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Chapter 1

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Department
Sociology
Course
Sociology 1020
Professor
Prof
Semester
Fall

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Zaid Al-Atawneh Sociology Sept/9/12 Chapter 1: What is Sociology?  Major concern of sociology us to explain why members of some groups behave differently than members of other groups Emile Durkheim  Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) investigated suicide  Many of Durkheim’s contemporaries thought that mental illness, inherited tendencies, or unhappiness were the causes of suicide  Durkheim argued that social factors-factors pertaining either to group structure or to the relationships among individuals in groups-also affect suicide  Durkheim called these social sources of behaviour social facts  Social Facts: point to social or group-level explanations of behaviour, such as ethnicity, gender, place of residence, and marital status  In Durkheim’s study of nineteenth century suicide, he uncovered variations that pointed to social causes of suicide: men had higher suicide rates than women, Protestants higher rates than Catholics and Jews, older people higher rates than the young, and single people higher rates than the married (1951).  Greater frequency in men, protestants, the older, and the unmarried as due in part, to the relative social isolation they experienced  Durkheim called the suicides that occur because of the lack of such social ties, egoistic suicides  Excessively strong social ties can also lead to higher suicide rates, this kind of suicide, called altruistic suicide, is exemplified by suicide bombers  Anomicsuicides are found in societies marked by insufficient regulations, a condition that might arise in times of extensive or rapid social change. In Anomic societies individuals experience feelings of unpredictability or being without limits, and are thus prone to suicide  Fatalistic suicides occur in societies having too many rules and too few options. Individuals may feel trapped, with suicide as the only way out  Ties of social groups, is a social and not an individual variable  In Durkheim’s explanation he demonstrated how social conditions affect human behaviour  Social environments, which may be different in different groups, cannot be ignored.  Suicide rates will always be different because of the difference of groups and social environments Sociology: Its Modern Origins and Varieties  The French and Industrial Revolutions kindled its modern development, but sociology did exist prior to the eighteenth century  French Revolution expanded the potential for democracy  Industrial Revolution led to a new economy, the further growth of trade and cities, and a radically new organization of work  Science of and scientific explanations, products of the Enlightenment, were increasingly supplanting religion and theological explanations of natural phenomena  Earlier explanations were rooted in religious dogma based on authority and faith, scientific explanations were based on observation and reason  Since science was developing, people were hoping that society would develop as well  Auguste Comte (1798-1857) saw sociology as both religion and a science  Sociologists were “priests” who would guide societies through turbulent times and heal their social problems  Because of the ills that came form the French and Industrial Revolutions, it allowed new discipline to happen because the world needed new order and because of this sociology was born as a modern science  Durkheim believed that society is based on consensus and cooperation  Modern society is structured like a human body: a collection of organs, each performing a necessary function. Segments of society, the organs, work for the benefit of society as a whole, the body, and, hence, that social ills are temporary phenomena curable by appropriate “medicines” and “repairs”. Karl Marx  Karl Marx (1818-1883)  He rejected this analogy and saw society as made up of individuals and groups held together by the strongest members, who use their power to coerce the weaker members into submission  Social ills are chronic and are built into the structure of society  Cures can only come from radical social change Functionalism  Borrowed three major concepts from biology and medicine: function, equilibrium, and development  Function: means that social arrangements exist because they somehow benefit society and points to the importance of society, for the functioning and health of the world  General Functionalist:
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