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A Sociological Perspective

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Presentation on theme: "A Sociological Perspective"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Sociological Perspective
Chapter One Henslin’s Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach (Rubinfield and Zumpetta)

2 What is a Sociological Perspective?
Sociology views social contexts that underlie social behaviors/social locations. Sociology examines the links between what people do and the social settings that shape their behaviors Sociology looks beyond community and national boundaries to see a global village.

3 Science is defined as ‘the systematic methods used to obtain knowledge’
Two types of Sciences: Natural Sciences Social Sciences

4 Natural Sciences include:
Biology Geology Chemistry Physics

5 Social Sciences include:
Political Science – Examines politics/governmental systems Economics – Examines the production, distribution, and allocation of material goods and services in different societies. Anthropology – Studies culture

6 Psychology –Examines human behavior in the context of the individuals and/or small groups.
Sociology – Encompasses many of the interests and concerns of the other social science disciplines, but primarily examines external social factors that influence human behaviors on both a micro and macro level, which includes examining how social relationships, social divisions, belief systems, organizations, and social structures are constructed and applied by society, as well as how individuals and groups are affected by these constructions and applications.

7 Whether Natural or Social Science, both attempt to explain why something occurs.

8 Sociology attempts to…
Explain Social Behaviors Generalize about Social Behaviors Predict Social Behaviors

9 The Origins of Sociology:
Sociology grew out of the social, political, economic and technological revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. These revolutions resulted in sweeping changes that eroded old traditions. These changes, in turn, required new ways of perceiving and examining the world.

10 Sociology developed in response to a number of factors occurring in the mid 1800’s
Social Upheaval due to the Industrial Revolution The mass migration of people to cities in search of work. Horrendous working condition in factories. Success of both the US and French Revolutions-brought new democratic principles and ways of life. Impact of Imperialism-forced cultural interaction and conflicts. Success of Natural Sciences -provided a “model” for explaining social changes associated with time/places and the social consequences of change.

11 Important People in the development of sociology as a science
Auguste Conte – Was the first to use the word ‘sociology’, he envisioned a ‘new’ science, the systematic study of society and use of positivism, and then apply these principles for social reform. He was considered the ‘Founder’ of sociology because he thought of the concept and coined the phrase (but never performed any studies.)

12 Herbert Spencer – Envisioned an evolutionary model of society capable/intelligent surviving with the weaker dying out. He was the first to use the term ‘the survival of the fittest’, he believed that helping the poor through even charity and welfare was detrimental to society as a whole. These beliefs became known as “Social Darwinism” and continued to be held in high regard until recently discredited.

13 Karl Marx: Karl Marx – Like Conte, Marx believed that people should take “active steps” to change society. He believed that class conflict rooted in economics drove society. He also believed that eventually the workers (the Proletariat) would rise up and develop a united force to topple the wealthy (the Bourgeoisie), ending in a classless society free of exploitation and oppression.

14 Emile Durkheim – Wanted to establish Sociology as a ‘distinct academic discipline.” He was the first to show how social forces directly affect social behavior. He conducted research examining the suicide rate in several European countries and found that contrary to commonsense assumption, suicide was not solely an individual choice, but was also shaped by social structures, finding that those with strong social ties (Catholics, Jews, females and married people etc) had a lower suicide rate. Durkheim encouraged sociologists to actively ‘diagnosis’ society’s ills by discovering social facts and objective social conditions through scientific research, and then to devise remedies based on these findings.

15 Max Weber – Believed that religion (not class struggles) was the driving force shaping society. He wrote the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism over a hundred years ago. Marxist- Economics determines Culture in society Webian-Culture determines Economics in society Weber believed that Social Research should be “value free”. He believed that all Sociologists, as human beings, have ‘value bias’ and that these bias must be examined and excluded when conducting Social Research in total neutrality and objectivity. He used replication as a test for social bias. Weber stressed the need for objectivity in social research.

16 Verstehen is a German term used by Weber.
It best translated as… “to have insight into someone’s situation‘– Putting oneself in others shoes. No one approach is mutually exclusive in Social Research. Contemporary sociologists combine both approaches complimenting and informing each other.

17 Few woman in the sociology field in the 1800’s due to several factors:
General status of woman in European society Less educational opportunities Considered ‘socially deviant’ for woman to want to be educated Woman were expected to be dedicated to the 4K’s Kirche (Church) Kuchen (Cooking) Kinder (Children) Kleidir (Clothes)

18 Harriet Martineau – Defied society’s norms to study social life in Great Britain and the United States. She published ‘Society in America’ decades before Durkheim/Weber were born .

19 In North America: 1st Department of Sociology established at the University of Kansas in 1892, followed by Atlanta University in 1897, and University of Chicago in 1899. Albion Small founded the Social Science Department at the University of Chicago and published the American Journal of Sociology, which continues today. This department dominated the field of Sociology for the first half of the 20th Century

20 Woman and Minorities in U.S. Sociology
In the first half of the 20th Century in America, African American, as well as female sociologists, encountered significant institutional racism/sexism much the same as their European counterparts. They were routinely denied appointments to universities where research was being funded and conducted. Because of these many social barriers to Sociology, many woman became social activists as an alternative and worked directly with the poor. These activists were regarded as Social Workers.

21 Jane Adams- Sociologist/Social Worker founded Hull House in Chicago - a refuge for the poor and homeless. She was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her work with the poor in 1931, and has been the only sociologist ever to be so honored.

22 W. E. B. DuBois – An African American sociologist who did extensive studies on race relations. He published a book on this topic every year from 1896 thru 1914. Jane Adams and W.E.B. DuBois co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

23 During his life, DuBois became a fierce social critic of racism/race discrimination. He was a journalist who later in life embraced Marxism, believing in class conflicts and the need for social revolution/reform. His writings were mostly overlooked throughout the 20th Century. Recently, since his death in 1963, DuBois has become more broadly read, recognized and appreciated.

24 . The debate over whether Sociology should analyze society or reform it, has continued since it’s inception in the mid 1800’s Jane Adams was a strong advocate for reform, working her entire life to bring about social change. W.E.B. DuBois initially wanted to analyze it.

25 1940’s – In the U.S. in the 1940’s there was a growing concern for establishing sociology as an academic discipline. This concern shifted the emphasis by American sociologists from social reform to social theory.

26 The results of increased theorizing:
Legitimized sociology as a science Did little to critique reform or help change the social infrastructure of society.

27 C Wright Mills – (1960’s- 1970’s) Developed a “Power Elite Theory”, which stated that a small group of influential business, political and military leaders monopolized power and threatened American freedom. This theory helped shift sociology back toward social reform in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He theorized on the differences between personal problems and public issues.

28 “Pure” Basic Sociology –
Is the use of sociology to increase knowledge and understanding of human behavior/relationships/conditions

29 “Applied” Sociology Social research used to help solve specific social problems in specific social settings.

30 Both try to separate fact from fiction examining links between what people do and the settings that help shape their behaviors. Currently, sociology encompasses both forms of analysis, and inform on both the micro and macro levels. Micro-small scale patterns of society Macro-larger scale patterns of society

31 Theoretical Perspective: What is a Theory?
A Theory: is a general statement about how parts of the world fit together, relate to one another, affect each other. Sociologists use three major sociological theories to observe and interpret social contexts, relationships, and realities in distinct ways…

32 Three types of sociological theories:
1. Symbolic Interactionism –Analyzes how people use symbols to develop/share their views of the world. Micro level studying the way individuals and small groups create, and disseminate and/or interrupt ‘reality’ thru their everyday face-to-face interactions.

33 Theories… 2. The Conflict Theory – Focuses on the macro level of society, and views the world as completing groups struggling over limited scarce resources. Using sociological analysis, Conflict Theorists examine how people with wealth and power maintain and/or impose their wealth and power, and how people without wealth and power work to acquire wealth and power.

34 Theories… 3. Functional Analysis – Also examines on the macro level, how various parts of society work together to fulfill their respective functions and consequently create a harmonious society. It also looks at how parts of society occasionally become dysfunctional, negatively affecting other parts and eventually contributing to an unstable society.

35 Sociologists often combine several perspectives to more fully explain social behaviors because no one perspective encompasses all aspects of social reality.

36 Future Trends Shaping Sociology:
The history of sociology in America can be broken down into three distinct phases: During the first phase the primary concern of sociologists was making the world a better place. During the second phase establishing sociology as a respected field of knowledge, emphasizing basic “pure sociology” was of primary importance. During the third and current phase, emphasis has been on merging social knowledge with practical work with the development of “applied sociology”.

37 Remembering that we are globally connected…
American sociology will eventually move towards a fourth phase, which will incorporate a broader perspective and world view, encompassing global issues and concerns. ******

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