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February 2nd Sign in and Participation cards Quick Writing

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1 February 2nd Sign in and Participation cards Quick Writing
Review Covenant Lecture One – Sociological Perspective and Analysis Homework: Read: Chapter 2 of Introductions

2 Quick Writing Take 5 minutes and explain the following quote:
“[Humans] make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.” - Karl Marx

3 The Sociological Perspective
Lecture One Essentially… the study of society Sociology is the study of social structures and social relationships We must remember that society is not a thing…it does not act…society is a set of relationships, we make society, and we decide what society is…it does not exist outside of us… We are interested in the outcomes produced by these relationships and structures… how they influence human behavior and social outcomes (such as divorce, hunger, poverty)

4 What is Sociology? Study of Society…what does that mean?
It examines the ways in which the forms of social structure & social categories & various social institutions affect human attitudes, actions, and opportunities. Sociology enables us to understand the structure and dynamics of society, and their intricate connections to patterns of human behavior and individual life changes.

5 Why Care About Understanding Society?
We are products of society and society is a product of us Understand why and how we came to be like we are Our position within the social structure (society) determines how we will act, think, and what resources we have Our place in society is the intersection of many social relationships Gender, race, class, age, geography, sexuality

6 Born the Opposite Sex? Gender as a social position – a place in society Constrains what we think our choices are and how others think about who we are and how we should act Social positions come with an inherent set of advantages and disadvantages By looking at gender we can see: How the Individual and Society are linked Gender, like other social constructions, is both a myth and reality

7 What do sociologists study?
Sociologists explore how both individuals and collectivities construct, maintain, and alter social organization in various ways Sociology asks about the sources and consequences of change in social arrangements and institutions, and about the satisfactions and difficulties of planning, accomplishing, and adapting to such change Areas studied in examining social dynamics include: culture, socialization, cooperation, conflict, power, exchange, inequality, deviance, social control, violence, order and social change

8 Examining the present with the past
“[Humans] make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.” - Karl Marx To understand the present social arrangement in society, sociologists must also look into the past

9 How sociologists study society
Sociologists look to explain how and why things happen. In every question a sociologist asks and every answer they give you will find an explanation of the how and why Keep this in mind over the semester!

10 Critical Thinking is Required
Sociology is a critical and analytical discipline and sociological thinking is a process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating

11 Beliefs vs. Sociological Analysis
As social beings, we see the social world through our own lens of experience and belief system and often make judgments based on our personal beliefs To remain objective, sociology helps us see how that lens was formed and be honest about our assumptions What we see with sociological analyses often challenges many of our thoughts and beliefs Come to class prepared to be exposed to alternate explanations of the world and to try and understand them

12 The Sociological Perspective
Sociology seeks to understand the relationship between the individual and society with:

13 C Wright Mills: Sociological Imagination
Born 1916, died 1962 Public Sociologist he did not want sociologists to hide in ivory towers and just test theory… he felt that sociology should also be used to make people’s lives better… Wrote during a time of significant social change …After WWII Main Ideas: Task of sociology is to understand the relationship between individuals and society Used to reveal how the context of society shapes our lives He believed that everyone benefits from taking a sociological perspective…but especially people like journalists, social scientists, and others examining society… We cannot understand society or ourselves without understanding both Therefore we need to connect our own personal biography with the history of society…and our personal troubles with larger social issues These are to concepts and terms he used… A quality of mind, a way of understanding the social world Uniquely sociological, but for everyone “Personal troubles of the milieu” Occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others A private matter, resolution lies with individual “Public issues of social structure” Organization of social institutions in society Transcends the local environment of the individual Sociological Imagination relates the larger social forces in society to the personal troubles of individuals The sociological imagination asks us to question the relationship between… Society and Individual? History and Biography? Structure and Agency? iPOD: Who consumes the ipod? What relationships are behind the iPod? Our consumption of the ipod here is based on cheap labor and inputs abroad. Examining these relationships gives us the knowledge to understand society, our place in it, and the ability to make changes A quality of mind that allows us to connect: “Personal troubles of the milieu” with “Public issues of social structure” Examining these relationships gives us the knowledge to understand society, our place in it, and the ability to make changes

14 HIV/AIDS Globally Almost 39 million people around the world are living with HIV – slightly more than the population of Poland. Nearly two-thirds of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hardest by HIV. UNAids and the WHO no longer talk of a single African epidemic but of highly varied outbreaks across the continent. Starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s, HIV spread in a band from West Africa across to the Indian Ocean, before moving to the southern countries where its grip is now strongest. South Africa has the most cases in the world, with five million. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland have the highest percentage of people who are HIV positive. Lesotho now has the highest rate Examples: HIV/AIDS and iPod HIV: How can we explain the fact the higher rate of HIV among Southern Africans? What is the relationship between an individual contracting HIV and the larger society? Individual choices but within a context. How can we explain why a rural mother in Africa contracted HIV? Less power Husband migrates for his job Poverty, poor nutrition, health care, etc. Global inequality is one of the primary reasons for the unequal distribution of HIV/AIDS globally Although we are taught that HIV is the consequence of individual actions, we see that the social context play a significant role Poverty leads to a compromised immune system and the susceptibility of individuals to acquire the virus and develop AIDS

15 Understanding and Explaining HIV/AIDS
Cultural Explanations Virility is strongly linked to masculinity in many cultures affected by HIV/AIDS Low status of women Social Structure Explanations Global poverty and inequality create low immune systems Underdevelopment limits economic opportunities Political Explanations Lack of adequate health care and access to treatment Political policies that do not address the issue Individual Explanations Lack of education and poor choices

16 Social Consciousness Wrote during a time of social change and challenges to authority – 1960 – 1970s This greatly influenced his writings and you can see that his ideas about sociology emphasize ‘skepticism’ more than Mills ideas… Sociological perspective is form a consciousness that enables us to see "reality" behind the "facades" Sometimes there are major historical events or changes that expose them…for example, Hurricane Katrina unmasked the poverty and racism that still permeates the South and urban areas…people and news papers began talking about these issues. Debunking A sociological perspective debunks commonly held notions and taken-for-granted ideas… Race and Hurricane Katrina that it is in fact alive and well… “It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this – things are not what they seem.” Social construction of reality He was also interested in how we construct reality and “truth”…for example we may believe that the differences between the genders are true and real…we do not construct them, but they just exist… Therefore, sociological questions look beyond what is commonly accepted or officially defined goals of human actions… And to ask sociological questions is to: Like the sociological imagination, social consciousness helps us understand ourselves… Berger says that social-consciousness is self-consciousness… “Society does not stop at our skins. Society penetrates us as much as it envelopes us” In fact we can’t….. We cannot separate our understanding of ourselves from an understanding of society or think of ourselves without social reference Can you think of an aspect of your own identity that is not based on a social category or social referent? The Sociological Perspective is: A quality of mind; a way of understanding everyday life Used to reveal how the context of society shapes our lives and the lives of others Sociology shows us how ‘reality’ is socially constructed and context specific Social consciousness is self consciousness Another sociologist, Peter Berger, believes that we need a social consciousness or “A form of consciousness that enables us to see the "reality" behind the "facades." He asks us to critically examine the things that are familiar to us as unfamiliar “It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this – things are not what they seem.”

17 Practicing Social Consciousness
Have you ever asked yourself: Why do women shave their legs? Why is it normal in our culture for women to shave their legs and not men?

18 Asking How & Why (and when) with Social Consciousness
When did this ideal emerge? In the 20th Century when women’s legs became more visible due to shorter skirts and changing fashion How did this ideal emerge? Needed to have the right technology to make shaving easy and safe. The safety razor emerged on the market in early 20th Century. Why did this ideal emerge? Anglo-American cultural standard: leg hair is unfeminine Cultural mechanism to increase sexual dimorphism (difference between sexes in the same species)

19 In Conclusion… A sociological perspective requires us to think critically and analytically about the social world around us, our place in it, our relationships to others, and our own personal beliefs and values While sociologists study many aspects of society and social issues, the core concepts of the discipline are power, inequality, social justice, and social change

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