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Chapter One Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method

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1 Chapter One Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method

2 The Sociological Perspective
Sociology is the systematic study of human society. The study of all institutions all cultures around the world every aspect of self in relationship with others applied sociology versus academic sociology the need to think critically about social structures and social change Private problems and public issues- C. Wright Mills

3 The Sociological Perspective
The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behavior of particular individuals. It encourages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds — to see the strange in the familiar.

4 The Sociological Perspective
Emile Durkheim ( ) Social Forces are constantly at work, even in an intensely personal action such as suicide. Social Integration is the key.

5 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective:
The sociological perspective helps us critically assess and challenge “common sense” ideas

6 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective:
The sociological perspective helps us assess both opportunities and constraints in our lives.

7 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective:
The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society. The sociological perspective helps us to live in a diverse world.

8 The Sociological Perspective
Global Perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it. High-income countries (about 50 countries) Middle-income countries (about 80 countries) Low-income countries (about 60 countries) 18% in high-income 70% in middle-income 12% in low-income

9 The Origins of Sociology
the rise of a factory-based industrial economy the emergence of great cities in Europe political changes

10 The Origins of Sociology
August Comte ( ) Considered the Founder of Modern Sociology Coined the phrase: Sociology (1838) Described Sociology as having three stages: Theological Metaphysical Scientific

11 The Origins of Sociology
August Comte ( ) Favored positivism — a way of understanding based on science Strongly influenced the academic discipline of Sociology in the United States

12 The Origins of Sociology
August Comte ( ) The term sociology comes from: Latin – socius (friend or associate) Greek – logos (word) “words about human associations”

13 The Origins of Sociology
Karl Marx ( ) Saw striking inequalities in the new industrial society. Known for Marxist Sociology and the Social- Conflict Approach

14 The Origins of Sociology
GENDER & RACE: Marginal Voices Harriet Martineau ( ) Jane Addams ( ) W.E.B. Du Bois ( )

15 Sociological Theory A theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related. The goal of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world. Theories are based on theoretical paradigms, sets of assumptions that guide thinking and research.

16 The Structural–Functional Paradigm
The structural-functional paradigm sees society as a complex system whose parts work together. It asserts that our lives are guided by social structures. Herbert Spencer Emile Durkheim Robert Merton

17 The Structural–Functional Paradigm
Each social structure has social functions. The influence of this paradigm has declined in recent decades. It focuses on stability, thereby ignoring inequalities of social class, race, and gender. Herbert Spencer Emile Durkheim Robert Merton

18 The Social–Conflict Paradigm
The social-conflict paradigm sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change. Critical evaluation: This paradigm has developed rapidly in recent years. Karl Marx W.E.B. Du Bois

19 The Social–Conflict Paradigm
It has several weaknesses: It ignores social unity. Like the structural-functional paradigm, it envisions society in terms of broad abstractions. It is political. Karl Marx W.E.B. Du Bois

20 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
The symbolic-interaction paradigm sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Max Weber George Herbert Mead

21 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
Symbolic-interactionism has a micro-level orientation. It focuses on patterns of social interaction in specific settings. Ignores class, gender, and race Max Weber George Herbert Mead

22 The Basics of Sociological Investigation
Sociological investigation starts with two simple requirements: (1) Use the sociological perspective. (2) Be curious and ask questions. Science – a logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation. Scientific sociology – the study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior.

23 Scientific Sociology: Basic Elements and Limitations
A concept – a mental construct that represents some part of the world in a simplified form. A variable – a concept whose value changes from case to case. Measurement – a procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specific case. Almost any variable can be measured in more than one way.

24 Useful Measurements For a measurement to be useful, it must be reliable and valid. Reliability – consistency in measurement. The procedure must yield the same result if repeated. does a person taking several math achievement tests score equivalently on each test?

25 Useful Measurements Validity – precision in measuring exactly what one intends to measure. Valid measurement means hitting the bull’s-eye of the target. are the math tests truly measuring what they purport to measure--skills and knowledge--or are they possibly measuring some other quality like ability to follow directions?

26 Relationships Among Variables
The scientific ideal is cause and effect – change in one variable causes change in another. The variable that causes the change is the independent variable. The variable that changes is the dependent variable. to conclude that a cause and effect relationship exists a correlation exists between the variables, the independent variable precedes the dependent variable in time, and no evidence exists that a third variable is responsible for a spurious correlation between the two variables.

27 Relationships Among Variables
Correlation – a relationship by which two variables change together. A spurious correlation is a false relationship between two or more variable caused by another. (Ice cream sales and drowning accidents)

28 The Ideal of Objectivity
Science demands that researchers strive for objectivity – a state of personal neutrality in conducting research. Researchers carefully hold to scientific procedures while reining in their own attitudes and beliefs. It is an ideal rather than a reality. Max Weber: Value-Free Research Max Weber argued that research may be value-relevant, or of personal interest to the researcher, but the actual process of doing research must be value-free. Weber: We mist be dedicated to finding the truth as is is rather than as we think it should be

29 Interpretive Sociology
Max Weber, who pioneered this framework, argued that the focus of sociology is interpretation. The interpretive sociologist’s job is not just to observe what people do but to share in their world of meaning.

30 Critical Sociology The study of society that focuses on the need for desirable social change. Karl Marx rejected the idea that society exists as a “natural” system with a fixed order

31 Gender and Research Androcentricity, approaching an issue from the male perspective Overgeneralizing, using data drawn from studying only one sex

32 Gender and Research Gender blindness, not considering the variable of gender at all (men living with wives, wives living alone) Double standards, not judging men and women differently (Man, head of the household.) Interference, a subject reacts to the sex of the researcher (That is not a teacher, that is a woman.)

33 Research Methods A research method is a systematic plan for doing research An experiment is a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions

34 Research Methods A survey is a research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions in a questionnaire or an interview

35 Research Methods Participant observation is a research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining them in routine activities

36 Research Methods Existing sources, is a research method in which available data is analyzed.

37 Ten steps in sociological investigation
What is your topic? What have others already learned?

38 Ten steps in sociological investigation
What, exactly, are your questions? What will you need to carry out research

39 Ten steps in sociological investigation
Are there ethical concerns? What method will you use?

40 Ten steps in sociological investigation
How will you record the data? What do the data tell you?

41 Ten steps in sociological investigation
What are your conclusions? How can you share what you've learned?

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