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Welcome to Sociology.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to Sociology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to Sociology

2 Everyday Actor Everyday Actor (Taken-for-granted wisdom)
Practical knowledge to get through daily life

3 Skills of an Everyday Actor
Language Hugh Laurie and Ellen Your “practical knowledge”?

4 Everyday Actor vs Social Analyst
Social Analyst (Questions Everything) Seeks information that is: Systematic Comprehensive Coherent and Clear

5 The Social Analyst Takes the perspective of stranger in social world
Questions most everything “Everyday Actor” assumes is true or real Language Gender roles Power relationships

6 The Beginner’s Mind

7 The Beginner’s Mind Opposite of expert’s mind.
To explore social world, important to clear our minds of: Stereotypes Expectations, and Opinions We are more receptive to experiences. Talk to your students about the experiment on page 21 and emphasize the importance of using their beginner’s mind.

8 What is Sociology? Sociology is a social science
The social sciences are interested in understanding the social world in the same way that the natural sciences are interested in understanding the natural or physical world. Social scientists and natural scientists even use many of the same research methods, including the scientific method! Social scientists employ many different kinds of research methods, which we’ll learn about in Chapter 3.

9 Levels of Analysis Macrosociology: Focus -> Large scale social structures Family, Economy, Education, Healthcare Microsociology: Focus -> Social interactions Friendship groups, work groups, peers A microsociological analysis might look at the relationship between a couple or the interactions of a sports team, or even the short interaction between a cashier and a shopper. A macrosociological analysis might look at the economy and how it impacts consumer behavior or how a presidential election influences American morale, etc.

10 Social Structure

11 Social Structure

12 Social Institutions Social Structures that provide basic social needs
Examples: Education Economics Politics Family What basic social needs do these meet?

13 The Macro-Micro Continuum

14 Ways of Knowing What do you know? How do you know it?

15 Scientific Sociology Science Scientific Sociology Empirical Evidence
Logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation Scientific Sociology Study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior Empirical Evidence Information we can verify with our senses

16 Society Shapes the lives of people in various categories such as:
Children Adults Women and men Rich and poor

17 Children

18 Women

19 Men

20 Rich People & Poor People

21 Sociological Imagination
Term coined by C. Wright Mills Mills says, “To understand social life, we must understand the intersection between biography and history.” Ask students to speculate on what this means. Students seem to have a hard time grasping Mills’ abstract language, so you may try the following activity: On the overhead or chalkboard, draw a long line, like this   and place the year 1900 under the arrow on the left and the current year under the arrow to the right. Tell students that this line represents roughly the last 100 years of history. Then, ask them what has happened in this span of time that is important. Put a hash mark with the event and approximate year of each event that they name. When they have a pretty thorough list, tell them that there is one last thing to add to the list, draw a stick figure and tell them that is representative of them. “At some point, you were born, and you entered our timeline. This is the intersection between YOUR biography, and history.” Now, ask them to think how their life might have been different if they were born this year, or in 1910 before women had the right to vote, or in the 1950s before the Civil Right’s Movement gained so much momentum, or in the 1970s, before MySpace, cell phones, or the internet! C. Wright Mills says that if we don’t take history into account, we can’t understand the social lives of people.

22 Sociological Imagination
C. Wright Mills (1959) The Sociological Imagination helps people understand: 1. Society 2. Society’s effects on their lives

23 C. Wright Mills Described as an ‘American Utopian' - committed to social change, and angered by the oppression he saw around him Mills argued that a small group of men within the political, military and corporate spheres - the power elite - made ‘the decisions that reverberated into all areas of American life’

24 Sociological Imagination

25 Sociological Imagination

26 Culture Shock Happens when you: Experience disorientation
Upon entering new environment This is very common when people travel abroad. For discussion, ask your students if they have experienced this. It is also possible to experience culture shock when traveling to another part of the country. If you’re from a big city, mannerisms of people in small towns (like saying hello to strangers) might surprise you. If you’re from a small town, hailing a taxi might be difficult until you become accustomed that culture. This relates to Mills’ quote—without understanding the context, it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand social life.

27 Culture Shock

28 Culture Shock—Food

29 Culture Shock

30 ***Sociology’s Family Tree: Theories and Theorists

31 What is a Social Theory? Organized and verifiable ideas Creates order
Explain society & social behavior Creates order Helps us make sense of world And our place in world

32 Sociological Theories
Not just how things happen, but Why?

33 New system of production:
Social Context 18th & 19th century New system of production: Industrial revolution Capitalism Colonialism

34 Social Context Enlightenment: New Ideas Humanism
 Importance of human rather than divine matters Science Knowledge of physical world by Observation & Experimentation New political forms Democracies

35 Auguste Comte

36 Auguste Comte Society=Organism Coined the term “Sociology” (1839)
Laid groundwork for future sociologists Sociology to be treated like scientific discipline Coined the term “Sociology” (1839) Society=Organism Auguste Comte was the first thinker to provide a program for the scientific study of society, or a “social physics,” as he first labeled it. Comte, a French scientist, developed a theory of the progress of human thinking from its early theological and metaphysical stages toward a final “positive,” or scientific, stage.

37 Harriet Martineau

38 Harriet Martineau Social activist Traveled to United States
Labor unions Abolition of slavery Women’s suffrage Traveled to United States Translated Comte’s work from French to English Martineau became a journalist and political economist, proclaiming views that were radical for her time: for example, she supported labor unions, the abolition of slavery, and women’s suffrage.

39 Herbert Spencer

40 Societies adapt to changing environment
Herbert Spencer Society=Organism Societies adapt to changing environment “Survival of the Fittest” Lamarkianism His work was primarily responsible for the establishment of sociology in Britain and America. Although Spencer did not receive academic training, he grew up in a highly individualistic family and was encouraged to think and learn independently. His interests as a young man leaned heavily toward physical science, and instead of attending college, he chose to become a railway engineer. When railway work dried up, Spencer turned to journalism and eventually wrote books including The Study of Sociology (1873) and The Principles of Sociology (1897).

41 Émile Durkheim

42 Emile Durkheim Émile Durkheim worked to establish sociology as academic discipline. Social factors that hold society together Studied relationship between social factors and suicide In his work, he demonstrated the effectiveness of using scientific (empirical) methods to study “social reality,” essentially completing the project that his countryman Comte had anticipated half a century earlier. In his first major study, The Division of Labor in Society (1893), Durkheim expressed his belief that social bonds were present in all types of societies, but that different types of societies created different types of bonds. He suggested that the mechanical solidarity experienced by people in an agrarian society bound them together on the basis of shared tradition and beliefs and similarities of experience. On the other hand, in industrial societies, where factory work was becoming increasingly specialized, organic solidarity prevailed: people’s bonds with each other were based on the tasks they performed, interdependence, and individual rights. In both cases, people are bound to each other—it is the qualities of the bonds that are different. Durkheim believed that even the most individualistic of actions had sociological explanations, and he set out to establish a scientific methodology for studying these actions. He chose for his ground-breaking case study the most individualistic of actions, suicide, and used statistical data to show that suicides were related to social factors such as religious affiliation, marital status, and employment. Explaining a particular suicide by focusing exclusively on the victim’s psychological makeup neglected the impact of social bonds.

43 Karl Marx

44 Karl Marx Karl Marx was a German philosopher and political activist.
Marx contributed to conflict theory. Sociologists have found that Marx’s theories continue to provide powerful tools for understanding social phenomena. His idea that conflict between social groups is central to the workings of society and serves as the engine of social change is one of the most vital perspectives in sociology today.

45 Karl Marx Marx believed that capitalism was creating social inequality
between the bourgeoisie, who owned the means of production (money, factories, natural resources, and land), and the proletariat, who were the workers. According to Marx, this inequality leads to class conflict. Marx noted that a small percentage of the population owned the means of production and thus were able to exploit the masses and thereby ensure greater gains for themselves. This is the basic tenet of capitalism today, and many modern sociologists use Marx’s theories to evaluate the contemporary workplace.

46 Max Weber

47 Max Weber Max Weber also interested society becoming industrialized.
Concerned with process of rationalization, applying economic logic to all human activity. Believed that contemporary life was filled with disenchantment Result of dehumanizing features of modern societies. Much of Weber’s work expressed a pessimistic view of social forces, such as the work ethic, that shaped modern life. Like other social theorists of his time, Weber was interested in the shift from a more traditional society to a modern industrial society. Weber proposed that modern industrialized societies were characterized by efficient, goal-oriented, rule-governed bureaucracies. He believed that individual behavior was increasingly driven by such bureaucratic goals, which had become more important motivational factors than tradition, values, or emotion. Weber believed that this lifestyle left people trapped by their industrious way of life in what he called an iron cage of bureaucratic rules, which led to disenchantment.

48 Disenchantment Character of modernized, bureaucratic, secularized western society, -- Science is more highly valued than belief, -- Processes oriented toward rational goals -- As opposed to traditional society

49 George Herbert Mead

50 George Herbert Mead George Herbert Mead was interested in the connection between the individual and society. In Mind, Self and Society (1934), Mead describes how the individual mind and self arises out of the social process. “I” and the “Me” For example, a chair isn’t inherently important as an object for sitting (as many of us know, it can also be used for climbing and reaching, for blocking an entrance, or as a weapon against an enemy), but because we interact on a daily basis with others who use chairs most commonly for sitting, we come to accept that this is the meaning of this object. This is a trivial example, but the idea can be applied to lots of other objects in our society—for example, things like flags or religious icons have meanings that have been shaped by social interactions. Mead is a symbolic interactionist. We’ll talk more about symbolic interactionism in a minute.

51 Erving Goffman

52 Erving Goffman Erving Goffman interested in the “self”
Goffman used the term dramaturgy to describe the way people strategically present themselves to others. Goffman found it interesting that a person could “act” one way in front of his or her parents, and yet “act” totally differently in front of friends. When you think about it, people are usually very adept at recognizing the social situation they are in and acting accordingly. This does suggest, though, that we are always acting, so when you feel you are being “your true self,” is this really the case?

53 Modern Schools of Thought
Structural Functionalism Society as: Stable Ordered system Interrelated parts The key word here is “function.” According to this theory, everything in our society has a function. The main principles of the functionalist paradigm are these: 1. Society is a stable, ordered system of interrelated parts, or structures. 2. Each structure has a function that contributes to the continued stability or equilibrium of the whole.

54 Structural Functionalism
Social institutions: Meet needs of society Family Education Politics Economy Function

55 Social conflict basis:
Conflict Theory Social conflict basis: Of society and Social change Source of Conflict: Inequality Conflict theory proposes that conflict and tension are basic facts of social life and suggests that people have disagreements over goals and values, and are involved in struggles over both resources and power. The theory thus focuses on the processes of dominance, competition, upheaval, and social change. The main emphases: 1. a materialist view of society (focused on labor practices and economic reality) 2. a critical stance toward existing social arrangements 3. a dynamic model of historical change (in which the transformation of society is inevitable)

56 Conflict theory Focus: Dominance Competition Social change

57 Conflict theory Materialist Labor and Economic reality
Critical of existing arrangements Dynamic historical change Inevitable

58 Symbolic Interactionism
Symbols Shared meaning Social creation of reality It is America’s unique contribution to sociology and has proved to be the most influential perspective of the twentieth century. For symbolic interactionists, society is produced and reproduced through our interactions with each other, by means of language, and our interpretations of that language. Symbolic interactionism sees face-to-face interaction as the building block of everything else in society, because it is through interaction that we create a meaningful social reality. Here are the three basic tenets of symbolic interactionism, as laid out by Blumer in 1969 (p. 2): 1. We act toward things on the basis of their meanings. For example, a tree can provide a shady place to rest, or it can be an obstacle to building a road or home; each of these meanings suggests a different set of actions, and this is as true for physical objects like trees as it is for people (like mothers or cops), institutions (church or school), beliefs (honesty or equality), or any social activity. 2. Meanings are not inherent; rather, they are negotiated through interaction with others. That is, whether the tree is an obstacle or an oasis is not an intrinsic quality of the tree itself, but rather something that people must hash out themselves. The same tree can mean one thing to one person and something else to another. 3. Meanings can change or be modified through interaction. For example, the contractor who sees the tree as an obstacle might be persuaded to spare it by the neighbor. Now the tree is something to build around rather than bulldoze. Although symbolic interactionism is focused on how both self and society develop through interaction with others, it is useful in explaining and analyzing a wide variety of specific social issues, from inequalities of race and gender to the group dynamics of families or co-workers.

59 Feminist Theory Gender structures social world
Gender inequalities Nature Source Gender structures social world Goal: Eliminate inequalities There is a link between feminist theory and conflict theory in that both deal with stratification and inequality in society, and both seek not only to understand that inequality but to provide remedies for it.

60 Sexual identity is social construct
Queer Theory Sexual identity is social construct No sexual category fundamentally deviant or normal Questions basis for all social categories Queer theory, which arose in the late 1980s and early 90s, proposes that categories of sexuality—homo, hetero, bi, trans—are social constructs (Seidman 2003). In other words, no sexual category is fundamentally deviant or normal; we create these meanings socially (which means that we can change those meanings as well).

61 No truth, reason, right, order, or stability
Postmodernist Theory Social reality is: Diverse Changing No truth, reason, right, order, or stability Everything is relative & temporary In order to understand postmodernism, we first need to juxtapose it with modernism, the movement against which it was a reaction. Modernism is both a historical period and an ideological stance that began with the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, or “age of reason.” Modernist thought values scientific knowledge, a linear (or timeline-like) view of history, and a belief in the universality of human nature. In postmodernism, on the other hand, there are no absolutes—no claims to truth, reason, right, order, or stability. Everything is therefore relative—fragmented, temporary, and contingent.

62 Theory in Everyday Life

63 Theory in Everyday Life
Perspective Level of Analysis Focus of Analysis Case Study

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