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Sociology 101 Week 1 notes

by: Xavier Omega

Sociology 101 Week 1 notes Soc 101

Xavier Omega

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About this Document

These notes introduce you to the field of Sociology, provides some background info on the subject, and lays the foundation for the class.
Intro to Sociology
Linda Catalano
Class Notes




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Xavier Omega on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 101 at Hunter College of the City University of New York taught by Linda Catalano in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Social Science at Hunter College of the City University of New York.


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Date Created: 09/21/16
Chapter 1: Intro to Sociology What is Sociology?  Study of human society o People interacting together and what happens when they do.  Sociology occupies its own space within the social sciences but it abuts and overlaps the  other social sciences. o It shares general subject areas – the economy, the educational system, religion –  but has a distinct approach.  More than a distinct subject area, then, sociology is a way of thinking o One that centrally considered the broader social context within which anything  occurs The Social Imagination  Coined by C. Wright Mills, this concept helps us to see connections between our personal experience and larger socio­historical forces. o Personal troubles are public issues  Why can’t I get a job?  I majored in the wrong subject   Lack ambition o Versus  Structure of occupational in current economy  People who see their and others’ difficulties as the result of personal failing are not  seeing the bigger picture  o The point of the sociological imagination is not just to understand why, ex, I can’t get a job, but to change the conditions that restrict people’s life­chances  Mills was oriented around problems, personal and social; his vision reflects that  Another way to think about the sociological imagination is as a project to “make the  familiar strange,” or to question habits or customs that seem “natural” to us. o Ex: Marriage, College Social Institutions  Going to college is consequential for one’s life chances o But not (only) for the reason you may think  In shaping our life chances, and along the way, who are we as people, college functions  as a Social Institution  A complex group of interdependent positions (roles) that, together, perform a function or  serve a purpose in society  o Rules define the patterns of action o Endures over time  Social Institutions are networks of structures in society that work to socialize the groups  of people within them: o Legal System, Labor Market, Military, Family, School Social Identity The way individuals define themselves in relationship to groups that are a part of (or that  they choose NOT to be a part of) History of Sociology (Europe) Auguste Comte ­ Society can be better understood by determining the logic or universal  laws governing human behavior; called social physics or positivism.  Harriet Martineau – First to translate Comte’s written works to English; one of the  earliest social scientists Karl Marx – Theory of social change called historical materialism, which identifies class  conflict as its primary driver. Max Weber – Concept Verstephen (germen) emphasized subjectivity; became a  foundation of interpretive sociology  Emile Durkheim – Founder of positive sociology; developed the theory that division of  labor helps to determine how social cohesion is maintained, or not, in society Georg Simmel – Formal Sociology, or a sociology of pure numbers (for instance, how the dynamics of a group of two is different from the dynamics of a group of three). Picture the  saying (Two heads are better than one) Early American Sociology  Early American Sociology became prominent at the end University of Chicago, so the  perspective that emerged became known as the “Chicago School.” Include people like: o Charles Horton Cooley o George Herbert Mead o Robert Park o W.E.B. DuBois o Jane Addams  The Chicago School focused on empirical research, with the belief that people’s  behaviors and personalities are shaped by their social and physical environments. Modern Theories th  Several prominent theories emerged during the 20  century, particularly: o Functionalism (1930s – 1950s): Social processes and institutions exist for a  reason; analysis seeks to identify the roles these play in maintaining society;  consensus →  evolutionary change. o Conflict Theory (1950s – 1970s): conflict among competing interests is the basic  animating force of any society; conflict at all levels of a→ revolutionary  change o Symbolic Interactionism (1960s): People act on the basis of shared meanings;  these actions make those meanings so Divisions within Sociology  Positivist vs Interpretive  Micro vs Macro  Positivist Sociology: follows Comte and Durkheim in the search for universal laws and  “social facts.” Standard practice is th→o hypothesis→ empirical evidence→  theory  Interpretive Sociology: follows Weber in focusing on the meaning of social phenomena  to individuals, understanding the experience of those involved or affected. Comparative  case analysis.  Microsociology: understands local interactional contexts, focusing on face­to­face  encounters and gathering data through participant observations and in­depth interviews.  Macrosociology: looks as social dynamics across whole societies or large parts of them  and often relies on statistical analysis to do so. Sociology and its Cousins  Sociology focuses on making comparisons across cases to fond patterns and create  hypotheses about how societies work now or how they worked in the past  Sociology looks at how individuals interact with one another as well as how groups,  small and large, interact with one another  Sociology differs from other social sciences (& history) variously in terms of methods,  presuppositions, and levels on analysis.


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