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Dana Sawchuk

Sociological Compass 2/12/2013 6:29:00 PM Sociological Maps: allow us to grasp interplay of people and society of biography and history C. Wright Mills: sociological maps allow us to grasp the interplay of people and society, of biography and history Sociological Perspective Suicide; a) appears to be the supreme antisocial and non-social act b) Typically committed in private c) Comparatively rare d) Likely to focus on their individual states rather than state of society Sociological Explanation of Suicide French sociologist: Emile Durkheim (pioneers of discipline) demonstrated that suicide is more than just an individual act of desperation (strongly influenced by social forces) Examined association between rates of suicide and rates of psychological disorder for different groups. More women than men in asylums, yet 4 male suicides to every 1 women suicide Jews had highest psychological disorder yet lowest suicide rate Social Solidarity: refers to degree to which group members share beliefs and values, and intensity and frequency of their interaction Values: ideas about what is good and bad High solidarity groups to have lower suicide rates than low solidarity groups Married adults are half as likely to commit suicide than singles Seniors are more likely to commit suicide “Suicide varies with degree of integration of social group of which the individual forms a part” 1) Altruistic Suicide: occur in settings that exhibit very high levels of social solidarity according to Durkheim. Results from norms very tightly governing behavior 2) Egoistic Suicide: results from poor integration of people into society because of weak social ties to others 3) Anomic Suicide: occurs in settings that exhibit low levels of social solidarity. Results from vaguely defined norms governing behavior Suicide In Canada Today Religious attendance is done 25-35% since 1960s Unemployment is up Rate of divorce increased/births outside marriages Sociological Imagination Social Structures: relatively stable patterns of social relations (affect thoughts/feelings/influence actions/shape who you are) C Wright Mills: Sociological Imagination: quality of mind that enables one to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures Main task is to identify/ explain connection between people personal and social structures which people are embedded: 1) Microstructures: patterns of intimate social relations formed during face to face interaction (families, friendship circles, work associations) 2) Macrostructures: patterns of social relations that lie outside/ above person’s circle of intimates/acquaintances. (Classes, bureaucracies, power systems, patriarchy) 3) Global Structures: patterns of social relations that lie outside/above national level (international organizations, worldwide travel/communication, economic relations among countries) Origins of Sociological Imagination The Scientific Revolution (1550) Sound conclusions about workings of society must be based on evidence, not just speculation Democratic Revolution (1750) People are responsible for organizing society and that human intervention can therefore solve social problems French Revolution, American Revolution (people can replace unsatisfactory rulers/people control society) Industrial Revolution (1775) Science of society was possible Created social imagination Auguste Comte and tension between Science and Values Coined term “sociology” Wanted to understand social world as it was, not as he or anyone else imagined it to be Yet, tension because was conservative thinker, motivated by strong opposition to change Sociological Theory and Theorists Functionalism: Emile Durkheim Functionalism (4 Features): 1) theory that human behavior is governed by relatively stable structures. 2) Underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social stability. 3) Emphasizes that social structures are based mainly on shared values/ preferences. 4) Suggests re- establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems Conflict Theory 4 Features: 1) focuses on large macro level structures such as relations among classes. 2) shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social changes in others. 3) Stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to acquire advantages. 4) Typically leads to suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase sum total of human welfare Karl Marx Observed destitution and discontent produced by Industrial Revolution, proposed sweeping theory about ways society develops Class Conflict: struggle between classes to resist/overcome opposition of other classes Owners of industry are eager to improve the way work is organized and adopt new tools, machines, and production methods Large growing class of poor workers opposes small and shrinking class of wealthy owners Class Consciousness: awareness of belonging to social class of which one is a member Max Weber Pointed flaws in Marx’s theory Rapid growth of so-called service sector of economy, with many non-manual workers and professionals Politics and religion are also important sources of historical change Symbolic Interactionism Weber and The Protestant Ethic Protestant Ethic: 16 and 17 century Protestant belief that religious doubts can be reduced, and a state of grace assured, if people work diligently and live ascetically. Protestant work ethic has unintended effect of increasing savings and investment and thus stimulating capitalist growth Principles of Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic Interactionism: (4 Features) 1) Theory that focuses on face-to-face communication in micro level social settings. 2) Emphasizes that adequate explanation of social behavior requires understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their social circumstances. 3) Stresses that people help to create their social circumstances rather than merely reacting to them. 4) By underscoring the subjective meanings people create in small social settings, it validates unpopular and unofficial viewpoints, increasing our understanding and tolerance of people who may be different from us Feminism Women Ignored Harriet Martineau (first female Sociologist) Leading advocate of voting rights and higher education for women, gender equality in family Introduced gender issues that were largely ignored by Marx, Weber, and Durkheim Modern Feminism Little impact until mid 1960’s Feminist Theory (4 Features): 1) view that patriarchy is at least important as class inequality in determining a persons opportunities in life. 2) Hold that male domination and female subordination are determined not by biological necessity, but by structures of power and social convention. 3) Examines operations of patriarchy in both micro and macro settings. 4) Contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should be changed for the benefit of all members of society. Conducting Research Research: process of systematically observing reality to assess the validity of a theory Helps us become aware of biases, test theories against systematic observations of social world that other researchers can repeat to check up on us Research Cycle 6 Steps: 1) Formulate research question 2) Review existing research literature 3) Selecting a research method 4) Collect data 5) Analyze data (most challenging) 6) Publish the results Ethics in Sociological Research 1) Researchers must do subjects no harm (right to safety) 2) Subjects must have the right to decide whether their attitudes and behaviors may be revealed to the public, and if so, in what way (right to privacy) 3) Researchers cannot use data in a way that allows them to be traced to a particular subject (right to confidentiality) 4) Subjects must be told how information they supply will be used (right to informed consent) Main Sociological Research Methods Experiments Mid 1960’s TV violence Experiment: carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to isolate hypothesized causes and measure their effects precisely Variable: concept that can take on more than one value Randomization: in experiment, assigning individuals to groups by chance processes Dependant Variables: presumed effect in a cause and effect relationship Experimental Group: group that is exposed to independent variables in experiment Control Group: group not exposed to independent variable in experiment Independent Variable: presumed cause in a cause and effect relationship Reliability: degree to which a measurement procedure yields consistent results Validity: degree to which a measure actually measures what is intended to measure Surveys Most widely used sociological research method Results show weaker relationship between exposure to violent mass media and violent behavior Survey: method in which people are asked questions about their knowledge, attitudes, or behavior, either in face to face or telephone interview, or in a paper and pencil format Sample: Part of population of interest that is selected for analysis Respondents: person who answers researchers questions Probability Sample: sample in which units have a know and non-zero chance of being selected Sampling Frame: list of all people in population of interest Close Ended Question: type of question that provides respondent with a list of permitted answers. Each answer is given in numerical code so that the data can later be easily input into a computer for statistical analysis Open Ended Question: type of question that allows respondents to answer in their own words Researchers must guard against 4 dangers: 1) Exclusion of part of population from the sampling frame 2) Refusal of some people to participate in survey 3) Unwillingness of some respondents to answer questions frankly 4) Asking of confusing, leading, or inflammatory questions or questions that refer to several, unimportant or non current events Field Research Field Research: systematic observation of people in natural settings Detached Observation: type of field research that involves classifying and counting the behavior of interest according to a predetermined scheme Reactivity: tendency of people who are observed by a researcher to react to the presence of the researcher by concealing certain things or acting artificially to impress the researcher Participant Observation: research that involves carefully observing face to face interaction and participating in their lives over a long period, thus achieving a deep and sympathetic understanding of what motivates them Analysis of Existing Documents and Official Statistics Analysis of Existing Documents and official Statistics: non reactive research method that involves the analysis of diaries, newspapers, published historical works, and statistics produced by government agencies, all of which are created by people other than the researcher for purposes other than sociological research Your Sociological Compass Post industrialism and Globalization Postindustrial Revolution: technology driven shift from manufacturing to service industries and the consequences of that shift for virtually all-human activities Globalization: process by which formerly separate economies, nation states, cultures are becoming tied together and people are becoming increasingly aware of their growing interdependence Opportunities and Barriers Post industrialism will provide more opportunities for people to find creative, interesting, challenging, and rewarding work/ generate more equality for all people to get educations Turns out, number of routine jobs with low pay and little benefits is growing faster, inequality between wealthier and poor has grown recently Globalization increase our freedom However, increased freedom comes with certain limits and how social diversity is limited bys strong push to conformity Culture as Problem Solving 2/12/2013 6:29:00 PM Culture: sum of practices, languages, beliefs, symbols, values, ideologies, and material objects that people create to deal with real life problems High Culture: culture consumed mainly by upper classes Popular Culture (or mass culture): culture consumed by all classes Culture is socially transmitted and requires a society to persist Society: number of people who interact, usually in a defined territory, and share a culture Origins and Components of Culture Symbols (First Tool) Abstraction: human capacity to create general ideas or ways of thinking that are not linked to particular instances Symbols: anything that carries a particular meaning, including the components of language, mathematical notations, and signs. They allow us to classify experience and generalize from it Norms and Values (Second Tool) Co-operation: human capacity to create a complex social life by sharing resources and working together Norms: generally accepted ways of doing things Production, Material Culture, and Non-Material Culture (Third Tool) Production: human capacity to make/use tools. Improves our ability to take what we want from nature Material Culture: tools/techniques that enable people to accomplish tasks Non-Material Culture: symbols, norms, and other non-tangible elements of culture Production is a uniquely human activity 3 Types of Norms: Folkways, Mores, and Taboos Folkway: least important norms-norms that evoke the least severe punishment when violated (specify social preferences) Mores: Core norms that most people believe are essential for the survival of their group or their society (specify social requirements) Taboos: strongest norms. When someone violates a taboo, it causes a revulsion in the community and punishment is severe Language and The Sapir-Whorf Thesis Language: system of symbols strung together to communicate thought Allows culture to develop: cultural invention that distinguishes humans from other animals 1930’s Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf Sapir-Whorf Thesis: holds that we experience certain things in our environment and forms concepts about those things. We then develop language to express our concepts. Then finally, language itself influences how we see the world. Speech patterns are “interpretations of experience” view seems uncontroversial. Terms that apparently refer to the same things or people may change to reflect a changing reality Controversial Part: in what sense does language in and of itself influence the way we experience the world? Culture as Freedom and Constraint A Functionalist Analysis of Culture: Culture and Ethnocentrism Culture is often invisible Ethnocentrism: tendency to judge other cultures exclusively by the standards of your own Marvin Harris: Cow Worship among Hindu peasants in India Illustrates how functionalist theory can illuminate otherwise mysterious social practices Manifest Functions: visible and intended effects of social structures Latent Functions: invisible and unintended effects of social structures A particular social practice has unintended consequences that make social order possible If you refrain from judging other societies by the standards of your own, you will have taken an important first step toward developing a sociological understanding of culture Culture as a Freedom Culture provides us with an opportunity to exercise our freedom Culture does constrain us Symbolic Interactionism and Cultural Production Regard culture as an independent variable People do not just accept culture passively; instead we produce and interpret culture, creatively fashioning it to suit our diverse and changing needs We are at liberty to choose how culture influences us Cultural Diversity Canadian society has diversified a lot Multiculturalism History books written from perspective of victors, not vanquished Multiculturalism: policy that reflects Canada’s ethnic and racial diversity in the past and enhances its ethnic and racial diversities today 3 Negative Consequences: 1) Multicultural education hurts minority students by forcing them to spend too much time on non-core subjects 2) Causes political disunity and results in more interethnic and interracial conflict 3) Encourages growth of cultural relativism: the belief that all cultures have equal value Conflict Analysis of Culture: The Rights Revolution If we probe beneath cultural diversification and multiculturalism, we find Rights Revolution: process by which socially excluded groups have struggles to win equal rights under the law and in practice Problem: minority groups have faced high levels of discrimination Fragments Canadian Culture: 1) Legitimizing grievances of groups that were formerly excluded from full social participation 2) Renewing their pride in their identity and heritage From Diversity to Globalization Rites of Passage: cultural ceremonies that mark the transition from one stage of life to another (baptisms, confirmations, weddings) or life to death Globalization destroys political, economic, and cultural isolation, bringing people together in what Marshall McLuhan first called “global village” Aspects of Postmodernism Postmodernism: culture characterized by an electric mix of cultural elements from different times and places, the erosion of authority, and the decline of consensus around core values Last Half of 19 century and first half of 20 century: era of modernity Blending Culture (1 aspect of postmodernism) Easier to create individualized belief systems and practices by blending facets of different cultures and historical periods (many more ways to worship than used to) Erosion of Authority (2 aspect of postmodernism) We have become more likely to challenge authority Instability of Core Values (3 aspect of postmodernism) Value shifts are more rapid and consensus has broken down on many issues People recognize that apparent progress, including scientific advances, often has negative consequences Is Canada the First Postmodern Country? Became independent country not through revolutionary upheaval but gradual evolutionary manner Americans are more Catholic, more patriotic; nuclear family is ideal family form Canadians lack distinct culture (high degree of tolerance and respect for diversity) Culture as a Constraint Rationalization Rationalized the internal work clock; precisely regulating our activities seems most natural thing in world) = ensuring efficiency Rational means (use of work clock) has been applied to a given goal (maximizing work), but has led to an irrational end (too hectic life) Rationalization: 1) application of most efficient means to achieve given goals and 2) the unintended, negative consequences of doing so Weber’s View: one of most constraining aspects of contemporary culture: makes life in the modern world akin to living inside an “iron cage” George Ritzer: McDonalds is epitome of rationalization today One of most constraining aspects of culture today Consumerism Consumerism: tendency to define ourselves in terms of the goods/services we purchase Subculture: set of distinctive values, norms, and practices within a larger culture Product placement We tend to be good consumers, motivated by advertising From Counterculture to Subculture Counterculture: subversive subcultures that oppose dominant values and seek to replace them Transforming deviations from mainstream culture into means of making money and enticing rebels to become entrepreneurs 1) Ozzy Osbourne/ Black Sabbath; heavy metal frightening rejection of mainstream culture was just a passing phase and that the nuclear family remains intact (rocker to family man) 2) Development of Hip-Hop (commercialization/taming of rebellion) Socialization 2/12/2013 6:29:00 PM Social Isolation and Socialization  “Wild boy of Aveyron” raised in isolation from other human beings for years  “Socialization” must unleash potential”. It is the process by which people learn their culture; by entering into and disengaging from a succession of roles and becoming aware of themselves as they interact with others  “Role” is a set of expected behaviors or the behavior expected of a person occupying a particular position in society  Rene Spitz; study of children in orphanage vs. nursing home o “Without childhood socialization, most of our human potential remains undeveloped”  The Crystallization of Self-Identity o Adolescence is a turbulent period of rapid self development o Robert Brym; picked for school play o Friedenberg: “the central growth process in adolescence is to define the self through the clarification of experience and to establish self-esteem  The Symbolic Interactionist Foundations of Childhood Socialization o Self: a set of ideas and attitudes about who one is as an independent being  Freud o “Infants demand immediate gratification but begin to form a self-image when their demands are denied” o “Infant begins to sense that it needs to differ from those of its parents, and balance its needs with realities of life; ultimately developing a sense of what constitutes appropriate behavior and a moral sense of right and wrong o “Only social interaction can allow the self to emerge”  Charles Horton Cooley o “Looking Glass Self”: the way our feelings about who we are depend largely on how we see ourselves evaluated by others o Symbolic Interactionism: the idea that in the course of face-to-face communication, people engage in a creative process of attaching meaning to things  George Herbert Mead o “I”: subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is present from birth o “Me”: objective component of the self that emerges as people communicate symbolically and learn to take the role of the other o Me is not present from birth. It emerges only gradually during social interaction  Mead’s 4 Stages of Development o 1. At first, children learn to use language/symbols by imitating “significant other”: people who play important roles in the early socialization experiences of children” o 2. Children pretend to be other people (role play) o 3. By age 7, play complex games that require simultaneously playing several roles/people o 4. Take role of “generalized other”: persons image of cultural standards and how they apply to him/her  Gender Differences o Carol Gilligan: sociological factors help explain differences in the sense of self that boys and girls usually develop  Civilization Differences o “Ancient China vs. Ancient Greece” o Processes and events were viewed as the result of discrete categories rather than whole systems o Ways of thinking depended less on peoples innate characteristics than on the structure of society  Function, Conflict, Symbolic, Interaction, and Gender: How Agents of Socialization Work o Functionalists emphasize how socialization helps to maintain orderly social relations. They also play down the freedom of choice individuals enjoy in socialization process o Conflict and feminist theorists stress discord based on class, gender, other divisions inherent in socialization / sometimes causes social change o Symbolic Interactionist highlight creativity of individuals in attaching meaning to social surroundings. Focus on ways we step outside of, and modify the values, roles that authorities teach us  Family Functions o Primary Socialization: the process of acquiring the basic skills needed to fun
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