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Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method

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Presentation on theme: "Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method

2 Sociological Perspective
Sociology – the systematic study of human society. The sociological perspective. Seeing the general in the particular Seeing the strange in the familiar Seeing individuality in social context

3 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective
Helps us critically assess “commonsense” ideas. Helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives. Empowers us to be active participants in our society. Helps us to live in a diverse world.

4 The Origins of Sociology
New science born from social forces. -Industrial Revolution -Growth of cities Political Change -Pursuit of self-interest

5 Auguste Comte Coined the term “Sociology” in 1838 Favored Positivism
- A way of understanding based on science Society operates according to certain laws Discovered social principles and also applied them to social reform

6 Emile Durkheim Emphasis on showing how social forces impact people’s behavior Emphasis on thorough research Suicide (1897) Social factors underlie suicide – not simply personal reasons Social integration – the degree to which people are tied to their social group

7 Emile Durkheim Social research must be practical
-Discover causes for social ills and recommend remedies Anomie -Breaking down of the controlling influences of society -People become detached from society and are left with too little moral guidance

8 Karl Marx Class conflict is the engine of human history
Society is divided into classes who clash in pursuit of their own class interests Group identifications and associations influence an individual’s place in society Concept of “praxis” -People should take active steps to change society -Theory and action

9 Max Weber “Verstehen” (understanding) should be used in intellectual work To fully comprehend behavior, we must learn the subjective meanings people attach to their actions – how they themselves view and explain their behavior Disagreed with Marx that economics was the central force in change - Felt that religion was

10 W.E.B. DuBois Worked under Max Weber
1st person of color to receive a doctorate from Harvard Founding member of the NAACP Worked on race and inequality

11 Herbert Spencer Did not believe that sociology should guide social reform Believed in “social Darwinism” -Over time, societies improve -Coined the term “Survival of the fittest” Did not conduct scientific studies

12 Robert Merton Social structure has many functions, some more obvious than others -Manifest functions – the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern -Latent functions – the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern Social dysfunction – any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society

13 Why Theory? Allows for full exploration of an issue or problem
3 sociological theoretical paradigms - Sets of assumptions that guide thinking and research

14 Structural-Functionalism
Society is a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. - Social structure – relatively stable patterns of social behavior If something does not serve a useful, identifiable purpose, it will not be passed from generation to generation

15 Social-Conflict Theory
Sees society as an arena of inequality, generating conflict and change Paradigm focuses on how society’s institutions including family, government, religion, education, and the media may help to maintain the privileges of some groups and keep others in subservient positions Looks to who benefits and who suffers

16 Symbolic-Interactionism
Sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals Micro-level orientation Humans live in a world of meaningful objects – symbols

17 How Sociology is studied
Science – a logical system that bases knowledge on empirical evidence Scientific method - Systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem

18 Step 1- Defining the Problem
State as clearly as possible what you hope to investigate

19 Step 2 – Review the Literature
See what other people have already written about the issue

20 Step 3 – Formulate Hypothesis
Hypothesis – A speculative relationship between 2 or more factors Variables – concepts whose value changes from case to case - Independent variable – the variable that influences other variables - Dependent variable – the variable that “depends” on the influence of the independent variable

21 Step 3 - Formulate Hypothesis
Measurement – the process of determining the value of a variable in a specific case -Reliability – consistency in measurement -Validity – precision in measuring exactly what one intends to measure

22 Step 4 – Selecting Research Design
Detailed plan for obtaining data scientifically Survey research – a study which provides info on how people think and act - Interview - Questionnaire

23 Step 4 – Selecting Research Design
Samples - Representative – a selection from the larger population that is statistically typical - Random – everyone in the population has the same chance of being selected

24 Step 4 – Selecting Research Design
Existing sources Observation – watching individual behavior Experiment – specific design to produce expected results - Experiment group – exposed to the independent variable - Control group – not exposed to the independent variable

25 Step 5 – Developing the Conclusion
May or may not support hypothesis Serves as basis for further research

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