SOC 2010 Book Notes
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Sociological Norms What are such “Norms”? • World constructed based on norms and what people say is “ok” • Steve Jobs attire -> brings about change. • Wear clothing because of what’s okay and never question • Cultural differences spark conflict of interest. Ex: toplessness in men vs. women • Tolerance without getting offended? Appropriateness based on cultural upbringing. Line between tolerance and what’s too far? • Social movements can create change. Ex: women’s rights and discrimination. • Norms at micro and macro levels. Above include micro. Macro involves energy and the like. • Embracing change- may be hardwired to think short term, not about future generations. Stands in the way for long term changes. Overview of Sociology Introduction to Sociology and the Sociological Imagination Sociology is the scientific study of society and human behavior. Sociologists study individuals (as part of groups, communities, and entire societies), groups, communities, societies, and the global society. How does everything outside impact one person and vice versa? C. Wright Mills: the sociological perspective/sociological imagination means understanding human behavior by placing it within its broader social context. Use social forces of history (impact a large number of people who all experience the force) and biography (impact an individual or a small group). • History Example: 9/11 changes world. A lot more security across the U.S. Paranoid due to event. Discrimination increase within Middle Eastern. • Biography Example: Parents can impact their children, and others won’t ever be in the same position. Personal experience. We live in a society that pushes the idea that we are free individuals who are personally responsible for our own lives. We think that people decide their own fate. Human Ecology Approach Social forces: culture, social structure, institutions, stratification Physical geography: housing, diet, clothes Technology Human Behavior Other Natural Factors: population size, disease Basic human needs: Maslow’s hierarchy, needs that all humans have, starting with the most important at the bottom, and the least essential at the top. Innate factors: inborn, intrinsic factors. All 4 interactions work together and cause shifts between one or the other. • Globalization: increased interconnectivity between humans on this planet resulting from enhanced communication and transportation technology, and relatively cheap fuel. Above diagram can fade slightly due to this factor. Housing is an example. • Technology: any tools, simple or complex, that allow humans (or other animals) to adapt to their social and physical environment. Includes knowledge. Example- dry markers • Demography: scientific study of population and population dynamic Human ecology is a study of the interconnection between humans, the natural environment, and the built environment. This includes the study of the relationship between humans and humans, but also between humans and the untouched wilderness (of which there is really none left today, since even those places with no human activity have water and air cycles that are influenced by humans elsewhere on the planet) as well as humans and the environment that has been shaped by humans. Using the human ecology approach, we try to understand human behavior including individuals (as part of groups, communities, and entire societies), groups, communities, societies, and the global society in an even broader context than that used by sociologists. Theoretical Perspectives Three Major Perspectives: looking at same world, in subtly different ways. • A way of thinking about society, guides thinking & research • Focuses attention on different types of questions and explanations. • Some sociologists use one, which others use all three. Functional (Structural-Functional) Paradigm • Framework that says society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. Complex system with parts working together for whole. People behave the way they do because the social structure dictates that they behave that way. o Solidarity: sense of connectedness • Major Assumptions o Society is set up to build stability and harmony. Example- education. Build human capital & work force. Create a unified whole. o Change occurs through evolution. If things aren’t working so well, they change over time & quite slowly. Example- traditional lectures no longer are effective, as creativity is more necessary. Lectures are slowly fading out. • Concepts Behind Paradigm o Social structure- relatively stable pattern of behavior. Teacher/student, parent/child o Social function- there will be high social functions vs low social function • Noteworthy People o August Comte o Herbert Spencer- “Social Darwinist” o Emile Drukheim- empirical research to support his ideas. Example: solidarity decreases suicide rates with exception of too much, cults. o Robert Merton- defined three functions § Manifest function- obvious, stated, overt function. § Latent function- beneficial side effect. § Dysfunction- negative consequence. Undesirable effects. Social-Conflict Paradigm • Framework that views society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change. Social differences, rather than social integration, are the focus of this paradigm. Division between the “haves” and the “have nots”. • Major Assumptions o Competition over scarce resources. Oil, potable water, sex, relationship, food, education, arable land, air, attention. o Structural inequality is built into all social structures. o Change occurs as a result of conflict. • Noteworthy people o Karl Marx & Max Weber are the roots of conflict theory. o Karl Marx § Bourgeoisie- capitalists. People who own means of production (stuff you need to produce goods, such as water, factories, tools & land) § Proletariat- working class, exploited by bourgeoisie. Surplus army of labor (more laborers than necessary, bourgeoisie has the upper hand. Cost of labor goes down) § Ultimate divide comes between the two • Basic questions asked by the Conflict Theorists o Where do problems come from (ex.: conflict, discontent)? o Who benefits from given social structures? o How do those who benefit maintain their advantage? Symbolic-Interaction Perspective • Framework that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Studies the symbolic and subjective meanings upon which human interaction is built. o Symbols: language (tone of voice, facial expression, body language), both written & spoken, religious symbols, signs, clothing, accessories o Experiences shape meanings that shape interactions. Full circle. • Major Assumptions o Symbolic meanings are important. Any behavior, gesture, or word can have multiple interpretations. We must learn what it means to the participants. We have to ask. o Meanings grow out of relationships. When relationships chance so do meanings. (ex: twin towers meaning changes after 9-11) o Meanings are negotiated. We do not accept others’ meanings uncritically. Each of us plays an active role in negotiating the meaning that things will have for us. • Important People o George H. Mead- most often associated with symbolic interactionism. Argued that human social interaction occurs through symbols. Very interested in symbolic thinking and communication. o Wax Weber- Verstehen (German): “We as sociologists need to really understand people’s emotions, thoughts, beliefs, understandings, and attitudes. • Social Constructionism: human beings are all involved in creating the social world. Studies ongoing social construction of reality. o We can perpetuate the world as it is or we can change it. Using the Three Perspectives • Each of the three paradigms provide a unique perspective for helping to develop our understanding of society. • Work nicely together because they look at social life from a variety of perspectives. • One perspective is not superior to the other. • Provide foundation for developing scientific sociology theory Macro vs. Micro Focus • Micro level: small- symbolic interaction • Meso level: medium • Macro level: large- sex appeal Documentary Notes • Definition of beauty comes from one’s own culture • Ethnocentrism: the practice of judging another culture by the standards of one’s own culture. • Eurocentrism: the dominance of European (especially English) culture Patterns • Cultural Relativism: judging another culture by its own standards • Relativist Fallacy: the idea that you can take cultural relativism too far, as some things are just wrong. Ex: Chinese footbinding. • Internalization: the process by which a person comes to fully embrace a belief, value, or norm. Science in Sociology Social sciences are broad. Can include sociology, psychology, political science, etc. All study human behavior. Scientific Approach: science requires empirical evidence. • Auguste Comte- advocated use of scientific method to study human behavior. What is Science?? • Systematic process designed to minimize bias and help us get closer to an accurate understanding of reality. • To be scientific, we must base our sociological knowledge on systematic observation, sound reasoning, and logical analysis. We rely upon empirical evidence (e.g., evidence based upon careful observation of phenomenon in a manner that seeks to minimize bias and that is potentially replicable by self and others) to support our ideas (a.k.a., theories) instead of simply relying upon anecdotal evidence). • Problem comes along when many variables can cause one problem and it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is the “biggest one” o Examples: Eggs & bacon, poverty Goals of Science • Interested in studying patterns. Cannot seek to understand every single individual. • Probabilistic vs. Deterministic o Given the right kind of information, sociologists can predict human behavior in terms of probabilities. § Probabilistic: how likely is a particular behavior, on average, within a population. BELL CURVE. Theories • An idea that describes, explains, or predicts some phenomenon or phenomena. • Scientific theory: an idea about how something works that is logically coherent and empirically testable. • HAS TO BE TESTABLE- If it is not, then it does not fit into a theory. For example, “Does God exist?”, cannot be tested. Or, “Is a fetus a baby?”. In this case, opinions & definitions vary. • SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES o Create abstract theories. Must operationalize the theoretical terms into something measurable in order for it to be ‘measurable’ o From abstract theories, concrete hypotheses about things that can be measured. Called operationalization: abstract concepts to something measurable o Hypotheses are then tested using empirical evidence (not anecdotal evidence. Based on large bodies of evidence. Concrete, measurable, unbiased) § Contain variables. Something that can be changed. Examples: occupation, political party, religion, voting preference, birthrate. ú Different ways of breaking down variables. ú Trying to see if there is a connection between the variables. o Results are interpreted, saying hypothesis is supported or failed to be supported. § Validity- are you accurately measuring what you’re trying to measure? § Reliability- consistency. Does a measure give consistent results over time? • Scientific Theory o Much more than just an idea. Must include: § Well-defined terms so everyone knows what is meant § Logically coherent assumptions that connect those terms to one another § Scope conditions that state the situations to which the theory is intended to apply § Initial conditions that tell us how to operationalize the theory. Research Methods • Focus groups, surveys, observation, experiments, existing sources analysis. • Each research method has pros and cons. o Experiments are best at establishing cause and effect. Try to test theories that apply in limited scope conditions. § Why? Allow us to control other variables that are potential causes of the effects we see. § Random assignment erases all other variables so you can focus on just what you’re looking for. o Surveys are used to find out information about a population without measuring the whole population. § Random sample/ representative sample: each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. § Logic of surveys is to try to generalize results to the whole population. § Cons: people misrepresent. Self reported error. • Data Results o Outcomes of the research o Qualitative data are data in form of words, pictures, objects. o Quantitative data are in the form of numbers and statistics. o Both are empirical information, which means they can be observed and experienced by human senses. Ethical Standards • Researchers must adhere to ethical standards in order to protect research participants and ensure the integrity of their research and findings. • ASA has ethical guidelines Closer to the Truth… • Main Goal Culture Vocabulary Culture- shared set of beliefs, values, attitudes, norms, language, emotions, material possession, gender roles, food ways, etc. that is passed from one generation onto the next. The total way of life that is shared by the members of a society that is passed from generation to generation. Belief- something that is held to be true. Example: all people are equal. Value- one type of belief. Something that is considered to be good versus bad, right versus wrong. The principles or standards of a person or society; the personal or societal judgment of what is valuable and important to life. Attitude- evaluative beliefs along a continuum of favorableness; often emotionally- laden. Prejudice. Worldview- one’s way of seeing/understanding the world, comprised of the amalgamation of beliefs, values, attitudes, understandings about normative behaviors and emotions; one’s worldview helps shape their perceptions and behaviors. Norm- socially accepted behavior. Part of culture. Language- how we communicate. Verbal and non-verbal. Technology- tools, knowledge, skills that allow humans to adapt. Emotion- feelings that result in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Food ways- what is eaten, how it’s prepared, etc. Norms, customs, and ideas about food. Gender roles- normative behavior based upon sex. Prejudice vs. Discrimination • Prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is a behavior. • Prejudice: judgment about an individual or group on the basis of their social, physical, cultural characteristics. Usually negative judgments but can be a favor towards one group. • Discrimination: unequal treatment of individuals on the basis of their personal characteristics, which may include age, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic or physical identity. Discrimination usually refers to negative treatment, but discrimination in favor of particular group may also happen. • Culture largely shapes the way members of that culture think/perceive, words they use, many of their behaviors, and their material world. Culture Types • Subculture: particular religions • Counterculture: a culture that goes against the dominant, mainstream of society. • Ideal types: something that doesn’t really exist in the world, but an artificial category that helps us understand the world. Capitalist society- never have “pure” capitalism, but it’s the idea that is trying to be reached. More of a continuum. • Society vs. Culture: A society is the population that shares the same territory and is bound together by economic and political ties. Often members of a society share a common culture, but not always. Western vs. Eastern society. • Ideal culture vs. Real culture: Ideal= refers to the beliefs, values, attitudes, norms, and other cultural attributes that the members of a culture hold, but not necessarily follow. Real= actual beliefs, values, and practices of the members of a culture. Freedom. “In God we Trust” Norms • Shared rules of conduct that specify how people ought to act. Provide a blueprint for living. • Sometimes helpful because we know how we are supposed to behave. Other times, make us feel like we have too many obligations. • Enforced through positive and negative sanctions. o Positive= rewards & positive reinforcement § Stickers, attention, line leader o Negative= punishment § Bullying, teasing, labeling • Relativity of (norms) deviance o What’s normative and deviant varies across time and space and across cultures. • System of social control: refers to the formal (enforced by govt.) and informal sanctions used to reinforce the norms. • Continuum of Norms o Mildly expected; mildly sanctioned- folkways. § Example: white pants after Labor Day. o Bring about revulsion- taboo. § Example: eating dog for breakfast o Laws: norms that are enforced and sanctioned by the government. • Supreme Court decides if the laws decided by the states are congruent with the Constitution o Anti-miscegenation & same sex marriage • Examples o Norm: phone usage in class. Sanction: person is asked to leave class. On the topic of marriage and family… • In some cultures, it is normal for a man to have more than one wife. • Polyandry- one woman, very many husbands • Different notions of love varying throughout different cultures. • Example: more for a bride to wear a dress at her wedding. Folkway for this dress to be white or light colored. Closer to a taboo to be naked at one’s own wedding. • Folkway for bride’s family to pay for the wedding. It is a mores for the male to buy the female an engagement ring and to propose marriage. • In India- formal norms (those sanctioned by the government) vs. informal (those not necessarily sanctioned by government and possibly opposed formal norms). 50,000 marry against the norms. Culture as a way of problem solving… • Structural functionalists tell us the cultural solutions have evolved over many generations because they solve problems & are kept around because they work. • Conflict theorists tell us the solutions work better for some people in a culture than for others. They say that the powerful manipulate the culture in order to justify and maintain solutions that work to their own advantage • Symbolic interactionists, especially social constructionists, tell us that we are all responsible for constructing and/or perpetuating our culture. We have a choice, even if we don’t think we do. We can remake the social world if we so desire. Language • Language is the carrier of culture. Without, cultures could never become as complex. Allows for: o Coordination o Discussion o Shared understandings • Allows cultural attributes to be transmitted from one generation to the next. • NOT instinctive. • Humans are not limited to gradual process of genetic evolution in adapting to their circumstances as a result of language. More vocab Culture war: polarization within society over controversial cultural elements. • Example: abortion views. Cultural lag: when one part of a culture fails to keep up with another part of society. • Examples: with cell phones, phones at the dinner table. No normative system in place to think about how to handle it. Emerging values: when new values emerge in a culture • Example: in the U.S. we have had emerging values with regard to the following- education for women; animal rights. • Why do new values emerge? Changing social conditions, changing physical environment, or because of the influence of an individual or social movement. Value contradictions/value conflicts: occur when values/beliefs are inconsistent or incompatible with one another. Beliefs can also contradict/conflict with one another. Cognitive dissonance: a mental discomfort that arises when a person has two or more values/beliefs that conflict with one another. • Much easier to avoid cognitive dissonance in a homogeneous society versus a heterogeneous society. When living in a society with a lot of various cultures, you get very mixed messages about how to act. Example: in the Catholic religion, it is frowned upon to have sex before marriage. People that do that may feel discomfort, hence, cognitive dissonance. o Heterogeneous society: society with very diverse cultures embedded within. Such as the United States or United Kingdom o Homogeneous society: societies with very uniform cultures, such as the Amish or South Korea. Socialization Socialization is lifelong… Socialization: the process by which we learn our culture (normative behavior, gender roles, food ways) • Agents of socialization: the people or entities who do the socialization. o Primary: adults, parents, teachers, administrators, media (social media, television, internet, radio), workplace, religious organizations, childcare o Secondary: law enforcement, health care providers, 4-H, FFA • As for education, children that learn vocabulary and basic reading before school have a leg up above all the others. rd o From k-3 grade, children learn to read o From 4 -16 grade, people read to learn. o People with high educational attainment have better life outcomes. • Social psychologists used to believe that if you could simply change people’s beliefs/values through education, then you could automatically change their behavior. Common opinion: “beliefs/values influence behavior.” Wrong… why?? • We have many, often conflicting beliefs/values. • Free will helps shape perception and behaviors, can’t be completely understood, though. • Social structure also plays a role in this. • Habits • Social structure is the greatest influence. For example: discrimination. Forced change. Laws and public policy were pushed so the dynamic was changed completely. Once schools were integrated, beliefs and values started to change. • Types if influences o Direct vs. indirect o Intentional vs. unintentional o Internalized vs. not internalized o Sociologists look at social aspects, not innate factors. Gender • Vocab o Sex: (biological) the biological distinction between females, males, and intersex. o Gender: (socially constructed) the cultural attributes that members of a society attach to sex. What we say that girls are supposed to do versus what boys are supposed to do. Varies from society to society. In US today, girls are supposed to be more nurturing. o Gender roles: (sex roles) the behaviors that a society expects of each sex. Boys may be discouraged to play with dolls. Mostly socialized.Hilary Clinton is more assertive and may be considered a bitch. When guys are considered assertive, they’re tough. o Gender identity: the gender that a person sees for themself o Gender expression: the person’s presentation of gender to others. o Sexual orientation: one’s attraction (physical and romantic) to others. § Heterosexual: person attracted to others of the opposite sex. § Homosexual: person who is attracted to others of the same sex. § Bisexual: person who is attracted to others of both sexes. § Asexual: person who is not attracted to neither sex. Most asexual people are that way because of sexual trauma. o Heterosexism: the believe that being heterosexual is superior to other sexual orientations. Social Structure • Social structures: the expected patterns of behavior and ordered relationships that provide a framework for regulating and organizing individual behavior are referred to as social structure. o A social structure is a recurrent pattern of relationships. It is the framework that surrounds us, consisting of the relationships of people and groups to one another. o Refers to the arrangement of: people to people, groups to groups, social institutions, time, space, rules, regulations, public policies, and more. o Every type of social structure has pros and cons. Republican vs. democratic, single generation vs. many generations, etc. o Types of theories of social structure. § Conflict theorist: social structure is there to benefit the power elite, but may disadvantage the lower portion. § Social constructionist: each and every one of us helps construct the social structure in which we are a part of. • Social positions (status): refer to one’s position in the social structure • Role expectations: refer to the expected behaviors (norms) for a given social position o Parents are supposed to provide shelter for their children. However, some parents don’t know that their role expectations is to value education. • Gives direction to & sets limits on behavior. May feel constraining since it obliges us to behave in a particular way. Makes life easier if we like our social role expectations & voluntarily follow them. o Tends to change over time. Ga y Rights Movement. Provide convenient, comfortable way of handling life. • Status set: all of the social positions and associated role expectations that one person has. o I am part of: education system, family, religious institution, political system, friendship groups, economy. o My status set: daughter, sister, friend, cousin, student, citizen, church member. § Each status has a different set of role expectations. • Role conflict: when there is inconsistency between the role expectations of two or more social positions in a person’s status set. Which one do you step up to? • Role strain: when there is inconsistency between the role expectations of one single social position. o Example: as a student, someone may have an essay and tests due during the same day. • Role conflict & role strain cause cognitive dissonance. If it doesn’t bother you, then it’s not cognitive dissonance. However, if it causes mental discomfort, then it is. • Managing role conflict & role strain: o Decide which social position is most important to you, keeping in mind both short-term & long-term. o Procrastinate wisely by accomplishing another role expectation. o Avoid taking on new social positions or think very carefully before taking them on. o “Bundle” your social positions whenever possible. • Achieved status: a social position that a person earns. • Ascribed status: a social position that assigned to you or that you get (it’s NOT your choice) • Race: a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that are considered important in that culture. Both biological and socially constructed. • Ethnicity: a shared cultural heritage. Name, language, food ways. • Social stratification: (social hierarchy) ranking or layering of people based upon the respect, prestige, or value with which a society accords them. • Socioeconomic status: position based upon wealth and income, as well as occupation, education, & lifestyle. • Economic class: a position based upon income and wealth In-groups & out-groups • In-groups refer to those individuals with whom a person has a sense of belonging and to whom a person feels loyalty. • Out-groups refers to those individuals toward whom a person has a sense of antagonism because out -group members are “not one of us” or “no t like us” • Person’s distinction between in -group members and out-group members can lead to bias, prejudice, discrimination, hatred, violence, even murder. • Examples: Jews vs. Palestinians, Democrats vs. Republicans Power-elite • People at the top of government, industry, and the military often belong to politically powerful networks. They often go to the same schools; sit on the same boards of directors of corporations and non -governmental organizations; and belong to the same clubs and voluntary organizations. Norms & Deviance Norms: shared rules of conduct that specify how people ought to act. Norms provide a blueprint for living. • Sometimes are helpful because we know how we’re supposed to behave. Other times they make us feel like we have too many obligations and not enough choices. Deviance: violations of social norms. Defined by the other people who are part of society. • Can be a behavior, appearance, verbalization, etc. Something that is seen as negative or a problem, becau se it threatens predictability of society. • Socially constructed, varies from time to time, & place to place System of social control: the formal and informal sanctions used to enforce norms and discourage deviance. Conformity: engaging in behavior that is congruent with the behavior of one’s group/subculture/culture. • Asch studies & Sherif study • Human beings are a lot more likely to conform than we may like to admit. Obedience to authority: obedience to authority refers to compliance with the instructions of or the commands of an authority figure. People are frequently quite obedient to authority figures, even when it goes against their own values and beliefs. • In general, people have a strong tendency toward obedience to authority. • Meta-analysis: statistical analysis of the data from many studies • Ethical standards were not in place at the time. Theories about Deviance • Merton’s strain theory : idea that people engage in deviant behavior when they have limited culturally approved opportunities to achieve culturally approved goals. o Excessive deviance results from society’s failure to provide the means to achieve cultural goals. o Some kids don’t get the opportunity for learning based on going to poor schools. (or something.) • Sutherland’s differential association theory: people acquire deviant behaviors by interacting with different people. People who spend a lot of time with other people who are deviant are more likely to be deviant as well. Especially true for primary group members. • Conflict theory: power-elite controls the criminal justice system and promotes the myth of impartiality and fairness. o Power elite defines what is legal versus illegal. o Determine the level of punishment for various crimes, responsible for judging and sentencing. Laws they create serve to protect the power of the elite and oppress those without power. Institutions Social Institutions • Social institutions are relatively stable clusters of social positions, role expectations, and groups that work together to fulfill some needs that all societies must satisfy. o Society is made up of social institutions that shape our behaviors and thoughts. o Include family, education system, religious institutions, economic system, political system, military, criminal justice system, health care system, media & science. o Some of these social institutions are also agents of socialization. Makes sense since socialization of mem bers is a need that all societies must satisfy. Examples: family, religious institutions, education system. o Industrialized and post-industrialized societies are much more complex and therefore have many more social institutions than hunter and gatherer societies, pastoral and horticultural societies, and agrarian societies. • Political and economic systems as soc ial institutions Ideal types of economic system • The economy is the social institution responsible for the production and distribution of goods & services. • Pure capitalism: Capitalism refers to an economic system based upon a privately owned means of production and a profit motive. 2 big distinguishing features. Who owns the means of production (factories, land, raw materials, & labor IF there’s slavery). People/individuals own the means of production. Motive for production is profit. § Problems: Haves vs. have nots § What’s good? Productivity, creativity & innovation. • Pure socialism: Government on behalf of the people (such as the Soviet Union & North Korea). Motive for production is to meet the needs of the people. o Problems: hard time central planning, ha ve to decide what is a need vs. a want. Government is never really on behalf of the people. • Social democracy: taxes are huge. More of a flattening with the social classes. • In the United States, legal obligation of publicly traded corporations is to maxim ize profit. Publicly traded = created on the open stock market. o Not a pure capitalist society. Government owns some means of production including education, transportation, import/export, health care, energy industry. Political systems: • What is it? Social institution that uses power to determine whose values will predominate, how rewards and resources will be allocated, and the manner in which conflicting interests in society will be resolved. • Power is the ability of one group or one person to realize i ts will, even in the face of resistance from other groups. o Legitimate power/authority § Tradition (e.g, monarch with divine right) § Charismatic power: someone has something special about them that makes people want them to rule. § Legal-rationale power: power comes from formal written documents . United States uses this type of authority. o Illegitimate power/authority: not considered right or just by the people but enforced with coercion. • Pure democracy: power in the hands of the people • Pure autocracy: 1 person or family who has power. o Military dictator may rule (Hitler), monarchy, totalitarian government. o Totalitarian: all common social institutions (family, education, economy, religion) are under total state control. o Dictatorship: single individual is at the pinnacle of power. • Representative democracy: people vote for representatives • Oligarchy: power is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of people who make the decisions. (closer to autocracy side) • United States claims to be a democracy. However, in order to keep a democracy, the people have to make a decision. On a slope toward oligarchy. If representatives don’t hear what we want, they won’t do things on our behalf. • Public policies: formal rules about values, resources, conflicts of interest. o Wealthy corporations, individuals, foundations à money (advertising, travel, staff, etc.) à election campaigns à votes à elected officials à public policies § Wealthy corporations help but want to maximize profit. • Economic and political systems are designed to benefit dominant groups, possibly at the expense of minority groups. • People will take more risk for something that they already have rather than making big moves for something new. The ones who achieve the most through the political process are the ones that already have power. • Perspectives • Structural Functional Perspective o Function of political and economic systems is to make organized social life possible in societies that are large and complex o Education system has many functions including: § Teaching knowledge and skills necessary for a competent workforce § Cultural transmission of mainstream values § Providing a social network for young people • Conflict Perspective o Looking at family, one might explore the manner in which traditional marriages with a breadwinner husband and stay -at-home wife have kept women subservient or have overworked men outside of the home. o Education system helps to reproduce the socia l stratification system by inequitably funding public schools. • Symbolic-interaction perspective o Looking at family, one might be interested in meanings as they relate to family, such as the meaning of divorce and how it has changed over time. o Education system, interested in how people’s meanings of things in the education system (e.g., teacher, test, college degree) impact their behavior; how those meanings arose; and how those meanings change over time and via social interactions/negotiations. Family as a Social Institution The family is a social institution that is involved in meeting the following needs: • Regulates sexual behavior and reproduction • Is partially responsible for socialization and education • Confers social status to family members • Is responsible for the care and protection of the young, weak, sick, and old; meeting in needs of these people is the responsibility of the family is most societies. o If this is not fulfilled through immediate family care, things such as daycare, Hospice, nursing homes. Problems with this is that our society still expects the family to take on the grunt care. • Provides affection and companionship. Maslow’s hierarchy can be achieved through a solid family. o Someone that may not be fortunate enough to have all thatthey need to, may be stuck without the ability to make it up that pyramid. Not guaranteed that any other social institution will help. • Social forces would be more noteworthy to a socialist than the influence of innate characteristics. Sociological way of look ing at the world means looking at cultural and structural explanations than on individual or personality explanations. Education system as a social institution Education system is the social institution responsible for systematic, formal transmission of skills, knowledge, and values. Religion as a social institution Religious institutions are groups that share a sub-culture related to the sacred. Sacred is Durkheim’s term for things set apart or forbidden, that inspire fear, awe, reverence, or deep respect. Functionalists say that religion is universal because it meets basic needs of individuals and societies. • Religion answers difficult questions. • Religion provides moral and normative guidance for everyday life. • Religion instills value; gives meaning to life. • Religion provides support in times of crisis. • Religion fosters social solidarity: communities with homogeneous beliefs, values, attitudes, norms are closely connected. • Max Weber saw religion as a potential source of profound social change. Conflict theorists believe that religion supports the status quo with its social inequality and promotes conflict. • Religion supports a way of life that serves some individuals/groups and leads to the exploitation and oppression of other individuals/groups… religious tenets often justify persecution and oppression. • Religion is used to legitimate social inequalities and support existing social arrangements by saying that is what god wants. Examples: divine right of kings, anthropocentrism, Hinduism/caste syst em. • Religion fosters social conflict: communities with homogeneous beliefs, values, attitudes, norms are closely connected to each other, but often develop intense out - group hostilities toward others… this leads to bias, culture wars, wars, genocide, etc. • The intense focus on the afterlife leaves less incentive to improve this world and take care of it. • Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the people: escapism, forget misery, take eyes off suffering. Classical scholars views on religion • Karl Marx asse rted that religion is the “opium of the people”, causing oppressed/persecuted/exploited people to passive in the face of social inequality and oppression. • Emile Durkeim was interested on how religion promotes social solidarity and how that influences suicide rates. NOT individual suicide but the rates of suicide. Curtain religions promote just the right amount of social solidarity. • Max Weber wrote The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism to explain how Calvinism contributed to the rise of capitali sm. He was interested in how religion can contribute to social change. Amish doesn’t spend money and invests it back in their business. Or something, idk. Social Stratification A person’s position in the stratification system affects many things in cluding: • Their worldview and behaviors • Their access to material resources • Their opportunities in life • The age at which they will die. All societies are stratified, although some have greater inequality than others. Socioeconomic status (SES) is different than economic class… it is a more inclusive term. Includes wealth/income as well as education and occupation. Some people even think it includes a shared lifestyle (e.g., people of high SES are more likely to play po lo and golf and listen to classical music than are people of low SES) • Three perspectives to understand stratification o Functionalist: social stratification and social inequality may be the result of a society’s need for order and balance. Some people have to be in higher status positions, some in middle, and some in the lower, in order to keep society functioning effectively. o Conflict: some people manipulate the system to their own advantage and to others’ disadvantage. By restricting the number of positio ns in medical schools, the power -elite seek to maintain their dominant position in society. • Colonialism: controlling countries with military power • Neo-colonialism: controlling countries with economic power (that’s where we are today) 2/13/16 3:25 PM
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