Card Set Information
concerned with understanding the relationship between indv and society
* how does soc shape indv?
* in turn, how do indv "make society"
concerned with understanding "forces" particularly social forces
social forces are REAL and real in their CONSEQUENCES
why is there order in the world? (as opposed to disorder/chaos)
*think systems, organizations, bureaucracies
what is taken for granted
*what do people assume to be true?
*does commonsense really make sense?
are forces because they shape, form, and conform indv in society
*think in terms of "templates" or "molds"
*the way we live follows a certain pattern
~ soc answers the Q
: what are these patterns?
Natural Forces/ Social Forces
just as there are NAT forces, there are SOC forces operative in the social world
Like nat forces, soc forces are often invisible
but they are real and real in their consequences
Soc forces shape the way we think, see, and experience life
the scientific study of soc life
studies the relationship btwn indv and soc structures
includes micro-level analyses focusing on indv, such as studies of sm grps and attitude change
includes macro-level analyses focusing on soc structures, such as studies of political and econ systems
sets of explanations/ attempt to account for something
building blocks of theories, important contributing ideas that make up a theory
Birth and evolution of sociology
*est order being overturned
enlightenment and science
industrialization/ urbanization (rise of capitalism)
*transistion from agriculture to industrial
many lived on the cup of the transition from pre-modernity to modernity
they observed soc changes affected ppl and societies on a massive scale
August Comte (1798-1857)
born in Fr. & heavily influence by the Fr. rev.
coined the term sociology
proposed applying the scientific methods used in the natural science to the soc sciences
called this approach positivism
C. Wright Mills
the sociological imagination is the capacity for indv to understand the relationship btwn their indv lives and broad soc forces that influence them
being able to see the link btwn:
history <-> biography
private troubles<-> pub issues
indv lives <-> societal forces
"our lives are not purely personal, but are lived out in the context of social circumstances that affect us all."
the soc structure of reality
explain the recurrent themes
Theme: social control
how is soc ctrl maintained in a society?
how pwrful is soc ctrl?
how far would you go in response to soc ctrl
Would you let some one take pics of you naked?
Posture photos & social control
1000s of students at some of the nation's most prestigious universityies had these pics taken, incl George Bush Sr., Hilary Clinton, and many others
How can social control be so powerful?
the great majority of social control is internalized social control in which people do thing because they believe it is the right thing to do, not because they are forced to do so.
Emile Durkheim (structural-functionalism)
Theme: Social structure
soc structures are enduring, relatively stable patterns of soc behavior.
soc structures constrain soc behaviors even behaviors we might think are solely indv.
: consider suicide. Suicide is not just a highly personal indv act, but is influenced by soc factors
rates differ by country and gender
Russell Sorgi (1942)
*the woman was described as a divorcee. Sorgi's camera caught her as she plunged to her death
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
: regular patterns of behavior that exist independently of indv and constrain indv behavior
conducted a classic study in which he found suicide to be related to soc integration of indv in a lgr society (EX
: egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide)
developed the structural-functional perspective
Structural functional Theory
Structures (some social structures lead to important consequences)
Soc consequences ( the consequences, in turn, help societies survive)
Society (So societies, that survive are more likely to have these structures)
Structural-Functional Theory Example: Families
Families (families have important consequences like socializing children)
Socializing children (Well-socialized children help societies survive)
Society (So societies that survive are more likely to have families, because those lacking families are unlikely to survive)
AKA the consensus perspective
*Social order is good
: what can tie ppl into their society?
views individuals as objects (instead of subjects)
Humans- impacted by soc structure beyond their ctrl
: beyond/ operates independently from indv
Durkheim argued that crime/deviance was a necessary and function aspect of society.
Crime was "healthy"!
indv, though constrained by soc circumstances, can make decisions and take actions that influence their own lives and those of others.
Symbols are used to communicate meaning btwn ppl
emergent properties are important characteristics of groups that cannot be reduced to some simple combination of characteristics of indv
Theme: The social construction of reality
ppl offer a "definition of the situation"- a statement or action that explicitly suggest the meaning the actor would like others to attribute to their actions
competing defs of the situation are reconciled to produce a "negotiated order"- a shared meaning of the situation agreed upon by all participants.
since the meaning of soc life is negotiated in a soc process amg participants, reality is not directly experienced by indv so much as it is socially constructed
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
son of a new England minister
taught at the Univ of Chicago
developed symbolic interactionist perspective
believe ppl can interact by taking the role of the other
: words, gestures, objects, ect, that communicate meaning
the conventions of relating
Focus of Interactionist theory
Focus on micro-level
indv, thoughts, behaviors, meaning, ect,
day to day stuff (like interaction)
AKA the sociology of everyday life
an attempt to gain a subjective understanding
the idea of understanding from the POV of "being in your shoes"
: culture, socialization, & shared ideas
Humans have agency:
not "simply tossed about" by structures
humans are constrained:they respond to soc rule and can modify them
can influence their own lives (subjects not objects)
Theme: Social inequality
There is great inequality both within societies and btwn societies
Examples of social inequality
top 10% of US population own 91% of all securities
the avg income in the US is 100s, even 1000s of times lgr than the avg income in some developing countries
the per capita consumption in developed countries is more than 10x lrg than the per capita consumption in developing countries
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
born in Germany, spent most of his life in Britain
influence by the industrial rev
believed that human history was the history of class conflict
father of the conflict perspective
society consists of grps competing for scarce resources
what appears on the surface to be cooperation merely mask the struggle for power
social structures persist in society
*serve the interest of wealth & pwrful
Marx's social theory
means of production
: who owns it and who doesn't?
*non-owners- proletariat (have to sell labor)
Why don't people free themselves from control?
lack of awareness
failure to recognize one's own oppression
adopting and seeing as natural the very views and ideas that subjugate you
Critique of conflict
: is it really inherent in all types of relationships?
focus on inequalities, differentials of pwr on all scales
Theme: social change
soc change is a pervasive aspect of soc life
soc change occurs more quickly in some societies than in others... Why?
German son of a successful Protestant entrepreneur
argued modern life was experiencing increasing rationality
traditional organizations were being superceeded by bureaucracies
the Protestant work ethic encourage the rise of capitalism
soc life is based on rational action guided by subjective understanding (verstehen) anchored in shared cultural ideas)