Intro to Sociology: Ch. 1 & Ch. 4
Intro to Sociology: Ch. 1 & Ch. 4 Introduction to Sociology
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Date Created: 02/28/16
1 Introduction to Sociology SOC 101 (Section 002C) *** Notes from the Textbook: OpenStax. 2013. Introduction to Sociology Theory I – Functionalism Chapter 1: An Introduction to Sociology (p. 17 – 22) 1.3: Theoretical Perspectives o Sociologists study social events, interviews, and patterns Develop theories to explain why these occur and what can result from them Theory: a proposed explanation about social interactions/society o Social Solidarity: the social ties that bind a group of people together such as kinship, shared location, and religion o Proposing theories supported by data gives sociologists a way to explain social patterns and to posit cause-and-effect relationships in social situations o Grand Theories: attempts to explain large-scale relationships and answer fundamental questions such as why societies form and why they change o Macro-level: a wide-scale view of the role of social structures within a society Theories tend to be abstract and can be difficult if not impossible to text empirically o Micro-level Theories: the study of specific relationships between individuals/small groups Dependent on their context and are more concrete Scientifically testable o Paradigms: philosophical and theoretical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories, generalizations, and the experiments performed in support of them (p. 18) 1) Structural Functionalism Level of Analysis: macro/mid Focus: how each part of society functions together to contribute to the whole 2) Conflict Theory Level of Analysis: macro Focus: how inequalities contribute to social differences and perpetuate differences in power 3) Symbolic Interactionism Level of Analysis: micro 2 Focus: one-to-one interactions and communications o Functionalism: a theoretical approach that sees society as a structure with interrelated parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of individuals that make up that society Oldest of the main theories of sociology From the writings of English philosopher and biologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) who likened society to a human body Various organs in the body work together to keep entire system functioning and regulated Various parts of society work together to keep entire society functioning and regulated o Emile Durkheim Primitive societies were held together because most people performed similar tasks and shared values, language, and symbols; exchanged goods and services in similar ways Modern societies – more complex because people served many different functions in society and their ability to carry out their function depended upon other being able to carry out theirs Sees society as a complex system of interrelated parts, working together to maintain stability Dynamic Equilibrium: a stable state in which all parts of a healthy society are working together properly o Social Facts: the laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all of the cultural rules that govern social life Each of these social facts serves one or more functions within a society o Alfred Radcliffe – Brown (1881-1955) English sociologist Believed that these functions worked together to maintain a stable society was controlled by laws that could be discovered through systematic comparison Social interactions had to be made at the social level and not involve the wants and needs of individuals Function: the part a recurrent activity plays in the social life as a whole and the contribution it makes to be structural continuity o Robert Merton (1910-2003) structural functionalist Manifest Functions: sought consequences of a social process Latent Functions: the unrecognized/unintended consequences of a social process 3 Dysfunctions: social patterns that the undesirable consequences for the operation of society o Conflict Theory: a theory that looks at society as a competition for limited resources Society as being made up of individuals who must compete for social, political, and material resources such as political power, leisure time, money, housing, and entertainment o Max Weber There was more than one cause for conflict; besides economics, inequalities could exist over political power and social status Level of inequalities could also be different for different group based on education, race, or gender If two authority of the people in power was considered legitimate by those whom they had power, then conflicts were less intense o George Simmel (1888-1918) German sociologist Conflict can help integrate and stabilize a society The intensity and violence of the conflict depended upon the emotional involvement of the different sides, the degree of solidarity among the opposing groups, and if there were clear and limited goals to be achieved Groups work to increase their internal solidarity, centralize power, reduce dissent, and become less tolerant of those not in the group during conflict Resolving conflicts can release tension and hostility and pave the way for future agreements o Symbolic Interactionism: a theoretical perspective through which scholars examine the relationship of individuals within their society by studying their communication (language and symbols) Communication is how people make sense of their social worlds o Three Basic Premises (p. 21) 1) “Humans act toward things on the basis of the meanings they ascribe to those things.” 2) “The meaning of such things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with others and the society.” 3) “These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the things he/she encounters” (Blumer 1969). o Look for patterns of interaction between individuals 4 o Studies often include one-on-one interactions o Dramaturgical analysis: a technique sociologists use in which they view society through the metaphor of theatrical performance o More likely to use qualitative research methods because they seek to understand the symbolic worlds in which research subjects live Theory I – Functionalism Chapter 4: Society and Social Interaction (p. 85-90) 4.2: Theoretical Perspectives on Society Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) o Individuals behavior was not the same a collective behavior, and that studying collective behavior was quite different from studying an individual’s actions o Collective Conscience: the communal beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society o Social Integrations: how strongly a person is connected to his/her social group Key factor is social life o Mechanical Solidarity: a type of social order maintained by the collective consciousness of a culture Things are done mostly because they have always been done that way When people tend to do the same type of work, they tend to think and act alike Organic Solidarity: a type of social order based around an acceptance of economic and social differences Allows people with differing values to coexist Anomie (“without law”): a situation in which society no longer has the support of a firm collective consciousness As societies reach an advanced stage of organic solidarity, they avoid anomie by redeveloping a set of shared norms o Karl Marx (1818-1883) “base and superstructure” Idea that a society’s economic character forms its base, upon which rests the culture and social institutions, the superstructure 5 It is the base (economy) that determines what a society will be like Bourgeoisie: the owners of the means of production in a society Proletariat: the laborers in a society “class antagonisms” – result of one class dominating another Bourgeoisies dominated the proletariat laborers Bourgeoisies – revolutionary because they represented a radical change in the structure of society Alienation: an individual’s isolation from his society, his work, and his sense of self Four Types of Alienation 1) Alienation from the product of one’s labor Worker does not care what the product he/she is producing is contributing to 2) Alienation from the process of the one’s labor Worker does not control the condition of his/her job because he/she does not own the mean of production Everything is decided by the bourgeoisie who is the dictate orders to the laborers 3) Alienation from others Worker competes, rather than cooperate Employees use for time slots, bonuses, and job security 4) Alienation from one’s self Loss of connectivity between a worker and his/her occupation A cog in a machine Individual has no control over his/her life False Consciousness: a person’s beliefs and ideology are in conflict with his/her best interests Workers are less likely to question their place in society and assume individual responsibility for existing conditions Class Consciousness: awareness of one’s rank in society Class could become an advocate for social improvements o Max Weber 6 Feared that industrialization would have negative effects on individuals Class, status, and power – structure of society Class – economically determined Status – based on noneconomic factors such as education, kinship, and religion Class and status determined an individual’s power, or influence over ideas Society is split between owners and laborers Rationalization: a belief that modern society should be built around logic and efficiently rather than morality/tradition he was more interested in how individuals experienced societal divisions than in the divisions themselves Iron Cage: a situation in which an individual is trapped by societal institutions
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