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Sociology: Your Compass for a New World Robert J. Brym and John Lie.

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Presentation on theme: "Sociology: Your Compass for a New World Robert J. Brym and John Lie."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociology: Your Compass for a New World Robert J. Brym and John Lie

2 Preface: Why a Compass for a New World? ► All maps allow us to find our place in the world and see ourselves in context of larger forces. ► Sociological maps allow us to ‘grasp the interplay of [people] and society, of biography and history’ (C. Wright Mills quoted in Brym & Lie 2007,p.xxv) ► This book shows you how to draw sociological maps so you can see your place in the world, figure out how to navigate through it, and perhaps discover how to improve it.

3 Why a Compass for a New World? ► Sociological maps can help us make sense of our lives, however uncertain they may appear to be. (Brym & Lie 2007, p.xxvi) ► Sociological maps, by revealing the opportunities and constraints you face can help to teach you who you are and what you can become in this particular social and historical context. (Brym & Lie 2007, p.xxvi)

4 Why a Compass for a New World? ► Maps do not tell you where to go or what to do – maps are tools to help you plan your own trip ► Therefore, this textbook has five main goals: 1.To help you draw the connections between one’s self and one’s social world 2.To teach you how to think versus what to think 3.To help you make connections between the objective science of sociology & the subjective experiences of people 4.To help you broaden your horizons with discussions of diversity and global issues 5.To deal with sociology, not just as a historical discipline but as a current guide for life.

5 Chapter 1: A Sociological Compass In this chapter you will learn: ► That sociologists believe that the causes of human behavior lie mostly in the patterns of social relations that surround and permeate us. ► That sociologists examine the connection between social relations and personal troubles ► About the origins and founders of Sociology ► The role of Sociology in understanding the scope, direction, and significance of social change ► The role of Sociology in your own life

6 Chapter 1: A Sociological Compass In this chapter you will learn: ► That Sociology helps us see the operation of the social world more clearly ► That Sociologists are often motivated to do research by the desire to improve people’s lives. ► That sociologists adopt scientific methods to test their ideas. ► That sociology can help you come to grips with your century, just as it helped the founders of society deal with theirs. ► That sociology can help us create the best possible future [for ourselves and our world] and this is the principal justification for the discipline of sociology (Brym & Lie 2007, p.xxvi)

7 What is Sociology? Sociology is the systematic study of human behavior in social context

8 What is Sociology? Sociology is the systematic study of human behavior in social context For example….

9 Sociology and Suicide? ► Traditional Viewpoint – suicide is a result of psychological disorder in the individual

10 Sociology and Suicide? ► Traditional Viewpoint – suicide is a result of psychological disorder in the individual ► Durkheim’s sociological perspective – suicide rates strongly influenced by social forces  Social Solidarity vs. Psychological Disorder

11 From Personal Troubles to Social Structures ► Society lives in you ► Patterns of social relations affect your innermost thoughts and feelings, influence your actions, and thus help shape who you are. ► Stable patterns of social relations are called Social Structures ► Our own sociological awareness involves recognizing that three levels of social structure surround and permeate us.

12 From Personal Troubles to Social Structures MicrostructuresMacrostructures Global structures

13 From Personal Troubles to Social Structures Microstructures Patterns of intimate social relations formed during face-to-face interaction - families, friendships, work associations Macrostructures Global structures

14 From Personal Troubles to Social Structures MicrostructuresMacrostructures Patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimates and acquaintances -classes, bureaucracies, and power systems such as patriarchy Global structures

15 From Personal Troubles to Social Structures MicrostructuresMacrostructures Global structures patterns of social relations that lie outside and above the national level - International organizations, patterns of worldwide travel and communication, economic relations between countries

16 The Sociological Imagination ► The quality of mind that enables one to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures. ► Let’s read his entire statement together… ► C. Wright Mills (pp.7-8, Brym & Lie)

17 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution  The Democratic Revolution  The Industrial Revolution

18 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution (1550) ► Not just about Newton’s apple ► It encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of society must be based on solid evidence, not just speculation ► Descartes (France) and Hobbs (England) called for a science of society  The Democratic Revolution  The Industrial Revolution

19 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution  The Democratic Revolution (1750) ► Radical Idea that people are responsible for society and therefore human intervention can solve social problems ► Much of the justification for sociology as a science arose out of democratic revolutions ► The Industrial Revolution

20 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution  The Democratic Revolution  The Industrial Revolution (1780) ► Created host of new and serious social problems that attracted attention of social thinkers ► Growth of industry moved people to cities – overcrowding, long hours, dangerous working conditions, bureaucracy, filth, and poverty ► Social thinkers responded by giving birth to the sociological imagination

21 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution ► Suggested that a science of society is possible  The Democratic Revolution ► Suggested that people can intervene to improve society  The Industrial Revolution ► Presented social thinkers with a host of social problems crying out for a solution

22 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution ► Suggested that a science of society is possible  The Democratic Revolution ► Suggested that people can intervene to improve society  The Industrial Revolution ► Presented social thinkers with a host of social problems crying out for a solution

23 The Sociological Imagination ► Born during three modern revolutions that pushed people to think about society in an entirely new way  The Scientific Revolution ► Suggested that a science of society is possible  The Democratic Revolution ► Suggested that people can intervene to improve society  The Industrial Revolution ► Presented social thinkers with a host of social problems crying out for a solution

24 The Birth of Theory, Research, and Values Theory without practice cannot survive and dies as quickly as it lives. He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may be cast. -Leonardo da Vinci (quoted in Brym & Lie, 2007)

25 The Birth of Theory, Research, and Values ► Theory- a tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and why certain facts are related ► Research- the process of systematically observing reality to assess the validity of a theory ► Values-ideas about what is right and wrong

26 The Birth of Theory, Research, and Values Founders of Sociology: August Comte, French social thinker, coined the term sociology in 1838 Herbert Spencer, believed he had discovered scientific laws governing the operations of society

27 The Birth of Theory, Research, and Values Giants of Sociology: Karl Marx Emile Durkheim Max Weber

28 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Functionalism ► Conflict Theory ► Symbolic Interactionism ► Feminist Theory

29 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Functionalism – 4 tenets 1.Human behavior is governed by stable patterns of social relations, or social structures 2.Social structures maintain or undermine social stability-how the parts (structures) fit together and how each part contributes to the stability of the whole (its function)

30 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Functionalism – 4 tenets 3.Social structures are based mainly on shared values, a moral cement that binds people together 4.Reestablishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems – a conservative response to social unrest

31 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Functionalism Major Theorists  Emile Durkheim  Robert Merton and Talcott Parsons

32 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Conflict Theory – 4 tenets 1.Focuses on large, macro-level structures 2.Shows how major patterns of inequality in society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others

33 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Conflict Theory – 4 tenets 3.Stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs- an on-going power struggle. 4.Typically leads to the suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase total human welfare.

34 Sociological Theory and Theorists Conflict Theory – Major Theorists Karl Marx Max Weber W.E.B. Du Bois C. Wright Mills

35 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Symbolic Interactionism – 4 tenets 1.Focus on interpersonal communication in micro-level social settings 2.Emphasis on social life as possible only because people attach meanings to things-understanding subjective meanings people associate with social circumstances

36 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Symbolic Interactionism 3.People help to create their social circumstances and do not merely react to them (all the world’s a stage) 4.Validation of unpopular and nonofficial viewpoints by focusing on the subjective meanings people create in small social settings – increases our understanding of people who may be different from us.

37 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Symbolic Interactionism –Major Theorists Max Weber George Herbert Mead Erving Goffman

38 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Symbolic Interactionism – variant:  Social constructionism ► Apparently natural or innate features of life are often sustained by social processes that vary historically and culturally

39 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Feminist Theory – 4 tenets 1.Focuses on various aspects of patriarchy – system of male domination in society 2.Male domination and female subordination are determined not by biological necessity but by structures of power and social convention

40 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Feminist Theory 3.Examines the operation of patriarchy in both micro- and macro-level settings 4.Contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should be changed for the benefit of all members of society

41 Sociological Theory and Theorists ► Feminist Theory- Major Theorists Jane Addams Jane Addams Harriet Martineau


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