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Examining the Social World: How Do We Know? (Chapter 2)

Development of Sociology, sociology is a science: hypotheses, objectivity, measurable phenomena, etc.
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Emily Hallgren

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of Examining the Social World: How Do We Know? (Chapter 2)

Examining the Social World: How do We Know? As a scientific study The Development of Sociology Prior to the 19th century, religion was a strong influence on knowledge


19th century philosophers helped create the modern way of studying society French Revolution: 1789-1799


Industrial Revolution: 1760-1850


Urbanization and Migration


European Imperialism (exposure to other cultures)


Advances in the natural sciences: scientific study
Science (empiricism) replaces traditional ways of knowing RAPID SOCIAL CHANGES What holds society together?

Social Statics: Order and Stability

Why is there change in society?

Social Dynamics: Conflict and Change

Advocated systematic data collection and objective analysis to describe changes in society

Positivism- empirical evidence is the source of all knowledge

Coined “Sociology” (study of society) Auguste Comte: 1798-1857 Harriet Martineau: 1802-1876 Wrote about the use of scientific perspective as a research method
Progress- theory that the governing principle of human history is a movement toward betterment "Things are getting better"
Among first to advocate for racial and gender equality
Humans are moral beings
"Each individual…has a reason and a conscience"
Domination- limits people’s ability to function as free moral agents
Studied American society- contradictions "Society in America" (1837)- slavery, women Emile Durkheim
(1858-1917) Sociology- the science of 'social facts' that originate from our groups/society
Collective consciousness- the shared beliefs in the values of a group
Social solidarity- the degree to which social units are integrated
Mechanical solidarity- strong collective consciousness
Organic solidarity- high division of labor
Lack of Solidarity: Anomie (normlessness)
No norms = Anomie (social instability, personal unrest)
Studied religion (religion as an integrating/ solidifying force) for society
Collective effervescence- high energy formed by a gathering of people in religious ritual; loss of individuality, unity of the group
Humans are by nature self-centered, driven by desires, need constraint and regulation Structural Functional Theory Structural-Functionalist Theory Main ideas: Society is primarily stable and orderly; all parts of the system are interrelated and necessary for society’s function
-These elements function in society just like organs of a body
-Too much change or too rapid change causes problems because the system is delicate
-Society is an independent entity, greater than the individuals who compose it
-Manifest and Latent Functions, Dysfunctions Is stability and the status quo always best for society? Conflict Theorists ask: Functional for who???
Conflict theorists focus on who benefits and who loses from the structural arrangements that we take for granted.

Main ideas: Conflict underlies all social relations because of inequality in society; social change is desirable, especially when it can lead to greater equality
-Society does not have its own needs- groups of people do and they compete
-The dominant impose their values and ideas on the oppressed
-Conflict is inevitable over resources and is the key to human history

Main criticisms: Micro-level not explained; difficult to test empirically; not effective in explaining cohesion and cooperation Conflict Theory Karl Marx (1818-1883) -Different classes have different interests
-Capitalist Society has 2 main groups:
Bourgeoisie- owners, "haves"
Proletariat - workers, "have-nots"
-The ideas of the ruling class become
the ruling ideas
-Capitalism creates alienation from
means of production, exploited workers
-This inevitably leads to conflict
-"The Communist Manifesto" (1848) by Marx and Engels
-Domination comes in many forms (gender) "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Conflict Theorist

Rationalization, Disenchantment of the world, Iron Cage of Bureaucracy -Bureaucracy is efficient, value free and based on expert knowledge, and therefore inescapable

3 Elements of Social Class: Wealth, Prestige, and Power (expands upon Marx's idea of class) Example: Arnold Schwartzenegger

Wrote "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" (1905)

"Verstenhen" (understanding)- understanding the meaning of action from the actor's point of view Max Weber (1864-1920) Jane Addams (1860-1935) W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) -Discrimination is based on more than just economics
-The Color Line- the relationship of the darker to lighter races in the West, Africa and Asia (a segregated relationship)
-"Double Consciousness"- experience of being both Black and American
-The Veil- social barrier between Blacks and Whites that only those with double consciousness can see -Chicago Hull House: a settlement
amongst the poor
-Sociology is work to be done
-Help the poor (women, immigrants,
working class)
-Studied poor, immigrant neighbor-
hoods
-Research and work for reform
-Applied sociologist We can study society
like a scientist!

What makes us human- We create.

Species-being: awareness of being human through the material world we create

Capitalism alienates us from our
humanity- we cease being creative producers and become exploited workers

Alienation from self (human self)
Alienation from means of production

How to create equitable society: workers of the world unite, overthrow bourgeoisie and capitalist system, establish communism

Paris Commune- March-May 1871
-first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution DEFINITIONS

Empirical- Observable

Objectivity- limitation of bias and opinion in study planning, data collection and analysis

Theory- explanation of how two or more facts about the social world are related; Theories can be macro, meso, or micro level

Theoretical Perspective- basic view of society that guides sociologists' ideas and research Symbolic Interaction Theory Main ideas:
-Social structures are just groups of people interacting
-Interacting with symbols allow communication
-Through interactions and symbols, we socially construct our worlds
-These constructions help us decide how to act and are dependent on our social positions (definition of the situation)
-Society emerges out of social interaction and its meaning is subjective to people in society
Human agency- active role of individuals in shaping their social environment
Key theorists: G. H. Mead, C. H. Cooley
Main Criticisms: neglects macro-structures; difficult to study concepts such as “the mind” and “the self” What We'll Cover...

The Beginning of Sociology

3 Main Theoretical Perspectives

Early Sociologists

How we study society and the social world RESEARCH STUDY 1. Define topic or problem 2. Literature review- refine topic, identify theory and variables

Theory- explanation of how two or more facts about the social world are related
-Theories can be macro, meso, or micro level

Variables- concepts that vary in frequency or occurrence (examples- income, education level) 3. Formulate research questions and hypotheses

Hypothesis- educated guess about how variables are related to each other; predicts the relationship between two or more variables


Operationalization- how to measure the variables (example: education level- # of years of school)

Important terms: correlation, spurious relationship, independent variable and dependent variable 4. Design Research method:
-Surveys, Interviews, nonparticipant and participant observation, controlled experiments, secondary data, content analysis
Two types of Sociological Research:
Quantitative- provides mathematical data such as percentages, statistics, that are generalizable (Methods: surveys, secondary data)
Qualitative- richly detailed data about a group of people (Methods: in-depth interviews, nonparticipant and participant observation)

Mixed methods 5. Select sample- manageable-sized group of people to study, chosen to accurately represent the entire group or population being studied

Representative sample: accurately represents the group being studied


Random sample: anyone from the group being studied has an equal chance of being selected for the study 6. Collect the data


7. Analyze the data- decide what your data is telling you


8. Write results, conclusions, recommendations, suggestions for future research George H. Mead 1863-1931 -The Self emerges from interaction with others

I and Me-
-the I: part of the self that is unsocialized and spontaneous, largely unorganized
-the Me: learned the rules of society. Keeps the "I" in check. The perspective that we take to view and analyze our own behaviors

Role-taking- we can see ourselves as objects. Look at ourselves from the outside- in order to see our own self

The "Me" and the "I" allow society to keep functioning:
-The "Me" provides the necessary conformity for society to work cooperatively
-The "I" provides the needed spontaneity so society can change and does not become stagnant What are YOU going
to study? Main Criticisms: Fails to explain change in society;
assumes conflict is harmful; just because a system seems
stable does not mean that it is equitable More Marx....
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