Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1: Sociology: A Unique Way to View the World"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 1: Sociology: A Unique Way to View the World Dr. Santos
2 What is the Social World The social world is the totality of human-to-human relations & interactions that at any given time in history form a self-contained, self-suficient social system.Prior to a few centuries ago, humanity had a vast multiplicity of social worlds at any given time, some large (empires), others tiny (bands).The “Modern World” constitutes a single social world for all humanity: it took five or so centuries to construct.
3 Why is the social world important? Humans are fundamentally social beings Aristotle (384 BC BC)Survival: shared expectations, social conventions & norms help create order and keep conflict to a minimumThough in the past, social worlds collided tooIndividuals and the social world mutually influence and make one another; e.g. language, trade, writing, work, science, faith. “No man is an island.” No individual meaning or purpose truly possible without reference to the whole social system.This has become true to all collectivities, like national states, cultural world regions, etc.
5 A comparison of the social sciences The evolution of our modern structures of knowledge from previous unified systems:The great split between theology and philosophy in the 16th century, followed byPhilosophy split into “science” and “humanities” and “social sciences,” and social sciences into “disciplines”:Cultural AnthropologyPsychologyPolitical ScienceEconomicsSociologyThe current crisis of this set up is manfiested by the return of the various pre-modern theologically-driven “fundamentalisms” and the inabilities to encompass the truth, the good, and the beautiful
6 What is then “sociology”? The scientific study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviorEssentially—why and how people and groups interact with one another, are organized, and deal with conflict and changeThis must be approached historically, theoretically, and empirically: this presents formidable challenges
7 Sociologists study groups of all sizes in various time frames DyadsSmall groupsLarge groups & institutionsNations and continental cultural zones.The global society: the capitalist modern world systemTime frames can be now, years, decades, centuries, or millenniaMost, unfortunately, study only the present and near present, and usually within their own national state or compared to another. This is chronocentrism & parochialism
8 The underlying assumptions of sociology People are social (cooperate, bond)People spend most of their lives in groups of one kind or anotherInteractions between people and groups are reciprocal and constantConflict and change are inevitableAll groups have certain organizing characteristics
9 Groups are characterized by: Recurrent social patternsOrdered behaviorShared experiences among membersCommon understandings
10 Sociology vs. Common Sense We all have reasonable assumptions (common sense ideas) based on logical deduction, past experiences, and stereotypesHowever, sociologists intentionally set up scientific studies to disprove common sense assumptions
11 True or False?Because of the rapid rise in divorce and unwed childbearing, more American children live in single parent households than ever before
12 FALSEActually, roughly the same numbers live in single parent households today because more parents were widowed in the past
13 True or False?Most people on welfare don't want to work and looking for a handout
14 FALSEMost people remain on welfare for less than two years, using it to get through a crisis. And for those on the welfare rolls, most are children, elderly, sick or disabled, or single mothers with infant children. Less than 2% are "able-bodied" males- and many of them are looking for work. Only 1/3 of the poor are on welfare.
15 True or False?Most Roman Catholics oppose birth control
16 FALSEAbout 80% of U.S. Roman Catholics favor birth control.
17 True or False?The civil rights laws of the 1960's have considerably narrowed the gap between black and white family incomes in the United States
18 FALSEThe ratio of black to white family income has consistently been around 55-60% since the 1960's. In fact, some reports indicate a widening of the gap. The processes of discrimination that produce and/or perpetuate such inequalities are apparently more subtle than those addressed by the laws.
19 True or False?The American Dream practically does not exist any more. It’s nearly impossible to climb much higher on the ladder of social status than your parents did.
20 TRUESocial mobility in the United States is very low for a variety of reasons. Since 1980, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer with even less opportunity for movement than before. Individuals like Oprah and Bill Gates, however, make us think this is common.And for immigrants, especially those that are unauthorized or undocumented, the going has gotten much tougher, though the American Dream remains a potent motivator to endure and resist persecution, exploitiation, and oppression, as in the past.
21 OTHER COMMON MYTHSThere is very little sexism in the US anymore. This is not an issue that our generation needs to worry about.The world’s population is exploding everywhere. In a few years, we’ll be in the midst of a overpopulation crisis.Undocumented immigrants are a net economic drain on the receiving countries, and are responsible for increased unemployment, crime, and sickness.Americans are better informed than anybody else in the world due to its free press.
22 The sociological perspective Personal experiences can be best understood by examining them in the broader social contextE.g., Why do some individuals get punished more harshly for the same crimes than others do?What social factors might be related to issues like teenage pregnancy or marriage at a later age? Or divorce?
23 The sociological imagination C. Wright Mills came up with it in 1959.A willingness to recognize the relationship between individual experiences (“private troubles”) and public issues & trends.Combine biography with history to reveal the meaning of all social transformations and give a proper perspective to all individual experiences.
24 Questions sociologists ask Sociologists ask questions that can be located historically, measured objectively and tested repeatedlyThey do not study philosophical or moral issues per seThey do not focus on moral judgments about social issues but on their various causes and effects.Applied sociologists perform research to help solve social problems in particular contexts
25 Why study sociology?Better understand social situations and diverse perspectivesBe able to collect data and evaluate problemsUnderstand the intended and unintended consequences of social policiesReveal the complexities of social lifeLearn more about ourselves and our biasesDevelop useful job skills
26 The social world modelSocial units—interconnected parts of the social worldSocial structure—people and groups that bring order to our lives and hold social units togetherSocial institutions—provide the rules, roles, and relationships to direct and control human behaviorAll are interconnected
27 The social world model (con’t) Social processes—the actions taken by people in social unitsProcess of socialization—how we learn the social expectations for members of societyProcess of change—every social unit is continually changingThe environment—the setting surrounding each social unit
28 Levels of analysisThe social world can be studied from a variety of levelsMicro-level (individuals and small groups)Importance: micro interactions form the basis of all social organizationsMeso-level (intermediate sized units)Importance: helps explain the processes and institutions in a society
29 Levels of analysis (con’t) Macro-level (focus on entire nations, global forces, and international trends)Importance: Helps understand how larger social forces shape everyday lifeEach level adds depth to a topic
30 Which level (micro, meso, or macro) would you use to examine each of the following questions? How do couples divide housework responsibilities?Which factors determine the percentage of women in political power in a certain country?Does the size of the sports stadium matter for students who are choosing a college?
31 Answer: All three questions could be studies from each of the three levels The three levels are not truly mutually exclusive!
32 SummarySociologists use research methods to objectively study social interactions and organizationsThe sociological perspective and sociological imagination allow us to understand individual situations in the context of broader social forcesAll social units are held together by a social structure, which is connected to social institutions. These factors mutually influence one another in a linked system from the very small to the whole world - at least in the past couple of centuries.Social phenomena can be examined from multiple levels of analysis, each re-inforces the others and are not mutually exclusive.