what is society?
-there is no single stable deﬁnition.
-usually “society” is understand to include:
1. the sum of all social interactions within a given territory or area.
2. that social interactions continue over time.
3. that individuals share(at least some).
the problems with society
-it does not have ‘solid’ boundaries.
1. movement of people.
2. movement of ideas(information, culture)
3. movement of goods(money,re sources)
-it does not have a consistent ‘from’.
1. changes in methods of production
2. changes in political/ governmental structures.
3. changes in environment.
components fo society
1. BRLR: “relatively stable patterns of social relations.”
sociological perspectives: functionalism
-BRLR: “social structures govern our conduct and values and are shared by members
1.trouble arises when there relations fall out of equilibrium.
sociological perspectives: conﬂict theory
-BRLR: “society consist in marco-level inequality.”
1. inequality produces social stability in particular circumstances.
2. but causes social change in other circumstances.
-people: Karl Marx and Max Weber
sociological perspectives: symbolic interactionism
-BRLR: “micro-level interactions where individuals both construct and convey
1. social constructionism.
2. ethnomethodology(名族⽅方法学) （deep culturel references)
-people: Gorge Herbert Mead and Erving Goffman
sociological perspectives: feminist theory
-BRLR: “patriarchy is not a natural occurrence, but rests on relations of power and
1. not an argument for a “reversal” of this relationship.
2. feminism argues for the equality between men and women. what does sociology give us?
-BRLR: “a compass to navigate society”
-but sociology can also be understood as a moving map.
1. sociology outlines details expands the social relations that constitute social
2. content and context may change, but types of interactions are enduring.
sociology as a discipline (学科)
－common rebukes(指责) to sociology is that it:
1. has no “object” to examine.(compare to economic, polotics,math )
2. that is has no “method” .(there is no one way of doing sociology)
3. there are not weaknesses, they are strengths.
- few other areas have as much scope and diversity in object and topic as sociology.
- the multiple research methods allow a diversity of research to take place, sometimes
into the very same object. Chapter 3
CULTURE: the sum of practices, languages, symbols, beliefs, values, ideologies and
material objects that people crate to deal with real-life problems.
although cultures vary, they all have four common components:
1. symbols (including language)
4. material objects
symbols and language
- symbols --- anything that carries within a particular meaning recognized by people who
- culture --- symbolic meaning may vary within a single society.
- language --- a wholly symbolic system enabling highly complex communication.
- cultural transmission --- the process by which one generation passes culture to the
next, every society partly transmit culture through speech.
- values --- shared ideals about what is desirable or undesirable.
- individual are most likely to abide(持续) by them if they accept their validity.
- values are “abstract” standards of goodness.
- its a speciﬁc ideas upon which people place a high level of certainty.
- beliefs are particular matters that individuals consider true or false.
- norms --- rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members.
1. relatively rules for permitted and prohibited conduct.
2. can be written or unwritten and enforced though various sanctions.
- most important norms apply everywhere, at all time.
1. folkways(社会⻛风俗) --- express social preferences, do not evoke(much) social
condemnation when violated.（当违反了不会受到太多的社会谴责）
2. mores(习惯) --- express social requirement and have greater social signiﬁcance,
violation provokes reaction.
3. taboos --- express social absolutes and have the greatest signiﬁcance, violation leads
to severer social sanction and punishment.
- material culture -- items, physical st