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SOC 316 Week 4 Notes

by: Lucas Reller

SOC 316 Week 4 Notes SOC 316 - Pfaff

Lucas Reller
GPA 3.3
Introduction to Sociological Theory

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Weekly notes of SOC 316 by Pfaff. Includes lectures 7 and 8.
Introduction to Sociological Theory
Class Notes
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lucas Reller on Thursday March 5, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 316 - Pfaff at University of Washington taught by Pfaff in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 70 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociological Theory in Sociology at University of Washington.

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Date Created: 03/05/15
Why does religion produce community 0 Culture and community In the Division of Labor in Society Durkheim argued that mechanical solidarity was the result of erness In primitive societies a collective conscience the cultural core of the group regulated the behavior of individuals and determined their normative system Durkheim argued that as Division of Labor quotDOLquot advanced religion was playing a narrower role in modern life and that its ability to anchor the collective conscience was vanishing 0 Elementary forms of the religious life Through a study of religion in tribal societies Durkheim posited that religion not only regulates individuals through CC but also provides the elementary structures around which group life forms Religion imposes rules and elevates everyday life to a higher level of awareness It unites society by linking individual consciousness into a larger symbolic system the sacred that enables cooperation The first communities formed around the veneration of sacred objects and this still shapes human societies Religion is thus one of the most important social facts in facilitating communication and constituting social order If we understand the sacred we understand the foundations of human sociality shared understandings of the world and the sources of values beliefs epistemology and shared conceptions of the truth But how should we get at this understanding Durkheim starts by studying societies in which religion is in close conformity with all aspects of social life To reveal the social nature of religion and the foundations of human culture Durkheim started with primitive societies in which the collective conscience is still intact Yet even in modern societies religion remains sacred objects and rituals persist and new ones such as national symbols and national heroes are created Still the process of differentiation separates the religious sphere from the others the sacred canopy that united society into a single religious consciousness has been eroded Hence primitive religion is a better object of analysis if we want to understand the basic functions of religion 0 How does religion originate Durkheim deduced that primitive society in wonder of its environment first creates religion by defining certain mysterious aspects of the world as sacred that is superior to the material world This sacred conception evokes reverence respect awe wonder honor mystery and magic in the members of a community that reveres it The reverence that people give to objects defined as sacred transform them investing them with holiness and power By contrast everything else in the real world is defined as commonplace worldly and ordinary Hence they define the everyday world as profane 0 Religion as institution For Durkheim there is no supernatural as such Spirits ancestral deities and gods are inventions of the collective imagination Yet religions are real in their social implications So what turns sacred objects into the social institution of religion Three factors have to be present A system of beliefs that express the sacred and define the sacred and profane Specific behaviors called sacred rites that develop around sacred objects to help people experience holiness They provide a focal point for emotional processes and generate symbols of group membership organized as rituals A moral community such as a clan tribe sect synagogue masjid church etc develops that organizes beliefs and rituals and enforces the norms and rules of the believing society 0 Sacred rites and collective effervescence Ritual practices help people to experience a shared sense of exaltation and group transcendence This feeling which is only experienced through ritual veneration is collective effervescence People misunderstand these emotions as originating supernaturally thus confirming their religious beliefs It is out of this shared experience of the sacred in a ritually activated group that communities form At the most primitive level there is no distinction between religion community and society Group assembly around sacred object sacred ritual collective effervescence gt reinforcement of belief in the sacred misrecognition enhanced social solidarity among group members community In more complex societies religions remain potent sources of community for specific groups of adherents if not the entire society 0 Ritual solidarity and social change Franz Kafka observed in an aphorism Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs the contents of the sacred vessels this is repeated over and over again finally it can be calculated in advance and its becomes part of the ceremony 19161918 Durkheim s theory provides a powerful social mechanism that reinforces group coherence and produces social solidarity but does not explain how social groups originate or how they change dissolve fracture etc Like Kafka s leopards in the temple innovations in social life and new group formation only occurs because of exogenous events Innovations are quickly institutionalized through ritual practices Social change becomes rare and exogenous forces are necessary to spur innovation Durkheim s theory implies that Any object could become socially defined as sacred and Repeated veneration of sacred objects creates stable social relations Are all repeated social interactions to be understood as rituals Is there an endogenous source of sacred objects ls Durkheim s theory a theory of religion or a theory of social solidarity Contemporary theorists of the ritual process eg Randall Collins insist that the Durkheimian theory of social solidarity through interactional rituals must Endogenize change eg through the study of failed rituals and creation of new sacred objects and Specify what objects under what conditions are likely to be sacralized Theory of ritual solidarity must specify circumstances under which rituals fail to produce collective emotions or the focus of rituals gets redirected to a new object Functionalism provides too static a picture 0 Interaction Ritual Chains Collins focuses on the importance of interaction rituals for creating group solidarity as well as individual s emotional states and sense of morality There are four key ingredients to an interaction ritual Two or more people are assembled in the same place so that they affect each other by their bodily presence consciously or not There are boundaries to outsiders so that participants have a sense of who is taking part and who is excluded A common focus of attention upon an activity and mutual awareness of each other s focus of attention A shared emotional experience The key process at work here is the mutual mental entrainment that produces shared cognitive and emotional experiences Interaction rituals have four primary outcomes group solidarity a compelling feeling of membership emotional energyEE an individual s feeling of confidence elation strength enthusiasm and initiative symbols that represent the group emblems or other representations visual icons words gestures that members associate with the collectivity morality a feeling of confidence the sense of group rightness respect for its symbols and offense at transgression Emotionallycharged moral enthusiasm inspires revulsion against evil profanity or impropriety in violating the group s solidarity and its symbolic representation 0 Sample propositions Participation in rituals as performers will result in higher levels of EE and greater involvement The strongest effects occur when there are more people involved It is the big intense religious gatherings that bring forth the emotion and the shift in membership attachment 2004 61 Feelings of effervescence leading to solidarity fade over time so that the frequency of renewal will impact group integration and moral community There is evidence to support the theory including neuralcognitive studies and research on religious group participation eg Wellman and Corcoran 2012 Wollschleger 2012 0 Culture and Epistemology One of Durkheim s most important claims is that understanding the origins of community in religion reveals the foundations of epistemology Epistemologyis the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge It attempts to answer the basic question what distinguishes true adequate knowledge from false inadequate knowledge For Durkheim the sacred is the unrecognized foundation of our epistemology even in advanced societies Durkheim contends that the concept of the sacred and everything else that flows from it including our shared definition of what is considered good moral and pure are social constructions That a notion of the sacred is central to primitive societies seems obvious with their customs superstitions and taboos but Durkheim wants us to see how it is in redefining the sacred that we continue to make claims for truth and beauty For example even the sacred goods of reason and science in modern society rely on an implicit understanding of the sacred no less than does the primitive totem The basic structures of cognition are constituted by social dichotomies mind is not prior to society but rather the two constitute each other culturally To say that scientific truth is possible reflects an ideal interpretation of the world an implicit argument about what is sacred true rational scientific valid and what is profane false irrational prejudiced superstitious invalid Without a very basic and often implicit consensus concerning the sacred the society would have no good and bad no right and wrong no purity and pollution Without the sacred there would be no ultimate moral values no satisfying answer to the why and how should I live questions Without right and wrong sacred and profane noble and base communities would be unable to reach consensus or define collective goals and individuals could not communicate with others lf Durkheim is right there are important implications Buried within modern notions of reason is the original social enchantment that classified a world of objects supernaturally making them knowable through social analogy There can be no claim to truth outside of a shared moral and symbolic community and hence no objective universal truth The origins of both social solidarity and social classification lie in a kind of primitive religion no matter how secularized the modern mind 0 Sociocentrism humankind is the measure of all things Humankind began to conceive of the material world by relating things to itself Primitive man classified objects according to the same rules by which he organized himself Durkheim called this sociocentrism that at their most basic all forms of knowledge rely on social classifications Society is manifested in an abstract way in concepts and ideas Over time advanced societies replace primitive classifications based on religion with scientific classifications arising out of secular society The social element is gradually weakened leaving great space for an individual to engage in reasoned reflection Individual thought and expression through science gradually replaces collective expression and classification However even as science develops to replace religion as the source of social knowledge the structure of scientific knowledge still reflects its essentially social origins Why do we obey our rulers Authority domination and discipline 0 For Weber social orders are generally the result of social competition that produces power for the winners and their beneficiaries 0 Power is a social relation referring to the probability that the preferences of one actor will be realized even against the preferences of other actors 0 Power determines issues of selection that is helps to answer the questions Who gets what why and how much and Who does what why and for how much 0 Powerful social actors generally impose rules in their own interest that determine issues of distribution of desired goods and the performance of roles o The purpose of competition is thus to serve the purposes of social selection 0 Selection is necessary when more than one actor or group of actors want to achieve the same good 0 Enduring power relations are institutionalized as a system of domination o Domination refers to the probability that a specific command given within a set context will be obeyed by a group of subordinate persons o Legitimacy and social order Weber argues that the basic condition for achieving domination in the political realm is control over the means of violence to compel others to obey So is social order coerced Hobbes Yes and also no Weber saw domination as built on coercion but theorized that those who control a system also strive to demonstrate its legitimacy A social order is legitimate insofar as actors tend to comply voluntarily without necessity of coercion Legitimacy reduces the costs of rule Dominant actors wish to achieve the willing submission of members to the rules of the social order so as to make domination cheaper and more robust o How can social order be legitimate Legitimacy and domination ideal types derived from weber s theory of power Characteristics of domination Legitimacy is a conditional and relational quality of rule that exists across a continuum defined by three idealtypes Idealtypes of authority Traditional Resting on the common belief in the sanctity of tradition and authority of custom LegalRational This means conformity to rules which are formally correct and instituted through proper procedures or channels Charismatic Rests on uncommon devotion and emotional attachment to the sanctity heroism or personality of an extraordinary individual such as a hero prophet or messiah Secular Sacred Traditional authority Charismatic authority Domination 9 stable authority 0 Lgt means of ideological legitimization 9 semivoluntary compliance by subordinates Jquot o Rationallegal authority and the rationalization of power in administration Weber s theory of bureaucracy proceeds from a basic insight gains in efficiency that come from increasing division of labor and specialization come at the price of growing complexity and difficulty of administration Complexity imposes costs of greater administration and performance control Bureaucracy offers a technology of monitoring surveillance and control sanctioning Once the size of a society increases and the volume of economic activity expands monitoring and control become mechanisms by which states and businesses improve efficiency costs relative to rewards and minimize threats to control Bureaucracy is the extension of the principle of rationalization introduction of meansend rationality to increase coherence efficiency reliability etc to the management of organizations Idealtypical bureaucratic action is rulesoriented impartial and universal lt levels social differences between members of society and places them as equal subjects or clients of the agency Bureaucracy enhances the power of states and armies and was later imported into the management of large manufacturers and financial and banking institutions 0 The idealtypical rational organization monocratic bureaucracy Weber defines the monocratic bureaucracy as an agency or firm organized according to Limited areas of jurisdiction and specified official duties Hierarchical control Management based upon written files maintained by subordinate officials in formally defined offices Formal training and qualifications specialization of functions specified working hours and duties assigned to the position Formally stated and instituted rules technical experts master the rules and regulations Officialdom In an idealtype bureaucracy power is depersonalized The bureaucrat owes his allegiance not to the person of the king or the president but to the office itself and to the state or firm Bureaucracies have a higher potential for rationalization if the employees are lifelong non elected and have guarantees of employment This helps to secure their loyalty to the organization and impartiality in carrying out their du es Bureaucratically organized careers typically offer a predictable career track 0 Causes and consequences of bureaucracy Our modern notion of career is tied up with the bureaucratic organization of large business firms and government agencies Bureaucratization of organizations results in part from the need to administer societies of increasing wealth and complexity a monetized economy permits the payment of wages and the formalization of the organization As various institutions of society rationalize organizations begin to mimic the bureaucratic organization of the state including business associations political parties labor unions etc Competition between societies compels societies to adopt bureaucratic organization or else face defeat and exploitation Because it is depersonalized a bureaucracy can survive revolution foreign invasion or crisis Expanding social division of labor Bureaucratic organization Elit strategies of legal rational domination Competition with other states or organizations 0 Implications rationalization and modern life Once it has been set in motion the bureaucracy runs according to its own rules it has momentum that is not easily reversed even when the government or citizens wish to change it Every government or regime will tend to build a powerful bureaucracy in the modern world Why Competition The possessor of technical expertise gains power at the expense of the traditional powers and secures lasting advantages over of business and political competitors Once bureaucracy has been established it is among the most durable social structures This is because bureaucracy is an effective way of extracting resources and providing services to citizens or clients making for a durable system of domination It is not only an effective form of control but citizens come to rely upon the state and demand of it services and order The state becomes not just a giver of laws but a state governed by its own laws People obey bureaucratic regimes because they reliably produce goods upon which they rely and because the alternative systems are unlikely to perform as well 0 Giddens Weberian Theory of the State Giddens sees social power is a fundamental part of social life to be human is to be an agent with the power to act in the context of opportunities and constraints Power is transformative capacity the capability to intervene in a given set of events in some way to alter them Power is a social relationship It obtains in relation to The deployment of resources to achieve ends Dominion over the activities of other human beings Domination extends to modes of control over others behavior institutionalized as rule Rule in turn varies in two crucial dimensions Scope of rule Intensity of rule Modern states generally conceived of as nationstates are characterized by three trends Increasing resources economic development Delimited scope of rule the nationstate and Increasing intensity of rule Traditional states generally weak on these empires often have broad scope but little intensity eg Habsburg empire of Charles V o What makes the modern state effective in achieving compliance Modern states become power containers territoriallybounded administrative locales where rulers can effectively deploy resources and exercise control This depends on organizations which produce modern political organization Surveillance information gathering and control Officialdom agents that carry out rulers commands Coercion militarypolice power Indoctrination ideological training especially of agents of the dominant classes Nationstates achieve compliance by mustering resources on behalf of rule and using bureaucratic organizational means of monitoring and control Popular Submission Semi voluncary compliance Modern political organization Territorial consolidation Economic development o Foucault on Discipline and Modern Domination Michel Foucault was one of the most influential social critics of the 20th Century In Discipline and Punish 1975 he reexamined the modern establishment of social order offering a critique of both Utilitarian and Weberian bureaucratic rationality In particular he argued that the marriage of Utilitarianism and bureaucratic management had produced a system of coercive surveillance that was less obvious but just as oppressive as Hobbes system The freedom and individualism of modern capitalist societies was premised on the docility and utility of people subject to elite domination He began his critique with an examination of Bentham s proposal for a new penal technology the Panopticon 0 Monitoring and control as a system of coercive surveillance The principle of the Panopticon is that the subject constantly regards himselfherself under surveillance by the authorities But because the authorities are not visible surveillance is unverifiable Thus visibility is a trap One has to police himselfherself Panopticism is a metaphor for a new social order built upon discipline as its chief object a type of power a modality for its exercise comprising a whole set of instruments techniques procedures of monitoring and control Discipline becomes the orienting feature of bureaucracies and the management of penal institutions schools hospitals the army etc Discipline infiltrates all modern organizations 0 The strategy of the modern disciplinary social order Exercise of power at the lowest cost both in economic and political terms Bentham s Utilitarian government Maximum extent and penetration of coercive surveillance of subjects for purposes of control bureaucratic domination Employ coercive surveillance at work so as to produce desired outputs most efficiently capitalist division of labor 0 Why was the system of coercive surveillance instituted Bureaucratic control mechanisms were instituted with the rise of centralized state administrations and accelerated with the Industrial Revolution Rulers needed a cheaper and more effective way of managing populations with the decay of traditional society threat of punishment not enough Under the rubric of social progress rulers sought to shift the locus of social control from external force to internal discipline If subjects of the crown were to become citizens they would have to become selfregulating agents of a legitimate legalrational domination The development of new technologies of coercive surveillance made possible the emergence of modern urban industrial democracies This is because new techniques allowed Management of a growing population esp of the poor and unproductive Management of the growing militarization of the state Management of largescale industrial production and control over large urban workforces Effective exploitation of the advantages of the rational division of labor 0 Implications Foucault wants to convince us that economic and political rationalization came at a steep cost The new freedoms offered by a society based on economic liberalism and rationalized legal systems were hollow in fact they relied on coercive surveillance Leviathan was gone but he was replaced with a new oppression exercised at a new locus of control the modern individual define by disciplines of psychosocial control Bureaucratic organization and scientific rationality allowed for a new system of surveillance and control to be instituted that defined and enforced standards of normal conduct One was free but only so long as one conformed to economic pyschosocial and bureaucratic expectations


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