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Sociological Theory 411 Notes, Week 2

by: Nicolette Notetaker

Sociological Theory 411 Notes, Week 2 SOCI 411

Nicolette Notetaker
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
GPA 3.5

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These notes cover functionalists Emilie Durkheim and Auguste Comte, which was covered during Week 2.
Sociological Theory
Mr. Hua-Lun Huang
Class Notes
sociology, sociological theory, sociological perspective
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicolette Notetaker on Wednesday August 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI 411 at University of Louisiana at Lafayette taught by Mr. Hua-Lun Huang in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 51 views. For similar materials see Sociological Theory in Sociology & Anthropology at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Date Created: 08/03/16
Notable Functionalists One in particular, Auguste Comte. - he explained we can split human society into three parts : st Knowledge Component – (1 difference) *how to distinguish amongst each soc.* 1. Theological Society- dealing with theology (authority) Ex: a society completely structured by religion, (such as the Islamic nation); in these groups people tend to follow certain traditions based of their religion; a very sacred society 2. Metaphysical Society- dealing with a “mysterious” perspective Ex: such as political myths  politicians may by considered holier- than thou and this usually occurs in a totalitarian society (parts of the Middle East, Nazi Germany, and North Korea) and is used to support “dictatorship” 3. Positivistic Society- governed around science, such as the American society for example, where science is the awareness involving causal relationships; must use causal argument to determine particular relationships, creation of products, and to justify findings (numerous knowledge provides numerous outcomes) Structure  2 nddifference  (Comte) This component must be “stabilized” in order to work. - Structure involves: interpersonal/social relationships (such as family, couples, friends) and the dispersal of social resources - Structure is can also be determined by ascribed status (status you earn in society based on demographic or biological factors  gender,age, political affiliation, religious affiliation) and achieved status (status you earn in society based on particular achievements) - In terms of social structure: referring to conservative or exclusive societies 1. Structure of a Theological Society  mostly conservative, very exclusive (Ex: in Islamic culture, people who marry each other because of same religion is mostly favored upon, marrying someone outside of religious affiliation is not favored upon) 2. Structure of a Metaphysical Society  centered around ascribed status, extremely conservative and exclusive (Ex. Klu Klux Klan (KKK)- very conservative and very exclusive group because of skin color) 3. Structure of Positivistic Society  vastly liberal and inclusive; this society is based on achieved status  again refers to individual achievements (Ex. One important aspect of ascribed status  gender) rd Most Influential Social Unit – 3 Difference (Comte) 1. In Theological Society, the most influential social unit is the church (what its society is based upon and also an important factor in decision-making/rule –making) 2. In Metaphysical Society, the most influential social unit is a political organization. (main focus of this society) 3. In Positivistic Society, the most influential social unit is a corporation. (able to produce ‘financial resources’ for entire society, mainly due to technology) Integration – 4 th difference (Comte) - using “collective violence” to ensure order (used in Theological & Metaphysical Societies)  unreasonable to a certain extent - Example of collective violence  form of public punishment (Ex. In Islamic society or Saudi Arabia) - In positivistic society  rely upon consensus (accord) in order for society to remain integrated  using democratic decision making in order to do so; this society is known as a rational society, where emotions lead to calculations (or answers) The second notable functionalist was Emile Durkheim. -He said we can divide human society into two main categories: a mechanical society and an organic society.  1 Variable - Collective Consciousness (combination of all social customs, values, norm, expectation, and philosophy) Collective Consciousness can be broken down into 4 other subcategories: 1. Volume (certain quantity/how many social practices and rules that individuals should follow) 2. Content (if people in society can distinguish/identify all social customs and whether these social customs are dominant) 3. Clarity – (if those components are clear and understood amongst all members of society 4. Control – (deals with power/ability of those elements to regulate social members; power can be described as either strong or weak) -Volume in Mechanical Society: very homogeneous (follow same traditions, like a small village for example), but don’t have many options and doesn’t tend to share many social customs -Volume in Organic Society- very heterogeneous (Ex. A big city)  has more choices; people tend to partake in many social practices (often countless) -Content in Mechanical Society- there’s clarity that will be recognized will involve social taboos and customs will be ‘sacred’ -Content in Organic Society – there’s no clarity, countless numbers, not easily recognized -Clarity in Mechanical Society- rules are understood/clear for the most part -Clarity in Organic Society- social traditions will become unclear, and highly debatable -Control in Mechanical Society- has strong influence upon social customs -Control in Organic Society- has weak influence upon social customs  2 ndvariable – Collective Representation (symbols, signs, pictures, gestures, diagrams); “eye-washing” elements (Ex. National symbol of the United States)  Volume (of Mechanical Soc.)  not many; Volume (of Organic soc.)  a number of representations/symbols  Clarity (of Mechanical soc.)  mainly clear/understood (sacred value); Clarity (of Organic Soc.)  numerous signs; vague  Content (of Mechanical)  distinguishable; concrete; Content (of Organic)  cannot be completely ‘listed’  Control (of Mechanical)  overall strong influence to regulate its members; Control (of Organic)  overall weak influence to regulate its members  Legal Code (of Mechanical) straightforward, simple (means of punishment –‘repression oriented’ in order to control social deviance); Legal Code (of Organic)  complex, complicated (uses methods of restoration and preservation to assist members in maintaining or restoring the status quo and in sustaining social order) *In the end, as long as deviant actions don’t result in total turmoil, social deviance will still be tolerated (in Organic Society); however, social deviance will not be tolerated (in Mechanical society). *When it comes to interpersonal relationships, Mechanical society will be categorized as (rigid/inflexible, fixed); organic society will be known as flexible/progressive/alternative). *Durkheim explained you could transform from uncomplicated, mechanical society to complex, organic society. -this is due to population growth  division of labor  turns into a creation of jobs  in result, this leads to a “specialization” of career opportunities (to support populations of our society) o In the midst of transformation, (three problems can occur) 1. Anomic Division of Labor  during alteration, social traditions may halt operations; and this often occurs in a complicated society 2. Forced Division of Labor  due to some situations, individuals may be designated to jobs they loathe 3. Poorly Coordinated Division of Labor  not really being sure of how to perform for a job; this may lead to the wrong decisions *this doesn’t occur all the time, but occasionally* *social traditions/old customs may be unacceptable *may lead to social pathology (Ex. This took place in the former Soviet Union); may be poorly structured *these three problems may influence individuals to commit suicide 4 Types of Suicide: 1. Anomie- when social practice can no longer afford to offer ‘behavioral guides’ for members of society; may cause depression and as a result, suicide; people may become very anxious, depressed, and hopeless 2. Fatalistic  when society turns into ‘highly suppressive’ one; as a result, people may tend to ‘lose hope’, and this is generated by “political suppression” 3. Egotistic a group of people may think a catastrophe will take place in the near future (because of a natural disaster) 4. Altruistic  when some individuals may commit a possible suicide because they believe this will bring about the greater good or change in society; they may think this will ultimately improve suicide and people commit this because of social goods


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