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1 Lesson 1: What is Sociology? SOCI 108 - Thinking Critically about Social Issues Spring 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Lesson 1: What is Sociology? SOCI 108 - Thinking Critically about Social Issues Spring 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Lesson 1: What is Sociology? SOCI Thinking Critically about Social Issues Spring 2012

2 2 When you walk down a street do you sometimes wonder what is going on inside the buildings you pass?

3 3 Are you interested in what is going on inside any of these buildings?

4 4 The drive to understand how and why these structures were built, to go inside and learn more about the human activities that take place inside, captures the sociological consciousness.

5 5 Sociology is the scientific study of human activity.

6 6... do with, to and for one another Human activity — the things people ….... think and do as a result of others’ influence

7 7 Social forces Human activity (the way it is organized) Opportunities Disadvantages Sense of self Relationships with others and larger environment How do sociologists think about any human activity?

8 8 Social Force: Mobile Phone

9 9 Social forces are anything humans create that influences or pressures people to interact, behave, respond, or think in certain ways. 1

10 10 Example of an “invention” as a social force: the mobile phone

11 11 Revolutionary feature of the mobile phone  it frees people from being in a specific physical space when they communicate with others.

12 12 Social Force: Mobile Phone Human activity (the way it is organized)

13 13 What kinds of human activities have changed as a result of the mobile phone?

14 14 Human activity (the way it is organized) Opportunities Disadvantages Sense of self Relationships with others and environment

15 15 What opportunities and disadvantages come with the mobile phone? May not be able to fully engage in an activity Immediate access to others (not present), no matter the setting

16 16 How is sense of self shaped by the mobile phone?

17 17 What about relationships with others and the surrounding environment? In a survey of 439 doctors who perform cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) surgery 55.6% reported using their mobile phones while performing surgery to send or check text messages, access , check postings on social networking sites or otherwise use the internet

18 18 It offers questions to guide analysis vocabulary for answering those questions Sociology offers a framework for studying human activity

19 19 What meaning do you assign to this empty roll of toilet tissue?

20 20 Which photograph best reflects the meaning you assign to the empty roll of toilet tissue?

21 21 Cuba U.S.

22 22 What social forces contribute to different ways of thinking about and responding to empty toilet paper rolls? Resource-rich country Consumption-oriented culture (capitalism) Ability to access resources from foreign sources Resource-poor country Thrift-oriented culture U.S. embargo since 1960 Collapse of Soviet Union

23 23 How does attitude toward resources and corresponding behavior affect sense of self? Sense of self revolves around consumption Sense of self revolves around ingenuity

24 24 Empirical Sociology is an empirical science based on purposeful, objective observations Are these statements objective or subjective? The man in the drugstore fell to the floor clutching his chest and the other customers turned in his direction when he screamed. objective

25 25 The pigeon had been pecking at the disk was distracted by the sound of the door slamming, and it hesitated while it considered whether to keep pecking or not. Subjective When the dinner with her husbands parents was over, she was so anxious to leave and go home that she left her coat behind. Subjective He beeped the horn several times in rapid succession, turned into the oncoming lane, and sped around the stalled car. Objective

26 26 The Sociological Imagination … looking at the relationships between individual experiences and forces in the larger society that shape those individual experiences

27 27 How do sociologists make sense of the patterns they observe? – Three sociological perspectives

28 28 Symbolic Interactionism Micro level How do individuals interpret their world? Meaningful symbols Social interaction in small groups – Shared rules of interaction – Language

29 29 Structural Functionalism Macro level Society is a vast network of interrelated parts What are the parts of US society? How do they function for the maintenance of society? – Stability – Harmony – Evolution

30 30 Conflict Theory Macro level Social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups Social change is the result of this social conflict Feminist theory – Relationship between gender, social class and minority status

31 31 Peter Berger


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