Textbook Notes (362,814)
Canada (158,058)
Sociology (1,668)
Chapter 1

Sociology 2140 Chapter 1 Textbook Notes

4 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Sociology 2140
Richard Sorrentino

CHAPTER 1 – TAKINGANEW LOOKAT SOCIAL PROBLEMS Social Problem: Asocial condition (poverty) or a patterned behaviour (violence against women) that people believe warrants public concern and collective action to bring about change. • Systematically disadvantage or harm a significant number of people • Seen as harmful by many people who wield power, wealth and influence in a group/society. Social problems are social in their causes, consequences and possible sources of resolution Dominant vs. Subordinate Group: • The dominant groups members are disproportionately at the top of the hierarchy with maximum access to the societies power resources (political authority and control over means of economic production) • Subordinate groups members, in relation to the dominant group, do not occupy such positions of power – usually called the minority group. The Sociological Imagination – C. Wright Mills • Derived from Max Weber’s term verstehen – meaning to see the world as others see it and to empathize with them • The sociological imagination is the ability to see the relationship between an individual’s experiences and the larger society in which they are contextualized o Connecting the private troubles of an individual to the public issues of a society o Public issues: Matters beyond a person’s control that originate at the regional or national level and can only be resolved using collective action. • Enables us to shift our thinking from just private issues (ex: personal unemployment) and relate it to the society as a whole using microlevel and macrolevel analysis SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIAL PROBLEMS: The Functionalist Perspective: Macro-Level • Society is a stable, orderly system composed of several interrelated parts, each of which performs a function that contributes to the overall stability of society o The interrelated parts are institutions – each institution performs a unique function that contributes to the overall stability of society and the well being of individuals. • Manifest & Latent Functions o Manifest Functions: Intended and recognized functions/consequences of an activity or social process. o Latent Functions: Unintended consequences and functions of an activity or social process.  Dysfunctions are the undesirable consequences of an activity or social process that inhibit the society’s ability to adapt or adjust.  Dysfunctions occurring in social institutions create social disorganization, which are the conditions in society that undermine the ability of traditional social institutions to govern human behaviour. • Cause a breakdown of values and norms that serve as social control mechanisms. • Values: Collective ideas about what is right, wrong and bad in a specific society • Norms: Established rues of behaviour or standards of conduct  Durkheim’s Anomie Theory: Periods of rapid social change that result in a loss of shared values and sense of purpose in society – social bonds grow weaker, social control is diminished and people are more likely to engage in nonconforming patterns of behaviour. o Lifestyle-RoutineActivity Approach: Applying Functionalist perspective to violence  The timing and pattern of people’s daily movement and activities as they go about obtaining necessities such as food, shelter, companionship and entertainment are the keys to understanding violent crimes in society.  Ex: People living by themselves, shopping/work hours extended to later times in the night and more people eating outside the home.  This approach suggests that people whoa are more should modify their behaviour – or society should provide greater protection for them. • Cons: Does not address violence in the home or other supposed safe havens – it also does not explain the violence itself The Conflict Perspective: Macro-Level • Groups In society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources – emphasizes the degree to which society is characterized by conflict and discrimination. • Value-Conflict Perspective: Social problems are conditions that are incompatible with group values – value clashes are normal in families, communities, and the larger society in which individuals commonly hold many divergent values. o Discrepancies between ideal culture (values/beliefs people claim they hold) and real culture (values/beliefs they actually follow) are a source of social problems in all societies. • Critical-Conflict Perspective: Social problems arise out of the major contradictions inherent in the way societies are organized – such as the inequalities of the capitalist system or race, ethnicity and gender. o Capitalism coined by Karl Marx, is an economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production, from which personal
More Less

Related notes for Sociology 2140

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.