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A N INVITATION TO SOCIOLOGY The Sociological Perspective.

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Presentation on theme: "A N INVITATION TO SOCIOLOGY The Sociological Perspective."— Presentation transcript:

1 A N INVITATION TO SOCIOLOGY The Sociological Perspective

2 What is Sociology? the scientific study of social structure

3 Social Structure The patterned interaction of people in social relationships

4 Sociological Findings Verses Common Sense True or False 1. More U.S. students are killed in school shootings now than ten or fifteen years ago. 2. The earnings of U.S. women have just about caught up with those of U.S. men. 3. When faced with natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, people panic and social organization disintegrates. 4. People who commit rape and sexual assault are mentally ill. 5. Most people on welfare are lazy and looking for a handout. They could work if they wanted to. 6. Compared with women, men maintain more eye contact while they are conversing. 7. The more available alcohol is (as measured by the number of places to buy alcohol per one hundred people), the more alcohol related injuries and fatalities occur on U.S. highways. 8. Couples who live together before marriage are usually more satisfied with their marriages than couples who do not live together before marriage. 9. When husbands of working wives get laid off from work, most take up the slack and increase the amount of housework they do. 10. Students in Japan are under such intense pressure to do well in school that their suicide rate is about double that of U.S. students.

5 1. Someone who can’t find a job is ___________________. 2.Homelessness is the result of _____________________. 3.Illegal immigrants come here because of ___________. Personal Societal

6 Sociological Perspective Looks at the behavior of groups, not individuals

7 Are More Heads Better Than One? How many pennies are in the jar? Class average? How many came closer to the actual number than the group? Conclusion: Many times groups solve problems better than individuals

8 Why do people conform? elevator conformity Groups tend to think, feel and behave in similar ways

9 The Social Sciences Sociology – investigates human behavior from group (not individual) perspective Anthropology – closely related, focus on pre- literate societies Psychology - mental and emotional processes and functioning of the individual Economics – studies production, distribution and consumption of goods and services Political Science – organization, administration, history, and theory of government History - past events in human societies

10 Sociological Imagination The ability to see the link between society and self C. Wright Mills

11 Who was August Comte, and why does he matter? Frenchman Father of Sociology 1 st to advocate scientific study of society (positivism) Positivism: the belief that knowledge should be derived from scientific observation Believed people’s behavior within a group cannot be predicted by their personal characteristics (bronze)

12 Comte’s Big Ideas Social Statics: the study of social stability and order Social Dynamics: the study of social change

13 Harriet Martineau… the first feminist? Englishwoman Popular writer, Society in America drew link between slavery and oppression of women inspired future feminist theorists

14 Ebenezer Scrooge…Social Commentary

15 Herbert Spencer and Darwinism Social Darwinism natural social selection and survival of the fittest society opposed social reform – to interfere would be harmful to society in long run

16 “ What is not good for the hive is not good for the bee.” Marcus Aurelius Antonius ( ) occupy movement

17 Karl Marx & class conflict German scholar poverty and inequality of the working class bourgeoisie: class owning the means for producing wealth (capitalists) proletariat: working class, those who labor for bourgeoisie

18 Class Conflict eventually wage workers would overthrow capitalists result in communistic society (one without classes)

19 Emile Durkheim Frenchman Consensus (solidarity) of society mechanical solidarity organic solidarity Studied Suicide: believed suicide is related to the strength of shared beliefs among group members (solidarity)

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22 More About Durkhiem First to stress statistical techniques Anecdotal vs. Scientific Data

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24 Who was Max Weber? German law & economics professor verstehen: understanding others by “putting yourself in their shoes” rationalization: mindset that emphasizes knowledge, reason, and planning

25 Jane Addams and Hull House American social reformer poor, immigrants, sick, aged believed society should help the less fortunate

26 W.E.B. Dubois’ Contributions African American social activist doctorate degree from Harvard used science and sociology to disprove racist assumptions about African Americans

27 Theoretical Perspective a set of assumptions accepted as true in sociology, assumptions about the workings of society viewed as true by its supporters helps them to organize their research

28 Perception can change depending on your perspective

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30 What is a Theoretical Perspective? Theoretical Perspective: a set of assumptions accepted as true

31 F UNCTIONALISM A society is a relatively integrated whole A society tends to seek relative stability Most aspects of a society contribute to the society’s well-being and survival A society rests on the consensus of its members Emphasizes the contributions (functions) of each part of a society

32 Functionalism Functionalism: approach that emphasizes the contributions made by each part of society Family contributes to society by providing for the reproduction and care of its new members

33 Functionalism Religion contributes to society by emphasizing beliefs and practices that are sacred kill steal….

34 FUNCTIONALISM Education Contributes by ensuring Survival of society by passing On essential knowledge/skills

35 “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” Agree or disagree?

36 Functionalism Economics: contributes to society by dealing with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

37 Functionalists: see parts of a society as an integrated whole a change in one part of society leads to changes in others Example: pre and post-Industrial Revolution

38 What do functions do? Most functions exist to promote a society’s survival and welfare (like family, economy, religion) …If they didn’t, they would disappear.

39 Manifest and Latent Functions Robert Merton Manifest functions: intended and recognized Q: Manifest function of school? A: Education

40 Latent Functions: unintended and unrecognized aspects of society Q: Latent Function of School? A: development of close friendships

41 Dysfunctions: negative consequences of an aspect of society Consensus of society that these two aspects were dysfunctional

42 C ONFLICT P ERSPECTIVE A society experiences inconsistency and conflict everywhere A society is continually subjected to change A society involves the constraint and coercion of some of its members

43 Conflict Perspective Conflict Perspective: approach emphasizing the role of conflict, competition, and constraint within a society

44 Conflict and Constraint Who gets what? Who has the POWER? Those with the most power are able to constrain (or limit) the less powerful.

45 FunctionalismConflict Perspective A society is an integrated whole A society tends to seek relative stability A society rests on the consensus of its members A society experiences inconsistency and conflict everywhere A society is continually subjected to change A society involves the constraint and coercion of some members by others

46 Conflict Perspective and Social Change Balance of power changes Men -Women Whites - Minorities

47 pencil = clockpen = stapler paper = projectordesk = closet tablet = shoewrite = dribble down = upsnack = door handle party = nosebleedyear = waffle

48 I want you to take out a clock or a stapler and some projector and put it on your closet. It’s OK if you leave it in your shoe for now. I want you to dribble up your favorite door handle for a class nosebleed at the end of the school waffle.

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50 Symbolic Interactionism Focuses on the actual interaction among people through the use of shared symbols Symbol: anything that stands for something else and has an agreed upon meaning attached to it aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters employers, employees teachers, students

51 Three Assumptions About Symbolic Interactionism We learn the meaning of a symbol by the way we see others reacting to it.

52 Once we learn the meanings of symbols, we base our behavior (interaction) on them.

53 We use the meaning of symbols to imagine how others will respond to our behavior

54 Dramaturgy approach that sees human interaction as theatrical performances Erving Goffman

55 Assumptions of the Major Theoretical Perspectives FunctionalismConflict PerspectiveSymbolic Interactionism 1. A society is a relatively integrated whole. 2.A society tends to seek relative stability. 3.Most aspects of a society contribute to a society’s well-being and survival 4. A society rests on the consensus of its members 1. A society experiences inconsistency and conflict everywhere. 2.A society is continuously subjected to change. 3. A society involves the constraint and coercion of some members by others. 1.People’s interpretations of symbols are based on the meanings they learn from others. 2.People base their interaction on their interpretation of symbols. 3. Symbols permit people to have internal conversations, behaving the way they think others expect of them and the behavior they expect of others.

56 Comparing Theoretical Perspectives Functionalist Perspective Conflict Perspective Symbolic Interactionist Perspective Emphasis is on… Society is viewed as… Key question is… Major criticisms are that… order and stability a system of interrelated parts How does a part contribute to overall functioning of a society? it defends existing social arrangements conflict over scarce and valued resources dominant and subordinate groups in conflict over scarce and valued resources Who benefits from a pattern or social arrangement, and at whose expense? it exaggerates tension and divisions in society shared meaning of symbols a series of interactions dependant on shared symbols How are symbolic meanings created? it offers no systematic explanation for how meanings persist or change


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