Lecture notes Week 1&2: Sociology 1
Lecture notes Week 1&2: Sociology 1
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What is sociology what do we study Anything that pertains to socially meaningful behavior Ex don39t study sneezing study how ppl interpret or react to sneezing saying bless you Sneezing is involuntary and meaningless We attribute meaning to it Saying bless you means I acknowledge your worth as a fellow being It is a ritual we perform and not performing it says something o Ex you NOT saying bless you makes it obvious What does this mean The sociology of sneezing says a lot about social boundaries who is an insider vs an outsider and who we consider worthy ofrespect o Bless you to a dog vs cat Sociology is a way of seeing the world that leads to systematic and purposeful data collection and analysis If we define something as real it becomes real in its consequences We make things up race Sociology makes the familiar seem strange and the strange seem familiar Things we take for granted and seem natural may be arbitrary and done vey differently elsewhere or at other times in own history Families race gender etc Cultural anthropology makes the strange seem more familiar less developed societies while sociology focuses more on modern societies and studies what seems natural but isn39t Sociological imagination 0 We connect our own personal biographies with history 0 We see that how we live is part of a huge variation in human societies and only one way that social life is accomplished Many others and outsiders within our own society whose bhaviors may be thought of as exotic strange wrong Sociology is not one topic or theory but a way of seeing and doing research there are many overlapping topics and theories culture education religion sports knowledge economy medicine family collect and analyze data in a systematic way sometimes to interpret how ppl think and make sense of their worlds sometimes to build and test hypotheses connected with theories about how the social world works no single theory can explain everything 0 middle range theories why is going to college meaningful Systematic purposeful observation and interviewing in order to explore the meaning of college perhaps how this has changed over time or varies from one group or another Others would be interested in how college fits with a casual model a theory about how college fits within a larger social systenn Theo esc l ghereduca on I expanations I Why does education matter lecture 48 sociologists study social institutions a social institution group of social positions connected by social relations that performs a social role o the family o legal system o university each of these has a set of diff positions father uncle brother that are constituted by social ties and together performs a social role social support institutions rely on other institutions in order to exist and have meaning sociology as an institution a set of positions teachers researchers students with social relations oriented to the role of creating knowledge it comes about a specific timeplace 19th century France and Germany Why Not much sociology in agrarian empires Individual tihnkers and wise men Confucius Historians Social thoughts needs a community to carry it down to preserve it and build upon it Other institutions needed to be in place Societies needed to become disenchanted Matter of fact attitude about the social world No longer sacred roles that couldn39t be questioned Rise of intellectual specialists Create their own community in search of knowledge The development of sociology is really about the development of a community of thought with internal structures and with relations with broader social world Rise of social science harder to develop than the rise of natural sciences Galileo Darwin controversies are relatively rare in the progress of sciences social orthodoxy the naturalness of the social order sociology would have gotten you killed institutions in the realms of politics education and religion had to align to allow the social scientific community to energy the importance of theory early sociologists were broad thinkers heirs of enlightenment philosophers and much of what they did was highly theoretical 0 what does it mean to be a member fsociety Does it give us our freedom or take it away 0 Grand theories about origins of society human nature and where societies are headed in the future Thomas Hobbes society is a social contract in which we exchange our freedom for security human nature is to dominate one another by force if necessary the founding of sociology an attempt to create a science of society Auguste comte coined the term sociology but initially wanted to call it social physics a materialistic theory everything has a chain of causation the aim should to find the most generalizable laws possible to explain the most phenomena possible saw everything as social individuals institutions societies moving through three phases theological metaphysical and scientific positivist not much read today Emile Durkheim the first important one Late 19th early 20th century Comte s lineage to be as scientific as possible Carried this forward and still widely read Famously showed that committing suicide was not only about an individuals psychological state But from lack of social integration into a larger social bod o We individuals are like cells in a body and when we aren39t told what to do we are more likely to go off the deep end 0 This can happen for a of reasons including a rapid shift in our position in society His theory stresses society as a type of organism where different institutions each have a purpose o If a tribe splits into two tribes it will be identical Iean Iacques rousseau society is a loss of freedom through private property human nature is malleable disagrees with Hobbes karl marx not a sociologist more of an economist but generates a con ict based theory for society social classes the have and the have nots are what is important max weber advances on Marx39s con ict based approach broadens con ict beyond economic groups o other social divisions such as status groups and political parties also matter for understanding society and social institutions 0 history as a messy multi con ict with man fonts also takes the issue with the idea that sociology should try to be like the hard sciences introduces the idea that sociology is more interpretive we seek to understand how ppl attribute meaning to their actions our goal as sociologists should be to understand verstehen as a deeper humanistic level social institutions early sociology tended o be marco sociology comparing societies with one another looking over long historical periods most contemporary macro sociology is scaled back somewhat microsociology studies face to face interactions moments behaviors weber s concern with understanding meaningful action to interpersonal behaviors key dimensions still important today key dynamics of society con ict vs cooperaition levels of theory macro Vs micro approach to research questions causal approaches to reasearch a deductive approach to research 1 theory 2 hypothesis 3 observations inductive approach 1 empirical observation 2 forms theory 3 determines if a correlation exists by noticing a change quantitative gather data as numbers qualitative interview ppl get depth and richness seeking not to capture quantities but quality of experiences differenet philiosiphies of knowledge epistemologies how we know what we know and what is knowable positivism vs interpretivism positivism causality the idea that a change in one factor results in correlation time order alternative explanations which theorist thought in order to understand pl you need to understand the groups tat are in conflict with each other Karl Marx and Max weber August Comte and Durkheim 9 functionalism society is like an organism Marx amp weber 9 conflict society is groups competing for important resources Which classical theorist thought that sociology needed an approach the interpretive aspects of ppl rather than making sociology as scientific as possible Weber meaning to our actions he wanted to understand ppl in terms of broad laws wanted to understand social gravity August Comte Rule of three stages Emile Durkheim Society organism Marx Conflict based upon social classes Weber Multidimensional conflict and interpretive approach verstehen Quantitative amp quantitative Research methods are standard rules that social scientists follow when trying to est a relationship between social elements Approaches to research Inductive approach to research 1 obs 2 theory 3 conclisions giving voice differs from the scientific model inductive approach that seeks to understand the world form the standpoint of poorly understood mischaracterized or exoticized groups often focuses on stigmatized and outsider groups the poor mentally ill message of this research is often that these ppl are not so different making the strange familiar deductive approach quantitative you know the data you want before you start 1 theory 2 hypothesis 3 observations 4 concl Tends to be quantitative Generalizability infer from a sample to a population Is it representative Samples are often ppl but would be large groups cities events riots Validity accurately explaining and representing a given part of the social world Tradeoff between number of cases and detail gathered Qualitative focuses more on validity rather than gerneralizing to other populations Quantitative doesn39t focus on each case and sacrifices validity to make generalizations Sociologists often conduct research ot try to est causation To establish causation correlation time and order are est and alternative explanations are ruled out alternative explanations are easily ruled out w experimental conditions spuriousness is unlikely in exp With random assignment have to consider random assignment and who is going to be selected for treatments more privileged people could have easier access theories of higher education which theory most strongly suggests that the link between higher education and higher earnings is spurious Individua centered ability theory College doesn39t do much except sort ppl based on prior skills and ability Ppl who are smart tend to go to college and will make more money Essentially we compare two ppl on the same preparation and ability one who went to college and one who didn39t if on average they don39t differ in earning later in life then that would show a spurious relationship Summer hot kids out of school 9 more crime So many things that are related to both of those things leaving the window open inviting robbers there are NO humors incorrect there are third factors lurking variables methods summary sociology has more diverse set of goals than the natural sciences qualitative research o interpretation 0 induc ve o sacrifice generalizability for greater validity o main challenge is lack of objective measures quantitative more about causality deduc ve sacrifices depth for explanation main difficulty accounting for alternate explanation OOOO substantive areas of study apply these theories to areas of inquiry middle range and overlapping areas of social life try to explain just enough not trying to describe ALL society sociology of culture set of beliefs traditions amp knowedge material culture everything that is apart of our constructed environment books fashion monuments nonmaterial values beliefs behavior social norms why do we say bless you 0 Ritual maintain unity with others Basic tension in theories of culture is culture important because it unites o sot because it conceals our divisions durkheiminan theories see culture as important set of calues and norms into which we are socialized important for social cohesiveness of society conflict theories see culture as reflecting underlying differences between groups conflict theories of culture stem from Marx belief that dominant ideas of a given era are the ideas of the dominant groupclass we misrecognize the culture of the wealthy as being desirable culture is a weapon in the group os struggle for power prestige legitimacy culture of consumption 0 capitalist system fosters desire and feelings and inadequacy Theornstein Veblen American sociologist 0 Rough mannered son of Norwegian farmers Felt out of place in snooty academia Not a Marxist but highly critical of the wealthy Our natural instinct for workmanship is transformed into efforts to outdo one another in accumulating symbols of economic achievement Private property becomes basis of stem Self esteem based on material possessions Not possible to be satisfied since the struggle is substantially a race for reputability on the basis of individual comparison Conspicuous leisure Consuming time non productivey because work is unworthy Demonstrates ones wealth As does the knowledge of dead languages and the occult sciences correct spelling syntax music art manners Work was for the little people showed you are not wealthy Wasting time wealthy Conspicuous consumption Parties money wasting time Not intentional waste of time and money but in attempting to conform to social pressures we basically show off our material position and misrecognize others wealth as personal prestige Wine status symbol