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Introduction to Sociology

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1 Introduction to Sociology
Unit 1 Sociology: A Social Science SCO 1.1

2 What is Sociology? Sociology is the systemic study of human society and social interactions. It is the study of human relationships within a society. Sociologists use theoretical perspectives and research methods to systemically examine social behaviour. Note: for assessment purposes you will need to know the definitions presented within this presentation and be able to differentiate between the social sciences.

3 What types of things do Sociologist Study?

4 *This is a rather cheesy video!
Jot Notes *This is a rather cheesy video!

5 What Is Sociology? Sociology, in the broadest sense, is the study of society. Sociology is a very broad discipline that examines how humans interact with each other and how human behavior is shaped by social structures (groups, communities, organizations), social categories (age, sex, class, race, etc.), and social institutions (politics, religion, education, etc.). The basic foundation of sociology is the belief that a person's attitudes, actions, and opportunities are shaped by all of these aspects of society.

6 What Is Sociology? Sociologists seek to understand how people live, think, feel, and believe, comparing our own society with others. The sociological perspective is fourfold: Individuals belong to groups; groups influence our behavior; groups take on characteristics that are independent of their members (i.e. the whole is greater than the sum of its parts); and sociologists focus on behavior patterns of groups, such as differences based on sex, race, age, class, etc.

7 Origins Sociology originated from and was influenced by the industrial revolution during the early nineteenth century. There are five major founders of sociology: August Comte, Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber. August Comte is thought of as the "Father of Sociology" as he coined the term sociology in He believed that society should be understood and studied as it was, rather than what it ought to be. He was the first to recognize that the path to understanding the world and society was based in science. Marx, Spencer, Durkheim, and Weber further helped define and develop sociology as a science and discipline, each contributing important theories and concepts still used and understood in the field today.

8 Current Approaches Today there are two main approaches to studying sociology. The first is macro-sociology, or the study of society as a whole. This approach emphasizes the analysis of social systems and populations on a large scale and at a high level of theoretical abstraction. Macro-sociology does concern individuals, families, and other aspects of society, but it always does so in relation to the larger social system to which they belong. The second approach is micro-sociology, or the study of small group behavior. This approach focuses on the nature of everyday human social interactions on a small scale. At the micro level, social status and social roles are the most important components of social structure and micro-sociology is based on the ongoing interactions between these social roles.

9 One of the major concerns of sociologists is to explain how members in social groups affect the behaviour of individuals. Thus, sociologists attempt to answer such questions as why the USA has more crime than Canada, why the Irish tend to accept pain passively while Italians cry out when similarly hurt, why suicide is more common in northern communities than those in the southern parts of Canada.

10 What are social sciences?
Social sciences study human behaviour, attempting to objectively study the social world. There are 3 fields of study, anthropology, psychology and sociology.

11 Definitions Society: Refers to any fairly large group of people who share a common culture that will be passed on to the next generation. Psychology: Is the study of the individual to explain a person’s behaviour. Psychology examines the individuals life experiences to explain behaviour. Anthropology is the study of the social and cultural aspects of the entire social group to explain people’s behaviour, it attempts to understand culture (a people’s total way of life) by focusing primarily on preliterate people.

12 Sociology is … Sociology is similar to the other social sciences in some ways but it is distinct because it looks at all social institutions, focuses on industrialized societies, and looks at external factors which influence people.

13 Activity

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