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An Introduction to Sociology

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1 An Introduction to Sociology

2 What is sociology??? Sociology is the social science that studies human society and social behavior. Social Science – Disciplines that study human social behavior or institutions and functions of human society in a scientific manner Social Interaction – How people relate to one another and influence each other’s behavior Social Phenomena – Observable facts or events that involve human society

3 How is sociology different?
Anthropology – Comparing past/present cultures Psychology – Behavior and thinking Economics – Production/Consumption of goods and services Political Science – Operation of government History – Study of past events

4 What Is Culture? Culture – all the shared products of a human group
Material Culture Nonmaterial Culture

5 Material Culture Automobiles Books Buildings Clothing Computers

6 More Material Culture!

7 Nonmaterial Culture Beliefs Family Patterns Ideas Language
Political System Economic System

8 Components of Culture Technology Symbols Language Values
Shared beliefs of good/bad and right/wrong

9 Norms Norms – Shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations What social norms can you think of that exist in our society? Mores – Norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance Laws

10 Examining Culture Cultural Trait – an individual tool, act, or belief that is related to a particular situation or need. What are some cultural traits? Examples Using forks, knives, and spoons Specific greetings (Boss, Teacher, Friend, Mom)

11 Culture Complexes Individual cultural traits combine to form the next level…cultural complexes. Cultural complexes – a cluster of interrelated traits. Football is a culture complex that involves a variety or traits.

12 Football, a Culture Complex
Material Traits: Helmets Pads First Aid Kits Benches

13 Football, a Culture Complex
Specific Acts: Passing Catching Running Tackling

14 Football, a Culture Complex
Specific Beliefs: Certain Rules Should Be Followed Penalties Should Be Given

15 What Do We Have In Common?
Cultural Universals – features that are common to all cultures Family Funeral Ceremonies Shelter Dancing

16 More Cultural Universals
Religion Sports Myths and Folklore Gift Giving Body Adornment

17 Variations in Cultures
Ethnocentrism – the tendency to view one’s own culture and group as superior Cultural Relativism – the belief that cultures should be judged by their own standards rather than applying the standards of another culture In other words…KEEP AN OPEN MIND!

18 Countercultures Counterculture – reject society’s norms and replaces them with their own Hippies Organized Crime Families Anarchists

19 Traditional American Values
Although Americans are extremely different, for the most part we all share certain values Sociologist Robin M. Williams analyzed American values and came up with a list of 15 What do you think of when someone says “traditional American values”?

20 Traditional American Values
Personal Achievement Achievement often measured by power or wealth Individualism Individual effort is the key to personal achievement Can be negative…failure = that person is to blame Work Americans value hard work

21 Traditional American Values
Morality and Humanitarianism Helping those less fortunate (Haiti, Syria) Efficiency and Practicality Judge new technology on its usefulness Progress and Material Comfort Technology + Science = A more comfortable world

22 Traditional American Values
Equality and Democracy “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” Civil Rights Movement Freedom Freedom of religion, speech, bear arms Patriotism Pledge of allegiance, national holidays, 9/11

23 Our Changing Values Choose one or more of the traditional American values we covered in class on Friday. Why do you consider these values to be important? Explain how this value does or does not differ from those of your elders? (Parent, Guardian, Teacher, Coach)

24 Our Changing Values Self-fulfillment – a commitment to the full development of one’s personality, talents, and potential…think, self-help seminars Leisure Physical Fitness Youthfulness Does television, radio, and advertisements demonstrate and reflect these values?

25 More Changing Values Narcissism – Extreme self- centeredness
Is this a bad thing? List the pros and cons A rapidly changing American value Environmental Protection

26 Internalization of Norms
Think back to last week…what are norms? Norms – Shared rules of conduct that tell people how to act in specific situations Societies develop norms that reflect the cultural values its members consider important Enforced in two ways…internalization & sanctions

27 Internalization Internalization is the process by which a norm becomes part of an individual’s personality What do you do as soon as you sit down to eat at a restaurant? What do you do as soon as the traffic signal turns red?

28 What are sanctions? Sanctions - Rewards or punishments used to enforce conformity to norms Positive Sanctions Negative Sanctions Formal Sanctions Informal Sanctions

29 Positive Sanctions Positive Sanction – An action that rewards a specific type of behavior What are some examples of positive sanctions? Good Grades Pay Raises Cheers

30 Negative Sanctions Negative Sanction – Punishment or the threat of punishment used to enforce conformity Is the threat usually enough to deter behavior? What are some examples of negative sanctions? Ridicule Frowns Imprisonment

31 Formal Sanctions Formal Sanctions – Reward or punishment given by a organization or agency Positive Diploma, Pay Raise, Award Negative Low Grades, Suspension, Job Termination

32 Informal Sanctions Informal Sanction – A spontaneous expression of approval or disapproval by an individual or group Positive Standing ovation, compliments, pat on the back Negative Frowns, insults, exclusion from a group

33 Example 1

34 Example 2

35 Example 3

36 Example 4

37 Example 5

38 Example 6

39 Example 7

40 Example 8

41 Example 9

42 Example 10

43 Social Control Social Control - the enforcing of norms through either internal or external means Internalization is the best form of social control Social Control Agencies: Police & Courts Religion Family

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