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Chapter 1

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SOC 10000
Steven Hillis

Understanding Sociology Friday, January 24, 2014 7:44 PM I. What is sociology? a. Definition: The scientific study of social behavior and human groups. i. Investigates how societies are organized, work, vary, and how they change. ii. In influence people's behavior. b. C. Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination i. C. Wright Mills: Sociological imagination is to connect person troubles to public issues. 1) It is an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society, both today and in the past. 2) The key element is the ability to view one's own society as an outsider would, rather than only from the perspective of personal experiences and cultural biases. ii. Sociological imagination is the ability "to see the strange in the familiar" and "to see the general in the particular". 1) Detaching yourself from individualistic interpretations of human behavior and accepting the initially "strange" notion that human behaviors are a product of social forces. 2) Age, gender, race, sexuality, and class etc. all impact behaviors and life change. c. Comparing and Contrasting Sociology with Other Social Sciences i. Sociology vs. Anthropology Study of modern civilized and Concerns with an uncivilized or complex societies. primitive and non-literate societies. Study the institutions marriage, Study human primitive and non- family or processes such as change, literate societies. social mobility. Study small and large societies. Concentrate on small societies. Makes use of observation, Directly go and live in the interview, social survey, and communities they study. They make questionnaires etc. in its use of direct observations and investigations. interviews. ii. Sociology vs. Economy Study all kind of social Deals with only those social relationships. relationships which are economic in character. General social science. Special science. A science of recent emergence. Has attained an advanced degree of maturity. iii. Sociology vs. History Study of present with all their Deals with the past events of man. It complexity. is silent regarding the present. complexity. is silent regarding the present. Is relatively young social science. It Is an age-old social science. It has a has very short history of its own. long story of 2000 years or even more. An analytic science. A descriptive science. A generalizing science. An individualizing science. iv. Sociology vs. Political Science A science of society. A science of state and government. Studies all kind of societies Studies only the politically organized and unorganized. organized societies. Has a wider scope. Has a narrower field. Studies man as fundamentally a Studies man as a political animal. social animal. The approach of sociology is A special social science because it sociological. It follows its own concentrates only on the human methods in addition to the scientific relationships which are political in methods in its investigations. character. Sociology is quite young, it's not Political science is an older science even two centuries old. comparatively. It has centuries of history. v. Sociology vs. Psychology Studies society and social groups. Studies behavior of individual in society. Its focus of interest is individual and not the society. Analyzes social processes. Concerned with behavior of individuals. Studies society form sociological Studies the individual's behavior point of view. from the view point of psychological factors involved. d. Sociology as an Extremely Diverse and Divided Field e. Sociology as an Open Ended Debate II. Macro vs. Micro Sociology a. Macro Sociology: Focuses on large-scales social processes, such as social stability and change. i. Allows observation of large-scale patterns and trends, but runs the risk of seeing these trends as abstract entities that exist outside of the individuals who enact them on the ground. b. Micro Sociology: Focuses on small-scale interactions between individuals, such as conversation or group dynamics. i. Allows for this on-the-ground analysis, but can fail to consider the larger forces that influence individual behavior. III. A Brief History of Sociology: How it All Begins
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