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Sociology Notes.pdf

Course Code
SOC 2270A/B

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Text chapter 1
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
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
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

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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
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
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

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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
e) b&c
answers: 1.c, 2.d, 3.a, 4.b
Sociological Theory (Lecture 1)
Goals of sociology
oDescribe the social world
oExplain how and why
oCritique 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
oFour main theoretical paradigms: structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic
internationalism and feminism
oThey impact how your research is done/looked at
Structural Functionalism
Founding father – Emile Durkheim
oModern society creates anomie – a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to
individuals (normalness)
oWe 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
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
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