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Social Theory: Modern Social Theory

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Angel Valdivia

on 13 February 2013

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Transcript of Social Theory: Modern Social Theory

Finally Social theory is contested knowledge, social theory is variable, and indicative to the complex nature of society itself. Sociology, will never reach a cohesive body of knowledge like physics or biology, in my opinion, because social theory sees multiple dimensions of human activity, human experience, human existence, and human understanding. I would argue, we need to avoid lazy reasoning, and remain within the trap of universal thinking. Kivisto Social Theory What is social theory?
-Is it a tool of analysis?
-Is it a lens into aspects of social reality?
-Theories are forms of "contested knowledge."
-Social theory is indeed a contested terrian abounding in intellectual debates and controversies (xxii). How does theory become theory? Philosophy is the parent of social theory.
-Prehistory of social theory.
-1840 to 1920.
-Rise of industrial society.
-Mechanization of society.
-The train
-The telegraph
-Weapons
-Gatling Gun
-Barb wire Functions of Social Theory I. To describe
II. To explain
III. To Predict
IV. Sensitize observations/ understanding Social Theory/ Ideology/ Commonsense I. What is commonsense?
II. How do we get commonsense?
-Is it Innate?
-Is it learned?
-Is it Inherited? What does this all mean? Is social theory a form of truth?
-Yes and no.
-No, not in a sense of a "T."
-Yes, as part of a "t." Social Theory and Ideology Similarities between Ideology and Social Theory 1. Each has a set of assumptions or a starting point.
2. Each explains what the social world is like, how
& why it changes.
3. Each offers a system of concepts/ ideas.
4. Each provides an interconnected system of ideas. Differences between Ideology & Social Theory Ideology

1. Offers absolute understanding
2. Has all the answers, assumes a high
degree of certainty
3. Fixed, closed, finished
4. Avoids test, scrutiny
5. Blind to opposing evidence
6. Locked into specific/ narrow moral
stances
7. Is Highly impartial Social Theory

1. Conditional, negotiated understandings
2. Incomplete, recognizes uncertainty
3. Growing, open, expanding
4. Is testable, is scrutinized
5. Changes based on evidence
6. “Detached,” disconnected,”
7. “Neutral” considers all sides (we hope) Figuring out Social Theory Heritage of Theory
-Identifies the intellectual background of theory. Level of Abstraction
-Identify the level of abstraction
-Macro-theory
-Are broad based theories focusing on structural issues and their broad effects. -Micro-theories
-How people do things out in society,
and interact, and identify self and
others. -Bridging Theories
-Try to connect macro and micro
theories to help explain between
structures and how people engage in
the everyday (e.g. Education, Human
Services, etc.) -Level of Explanation
-What is theory trying to explain?
-What is the theory referring to?
**caution: theories of different levels
cannot exactly be compared
because of the unit of analysis.** -Theoretical Perspective
-Cognitive Theories (Piaget)
-Personality Theories (Modeling)
-Pedagogic Theories (Freire, Giroux)
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