Microsociology David Trouille Lecture 4 Lecture 5
Microsociology David Trouille Lecture 4 Lecture 5 SOCI 140
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kirsten Matthewman on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI 140 at James Madison University taught by D. Trouille in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 53 views. For similar materials see Microsociology in Sociology at James Madison University.
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Date Created: 01/31/16
The social construction of reality II (repeat) What does it mean to say something is socially constructed? Everyone gets it Not natural or inevitable – it is always created We create society and then forget that we did – we created the fact that K-12 is a legal right, but it isn’t natural and sometimes we forget this, maybe it will change Product of social activity Thomas Theorem ? - Plato’s allegory of the cave Video, how does it shed light on social construction? - prisoners chained in cave, can’t see behind them, only forward - see reflections/shadows of people on the cave wall - one prisoner escapes and sees the real world - prisoner tries to tell other prisoners about the real world, but they only see his shadow - however, this doesn’t make the real world any less real Our perception and mind set are based on what we experience Our experiences are based on our environment Reality is a product of our time and location In Plato’s cave, the people’s reality is the cave, it is the only thing they know “A way of seeing is a way of not seeing” – Kenneth Burke ?? Financial markets and Jersey Shore We all somehow get that reality TV is not real Stock Market is just as fabricated/socially constructed as ‘Jersey Shore’ However we see Jersey Shore as less real than the Stock Market (less socially constructed) The social construction of ways of seeing the social world We see the world through categories, and act on the basis of them, e.g. when finding a movie we look in categories/genre’s that we want Two kinds of “conceptual lenses”: - Universal Good vs. Evil (moral judgment), these two categories have existed for a long time Different ways of classifying people, we all classify people’s race/religion, there’s always some kind of ‘in-group’ and ‘out-group’ Gender Wealthy and poor - Common to a particular society or group, but variable universally Where do we draw the line between categories? - Edible/inedible - Life/death - Professional/amateur - Blue/purple - Spicy/bland - Hot/cold - Child/adult The lines between the categories are socially constructed Where we draw the line shows the social construction Professional/amateur – we may draw the line when someone has a degree/doesn’t, when someone is getting paid for what they do/isn’t getting paid Where we can’t draw the line between things, we create new categories, e.g. transgender Social construction involves classifying things Racial/ethnic categories When you think about someone’s race it involves classifying people It is done by people The senses organize race US Census 2010 – Latino/Hispanic wasn’t considered a race, it was considered an origin The options for race were: white, black and American Indian/Alaskan native etc. Words for races change over time, people’s race is not clear cut e.g. not just Black/White, there are people in between these categories “Societies have histories in the course of which specific identities emerge; these histories, however, made my humans .. (finish quote) The first act of Creation was one of dividing “In the beginning … the Earth was unformed and void … and God divided the light from the darkness… God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” - this was categorized - The first man who said the ground was “his” and found people simple enough to believe him, was the founder of civil society Thesis: Separating entities from their surroundings is what allows us to perceive them, make them meaningful, in the first place (the social construction of reality) Zerubavel, “Islands of meaning” “Things only become meaningful when placed in some category” - How do we do this? We lump things together and split them up from other things e.g. we see Obama as black, he considers himself black, but his mother is white - We ignore similarities and exaggerate differences e.g. we ignore that Obama and a white person both have white mothers “Classification is an artificial process of concept formation rather than discovering clusters that already exist” - artificial Framing: “The act of surrounding situations, acts, or objects with mental brackets” - we categorize things, we create a shared definition of something, we all know what a “thriller” movie is, it helps make our lives easier This is learned from others over time “The way we cut up the world clearly affects the way we organize our everyday life” Sociology: “Examining how we draw boundaries is therefore critical to any effort to understand our social order” The social foundations of our thinking When we define something, we create boundaries Social construction of reality III What does it mean to say “pre-gaming” is socially constructed? It isn’t natural However it feels natural Why do we need to drink before? - More social - Most people pregame with their close friends so it is easier to be sober with them - Less easy to be sober with loads of different people - More control over access to alcohol at pregame - Protection – don’t want to be caught if underage, more safe to drink in your own home where police less likely to show up Everyone ‘pre-games’ a different way, some people may have different definitions - “The fun before the fun” - “Getting drunk before going out” - “Socializing before the socializing” - Different from a party – maybe less people? - Everyone knows when a ‘pre-game’ becomes the ‘game’ - Differs between places/situations Thomas Theorem – How does this apply? - Get message of “pre-game” the person knows what that means e.g. party, social event - Real in its consequences The social construction of mental illness Mental disorder definitions vary between cross-cultural and historical circumstances. Proliferation of new disorders - Pathological gambling - Adjustment disorder with anxiety - Self-defeating personality disorder - Road Rage? - Findings: - 1952: just over 100 different disorders - 1968: 165 - 2005: almost at 300 mental disorders - 2013: 297 mental disorders - Why does it keep growing? Sociologist say there is some social activity at play What is seen as ‘normal’ is different than what it used to be World is changing e.g. internet exists now (internet addiction disorder) Why? Hypothesis One: increasingly sophisticated and exhaustive compendium of all possible mental disorders Hypothesis Two: More psychological disorders = more people diagnosed with mental disorders = more money siphoned off to hospitals, treatment centers, drug companies etc. Hypothesis Three: increasing definitions of rational society, more things are becoming organized and categorized Hypothesis Four: What is considered a problem depends on social context e.g. homosexuality used to be considered an illness, it is now not Hypothesis Five: Grassroots activists get together and lobby scientists to include disorders in the DSM s o that they can raise awareness. The social production of knowledge Neurological disorders are physical diseases Psychiatric illnesses are disorders that manifest as abnormalities of thought, feeling, or behavior. Which diseases are “neurological” and “psychiatric”? Where do we draw the line? - Meningitis: neurological, disease of body - Schizophrenia: most people think of it as a disease of the mind - We need to put things into categories Social construction of your reality: Discussion Board answers Tipping: - We tip in certain circumstances, sometimes we tip sometimes we don’t Standing in line: - How we stand in line - Why we stand in line in some situations - Why we don’t The social construction of legal status or “Learning to be illegal” How undocumented youth become aware of, and come to understand, their status under the law? - 2.1 million The article says how whether you’re illegal or not doesn’t affect you until adulthood Article identifies the mechanisms that mediate transition to adulthood; their move from protected to unprotected status - Usually recognized during high school - Recognized when applying for driving license or applying for jobs - Legal status is contextual - Applying to college has difficulties when illegal - Can’t travel Context Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974, Plyer v. Doe (1982) - Children have to go to school - Legal requirement - This is a product of social activity - Doesn’t matter whether a child is documented or not Legal restrictions keep them from participating in many adult activities, leaving them unable to complete important transitions to adulthood, at least legally Hospitals have to treat you, doesn’t matter if legal or not, everyone has a legal right to it Stages, becoming You learn what it means to be undocumented Legal status is a product of where you are in your life i.e. doesn’t matter when you’re a child, matters a lot more when you’re older Video: “Illegal” “Could keep it hidden for the rest of my life” - Plenty of ways to make a living - Easy to hide, you don’t look at someone and know they’re illegal Video: “Coming out” “Coming out” as undocumented These videos have been very powerful “Dream Act” Dream Act The bill provides conditional permanent residency to certain immigrants, path to citizenship - Graduated US high school - Arrived in the US as minors, under 35 years old - No criminal record - Complete two years of college or military over a 6 year period Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (2012) Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (2014) How are undocumented people different? - Overcome obstacles, stronger for it - Some get into Harvard – why would we deport someone who gets into Harvard (or any other universities) and can positively contribute to our society? These experiences are socially constructed The processes of social construction (how do we come to know what we know?) “(We were) not born a member of society .. (We) become a member of society” Berger & Luckmann Socialization - How does the world become socially constructed through our interactions? Institutionalization History and path dependence Power – some people have more power than others, how do people exercise this power? Conflict and change – people rebel and push things e.g. homosexuality is no longer seen as a mental disorder
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