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Chapter

SOCIOLOGY 1021E


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 1021E
Professor
Kim Luton

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Chapter 1
Definition of Sociology – The study of social behaviour and relationships. Explains why
members of some groups behave differently than members of other groups.
Modern development of sociology is due to the:
Industrial Revolution and French revolution
Both lead to changes and growth of trade and cities as well as a new organization of work.
Early Sociologists
Auguste Comte – credited by some as the “founder” of sociology. Sociologists would be
“priests” to guide society.
Emile Durkheim—society was like the human body: various segments work for the whole.
Karl Marx—societies are founded on power, coercion and conflict
Functionalism
Function: social arrangements exist because they benefit society.
Equilibrium: stability based on balance among parts and consensus.
Dysfunctions: problems that occur
Development: progress through differentiation to develop new forms and their integration.
Conflict Theory
Power: holds society together
Conflict: society’s natural state
Bourgeoisie: (owners of capital) dominate
Proletariat: (workers)
Revolution was the means of change
Symbolic Interactionism Micro (small-scale) perspective
- Emphasizes subjective over objective
- Behaviour and attitudes depend on how people construct their social world
Agents: individuals have goals and pursue them
Mead: people interact by strings of symbols, e.g., Language
Blumer: people act toward things on the basis of meanings those things have for them
Game Theory: what one chooses depends on what others choose

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Feminist Theories
- Focus on women and gender
- More activist: raises consciousness
- Interdisciplinary taking leadership roles
- Accept a broader range of approach to research
- Mix different sociological approaches
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
One of the major concerns of sociology is:
a) explain individual sources of behaviour
b) the difference between cultural transmission and cultural uniformity
c) to explain how membership in social groups affects individual behaviour
d) the source of deviant behaviour
e) to study the production and consumption of resources
Symbolic interactionism focuses on:
a) a macro level of analysis
b) the place of art in society
c) cultural integration
d) the autonomy of individuals
e) conversational analysis in groups
Feminist approaches include the following, except:
a) an examination of gender as one variable among many
b) looking at the informal and hidden aspects of social life
c) an examination of gender roles
d) a more disciplinary approach
e) acceptance of a variety of sociological models
Weber, more than Durkheim, believed that sociology should include:
a) linguistic relativism
b) subjective states of the individual
c) mechanical solidarity
d) a&c
answers: 1.c, 2.d, 3.a, 4.b
Sociological Theory (Lecture 1)
Goals of sociology

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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
oManifest functions – are intended consequences of an activity
oLatent 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
oCaused 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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