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Ch 1. Theory, Enlightenment, Revolutions, and Core Theorists.docx

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SOCI 2040
Secil Erdogan- Ertorer

Ch 1. Theory, Enlightenment, Revolutions and Core Theorists 1 September 19, 2013 Theory  Theory is vital in making sense of social life – observations and facts  Facts make sense bc we make associations to preexisting categories/assumptions (theories) o Facts are still based on implicit assumptions and unacknowledged presuppositions.  Def. ‘Theory is a system of generalized statements of propositions about phenomena. – Scientific theories: …explain and predict phenomena in question, and … produce testable…falsifiable hypotheses’  Certain theories share the same characteristics with other scientific theories like natural science. o Still some significant differences….  IE. Social science vs. Natural science  Sociological theories are more critical and evaluative. Rooted in moral assumptions rather than scientific objectivity.  The nature of each respective science. Societies are on an on-going process of change – internal conflicts, wars, scientific/technological advances, economic markets, and more. Makes it difficult to form a universal law that explains social dynamics. As humans, our behaviour is motived by psychological and social forces (self-interest, loyalty, passion, tradition, or habit) Order (Collective vs. Individual)  What is it that fosters the pattern, and predictability in our behaviour that makes social life a routine? How is social life not random, chaotic, or disconnected? Is it an ordered social universe? o Patterns of social life, a product of structural arrangements, or historical conditions  Individual vs. Collective o Individual – ‘patterns of social life seen as emerging from ongoing interaction.’ o Collective – ‘patterns of social life seen as the product of existing structural arrangements.’ Action (Rational vs. Non rational) Ch 1. Theory, Enlightenment, Revolutions and Core Theorists 2 September 19, 2013  What factors motivate individuals or groups to act? How do these factors steer us in a particular direction?  Non-rational vs. Rational o Non-rational – ‘Action motivated by ideals, values, morals, tradition, habits, or emotional states.’ (unconscious) o Rational – ‘Action motivated by a strategic or calculated attempt to maximize rewards or benefits while minimizing costs.’ (conscious) Enlightenment  The Enlightenment – the seeds that later became sociology th o Intellectual development in Europe from 17-18 centuries o Development of civil society – the conception of economic, political and cultural conditions that shapes society (no institutionalized discipline in pre-enlightenment era) o Birth of critical thinkers, the growth of literacy, the rise of science  Intellectuals of the enlightenment advocated for rational rules, impersonal law, and the end to arbitrary, despotic government. o Questioned king’s authority – ‘by divine right’  The Enlightenment – the new method of thought and attitude o An emphasis on reason o Questioning and reexamining received ideas and values. o Ideas about the world emerged from methodical observations and empirical research (moving away from religious beliefs) o Rebelled and dismissed existing knowledge as prejudice and tradition th  The birth of sociology occurred
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