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BGSU / Social Science / SOSC 1010 / Who coined the term "sociological imagination"?

Who coined the term "sociological imagination"?

Who coined the term "sociological imagination"?


School: Bowling Green State University
Department: Social Science
Course: Principles Sociology
Professor: Meredith gilbertson
Term: Fall 2016
Cost: 25
Name: EXAM 1
Uploaded: 02/09/2017
13 Pages 47 Views 2 Unlocks

Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective  What is sociology?

Who coined the term sociological imagination?

- Sociology is the study of human behavior in society. What do sociologists do?  

- Sociologists study people and how society has an effect on  their behaviors  

Sociology is a scientific way of thinking about society and its  influence on human groups.  

Sociological Perspective and Sociological Imagination  - What is the sociological perspective?

o Ability to see the societal patterns that influence  individual and group life.  

- In 1959, C.W. Mills coined the term sociological imagination  o Sociological imagination is the ability to connect the  most basic, intimate aspects of an individual’s life to  seemingly impersonal and remote historical factors   Sociological Imagination is structured in 2 ways:  ∙ Troubles privately felt problems from events  

What is sociological imagination in your own words?

We also discuss several other topics like How does a nerve cell communicate with another nerve cell?

or feelings in one individual’s life  

∙ Issues- events that affect large numbers of  

people and have their origins in the  

institutional arrangements and history of  


The Sociological Perspective  

- Discovering Unsettling Facts  

o Sometimes what we believe to be true is not supported  by research  We also discuss several other topics like How are wavelength frequency and energy related to each other?

- Debunking  

o Debunking refers to looking behind the facades of every day life  

- Establishing Critical Distance  

o Ability to detach from the situation and to view things  critically  

The Significance of Diversity  

- Diversity refers to the variety of group experiences that  result from the different factors that shape how society is  organized.  

What are the major factors of social change?

We also discuss several other topics like How does moment-to-moment affect development?

o Diversity shapes the opportunities one has

o Diversity includes the study of different cultures   This has become easier with technology  

The Development of Sociological Theory  

- In the 18th and 19th century, faith in the ability for mankind to solve its problems and survive is known as the Age of  Enlightenment or Age of Reason.  

- These early contributors set the stage for the birth of  sociology  

o Auguste Comte- “positivism”

 French philosopher  

 Positivism is the belief that sociology could  

discover laws of human social behavior and help  

to solve societal problems.  

o Harriet Martineau- participant observation  

Classical Sociological Theory  

- These three classical sociologists set the foundation for our  current thinking and understanding of sociology  

o Emile Durkheim: 1858-1917

 Some of Durkheim’s major work focuses on the  forces that hold society together  

∙ He called this force social solidarity If you want to learn more check out Why is there no regular army?

 He studied suicide and he found that people who  did this had lower rates of social solidarity and  We also discuss several other topics like What causes world war 2?
If you want to learn more check out What did socrates say about knowledge?

they had no sense of belonging. He called this  


 Durkheim viewed society as larger than the sum of its parts.  

 He saw society as an integrated whole with each  part contributing to the stability of the system.  

∙ This is the central theme of functionalism

∙ Social facts, which are external to the  

individual, exercise constraints on individual  


∙ Suigeneris: thing in itself  

o Karl Marx: 1818-1883

 He saw society as systematic and structural and  class as a fundamental dimension of society that  

shapes social behavior.

 Marx’s Ideas

∙ Was devoted to explaining how capitalism, an economic system based on pursuing profit,  

shaped society

∙ Classes of capitalism  

o Bourgeoisie  

o Proletariats  

o Petty Bourgeoisie  

o Discarded members of society  

 Lumpenproletariat  

o Max Weber (“Vay-ber”): 1864-1920  

 Multidimensional analysis of society ‘

∙ Political  

∙ Economic  

∙ Cultural  

 Webers Idea’s  

∙ Believed that sociologists must not protect  their political ideas on their students and  

should be value-free  

o The German word verstehen refers to  

understanding social behavior from  

the point of view of those engaged in it.  

∙ Social Action  

o Behavior in which people give meaning

o Theoretical Frameworks  

 Sociologists use theory to organize their  

observations and apply them to broad questions   Macrosociology: interested in society as a whole   Microsociology: Interested in face to face  interaction

 The main theoretical frameworks used by most  sociologists are:  

∙ Functionalism (Macro)  

o Focuses on how each of society’s parts,  

institutions and systems contribute to  

the stability of the whole.  

 Manifest and latent functions

o Functionalists are concerned with the  stability and shaped public values of the culture or the society.

o Inequity is a device by which societies  ensure the most important positions are  filled by the most qualified person.  

o Intended function is going to college  o Unintended function of college is  

meeting your love in college  

∙ Conflict Theory  

o It emphasizes the role of coercion and  power, a person or group’s ability to  exercise influence and control over  

others, in producing social order.  

o Conflict theory emphasizes strife and  revolution as an agent of social change  o Society is comprised of groups that  compete for social and economic  


∙ Symbolic Interactionism  

o It studies the ways groups of people,  cultures and societies assign different  meaning to behavior, events or things.  

o These theorists emphasize face-to-face  interaction and pay attention to words,  gestures and symbols.  

o Social order is constantly negotiated and created through the interpretations  

people give to their behavior.  

∙ Feminist Theory and Post Modernism  o Feminist theory studies, analyzes and  explains social phenomena from a  

gender-focused perspective  

o Post modernism looks at means found in the words and images that people use to represent behavior and ideas

 Postmodernists thing that images  and text reveal the underlying  

ways that people thing and act

Chapter 2

Culture & the Media  

Culture: is a learned set of beliefs, values, norms. And material goods  shared by group members  

- Culture includes ways of thinking as well as patterns of behavior  - Observing culture involves studying what people think, how they  interact, and the objects they use.  

Material and Nonmaterial Culture  

- Culture is both material and nonmaterial  

o Material Culture consists of objects created in the society  o Nonmaterial Culture consists of non-tangible things such as  norms, laws, customs, values, beliefs and ideas of a group of  people.  

Characteristics of Culture  

- Five universal aspects of culture that apply to all cultures everywhere  o Culture:  

 Is shared  

 Is learned  

 Is taken for granted  

 Is symbolic  

 Varies across time and space

Culture is Shared  

- Culture is collectively experienced and agreed upon  

o People within a given culture use shared symbols, language  patterns, belief systems and ways of thinking.  

o This is true even when there is great cultural diversity within the  society.  

Culture is Learned  

- People in any culture learn the ways of their culture  

o Learning a culture is often done through socialization

o Culture can also be learned indirectly through observation and  imitation

Culture is taken for granted  

- People engage unknowingly in hundreds of cultural practices every  day; culture makes these practices seem “normal”  

o We do what we do without stopping to ask “Why am I doing  this?” It is just the way it is done.  

Culture is Symbolic  

- Symbols are things or behaviors to which people give meaning; the  meaning is not inherent in a symbol but its bestowed by the meaning  people give it.  

Culture Varies Across Time & Place  

- Culture develops as humans adapt to the physical and social  environment around them.  

o Solutions to everyday problems vary in different time periods.

o Culture is a mix of the past the present.  

 Example: the Nikolas because in Serbia it is Nikola but  since it is already screwed up with the k just put an s on  

the end to make it American.  

Elements of Culture  

o Language  

o Norms  

o Beliefs  

o Values  

- Every culture relied on these elements to provide its people with a way to live  

- No culture can exist without them.

The Elements of Language  

∙ Language: is a set of symbols and rules that, put together in a  meaningful way, provide a complex communication system.  ∙ The formation of culture among humans is made possible by language ∙ Language is fluid and dynamic and evolves in response to social  change  

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  

∙ Language shapes culture  

o Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  

 Language determines other aspects of culture because  language provides the categories through which social  

reality is defined

∙ The idea has met criticism, and contemporary linguists now believe in  a two- way causality between language and culture.  

o Each shape and influence the other.  

Social Inequality in Language  

∙ The names of various racial and ethnic groups impose an identity on  individuals wihin those groups

∙ Some believe reclaiming offensive terms as positive within their own  culture, cohesion and solidarity are created

∙ Reappropriation: a group of people making it okay to use a word only in their group but still offensive outside of that group of people  o Ex.) the word queer  

The Elements of Norms 

∙ Norms: are the specific cultural expectations for how to behave in a  given situation  

∙ With norms in place, people know how to act, and social interactions  are consistent, predictable, and learnable

∙ There are norms governing every situation.  

o Implicit or explicit  

∙ Folkways are the general standards of behavior adhered to by a group o Wearing underwear  

o Brushing your teeth  

∙ Mores are strict norms that control moral and ethical behavior  o Typically, laws  

o Violating or breaking a more can result in formal sanctions or  punishments.  

 Social sanctions are mechanisms of social control that  enforce norms  

∙ Positive or negative  

 Taboos are the strictest norms  

∙ Ethnomethodological research teaches us that society proceeds on an  “as if” basis.

o Exists as one way only because we believe it’s the only way   Ex.) Incest  

The Elements of Beliefs 

∙ Beliefs are shared ideas held collectively by people within a given  culture about what is true  

∙ Whether a belief stems from religion, myth, folklore, or science, it  shapes what people take to be possible and true.  

The Elements of Values 

∙ Values are shared ideas about what is social desirable and morally  correct  

o Values determine what is considered right and wrong, beautiful  and ugly, good and bad.  

Cultural Diversity  

∙ As societies develop and become more complex, different cultural  traditions appear.

∙ The greater the society’s complexity the greater the internal variations  and diversity.  

Dominant Culture  

∙ Is the culture of the most powerful group in a society.  

∙ Receives the most support from major institutions and that constitutes  the major belief system.  


∙ Cultures whose values and norms differ to some degree from those of  the dominant culture  

∙ Traits

o Members of subcultures tend to interact frequently with one  another and share a common worldview.  


∙ Subcultures created as a reaction against values of the dominant  culture.  

Ethnocentrism & Cultural Relativism 

∙ Ethnocentrism is the habit of only seeing things from the point of  view of one’s own group.

o Evaluating the customs of other groups according to one’s own  cultural standards

∙ Cultural relativism is the idea that something can be understood and judged only in relationship to the cultural context in which it appears.  o Simply put, one must learn to view the behavior form the  perspective of the social group in which it is practiced.  

Mass Media & Pop Culture  

∙ The term mass media refers to the channels of communication that  are available to wide segments of the population.  

o The mass media has extraordinary power to shape culture,  including what people and the information available to them.  ∙ Mass media is organized via economic interests  

o It is owned by a small number of companies that form huge  media monopolies  

 This means that a few very powerful groups. Media  

conglomerates, are the major producers and distributors of culture

 Culture hegemony  

Popular Culture  

∙ Popular culture refers to the culture’s beliefs, practices, and objects  that are apart of everyday traditions

Functionalism and Culture  

∙ Functionalist theorist believe that norms and values create or disrupt  social bonds that attach people to society.  

Conflict and Culture  

∙ Conflict theorists see contemporary culture as produced within  institutions that based on inequality and capitalist principles. Symbolic Interaction and Culture  

∙ Symbolic interactionists are concerned with the meaning that people  give to behavior and how social interaction produces and changes  culture and cultural behavior  

∙ Symbolic interaction also emphasizes that culture, like all other forms  of social behavior, is socially constructed

o Ex.) GM used to be a symbol of a good job if you worked for  them, a bachelors degree does not match up to what it meant 15 years ago

What is society? 

∙ Human society is a system of social interaction that includes both  culture and social organization  

∙ It involves social interaction

o Behavior between two or more people that is given meaning to  them  

∙ According to sociologist Emile Durkheim, society is sui generis  o Greater than the sum of its parts  

Macro and Micro  

∙ Conflict and functionalism is macro

∙ Symbolic interaction and micro  

Social Institutions  

∙ Social institution is an established and organized system of social  behavior with a recognized purpose.  

∙ Industrial societies have nine major institutions:

1.) Family  

2.) Education  

3.)Work and the economy  

4.) Political institution (or state)  


6.) Health care  

7.) Mass media  

8.) Organized sports

9.) Military  

Functions of Social Institutions  

1.) Socialization of new members  

2.) Product and distribution of goods and services  

3.)Replacement of society’s members  

4.) Maintenance of stability and existence  

5.) Providing members, a sense of purpose  

Conflict: Social Institutions  

∙ Conflict theory notes that social institutions do not meet the needs of  all people equally  

∙ Conflict theorists see disharmony and he subordination of groups of  individuals as inherent within social institutions.  

Social Structures  

∙ Social structures are the organized pattern of social relationships and  social institutions that together compose society.  

What holds Society Together? 

∙ Collective consciousness—body of beliefs common to a community  of society that give people a sense of belonging  

∙ Two types of societies based on the type of social solidarity they  exhibit

o Mechanical solidarity  

 Exists in societies in which its members play similar roles  within the society, share the same values, and hold the  

same things sacred.

 Characterized by:

∙ Tradition  

∙ Unity  

∙ Consensus of norms and values  

∙ Strong informal pressure to conform  

o Organic solidarity  

 Exists in societies in which people have many different  

roles and roles are highly differentiated  

∙ Characterized by:  

o Variety of roles  

o Division of labor


∙ Gemeinschaft= community  

∙ Held together by similarity and unity  

∙ Characterized by:  

o Moderate division of labor  

o Strong personal ties  

o Strong family relationships  

o Sense of personal loyalty  

o Small simple social institutions  


∙ Gesellschaft= society  

∙ Held together by their differences  

∙ Characterized by:

o Less prominence of personal ties  

o Somewhat diminished role of the nuclear family  

o Lessen sense of loyalty to the society  

Types of Societies  

∙   Preindustrial  

1.) Forging societies (hunting and gathering)

2.) Pastoral societies  

3.) Horticultural societies  

4.)Agricultural societies  

∙   Industrial  

5.) Industrial societies  

 Industrial societies use machines and other advanced  

technologies to produce and distribute goods and services.

 Some characteristics  

∙    High division of labor  

∙    Immigration  

∙    Gender inequality  

6.) Postindustrial societies  

 Depend economically on the production and distribution of  services, information and knowledge.  

 These societies are information-based, and technology  plays an important role in the social organization.  

 Definition of Social Groups  

∙ To sociologists, a group is a collection of individuals who: 1.)Interact and communicate with each other  

2.) Share goals and norms  

3.) Have a subjective awareness of themselves as a distinct social unit  ∙ Not all collections of people are groups  

o There are also categories


∙ Status is an established position in a social structure that carries with  it a degree of prestige  

∙ A status is a rank in society  

∙ Status set—complete set of statuses occupied by a person at a given  time  

o Master status  

∙ Sociologists differentiate between ascribed (given at birth) and  achieved (the result of individual effort)

∙ Gender is an achieved status!!!

∙ Sex is your ascribed status!!!


∙ Role is the behavior others expect from a person associated with a  particular status  

∙ Role expectation is behaving as others expect someone in that  position to behave.  

∙ Role sets are all the roles occupied by the person at a given time.  ∙ Role conflict is when two or more roles impose conflicting demands  and expectations  

∙ Role strain is when conflicting expectations within the same role are  imposed simultaneously.

∙ Status= Occupied  

∙ Role= play  

Verbal/ Non-verbal Communication  

∙ Verbal  

o The tone of our voice, pauses, emphasis on certain words

∙ Nonverbal  

o Tactile communication  

- Touching  

o Proxemic communication  

- Space  

- “personal bubble”

Interpersonal Relationships  

∙ Human relationships are patterned by social forces and are predictable o 75% of our time is spent with other people  

∙ Attraction can be scientifically predicted by:  

o Proximity  

o Exposure effect  

o Perceived physical attractiveness  

o Similarity  

Social Constructionism  

∙ Our perception of what is real is determined by the subjective meaning that we attribute to an experience.  

∙ There is no objective “reality” in itself

∙ Things do not have their own intrinsic meaning; it is subjectively  imposed on them.  

∙ We will see this principle in the next slide.  

∙ Example: the colors and what they mean around the world  o Red: sexy  

o Blue: cold  

o Black: evil

o White: surrender or purity

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