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What is sociology? The systematic study of human society

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Presentation on theme: "What is sociology? The systematic study of human society"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is sociology? The systematic study of human society
(Macionis 2008:2) The study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. American Sociological Association

2 Seeing the General in the Particular
Sociologists look for general patterns of behavior in particular people. (Macionis 2008:2) Recognizing how the general categories into which we fall, impact the experiences of our daily lives.

3 Seeing the Strange in the Familiar
Giving up the idea that everything that occurs in our life is a matter of what we decide and accepting the idea that social forces and experiences impact the decisions we make. Why are you at Oakton? Why do some people go to Northwestern and others don’t?

4 The Sociological Imagination
The ability to see the impact of society on our everyday life Those who are marginalized are generally better able to use it. Sometimes develops as a result of crisis

5 Global Perspective Allows us to see our society’s place in the world
High income countries – industrialized; most people live in material abundance  Middle income countries – limited industrialization and moderate income  Low income countries – little industrialization; severe poverty is the rule.

6 The Beginnings of Sociology
Social Context New industrial economy The growth of cities Political change

7 Growth of Scientific Study
Positivism a means of understanding the world through science Positivist thought had become an important aspect in the study of the physical world, so it made sense to apply it to the social world.

8 Auguste Comte Among the earliest theorists to use science to exam the social world. Created the term “sociology” to describe the scientific study of society in 1838

9 Macrosociology – looks at the world on the large (global) scale
Levels of Analysis Macrosociology – looks at the world on the large (global) scale Microsociology – looks at the world on a smaller scale; of from an individual perspective.

10 Functionalist Paradigm
Macrosociology Functionalist Paradigm Conflict Paradigm

11 The Functionalist Paradigm
a framework that sees society as a complex system whose various parts work together to allow society to function believes our lives are guided by social structure – stable patterns of social behavior structures are understood through their social functions and consequences for the operation of society

12 Emile Durkhiem Stressed the use of social facts – aspects of social life that shape our actions as individuals Organic Solidarity (society as human body) Mechanical Solidarity (no differentiation) Anomie

13 Herbert Spencer Studied sociobiology
Coined the term “survival of the fittest”

14 Robert K. Merton Developed the concepts of manifest and latent functions Manifest – the recognized and expected consequences of social patterns Latent – unexpected and often unrecognized consequences

15 Criticisms of the Functionalist Paradigm
Structural-Functionalism glosses over issues of inequality its focus on stability often ignores conflict and change

16 Social Conflict Paradigm
sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change focuses on divisions through inequality examines the unequal distribution of money, power, education, and social prestige argues that social structure benefits some people while depriving others

17 Karl Marx Economics the most important defining factor of society
Materialist conception of history (how we produce material goods shapes our experience) Bourgeoisie and Proletariat

18 Race Conflict Paradigm
Focal point of social research had been whites Addresses inequality and conflict between people of different races and ethnicities Points out contributions made by people of color

19 W. E. B. DuBois First African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard
Founding member of the NAACP Research addressed issues of race and conflict

20 Feminist Paradigm (Gender Conflict Approach)
As with all other sciences, the focal point of social research had been men focus is on the intersection of gender, race, and class Stresses advocacy for political and social activities

21 Harriet Martineau First woman sociologist
Argued that when studying any society, one must look at all aspects of it Said women’s lives must be studied First to study issues such as marriage, children, race relations, and religious and domestic life

22 Jane Addams Founded Hull House to assist immigrants
Brought various groups of people (from poor immigrants to wealthy businessmen) together to discuss social issues. Worked for women’s suffrage Helped found the NAACP Helped found the ACLU Won the Nobel Peace Prize

23 Criticism of Conflict Paradigm
Doesn’t address shared values or interdependence that leads to unity

24 Microsociology Symbolic Interactionist Paradigm
Focuses on social interaction in specific situations Sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals Shared reality – we construct our reality as we interact with one another Definition of reality differs from one person to the next

25 Max Weber understand setting through point of view of those in it
Studied bureaucracy

26 George Herbert Mead We build our personalities through our social experiences

27 Criticism of Symbolic Interactionism
Tends to overlook social structures and the widespread effects of culture.

28 Other Important Paradigms
Rational Choice If there could be only one explanation for the actions we take, it would be self-interest.

29 Other Important Paradigms
Postmodern There is no longer an historical context for our social development Modern society is pluralistic and diverse

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