SOC201 Lectures for Midterm
SOC201 Lectures for Midterm
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SOC201 Lectures for Midterm (15) Lecture 1 Buffalo creek is a mining community at West Virginia. By 1972 the community of buffalo creek had 5000 people. Coat extraction in B.C produces a lot of dirty water. 2 reasons. 1) in the process of extraction of low rate coal already creates the slag and murky water. 2) Apparently, a great pool of water is used to flush the coal? The Buffalo mining community in the hills above in the dam….dirty water accumulated behind dams. In 1972 the dam collapsed. The miners and their family’s lives downstream with great force and sludge are carried away and it destroys everything. The homeless are established in temp villages surrounded flooded area. Ericson is called in at this point. The lawyers hired by these displaced families want to put together a case and document the penalties to be awarded. They want to calculate the damage in the lives of the community. He also writes a book afterwards documenting everything. One of the things he focuses on is the notion of community. Community: A network of relationships in which people look out for each other. To these people community is good. (Support, Neighbors) What did Ericson experience in regards to the loss of these peoples community? There are signs of apathy, depression, immorality, adultery, disorientation. Feelings of isolation, Depression Disconnection between spouses and friends. Illness and identity; people took on the identity of being ill. Ericson says that these people were a mining community, worked with their hands. Used to taking on hardship. Now after damage, they take on the opposite role, of being ill and weak. General fear of new disasters and hardships. The Buffalo Creek Disaster is a metaphor for MODERN SOCIETY. Gemeinschaft (Relations of community) Simple division of labor; tasks involved in production are not broken up. Each person should be good at what they do. Similarity of identity Familism; putting interest of family ahead of the individual. This creates tensions in transition from traditional to modern society. Weigh whether they should leave the village and help themselves or stay back and help family. Affective relationships: Emotional based relations VS Gesellschaft (Relations of association) Advanced division of labor: task is minutely broken up. Tasks involved are broken up a great deal and deskilling. Differences in identity Individualism: Each on its own. Building your own self over family. Contract relations.: impersonal Does race matter more in traditional or modern? Does gender matter in modern or traditional? Main Point: IN a way the story that Erickson is saying is our story; story of modernity. Some of the symptoms that can be associated with it. NEXT WEEKS READING FOCUS Chapter 1) think of America; liberty, equality . Author is NOT a complete fan of American democracy. He is an aristocrat. This does NOT discredit him. Claims that in a democracy equality is more prized than liberty. Chap 2) Equality fosters individualism. He means the isolation of citizens from each other. Equality fosters atomization society breaks apart into its units. Chap 3) Individualism peaks after a revolution. Chap 4) IN a democracy what counteracts individualism? What’s in a democracy that combats individualism? Chap 5) Focus on voluntary associations. Author says imagine a modern society where the citizens do not gel together. First fear is that an overly atomized society will create opportunity for intrusive fate. In an overly atomized society is will be difficult for citizens to think beyond their interest. He is looking to American society where people are thinking of themselves. How in heck can such a society will people combine and do things that need to be done in groups (Social care). His fear is that the collective good will be neglected. Does he feel totally defeated and gloomy about the US? Or does he believe that America in its nooks and crannies provide solutions to this problem. Pessimistic or optimistic? Lecture 2 1 . Tocqueville’s historical perspective Believes that rules should be by the best of the best (high status). Refers to a society where various social status are being erased, The French Revolution affected Tocqueville’s family directly as his father was a lawyer for the king and was killed. The aristocrats lost their lives as lands were seized to increase equality. In 1831, Tocqueville was sent by the government to the U.S.A to study the Penal System Distinction: At the same time as Tocqueville the Romantic Conservatives thought that France would be better off if they turned back the clock into a FEUDAL ORDER Reactionaries: wants to pull back into a certain time Romantic Conservatives vision of feudal society was of a STATIC society (immobilized) Prerevolutionary France was changing Tocqueville differed from the Romantic Conservatives: Believed there was no possible way to return to the past Introduction of gun powder in warfare fueled equality Printing Press improved access of learning which fueled equality Discovery of the new world made wealth and power become available for adventurers Contrary to the Romantic Conservatives Tocqueville is able to document the trend of equality Double Revolution: Noble has gone down, commoner rises with each century and soon they will touch (Master Trend) History is being dynamic in increasing equality over the long term outside human control which has destroyed the feudal system (pulled down kings) and will not stop in the face of wealth or middle classes Aristocrat with certain values who feels there is an irreversible trend in equality that will push aristocrats aside 2 . Why Equality? Equality is an increasing quality, liberty is to be cherished People thought for themselves in authoritarian societies Would rather feel equal to others than express freedom of opinion French revolution (a time of violence, anarchy, regime change, property/person insecure) 2 Possible Danger/Evils: ANARCHY (absence of liberty, threats to person and property, rule of law not respected) and too much STATE CONTROL (easier for the state to impose its will over its citizens as citizens cannot band together) New virtue in politics (defensive liberty) under these new conditions of equality If we can somehow protect liberty in an egalitarian society, the nation as a body would have less glory, be less passionate, and be less strong than under feudalism, but people would be peaceful in knowing itself to be better off 3. Why the United States? In America, Democracy is not in competition with an other forms of government (history of feudalism is almost nonexistent in the U.S) in contrast with France in which the legacy of aristocracy continues during the time Tocqueville was alive Tocqueville was elected to the chamber of deputies and was France’s foreign minister 4. What about slavery? (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass) Both African and Natives suffer because of the Europeans Issue with Tocqueville Slavery has dehumanized the African American (ambitions and thoughts of a slave) African Americans admired their masters Contrast with Frederick Douglas: Penalty of telling the truth to a series of plain questions (Slaves look up to their masters) (Maxim: a still tongue makes a wise head) (suppress the truth and to speak in the favour of their master) (Compare slave holder with other slave holders) Mutually disparage their master when viewed separately How can we be sure what Tocqueville was talking about when talking about the African American (difficult to give stock to explanation/reliable explanation) Does this mean that Tocqueville’s theory is flawed? Individualism is a state of affairs where people are separated from each other (restrict calculation of interest to people immediately surrounding them) 5. The importance of voluntary associations People the concern for a greater collective good In an egalitarian society it counteracts individualism Believes this talent of association will help France Parallel in Tocqueville’s Thought: Social structure before the revolution includes commoners, aristocrats/nobility/intermediate power, and the King If those below are fragmented they would be unable to upraise the state In a democracy citizens can collect together to akin to the aristocracy in a feudal state Intermediate powers are guarantee against the power of the state Modern Day thoughts about politics and society: Is Tocqueville a right wing or left wing thinker? Left: More government, state > Most in favour of change getting rid of the monarchy (defending equality) Right: Free Market, Traditional > Maintaining the monarchy/ old regime (defending inequality) *Left and Right Wing terms came from the French Revolution *Tocqueville is admired by both right and left wing thinkers Lecture 3 Karl Marx: The German Ideology (184546) 1) The premise of historical materialism Marx thought against those who believed that ideas ruled societies. Human beings need to survive and meet fundamental needs in order to make history and how we go about meeting those needs to survive are imposed on us. According to Marx if you want to eat you have to go to the market place. Unless you are a capitalist you have no choice but to sell you labour. Meeting needs are so essential that it conditions the other aspects of society such that the Economic Sphere conditions the cultural, legal, political sphere. The ways in which we produce are indispensable yet exist largely beyond individual control 2) Implication for studying society: how society produces is fundamental The production of material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life Marx is aware of the difference of a capitalist society and a feudal society (Capitalist versus Proletariat replacing Nobility and Peasantry) Society will have a legal system that upholds the exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie 3) Division of labour, example from Adam Smith, the Wealth of Nations (1776) Division of labour under Capitalism Adam Smith lived before Marx and is not a Marxist: Says that when you decrease the division of labour you decrease productivity Marx talks about the effect on the human being from an advanced division of labour that depends on deskilled workers 4) Division of labour, consequences according to Marx Unequal distribution in the awards of the distribution of workers Advance division of labour cannot be separated from the march of capitalism Workers are paid the same even though they are more productive Under conditions of increased exploitation the state is reinforced because state for Marx is the caretaker of the capitalist economy and protects it State makes sure that capitalism does not go outside certain boundaries to maintain the status quo Marx claims that the State with weaken away in a Capitalist society (weak argument) because without a State it would be hard to allocate resources to necessary sectors (ex. Hospitals) The need to make authoritative decisions cannot disappear Work becomes alienating Marx’s Views on Community 1. What community is not: Village Life Community idealizes the family Marx talks about the consequences of British Imperialism for Indian Society and argues about how the British society is corroding Indian village life Marx is not a fan of the differences of the caste system in India that contain very rigid status distinctions and such things as the institution of slavery which Marx is also not a fan of Family Marx does not idealize the family because the bourgeoisie treat the wife as a prostitute Proletariat family comes closer to pure love as there are fewer economic interests when they join together (less exploited than a bourgeoisie marriage) 2. What community is: 1Workingclass solidarity (which means that proletarians if necessary are willing to set aside their partial interests for the sake of the common, longterm interests of the entire working class) 2A form of society (communism) towards which the socialist movement is struggling (characterized by the absence of private property – thus any class divisions – and alienation) 3Absence of the state: society governs itself Divide society into the 2 realms: Public Realm(Synonymous with the state) Government, civil servants, parliament, crown corporations, bank Private Realm( Civil Society) Family, business enterprise, nongovernment operations *Marx says the need for a state will disappear in a capitalist society* Society governs itself Lecture 4 1. Why study suicide? a) A Test Case When Durkheim was writing in the 1890s there had yet to be a professorship of sociology in France due to the fact that there were prejudices against the social sciences. People wondered why we needed another human science when we already had psychology. Durkheim took a unpromising subject such as suicide (an individual private act) and shed light on this phenomenon to legitimate sociology as a discipline To boost the generalizability of their findings sociologists will use large samples The test case is used to prove a broader point Robert Michels saw that in the German socialist party (most in favour of equality) that there is a great deal of hierarchy involved and coined the term the Iron Law of Oligarchy (wherever there is organization you will have hierarchy) b) An Index of Social Solidarity (Mechanical and Organic) Mechanical Solidarity (Traditional society) Likeness, society with little individuality Shared ideas, economic activities (all the same) Social integration is based on likeness creating a bond of togetherness/solidarity Parts in society are interchangeable Organic Solidarity (Modern Industrial society) Bases for solidarity differs Members of a modern society have a strong sense of differences (uniqueness) Society as an organism (Performance of all these separate tasks are necessary for society to function) workers don’t do what they are supposed to do = society will fail 2. Rates, race and imitation a) Rates as social facts An individual suicide is not a social fact SUICIDE RATE is a social fact and tends to exhibit stability over time in societies If the suicide rate was just the sum of unconnected personal act then the rate should have no pattern but instead there is a pattern b) Race: theory and evidence Posits that different racial groups have different tendencies to commit suicide Race theory assumes that there is a purity of races Durkheim says that there has been a mixing of people that makes it impossible for a pure race and believes that racial characteristics vary over time Uses classifications of race and suicide rates associated with each and finds 2 phenomenon: 1) Y suicide variation within so called racial groups (Bohemia 158 suicide per million with Croatia 30 per million) 2) We take one racial group which is dispersed geographically over time and say that the same people wherever they are will have the same suicide tendency Society NOT GENES that causes suicide c) Imitation: Theory and Evidence Suicide is like a flu bug and once you catch it (see suicide around you) you are more likely to commit suicide yourself i.e. someone hanging themselves and then several others hang themselves on the same tree in following months/years Durkheim says we can find a better test of imitation by looking at maps on France in which suicide rates are traced out You find patterns of suicide in which there is a drop off (donut) hollow cores in the pattern Durkheim is led to conclude that the imitation theory is discredited 3. Social Solidarity a) Effects on suicide by social category What do people have in common that leads them to have a higher or lower rate of suicide Lower rate of suicide = higher degree of social integration/regulation Higher rate of suicide = Pull of society is lower One of the things that creative people is to show the hidden unity in separate phenomena b) Egoistic suicide and organic solidarity Egoistic Suicide: Associated with organic solidarity; results from lack of social integration due to excess of individualism; committed by people cut off from society, reliant on self c) Altruistic suicide and mechanical solidarity Altruistic Suicide: Associated with mechanical solidarity; results from high level of social discipline; committed when high value placed on society means the individual has little value *Durkheim says he is not interested in motives (egoistic/altruistic) but in a sense is smuggling in motives in classifying suicide as one kind or the other d) Anomic suicide and rapid social change Anomic Suicide: Associated with normlessness (confusion over action that is appropriate); due to rapid change (either societal or individual change) because a weakening of restraints leads to higher hopes and thus greater disappointments Durkheim says normally we make sure that what we hope for is more aligned with what we reasonably expect (suddenly a big mismatch) When we do better it feeds hopes and expectations Disappointments can occur even if you have more as the gap grows larger between what you get and what you hope for e) Fatalistic suicide and overregulation Fatalistic Suicide: Results from too much social regulation So immersed in the life of others that they lack identity When society is everything the individual is nothing 2 Definitions of Positivism: 1) Strange fusion between science and religious belief 2) Synonym for scientism: the inappropriate application of a methods of the natural sciences to the social sciences Argument against Positivism: In the natural sciences there is a tendency to study things that are only acted upon by natural forces. Human beings are not just acted upon they REACT (may react different ways according to their understandings of the world) Lecture 5 Max Weber (18641920) : “Science as a Vocation” (1918) Objective conditions of academic activity Are academic activities are of value or not? Scientific work lacks permanency Artistic work can last for generations. In contrast, scientific works are bound to be surpassed in a matter of decades. Accordingly, scientists must not believe this kind of transcendence is possible for them. Past justifications for science Weber refutes Plato’s notion that science is the best way to understand life by asserting that many people believe that science is too abstract Weber refutes Da vinci’s idea that science is the best way to describe art by arguing that many people see art as being apart from science Some people think that science is the best way to understand god, but Weber says that religion runs counter to science Some people think that science will lead us to true happiness, but Weber says that few people believe science brings happiness. Those who do are naive. Does this mean that science is meaningless? Presuppositions of science: In order to engage in science, one must assume that the rules of logic and method are valid We are supposed to demonstrate to others that if they followed the same procedures as we did in our experiment, then they will arrive at the same conclusion. It must stand up to rigorous review. Some things are worth knowing Weber asks how do we know what is worth knowing? The answer is unclear. He says that since it is not selfevident. What is significant is a matter of the values of a given society What does science offer? Practical applications In science, you can find a more efficient way of doing what we like to do Training in thinking You can learn transferable skills, logical thinking, etc. Clarity Clarity means being able to ask yourself whether the ends justify the means. If you can address this question than you are better able to take responsibility for your actions. i.e. comparing a first past the post electoral system and a proportional vote electoral system. Some advocate for switching to proportional system because it is more representative of the population’s desires. Additionally, the first past the post system typically prevents the Green party from gaining representation due to citizens not wanting to waist their vote on a party that will likely not be elected. This relates to clarity because we must realize that if we switch to a proportional system, we would also create the rise of extremist parties. Thus, if we switch systems, we must take responsibility for creating an opening for these types of parties. Weber says we must assess the consequences of our academic actions and take responsibility for the decisions we make. This does make life more difficult because we face important choices with serious consequences. Responsibility Once again, Weber says we must take responsibility for our choices and accept the consequences of them. The absence of community values Weber discusses polytheism in ancient Greece. Gods were at war with each other, so given this unstable status; Greeks had to pay homage to them all. In contrast, Christian monotheists presented a single value system, which is unifying. Weber argues that modern society is reverting back to the system of ancient Greece, in that there is no longer regulated community values. Thus, there is no one answer to the value of science or the best way to live because there will be no consensus among individuals anymore. In Tocqueville’s work, his ideas are clear in outlining the absence of community in the US. Marx also is very clear in outlining the absence of community when he discusses alienation. Weber in contrast, is not as concerned about the concept of community. Unlike Marx, Weber does not explicitly say that there is hope for recovering community values. He sees small pockets of community, but certainly not at the level of the other scholars we have discussed. He si much more pessimistic. George Simmel (18581918) (*Lecture material on Simmel is testable, but not the suggested reading*) Modernity This term has many meanings. We must therefore give it context. Some have described sociology as the selfconsciousness of modernity: This means trying to come to grips with the French Revolution – a transition from a societal system that was based on birth and religion, to one that does not favor birth and that questions religions. Accordingly, sociologists have asks what the state of modern society is and how we should live. Sociologists have also tried to come to grips with the Industrial Revolution, as Marx and Durkheim have. Sociologists have also grappled with the difference between Gemeinshaft and Gezelshaft. Faith in progress is also associated with modernity. The same is true for personal choice in marriage, dress, food, etc. Thus, while the term modernity is rich, we can see what sociologists mean when they discuss it. Identity The sociological approach to identity is in terms of the people you interact with, the groups you are a part of, etc. your identity is your social belonging. It is not good to withdraw from society when you have a problem, rather, you should associate with those who reinforce the good things you wish to do. Simmel on modernity and identity in “The Web of GroupAffiliations” Simmel contrasts social networks in a traditional society to modern society. In traditional society, social networks are dense. In contrast, in modern society, there are loose, less dense social networks. Thus, he maps out the structural change in social networks from traditional society to modernity, which clearly impacts the level of community. What are the implications for identity? The people we associate with bring out different aspects of ourselves, while suppressing other potentials. Additionally, the part of ourselves that we show changes with context (i.e. different humor on a sports team than a church group). Simmel says that in traditional society, the type of person you are is always the same because you only associate with the same people every day in a village. In modern society however, you can show different sides of yourself in different contexts because you know different people. Simmel says that this isn’t necessarily a good thing due to disintegration. Partly, simmel is saying that our social networks can fall apart in modernity. Additionally, he means that there is a threat to our integrity as human beings when our networks fall apart because it is difficult to tell who a person truly is when they show different sides of themselves (could be hypocritical/two faced). Community: Taking Stock Meanings of “community” There is little consensus of this term in sociology. There is, however, a spirit of nostalgia for when there was less anonymity, when there was a familylike sentiment. Sociologists wonder whether we can have this community feeling in modernity. When people hear community they think of: Voluntary associations – people coming together, as in Tocquevlle’s work. Proximity people living close together with similar identities Rural societies You can’t have wholeness as a person without having a community of persons, etc. Approaches to community Tocqeuville discusses the community of generations. The legacy of that one generation leaves to another. He also discusses a community of sentiments between classes (i.e. servants connect their destiny to that of their masters). He associates atomisation with modernity. Marx discusses how societies divided by class cannot have community. He believes community can be recovered by eliminating class and enabling fulfilment Weber believes that a sense of community has been lost due to value pluralism. Durkheim is more optimistic in that while mechanical solidarity is difficult to achieve in modernity, we can achieve organic solidarity. Simmel, similarly to Weber, is skeptical. Community is structurally impossible due to the individualization of our social connections. Trends and countertrends In the 1800s, there is an absence of community because there is the widespread fear that the working classes will rise up again as they did during the French revolution. Additionally, the working classes still hold hostility towards the rich classes. There was also antiSemitism at the time and racism between Europeans and the colonies they possessed. There were also waves of feminism, especially arguing for the vote in the 1800s. There are also countertrends. Within the working class, there are new forms of solidarity in order to advance their own interest. The same is true for race, as Jews banned together for Zionist movements and settlers banded together to find different types of community. Also, during WWI, thousands of people from the colonies fought alongside Europeans in the trenches. Does this mean that community and alienation are just tradeoffs that don’t really change? Nationalism The idea that each people have a right to its own state. Nationalism is an important historical phenomenon from the 1800s to the 1900s. In WWI, national hatreds trumped class solidarity, which highlights its importance. Nationalism creates new forms of community The welfare state Associated with WWI. The idea that the state should provide protection against unemploymentt, and should provide old age pensions, etc. There is the idea that protection should be de comodified – i.e. protection for the elderly, for widows, etc. In this way, the welfare state provided a new sense of community in terms of who should be taken care of. Lost community Notwithstanding the welfare state, we have certainly lost the sense of community that Marx and Tocqueville have described. While it is true that we can reclaim connections between people, we cannot rekindle this greater sense of community. (i.e.Many refugees do not have access to care, thus nationalism by definition both includes and excludes. ) Things to keep in mind for the Tocqueville reading in 2 weeks: In two weeks we will read Tocqueville on religion. You should focus on whether he confuses “is” with “ought.” That is, does he confuse what is empirically happening, with what ought to be happening. Analytically, it is important to keep these terms apart. Additionally, you must understand why he makes the argument that centrality of beliefs is important. On pages 442443, there is an excellent example of why we would call Tocqueville an idealist as opposed to Marx’s materialism. Weber 2 1) Objective Condition of Academic Activity German translation of science is scholarship and vocation is a religious calling. He delivers this lecture in a time of crisis to an audience who is looking for a sense of direction from a scholar. Weber firmly believes that it is not the task of the teacher to give answers, but the task is to ask questions. He tried to give his students some tools to discuss whether science would be a vocation. 2) Scientific Work Lacks Permanency For artists and scholars, it’s both about creation. An Artist will create and that’s that but scholars work lacks permanence. If ones work is bound to be updated constantly, then why engage in it? 3) Past Justifications for Science Science is the way of true being; science is the way of knowing who one really is and what he is about (Plato). Weber, however says that science is lifeless and remoteness and far off from true being. Science is the way to true art. > Today intellectualism is constructed with Art. In Di Vinci’s work, there is a seamless connection between art and science. Leonardo’s argument is not persuasive to Weber. > “Science towards belief in God”. Last lecture we spoke of positivism ( one related to science and its methods and the other is related to Comte, who believed that studying all phenomenon’s scientifically will bring us closer to God. He believed somehow studying scientifically will bring us closer to appreciation of God). Weber doesn’t buy this argument. Today science tends to erode belief in God. Science is the way to true happiness Weber says that these people demonstrate a certain immaturity and lack experience 4) Presuppositions of Science Rules of logic and method: If you want to prove a point it's not sufficient to cite an anecdote. It needs concrete subjective evidence for the argument. Each discipline has its own method and applies them as appropriate. What is worth knowing is a question of interpretation: Says that the idea that is worth knowing is a controversial issue. 5) What does Science Offer? Practical Application: Science is a way of controlling life. Medicine etc. Training in Thinking: In Weber’s language, Science offers methods for tools and training for thought. Clarity: Given a goal we have, what are the best means of achieving those goals and what are the consequences of that? We know that if we do A over B, some good things might happen and some bad. Science allows us to possibly take responsibility for those side effects. Example: It has to do with democracy. It is an elastic word. There are some who claim that it exists only for those who are affected by a decision are also able to participate directly in the formulation of that decision. At another extreme, there is democracy which is practiced at the federal level, where there are fairly regular actions in which we have a real choice between candidates. But between elections, we are not too actively engaged in the decision making. Some believe that direct democracy is the only kind and is worth fighting for and until we have that, life is not good. Weber thinks that thinking as a scholar requires us to think of the consequences as well. The adv of proportional representation is that there is more accurate representation of opinion within an election of the population… the drawback is that there is govt instavlity : countries where a single party is very difficult to achieve a majority of seats so they form coalitions, and when these coalitions form the smaller party get disproportionate representation. The smaller party can say that if you don’t give in to our demands, we will make the government fall. Markets don’t like this. Politicians at the top can get side tracked by infighting and thus distracted by the state affairs. Weber was critical of the conservative’s right in his country and scathing towards the socialists 6) The Absence of Community Values: Polytheism; a system in which there are many gods. Weber talks a little bit about ancient Greece in a society here there are many Gods. The hierarchy is unstable. The solution was to respect all the Gods and please them all. This si by contrast to Christian Europe. A society in which for Weber, Christians were blinded about the struggle between diff ethical systems. For Weber, the Gods in Greece embody diff values. He contrasts this with the monotheistic system in which there is one God and ones set of values. We are turning to an era of contested values. An area in which there is no longer the same community of values that there used to be in Europe. What does this imply? At best, science and scholarship can only appeal to a subsection and not all because there is NO community of values. He says that if scholarship is not for you but you are still looking for a meaningful life, look at churches. If you don’t want to be a scholar but still looking for meaning, look at that option. Weber cannot presume to offer a definitive answer to the audience he is speaking to due to the lack of Community Values.