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Chapter One The Sociological Perspective

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1 Chapter One The Sociological Perspective
John J. Macionis 10th Edition Sociology Created by Lori Ann Fowler

2 The Sociological Perspective
Sociology is the systematic study of human society. The sociological perspective helps us to see general in the particular. It encourages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds. Sociology also encourages us to see individuality in social context. Emile Durkheim’s research showed that the suicide rate was strongly influenced by how connected people feel to one another.

3 Insert FIGURE 1-1 Rate of Death by Suicide Figure 1-1 Rate of Death by Suicide

4 The Importance of Global Perspective
Sociologists also strive to see issues in global perspective. The global perspective may be defined as the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it. There are three different types of nations in the world. The world’s high-income countries are industrialized nations. The world’s middle-income countries have limited industrialization. The world’s low-income countries have little industrialization.

5 Global Map 1-2 Economic Development in Global Perspective

6 Applying the Sociological Perspective
It is easy to apply the sociological perspective when we encounter people who are different from us. These encounters remind us how society shapes our individual lives. From time to time, everyone feels like an “outsider.” Social marginality — feeling as though you are not part of the dominant group.

7 Applying the Sociological Perspective
Periods of social change prompt us to use the sociological perspective. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the unemployment rate soared to twenty–five percent. People out of work could not help but see the social forces at work in their particular lives. Just as social change can bring about sociological thinking, sociological thinking can bring about change.

8 Benefits of the Sociological Perspective
The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of “common sense.” The sociological perspective helps us assess both opportunities and constraints in our lives. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society. The sociological perspective helps us to live in a diverse world.

9 The Origins of Sociology
Three major social changes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are important to the development of sociology. (1) The rise of a factory-based industrial economy (2) The emergence of great cities in Europe (3) Political changes

10 The Origins of Sociology
Auguste Comte believed that the major goal of sociology was to understand society as it actually operates. Comte favored positivism—a way of understanding based on science. Comte saw sociology as the product of a three-stage historical development: (1) The theological stage (2) The metaphysical stage (3) The scientific stage

11 Sociological Theory A theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related. The goal of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world. Theories are based on theoretical paradigms, sets of assumptions that guide thinking and research.

12 The Structural–Functional Paradigm
The structural-functional paradigm sees society as a complex system whose parts work together. It asserts that our lives are guided by social structures. Each social structure has social functions. The influence of this paradigm has declined in recent decades. It focuses on stability, thereby ignoring inequalities of social class, race, and gender.

13 The Structural–Functional Paradigm
Key figures in the development of this paradigm include: Auguste Comte Emile Durkheim Herbert Spencer Talcott Parsons Robert Merton

14 Social Function Robert Merton introduced three concepts related to social function: Manifest functions, the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern. Latent functions, largely unrecognized and unintended consequences. Social dysfunctions, undesirable consequences of a social pattern.

15 The Social–Conflict Paradigm
The social-conflict paradigm sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change. Key figures in this tradition include Karl Marx and W.E.B. Du Bois. Critical evaluation: This paradigm has developed rapidly in recent years. It has several weaknesses: It ignores social unity. Like the structural-functional paradigm, it envisions society in terms of broad abstractions.

16 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
The symbolic-interaction paradigm sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Symbolic-interactionism has a micro-level orientation. It focuses on patterns of social interaction in specific settings.

17 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
Key figures in the development of this paradigm include: Max Weber George Herbert Mead Erving Goffman George Homans Peter Blau

18 The Symbolic–Interaction Paradigm
Critical evaluation: Symbolic Interactionism attempts to explain more clearly how individuals actually experience society. It has two main weaknesses: Its micro-orientation sometimes results in the error of ignoring the influence of larger social structures. By emphasizing what is unique, it risks overlooking the effects of culture, class, gender, and race.

19 Table 1-1 The Three Major Theoretical Paradigms: A Summary

20 What is the Difference Between Stereotyping and Generalizing?
Stereotypes — Paint every individual with the same brush. Ignore facts and distort reality. Sound like “put-downs.” Generalizations — Are not applied indiscriminately. Square with available facts. Are offered with an interest in getting at the truth.

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