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Overview of Sociology and Sociological Perspectives

by: Emily Liescheidt

Overview of Sociology and Sociological Perspectives SOC 205 - 17

Marketplace > Grand Valley State University > Sociology > SOC 205 - 17 > Overview of Sociology and Sociological Perspectives
Emily Liescheidt
Social Problems
Darrick L. Brake

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Here are some notes that explore the depths of Social Problems! You can never have enough notes!! Enjoy!
Social Problems
Darrick L. Brake
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Liescheidt on Monday September 14, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 205 - 17 at Grand Valley State University taught by Darrick L. Brake in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 116 views. For similar materials see Social Problems in Sociology at Grand Valley State University.

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Date Created: 09/14/15
Overview of Sociology and Sociological Perspectives 1 Auguste Comte father of sociology coined the term sociology 1 Using the scientific method while still maintaining its focius on studying and understanding humans 1 wants to know how we can study the social world while using science 2 This was in the 1800 s which became a big deal for the time frame 3 Sociology as Comte defined it is the combination of science and society 1 He s trying to be like a scientisthe s not a pure empiricist 2 just trying to study humans 2 Sociology allows us to form a selfconsciousness 1 It helps us see that our problems could be caused by structural or social forces 2 Sociologyanother definition is the systematic study of individuals groups and social structures 1 It is meant to help us understand the relationship between individuals and society 2 Problems AS WELL AS possible solutions involve not only individuals but they have a great deal to do with out social structures that exist within society 1 The structures are what we have created and shaped 2 C Wright Mills gives us the sociological imagination 1 He was a rebel not conventional 2 Hero of the 40 s 50 s 3 Sociological lmagination the ability to understand what is happening in the world around us and how our experiences fit into the bigger picture 1 ex layers of an onion pealing it shows the different parts with different shapes yet it is all a part of the onion as we are all a part of this world 4 Makes point that sociology emphasizes the idea that ones own social experiments has relevance and a worth in ones investigation into society 1 The difference between this science and other science is that opinions are not overlooked 5 C Wright Mills distinguishes the difference between Troubles Issues and Social Problems 1 Troubles Personal problems private matters that have to do with an individual One person s unemployment is an example of personal private trouble 2 lssues problems that extend beyond the individual and local environment 1 ex A company falls out and everybody working for that company loses their job all across the state 3 One level larger than issues is a social problem A situation that contradicts or violates social norms and values 1 wide spread drug abuse and racism are examples of social problems 2 Widespread industrial change that causes people to lose their jobs in response 4 There is no hierarchy in terms of consequences They are all interconnected 3 What is a social problem 1 Social problem is a social condition or pattern of behavior that has negative consequences for individuals our social world or our physical world 1 can negatively impact affect a person s life and health their wellbeingand their family and friends sow 1 An example is drug and alcohol abuse 2 They can threaten social institutions unemployment 1 lack of college funding can cause lack of education which can create social problems 2 Job skills and training are also at stake Social problems have objective and subjective realities A social condition DOES NOT have to be personally experienced in order to be considered a social problem 1 experiencing the social problems isn t necessary for it to exist 2 There is no social problem immunity 3 It doesn t have to be experienced directly Consequences may still exist for those who don t directly involve themselves in the social problem Objective reality a social problem comes from acknowledging that a particular social condition does exist 1 Data statistics etc confirm that Subjective reality addressing how a problem becomes defined as a problem 1 based on the concept of the social concept of reality 2 a lot of times we assume that the world around us just exists and that it is pre determined Social constructionist state we apply subjective meanings to our reality our existence and experience do not just happen to us Problems only become real when they are subjectively defined or perceived as problematic 1 This is the social constructionist approach 2 this is when humans think that something is a case that needs to be fixed 3 some social situations don t exist as a problem for everyone Social constructionists frame their work and ideas by asking questions 1 What do people say or do to convince others that trouble exists and needs to be changed 2 What are the consequences 3 How do our understandings change the objective characteristics of our world 4 How do these understandings change how we think about our own lives and the lives of those around us 5 The social constructionist perspective focuses on how the problems become defined 1 how do the problems come to exist How do they influence our idea of what a social problem actually is how much power is held to make the problem disappear 1 Anybody who has enough power to create a problem has enough power to solve it Four stages of social problems 1 Transformation process taking private problems and creating a public issue A group of people call attention to a problem defining the issue as a social problem 2 Legitimation Process Formalizing the manner in which the social problems or complaints generated by the problem are handled 1 Ex An organization or public policy could be created to respond to the condition 2 some social problems end here people form organizations and actually respond to the actual condition at hand N97 3 Conflict Stage when stage 2 routines are unable to address the problem advocates activists and victims of the problem experience feelings of distrust and cynicism toward the formal response organizations 4 Alternative stage begins when groups believe that they can no longer work within the system 1 change the system or work outside of it 4 Key terms 1 2 3 Society population distinguished by shared norms values institutions and culture 1 defined as geographical regional and national boundaries Culture the symbolic and learned aspects of human society Culture is not biological but is learned Social structures Patterns of organization that contain human behavior lnstitutions Patterned sets of linked social practices such as education marriage or family 1 informed by broader culture 2 Some solidity but the pace of our lives is speeding up exponentially 3 education system is not solid It s always changing Studying Social Problems and Social Theories 1 Sociologists study social problems using theoretical lenses each of these lenses represents views of how they world works they are established using research methods These methods help us to create Theories which in turn help us to collect data Theory Set of assumptions and propositions used for explanation some will be macro the big picture some will be micro individuality some will involve both macro and micro Theories help direct research for sociology and forward the collection of data for analyzation There are also problems with theories 1 they are not absolute four major theoriesthere are not only four these are simply the main ideas 1 Functionalist perspective examines the functions of the consequences of the structure of society 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 0quot 1 2 3 macro perspective focusing on how society creates and maintains social order there are positive and negative consequences 1 allows for flexibility social problems disrupt social structures which leads people to study what is breaking them down hence MACRO social problems not analyzed at how bad they are for society 1 what concerns them is how does the social problem emerge from society and does it serve a function Social problems not solved for individual it is solved at an institutional level 1 need to influence national policy largest level possible 2 not social protests because avenue for change is on a large scale The entire social structure must be repaired in order to fix the problem 1 Merton states that social structures can have positive benefits as well as negative consequences which are called dysfunctions 1 ex homelessness has consequences dangerous threatens lives of those living this life shortens life span public embarrassment etc 1 the positive of homelessness is the support of various organizations that people rely on for employment indicates problems within other social structures such as economy employment health care social services etc changing social structure or institution without information can have dire consequences 1 The time frame long and it is almost impossible or difficult to do 2 can have a butterfly effect when changing 2 conflict perspective how society is held together by coercion and power for the benefit of those in power 1 2 macro level approach to society and its social structures and institutions there s always a conflict because the worry about having domination 1 there are multiple levels of domination 1 domination operates from he top down but by simultaneously annexing power as energy of those on the bottom for its own ends 3 4 2 some people go after the underdogs This perspective offers NO EASY SOLUTIONS to social problems Those in power usually remain in power 1 Karl Marx is originator behind conflict theory 1 conflict emerges from the economic substitution 2 concern is the divide between two classes 1 Proletariat workers do not own the means of production 2 Bourgeoisie Owners of the means of production 3 capitalism separated the world into those who have and those who don t 4 society did not create a civilized world 5 Marx was worried because the capitalist society created society unlike what is Normal for the human species 6 alienation human potential is eroded 1 Alienationpeople stuck in jobs below their educational level 7 conflict can happen through social bases such as values resources and interests 8 Groups opposed to one another fighting it out 3 feminist perspective Defines gender and sometimes race or social class as a source of social inequality group conflict and social problems 1 2 9 N99 8 MICRO AND MACRO many theories that attempt to explain and describe women s oppression to explain its causes and consequences and to prescribe strategies for women s liberation Across the globe and in the US women are not free They do not have or share in the same freedoms as everyone elsemen feminism is not an antimale perspective not a homogenized theory refer to 1 many theories studies of not only women but men as well Patriarchy refers to a society in which men dominate women and justify their domination through devaluation 1 definition can also be expanded to explain societies in which a powerful group devalues a less powerful group 2 This explains the differences in power 1 people who are devalued do not have enough power to which they can be paid attention 2 social problems not at the core of feminist perspective but it is critical to existing social arrangements 3 feminists are realistic and ask questions that people don t want to answer which causes social problemsmentioning the problem creates reactions 1 ex asking about marital rape 2 ex genital mutilation Focus remains on how men and women are situated in society not just differently but also unequally 4 interactionist perspective focuses on how people use language words and symbols to create and maintain our social reality 1 Micro level perspective that highlights what we take for granted 1 such as expectations rules and norms that we learn and practice without even noticing 2 we become the products and creators of our social reality 1 through interactions social problems are created and defined 2 social problems emerge from interactions in three ways 1 For a social problem like juvenile delinquency and interactionist would argue that the problem behavior is learned from the environment 1 nobody is born a juvenile delinquent 2 interactions with others plays a huge role in learning these habits 2 Social problems emerge from the definitions themselves 1 objective social problems do not exist they become real only in how they are defined and labeled 1 ex HIVAIDS who has the power to define this as a global problem 2 Human agency the active role of individuals in creating their own social environment 3 7 each perspective has a unique approach 1 No theory is better or worse than the next 2 the point is to lead up to the answer the researcher is looking for 2 Solutions to social problems emerge from our definitions 1 3 Sociology is a Science 1 Research methods are used like all other disciplines 1 Could be a matter of life and death Quantitive referring to research that relies on numerical and statistical data for calculating findings 1 typically used in cases where one is trying to apply natural science model of explanation as poised to an interpretive approach Qualitative used in cases with interpretive approach 1 Textual 3 Census attempt at doing a social survey to gather information of an entire population 90053 questionnaire surveys observations census data is super important not just for research Field research is based on observation of behavior rather than quantitate data research results of census determine general allocation for funds 1 federal funding depends on the census 1 ex gov t money for school lunches 4 Survey a method of research whereby information is gathering from a sample a population aout a specific list of variables and questions 5 Opinion Poll Type of sociological survey in which the members of a population sample are asked about their attitudes and beliefs on a wide range of issues 1 ex GSS or General Social Survey asks questions on opinions


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