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Week 1 SOCI201 notes

by: mtraub

Week 1 SOCI201 notes SOCI201013

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Chapter 1
Introduction to Sociology
Perez,Victor W.
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by mtraub on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI201013 at University of Delaware taught by Perez,Victor W. in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at University of Delaware.


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Date Created: 02/12/16
Chapter 1: sociological imagination What is sociology? -the systemic study of the relationship between the individual and society and of the consequences of difference Systemic Study: -sociologists collect data through various means -draw conclusions from the data and observations -do not rely on the authority of others but the data Qualitative Data: listening to and observing people, understanding their interpretations about their lives Quantitative Data: using numbers and statistics to analyze social relationships Individuals -sociology study groups, however groups are made up of individuals -individuals are not sheep following all the rules and regulations of society, we have what is called agency Agency: the freedom to school and act Society -our social environment, our social networks -within those networks some behaviors and choices will be celebrated, some will be censured Institutions: major components of social structure (economy, family education, government, religion, etc) -Institutions shape what behaviors are acceptable and which are not The consequences of difference How does our social location impact our access to opportunities, valued material, social and cultural resources? -sociology seeks to understand how different groups have different access Social Inequality: a condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, power. Sociological Imagination -C. Wright Mills coined the term Sociological Imagination: our recognition of the interdependent relationship between who we are as individuals and the social forces that shape our lives (the difference between private troubles and public issues) Private troubles: problems we face in our immediate relationships with particular individuals in our personal lives Public Issues: problems we face as a consequence of the positions we occupy within the larger social structure Do we rely entirely on ourselves in life… or is our access to certain things and the choices we make ties to our place in the world? -individualistic explanations versus sociologic imagination Sociological theory: set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) -helped found sociology -theorized that social forces shape individual action -controversial at a time when predominant through was that biology, the individual’s psyche, or God shaped our behaviors -Coined the term Social Facts: consisting of “manners of acting, thinking, and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him” -Values, cultural norms, social structures that transcend social constraints Durkheim and Suicide • Theorized that individuals who commit suicide lack social connections and obligations that could be preventative • looked to religious affiliations as a measure of social integration • theorized that Protestants would be more likely that Catholics to commit suicide —collected data on suicide rates of France, England, and Denmark Conclusions: - concluded Denmark’s higher suicide rate was due to high rate of Protestantism - Higher rates: • Unmarried • People without children • In times of economic instability - concluded that his theory was correct Durkheim’s fears -division of labor and specialization in tasks -decline of influence of society -weakened social integration -individuals sharing fewer common experiences, ideas, and values Anomie: a weak sense of social solidarity due to a lack of agreed upon rules to guide behavior -increases likeliness of: loneliness, isolation, despair -example: cell phone etiqutte Birth of Sociology • significant social upheaval • beginning of the Industrial Revolution • Push towards urbanization • Change in patterns of government and even everyday life Aristocracy was dying while democracy was rising • Auguste Comte —believed knowing “laws of society” would lead us to understand two key principles: Social Statistics: principles by which societies hold together and order is maintained Social Dynamics: the factors that bring about change and that shape the nature and direction of that change Karl Marx —emphasized the role of power and control over resources —how does that power affect how social order is established and maintained? —social inequality is based on our ownership or lack of ownership, of key material resources • Ruling class: - have ownership or control over the means of production - have the tools and resources to transform materials into goods and necessities • Working class: - own their own capacity to transform raw material into products - they require access to means of production (owned by the ruling class Durkheim and Marx Durkheim’s concerns: Anomie, lack of social integration Marx’s concerns: Alienation, loss of control over human capacity to create, separation from the products we make, isolation from our fellow workers Max Weber —argued that social class and the control over material resources may have some influence on who has power However, there are other factors involved: • - Social status • difference because of position or prestige - Organizational resources • power is gained through ability to organize and maximize available resources (example: bureaucracy) • Power is not only gained through access to resources People gain power when others are willing to obey their authority • • This further reinforces legitimacy Macrosociology: —Large-scale phenomena, entire civilizations —Top-down approach —Society as a whole —How do broad social forces shape our lives Microsociology: —Study of small groups —Analysis of our everyday experiences and interactions —These individual interactions shape our understanding of the world


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