Sociology 101: Class Notes: August 25th - August 27th What is Sociology? ∙ Individuals vs. Groups (In its simplest form; people in society) o How individuals interact with a given society o How larger social structures affect individual lives o How societies are connected o What goes on between people ∙ “Sociology isWe also discuss several other topics like kris mcwhite uga
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devoted to discovering the general in the specific” (Peter Berger) ∙ How does structure impact individual lives? Is Sociology a Science? ∙ Yes; the science of patterns of human social behavior 1. Science 2. Behavior 3. Social Behavior What is Science? ∙ It is a way to explain how things work (look at individuals as the unit of analysis) ∙ Process of scientific method ∙ Collection of relevant data (through nature) ∙ Develop a hypothesis consistent with observations ∙ Use it to make predictions What is Behavior? ∙ Any change in the energy of a living organism o Feelings o Cognition o Perceptions o Evaluations o Physiological responses (blushing) What is Social Behavior?∙ Actions and responses that stimulate individuals from one to another ∙ Can an individual be social? Yes ∙ We are reflective beings; we are those who are able to respond to themselves ∙ Social behavior: any stimulus that responds to, past-present future, real or imagined, itself or any other organism ∙ Sociology: science of patterns of human social behavior o Use of the scientific method to understand and interpret repetitious commonality of human and social behavior o Sociology is also based on perspective; how we envision society, world, and everyday occurrences in our everyday lives ∙ Go into life with limited ideas on how the world operates ∙ “Narrow mindedness” and “limited exposure” Concept of Social Construction 1. What do sociologists mean when they say a concept is socially constructed? 2. What does it mean for a given concept to be socially constructed? 3. What absolutely must happen for any given socially constructed concept to not be a social construction? ∙ It’s the meanings assigned to various aspects of particular culture or subculture (usually by the majority population) ∙ Many of the concepts that are typically mainstream = concrete (race, gender, religion) are considered to be social constructions ∙ Meaning and language are abstract in nature, although they can become very real in terms of people’s actions (special properties) ∙ Easily fluid and historically contingent o Example: Concept of race from Pre-Colonialism to the present ∙ Meanings differ between different cultures in different countries as well as differences across the globe; notions of masculinity within the U.S ∙ People determine the meaning and legitimacy of socially constructed concepts o Example: Religion and religious institutions September 1st – September 3rd The Concept of Social Construction ∙ How do sociologists define social construction? o Social construction: it is the meaning(s) assigned to various aspects of a particular culture or subculture, usually by the majority population ∙ Peter Berger: “Sociology as a Passion to Understand” o Discusses the differences between troubles and issues o All of our similar troubles contribute to a larger issue o The problem with racism (or other larger, public issues): it’s not about the individuals, it’s about society ∙ Peter Berger: claims that things are never what they seem… however o “People who like to avoid shocking discoveries, who prefer to believe that society is just what they were taught in Sunday school…who feel no temptation before closed doors…who are only interested in human beings if they can change or convert them…should stay away from sociology.” (7) o “Sociology will be satisfying, in the long run, only to those who can think of nothing more entrancing than to watch men and to understand things human.” (7) What is the Sociological Imagination? ∙ A way “to describe the ability to see the link (relationship) between incidents in the lives of individuals and large social forces” ∙ The ability to get the “big picture” ∙ “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two in society” ∙ The way that we think about X, Y, and Z ∙ “…In order to understand the experience of a given person or group of people, one had to have knowledge of the social and historical context in which people lived.” Troubles ∙ “Occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others.” ∙ “Is a private matter; values to be cherished by an individual are felt by him to be threatened.” Issues∙ “Have to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life” ∙ “Is a pubic matter; some value cherished by publics is felt to be threatened.” What is a Theoretical Perspective? ∙ We can look at perspectives as models o Each model makes assumptions about society and gives meanings to what we see and experience ∙ No one model is best (no such things as 100% models) ∙ Sociologists may try to incorporate several models to better explain how the world works Micro, Meso, & Macro Perspectives ∙ Micro: concerned with individual and small-group level interactions; concerned with contextual and situational meanings and interpretations o Problems of spousal abuse ∙ Meso: focus is on units (usually) smaller than the nation, yet large enough to encompass the local community or region o Changes in the status of women within a country ∙ Macro: focus is on larger entities rather than individuals and small-groups (i.e., societies, cultures, global system, etc.) o Problem of pollution Three Big Sociological Theories 1. Symbolic Interaction (Micro) 2. Functionalism (Meso) 3. Conflict (Macro) Symbolic Interaction ∙ Also known as Social Construction Theory (Interactionist) ∙ Tend to investigate the smaller details of everyday activities ∙ Concerned with how people give meaning to events, objects, other folks, etc., in their everyday lives ∙ Interested in exploring the interaction and communication of individuals or groups of individuals ∙ Symbolic Interaction is based on FIVE core ideas o Asserts that people interpret meanings to a stimulus before they react Thus, unlike most behaviorist models that suggest human behavior represents stimulus-response chains, the interpretation or assigning meanings to the stimulus before people react is a central idea to symbolic interaction Stimulus --> Interpretation --> Response Examples: Reactions to criticism, Halloween sadism o Asserts that social interaction is based on the constant interpretation & reinterpretation of situations Adjustments and readjustments are constantly made to compensate these interpretations Thus, humans are pragmatic actors who continually must adjust their behavior to the actions of other actors Examples: Instructors in the classroom, negotiations o Meanings assigned to object are socially constructed The symbolic meanings places on certain objects may differ in dramatic ways from one person or group to another If the self is viewed as an object, then the kind of person you assume yourself to be could mirror the meanings others have placed on you Examples: Flag burning, looking glass self o Different groups often assign different meanings to the “same” object, events, symbols, other folks, etc. Examples: Use of your left hand, using your “thumb” as a symbolic gesture, making the “A OK” sign o Established meanings are always subject to transformation Examples: Historical redefining of “womanhood,” race, etc. Criticisms of Symbolic Interaction ∙ Sometimes overly impressionistic research methods ∙ Overestimating power of individuals to create personal realities ∙ Narrow focus of research ∙ Downplays major social structural issues Functionalism ∙ Attempts to visualize society as a system where all the parts work together fluidly (even though each part may be doing different things)∙ Tend to believe that societies are cohesive systems where institutions work together to maintain the stability, integration, consensus, and balance of that system o We can use the analogy of the human body or the assembly line to describe how society works o Values & Norms (ex: family, religion, work, education) determine how cohesive our society is o All of these work with one another and have to work smoothly for the “bigger picture” o Everything stems from values and norms o End result is simply “creation” (everyone has a purpose) ∙ Functionalism is based on the following ideas o Practices and institutions are established to address potential societal problems New institutions are created in tune with newly perceived societal problems Example: educational institution = educating young families = socializing the young ∙ Different things have driven what the goal of getting an education really means over the years (desire to learn vs. desire to receive a diploma) o Institutions additionally act as alternatives to meet the basic needs of society Example: insurance, social security, & welfare programs alternatives to extended family ∙ The family was THE institution to take care of ALL the problems (kids, elderly, basic needs) ∙ Had larger families to help them work out all these issues (working on the fields while elderly stay in) ∙ Post-industrial society = smaller families ∙ Detrimental to have larger families in the city/urban areas of working wage labor o Consensus or general agreement on core values and norms create social cohesion Emile Durkheim (1858-1917): one of the first sociologists to make use of scientific and statistical methods in sociological research Durkheim believed that individuals conform to the rules of society because of a collective conscience (our shared beliefs about society) ∙ We’re quick to judge and punish people (accepting of the punishments)∙ Example: breaking a social norm (shopping from someone else’s shopping cart) o Deviance and conflict arise from social strain within the social system Robert Merton’s 1938 structural strain theory: Everyone wants to achieve the American Dream. However, some groups are better equipped or have better access to this dream than others. Those want the dream yet cannot achieve it using middle class means will resort to alternative methods Everybody wants to be successful – some people can’t reach the success we deem is the most achievable o Because society is a system of practices and institutions, the interactions between these practices and institutions can be broken down in terms of 4 principle forms: Manifest function: functions that are obvious Latent function: functions that are unintended or largely unrecognized Positive function: when an institution facilitates the operation of other institutions or contributes to the overall stability of the system ∙ Unequal reward systems Negative function: (dysfunction) when an institution impedes other institutions or produces instability within a system ∙ We live in a “representative democracy” ∙ We should have some say in politics as voters ∙ Business institutions are allowed to put in 10,000 more resources than we’re able to in hopes of winning over politicians – fair? Criticisms of Functionalism o Unable to explain changes in society (i.e. conflict, revolution, etc.) o Assumes that if institutions seem to be functioning smoothly, everything is fair/equal/justice (i.e. slavery, CEO pay, etc.) o Functionalism assumes that everything is great (doesn’t take into account the inequality) o Institutions serve to create inequalities to better support an justify why it’s okay to have these differences in society Conflict Theoryo Sees society less as a cohesive systems and more as an arena of conflict and power struggles o Opposite of functionalism o Instead of people working together, to further the goals of the “social system,” people are seen achieving their will at the expense of others o The conflict perspective rejects the idea that society can be seen as a cohesive, problem-solving entity o As a result of tension, hostility, competition, and disagreements over goals and values, change is a basic feature in society o Conflict occurs when people want things (power, wealthy, prestige, etc.) that are in short supply People battle over scarce resources o Institutions and practice are constructed and maintained because of conflicts between classes, status groups, and those exercising authority (Chambliss – prisons are more geared for working, rather than middle class people) o Institutions and practices promote the interests of the more powerful interest groups in society while subverting the interests of the subordinate group o Dominant ideology serves to preserve the current system of inequality o Social change is better reflected by social movements and collective actions (often at the expense of others) rather than functional explanations Criticisms of Conflict Theory o Overall pessimistic attitude o No room for random acts of kindness (altruism) o We exercise the idea that we’ll always be unequal o Inclination to violence (symbolic, mental, physical) o Requires that it’s a 0 sum game Limitations of Conflict Theory o Overly deterministic – it’s always a conflict? Is there room for variation; e.g. altruism? o Is it always about vulgar materialism? o Too much emphasis on “revolutionary” changes, as opposed to understanding society as a series of incremental changes o Presumes that everything only benefits the ruling class September 8th – September 10th Marxism and Conflict Theoryo Stratification stems from differences in power between conflicting groups o They’re trying to understand the rapid growth of capitalism o If you look at history, you’ll see prior to capitalism, there’s a long history of feudalism (transition period with the rise of merchant class) o Where did the rise in capitalism come from? How did immediate change occur? o Move away from agricultural practices into wage labor (start of Industrial Revolution) o The key to understanding stratification in any society resides in the economic system (mode of production): o Economic groups are the most basic and most relevant stratification categories o Economy (base) determines the culture and institutions in any society (superstructure) Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariats Class Consciousness ∙ Able to come together and discuss issues facing our class False Consciousness ∙ Why we do things we do they may not be in the best interest ∙ Individualism: If I work hard, I’ll be one of the “Owners” instead of the “Workers” The Communist Manifesto o The bipolar relationship of class: any society can be divided into two main groups of people, those who own the means of production (Bourgeois) and those who do not (Proletariat) o What is the struggle, according to Marx and Engels, between the Bourgeois and the Proletariat? Capitalism: Good or Bad? o No; it could undergo reconstruction to make it “better,” but they don’t really care whether it’s good or bad o Capitalism is neither good nor bad, it’s a mode of production o Capitalism is a system based off of exploitation (excessive profits = success; in order to generate profits, you need to pay the workers less than the worth of their labor) o Capitalism follows the previous mode of production (which was feudalism) but is only a stepping-stone to what exactly? o Feudalism Capitalism Socialism Communism o Prediction: Proletariats fight back against the Bourgeois o Capitalism cannot maintain itself; it will fall a part on the basis of corruption o Difference of socialism and communism (think of them as a mode of production) How Does a Class Become a Ruling Class? o First, economic rule o Then, political power usually through a revolution o Class domination cannot be based on constant force o Finally, ideological (moral) rule, o Ruling ideas as common universal ideas representing the “general interest” o Feudalism: God order pace in life o Transition Period: separation of powers o Capitalism: free market determines success and failure o Free market is controlled by the ruling class Different avenues to get to those positions that we don’t have Have access to the owners of the means of productions Example: Bush and Kennedy connections in politics (they have more access to resources than the common public; this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intellectually superior to “commoners”) o Talent rises on top How is Class Ideology Reproduced/Maintained? o Feudalism Church o Capitalism Family, Schools, etc. If ALL is class-based, how can change emerge? o Bourgeoisie forged its own “grave-diggers” o Grave diggers are the Proletariat or working o Productive process and alienation: workers become “an appendage of the machine” o Overall, this is a capitalist crisis Looking Closer (Marx and Engels theory applied to the future of capitalism) o The subject of exploitationo Workers are viewed as a commodity, “a class of laborers who live only so long as they find work, an who find work only so long as their labor increases capital” o The eventual decline of creativity by the working class o “Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labor, the work of the Proletarians has lost all individual charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him.” o The perpetual trap: the worth of labor and the decreasing wages earned by the working class, “In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases.” o In translation, we will be working crappier jobs with crappier wages than ever before if this continues o As we progress, we will work longer hours (it’s just going to suck) o We’re getting enslaved by those who are in charge as well as all the new technology/machinery o Enslavement of the worker by the machine, by the overseer, and by the owners of the means of production o Bottom line: system is not sustainable (not going to work in our future) Limitations o Is class everything? o Race? o Gender? o Other limitations o The “consciousness” debate and the middle class o Women and Me of knowledge (where do they fit?) o Large corporations (where do they fit?) o Marx’s Predictions o Pauperization of the working class? No and Yes o Extension of capitalism all over the world? Yes o Proletarian revolutions? Yes and No o We have this belief that the “middle class” is all of us o Explanation as to why we haven’t had any progress o Aware that we’re being exploited (to an extent) Max Weber (1864-1920) ∙ German Sociologist and Political Economist (sociology of religion, capitalism, politics and the government, economics—also well known as a historian)o Known for: Protestant Ethnic and Spirit of Capitalism, Economy and Society o Bureaucracy, rationality, religion/capitalism, legitimacy/power Weber’s Theory • Weber’s idea was that "capitalist accumulation" was born directly out of the Protestant ethic - not because the Protestant churches and doctrines condoned acquisitiveness (seeking to get wealthy) as such (quite the contrary), but rather quite inadvertently through its claim to productive dedication to beruf and thriftiness in consumption. o The more successful you are, the more blessed you are Important to be blessed just “because” Weber vs. Marx ∙ Weber believed that Marxist theory was too simplistic, reducing all to a single economic cause ∙ Weber doesn’t attempt to refute Marx, rather he can be interpreted as an attempt to round out Marx’s economic determinism ∙ Best way to be successful is to use the capitalistic rule of thumb o We’re blessed in the doings of exploitation Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism ∙ Puritan Ethics and ideas influenced capitalism ∙ The rationalization behind the spirit of capitalism ∙ The Puritan idea of the calling/Calvanism: o Waste of time is “the deadliest” o Wealth is only evil in its temptation to idleness and wastefulness o The attainment of wealth as a “fruit of labor” is a sign of God’s blessing ∙ Working in this generation entails the following: o Pay the bills o Work hard to provide for your family o Passionate of your job/love what you do Do we work for a certain calling? For God? For more blessings? See a decrease in the Protestant ethic as a rational ethic for people to become successful Religious calling has left; workers are stuck in a situation where we don’t know why we work other than the materialistic necessities ∙ We think that we need these material goods, but there is never a “calling” ∙ Weber: “…in the United States, the pursuit of wealth, stripped of its religious and ethnical meaning, tends to become associated with purely mundane passions, which often actually give it the character of sport.” o Stuck in this “iron cage” o Monotonous jobs o What was thought as rational is now considered irrational Patricia Hill Collins ∙ Black Feminist Thought o The standpoint of historically suppressed groups o Intersections of oppression Alternative forms of social thought (poetry, music, essays, etc.) ∙ What it means to be _____________ in society o Understanding the viewpoints of groups who have historically be oppressed ∙ We often have a narrow view of “what science means” o Data collection: limited (doesn’t include everything) What is Culture? ∙ Complex system of meaning and behavior that defines the way of life for a given group or society (Anderson 2005) o Beliefs o Knowledge o Morals o Customs o Ideology o Values o Art o Laws o Habits o Dress o Language o Mores o Folkways Characteristics of Culture∙ Culture is shared ∙ Culture is learned ∙ Culture is taken for granted ∙ Culture is symbolic ∙ Culture varies across time & space o Similar to the tenants of being socially constructed o Something that is concrete is not socially constructed Culture is Shared ∙ Culture is collectively experienced and agreed upon ∙ May be those who do not like the various aspects of culture, yet still engage in the common practices and ideals within its domain o Counter cultures o Sub-cultures o Ex: Black culture: is there such a thing as black culture? Created and recreated throughout our history Based on cultural differences (reasons for inequality Culture is Learned ∙ Culture is NOT natural (nor right or wrong) ∙ It SEEMS natural because we are so well socialized into its beliefs and practices Culture is Taken for Granted ∙ We seldom disagree or question our cultural beliefs and practices because to us, they seem “normal” o Example: Democracy; we think this is the only way that democracy will work Culture is Symbolic ∙ WE ascribe meaning to various symbols and they are “mostly” accepted and understood by the majority of people within a culture Culture Varies ∙ In order to understand culture as something that it is socially constructed, you must be aware of its practices relative to the context of its place and timeSubcultures ∙ The cultures of various groups whose values and norms different from those of the dominant culture ∙ These groups, in most cases, also understand and follow the dominant culture, yet choose to engage in their practices and beliefs o Examples: Amish, Vampire cults, University traditions Countercultures ∙ The subcultures created as a reaction against the values of the dominant culture emerges o Examples: Hippies, Survivalists, etc. Ethnocentrism ∙ The belief that ones’ society is inherently better, more civilized, or more superior to another society Culture as Norms & Values: ∙ Values: represent what a culture determines as its general idea of standards: good and bad, desirable and undesirable o All norms in society stem from values o No such thing as a norm in society without connecting it back to some value Example: human dignity, self-respect, truthfulness, etc. ∙ Norms: specific rules, acceptable by the majority of peoples, in a culture that govern behavior in that society o Example: Waiting in line for your turn, raising your hand to ask a question, etc. ∙ Values and norms are related in that values justify the norms of society o Law and order justify the norms of behavior in public educational institutions How is Society Formed? ∙ Normative expectations and anticipations – how we “except” and “anticipate” our, and others behaviors and attitudes based on our common understanding and interpretation of cultural norms and valuesSocial Role ∙ Collections of norms associated with particular positions in a group or society ∙ These collections of norms allow us to anticipate how people should act within their given position o Example: the role of student and instructor, pastor and church member, mother and child ∙ We occupy many roles at once ∙ We are expected to juggle between the normative expectations and anticipations surrounding each role ∙ It seems complex, yet we transition from one role to another often with little conflict o Example: Person A: father, brother, husband, professor, businessman, pastor o Need multiple different roles in order to understand people Social Relationship ∙ Also known as social interaction ∙ It is within these social roles that we are able to communicate with one another ∙ Without the ability to anticipate and expect the norms allotted to our social roes, we would be ineffective as understanding one another Role Conflict ∙ Refers to a person’s decision to choose, in a particular time and setting, one role over another o Example: working mothers, religious businessman Role Strain ∙ Refers to a person’s decision to choose, in a particular time and setting, between normative expectations and anticipations WITHIN a new role o Example: the role of students: “should I be an independent thinker or simply regurgitate what is taught?” Social Institution∙ An established and organized system of social behavior with a recognized purpose ∙ Groups of roles assemble to form institutions o Example: Church, Family, and Schools ∙ Important to have certain relationships that occupy certain social roles Putting the Dots Together ∙ Normative expectations and anticipations social role social relationship (how we communicate with one another) ∙ Groups of social roles social institutions (also governed by a separate set of normative expectations and anticipations; how groups act within a church setting compared to a family setting, etc.) social system September 15th-September 17th The Definition of Society ∙ The cultural practices and norms of a given group of people and its institutions within a geographical location o Who has the power to determine the norms and values of society? Who has the power to determine our culture? Society in a Global Age – The Significance of Class ∙ The significance of class stratification o Class stratification: ranking system for groups of people in a society that perpetuates unequal rewards structure and life chances o Allows social cohesion to occur in society and access to resources ∙ Two general characteristics of stratification o Social stratification is NOT by chance (done with intent) o Social stratification is institutionalized It’s not about the individuals, doesn’t matter if you’re in agreement with the unequal rewards structure we are all active participants o Inequality is built into the social structure (built into the institution) Doesn’t matter how hard you work yourself, you’ll never gain access to the resources as easily as the upper class ∙ Life Chances (Max Weber)o The possibility and probability of rising to a social class level higher than one’s parents o Access to basic opportunities and resources in the marketplace o Life chances are reflected in measures such as: housing, education, and health o Wealth vs. Income Income: check that comes in every 2 weeks pay the bills Wealth: what’s generated (what you invest from your income, how your money continues to grow) o The gap between the upper class, middle class, and lower class has increased tremendously It’s still possible to become successful, but it has become so much harder (many more obstacles are put in front of the working class and lower class) All about having access to resources (upper class has more access to them and less obstacles) ∙ Social status: a “position” in society relative to others in terms of who gets what ∙ Social Mobility: the ability of individuals in a society to move from one strata to another ∙ Interpreting mobility o Horizontal vs. Vertical o Intergenerational vs. Intragenerational ∙ What determines class mobility? o Social class of origin (Blau and Duncan) Largely determines where your kids, their kids, and their kids will end up (generally will end up where their parents are) o Structural Changes What jobs are available, the movement from agriculture factory service sector job opportunities Less upward movement, more downward movement Have to work harder and longer than everyone else UNLESS you have the higher education and resources to your disposal ∙ Achieved status: position in society gained based on merit ∙ Ascribed status: based on who you are instead of what you’ve achieved (determined by your background and wealth) Gregory Mantsios – Media Magic∙ What we see about class: we are the middle class…14-17k ∙ Media makes it seem that “class” doesn’t exist ∙ Media wants us to think that we are all middle class A. Class in America ∙ USA is most stratified country in industrialized world ∙ Class stratification is not DIAMOND but PYRAMID SHAPE o Is it really a pyramid? o If it’s not a pyramid, what shape is it today in the U.S? Teardrop ∙ Class shapes almost EVERYTHING in our lives ∙ How do sociologists measure class? o What constitutes middle class? Class is socially constructed, therefore, class is what we decide it to be (we are telling ourselves that we are all middle class; we all start to believe it) ∙ Key factors: o Property o Wealth o Income o Education o Occupation B. Why doesn’t anyone talk about class? ∙ Media magically HIDES class... ∙ Media concentration and we watch TV like hell… C. What do we learn from the media? ∙ About the Poor o The poor do not exist o The poor are faceless o The poor are undeserving o The poor are eyesore o The poor are down on their luck ∙ Ideology: poverty is NOT systematic, it is an aberration, and it is partly caused by people’s behavior/culture ∙ Reality: poverty is systemic, can be eliminated, and effects all of us D. “We-ness” ∙ The wealthy are us ∙ The wealthy (as a class) does not exist ∙ The wealthy are fascinating and just “Oh so wonderful!” ∙ The wealthy include a few bad apples E. About Everybody Else ∙ The middle class in the U.S: 14-55k, is a “state of mind” as Time magazine stated…we are all in this TOGETHER ∙ The middle class is a victim by poor, minorities, and workers ∙ The working class is portrayed as distinct from middle class August 22nd-24th The Significance of Class and the Power Elite Facts of Class in America 1. 400 out of over 315 million Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined – with a net worth of over $2 trillion (or the gross domestic product of Russia) 2. Intragenerational mobility has come to a standstill. Post WWII children born in poverty has a 50/50 chance of becoming a middle class adult; today it’s 1 in 3 and falling 3. Tax cuts to the wealthiest have not improved the economy or made more jobs…but we keep telling ourselves it will… 4. The top 1% has an average income of 1 million; the top .01 is 23 million More Facts ∙ According to Pew Research Center, U.S Income inequality is the highest its been since 1928 ∙ The U.S is more unequal than most of its developed-world peers (10 out of 31 before taxes, 2nd only to Chile after accounting for taxes) ∙ From 1929-1970, the government’s economic and tax policies shifted income slightly toward the poor ∙ In the last 4+ decades, the federal tax policies have favored the affluent ∙ The black-white income gap in the U.S has persisted (race AND class matters)Back to the Basics: Facts about Poverty ∙ Approximately one out of seven people in the U.S live below the poverty line (2003 = 35.9 million folks; 2009 = 45 million) ∙ One out of five children live in poverty ∙ U.S poverty rate is 3rd worst among developed nations ∙ Poverty line in 2015 = any family of four with a combined income of $24,250 ∙ Sadly, Americans are relatively unconcerned (53% according to PEW) about the wide income gap between the rich and the poor ∙ 41 million Americans on food stamps since June 2010 The Realities ∙ There is a growing gap between the rich and the poor ∙ The middle class has been steadily declining since the 1980s and there is no indication that significant gains will be made in the near future ∙ Government policies affect life chances in the last four decades, those policies have been benefiting the affluent ∙ Outsourcing of jobs ∙ Where you are in the class hierarchy determines your life chances; life chances determines the likelihood that you will achieve certain social rewards (resources) ∙ Increased obstacles throughout our lives The Elites of the U.S Class System ∙ Who are these elite people? What makes you an elite? ∙ Version A: those individuals that own and control a majority of U.S interests and are able to control and shape citizens lives o Examples: The Kennedy Family, Bill Gates, Oprah ∙ How can they control their lives? o Influence political campaigns o Control the hours of work, the benefits you get, etc. based on their resources o Control the media that we view (we think it’s important because they do) o They make us feel like we need a lot of things in abundance o They decide which technology should be advanced/which ones shouldn’t o Convincing us that we need these things and that we have a choice∙ Version B: C.W Mills and The Power Elite. o How does Mills define the elite? o Can anybody be in the “Power Elite”? Pluralist Model vs. Elite Model ∙ Who determines the future of our society? o Example: (Jimmy Carter) We tell ourselves since our childhood things like “anyone can become president” when in reality, this is no longer true; your connections and access to political resources are the ways in which you become politically known nowadays Pluralist Model ∙ Decisions made on behalf of the people by leaders who engage in bargaining, accommodation, and compromise ∙ Competition among leadership groups makes abuse of power by any one group difficult ∙ Power is widely dispersed, and people can influence public policy by voting ∙ Public policy reflects a balance among competing interest groups Elite Model ∙ Decisions are made by small group of elite people ∙ Consensus exists among the elite on basic values and goals of society ∙ Power is highly concentrated at the top of a teardrop shaped social hierarchy ∙ Public policy reflects the values and preferences of the elite o If the elite model is correct, then there must be ways for the elites to successfully prevent folks from diluting their power, privilege, and other forms of control… August 29th-October 1st This Crazy Thing We Call Race: Race and Racism ∙ Assumptions of Race o The assumptions of race (race relations)…when the truth is that we know absolutely nothing or little about it ∙ Common sense view: o Race is a old phenomenono Race is natural o Race is static (unchanging) Everyday Notions of Race ∙ Blood (hypodescent or “one drop” blood rule) ∙ Biological arguments (natural) o Genetic o Physical o Mental ∙ Stereotypes ∙ Generalizations (“in general” or “nine out of ten”) ∙ Ethnicity ∙ Cultural When did “Race” Emerge in History? ∙ The word “race” is believed to have originated in the romance languages during the Middle Ages (between 5th and 15th centuries) o The word was first used to refer to the “breeding” of animals ∙ 13th and 14th centuries (commercial ventures) ∙ “Race” did not appear in the English language until the 16th century and was not used widespread to define human groups until the 17th century o Slave Trade o Justification for trading slaves o Ethnocentrism Classification and Inequality ∙ Racial Classification and Maintenance of Racial Boundaries ∙ Late 15th and early 16th centuries: o Socio-political NEED to justify: Oppression/exploitation Reasons to conquer Genocide o Fear of Miscegenation Letters written: questioning their actions, feeling guilty because they are humans Over time, change their thought process: if you think of them as less than you/animalistic, then it is okay (justification) As a result, the creation of a hierarchy that has stuck with us for a long period of time Our language basically says that we did black people a favor by bringing them to the new world/they enjoyed working/they were happy Race isn’t real (it’s socially constructed) The only way/reason to create categories is to justify exploitation Stereotypes are created (there is no such thing as a real stereotype) and they box you in; it’s a different type of exploitation (non-existent) Once we’ve set up a hierarchy, it becomes institutionalized, taking a path of its own (almost anything can happen) Hierarchy can change (racial hierarchies of exploitation and oppression almost everywhere you go) One-drop rule still matters in the U.S (Yeah you’re American…but you’re African American) No such thing as categories without oppression United Nations Declaration on Race, 1950 ∙ 99.9% of DNA is SHARED (Human Genome Project) ∙ Genetic variability among individuals WITHIN so-called races is LARGER than between so-called races ∙ Current biological knowledge DOES NOT allow us to impute cultural, political, or economic achievements to races Sociological View of Race ∙ Race is a social construction (why?) ∙ It is relational/hierarchical o Invisibility of the dominant group o Historicity (historical accuracy) of racial constructions o Malleability of race Society to society (USA vs. many Latin American countries) Region to region (variations by states) Period to period (honorary whites or colored in South Africa) Race isn’t real, but we make it real (socially constructed defined by different people for different reasons)∙ “When men (sic) make situations real, they are real in their consequences.” (W.I Thomas) So…Common Sense ∙ Vs. Realities of Race o Race is not an old phenomena…it’s NEW o Race is natural…it’s SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED o Race is not static…it’s DYNAMIC OMI and Winant’s Racial Formations ∙ Racial Formation: “The Process by which social, economic, and political forces determine the content and importance of racial categories, and by which they are in turn shaped by racial meanings.” (61) October 6th-October 8th Contemporary Race Theories ∙ Assimilation Theory: explains how minority groups become integrated into a dominant society ∙ Robert Merton: prejudice and discrimination (attitudes), 4 types (All-Weather and Fair Weather Liberal and Illiberal) ∙ Herbert Blumer: group position matters in determining prejudice and discrimination From Racism to Racism: Who Exactly is Racist? ∙ Prejudice (attitudes)…fear of ∙ Racism (beliefs)…believing that ∙ Discrimination (behavior)…actions against o Essentially, this meansTypical Definitions of Racism Concepts ∙ Prejudice: the evaluation of a social group and the group members based on conceptions involving both prejudgment and misjudgment that are held despite facts that disprove them ∙ Racism: the belief that one race is superior to another and the treatment of a racial group, or member of that group, as intellectually, socially, and culturally inferior to one’s own group ∙ Discrimination: the overt negative and unequal treatment of the members of a social group or stratum solely because of their membership in that group or stratum o We need to stop thinking that people are solely racist and instead consider the fact that the institutions that they make up our society are racist themselves o Failure to acknowledge that while individuals may have contributed, it will continue on further down the line o We’ve been having this same conversation all throughout history How do we deal with this problem? ∙ Solutions to this issue: o Education is the key to fixing racism o Unless you fix the institutions, nothing will be changed Importance of the institutions = what matters most How much can one individual do alone? o Tracking = highly racialized concept of education curriculum o Social movements can happen, but they rarely occur… Racialized Social System Framework ∙ Societies in which social, economic, political, and even psychological goods are partly distributed along racial lines o Remember: even these lines are socially constructed and thus, subject to change o Refusal to change among society if we continue on this same path Limitations of Older Models of Understanding Racism 1. Racism as exogenous to society/social system (racism not part of the structure of society) 2. Racism as psychological/ideological and individual 3. Racism is regarded as static 4. Racism viewed as irrational5. Focus on overt behavior Who is White and What is White Privilege? ∙ Peggy McIntosh’s “white privilege” o “Most whites aren’t racist. However, they do gain by default many of the privileges of being white in a society that has historically been built for and around whites. These privileges are sometimes taken for granted and go unnoticed by many whites, but are dealt with often by minorities (e.g., store stalking, DWB-DWM, etc.)” ∙ Steve Gardner’s “Whiteness as Contingent Hierarchies” How does Racialization Occur? ∙ Invasion ∙ Conquest ∙ Immigration Implications of the Framework ∙ Racialization is institutionalized: produces a racial structure or the various social arrangements responsible for the reproduction of racial inequality ∙ Racial structure changes over time: three major periods in the USA ∙ Omi and Winants’ Racial Formation ∙ Racial Formation: the shift in racial ideology after the post WWII rift…Racism is an ever-changing historical and ideological process that doesn’t go away, but changes depending on the social and political agenda of a particular time period (e.g., slavery, Jim Crowe laws, post WWII, racism, color blind, etc.) New Racism ∙ The political, social, psychological, and economic forms of racial discrimination have taken on subtle, covert characteristics that favor mostly middle class and upper class whites in society ∙ Thus, race is seen as “publicly” unacceptable. However, racism continues to perpetuate in all areas of society: o Redlining and Blockbusting o Corporate racism (e.g. Texaco, Coca-Cola, Exxon, Sara Lee, Abercrombie & Fitch; see Feagin’s The Many Costs of Racism)o Stereotypes and how they hurt (e.g. managerial hiring, racial steering in education, etc.) October 13th-October 15th The Sociology of Deviance and Criminology ∙ Values: set of general ideas determined by the majority of folks in a given society (Good vs. Evil, Right vs. Wrong) o Life o Liberty o Justice o Freedom ∙ Norms: specific expectations and anticipations based off of the given set of values in a society o Folkways o Mores o Law ∙ Mores: set of norms that control moral and ethical behavior, and are negatively sanctioned by most people in a given society if they are broken o Cutting in line o Trying on clothes in the store without any underwear on o Having lengthy conversations with a cashier while there’s a long line behind you ∙ Laws: mores that are held to such a high esteem in society and are considered so necessary in protecting the values that people in a given society hold dear that breaking them usually brings on severe and “formal” repercussions o Stealing o Child abandonment o Murder o Assault and battery ∙ Folkways: general standards of behavior adhered to by a group, usually loosely defined and loosely adhered to. Negative sanctions may or may not occur as a result of breaking folkways and if there are sanctions, in most cases they are very light o Formal greetings to people that pass you by in the hallway or street o Saying “bless you” after someone sneezes o Eating food with proper utensils ∙ Sanctions: in the context of deviance, sanctions are punishments or rewards given to people by people based on whether they adhered to, or broke social norms in a given societyo Correct behavior elicits positive sanctions; incorrect behavior elicits negative sanctions ∙ Deviance: a behavior that is recognized as violating expected rules and norms; a violations of norms, whether it be simple breaks of accepted societal behavior (sleeping in class) or breaking the law… Social Construction Tenants ∙ Historically contingent o Premarital sex ∙ Differs by region, state, country, etc. o Drinking in the U.S. vs. Germany or other countries o Smoking the wacky tobacco in the U.S. vs. Amsterdam Major Theories in Deviance ∙ Biological/Psychological Theories o Current biological theories focus on biological factors (inherited characteristics, nutrition, etc.) and their potential effects upon criminal behavior o Psychological theories focus on emotional adjustment issues or deviant personality traits (chemical imbalance, repression, etc.) ∙ Deterrence/Rational Choice Theory o Deterrence Theory rests upon the certainty, severity, and celerity (swiftness) of punishment (control of people) o Rational Choice Theory assumes that commission of a criminal act is a rational decision based upon weighing of costs (effort, likelihood of getting caught, potential severity of punishment) against the benefits (rewards of monetary, social or psychological nature) Empirical support for pure Rational Choice is very limited Most Rational Choice is limited to partial Rational Choice aspects of other theoretical models Ex: Scared Straight ∙ Functionalism o Deviance creates social cohesion o Deviance results from structural strains o Deviance occurs when people’s attachment to social bonds has diminished Emile Durkheim Robert Merton ∙ Emile Durkheim: deviance is a necessary function of societyo It creates social solidarity for people and brings them together via common norms and values o Reinforces and maintains the normative parameters and boundaries in a given society By people breaking norms, getting caught, and being sanctioned, it informs the rest of the people in society what the boundaries are ∙ Robert Merton: structural strain theory (attempts to explain higher rates of crime and deviance among the poor—and by virtue of class, minorities, etc.) o People have different goals and different means to achieving these goals o When goals cannot be attained through means accepted in society, other means are used ∙ Symbolic Interaction o Deviance is a learned behavior, reinforced through group membership o Deviance results from the process of social labeling o Those with the power to assign deviant labels produce and reproduce deviance ∙ Sutherland: Differential Association o People are taught the norms of a given society or culture by the groups of people they most hang around o People become criminals when they are more strongly socialized to break the law than to obey it o Thus, deviance is a learned behavior that may not necessarily be considered deviant by the person who practices it ∙ Goffman, Becker, Thomas, Luckman: Labeling Theory (the actual deviant act is secondary to what deemed deviant and by whom) o The majority of people create labels as to what is considered deviant behavior o Those labels are assigned to a person or persons by other people, or by institution or agents of institutions o Once the label is applied, it’s hard to get the sucker off Once a deviant, always a deviant Convicted criminals o Being labeled limits economic opportunities outside that of legitimate occupations Limits placed on hiring convicts Proficiency or illegitimate activity o Being labeled limits interpersonal activity o Being labeled reaffirms the label (“You say I am a criminal, therefore I must be”)∙ Conflict Theory o Dominant classes control the definition of and sanctions attached to deviance o Deviance results from inequality in society, including that of class, race, and gender o Elite deviance goes largely unrecognized and unpunished ∙ Chambliss: The Power Elite o Those who hold the most power in society define the norms and sanctions to those norms o Laws are passed to control everyone in society who is not in power or who does not control large amounts of resources o Because deviance is defined differently for different classes and races of people, it is another form of social inequality White collar crime vs. larceny or petty theft Crack vs. Cocaine Celebrity vs. other alleged pedophiles ∙ Feminist Theories o Not one, but many related theories, typically including some or all of the following perspectives: Different gender (and/or sex) roles in society Gender inequality Patriarchy (male privilege and female subordinance in society) o Feminist theory places gender equal to or above race and class in forming an elite society, claiming that male dominance functions to maintain the status quo by emphasizing traditional family and gender roles for females October 20th-October 22nd The Role of Institutions in U.S Society ∙ Rehashing Deviance o What is deviance? o Who defines deviance? o Who regulates deviance? o How does the concept of deviance affect us in our everyday lives? Institutions and Deviance ∙ Institutions serve to socialize us to acceptable values and norms in our society∙ Institutions serve to socialize us to accept what constitutes deviance (i.e. as a general rule, we do not question institutional authority) Perception vs. Reality ∙ Think about the criminal just court system… o Ketchum et al., Disproportionate Minority Contact The perceived role of the justice system: dispense sanctions against those who “break” certain rules in society Those rules are socially constructed In a society where race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. matter – there is differential treatment, differential punishment, and differential stigma Consider Further ∙ Police violence and lethal violence o Is it all police officers? o Who’s being targeted for extreme violence (e.g. stop and frisk, etc.)? o Understanding even how we talk about extreme violence (e.g. toward marginalized women) From Justice to Prisons…The Complete Package ∙ Functions of prisons vs. something else? o To rehabilitate o Privatization of prisons, big businesses, and profit Implications **Potential Exam Question** ∙ How does this affect our understanding of: o Race/Class/Gender o Immigration o Fear o Politics o Other issues… October 27th-29thWhy is Gender Socially Constructed? ∙ Behavior associated with gender is culturally learned ∙ Also, remember the tenets of “social construction” How does Gender Differ from Sex? ∙ Biological identity (i.e. biological maleness or femaleness) ∙ Male or female anatomy and physiology ∙ Different chromosomal, hormonal, and anatomical components of males and females that are present at birth ∙ Sex and gender aren’t the same thing ∙ But even sex as a concept is contested by social scientists o Consider the following example: Western society has traditionally oppressed sexual minorities (we are expected to be conceived with XX or XY chromosomes) Estimates on the # of intersexuals in NA range from 1 in 50 to 1 in 1000 Understanding Gender ∙ Gender Identity: refers to the degree to which an individual defines herself or himself as a woman or a man o Gender identity is mostly (not always) formed through social interaction o What’s the difference between gender identity and gender roles? ∙ Gender Role: refers to expectations and anticipations for behaviors and attitudes that a culture defines as appropriate for men and women ∙ When we talk about gender roles in society, what are REALLY talking about? o Relationships Men and women are supposed to react to certain aspects of a relationship (socially constructed beliefs) Masculinity and Femininity ∙ Masculinity and femininity are “normative” characteristics that are defined and sanctioned by the majority of folks in a given society∙ We assign these characteristics and then we create sanctions designed to keep people in boxes ∙ What are some of the typical characteristics that we assign to masculinity and femininity? o Males should be…? o Females should be…? ∙ Males o Aggressive o Sexually active o Smart o Strong o Breadwinner o Emotionally firm ∙ Females o Passive o Virgin/Less active o Stupid o Weak o Homemaker o Emotionally Weak ∙ Although assignments of these characteristics vary, most are just opposites on a bipolar scale The Idea of Sex Differences: Nature vs. Nurture ∙ What’s the problem with assigning such characteristics to each group? o There is a persistent belief that (social) differences between men and women are biologically determined The Reality ∙ There are differences in some things such as the level of testosterone and estrogen in men and women ∙ However, the idea that testosterone is mostly responsible for aggressive behavior in men is false o There is only a modest correlation between aggressive behavior and testosterone levels ∙ In fact, studies have shown that changes in testosterone level do not predict changes in men’s aggression (e.g. chemical castration) ∙ There are some physical sex differences between men and women (e.g. issues of strength, length and weight at birth, etc.)∙ These factors, however, are largely not relevant when talking about issues that are frequently used to separate men and women in U.S society (e.g. getting jobs that require strength, performing in sports, etc.) Persistence of Gendered Categories ∙ Patriarchy: refers to a social system in which males dominate economically, socially, psychologically, and politically. o Patriarchy is a system in which all people participate and is NOT based on individual action ∙ In this system, masculine characteristics tend to be valued over feminine characteristics ∙ Thus, men can choose NOT to be sexist or biased, but they still gain from being male in a male-based/dominated society ∙ Why should we care about gender in sociology? o It’s a part of our everyday lives o In order to have some change, you have to talk about it, engage, and understand how society works o “Peak behind closed doors” o What we think we know is not how it actually works Corruption Ideological beliefs pushed upon the public We think we have choices, but bombarded by other choices Idea of what is REALLY going on in society o Politically, socially, economically, and psychologically constructed society o Assigned categories (boxed into these categories) Limits us to behaviors, emotions, thoughts, thought processes, how we accept/reject people/places/ideas The Social Construction of Gender ∙ What does Anderson say about “gender neutrality?” Is there such a thing as gender neutrality in the U.S.? How do we know? ∙ What does Anderson say about “gender categorization?” Are male and female exclusive categories? What about a third…or fourth gender, or gender fluid as in identity? The Gender Construction in the United States ∙ Where does gender categorization begin? ∙ What about as we grow into adulthood?The Bipolar Categorization of Gender: The Gender Sameness Taboo ∙ There is a normative structure in the US that insists there e divisions between how we view men and women ∙ There is persistence in US society that gender and sex are the same thing ad there can only be two gender categories: anything in between is considered abnormal, unnatural, and unwanted ∙ There is a strong belief that men can only have one set of traits and that women can only have another set of traits Lecture Question: What are the repercussions of holding onto the normative ideas of what it means to be a male or female? For Men ∙ Lower Life-Expectancy o Why? ∙ Constant need to live up to certain expectations o No crying o Family wage maker o Strength and bravery o Toughness o Six-Pack ∙ Increased stress to perform For Women ∙ Lower wages ∙ Less occupational status ∙ Less job/career/educational opportunities ∙ Constant dependency ∙ Increased victimization For Gendered Fluid: Transgender, Multi-gender, Non-Binary ∙ Highest rate of sexual assault against them o Higher suicide rates for being excluded from society ∙ Can’t get as many health insurance benefits ∙ Not even in the books or not even acknowledged o No rights o Daily struggles with privileges we take for granted Ex: Using the bathroom (Which one do you choose without getting judged by the rest of society?) ∙ Feel invisible from society o Treated as one gender, but expected to act in the role of another gender ∙ Because society hasn’t believed in these types of people, they are forced to live a life that they don’t desire (staying in the closet) Work and Gender ∙ REM: Femininity and Masculinity ∙ The Sexual Division of Labor: the assignment of different tasks to women and men o Men should do… o Women should do… ∙ Gendered Work: the process of differentiating between the sexes and then applying that differentiation to the workplace o Men should be… o Women should be… Sexual Division of Labor Differs between Cultures ∙ Only 1/5th of physicians and less than 4% of street sweepers are female in the U.S ∙ In Russia, women are the majority in each of these categories ∙ Likewise, many countries with rigid sex segregation laws omit women into jobs such as elementary school teachers, secretaries, etc. ∙ Sex segregation in the workplace: linked to the sexual division of labor; refers to the concentration of men and women in different occupations, jobs, and places of work November 3rd-November 5th Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone ∙ Distinction between living alone and being alone o Living alone doesn’t have to be an anti-social experience Setting the Stage: Sherry Turkle∙ Wrote a best selling book in 2011 titles Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other ∙ The context of the book was trying to understand how people relate to one another in an age where: o Teens send and receive six to eight thousand texts a month o There is confusion over whether posts on Facebook should cater toward being “cool” or being “practical” o Folks think there is no difference between witnessing a live Galapagos tortoise and seeing a picture of one on the Internet ∙ Occupations and careers have been affected as a result of Facebook (our need for social media is taking over…this is regulated socially) ∙ Thesis statement: More and more folks are projecting human qualities onto robots and at the same time, we have come to expect less from human encounters ∙ Expecting less from community gatherings; family gatherings, family dinners, playing board games, holding actual conversations, etc. (slowly disintegrating as we do less and less of them) ∙ Instead of real friends, we have friends on Facebook ∙ Instead of talking on the phone or face to face, we text and tweet ∙ Online life tends to promote more superficial, emotionally lazy relationships, as people are drawn to connections that seem low risk and always at hand o In this context, it’s really easy to treat people as “objects” o We’re really more alone than we’ve ever been and we don’t even realize it o Easier to treat people as objects as a result of social media o Rise in people’s ability to consciously engage in over discrimination and over-prejudice of ANY kind o People are way more comfortable doing this behind a cellphone screen (they think it’s okay) ∙ First step to oppression is to treat people as objects o If you’re not doing it yourself, coolness. But if you’re standing by and watching it happen, you’re a bystander and it will never get solved. New Technologies ∙ Some of these new technologies include the following: o Facebook postings o Tweets o Skype changes o Role-playing gameso Internet bulletin boards o Robots Have convenience and control a priority ∙ We’re lonely, but afraid of intimacy ∙ Designing technologies that will create an illusion of companionship without the strings attached ∙ Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved (look to our devices to fill the gap) ∙ Constant connection is shaping a new way of being (I share, therefore, I am) o Defining ourselves through our thoughts and feelings ∙ If we don’t have connection, we don’t feel like ourselves (connect more and more and set ourselves up to isolated) ∙ Solitude is where you find yourself so you can reach out to people and form those connections we are trying so hard to create o Need to start embracing solitude ∙ Not able to appreciate people, but rather use them to make our fragile sense of self feel a little better ∙ If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they’re only going to know loneliness ∙ Develop a more self-aware relationship with them and ourselves ∙ Need to start listening to each other and reveal ourselves to one another Going Solo: Klinenberg’s Argument ∙ Isolated or not? ∙ Contrary to conventional wisdom that living alone is loneliness and isolation, Klinenberg argues that most solo dwellers are deeply engaged in social and civic life ∙ Compared to their married counterparts, solo dwellers are… o More likely to eat out o More likely to exercise o More likely to go to art and music classes o More likely to attend public events o More likely to volunteer o More likely to have environmentally sustainable lifestyles and better mental health ∙ Collective living? ∙ Conventional Wisdom: the benefits of collective living outweigh the costs: o Protection o Cooperationo Efficient reproduction o Increased health o Less stress ∙ Differs on where we are in society (larger sense of collective living, transition of agricultural period of time, etc.) Yet…The Singleton Society ∙ During the past half century, more and more folks have decided to remain single o The average age of first marriage is the “highest ever recorded” o We cycle in and out of living together ∙ Stats: o 1950: 22% of American adults were single; 4 million lived alone (9% of households) o Contemporary solo dwellers: Women: 17 million Men: 14 million Tend to be more urban than rural o It’s a global phenomenon: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark (40-45% of households have one person) ∙ Why do folks worry about the perceived phenomenon of “living alone?” Why Do Folks Worry? ∙ Rising cost of living ∙ Happiness ∙ Nostalgia of extended families of the past (who will take care of “grandma” when we’re older?) ∙ According to Klinenberg, what explains why people “go solo?” Explanations for Going Solo ∙ More people can afford to go solo ∙ Emile Durkheim – the cult of the individual o Shift from traditional rural to modern industrial o Modern division of labor binds citizens organically o Clear self-interest = promotion of the common good Pursuit of sacred modern values (individual freedom, personal control, self-realization, etc.) ∙ Women’s assertion of control over their own bodies ∙ Cultural change in pressures to remain married if unfulfilledReview of General Context ∙ Sherry Turkle: Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other o Projection of human qualities onto robots = less expectations from human encounters ∙ Robert Putnam: Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community o We have become increasingly disconnected from one another and our social structures have disintegrated ∙ Conventional Wisdom o Living alone = isolation and loneliness ∙ Conventional Wisdom o Protection o Cooperation o Efficient reproduction o Increased health o Less stress ∙ Why do people go solo? o Financially stable o High divorce rate o Urbanization o Freedom to do weird quirks o Taking control of our lives ∙ Do people really like living alone? o People have a fear of dying alone o It’s more affordable o Difference between loneliness and isolation o Sometimes they simply have no choice ∙ Reframing what it means to live alone and what society has imparted on us o Remark of success rather than social failure Maybe it’s NOT Either/Or ∙ Reframing what it means to live alone o Mark of distinction o Mark of success (as opposed to social failure) o Investment of time in personal growth Learning to enjoy one’s own company Building confidence o Investment of time in professional growth Acquiring necessary job skills Building up network of friends or work contactso Living alone is merely a “stage” and not an “end point” The Capacity to Live Alone ∙ We are raised and socialized to think collectively o Thus, going solo requires us to think differently (i.e. learning on the go) ∙ Yet, there are fewer barricades today… o Family changes (e.g. having one’s own room) o Reframing what living alone means o Pursuit of a career to “get away” from family o Emphasis on improving ourselves Why are we always trying to “fix” ourselves? Pressures ∙ Self doubt in the thirties o Mark (pg. 65) “Staying single through his thirties allowed him to experience things that his friends who married and had children could only dream about” –living abroad, adventurous vacations, lots of dating, building a professional network… o But in his forties, Mark wonders if he’s missed out on kids, meaning in life, etc. ∙ Pressure from family and friends ∙ Pressure from outside influences o TV programs Psychologists with advice on finding a partner o Magazine Stories and other written media Waite and Gallagher’s book “The Case for Marriage” o Politicians Married is scarce and your “God given duty” o Doctors and the biological clock warning ∙ Discrimination from: o Employers Often the personal time of employees with spouses and children are respected ore than those who are single o Real-Estate Agents “Single” steering Case of Sherri (pg. 74) –single, female, and Canadian = REJECT; Once she got married, it was “easy-peasy” o Housing Associations No family wants to live next to a single person∙ All of these contribute to the idea that living alone is more complicated than ever (pg. 73) Separating ∙ 1950s-60s as “confusing times to become a woman” (pg. 86) and the overwhelming pressures to “find the right man” and “organize their lives around marriage” ∙ Trend in the past 50+ years has not only been to remain single (and marry later), but an increase in the rate of divorce o Why is this seen as a bad thing? o Helen’s response “marriage is f’ing boring” and “I was never more miserable in my life than when I was married.” Bucking the Pressures of Marriage ∙ According to federal census: 1 out of 5 adults has divorced ∙ Although the drop leveled off in the 80s, Americans are far more likely to split up compared to their Western nation counterparts ∙ Dead marriages and mismatched marriages vs. loneliness or fear of loneliness o New sense of individuality and freedom o Expanding network of friends, families, etc. Putnam’s Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community ∙ According to Putnam, we’ve become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures— how we may reconnect ∙ Our stock of social capital—the very fabric of our connections with each other has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities ∙ 500,000 interview over the last quarter century suggest: o Sign fewer petitions o Belong to fewer organizations o Know our neighbors less o Meet with friends less frequently o Socialize with our family less often o Bowling alone (more Americans are bowling than ever before, but never on bowling leagues) ∙ According to Putnam, changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, TV, computers, women’s roles, and other factors have ALL contributed to this declineProtecting the Self ∙ “No one really bowls alone.” (109) ∙ Putnam scared the shit out of America with his book, Bowling Alone, in 2000 o TV, video games, and technology is destroying families and society ∙ Yet, Klinenberg’s interviewees noted: living alone serves as a buffer against the pressures of social/vocational life o Finding balance o Financial security o Productivity Access to privacy Restoration Personal development o But, also defensive individualism (distrust towards folks) Why Does This Matter? ∙ Because (AGAIN)…contrary to the conventional wisdom and fear mongering of living alone, LIVING ALONE (for many) PROVIDES SHELTER FROM TOO MUCH SOCIAL AND CIVIC LIFE ∙ All about SOCIAL CHANGE o Policies, politics, media, ideology, higher education, family, etc. o All of these factors heavily influence our lives November 10th-November 12th The Sociology of Education ∙ What is education? o Facilitated learning o The mission of schools o Learning things through experiences o Wide range of things that will help you learn something Intellectual or vocational (they go hand in hand) ∙ This is organized learning in contrast to what we learn elsewhere ∙ Education: a structured form of socialization in which society’s skills, knowledge, and values are formally transmitted from one generation to the next ∙ Institution of society where you are provided with training to develop these desired vocational skillsWhy Do Sociologists Study Education? ∙ It’s something that is encouraged, mandated, and everyone does o Socialized throughout society o If no one studied it, we would be stuck thinking there is only one way to do things o Outside of the family, this is the first and organized exposure to the surrounding world ∙ Reasons: o It is one of the most structured forms of socialization that we experiences, second in importance to the family o Nearly every member of society has an experience o A society’s educational system is important for understanding: Culture: what society values; normative expectations and anticipations Social Structure: why people are in particular positions and how they got there Power: how a society maintains and regulates itself What Are Sociologists Interested In? ∙ What’s behind closed doors o Manifest functions o Latent functions Functionalist Theory ∙ Interpretation of Education o Instills self-discipline o Transmits and reproduces culture o Selects talents o Teaches and promotes “ethical behavior” o Teaches concrete skills Conflict Theory ∙ Interpretation of Education o Education as a Class Reproducer o Education as a Profit Making Industry ∙ A more dynamic and complex understanding o Educational institutions are struggling between making money and reproducing class benefits Everitt: ∙ High Expectations and Realities o Education has come to be seen as the remedy to all of society’s ill Viewing Education through a Critical Lens ∙ Who does well in school (and who does not) is strongly influenced by: o Socioeconomic status ∙ Reproducing Inequality o How much money a school has o How schools spend their money o How different families access those resources Reality ∙ Bowles and Gintis (1976): We believe that competition is capitalist economies are fair to all members of society – those who are successful “earned it.” ∙ Public education may do more to legitimate and reproduce inequalities that overcome them November 17th-November 19th The Global Marketplace ∙ Global Marketplace: a tapestry of commodity exchanges that bind producers and consumers across the world. The tapestry is a series of production stages, or networks of labor inputs, distributed globally among production sites ∙ When you eat, wear, or use a final product in a commodity chain, you participate in a global social process ∙ Much of what we consume has global origins ∙ Examples: o Clothing produced in China, Philippines, Africa, etc. o Fast food includes cattle from Costa Rica, chicken from Mexico, etc. o “Made in USA” should, in many instances, be renamed “Assembled in USA” as most of the components are produced in other countries o In other cases, “Made in USA” refers to the use of a U.S Commonwealth that, although is part of the U.S, does not have the same labor regulations found in the fifty states Numbers of an Unequal World∙ According to UNICEF, about 29,000 children die each day around the world from preventable or treatable diseases (full immunization) ∙ Consider the following: o In 2014, citizens spend 60 million on beer ALONE o Europeans spend over 5o billion a year on cigarettes o Poor countries have an average annual income (per person in 1998) of only $308.00, while rich countries have an average income of about $22,000.00 Current Issues and Social Problems with Globalization ∙ In the United States, we see a decrease in the standards of living; less wages, less jobs, less benefits ∙ Increased wage and wealth gap between the rich and everyone else ∙ Sense of false consciousness; workers are led to believe that big business is on their side o Ex: Walmart; it is those countries and those people who are against you U.S and Other Commonwealth Countries ∙ Displacement of working economy with one that is typically oppressive and destructive (very hard to return to original modes of production) ∙ Use of World Bank (owned by rich countries) to increase debt and “trap” countries in an endless I.O.U cycle o So what happens to countries that are “unable” or “refuse” to pay their debt? ∙ Environmental problems: deforestation of countries (which, believe it or not, does and WILL affect us at some level); nuclear, oil, and garbage dumping (note also similar problems affecting us at home (e.g. Native American reservations); nuclear testing (e.g. Puerto Rico), etc. ∙ Increased global terrorism: common method used throughout time by a number of groups who feel a grievance over some issue, but who also lack the conventional military might to force a change… Modernization Theory∙ As time progresses, the technological advancement of a country helps to increase standards of living in that country ∙ Eventually, poorer countries will be able to achieve a stage in which they are no longer dependent on other countries for economic growth Dependency Theory ∙ Poorer countries are dependent on richer countries for their economic growth…with little to no hope of ever becoming independent ∙ The dependency is cyclical ∙ Part of the explanation about why these countries are so poor can be linked back to colonialism World Systems Theory ∙ Immanuel Wallerstein: Father of the World Systems Theory ∙ The global network is set up with one entity in mind: the corporation ∙ The people that gain from such a system are those who are economically high enough in corporate chain as to have “meaningful” powerThe New International Division of Labor Theory ∙ The overall corporate structure is broken down, often into four or more parts; production and manufacturing, assembly, transportation, and distributions, and customer service ∙ Each of the parts operate in a section of the globe that provides for the corporation the best “fit” for it’s needs (e.g. if corporation needs to escape labor laws for its assembly section, it locates in a country wit little to no labor laws…El Salvador, Saipan, etc.) ∙ Each of the parts are highly mobile and able to relocate if and when necessary (e.g. Puerto Rico and operation bootstrap) November 24th What Is This Book About? 1 This is not a book about McDonald's or even about the fast food industry 2 It is about… "the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world." (1) 3 What other areas does it affect? a Education, work, health, care, travel, leisure, dieting, politics, the family, the food industry, etc. McDonaldization ∙ How important is McDonald's ∙ News of the local town ∙ Skits, satires, movies, etc… ∙ The Big Mac Index ∙ Ambassador to the McDonald's story McDonald's is Globalization Advantages of McDonaldization ∙ But the point of the book… thanks to McDonald's, we are constantly bombarded with media attesting to the advantages (pg. 19) …. And the need for social criticism ∙ Rationality and irrationality addressed through Max Weber Weber's Concept of Rationality ∙ Bureaucracy- What is it?o Structure + set of rules or organizing principles o Max Weber's ultimate form of rationality:…. Organized labor, hierarchical, efficient, etc… o We are actors within the institution without question (or little question) to it ∙ A Machine o But… dehumanizing, irrational, not… efficient ∙ Max Weber's concept of rationality… o The "Western world, will become increasingly rational-- that it, dominated by efficiency, predictability, calculablity, and control o Rationality = efficiency + calculability + predictability + control ∙ Formal rationality and the U.S. o The search for the optimum means to a given end can be found via the use of strict rules and guidelines o Having to make fewer choices = more people making the "RIGHT" or "OPTIMUM" choice ∙ The iron cage of rationality o As bureaucracies grow and the idea of rationality expands… folks will become trapped in a box with limited choices, limited ideas, limited freedom o REM: Weber's "The Spirit of Capitalism" and the notion of the "calling" Holocaust: Ultimate Use of Rationality ∙ Bullets were inefficient and too messy… gas is much more efficient and easier to clean ∙ Why individual killings when mass slaughter is better… quantity over quality ∙ Use of the Jewish population to do the work (e.g. choosing the next group of victims) ∙ Folks cooperated because it seemed the rational thing to do (i.e. they might be saved) ∙ The rationality lies in the question… how many people could be killed in the shortest amount of time? Scientific Management ∙ Frederick W. Taylor…. Creator of scientific management; taken from certain notions developed by Adam Smith on labor and labor relations o All workers are stupid o All workers need disciplineo Workers are inherently lazy and are thieves thus they need constant supervision o Standardization of tools and processes (the worker way is the WRONG way) ∙ Rationality of scientific management is in its "traditional" use of efficiency The Idea of Individuality ∙ How do companies reward employees for their thoughts? How do they really? o HEB's "suggestion box" o Example of Sara Lee's reward (broken truck story) Efficiency: How is it Accomplished? ∙ Streamlining process… speeding from secretion to excretion o In and out, drive through in 1975, and Taco Bell of the future ∙ Home cooking (refrigerators --> tv dinners --> microwave dinners) o The emerging battles between the efficiency of microwaves and oh so great fast food…. Well, why not have them both? ∙ Health ∙ Shopping o Convenience stores o Self checkouts o New scanner technologies ∙ Simplifying product o Food is finger food o Offer few items o USA today ∙ Customers to work ∙ Education o McDonaldized multiple choice exams ∙ He will throw a concept at us on the exam, and we have to show the rationality and irrationality of different aspects December 1st-December 3rd McDonaldization of Society∙ The process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of North American society as well as the rest of the world Weber’s Concept of Rationality ∙ What is bureaucracy? o Structure + Set of Rules of Organizing Principles o Max Weber’s ultimate form of rationality: organized labor, hierarchical, efficient, etc. ∙ A Machine o But, dehumanizing, irrational, not efficient Calculability ∙ Quantity over Quality o “Super size” or “super shit” (Colonel Sanders, 83) ∙ Health Care o Humana Style o HMO Style ∙ Politics o McPolitician o Sound Bites o Political Speeches ∙ Fooling customers so that they “think” they know best o Ex: Sara Lee Bread Company (how to “freshen” old bread… fluff and weave technique) ∙ REDUCING PRODUCTION (Service) to NUMBERS (in 3 minutes) ∙ Examples: o Domino’s mantra: “Hustle, do it! Hustle, do it!” o Workplace: reducing jobs to basics ∙ Calculability is a good things: we are able to “produce and obtain” things very fast…so what’s the problem? o Where is this idea that we keep flaunting around about “individuality?” Illusion of Quantity ∙ Packaging for BIG ILLUSION big profits Examples o McDonald’s packaging fries (how to pack where it looks full) ∙ ANOTHER MALL o All the same TV Shows are the same; 500 channels of BS…∙ Education…quantity over quality…It’s all about the GPA o The SAT, GRE, ABD, BA, BS, MA, MS, PHD, etc. Creating Predictable Settings ∙ Motel chains Need for Consistency Holiday Inn & CHEAP Motel 6 ∙ Fast food McDonald’s way of handling everything and predictable items (menu and architecture of business) ∙ Eating for pleasure or eating to refuel? ∙ Other settings McSuburbs Destructions, boxes, ugly, barren, boring Scripting Interaction ∙ Howdy partner and happy trails and Roy Rogers ∙ Positive, but negative results No Flexibility and Robot-like behavior ∙ McPoliticians ∙ Even jokes are scripted… Making Employee Behavior Products and Processes ∙ Standardized pickles, buns, precut fries, etc. ∙ Are there any problems? o Regional and ethnic variations are decreasing ∙ Movies, games, videos, music, etc. Minimizing Danger and Unpleasantness ∙ Modern camping…Discovery Zone…Rain Forest Café…etc. ∙ Are there any problems? o We aren’t dealing with problems, creating safe places, and are making someone RICH Control Employees ∙ McRobots Human robots…robocook computer Taco Bell…french fry robot ∙ McChildcare Instructed technicians o The need for “unskilled labor” o Rising need for this and the rise in the need to treat people like shit Customers ∙ Mall Zombies, strategic placement of benches and escalators The Process and The Product ∙ No more SKILLED laborers at McWorld ∙ Farming Seafood: 95% of Salmon grows in cages in Norway ∙ McChicken farms, McLambs, McCatfish, etc. The Irrationality of Rationality ∙ What does irrationality of rationality mean? What We Think is “Rational” May Not Be “Rational” After All ∙ Advantages vs. Disadvantages of McDonaldization o Dehumanized work settings o Process involved in making “predictable” French fries o Forestry…pollution…etc. Creating Reasonable Alternatives ∙ Conglomerate takeover…mass U.S media corporations (where’s room for “making it on your own?”) ∙ Food Co-ops vs. Supermarkets ∙ Small Universities Recap for Final Exam Sociology…Why Does it Matter? ∙ Makes us aware of certain concepts we are not aware of and how it effects our lives Introduction to Sociology ∙ How it applies to your lives, and the lives of others, in ways you never thought about ∙ From individual to structural ∙ The concept of social construction∙ Race is an abstract concept o Changes throughout history Critical Thinking ∙ Moves us away from o Rash conclusions o Mystifications o Reluctance to question Received wisdom Authority Tradition ∙ Moves us toward o Intellectual discipline o Clear expression of ideas o Acceptance of personal responsibility for our own thinking ∙ We are socialized into thinking “this is the way life is” Privilege ∙ The power to ignore, minimize, and reject: o Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, ∙ Why is it so hard to talk about privilege? o It requires actual participation and acknowledgement of the reality of the topic o You don’t want to acknowledge that maybe the privileged had it easier than others o Don’t want to be heard that they aren’t oppressed in any way o We think about privilege in extreme terms: KKK Rapist Bigot o We tend to think along individual lines o Language matters you could be calling the wrong person a “racist” What are they thinking about when you give them that title? It’s bigger than race o Privilege is invisible o The norm in our society is the unspoken, unexamined, and unquestioned: white, males, heterosexual, able-bodied, young, etc. o Life is complex: we occupy different social, economic, and even psychological positions in society at different times∙ Privilege is THREE things: o Hierarchical o Relational o Dynamic Matrix of Domination ∙ Patricia Hill Collins: The paradox of being privileged and unprivileged at the same time o Privileges exist in relation to other privileges o Thinking of privilege as an either/or concept doesn’t allow us to examine the complexities of our lives Privilege and Oppression are Structural Concepts ∙ Understanding privilege and oppression through individual, rather than structural, lens does not get to the root of the problems o Privilege is not about people o Privilege is about belonging to a category that receives benefits from society ∙ Should be examined in relation to: o Capitalism o Patriarchy o White supremacy o Heteronormativity Systems of Oppression ∙ Systems: o Capitalism and Colonialism o Colonialism and Patriarchy o Colonialism and Capitalism and Patriarchy Final Exam ∙ All the assigned readings from November 17th-December 3rd on the syllabus ∙ Ritzer’s Book = IMPORTANT ONE EXAM QUESTION ∙ How has your current understanding of sociology impacted your life? Name one thing discussed in this course that has most strongly impacted on how you understand the world, and why? Do you think the impact of that issue will change how you live your life? How and why? ∙ In writing your essay, describe the path of your life as you know it now in terms of larger social forces. What one social or sociological problem discussed this semester do you think you will have the most impact on, and how would you have this impact?