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Two Myths: Origins of Modern Sociology Was It Men or Math?

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Presentation on theme: "Two Myths: Origins of Modern Sociology Was It Men or Math?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Two Myths: Origins of Modern Sociology Was It Men or Math?

2 Origins 1800 – no such word as Sociology 1900 – Sociology known to intellectuals 2000 – Around 25,000 Sociology majors graduate in US in 2000 Where’d Sociology come from? –Determining origins always problematic E.g., origins of Civil War, hip-hop, Christian dogma Answers often more important for how they work now than for accuracy

3 Competing Stories Concerning the Origins of Sociology First origin myth: –Great 19 th – 20 th century thinkers responding to 18 th and 19 th century events Marx, Weber, Durkheim in particular The conventional story Second origin myth –Statistically oriented 19 th century analysts interpreting contemporary data from government and other sources Not the conventional story

4 Heavy Duty Warning ► Much of the following material is “deeper” than usual (at least for this course) ► We’ll be looking at some of the ideas of the masters ► Good stuff!!!

5 Myth 1: Factors Stimulating Development of Sociology Three general events / trends in European history 1.French Revolution (1789 – 1799) and aftermath 2.Urbanization 3.Rise of industry and capitalism Institutionalization of science and modernization of universities

6 Myth 1: The Challenges Dramatic events of 19 th century challenged intellectuals to explain those events Dramatic events of 19 th century challenged activists to do something Most important early sociologists did both explanation and activism

7 French Revolution and Aftermath Revolution itself started 1789, ran to Consequences lasted much longer "Death knell" of the Ancien Regime –Ancien regime – the old way of organizing social life, especially of governing, especially Europe pre-1789 –Death was protracted; not really complete until WWI –Long death illustrates a principle of social movements: strong social movements tend to generate countermovements Napoleon overthrew revolutionary govt, eventually restructured much of Europe

8 By 1812 Napoleon Dominated Europe

9 Why We’re Doing This History ► Hopefully you have learned or will learn about the general importance of the phenomena we’re discussing  Along with colonialism largely responsible for social, economic, and political world of today ► Sociology’s appearance small potatoes compared to other things  Does illustrate widespread consequences  Sociologists care about where we came from !!!

10 Before the French Revolution : The Enlightenment Era in European intellectual history from Glorious Revolution in England (1688) to French Revolution (1789) Emphasis was on powers of human reason –Not just in science, but also ethics, aesthetics, and social policy Great belief in the “idea of progress” – Feeling that progress in all things was here and was here to stay

11 Gallery of Enlightenment Thinkers

12 Enlightenment and French Revolution French Revolution “should” have been the successful end of 100 yrs of enlightenment –Instead, for intellectuals marked uneasy end to optimism of the Enlightenment The Law of Progress: every day, in every way things are getting better because we’re smarter –In France seemed every day things were getting snarfed up –Guillotines and worse of First Republic were hardly enlightened Ambivalence toward Napoleon’s effort to be “enlightened despot”

13 French Revolution

14 Migration Traditional European feudal society agrarian, based in the countryside In 1800s people were leaving countryside –Mostly going to cities –So what? Ferdinand Toennies [Tönnies] terms –Gemeinschaft – traditional, rural society; community –Gesellschaft – modern, urban society; lacking sense of community –Terms now used by many intellectuals

15 Industrialization / Rise of Capitalism Industrial Revolution (1750ff) changed economies –May not have had to be capitalist, but it was –Industrial Revolution was largely responsible for urbanization Capitalism's rise preceded the 19th century, but it took over then

16 Review Events most important for development of modern sociology Ancien regime and its lengthy demise Consequences of French Revolution Consequences of Napoleon Enlightenment Gemeinschafft and Gesellschaft Industrial Revolution

17 Marx, Weber, Durkheim Thinkers today usually considered “founders” of modern sociology are … –Karl Marx (Prussian – English) –Max Weber (Prussian – German) –Emile Durkheim (French) 1859 – 1917 Not always been considered “Big Three” All three are macrosociologists –American microsociologist George H. Mead sometimes added

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19 Karl Marx ( ) Huge impact on the world –No doubt most of any PhD –More than most people of any kind –At one time, 1 / 3rd of world under “Marxist” governments Great scholar –“Biggie” in sociology, philosophy, political science, economics, history Impact without army, wealth, or political position –His importance today (and those Marxist governments!) reminds us of the power of ideas

20 Some of Marx’s Ideas A theory of capitalism –“Explained” past, present, and future of economic organization –Discussion of globalization sounds very current A theory of revolution –Who would rebel, when they would rebel, and why 19th and 20th centuries were centuries of revolution –Particularly colonies shedding “masters” –Ironically, countries that did rebel often were not ones his theory expected (e.g., Russia and China) Did not separate his science from his activism

21 Max Weber MOCKS VAY-burr Born into comfort, very well educated Visits Tuskegee ~1904 Sees world in all its shades of gray Fundamental question: How did Germany get to be the way it is (pre-WWI)? –Idiographic question approached nomothetically

22 Weber and Rationality I W. argued increasing rationality in social life was key to development of Europe in the centuries after fall of Rome Weber’s three forms of rationality 1.Knowledge of how to achieve desired ends 2.Predictability and regularity in complex systems, especially the market and government With markets, producing surplus is sensible 3.Active efforts to master or change the world

23 Max Weber & Rationality II That is, Weber argued Europe owed its social and economic structure to 1) cause and effect knowledge 2) predictable markets and governments 3) norms encouraging actors, individual and corporate, to take advantage of knowledge and predictability

24 Max Weber & Rationality III Results of rationality were dramatic –Better life chances –Fabulous economic productivity –Unprecedented military might

25 Max Weber & Rationality IV Weber argued you can’t eliminate emotional behavior Even apparently rationality-driven settings have emotional sides –For example, in bureaucracies, leadership

26 Max Weber & Rationality V Bureaucracies: –better ways of organizing large scale efforts than any previous way –minimize individuality among bureaucrats –minimize emotional behavior –can be “iron cages” in which we accomplish a great deal, but at great emotional cost

27 Max Weber & Rationality VI Forms of Authority/Leadership/ Followership 1.Traditional leadership: we follow leader because always have –e.g., in hereditary monarchy 2.Rational-legal leadership: we follow leader because rules or laws tell us to –basis for bureaucracies 3.Charismatic leadership: follow leader because we like leader and want to please him or her –Such authority is non-rational

28 Weber Review Development of Europe since Rome Types of rationality Predictable markets Types of authority Charisma Emotion

29 Emile Durkheim ( ) Sociology is study of “social facts” Social facts – things outside individual with power to shape individual’s behavior regardless of his or her will Being external to the individual, social facts exist regardless of whether any particular person lives or dies Social facts are not properties of the human mind, therefore not part of subject matter of psychology –Therefore we needed a new science

30 Durkheim – Social Facts Examples of social facts: –Traffic laws –Dating rules (e.g., one date at a time, boys initiate, boys pay, etc.) –Obligations that come with being a parent, child, citizen, etc.

31 Durkheim and Suicide D’s book Suicide provided example of sociological research on presumably psychological topic If suicide purely personal, different parts of France wouldn’t have same rates year after year; but they do D. argues social cause of diffs in suicide rates is diffs in levels of social integration

32 DIGRESSION: Social Integration Integration : bringing things together Differentiation : making things different or separate Society : a collection of separate people who hang together –E Pluribus Unum

33 Hobbesian Problem of Order HOW IS SOCIETY POSSIBLE? –Why is human life NOT a war of all against all? Why is not "… the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"? Thomas Hobbes ( )

34 Durkheim and Social Solidarity Social integration – bringing individuals and groups together; also, keeping them together Durkheim called it social solidarity; social integration is modern term For some sociologists, understanding creation and maintenance of social integration is most important issue in sociology –Hobbesian problem of order

35 Sources of Social Integration Two Sources / Types of Social Integration –Sentiment – feelings of belonging together –Interdependence – needing each other

36 Durkheim: Social Integration & Suicide Durkheim: suicide rates reflect problems with social integration –Not appropriate levels of social interaction –Not appropriate levels of social regulation of individual behavior Anomie – situation when there are no rules, the rules are unclear, or the rules aren’t enforced

37 Social Differentiation TWO UBIQUITOUS FORMS OF SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION ► Division of labor – the distribution of tasks among members of a society ► Gender – differences in the treatment, behavior, and lives of men and women

38 Durkheim Review Social facts Integration vs differentiation Hobbesian problem of order Integration and suicide Anomie Division of labor


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