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Chapter 1-6, 11

Sociology 1025A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-6, 11: George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer, C. Wright Mills

Course Code
SOC 1025A/B
Lauren Barr
1-6, 11

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Society and You Lecture Notes - SOC1025
pg. 1
Lecture 1
- Systematic study of society, using the sociological imagination
- C. Wright Mills
o Sociologists try to understand indiv troubles in a broader historical perspective
soiologists attept to uask the pretesios ad the propaganda by which men cloak
their atios ith eah other
- we are often hiding ourselves both as individuals and as a collective
- because it is unacceptable
- not long ago that things were completely fine
- are we always what we seem? Do we do things in private but not in public (singing)
- do we do things that are unnatural but do them anyway because we are taught to (makeup,
respect for authority)
- do e lea that soe thigs ae atual he i ealit the a e soiall ostuted?
(gender roles)
Lecture 2
## Ch.1 - Seeing & Acting Through the Lens of Sociology
Individual Forces & Larger Social Forces
- Norms: “oiets epetatios fo ho e ae supposed to at, thik, ad look
- Normative: behaviours, appearances, and thoughts that oespod to soiets os
Micro & Macro Levels
- sociologists study the interconnections between the micro & macro levels
- bidirectional
- personal choices impact people around you
- Micro Level: Individual experiences and personal choices
- Macro Level: Broader social forces - e.g. life chances, norms, social institutions
o When enough people make similar choices for particular decisions, macro level is
affected (status quo is supported or social change occurs)
- Agency: peoples apait to ake hoies, hih then have an impact on other people
and on the society in which they live in
- Life chances: The opportunities one has based on various factors (i.e. class, age, gender,
race )
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Society and You Lecture Notes - SOC1025
pg. 2
- Sociological imagination is ot just aout thikig, its aout ation
o The ability to perceive the interconnections between individual experiences and
larger sociocultural forces
o It is used to study anything related to people
- Work that produces meaningful descriptions of organizations and events
- Valid explanations of how they come about and persist, and realistic proposals for their
improvement or removal
- Combination of theory & reality
o Theory formation exploratory research
o Theory validation empirical research
Origins of Sociology
- Precursors analyze the growth and decline of the Ottoman Empire (e.g. Ibn Khaldun
Arab Scholar from 1332-1406 is a significant forerunner to sociology as he studied
structures and processes of power in diff societies)
- French Revolution (1789-1799) and Enlightenment
o Revolutionary critical thinkers challenge existing status
o Rapid social, political, economic change
o Discovered that ordinary citizens could create large scale transformations
- Auguste Comte (1798-1857) science can be used to understand social change
o Empirical research and theory should be used
o Human growth in different parts of the world
- Each branch of social sci specifies into a specific part of the society, sociologists study all
parts of society using wider range of research methods
- 20th century distinct disciplinary boundaries
- 21st century
o Post-disciplinarity: boundaries between disciplines have blurred
o Interdisciplinarity: working together to understand a social phenomenon (e.g.
globalization, family studies)
Sociological Toolkit
- Sociological imagination is a cognitive skill
- Tools to build the sociological imagination:
1. Empirical (experimental) research methods: Data collection that produces
verifiable findings and is carried out using systematic procedures
Reliable knowledge is the necessary foundation for social action
Could be repeated and still provides consistent results
Direct observation verifiable knowledge
2. Sociological theorizing
Theory: A set of propositions intended to explain a fact or phenomenon
Correspondents between theorists
Data gathered from empirical methods explained using sociological
Forms of Theorizing:
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Society and You Lecture Notes - SOC1025
pg. 3
Positivist explanation and prediction
o Causes to behavior
o Learning about society could encourage improvements in
the social environment
o E.g. knowledge in hate crimes could lead to more effective
prevention efforts
Interpretive understanding self and others and world around
o More individual level, more deeper understanding of each
type of story
Critical power and emancipation
o Who has the power and how do they develop it
o Ask questions to the world
3. Critical thinking
o Everyone proceeds differently
- Core theoretical frameworks
o Functionalist perspective (positivist) macro level
Our society should be balanced (get to a state of equilibrium)
Dysfunctions are things that make our society not stable
This perspective assumes that other structures will adapt to
restore order
Questios like hat is out of alae
Dot poote hage, the ait fo hage as soiet is stutued
Everything in society works to restore order & balance
Consensus and cooperation are fundamental
Society made up of norms and values (criteria by which we determine if
something is right or wrong) because people agree they SHOULD exist
Manifest functions: inteded futio of soiets stutues e.g.
manifest fxn of education is job training)
Latent Functions: uiteded futio of soiets stutues e.g. latet
fxn of education is mate selection)
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Structures serve important functions (manifest/intended
functions vs latent/unintended functions)
Structures may become dysfunctional
Rapid social change creates anomie (a feeling of normlessness,
uncertainty of what rules are in unfamiliar situations)
Consequence of anomie is deviant behavior (no longer certain on
how to act)
o Conflict perspective (critical) macro level
Views society of small group of powerful people at top of society, and
large group of powerless people at bottom
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