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SOCI 140 Lecture 4 (better version)

by: Kirsten Matthewman

SOCI 140 Lecture 4 (better version) SOCI 140

Marketplace > James Madison University > Sociology > SOCI 140 > SOCI 140 Lecture 4 better version
Kirsten Matthewman
GPA 2.9

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About this Document

These notes cover Lecture 4, they are more detailed/accurate than my previous upload of Lecture 4
D. Trouille
Class Notes
Lecture 4 SOCI 140 David Trouille
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kirsten Matthewman on Wednesday February 3, 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 58 views. For similar materials see Microsociology in Sociology at James Madison University.


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Date Created: 02/03/16
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


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