SOC
- he ID SOC as a phenomenon that can be studies scientifically
- prior to Comte RLGs paradigms predominated in explanations of differences
- Comte separated inquiry from RLG – replaced with SCI study & objectivity
- his “positive PHL” had 3 stages of HIS: 1 theological stage, 2 metaphysical stage, 3 Comtes stage
where SCI dominated basing knowledge on observation
- SOC could be observed & explained logically & rationally
- Comte coined “positivism” - to describe this SCI approach
Conflict Paradigm
- Marx: SOC BEH is best seen as the process of conflict: the attempt to dominate others & to avoid
being dominated
- ESP struggle between ECO classes (capitalism oppresses workers by owners of industry)
- Simmel : interest in small-scale conflict
- simmel noted conflict is more intense at the level of the tightly knit
- Hoffmans study about PHYS violence among siblings
- conflict paradigm may be applied whenever DIFF GRs have competing INTs
Symbolic interactionism
- Simmel INT in micro-issues: how INDs interact with eachother
- Cooley & idea of the “primary group” - those intimate associates with whom we share a sense of
belonging
- Cooley & the “looking-glass self” - we form by looking into the reactions of PPL around us
- Mead & ability to “take the role of the other” - imagining how others might feel & behave in certain
circumstances
- Mead & the “generalized other” - something we develop as we gain an idea of how PPL in general
see things
- Mead & “symbolic interactionsism” - most interactions revolve around the process of INDs reaching
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