W1: THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
W1: THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE SOC 1101
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erica on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 1101 at Cornell University taught by Professor Kendra Bischoff in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at Cornell University.
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Date Created: 09/02/16
THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE M Aug 29: Introduction Selection from The Emergence of Sociological Theory, Turner and Beeghley (1981)—“What is a Social Fact,” (pp.348349) [BBC] “Getting In,” Gladwell (2005) [BBC] Getting In, Gladwell What is sociological about this article? o Tries to systematically explain why the schools are doing what they’re doing/ how it might make sense o History of discrimination (setting quotas) & how the exclusion of students has changed over time o How did we transition into thinking about who would be our best graduates; uncovers that it was a way of digging into people’s backgrounds as a mechanism to get rid of discrimination o Selection and treatment — certain qualifications but once in the institution, they create a “treatment” for when they get out o “Best graduate” approach (successful alumni, well known people, etc.; Does social theorizing to explain social puzzles he observes Social logic of admissions o Selection effect not treatment effect o To maintain the luxury brand (trying to maintain a brand so selection makes sense) Treatment vs. Selection effect institutions What is Sociology? The study of human social life, groups, and societies Thinking like a sociologist entails questioning things that you previously took for granted, and applying analytical tools to the ordinary The Sociological Perspective — Moves away from individualistic explanations, and toward grouplevel and social explanation — Search for general patterns of behavior in particular individuals and systematically explain the social Origins of the discipline Seeking explanations for the sweeping social changes brought about by industrialization and the decline of religious authority Rise of scientific explanation THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Émile Durkheim – brought a scientific basis to sociology; social cohesion (religion & division of labor) o Suicide first published in 1897 What is a Social Fact? Key Elements of Sociology 1. Social Facts “Consists of ways of acting, thinking, and feeling external to the individual and endowed with power of coercion, by which they control him” (Durkheim , The Rules, p.3) Facts about the world that no one individually has decided They cannot be changed by a person They’re developed by collective goals We don’t get to choose these values/expectations Bigger than any one person Examples: Institutions, laws, status, population dynamics, norms, moral beliefs 2. Social Theory —Analytical frameworks used to explain social phenomena Helps us take all of the things we see in the world & organize them What’re the bounds of the theory? Helpful to try and understand why patterns are the way they are 3. Social Structure — The sum of social facts —“The underlying regularities or patterns in how people behave in their relationships with one another,” (Giddens et al. 2016) —Institutional arrangements in society —Relationships between groups of people in society THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE W Aug 31: Social Cohesion and Durkheim’s Study of Suicide Selection from Suicide: A Study in Sociology, Durkheim (1951)—Pp. 155161, 169170, 208212 [BBC] Social Cohesion and Durkheim’s Study of Suicide Sociological Perspective o Selfharm is often thought of as a deeply individualistic act, with intrapersonal causes Durkheim foes not deny these explanations) o He wondered whether there were broader social factors/processes that affect the likelihood of individual causes of selfharm Social Fact o Suicide rates differ by religion Why? Why were the rates of suicide lowest among Jewish people, followed by Catholic people, with Protestants having the highest rates? Sidebar: Social Context o Sociologists are often interested in the effect of social context —How does an individual’s environment affect his/her outcomes? —We “attach” the characteristics of the social environment to the individual to investigate the effect. Durkheim Investigates a Mystery 1. Argument by elimination —The systematic rejection of alternative explanations to bolster remaining candidate explanations 2. In search of an explanation —Group Size —System of Religion Religious teachings —Maybe it has to do with the religious teachings? they all say the same thing, so we can’t use this) THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Freedom of thought/Individualism —“Free inquiry itself is only the effect of another cause” (P.158) —Individualism is a product of lower cohesion —Degree of common practices and beliefs —Social cohesion is the bigger concept he is using for explanation 3. Conclusion —Religious teachings do not protect people. Religion protects people because they are societies with common beliefs and traditions. —“The more numerous and strong these collective states of mind are, the stronger the integration of the religious community, and also the greater its preservative value” (p.170) Protestantism has a looser collective belief system Jews are more strongly united than any other group because of facing intolerance, so they have a stronger connection 4. Generalize the Theory o Other sources of social cohesion —Family —Political climate o Suicide varies inversely with the degree of integration of the religious, domestic, and political groips of which an indicidual is a part (Hypothesis, p.208) [this is not just about religion, it’s about a broader idea] o Generalizes these examples to a state if excessive individualism, or egoism 5. Method —Rates (taking into account the size of religion) —Statistics _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Another Example: Divorce The social context of divorce What do you notice in the data? What might explain the different rates of divorce across states? *Divorce rates per 1,000 less densely populated states have a higher divorce rate [maybe urban areas have lower marriage rates] THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE [maybe more dense places have a larger marriage market] [higher divorce rates = younger marriage]