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Chapter One Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method

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1 Chapter One Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method
Society, the Basics 10th Edition John J. Macionis

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 the 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 ( ) Personal choice in social context Social Forces are constantly at work, even in an intensely personal action such as suicide. Social Integration is the key.

5 The Sociological Perspective
Marginality and Crisis Two situations allow clear sight of how society shapes individual lives Living on the margins of society Living through a social crisis The greater a person’s marginality, the better able they are to use the sociological perspective.

6 The Importance of a Global Perspective
Global Perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it. a logical extension our place affects our life experiences. our society’ s position in the world affects everyone in the U.S.

7 The Importance of a Global Perspective
High-income countries (about 50 countries or 18% of world’s population) Middle-income countries (about 80 countries or 70% of world’s population) Low-income countries (about 60 countries or 12% of world’s population) 18% in high-income 70% in middle-income 12% in low-income

8 The Importance of a Global Perspective
Where we live shapes our lives Societies are interconnected 18% in high-income 70% in middle-income 12% in low-income Social problems in U.S. are more serious elsewhere Global thinking helps us learn about ourselves

9 Applying the Sociological Perspective
The sociological perspective helps us critically assess and challenge commonly held (“common sense”) ideas The sociological perspective helps us assess both opportunities and constraints in our lives.

10 Applying 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.

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

12 The Origins of Sociology
August Comte ( ) Considered the Founder of Modern Sociology Coined the phrase: Sociology (1838) Described Sociology as having three stages: Theological Scientific Metaphysical Favored positivism : a way of understanding based on science

13 The Origins of Sociology
Sociology took hold at the beginning of the 20th century in the U.S. Humans are creatures of imagination and spontaneity Human behavior can never be explained by the rigid “laws of society” Karl Marx

14 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.

15 Sociological Theory Three major paradigms: Structural-functional
Social-conflict Symbolic-interaction Two minor approaches: Gender-conflict Race-conflict

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. Karl Marx W.E.B. Du Bois

20 Gender-conflict Approach
Point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and men Harriet Martineau ( ) (first woman of sociology) Jane Addams ( ) (Hull House fame)

21 Race-conflict Approach
Point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories W.E.B. Du Bois ( ) (founding member of NAACP) Ida Wells Barnett ( ) (campaigned for racial equality)

22 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
George Herbert Mead Max Weber The symbolic-interaction paradigm sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Symbolic-interactionism has a micro-level orientation. It focuses on patterns of social interaction in specific settings.

23 Three Ways to Do Sociology
Positivist Interpretive Critical C. Wright Mills

24 Positivist Sociology Empirical Evidence
Science – a logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation. Scientific sociology – the study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior.

25 Positivist 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.

26 Positivist Sociology 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?

27 Positivist Sociology 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?

28 Positivist Sociology Relationship 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. Zimbardo Experiment

29 Positivist Sociology Relationship 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.

30 Positivist Sociology 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

31 Interpretive Sociology
Verstehen: studying the meaning people attach to their everyday lives Max Weber The interpretive sociologist’s job is not just to observe what people do but to share in their world of meaning.

32 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

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. Saves both time and money

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