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•The systematic study of human behavior in social context.
•The degree to which group members share beliefs and values and the intensity
Sociological Explanation of Suicide
- •Émile Durkheim showed that suicide rates are strongly influenced by social forces.
- •Durkheim argued that suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups.
•Occurs when norms tightly govern behavior, so individual actions are often in the group interest.
–Example: When soldiers knowingly give up their lives to protect members of their unit.
•Results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties to others.
–Example: The rate of egoistic suicide is likely to be high among people who lack friends and are unmarried.
•Occurs when norms governing behavior are vaguely defined.
–Example: When people live in a society lacking a widely shared code of morality, the rate of anomic suicide is likely to be high.
Suicide Rates by Sex and age
-males over age of 75 are likes to commit suicide o: just males in general
•Sociologists call stable patterns of social relations social structures.
•One of sociology’s tasks is to identify and explain the connection between personal troubles and the social structures in which they are embedded.
•The quality of mind that enables one to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures.
Origins of Sociology
1.The Scientific Revolution suggested that a science of society is possible.
2.The Democratic Revolution suggested people can intervene to improve society.
3.The Industrial Revolution presented social thinkers with social problems in need of a solution.
- •Began in Europe about 1550.
- •Encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of society must be based on solid evidence, not just speculation.
•Began about 1750, during which the citizens of the United States, France, and other countries broadened their participation in government.
•This revolution suggested that people organize society and that human intervention can therefore resolve social problems.
•The rapid economic transformation that began in Britain in the 1780s.
•Involved the application of science and technology to industrial processes, the creation of factories, and the formation of a working class.
•Created a host of new and serious social problems that attracted the attention of many social thinkers.
- •French social thinker Auguste Comte (1798–1857) coined the term sociology in 1838.
- •Comte wanted to adopt the scientific method in the study of society.
- •He was a conservative thinker, motivated by strong opposition to rapid change in French society.
Features of Functionalism
- Features of Functionalism
- 1.Human behavior is governed by social structures.
- 2.Theories show how social structures maintain or undermine social stability.
- 3.Theories emphasize that social structures are based on shared values.
- 4.Suggests that reestablishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems.
•Leading functionalist in the United States
- •Proposed that social structures may have different consequences for different groups.
- –Some of those consequences may be disruptive or dysfunctional.
•Some functions are manifest, others are latent.
Features of Conflict Theory
-what does it stress?
-What does it suggest?
- Features of Conflict Theory
- 1.Focuses on macro-level structures, such as “class relations”.
- 2.Shows how major patterns of inequality produce stability in some circumstances and change in others.
- 3.Stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain advantages while subordinate groups struggle to increase theirs.
- 4.Leads to the suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase total human welfare.
•German social thinker who originated conflict theory.
•Class conflict, the struggle between classes to resist and overcome the opposition of other classes, lies at the center of his ideas.
The first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard.
•A founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and of the country’s second Department of Sociology, at Atlanta University.
C. Wright Mills
-what theory was he into?
-what did he argue?
- •Laid the foundations for modern conflict theory in the United States in the 1950s.
- •Conducted pioneering research on American politics and class structure.
- •Argued that power is highly concentrated in American society, which is less of a democracy than we are often led to believe.
-what did he notice?
-argued what about which members of society and why?
- •Noted the rapid growth of the service sector of the economy, with non manual workers and professionals.
- •Argued that members of these occupational groups stabilize society because they enjoy higher status and income than manual workers in the manufacturing sector.
George Herbert Mead
-what did he study? and what was the "driviing force"?
•The driving force behind the study of how the individual’s sense of self is formed in the course of interaction with other people.
•Mead and his colleagues developed symbolic interactionism
Features of Symbolic Interactionism
Features of Symbolic Interactionism
1.Focus on interpersonal communication in micro-level social settings.
2.Emphasis on social life as possible only because people attach meanings to things.
3.Stress the notion that people help create their social circumstances and do not merely react to them.
4.Validation of unpopular and nonofficial viewpoints by focusing on the subjective meanings people create in small social settings.
•Those who argue that apparently natural or innate features of life are often sustained by social processes that vary historically and culturally.
Features of Feminist Theory
- Features of Feminist Theory
- 1.Focuses on patriarchy.
2.Holds that male domination and female subordination are determined by power and social convention.
3.Examines the operation of patriarchy in micro- and macro-level settings.
4.Patterns of gender inequality should be changed for the benefit of all members of society.
-what studies did she focus on?
•Often called the first woman sociologist.
•Martineau translated Comte into English and wrote one of the first books on research methods.
•She undertook critical studies of slavery, factory laws, and gender inequality and was a leading advocate of voting rights and higher education for women and gender equality in the family.
- •Jane Addams was cofounder of Hull House, a shelter for the destitute in Chicago’s slums.
- •She spent a lifetime fighting for social reform and provided a research platform for sociologists from the University of Chicago.
- •In 1931, Adams received the Nobel Prize.
Theoretical Traditions in Sociology:
1. Functionalist: macro: values; How do institutions of society contribute to social stability?
2. Conflict: Macro: Inequality; How do privileged groups maintain advantages and subordinate groups increase theirs, often causing social change in the process?
3. Symbolic Interactionist: Micro: Meaning-How do individuals communicate to make their social settings meaningful?
4. Feminist: Macro/Micro: Patriarchy-Which social structures and interaction processes maintain male dominance and female subordination?
•The process of carefully observing reality to assess the validity of a theory or to generate a new one.
• cycle: Formulate question> Review literature>Select Method>Collect data>Analyze Data> Report results
Researchers must respect their subjects’ rights to:Safety, Privacy, Confidentiality, Informed consent
A quality that can change from case to case, for example: age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status.
-Indep. vs dependent variables
a statement about what one is expected to find.
•Independent variable–The presumed cause in a cause-and effect relationship.
•Dependent variable–The presumed effect in a cause-and effect relationship.
•The degree to which a measurement procedure yields consistent results.
•The degree to which a measure actually measures what it is intended to measure.
- •The issue of who the results are applicable to.Population
- •The entire group about which the researcher wishes to generalize.
•Part of the population of research interest that is selected for analysis.
•Sample in which members of the population have the same chance of being selected for the study. When we have a random sample we can generalize about the population.
•Getting who we can get to participate in the study. When we have a convenience sample we can only generalize about the people included in the study.
•Asks people questions about their knowledge, attitudes, or behavior, either online, in a face-to-face interview, telephone interview, or paper-and pencil format.
•In a survey, a type of question that provides the respondent with a list of permitted answers.
•Each answer is given a numerical code so that the data can later be easily input into a computer for statistical analysis.
•In a survey, a type of question that allows respondents to answer in their own words.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Research: Methods of Survey:
Strengths: Good reliability; useful for establishing cause-and-effect relationships; good generalizability.
Weaknesses: Some problems with validity (but techniques exist for boosting validity).
•Research based on the observation of people in their natural settings.
-Strengths and weaknesses
A type of field research that involves carefully observing people’s face-to-face interactions and actually participating in their lives over a long period, thus achieving a deep and sympathetic understanding of what motivates them to act in the way they do.
Strengths: Researchers get “inside” the minds of their subjects and discover their worldview.
Weaknesses: Low reliability; not very useful for establishing cause-and- effect relationships.
•The tendency of people who are observed by a researcher to react to the presence of the researcher by concealing certain things or acting artificially to impress the researcher.
Analysis of Existing Documents And Official Statistics
-weaknesses and strengths
A nonreactive research method that involves the analysis of diaries, newspapers, published historical works, and statistics produced by government agencies, all of which are created by people other than the researcher for purposes other than sociological research.
Strengths: Often inexpensive and easy to obtain, provides good coverage; useful for historical analysis; nonreactive.
Weaknesses: Often contains biases reflecting the interests of their creators and not the interests of the researcher
-weaknesses and strengths
A carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to isolate hypothesized causes and measure their effects precisely.
Strengths: High reliability; excellent for establishing cause-and-effect relationships.
Weaknesses: Low validity for many sociological problems; problems with generalizability.
Steps in Experiments
- 1.Selection of subjects.
- 2.Random assignment of subjects to experimental and control groups.
- 3.Measurement of dependent variable in experimental and control groups.
- 4.Introduction of independent variable to experimental group.
- 5.Re-measurement of dependent variable in experimental and control.
- 6.Assessment of experimental effect.
•In an experiment, involves assigning individuals to experimental and control groups by chance processes.
•The group in an experiment that is exposed to the independent variable.Control Group
•The group in an experiment that is not exposed to the independent variable.
•Culture is the sum of practices, languages, symbols, beliefs, values, ideologies, and material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems.
•High culture is culture consumed mainly by upper classes.
Defining Culture: High and popular
- •High culture–Culture consumed mainly by upper classes.
- •Popular culture (or mass culture)–Culture consumed by all classes.
•People who interact, usually in a defined territory, and share a culture.
Core American values
- •Achievement and success
- •Material comfort
- •Activity and work•Freedom
- •Efficiency and practicality
- •Science and technology
- •Groups to which they belong
The Origins of Culture
- 100,000 years ago, humans lived in harsh natural environments, were slower runners and weaker fighters than many other animals.
- •They survived, prospered and came to dominate nature.
- •They created cultural survival kits of enormous complexity and flexibility.
Cultural Survival kits
Abstraction, Cooperation, Production
•Abstraction - create ideas or ways of thinking that are not linked to particular instances.
•Cooperation - establishing generally accepted ways of doing things.
•Production -making and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from nature.
•Anything that carries a particular meaning, including the components of language, mathematical notations, and signs.
Norms and Values
- •A norm is a generally accepted way of doing things.
- •Values are ideas about what is right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
Material and Nonmaterial Culture
- •Material culture is composed of the tools and techniques that enable
- people to get tasks accomplished.
- •Nonmaterial culture is composed of
- symbols, norms, and other nontangible elements of culture.
•The sum of sanctions in society by means of which conformity to cultural guidelines is ensured.
Sanctions and Social Control
Sanctions, Taboos, Folkways
•Sanctions are rewards and punishments intended to ensure conformity to cultural guidelines.
•Taboos are among the strongest norms.
•Mores are norms most people believe are essential for the survival of their society.
•Folkways are the least important norms.
- •A system of symbols strung together to communicate thought.
- •Allow us to share understandings, pass experience and knowledge and make plans for the future.
- •Allows culture to develop.Cultural Relativism
- •The belief that all cultures have equal value.
Two Faces of Culture: Freedom and Constraint
1.Culture provides us with an opportunity to exercise our freedom.
2.Existing culture puts limits on what we can think and do. In that sense, culture constrains us.
•The tendency to define oneself in terms of the goods purchased.
- •Excessive consumption:
- –puts limits on who we can become
- –constrains our capacity to dissent from mainstream culture
- –degrades the natural environment
according to Weber, means
- 1.The application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals
- 2.The unintended, negative consequences of doing so.
- •In Weber’s view, rationalization is one of the most constraining aspects of contemporary culture
•Highlights the achievements of nonwhites and non-Europeans in American society.
•Supporters argue that the curricula of America’s public schools and colleges should reflect the country’s diversity and recognize the equality of all cultures.
•Critics fear that multiculturalism is being taken too far.
The Rights Revolution
•The process of socially excluded groups struggling to win equal rights under the law.
Examples: women’s rights, minority rights, gay and lesbian rights, the rights of people with special needs
•Because of the rights revolution, democracy has widened and deepened.
•The process by which formerly separate economies, states, and cultures are being tied together and people are becoming increasingly aware of their growing interdependence.
- –An eclectic mixing of elements from different times and places.
- –The erosion of authority.
- –The decline of consensus around some core values.
•The tendency of symbolic culture to change more slowly than material culture.
•Rationalization is the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the unintended, negative consequences of doing so.