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Sociology (1,671)
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Western University
Sociology 1021E
Kim Luton

o Describe the social world o Explain how and why o Critique existing social arrangements • The term sociology was coined by Auguste Comte in 1988 • Religion was the most important before this time • Within sociology there are sociological perspectives, they look at thing differently based on experiences and impact how you understand something; no one is more correct than the other • The sociological theory is based on theoretical paradigms – a basic image of society that guides thinking and research o Four main theoretical paradigms: structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic internationalism and feminism o They impact how your research is done/looked at Structural Functionalism • Founding father – Emile Durkheim o Modern society creates anomie – a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals (normalness) o We are all different but we NEED each other • A macro level orientation, broad patterns that shape society as a whole • Thinks of society as a body, parts working together to achieve balance; if one part is disabled than all parts will be affected • Keys: structures are stable patterns of social behaviour – frame work, hold everything together AND institutions are ‘subsystems’ of enduring patterns of social relationships – examples of this are family and religion • The normal state of the system is equilibrium • Change has to be slow so there is time to adapt, they do not like change • Functions of social processes: every activity on society has beneficial consequences for the system AND these consequences are their functions, and they explain the activity – function of family is to reproduce (create workers) and then consume • Functions = positive AND Dysfunctions = negative ... prostitution must be positive because it’s been with us so long, it must serve a purpose in society • Types of Functions o Manifest functions – are intended consequences of an activity o Latent functions – are unintended and often unrecognized, but socially important consequences of an activity (social networking) • Critique: too broad, ignores inequalities of social class, race and gender, focuses on stability at the expense of conflict and assumes ‘natural’ order; structural functionalism is not very popular anymore Conflict Theory • Macro oriented • Views society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change • Challenges social norms • Society is structured in ways to benefit a few at the expensive of the majority • Conflict and changes are basic features of social life o Caused by: inequalities in wealth, power and prestige as well as differing values, and the struggle for the right to define values • How this paradigm is formulated: reaction to structural functionalism AND follows Marx’s work(focused on economic system), but not just class conflict • Capitalism alienates workers in 4 ways o From the act of working – workers have no say o From the products of work
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