2 Overview CourseWeek 11. Introduction to Sociology and Social Research2. Philosophy of the Social SciencesWeek 23. Research Design: Theory, Research Questions, Data4. Quantitative Research Design5. Collection and Analysis of Quantitative Data6. Qualitative Research Design
3 Overview Course Week 3 7. Collection and Analysis of Qualitative Data 8. Mixed Methods9. Comparative Research10. Research in the Social Sciences: Summary and Review
4 Overview Course Week 1 Main themes: a. General introduction to sociology and economic sociologyb. A concise history of sociology and its key problématiquesc. Theoretical approaches/traditions in sociologyd. The nature and philosophical assumptions of social science and sociologye. 3 philosophical dimenions of social researchf. Sociological traditions and 3 dimensions
5 Overview Course Week 1 2. Relevance: a. Understanding of different ways sociological analysis can be applied to the analysis of (local) economic development, local democracy, interaction micro and macrob. Understanding of how to research social and socio-economic interactionc. Understanding of possibilities/limits of social research
6 Overview Course Week 1 3. Relevant literature of the reading list: Gilbert chapters 1, 2Coleman chapter 1Outhwaite chapter 1
7 Overview Course Week 1 4. main concepts: society integration, cohesion, solidarity, trust, embeddednessdesintegration, fragmentation, conflict, distrustmodernization/modernitysocial changeparadigms/theories of knowledgeontologyepistemologymethodologymethods
9 1. Social Sciences What are the Social Sciences (about)? the Social Sciences engage in the scientific study of human behaviourthe main focus is the study of social interaction, social groups and societySocial sciences comprise various disciplines: Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, Cultural Studies, etc.
10 1. Social Sciences Key problem of classical sociology the origin and persistence of social order(given that the state of nature is ‘a war of all against all’)
11 1. Social Sciences Orientation of sociology Sociology is interested in 'human social interaction as people take one and another into account as each behaves toward the other'.It analyses 'systemic units of interaction within social groups, social relations and social organizations'.
12 1. Social SciencesWhat are the object domains of (classical) sociology?modern societyModernity (‘dual revolutions’)integration, cohesion, solidarity (stability)deviation, fragmentation, conflict (change)
13 1. Sociology Key concepts of sociology classes/social groups integration, solidarity, cohesion, trustdeviance, disintegration, divergence, conflictstabilitytransformationrevolutiondifferentiation
14 1. Sociology Economic sociology (see Smelser and Swedberg) definition: the sociological perspective applied to economic phenomenalaborate: the application of the frames of reference, variables, and explanatory models of sociology to that complex of activities which is concerned with the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of scarce goods and services.e
15 1. Sociology Economic sociology (see Smelser and Swedberg) Key elements:personal interaction (patterns, underlying norms, e.g., non-contractual side to contractual relations)groups (interest groups, classes, corporate groups, social movements)social structures (institutions, norms rules, culture)social controls (norms, sanctions, values)social networkscultural contextse
17 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historyEarly modernity (19th century): Dual political and economic revolutionsthe problem of integration and social order (Gemeinschaft – Gesellschaft)The ‘social question’ (late 19th century)
18 1. Sociology The problem of integration and social order Traditional Society/GemeinschaftFamility relations, friendshipCustomsBarterTraditionsHabitsInertiaReligionMan as social manComunal propertyModern society/GesellschaftAnonymity of social relationsContractExchange for moneyInnovationNoveltyProgressSecularIndividualismPrivate property
19 1. Sociology The ‘social question’ (late 19th century) The social problems emerging with the dynamic periods of transformation wrought by the Industrial Revolution:poverty, inequality, labour conditions, workers’ health, urban problèmatique, social inclusion and participation
20 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historyEarly sociologyEmphasis on the empirical study of social phenomena or ‘social facts’ (Durkheim), social problems, deviation, social orderSignificant influence of emerging statistics and positivism/probabilism: sociology as science
21 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historyEconomic sociology:- understanding of capitalism and the Great Transformation of society (Durkheim, Weber, Polanyi)- role of wage labour in modern society- class relations/class conflict
22 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historySociology: establishment and expansionthe question of integration and social order (‘organic solidarity’, legitimacy)the question of the integration of the new masses
23 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historyA strong emphasis on the empirical study of ‘social facts’.The observation of new social phenomena in modern society (organic solidarity, anomie, legimitation of power)The emergence of dual objective:1. the study of objective social facts;2. the study of subjective meaning-giving
24 1. SociologyThe emergence of sociology as a science: A concise historyPost- or late Modernity: the transformation of modern societiesquestioning of methodological nationalismpost-industrial society (disintegration of classes, individual plural identity, increasing cross-societal interaction)post-society?
26 1. Sociology 1. positivism, post-positivism referred to as the ‘scientific method’, ‘quantitative research’, or ‘ empirical science’positivism was at the basis of classical sociology, in order to enhance its scientific statusemphasis on relation between causes and effects, experimental research or objectively ‘controlled’ formsreductionistic in its emphasis on few variables and parsimonyknowledge generated by careful obsefvation and measurement of objective realityresearcher checks theory with reality
27 1. Sociology 2. Constructivism became a contender view of sociology in the early 20th centuryindividuals are seen as developing subjective meanings of their experiences (rather than being directly stimulated by external reality)researcher looks for complexity of meanings, rater than narrowing down meanings in few categoriesstrong reliance on participants’ views, and interactive construction of meaningresearcher constructs theory from observations of meaning-constructions by social actors
28 1. Sociology 3. Critical theory A third approach, emerging first in the 1920s and 30s, is a critical approach towards social reality.The emphasis is on exposing social reality as oppressive for marginalized groups.There is thus an explicit normative touch to critical theory in that its advocates an action agenda for political reform.Specific issues addressed are empowerment, inequality, domination, oppression, and alienation.Participants' views in this regard (but not always, see marxist tradition) can be of primary importance in empirical research.
29 1. Sociology4. PragmatismThe approach is grounded in the pragmatist philosophical tradition (Dewey, Pierce, Mead, James).Knowledge claims arise out of actions, situations, and consequences rather than being a prioristically defined.The emphasis in social research is on “what works” and on solutions to problems.Pragmatist research is thus neither confined to objectivity or to meaning-construction, but refers to both, when appropriate in dealing with the research questions.
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