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Groups and Relationships: A Sociological Sampler

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1 Groups and Relationships: A Sociological Sampler
Stark--Chapter 1 Groups and Relationships: A Sociological Sampler

2 Science: Theory and Research
Science: A sophisticated and precise method for describing and explaining why and how things work. Theory: An abstract statement that explains why and how certain things happen, or are as they are. (An explanation) Research: Making appropriate empirical observations or measurements. Test knowledge, or gather sufficient information about some portion of reality.

3 The Discovery of Social Facts
Que’telet, Guerry--Founders of Moral Statistics. Studied The Compte . Noted the stability of crime, suicide rates Stable from year-to-year Varied greatly from place to place Concluded powerful forces outside the individual cause stability and variation.

4 Suicide rates in Europe (Morselli)
Morselli extended work of Que’telet, Guerry Why the variations in suicide, and a general increase?

5 Suicide rates in Europe
Morselli: It’s due to the shift from a society based on small town, rural life to a modern, industrialized society. Cities: Huge, impersonal, disorderly Morselli: some nations had higher rates b/c they were more modernized; Modernization was taking place throughout Europe

6 Suicide Rates in Europe (Durkheim)
Durkheim called himself a Sociologist; expanded on Morselli’s thesis Durkheim: Modern societies are deficient in the warm/secure personal relationships typical of traditional rural life. Result: People lacked social resources to carry them through times of trouble/despair.

7 Suicide Rates in Europe (Durkheim)
Durkheim: Suicide reflects weaknesses in the web of relationships among members of society. Suicide, for Durkheim, was not a weakness of character or personality.

8 The Sociological Imagination
The ability to see the link between incidents in the lives of individuals and large social forces. (C. Wright Mills) Peter Berger: Sociology is devoted to discovering the general in the specific.

9 What is Sociology? Sociology is one of several social sciences (among them anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, history). Sometimes difficult to distinguish among them--even some psychologists do "social" science. Sociology is "The scientific study of patterns and processes of human social relations."

10 Units of Analysis Units of Analysis--the "things" being observed by researchers. Units of Analysis can be: individuals, groups, cities, counties, advertisements, countries, cultures. Sociologists aggregate these units--a collection of a type of unit of analysis (usually larger numbers) in which the search for patterns is made.

11 Seeing the Patterns

12 Seeing the Patterns

13 Macro and Micro Sociology
Two Kinds of Sociology: Micro Sociology Small Groups, Individuals Macro Sociology Larger Groups, Structures

14 Scientific Concepts Concepts:
Names used to identify some set or class of things said to be alike. Are the building blocks of theories--we link them together to illustrate relationships between concepts Example: Groups are “Any set of two or more persons who maintain a stable pattern of social relations over a period of time.”

15 Groups: The Sociological Subject
Groups are not aggregates. Aggregates come together only briefly and accidentally. Examples?

16 Types of Groups Dyad 2 Persons Triad 3 Persons Coalition formation

17 Is Chivalry Dead? Chivalry: "...a readiness to help the weak and protect women." Examples of Chivalrous behavior: Men helping women with their chairs or coats, opening doors for them. How might we study this?

18 Is Chivalry Dead?

19 Is Chivalry Dead? Why would the environment make a difference as to how people behave? What was different between McDonald's and The Embers? The emergent quality of groups

20 Effects of Size of Groups
What happens to groups as they grow? Groups of size 7 or more have a tendency to break into cliques. How big should committees be?

21 Primary and Secondary Groups
Primary Groups Characterized by great intimacy among members People in primary groups know each other well; strong emotional ties. Secondary Groups Less intimate social networks Involved in collective goal pursuit No powerful sense of belonging

22 Solidarity and Conflict
What binds us together? What separates us? Social Solidarity: Density and emotional intensity of attachments within a group. Solidarity: “Glue”

23 Analyzing Social Networks
Network: Pattern of ties or connections between some set of units. Social Network: Pattern of social links or relationships among some set of social units. Social Relationship: Repeated actions between social units or the persistence of stable, shared features among units.

24 Social Networks The pattern of social relations among members of a group Sociograms

25 Depiction of a Social Network
= Person = Social Link

26 Studying Self-aware Subjects
The difficulty of studying people. Reactiveness in research Unobtrusive Measures: Methods which gather information without disturbing the objects of research.

27 Validation Validation Research: Sociologists will use this ensure that they are getting accurate information. Self-Report data Checking against other records Using multiple measures to see if they return the same results.

28 Reducing and Eliminating Bias
Essence of Scientific Method: Systematic Skepticism Try to disprove things Many things we “know” turn out not to be true. That’s where science comes in. Science is a control for bias, for if we follow the methods correctly there is much less likelihood of our fudging the results, either intentionally or not. The public nature of science.

29 The Social Scientific Process
Wonder Conceptualize Theorize Operationalize

30 The Social Scientific Process, Cont’d
Hypothesize Observe Analyze Assess

31 Sociology and Free Will
Are we robots whose behavior is preordained? No. People make choices; people will attempt to do the most reasonable thing Maximizing rewards, minimizing costs It's only because people's choices are predictable that it's possible to claim people have free will.

32 Sociology and Free Will
If behavior is not predictable, it must be random, and thus people wouldn't be making choices DuBois: Sociology is the Science of Free Will. Humans make choices; Sociologists study why people make the choices they do

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