3UNDERSTANDING SOCIOLOGY 1UNDERSTANDING SOCIOLOGYWhat is Sociology?What is Sociological Theory?The Development of SociologyMajor Theoretical PerspectivesApplied and Clinical SociologyDeveloping the Sociological ImaginationAppendix: Careers in Sociology
4What is Sociology? Sociology The systematic study of social behavior in human groups.Examines the influence of social relationships on people’s attitudes and behavior.Studies how societies are established and change.
5What is Sociology? The Sociological Imagination Definition: An awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society.It is the ability to view our own society as an outsider might, rather than from the perspective of our limited experiences and cultural biases.
6What is Sociology? Sociology and the Social Sciences In contrast to other social sciences, sociology emphasizes the influence that groups can have on people’s behavior and attitudes and the ways in which people shape society.
7What is Sociology? Sociology and Common Sense Knowledge that relies on “common sense” is not always reliable.Sociologists must test and analyze each piece of information that they use.
8What is Sociology? Figure 1.1: Race of Victims in Death Penalty Cases Source: Death Penalty Information Center 2003
9What is Sociological Theory? Theory: An attempt to explain events, forces, materials, ideas or behavior in a comprehensive manner.Sociological Theories: Seek to explain problems, actions, or behavior.Effective theories should explain and predict.Sociologists employ theories to examine the relationships between observations or data that may seem completely unrelated.
10The Development of Sociology Early ThinkersAuguste Comte 1798–1857--Coined the term sociology as the science of human behaviorHarriet Martineau 1802–1876--Studied social behavior in England and the United StatesHerbert Spencer 1820–1903--Studied “evolutionary” change in societyContinued...
11The Development of Sociology Early ThinkersÉmile Durkheim 1858–1917--Pioneered work on suicideMax Weber 1864–1920--Taught the need for “insight” in intellectual workKarl Marx 1818–1883--Emphasized the importance of the economy and of conflict in society
12The Development of Sociology Modern DevelopmentsCharles Horton Cooley 1864–1929--Pioneered work on small groups within societyJane Addams 1860–1935--Combined sociological study with activismRobert Merton 1910–2003--Works on deviant behavior and crime
13The Development of Sociology Merton’s Micro and Macro Approaches to the Study of SocietyMacrosociology: Concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations.Microsociology: Stresses the study of small groups and often uses experimental study in laboratories.
14The Development of Sociology Prominent Contributors to Sociological Thought17981857Auguste Comte18021876Harriet Martineau18201903Herbert Spencer18181883Karl MarxThe “time lines” shown here give an idea of relative chronology.18581917Émile Durkeim18601935Jane AddamsGeorge Herbert Mead1863193118641920Max Weber18641929Charles Horton Cooley18681963W.E.B. Du Bois19021979Talcott Parsons19102003Robert Merton19161962C. Wright Mills19221982Erving GoffmanSource: Figure 1-2 (p.15) in Richard T. Schaefer and Robert P. Lamm, Sociology: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
15Major Theoretical Perspectives Functionalist PerspectiveEmphasizes the way that parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability.Views society as a vast network of connected parts, each of which helps to maintain the system as a whole.Each part must contribute or it will not be passed on from one generation to the next.Continued...
16Major Theoretical Perspectives Functionalist PerspectiveManifest Functions of institutions are open, stated, conscious functions. They involve the intended, recognized, consequences of an aspect of society.Latent Functions are unconscious or unintended functions and may reflect hidden purposes of an institution.A dysfunction is an element or a process of society that may actually disrupt a social system or lead to a decrease in stability.
17Major Theoretical Perspectives Conflict PerspectiveAssumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups.Conflict is not necessarily violent.Conflict can be over economics or over competing values.Continued...
18Major Theoretical Perspectives Conflict PerspectiveThe Marxist View: Conflict is seen not merely as a class phenomenon but as a part of everyday life in all societies.This view emphasizes social change and redistribution of resources, making conflict theorists more radical than functionalists.Continued...
19Major Theoretical Perspectives Conflict PerspectiveA Racial View: W. E. B DuBois: Encourages sociologists to view society through the eyes of those segments of the population that rarely influence decision making.Sociology, contended DuBois, had to draw on scientific principles to study social problems such as those experienced by Blacks in the United States.Continued...
20Major Theoretical Perspectives Interactionist PerspectiveGeneralizes about everyday forms of social interaction in order to understand society as a whole.Interactionism is a sociological framework for viewing human beings as living in a world of meaningful objects. These “objects” may include material things, actions, other people, relationships, and even symbols.
21Major Theoretical Perspectives Feminist PerspectiveDefinition: Views inequity in gender as central to all behavior and organization.Unlike conflict theory, with which it is sometimes allied, the feminist perspective often focuses on the micro-level relationships of everyday life, just as interactionists do.
22Major Theoretical Perspectives Table 1.1: Comparing Major Theoretical PerspectivesFunctionalist Conflict InteractionistView of society Stable, well integrated Characterized by tension Active in influencing andand struggle between affecting everyday socialgroups interactionLevel of analysis Macro Macro Micro analysis as a wayemphasized of understanding thelarger macro phenomenaKey concepts Manifest functions Inequality SymbolsLatent functions Capitalism Nonverbal communicationDysfunction Stratification Face-to-face interactionView of the People are socialized to People are shaped People manipulateindividual perform societal functions by power, coercion, symbols and create theirand authority social worlds through interactionContinued…
23Major Theoretical Perspectives Table 1.1: Comparing Major Theoretical PerspectivesFunctionalist Conflict InteractionistView of the Maintained through Maintained through Maintained by sharedsocial order cooperation and force and coercion understanding ofconsensus everyday behaviorView of social Predictable, reinforcing Change takes place all Reflected in people’schange the time and may have social positions and theirpositive consequences communications with othersExample Public punishments Laws reinforce the People respect laws orreinforce the social order positions of those disobey them based onin power their own past experienceProponents Émile Durkheim Karl Marx George Herbert MeadTalcott Parsons W. E. B. Du Bois Charles Horton CooleyRobert Merton Ida Wells-Barnett Erving Goffman
24Major Theoretical Perspectives The Sociological ApproachSociologists make use of all four perspectives.Each perspective offers unique insights into the same issue.
25Applied and Clinical Sociology Applied Sociology: The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of yielding practical applications for human behavior and organizations.Clinical Sociology: The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of altering social relationships and facilitating change.Basic Sociology: Seeks a more profound knowledge of the fundamental aspects of social phenomena.
26Developing a Sociological Imagination Theory in PracticeResearch in ActionThe Significance of Social InequalitySpeaking Across Race, Gender, and National BoundariesSocial Policy Throughout the World