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Sociological Imagination: An Introduction Chapter 1 Lecture PowerPoint © W. W. Norton & Company, 2008.

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1 Sociological Imagination: An Introduction Chapter 1 Lecture PowerPoint © W. W. Norton & Company, 2008

2 What Is Sociology?  Sociology is the study of human society.  Sociological imagination is the ability to connect one’s personal experiences to society at large and greater historical forces. Using our sociological imagination allows us to “make the familiar strange,” or to question habits or customs that seem “natural” to us. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2

3 What Is Social Identity? You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 3  Social identity is how individuals define themselves in relationship to groups they are a part of (or in relationship to groups they choose not to be a part of).

4 What is a Social Institution?  A social institution is a group of social positions, connected by social relations, that perform a social role. For example, the legal system, the labor market, or language itself have a great influence on our behavior and are constantly changing. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 4

5 The Sociology of Sociology  Auguste Comte — society is better understood by determining the logic or scientific laws governing human behavior, called “social physics” or “positivism”  Harriet Martineau — first to translate Comte’s written works to English; one of the earliest feminist social scientists You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 5  Karl Marx — theory of historical materialism that identifies class conflict as the primary cause of social change

6 The Sociology of Sociology  Max Weber — emphasis on subjectivity became a foundation of interpretive sociology  Emile Durkheim — founder of positivist sociology; developed theory that division of labor helps to determine how social cohesion is maintained, or not maintained, in that society  Georg Simmel — formal sociology, or a sociology of pure numbers You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 6

7 The Sociology of Sociology  The Chicago School focused on empirical research with the belief that people’s behaviors and personalities are shaped by their social and physical environments.  Functionalism, conflict theory, feminist theory, symbolic interactionism, postmodernism, and midrange theory are all modern sociological theories. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 7.

8 Sociology and Its Cousins  Sociology focuses on making comparisons across cases to find patterns and create hypotheses about how societies work now or how they worked in the past. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 8  Sociology looks at how individuals interact with one another as well as at how groups, small and large, interact with one another.

9 Sociology and Its Cousins You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 9  Distinctions are important, but a lot of overlap exists between the work done in different academic disciplines. History and anthropology tend to focus more on particular circumstances, though in cultural anthropology in particular. Political science focuses on one aspect of social relations—power. Psychology and biology examine things on more of a micro level than sociology does, and economics is an entirely quantitative discipline.

10 Divisions within Sociology  Interpretive sociology focuses on the meanings people attach to social phenomena, prioritizing specific situations over a search for social facts that transcend time and place.  Positivist sociology, also called the “normal science” model of sociology, attempts to reveal the social facts that affect social life by developing and testing hypotheses based on theories about how the social world works. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 10

11 Divisions within Sociology  Microsociology understands local interactional contexts, focusing on face-to-face encounters and gathering data through participant observations and in-depth interviews.  Macrosociology looks at social dynamics across whole societies or large parts of them and often relies on statistical analysis to do so. You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 11

12 Concept Quiz 1. Which of the following is an example of using one’s sociological imagination? a) Being in unfamiliar surroundings and imagining being in a more comfortable place b) Creating different hypotheses to explain an individual’s behavior c) Creating a story to explain unfamiliar social customs d) Being puzzled by how people in another country greet one another, and then thinking about how people in your own country greet one another and why they do it the way they do You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 12

13 Concept Quiz 2. Social identity is _______. a) a construct that no longer has meaning in the postmodern era b) a collection of social roles that a person might fill c) a way that individuals define themselves in relation to groups they are a part of or groups they choose not to be a part of d) determined by the social group into which a person is born You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 13

14 Concept Quiz 3.The Chicago School of American Sociology emphasized the importance of ____________. a)the social and moral consequences of the division of labor b)the environment in shaping people’s behavior and personalities c)heavy statistical research d)None of the above You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 14

15 Concept Quiz 4.Sociology is distinct from other academic disciplines in its attempt to _____. a)embrace quantitative and qualitative research b)ask probing questions about how societies function c)detect patterns in how different societies handle or respond to similar phenomena d)examine human interaction on the micro level You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 15

16 Concept Quiz 5.Which of the following is an example of a study that might be undertaken by a macrosociologist? a)Assessing how people choose where to sit on a public bus b)Observing customers’ responses to being greeted upon entering a store c)Conducting a statistical analysis of when professional men and women choose to start families d)Examining how men and women react to riding in an elevator with an infant You May Ask Yourself Copyright © 2008 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 16

17 Two Centuries of Sociology

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