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Chapter 1: Sociology and the Real World

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Donna Wood

on 27 August 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 1: Sociology and the Real World

Reality TV:
Why Do We Watch?
Chapter 1: Sociology and the Real World
Practical vs. Scientific
Knowledge
What is Sociology?
The systematic or scientific study of human behavior, from large-scale institutions and mass culture to small groups and individual interactions.
Howard Becker: People doing things together.
Beginner's Mind
The beginner's mind approaches the world without knowing in advance what it will find; it is open and receptive to experience.
Culture Shock
A sense of disorientation that occurs when you enter a radically new social or cultural environment.
Mills: The Sociological Imagination
A quality of the mind that allows us to understand the relationship between our individual circumstances and larger social forces.
One of the most important benefits of using the sociological imagination is access to a world beyond our own immediate sphere, where we can discover radically different ways of experiencing life and interpreting reality.
It helps us appreciate alternative viewpoints and understand how they come about. This, in turn, helps us to understand better how we developed our own values, beliefs, and attitudes.
Mills: The Sociological Imagination
Mills: The Sociological Imagination
Mills: The Sociological Imagination
The ability to understand "the intersection between biography and history" and our place within it.
Private vs. Public
Micro / Macro
Microsociology: the level of analysis that studies the face-to-face and small group interactions in order to understand how they affect the larger patterns and institutions of society.
Macrosociology: the level of analysis that studies large-scale social structures in order to determine how they affect the lives of groups and individuals.
MICRO
Interaction: The Work Women Do (Fishman)
Fishman was able to tell how macro-level phenomena like gender and power are manifested in everyday interactions with her study of heterosexual couples' conversations in their homes. She found that men are more likely to interrupt, change the subject, or fail to respond. According to her study, women are more likely to ask more questions as a conversational tool.
MACRO
Male/Female Occupational Analysis (Williams)
Williams studied men and women in occupations dominated by the opposite sex. She found that women in male-dominated fields experience limits on their advancement (the glass ceiling). While men in female-dominated occupations usually experience rapid rates of upward mobility (the glass escalator).
Sociology's Family Tree
Social Theories
Social theories are guiding principles or abstract models that attempt to explain and predict the social world. They may also be thought of as approaches, perspectives, schools of thought, or paradigms.

The four primary sociological perspectives are:

Structural Functionalism
Conflict Theory
Symbolic Interactionism
Postmodernism

Auguste Comte
The first to provide a program for the scientific study of society
Positivism
Introduction to Positive Philosophy (1842) - became the scientific foundation of a scientific discipline that would describe the laws of social phenomena and help control social life: sociology
Harriet Martineau
Herbert Spencer
Emile Durkheim
Karl Marx
Max Weber
George Herbert Mead
The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology, Ferris, K., & Stein, J. (2014). 4th ed., Norton, ISBN: 0-393-92258-8, ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92258-5
English - Well-educated
Traveled to US to judge the new democracy on its own terms
Author of two books
Translated Comte's work into English
Primarily responsible for the establishment of sociology in Britain and the U. S.
Societies are living organisms that grow and evolve
Social Darwinism: the application of the theory of evolution and the notion of "survival of the fittest" to the study of society
Inspiration for the Conflict Theory: the idea that conflict between social groups is central to the workings of society and serves as the engine of social change.
Industrial Revolution
Believed capitalism was creating distinct social and economic classes: Proletariat/Bourgeoisie.

Rationalization: the application of economic logic to all human activity; the use of formal rules and regulations in order to maximize efficiency without consideration of subjective or individual concerns.
Bureaucracies: secondary groups designed to perform tasks efficiently, characterized by specialization, technical competence, hierarchy, written rules, impersonality, and formal written communication.
Iron Cage - Disenchantment
Verstehen: "emphathic understanding"
Central figure in Structural Functionalism
The Division of Labor in Society
mechanical solidarity
organic solidarity
Anomie: the alienation and loss of purpose that result from weaker social bonds and an increased pace of change.
The Elementary Forms of Religion
social solidarity: collective bonds, moral values
Study of sucide: First application of positivism in Sociological studies
Central figure in Symbolic Interactionism
The Chicago School: field studies
Pragmatism: seeking the truth of an idea by evaluating its usefulness in everyday life
The meanings we assign to everyday objects and events are fundamentally social processes-they require the interaction of multiple individuals.
Language: crucial to the development of self, there is no mind without language, language is a product of social interactions

W.E.B. DuBois
First African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard
Groundbreaking sociological research
Co-Founder of the NAACP

Jane Addams
Taught extension courses at the Chicago School
One of the first proponents of Applied Sociology
Hull House
Co-Founder of the NAACP

Structural Functionalism
Society is conceived as a stable, ordered system made up of interrelated parts, or structures.
Each structure has a function that contributes to the continued stability or equilibrium of the unified whole
Structures are social institutions like family, education, politics, the economy, and religion. (cultural universals)
Structures perform different functions and each is necessary to maintain social order and stability.
Dysfunction in a structure leads to change or a new equilibrium.
Manifest functions / Latent functions
Conflict Theory
Conflict and tension are basic facts of social life, people have disagreements about goals and values and are involved in struggles over both resources and power.
False consciousness: a denial of the truth on the part of the oppressed when they fail to recognize the interests of the ruling class in their ideology. (Justification of the status quo.)
Offshoots: Critical Theory, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory
Symbolic Interactionism
A paradigm that sees interaction and meaning as central to society and assumes that meanings are not inherent but are created through interaction.
A paradigm based on the assumption that society is a unified whole that functions because of the contributions of its separate structures.
A paradigm that sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change, and emphasizes a materialist view of society, a critical view of the status quo, and a dynamic model of historical change.
We act toward things on the basis of their meanings.
Meanings are not inherent. They are negotiated through interaction with others.
Meanings can change or be modified through interaction.
Offshoots: Dramaturgy, Ethnomethodology, and Conversation Analsis.
Postmodernism
A paradigm that suggests that social reality is diverse, pluralistic, and constantly in flux.
There are no absolutes, no claims to truth, reason, right, order, or stability.
Everything is relative
Critical of grand narratives: overarching stories and theories that justify dominant beliefs and give a (false) sense of order and coherence to the world.
Deconstruction: a type of critical postmodern analysis that involves taking apart or disassembling old ways of thinking.
Example: Hip Hop
Social Sciences
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