Discovering Sociology Soci 1311
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Angela Dela Llana
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Popular in Sociology
SOCI 1311 - 004
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Angela Dela Llana on Friday September 2, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soci 1311 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Jason Shelton in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 174 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Sociology at University of Texas at Arlington.
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Date Created: 09/02/16
SOCI 1311 Chapter 1: Discovering Sociology What is sociology? Sociology is the systematic and scientific study of human behavior, social groups, and society. Sociologists look at structural and institutional forces that shape our everyday lives. Each individual has their own tastes and interests, shapes our everyday decisions. These are structural and institutional forces at work. The goal of sociology is to help people develop their sociological imagination. Sociological imagination is a way of understanding the world and understanding ourselves within the context of a larger society. C. Wright Mills first developed this concept. Mills wanted people to think critically about who they are, why they think the way they do, how they became the person they are. For example, why do you like the Cowboys? Why do you have a hard time trusting people? The two parts of sociological imagination are history and biography. Every society has a history. Even if you w alive during influential events, you are still affected by them presently. Scholars agree that what happened to you in the past affects you in the present and in the future. As for biography, everyone comes from a different walk of life. Personal backgrounds vary greatly from person to person. D or others at face value. Both big and small things make each of us unique. There is a link between the individual and society. We need to think critically about who we are and how we got here. There are two branches of science: natural (hard) and social (soft). Examples of natural sciences include biology, chemistry, astronomy, and physics. Natural sciences generally speak about different aspects of the earth and nature and relate to our planet. They discuss how things do and do not relate. Natural sciences rely on fact, and there is less room for debate, although there definitely are debates. The questions presented usually have one answer. Examples of social sciences include psychology, political science, anthropology, sociology, social work, economics, and history. For social sciences, there is a lot more room for debate. There is no one answer to a problem. The focus of sociology is social structure. Society consists of a variety of important components. These large abstract institutions affect our everyday lives. What are these important components in society that shape who we are? Institutions in society that affect all of us include government, military, media, education, religion, family, and the economy. How have these affected who you are right now? Social structures are hierarchical. In a hierarchy are at the bottom, and fewer people are at the top. For example, in patriarchal societies like the United States, the father tends to be the head of the household. Christianity is prioritized over other religions when it comes to nationally recognized holidays. White people tend to hold more power over people of color despite progress made with the Civil Rights Movement. Some people have more status in life while others have less status, which is a huge source of controversy. There are two different methods of research: microsociology and macrosociology. In microsociology, researchers conduct studies on small groups of people (less than 100 people). An advantage of microsociology is that small group studies give more detail and go much more in-depth than large group studies. There is a difference between explaining why you are voting A disadvantage of microsociology is that the small group could be so different from the rest of In macrosociology, researchers conduct studies on large groups of people (thousands of people). An advantage of macrosociology is that researchers get a better sense of the trends due to the much larger and diverse pool of participants. A disadvantage of macrosociology is that the details. The Development of Sociology The Industrial Revolution in Europe (from the mid to late 1800s) was a major turning point in world history. How people lived their everyday lives dramatically changed. There are three major components of the Industrial Revolution: Industrialization, (Im)migration, and Urbanization. Industrialization is the driving force of The Industrial Revolution. Before the rise of mass production, it took forever to make something. For example, it took a long time for one person to make one blanket. After 1850s, more things could be made within a shorter time. Hundreds of blankets could be produced in the same time it would take one person to make one blanket. The Industrial Revolution comprised of huge transitions due to development. People went from living on farms to working in city factories. Before the Industrial Revolution, people would spend time at home with their family and on the farm. After the Industrial Revolution, people would leave home to go to work. The Industrial Revolution started because we had figured out how to harness coal, and its energy was used to fuel assembly lines and other technology for mass production. Immigration is when people move from one nation to another. Migration is when people move to different locations within the same nation. Immigration and migration occurred because people followed opportunities to where it led them. They moved to different towns and different nations in search for jobs. Urbanization is the growth of cities. Urbanization is related to industrialization through the need to build factories for mass production. It is also related to (im)migration through the need to build homes and other buildings for incoming people to work in. Because of the Industrial Revolution, new problems in society emerge, which include crime, competition for jobs, poor living conditions (hunger, crowdedness), sanitation problems and diseases (diseases that came from different nations are brought to the city), environmental problems, and poverty. Sociology comes around to explain the new problems that arose from the Industrial Revolution. August Comte (1798-1857) He also created word the The Industrial Revolution first started in France. As a Frenchman, he had a great advantage in observing the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. He witnessed its early years and was able to write about it before it spread to other places like England. Comte promoted positivism. Simply put, he believed that the scientific method needed to be applied to sociology in order for it to be taken seriously and seen as a legitimate discipline. Conducting surveys and observing results is an example of applying the scientific method. Sociology can -based discipline. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was from England, so he d Comte had. Spencer compared society to an organism. Society breathe live without. He argued that certain structures were more important than others. For example, having a government was more important than having sports. How do we stay healthy as an organism? Spencer coined the p survival of the fittest best suited to the environment are the most successful. Charles Darwin is often mistakenly credited for this phrase because he developed it more. However, while Darwin talked about survival of the fittest animals, Spencer talked about survival of the fittest people. Survival of the fittest people is the focus of social Darwinism. According to Spencer, what make you fit among human beings are hard work, good decision-making, and sacrifice. People who do these things will rise to the top, while t Spencer believed that the people at the top and the bottom in terms of status deserve to be where they are. That idea is controversial, of course. Some people are born with higher statuses than others. For example, we inherit the class position that our parents have. Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German born to a wealthy family. His father owned a factory, and he was also highly educated. He knew what it was like to be very privileged and, therefore, studied society from the perspective of someone of a high status. Weber agreed with the use of the scientific method for sociology. Verstehen means understanding in German. Weber believed that sociologists are responsible for understanding: 1. How people feel (emotions). Are you concerned or happy for the future? 2. Why they feel the way they do (reasons). Why are you concerned or happy? 3. The connection ppy that . Political, social, musical movements arise because people have similar reasons and motives. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) is Jewish. He was dedicated to Judaism, and his faith was important to him. Durkheim focused on the concept of social order. What keeps society normal and peaceful? What kind of connection do people need to keep society peaceful and relatively unproblematic? How do prevent riots, murders, rape, and other crimes from occurring? Durkheim was the first prominent sociological researcher. While the other prominent sociologists talked about using the scientific method, he was the first person to apply the scientific method in his research. Durkheim was concerned with the connection between religion and suicide. He studied Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and other religious groups. Why do some religions and denominations have higher suicide rates? Durkheim concluded that to do with suicide. The reason for a person deciding to commit suicide had to do with their social bonds. Social bonds are your connections to other people. Regardless of your faith, it to other people that matter and would prevent you from committing suicide. Religion not the belief in a higher power that has to do with committing suicide. It s your connection to other people. If you can call on a lot of people, you feel more connected to them. The people with tighter bonds are the people less likely to commit suicide. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was highly critical of religion. He grew up of it. He is anti-religion. Marx believed that the Industrial Revolution was not a good thing for humanity and was very critical of it. Marx was not a sociologist. He was more of a philosopher, but his works became widely read by sociologists much later. Marx emphasized the impact of economic factors in everyday life. He believed that capitalism enhances inequality. According to Marx, new problems arose in society because of capitalism. Capitalism is selfish. Bourgeoisie vs Proletariat is the push and pull (tension) between the rich (Bourgeoisie) and the poor (Proletariat). Bourgeoisie were those who have the economic resources while the Proletariat were those who did not have the economic resources. The graduate students of Weber and other great sociologists immigrated to America, bringing sociology with them. This was the beginning of American sociology. The University of Chicago does not have the first department of sociology in the United States, but they had the first widely renowned department of sociology. The University of Chicago s sociology department promoted the idea that sociologists should Researchers should go out into the world to experiment instead of spending time inside their building. The American Sociological Association (ASA) meets every year to share research, talk about politics, and discuss whatever is going on in the social world. Classical Sociological Theories: Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism states that human beings understand society by gaining meaning through interaction with others. For example, university students sit in a lecture room and learn from the professor. Core tenants: 1. Human beings act toward people and things based on the meaning we have for them 2. Meanings derive out of interaction with others 3. Meanings can change over time through continued interactions with others (social sophistication) Some people seem so sophisticated because they ve had many different interactions with different people all over the world. W knowing things, we have to be taught. We learn new things through interaction. One example is that your parent teaches you to wear a baseball cap straight with the bill facing forward, but you eventually learn that you can also wear a baseball cap backwards after you see some rappers wearing their caps that way. Language Thoughts Actions. Our thoughts are confined by our language. Our actions arise from our thoughts. Language is the primary tool for communication; we cannot think without language. Words and gestures are symbols. Weber is essentially the key thinker behind symbolic interactionism since he emphasized the importance of verstehen or understanding. Symbolic interactionism is a microsociologal theory. Classical Sociological Theories: Structural Functionalism In the history of sociology, structural functionalism has been the most popular of the three theories. Structural functionalism views society as a series of interrelated parts that must be working normally and peacefully; it emphasizes the connection between social structure and social order. Structural functionalism is a part of macrosociology. It is at a bigger level than symbolic interactionism and looks at big abstract institutions like the government, the media, and the military. All structures and individuals have roles, responsibilities, and purpose. If you hear something being referred to as a (for example, the American education . People have very specific roles, like teacher and student, for example. Systems function when people in their individual roles carry out their responsibilities, and when people stop doing this, society stops functioning normally. Society is the like human body. They re both healthy when everything is balanced and regulated, or at equilibrium. Functionalists want to figure out how to keep society at social equilibrium. Anomie is social disorder, whether it s minor or major. Another word for anomie is chaos. Functionalists want to avoid anomie at all costs. A minor example of anomie is when the fire alarm goes off at school. A much more severe example is 9/11. A riot is a classic example of anomie. During anomie, the order is gone. There is disregard for laws. Functionalists focus their efforts on trying to prevent anomie. Structural functionalism is tied to both Spencer, who compared society to an organism, and Durkheim, who studied social order. Classical Sociological Theories: Conflict Theory According to conflict theory, society is composed of diverse groups with competing values and . Conflict theory is closely associated with Marx. He believed that Durkheim wasn t paying enough attention to the tensions in society caused by diversity when he was researching social order. During the 1960s, America was going through the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Feminist Movement and other major periods of social change. Americans couldn t find the answers they were looking for in Durkheim s works, so they started reading Marx s work. Stratification is the structured inequality in access to resources, rewards, and privileges in society. An example of the effects stratification can be seen with the Vietnam War. Men attending college were exempt from the draft. Poor men were unlikely to attend college, and black men were barred from attending college. Middle to upper-class white men were therefore unlikely to be drafted compared to those men who lacked the economic and/or racial status. Marx argued that there would always be conflict because of diversity. Class consciousness is the awareness a person has regarding their social class. Another way to describe it is when someone wakes up and is tired of the class discrimination that they face on a daily basis. Social change can be violent or peaceful. It can come in the form of riots or peaceful protests.
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