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Reading, Lecture, and Discussion Notes

by: Brigette Notetaker

Reading, Lecture, and Discussion Notes Soc 1

Marketplace > University of California Santa Barbara > Sociology > Soc 1 > Reading Lecture and Discussion Notes
Brigette Notetaker
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Intro to Sociology
A. Gordon
Class Notes
Introduction to Sociology, sociology, intro, socio, intro sociology




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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brigette Notetaker on Monday October 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 1 at University of California Santa Barbara taught by A. Gordon in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Sociology at University of California Santa Barbara.


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Date Created: 10/03/16
Sociological Imagination pg. 8 "What they need, and what they feel they need, is a quality of mind that will help them to use  information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in  the world and of what may be happening within themselves. It is this quality, I am going to  contend, that journalists and scholars, artists and publics, scientists and editors are coming to  expect of what may be called the sociological imagination.” Mills identified "Troubles" (personal challenges) and "Issues" (Larger social challenges) that are  key principles for providing us with a framework for really wrapping our minds around many of  the hidden social processes that transpire in an almost invisible manner in today’s societies. Social Facts are social processes rooted in society rather than in the individual Basically, the term sociological imagination is used to refer to the specialized insight that can  be obtained through a study of sociology. Sociologist C. Wright Mills described it as "the vivid  awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society.” In effect, Mills is stating that sociological imagination is the ability to perceive situations and  circumstances in a wide social context and observe how interactions and actions are influential  upon other individuals and situations.  Ex.  Cheating on an exam­sociological imagination a) The student is poor and cannot afford to go for extra coaching or gain extra resources to help him understand the  subject properly, hence the student is forced to cheat to pass.  b) The student is under pressure to pass with good marks, but is not mentally capable of doing  so. So here, circumstances force him to cheat.  c) The student is lazy, and looks for an easy way to pass, and comes up with cheating. Sociological imagination simply refers to the ability to see social conditions as affecting people's  successes and failures as Coined by American sociologist C.Wright Mills(1959) (1) What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential  components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of  social order? Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and for  its change? (2) Where does this society stand in human history? What are the mechanics by  which it is changing? What is its place within and its meaning for the development of humanity  as a whole? How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by,  the historical period in which it moves? And this period—what are its essential features? How  does it differ from other periods? What are its characteristic ways of history­making? (3) What  varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties  are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed,  made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of Tiuman nature' are revealed in the conduct and  character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for liuman nature'  of each and every feature of the society we are examining? An issue, in fact, often involves a crisis in institutional arrangements, and often too it involves  what Marxists call 'contradictions' or ‘antagonisms Kendall Ota Office Hours 1­3 Thursdays Rm SSMS 3013 8AM­8PM email avail No Gauchospace 30 mins before and after exam STUDY TOOL:­flash­cards/ ● Emile Durkheim & Max Weber founder of soc ● For Marx, society was in many ways the exploitation of labor & working classes ● Measure of money­ Marx describes as “exchange value” ● Machinery­ replaced the minds and hands of craftsmen ● Durkheim's first major study was a study on suicide ○ To understand why people were killing themselves during the  great age of success ● The iron cage of the state ○ A term used by Weber for increased rationalization inherent in  social life, esp. In Western capitalist societies. “Iron cage” traps individuals in  systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control ● Dubois tries to explain modern racism­ [“The color line” picture] ● Dubois conducted door to door surveys in black communities, made novels, co  founder of NAACP, senate, etc., ○ Considered dangerous man by US because he was so involved  and was denied a passport for 8 years ● Jane Addams­ Activism, lived and worked in the heart of a very poor  neighborhood ○ What kind of society would dispossess its immigrants to work with  urban communities and then leave them to live in slums w/o any kind of social  respect or social services? ○ Leader in settlement house movement ○ Involved in projects for immigrant city workers, children, etc., ● Sociology: a critical effort to clarify the struggles and the wishes of the age ○ What are the terms that organize our soc. And what kind of trouble do these terms make for people? ○ What should be done? ○ What is being done? ● “To formulate any problem requires that we state the values involved and threat  to these values. For it is the felt threat to cherished values that is the necessary moral.. “ ● Mills intended the book to be a serious critique in social science ○ Charles Wright Mills 1916­1962­ Catholic Home­ Father=  insurance agent ○ Grandfather= cattle rancher­ dies in gunfight ■ Shift in occupation within family ○ Anti­authority­ didn’t belong in school ○ University of Texas at Austin­ studied philosophy at a young age ○ Held a job briefly in maryland ○ He opposed WWII ○ Mills wrote his most famous books on social and class when he  got to the University of Columbia ■ “Power Elite”, “White Collar”­ popular books of his  that built his career ● Mills sociological imagination w/ image that people were trapped in their social  lives ● Those with power do not feel the need to justify it ● In the shadow of the American Century’s Dream ○ When ppl refer to the amer dream, it’s more less this moment  ○ After the end of WWII­ great american wealth and power ○ Unusually wealthy society that seemed to promise a good life to  majority ○ US seemed unbelievable­ offering many decent, steady paying  jobs, opportunity for education, abundance of food and things to buy, political  freedom ○ US seemed like the perfect utopian world ● Americans gained tremendous consumer power­ temporary and unstable ● Although tremendous prosperity, people of color didn’t receive the same benefits, although they were important instruments of America’s success from WWII ● Civil rights movements rocked the country­ 1960, the gov announced that they  discovered poverty & claimed to launch a war against it ● Mills saw the competitive world of white collar worker ○ Noticed the confusing changing world of work / elite / democracy ○ Saw the culture of fear ○ Saw his own disciplines was not at the time engaging with the  social issues ● Sociological Imagination ○ A way of seeing the relationship between personal troubles and  public issues ○ It enables understanding the larger historical scene in terms of its  meaning for the inner life of the individual  ● 3 Questions ○ What is the structure of the society as a whole? [social structure­  organized pattern of social relationships] ○ Where does this society stand in human history? ○ What kinds of people prevail in this society? [what kind of people  are we] [how are we organized into groups] [what do we believe in? Stand for?] ● Sociological imagination asks very broad questions that are difficult to answer ● Public issue­ how we function collectively as a group ○ Has to do with the organization of social life ○ Involves major crisis / problem in how the society is organized ● If one person is out of work, it is a personal problem. If millions are unemployed  or some types of people can never get employed, then we have a systematic pattern­  public issue  ● Organization of this society will determine the public issues or personal troubles ● If an economy is arranged so that there will always be unemployment or that  there will some people that will always gain or profit from another's expense, then  personal solutions will not solve the problems of unemployment ● When we’re facing personal troubles / problems, they are personal [and feel  personal], but we have to look beyond personal to understand what’s happening ○ They are in fact, not personal ● Once we are aware of the idea of social structure, we will be able to trace those  links between personal troubles and the larger social structures that produce those  troubles ○ We will not feel so trapped  Being trapped in modes of adaptation ● Self rationalizing pg.170 ○ We learn to regulate / manage our desires / thoughts / behaviors  to follow social rules  ● Cheerful Robot ○ When we follow society, we become alien or strange to ourselves­ open subjects to control or manipulation of others ○ Type of individuality ○ Submissive individuality­ submissive & individualism ○ More individuality nowadays but also more and more submission  to authority and control by higher powers ○  [media, consumer life, gov., etc.,] ● The Sociological Imagination­ A critical mindset for understanding and solving  personal troubles and public issues ○ A means for enhancing our freedom Mills definition of freedom: “ ● systematic study of social life ● social change­how and why society changes ● how we change ● sociology as the study of social life ● social problems facing the world today ● what’s behind appearances ● why? who? when? how? who said so? ● sociologists take interests in power and authority ● there is a great divide between rich and poor ● studies how people oppose, resist, rebel ● good sociology tries to understand the reality of the society in which we live and  what the quality of life means ● looking behind the appearance of things to understand what you’re seeing and  why you’re seeing it ● the real world is often not what you think it is. looking for the things behind the  things ● matrix­ when you take the red pill you realize the real world is not what you think  it is ● “the things behind the things” ● to be able to see things as they are you have to see behind what they seem to be ● matrix ex.  ● morpheus to neo: you’re here because you know something that you can’t  explain ● the truth that Neo must see for himself: he is a slave to the machines that have  created the matrix ● fate? i don’t like the idea that i’m not in control of my life ● knowledge of the matrix ● rebellion with others ● Neo is node in a vast network­ in the perspective of the machines ● everyone learns about a thing called society­ society is external to the individual  but it is not an all­powerful machine that controls us ● always the choice: freedom or cheerful robot ● socialization­takes place through  media, family, schooling ● we never entirely control our fate­ never isolated individuals ● it’s not the fact­ it’s what we do with it  ○ including questioning the fact ● read the syllabus ● no reader­all materials on gauchospace or where syllabus tell you to find it ● study q/key concepts posted on gauchospace each week ● 6 in­class exercises based on films + 1 midterm + 1 final ● read the syllabus 1. What is the sociological imagination? The ability to understand an individual’s  conflicts in a larger picture considering social aspects.  2. Why is the sociological imagination needed? To understand the actions and  situations of individuals based off of society’s rules rather than seeing the individual’s  problems solely affected by oneself. The sociological imagination frees the mind into  seeing more than there appears to be. An individual cannot see the larger picture with a  naked eye (without sociological imagination).  3. How does Mills define freedom? Individuality­ giving yourself more options  rather than to limit yourself to society’s given options.  4. Cheerful Robot­ Someone who blindly lives life and ignores the social conflicts  that affect everyone. They believe what society wants them to believe. They possess no  independent thought and have faux individuality. They also lack the skill and knowledge  of sociological imagination, thus in an unconscious and false state. Ultimately, a utopian  universe.


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