Soc1 10/4 Lecture : Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story; The Research Process
Soc1 10/4 Lecture : Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story; The Research Process Soc 1
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brigette Notetaker on Tuesday October 4, 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 3 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology in Sociology at University of California Santa Barbara.
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Date Created: 10/04/16
Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story ● From an individual point of view: A good man but headstrong and helpless (friends). A disturbed man on drugs with a dirty house (media) *Social structures are external to us and they feel and seem as if they’re removed, like some kind of remote control. ● The social structures that Scott shows us in the film, are external to us ● Shawn’s life is a microcosm of the social problems facing America after the end of the “American Century” ● The filmmaker sees this. We se it. Even Shawn and his friends see parts of it. But Shawn can’t respond to his troubles in a productive way ○ Flip side: If anyone can be rich and successful, it must be your fault if you’re not ● The American Dream is falling apart for Shawn ○ It all makes a kind of sense but the reality is that the dream is falling apart for Shawn. He feels helpless and persecuted.. ○ When someone is trapped or feels trapped, they can’t get the right target for action ● It’s drugs, the death of his mother, the divorce, the city and the permit issue, the Xfiles (Chuck’s optical fibre machine set up by the secret parts of the government) ● “Maybe all the army guys are going to snap” says Fela ● So many explanations, not entirely wrong (except may the govt conspiracy one) but all incomplete and unhelpful ● Shawn’s desperate action expresses his feelings but it doesn’t change his feelings or the immediate situation or the broader social context ● Shawn was not a cheerful robot ● Shawn takes very direct action steals and drives tank ○ It is an individual action that expresses Shawn’s feelings (helplessness, rage, desire to be heard) ○ His action does not change the situation (Shawn’s feelings, the social situation, his milieu) ○ False consciousness? ● Practical Sociological Competence: A practical capacity to understand what’s happening around us. Commonly held skill of ordinary people. ● Disciplined or Practiced Sociological Competence: Accurate exercise of sociological imagination to formulate, address, and solve pressing social problems in which cherished values are at stake. Research We achieve sociological competence through research. With research, we analyze and understand the problem, learn how to solve it, and then take action. What is Research? ● Research is the process by which we systematically ask and answer questions ● To research is to search for knowledge in an organized and systematic way ● The best research(ers) appreciate complexity that they can work with ● Best researchers always keep the significance of their research in mind The Research Process ● Identifying an issue or problem or topic ● Curiosity Developing a question to be answered ● Turning the problem, issue, interest into a researchable question ○ Good Sociologists are open to being proven wrong ○ The matestion matters. Why or How? E.g. Kathryn Edin, Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive (1997) ● Defining the Rationale and Significance of the study. So what? Why does it matter? ○ It makes an important discovery! ○ It makes a theoretical contribution! ○ It identifies a previously hidden influence! ○ It makes public voices that were silenced! ○ It solved the problem! ○ It stopped us from mistaking the problem again! ● Lorena Garcia, Professor University of Illinois, Chicago “Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself: Latina Girls and Sexual Identity” 2013 Winner of the ASA Race, Gender and Class Section Distinguished Book Award ○ The problem of teenage pregnancy versus the girls who were not a problem ○ She didn’t solve the problem of teenage pregnancy. She showed how some girls avoided the problem altogether. She refused to treat girls of color as if they could only be of interest if they were a social problem. ● Finding out what’s already known ○ Often called “the literature review” ○ The library is essential ○ Learning what’s relevant to your research question comes with experience ● Determining what kind of evidence is needed and the methodological tools needed to collect it ○ *Matching evidence to conclusion ○ Methods of Matching evidence to conclusion ● Study records / data / tabulate / determine cause ● Ask the people involved. Surveys, facetoface interviews ● Observe for ourselves. What people do is often very different from what they say they do! ● Go back in time for context of explanation ● Look at personal / official / fictional documents Selecting the Method ● Find the right tool / method for the question / job ● Scale matters ● Common sense matters too ● Collecting the evidence (the fun part) ● Multiple methods. Multiple collection points ● Analyzing the Evidence ● Structure findings into argument / claims ● Make sense. Think theoretically ● Answer your question. Match evidence and conclusion Sociological Competence involves: 1. Applying the sociological imagination a. Understanding an individual’s problems in a social context 2. Understanding social structures 3. Presuming complex personhood a. Even though sociologists see people in social categories, people are not merely categories. Categories are tools / conceptual devices 4. Accurate matching of evidence to conclusion a. Avoid loaded or leading questions i. Ex. asking someone if they like being underpaid b. Avoid biased samples i. Ex. Only studying men & making generalizations about women c. Avoid overgeneralizations d. Avoid meaningless correlations e. Avoid ecological and exception fallacies 5. Accurate identification of underlying assumptions and values a. Reflection or reflexivity 6. Meeting ethical principles of research a. Professional codes of conduct b. Consent Tuskegee experiments