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UH / Sociology / SOC 1300 / the sociological imagination is the capacity to think systematically

the sociological imagination is the capacity to think systematically

the sociological imagination is the capacity to think systematically


School: University of Houston
Department: Sociology
Course: SOC 1300
Professor: Patricia dorsey
Term: Spring 2015
Tags: sociology and Introduction to Sociology
Cost: Free
Name: Sociology 1300 Week 2 Notes
Description: These notes include ideas gone over in the textbook as well as in class from the first chapter.
Uploaded: 01/29/2017
4 Pages 88 Views 23 Unlocks

⮚ Institutions are not easily changed, so it’s difficult to avoid and we must answer to them 3) Where did society come from and how is it different from other social sciences?

2) Why do social contexts matter?

1) How Can a Sociological Imagination help you better understand your world?

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can help us better understand some of the ways  that our existence is dependent on our relationships with others ❖ Society- A large group of people who live in the same area and participate in a common culture ❖ Sociology- The study of societies and the social worlds that individuals inhabit within them ⮚ Influences around you and how they affect your behavior and choices ⮚ Focus-Patterns of behavior ▪ Patterns we see about people and how different categories of people behave in different  scenarios ❖ Globalization- Increased flow of goods, money, ideas, and people across national borders ❖ Arum and Roska (2011) ⮚ Tracked young adults’ progress through diverse colleges and universities and beyond ⮚ Revealed different college experiences and different postgraduate paths ⮚ Slightly more than a third of students demonstrated no significant improvement on general skills  test 1) How Can a Sociological Imagination help you better understand your world? ❖ Sociological imagination- The capacity to think systematically about how things we experience as  personal problems are really social issues that are widely shaped by others born in a similar time  and social location as us ⮚ C. Wright Mills coined this term in 1959 ⮚ Promises of the sociological imagination (As said by C. Wright Mills) ▪ Challenges impulses to see life as inevitable ▪ Taken for granted assumptions that we have; things that guide our everyday choices ▪ Insight into stereotyping and discrimination  ▪ Opportunities and constraints ▪ Active and effective participation  ⮚ Understanding that we are individuals, but also part of a social world Looking Through a Sociological Lens ❖ A sociological imagination can help us see diversity in intimate relationships and question  assumptions ❖ Stereotype- Beliefs about members of a group that are usually false, or at least exaggerated, but are  the basis of assumptions made about individual members of the group ❖ Discrimination- Any behavior, practice, or policy that harms, excludes, or disadvantages individuals  based on their group membership ⮚ Sociological imagination challenges stereotypes by raising questions about where they came  from, who benefits, and why they are harmful Engaging our Sociological Imagination to ask Good Questions ❖ When we begin to watch the people around us, we are beginning to use our sociological imagination⮚ More than just looking past making broad generalizations  ⮚ Requires deeper and more meaningful questions ⮚ Ability to ask hard questions instead of just accepting easily available answers  From Personal Puzzles to Sociological Questions ❖ For some, sociological imagination was triggered by some event, while for others it may have  developed slowly ⮚ Seeing conventional wisdom, or widely shared assumption as incorrect can do this ❖ Forming sociological questions- ⮚ Social Theories- Overlooking frameworks that suggest certain assumptions and assertions about  the way the world works, for posing such questions and evaluating evidence related to those  questions ⮚ Research Methods- ways of systematically studying questions in order to develop new evidence  that allows new answers to be generated  ❖ Asking questions can be dangerous 2) Why do social contexts matter? ❖ Social context- The influence of society on individuals ⮚ Core of sociological imagination- the idea that individuals lives unfold in contexts; sociological  environments ❖ Factors that are going to influence a child’s life ⮚ Immediate family ▪ Parents’ education levels, wealth, and income ⮚ Neighborhood and community ⮚ Education the child will get ▪ Quality of school ⮚ Organizations the child will have access to  ▪ People they meet in these settings ⮚ Employment ⮚ Country he or she is born in ⮚ Period of history the child was born in Families and Communities as Context ❖ Gives us racial, ethnic, and religious identities  ⮚ Teaches us basic rules of society and how to behave in society or social setting ❖ Ex: Violence in a neighborhood can affect a child’s school performance  Sociology as the Study of Social Contexts ❖ Social interaction vs. social structure ⮚ Social interaction- The way people act together, including how they modify and alter their  behavior in response to the presence of others ▪ Governed by a set of norms ▪ Norms- Basic rules of society that help us know what is and what is not appropriate to do in  any situation▪ Who we are and how we characterize ourselves depends on the context we are in ▪ Sociologists argue what we sensor ourselves because of our concern for the social  consequences of our actions ⮚ Social Structure- The external forces, most notably in the social hierarchies and institutions in  society ▪ Components of social structure: ∙ Social Hierarchy- Set of important social relationships that provide individuals and  groups with different kinds of status, in which some individuals and groups are elevated  above others ∙ Institutions- Longstanding and important practices (Marriage, family, education,  economic markets) as well as the organizations that regulate these practices  (government, military, schools, religion); provide a framework for our daily lives ▪ Social structures are limiting and enabling ∙ Chaos ensues without them, and are most obvious to us when they break down ❖ Roles- Positions within an institution or organization that come with specific rules or expectations  about how to behave- partly determines by social standing ⮚ Institutions are not easily changed, so it’s difficult to avoid and we must answer to them 3) Where did society come from and how is it different from other social sciences? ❖ Can apply sociological imagination to development of sociology and other social sciences Sociology and the Industrial Revolution ❖ Sociology and other social sciences began to develop when growing numbers of people began to  turn from abstract ideas or debates to thinking about how things were in the real world and how  that world could be systematically investigated ❖ Point where philosophy crosses over into sociology- the desire to think about hard questions with  something other than pure speculation  ❖ Pat Sharkey ⮚ Link between neighborhood violence and school performance ⮚ Violence can be absorbed and transmitted through social context ⮚ Children experience effects at school ❖ Auguste Comte ⮚ The term “Sociology” credited to him; first used in 1839 ⮚ Thought it would include both “social Statics” (Study of societies as they are) and “Social  Dynamics” (The process of social change ❖ Early social scientists often identified with several disciplines  ⮚ Thorstein Veblen and John Commons were economists ⮚ Adam Smith and Karl Marx were Philosophers who also spent a lot of time thinking about  economic relations ⮚ These were times of “Chaos of the disciplines” ⮚ Between 1880 and 1910, societal sciences began to settle into organized bodies of knowledge  ❖ Settling down first occurred in Europe ⮚ Father of sociology: Emile Durkheim▪ Founded first European sociology department at University of Bordeaux and first major  European journal of sociology in 1898 ▪ Study on suicide ∙ In certain groups have higher rates of suicide than other groups ∙ More likely: Unmarried, males, childless, protestants, and wealthy ∙ Less likely: Married, females, parents, Jews and Catholics, poor ∙ Social integration ♦ Those that have a higher level of integration had lower rates of suicide ⮚ Sociology department at University of Chicago in 1895 (first in America) ❖ Born to understand emerging social worlds spawned by industrialization and urban growth ⮚ Industrialization- The growth of factories and large scale goods production ⮚ Urbanization- The growth of cities ⮚ Urban Areas- Defined as areas with a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile  and all surrounding areas that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile ▪ Between 1850 and 1920 ⮚ Unions- Organized associations of workers (created in order to protect and fight for their rights) ⮚ Social Movements- Collective action aimed at bringing about some kind of change in society ▪ Took 20 years for social sciences to establish an institutional presence in the U.S Sociological Families: Siblings  ❖ Sociology is more broad than other sciences ⮚ Can be hard to define parameters ⮚ Very flexible in how sociologists approach a topic of study ❖ Sociology works with different units of analysis ⮚ Units of Analysis- The pieces of a topic that a researcher bites off when studying it ⮚ Can offer multifaceted perspectives on similar social phenomena ⮚ Important not only because they affect what aspects of our topics we can see, but also shape  the explanations sociologists provide ▪ Address a wider range of connections than other social sciences ❖ Interdisciplinary Research- Drawing on the ideas and insights of other fields and disciplines ⮚ Sociology is the most interdisciplinary ⮚ Draw from the work of historians as well ❖ Criminology, gender studies, African American Studies, etc. are the children of sociology

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