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Class notes from Week One

by: Ashley Whitmore

Class notes from Week One SOCI 1113 01

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Ashley Whitmore

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Notes taken from the power points on chapters one and two from week one.
Sociology 101
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashley Whitmore on Friday August 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOCI 1113 01 at University of New Haven taught by Bradshaw in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views.


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Date Created: 08/26/16
SOCIOLOGY CHAPTER 1 NOTES Perspective, Theory and Method - The sociological perspective: seeing the general in the particular o Seeing general patters in the behavior of particular individuals o The general categories which we fall into shape our particular life experiences - The sociological perspective: Seeing the strange in the familiar o Brainstorm about 3 “familiar” practices in the US  Now find the “Strange” about each of the practices  Discuss why they seem strange, now that you are using the sociological perspective - Seeing sociologically: marginality o The greater a person’s marginality: the better able they are to use the sociological perspective o To become better at using the sociological perspective: step back from familiar routines - The importance of a global perspective o Global perspective: the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it o What is the importance of a global perspective for sociology?  Sociology shows that out place in society profoundly affects our life experiences - Sociology and public policy o Sociologists have helped shape public policy  The laws and regulations that guide how people in communities live and work  Question: think of a public policy topic in our society that is currently under review and/or discussion. –how about health care or same sex marriage? - Sociology and personal growth o Helps us assess the truth of “common sense” –what about those “long distance” relationships? o Helps us see the opportunities in our everyday lives o Empowers us to be active participants in our society –C.W. Millis- accept or change o Helps us live in a diverse world - Careers: the “sociology advantage” o A sociology background is excellent in preparing for the working world o Agencies and companies want to be sure that:  Products, programs, and policies they create get the job done at the lowest cost  Anything that deals with people - Social change and sociology o What striking transformations took place in 18 and 19 centuryth Europe that:  Drove the development of sociology?  Rise of a factory-based economy-weakened traditions  Explosive growth of cities-pollution, crime  New ideas about democracy and political rights- individual rights- French Revolution - Science and Sociology o Auguste Comte (1798-1857)  French social thinker who coined the term “sociology” in 1838 to:  Describe a new way of looking at the world- the move from Theology to Metaphysical to the Scientific Stage (“positive” facts as opposed to speculation) - Sociological theory o Theory: a statement of how and why specific facts are related- continual modification- new facts > new theories o Two basic questions in building theory  What issues should we study?  How should we connect the facts? - The structural-functional approach o A framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose  Parts work together to promote solidarity and stability-“mobile” o Social structure –organic- like our body o Social functions –manifest & latent - The social-conflict approach o A framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that”  Generates conflict and change –Marx o Highlights how the following factors are linked to inequality  Class, race, ethnicity, gender, age –have vs have nots - Feminism and the Gender-Conflict Approach –a subset of Conflict o A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and men o Closely linked to feminism, the advocacy of social equality for women and men o Harriet Martineau and Jane Addams: women to sociology development –women more than wife & mother; can also facilitate social change, ex= Hull House for immigrants - The Race-Conflict Approach –another subset of conflict o Point of view: focuses on inequality & conflict between people  Of different racial and ethnic categories o People of color important to the development of sociology: Ida Wells Barnett and W.E.B. Du Bois - Symbolic-Interaction Paradigm –Weber and Mead o The basics  A micro-level orientation, a close-up focus on social interactions in specific situations –families, dorms, neighborhoods  Views society as the product of everyday interactions of individuals –meanings and communications - Symbolic-Interaction Paradigm o Key elements  Society is a shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another  Society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings  Social exchange –Homans –social exchange - Three ways to do sociology –summary o All sociologist want to learn about the social world o Three ways to do sociological research  Positivist sociology- observation of facts  Interpretive sociology –Weber- what do mean by what they do? Verstehen  Critical sociology –need for social change politics - Concepts, variables and measurement o Concept: a mental construct; represents some part of the world in a simplified form o Variable: a concept that changes from case to case –vs constants o Measurement: procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specific case –operationalize - Statistics o Descriptive statistics  To state what is “average” for a large population  Most commonly used descriptive statistics are:  Mean; median; mode - Reliability and validity o Reliability  Consistency in measurement  For measurement to be reliable, the process must yield the same results when repeated  Validity  Actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure - Correlation and cause o Correlation: a relationship in which two (or more) variables change together o Cause and effect: a relationship in which change in one variable causes change in another - Interpretive sociology o Humans engage in meaningful action o Interpretive sociology differs from scientific or empirical sociology in three ways:  Scientific sociology focuses on action  Interpretive sociology focuses on meaning  Scientific sociology sees on objective reality  Interpretive sociology sees reality - Interpretive sociology (slide 2) o Scientific sociology favors quantitate data  Interpretive sociology favors qualitative data o Scientific orientation is well-suited for research in a lab o Interpretive orientation is better suited in a natural setting  Investigators interact with people - Weber’s concept of verstehen o German word for “understanding” o Interpretive sociologist job  Observe what people do  Share in their world of meaning  Appreciate why they act as they do - Critical sociology o The study of society that focuses on the need for social change  Critical sociologists ask moral and political questions  Critical sociologists reject Weber’s goal that  Sociology be value-free - Sociology as Politics o Scientific sociologist  Object to taking sides in this way  Claims critical sociology o Critical sociologists  All research is political in that it either calls for change or does not - Gender and research o Gender  Personal traits and social positions members of a society attach to being female or male o Gender can affect sociological research in 5 ways  Androcentricity- focus on male perspective  Over-generalizing- aspirin study on men  Gender blindness- failure to consider gender  Double standards –man as head of household- women supports- true?  Interference- can a women study men or vice versa - Research ethics o Awareness that research can harm as well as help subjects and communities o American Sociological Association  Established formal guidelines for conducting research  Sociologists must be skillful and fair-minded in their work – protection of subjects - Research methods o A systematic plan for doing research o 4 methods of sociological investigation  Experiments –field vs lab  Surveys  Participant observation  Existing sources - Testing a hypothesis: the experiment o Test a specific hypothesis  A statement of how two or more variables are related  An educated guess about how variables are linked- usually an if-then statement - Asking questions: survey research o Survey- people lie, non-respondents o Survey targets some populations –census o Researchers usually study a sample  A much smaller number of subjects selected to represent the entire population- how to choose, Nielsen, University - In the field: participant observation o Participant observation  Cultural anthropologists  Uses “fieldwork” to study societies –hells angels, organized crime, death scene investigations  Fieldwork makes most participant observation exploratory and descriptive  Participant observation has few hard-and-fast rules - Using available data: existing sources o Sociologists make use of existing sources  Data collected by others –census, tale of two cities o Most widely used data are gathered by government agencies o Using available information o Criticism - Putting it all together: ten steps in sociological research 1. What is your topic? 2. What have others already learned? 3. What, exactly, are your questions? 4. What will you need to carry out research? 5. Might the research cause harm? 6. What method will you use? 7. How will you record the data? 8. What do the data tell you? 9. What are your conclusions? 10. How can you share what you have learned? SOCIOLOY CHAPTER 2 NOTES Culture - Terminology o Culture: the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, the material objects that form people’s ways of life o Society: people who interact in a defined territory and share a culture - Terminology (slide 2) o Culture shock: disorientation due to the inability to make sense out of one’s surroundings  Domestic and foreign travel o Nonmaterial culture: the intangible world of ideas created by members of a society o Material: tangible things created by members of society o Cultural relativism: more accurate understanding - Symbols o Anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture o Societies create new symbols all the time o Reality for humans is found in the meaning things carry with them  The basics of culture; makes social life possible o People must be mindful that meanings vary from culture to culture o Meanings can even vary greatly within the same groups of people  Fur coats, confederate flags, etc. - Language o Does language shape reality o A system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another o Cultural transmission o Sapir-Whorf thesis  People perceive the world through the cultural lens of language- bilingual examples - Sociologist Robin Williams’ 10 values central to American Life o Equal opportunity- based on talent and effort o Achievement and success – we need a winner (what about a tie?) o Material comforts- $$ and what it can buy- ranks with oxygen o Activity and work – “doers” who succeed o Practicality and efficiency –major in something that will get a job o Progress- is our most important product, can’t hold back progress o Science- facts speak for themselves o Democracy and free enterprise- lets vote on it o Freedom- I choose what I do, you can’t tell me! o Racism and group superiority- the way we do things is best! - Norms o Mores and folkways  Mores (pronounced “more-rays”  Widely observed and have great moral significance- example: teachers having sex with students  Folkways  Norms for routine and casual interaction –etiquette, elevator behavior, “haggling” - Ideal versus real culture o Ideal culture  The ways things should be  Social patterns mandated by values & norms o Real culture  Way things actually occur in everyday life  Social patters that only approximate cultural expectations - Technology and culture o Hunting and gathering societies o Horticultural and pastoral societies o Agrarian societies o Industrial societies o Postindustrial societies - Cultural diversity o High culture and popular culture o Subculture- Amish? o Multiculturalism- equal standing for all cultures? o Counterculture- hells angels? o Cultural change- impact of “smart phone”? - Cultural diversity (slide 2) o Ethnocentrism- the way we do things makes the most sense, anything else is really weird o Cultural relativism- it’s not the way I would do it… but to each his own - Applying theory Structural- Social- conflict Sociobiology functional approach approach approach What is the level Macro-level Macro-level Macro-level of analysis? What is culture? Culture is a Culture is a Culture is a system of system that system of behavior by benefits some behavior that is which members people and partly shaped by of societies disadvantages human biology cooperate to others meet their needs What is the Cultural patterns Cultural patterns Cultural patters foundation of are noted is a are rooted in a are rooted in culture? societies core society’s system humanity’s values and of economic biological beliefs production evolution What core How does a How does a How does a questions does cultural pattern cultural pattern cultural patterns the approach help society benefit some help a species ask? operate? people and harm adapt to its What cultural others? environment? patters are found How does a in all societies? cultural pattern support social inequality? - Culture and human freedom o Culture as constraint  We know our world in terms of our culture o Culture as freedom  Culture is changing and offers a variety of opportunities  Sociologists share the goal of learning more about cultural diversity


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