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SOC 001 Notes, Week 2

by: Thomas Wei

SOC 001 Notes, Week 2 SOC 001-A

Marketplace > University of Vermont > Sociology > SOC 001-A > SOC 001 Notes Week 2
Thomas Wei
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About this Document

The notes from 1/26/16 and 1/28/16 lectures
Introduction to Sociology
Beth Mintz
Class Notes




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Thomas Wei on Tuesday January 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 001-A at University of Vermont taught by Beth Mintz in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 230 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at University of Vermont.

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Date Created: 01/26/16
SOC 001 1/26/16 Emile Durkheim - some of Durkheim’s major work focuses on the forces that hold society together (called this force social solidarity) - studied suicide - rates were higher in societies where norms were unclear or contradictory (anomie or normlessness) - norm = guideline for behavior Suicide rates are tied to the economy… - Great Depression: 22.1 per 100,000 (all time high) - Suicide rate quadrupled in US between 2008 and 2010 (great recession) - Men are more likely to commit suicide than women - Younger people more likely to commit suicide than older people Sociological Theories Functionalism - society as smoothly functioning (Durkheim) - dynamic equilibrium - Function: “observed consequences which make for the adaption or adjustment of a given system” Gans, “The Positive Functions of Poverty” - existence of poverty makes sure that the “dirty work” gets done (Ex. Undocumented workers) - Poverty creates all sorts of jobs for the more affluent (social workers, prison guards, court system, etc.) - Poor limit competition for good jobs, since they do not have the education or resources to compete Karl Marx - Marx is one of the most influential thinkers in history - he saw class as a fundamental dimension of society that sharps social behaviors - studied how capitalism, an economic system based on pursuing profit, shaped society Conflict Theory - social order through coercion Max Weber - Weber expanded on Marx’s thinking - Three basic dimensions (political, economic, and cultural) - Multidimensional approach Rationalization - the process by which modern society has increasingly become concerned with the most efficient ways to accomplish an end - not necessarily a good thing SOC 001 1/28/16 The Scientific Method and Social Facts Experiments - Limitations: The Hawthorne Effect - tried to increase productivity by brightening the lights in the factory and succeed - continued to try to make improvements to increase productivity and each improvement increased efficiency - found out that productivity only went up because the workers were being observed Ethics - Tuskegee Study - African Americans with Syphilis used in this study to see the progression of untreated Syphilis - continued study after medication ran out without telling the men that they were not being treated with real medication anymore - Laud Humphreys, Tearoom Trade (1975) - wanted to study the gay male population - recorded license plate numbers of men in his study - went to their houses a year later and interviewed them to get a general demographic of what times of men participated and published book Theory, Data, and Sociological Arguments Schwalbe: “Find Out How The Social World Works” How Do We Know? - we know out world through personal experience and its how we understand the wider world and make generalizations BUT… - personal experiences can be very different from one another, so you can’t make generalizations about the world through your own point of view - each person has own perception of his/her world - social location matters (be mindful about where out info comes from) Ex. Male vs. female worlds in society Empirical Finding: The poverty levels among blacks in the US is higher than among whites (30% vs 15%) Why? We don’t know definitely but we know a lot about available employment, wage rates, quality of education, housing options, discrimination, arrest patterns, etc. - put them together and we generate an argument that the differences in poverty rates are the result of discrimination and racism - argument = something that uses data/facts and an accumulated body of information that has been thought over and developed - Proven it? No, but it is an interpretation that is consistent with the body of knowledge that has accumulated over many decades - not all arguments are equal (some are more persuasive or at least more consistent with what has been studied systematically) Ex. Theory of Evolution vs. Creationism - more people believe in the Theory of Evolution than creationism because there is more evidence to back it up Scientific Method Definition: the process of study based on empirical data - we use variables (concepts that can take on two or more categories) Ex. Sex (male, female), years of schooling Hypothesis: a statement that expresses an informed (or “educated”) guess about the possible relationship between two or more variables Ex. Educated attainment and family income are directly related Noncausal/Descriptive Hypothesis: a proposition that connects two variables by specifying the form of the relationship Ex. Alienation and good work habits are inversely related Casual Hypothesis: a proposition that connects two variables by specifying the form of the relationship and by containing a clear causal ordering between the two variables Ex. Studying more produces better grades


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