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Sociology 1101-- Ch 17

by: Isabella Bowling

Sociology 1101-- Ch 17 Socio 1101 (Lopez, Intro to sociology)

Isabella Bowling
GPA 3.793

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About this Document

This set covers chapter 17 in "You May Ask Yourself" as well as the lecture from Dr. Steven Lopez given on 12/1 on sociology and the environment.
Introduction to Sociology
Steven Lopez
Class Notes
sociology, Introduction to Sociology
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Isabella Bowling on Tuesday December 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Socio 1101 (Lopez, Intro to sociology) at Ohio State University taught by Steven Lopez in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 59 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at Ohio State University.


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Date Created: 12/01/15
Sociology Ch17 SCIENCE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND SOCIETY --Paradox: Society invents technologies to minimize dangers from nature but those same inventions create new risks that need to be managed. --Angelina Jolie… dozens of tattoos, wore a vial of her husband’s blood, played a role in Pitt’s divorce, etc. But more importantly she had a bilateral preventative mastectomy  led to other women getting tested for BRCA alleles that increase risk for breast and ovarian cancer. --This case shows that human genetic sequences shouldn’t be patented because the effects of genes are fluid and subject to change because of ever-changing social practices. So the BRCA genes may not eventually predict breast cancer, but mastectomies. --Changing predictions into “facts” is a phenomenon in all sciences --Edward Saunders… great example of social adaptation. Found that when everything else is equal, the prices of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange increased with sunny weather in Manhattan, and vice versa with rainy weather. He then published his work publically, Wall Street found out, changed their statistics and prices according to the weather and – poof! – no more phenomenon. Science and Society --Goal of science = to learn new things about the world. --Thomas Kuhn… scientist and scientific historian… says that periods of “normal science” are ruptured every so often by scientific revolutions that shift the paradigm of a given science. --Paradigm: the framework within which scientists operate. The ideas, practices, and conventional knowledges shared about a specific area. Ex. / Plate Tectonics… we all believe that the Earth’s crust is broken up into large plates and this is why we have volcanic patterns, earth quakes, etc. It’s a paradigm about how the Earth works. --Normal Science: science that’s conducted within an existing paradigm. Basically adding to or clarifying existing knowledge, and not overturning paradigms. --Paradigm shift or scientific revolution: when enough scientific anomalies accumulate to challenge the existing paradigm, showing that it is incomplete or inadequate to explain all observed phenomena. Pretty infrequent. Ex. /Copernicus… Earth is NOT the center of the universe… not even the center of its own solar system. --Normative view of science: the notion that science should be unaffected by the personal beliefs or values of scientists but rather follow objective rules of evidence. --Not practiced, though, because science is constantly influenced by political and social factors. --Scientists study what interests them… making it bias from the start. --Scientific research needs funding… this is where political influence matters. Money decides what gets studied and what gets ignored. --Nonscientists often make decisions that affect the course of science. --Ex. / President George W. Bush… limited research on Stem cells by adding funding stipulations based on pressure from religious conservatives and his own personal moral beliefs. --Ex. / Manhattan Project… US leaders feared Nazi development of atomic weapons. Began a research project on to develop their own bombs and weapons, code-naming it the Manhattan Project, which was ultimately created for political and social reasons, not scientific ones. --All science claims to promote knowledge, but sometimes different sources reveal different things. Who is credible? What’s actually true? Science holds a privileged place in relation to knowledge and truth… so the “science seal of approval” is what we look for when we stand behind something (Thomas Gieryn). --Alternate theory to Darwin = Intelligent Design. Claims that life to too complex to have evolved through natural selection, rather, an “intelligent designer” had a hand in creating and selecting various species. Michael Behe, a tenured biochemistry professor = big proponent of this theory. --Boundary work: work done to maintain the border between legitimate & non-legitimate science within a scientific discipline or between legitimate disciplines. Referring to the instances in which divisions between fields of knowledge are created, advocated, attacked, or reinforced. --Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar… Laboratory Life… studied the Nobel Prize-winning physician Jonas Salk’s laboratory to observe how scientists conducted experiments, reviewed papers, and interacted with one another in a laboratory setting. --Social scientists often go out into real world to study, but natural scientists often bring things into lab settings to study, which is why the lab plays an important role in the scientific process. --Study showed that scientific discovery has its own language, own system of promotions, and own hierarchy that decides which results or explanations receive attention. --Latour challenges scientists by saying that facts are “created,” NOT discovered. Scientists dismiss this claim and stick by the belief that scientific facts preexist and are discovered. --Mediators, like Herrnstein Smith, point out that scientific models are taken as fact because they often allow us to predict, shape, and intervene more reliably than other ways of thinking. --Matthew Effect: a term coined by Robert Merton in 1986 used by sociologists to describe the notion that certain scientific results get more notoriety and influence based on the existing prestige of the researchers involved. Agriculture and the Environment --Global warming: rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, resulting in higher global average temperatures. The biggest environmental challenge we face --Greenhouse gases are trapped in the atmosphere, naturally warming the earth. This process enables the planet to remain at comfortable temperatures, however, in recent years, the concentrations of these gases has skyrocketed, as is raising the average global temperature. --All the world is in agreement: Climate change is real, it’s observably happening NOW, and human activity is the primary driver of rapid climate change --NO scientific body standing currently disagrees with these conclusions. --Possible causes: Deforestation and burning of coal, fossil fuels, natural gas, and oil. --Deforestation… burning forests releases CO2, and deforested trees can’t absorb atmospheric carbon once they’re gone. --Burning of other resources… emissions of huge amounts of CO2 as a result. --Climate is in a precious cycle of ice ages and warming periods. Caused by changes in the earth’s orbits which lead to small changes in amount of light in the northern hemisphere. There are POSITIVE feedback mechanisms that drive the periods further. --Very likely impacts: --Rising sea levels… destroy civilizations living on the coast. --More extreme weather… large and sudden rainfall changes in rainfall patters  changing crop productions. Extreme draughts and floods. Prolonged heat waves have already lead to catastrophic death! --Ex. / US lost 739 individuals during Chicago 1995 heat wave, most of which were African American, elderly, and poor residents because they were socially isolated and couldn’t get the help and assistance they needed. --Further rapid increase in rate of species extinction --Possible impacts: --Temp rises incompatible with continuity of human technological civilization (+ 11.5 degrees F by 2100 is realistically possible) --Potential worse-case scenario: --Push the earth into a new geologic period --Global ecosystem collapse… mass extinction --Science and Food --rBST-free products = products from cows not injected with hormones. --Organic = pesticide-free, no genetically modified ingredients, and at least 70% of the ingredients are certified organic. --Certified organic = pesticide-free, no genetically modified ingredients, and at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic. --non-GMO = not made with genetically modified ingredients. --Michael Pollan… The Omnivore’s Dilemma… studied food production at different levels, from fast food to straight-from-the-dirt foods. Highlighted the horrors of fast food processes and showed that there is much more to the “organic” label. --Eating organic has become a way of life and a political statement about farming, food production, and consumerism. It doesn’t necessarily mean healthier, though, and doesn’t always mean it comes from small, local farms. The certification of being organic is expensive, so large corps are currently the ones who can afford it, and the crops themselves are more expensive, so the consumer has to pay more  limits access. --Genetically Modified Crops… benefits: can yield more produce, lower costs for consumers, and have better resistance to insects, disease, etc. while increasing quality of the food. They may stay fresh longer, too, which reduces waste. Risks: could it disrupt food chains? What are the ripple effects of modifying a primary food source? --Ingo Potrykus… professor in Switzerland… invented golden rice, which could help solve Vitamin A deficiencies in children all over the world, which causes blindness. --Risk society: coined by Ulrich Beck in 1992 to describe a society that both produces & is concerned with mitigating risks, esp. manufactured risks. --External risks: problems that derive from nature (e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) --Manufactured risks: problems that derive from human activity. --Charles Perrow… The Next Catastrophe (2007)… argues that although we can’t avoid the risks that come in life, we can reduce their impact by distributing risk. Making disasters less disastrous, even as they remain inevitable. --The Green Revolution (1950) --Refers to the introduction of high-yield crops in developing countries and the improvements in agricultural technologies (e.g. irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) --Many regions are successful because of this revolution, but Africa has been a late beneficiary because of its particular mix of crops and very high dependence on rain-fed agriculture. --Reshaped farming from being individual based to group and company based in order to coordinate costs and efforts more effectively. --However, it has also depleted biodiversity in areas and puts farmers at higher risk because their fields are more susceptible to disease or predators because they’re all the same crop. Also, creates too large of a demand on water… and depleting soil nutrients. Sociology and the Environment --Three ways environmental issues are social issues… 1. Environmental degradation is caused by industrialization, consumption, & population growth. 2. Environmental degradation impacts societies and institutions. 3. Social institutions play roles in solving or blocking solutions to environmental degradations. --Sociological causes --Example: Logic of the capitalist firm: --Competition with other firms  powerful drive to lower costs --Bureaucratic organization = systematic examination of all costs --Externalization of costs wherever possible…they don’t provide environmental protections and cut corners in order to save money. --Prices do not usually reflect environmental costs… E.g. Gas is pretty cheap right now, but what is it costing the environment as we burn it? --Social Impacts --Health effects in humans --Airborne particulates… lead to respiratory disorders, lung cancer, heart disease, birth defects, etc. ~50,000 deaths/year in US alone --Industrial chemicals in environment… “legal until proven dangerous.” Ingested or absorbed via skin and lungs. Some very toxic chemicals accumulate over our lifetime (e.g. mercury, lead, and pcbs). Health effects can take decades to manifest and are very difficult to link to chemicals that cause them, hard to isolate the effects. --Leaded gasoline… added into gas in the 1930s, despite known health effects. Took several decades to solve the problem  huge amounts of lead in the atmosphere that was poisoning the human race globally. Now we have unleaded gas. --Depletion of critical resources --E.g. Industrial agriculture in much of North America --Draining the aquifer’s to provide irrigation --Erosion of topsoil… not replaceable --E.g. Global deforestation (extractive industries, large scale ranching, and agriculture) --Half of world’s tropical forests gone, estimates ~90% gone by 2030 --Destroys livelihoods for the world’s poor --Loss of biodiversity (and potentially useful species) --Negatively affects global warming, water cycle, soil erosion, and local rainfall. --Social Institutions and Environmental Solutions --Clean Air Act (1963, 1970, 1990)… qualifies by important success story. --Response to problems caused by particulates, ozone (smog), and sulfur (acid rain) --US Air quality before CAA was significantly worse than today --Limits emissions, impose fines & penalties for violations, & new enforcement agencies. --Clean Water Act (1972) --Response to widespread pollution of US waterways --Limits emissions, impose fines & penalties for violations, & new enforcement agencies. --Important successes (though challenges still remain): --% of US waters safe for swimming/fishing rose from 1/3 to 2/3 --Dramatically reduced rate of wetland destruction --# of Americans served by modern wastewater treatment rose from 8 million to 175 million. --Future of Global Warming Regulation --Multinational effort required --Kyoto Protocol --Agreed in 1997, took effect in 2005 --Set county-by-country targets for CO2 emission reductions relative to 1990 levels. --US target was a decrease of 7% relative to 1990 --US only major country to ratify the treaty. --US has been the number one releaser of CO2 until recently (2 now to China). --US per person has a HUGE carbon footprint. There’s ways we can change without noticing a change in our living standards. --Why is this an institutional problem and not just an individual problem? --As an individual I can only change my footprint a little (unless I make huge lifestyle changes – no more car, no more comfy 72-degree house in winter, etc.) --The key is that if we change our society’s energy infrastructure—something we can’t do as individuals—we won’t HAVE to make big individual lifestyle changes. --Global Warming denialism in the US --Aims to cast doubt on the science of global warming and confuse the public. --Promoted and funded by industry groups --It’s working…. In the US, only 65% of public believe climate change is a serious problem, and this number is falling. --Using the same tactics as big tobacco companies. --Alternatives --Carbon Tax… tax items that emit CO2. --“Cap and Trade” legislation… if you’re under your cap, you can sell your leftover amounts to other companies  rearranges the incentives --Experiment—Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)… 9 northeastern US states, took effect tin 2009, results very encouraging. --Half of reductions in emissions were a direct result of this legislation! And without little notice or effect on public lifestyle. Sources of Climate Despair --Industries don’t want their pockets damaged so they claim change will hurt the economy --People claim we can’t do anything without getting rid of capitalism  Both of these claims are wrong. There are policies that can fix these issues that can change incentives, making firms innovate, while not having HUGE changes the lifestyles of the people. Scientists from all fields are all in agreement that we HAVE to do something soon… it’s time for a social movement. Biotechnology and the Human Genome --Human Genome Project… launched in 1990… scientists seeking to understand the building blocks of DNA, which are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. Found there’s only between 20,000 to 25,000 genes in the human DNA. --If we discover causal genes for health issues, should we screen people? --3 major concerns: privacy, stratification, and stigmatization! --Who has the right to this information from the testing? --Should we tell people all about the chronic, debilitating illnesses they may eventually get, so they know this information ahead of time? --What do we use the genetic information for? --Homosexual gene? --Gay gene controversy leads to huge investigation in the 90s by scientists to find the genetic sequences that may lead to gay-ness. --Some findings showed results, but have failed to replicate with consistency. --Some explanations supporting gene theory: --Family solidarity… gay uncles/aunts help raise their nieces and nephews. Not much support, though. --Group selection… some individuals make reproductive sacrifices for the wider community. Not widely accepted among biologists. --Antagonistic Pleiotropy… meaning same genes causing women to be more fertile also may cause men more likely to be gay. Still needs more testing. --Prenatal causes… in utero chemicals and hormones may influence likelihood of being gay (Anthony F. Bogaert) --Race and Genetics --Companies selling kits to “trace ancestry” based on genetic codes. --Concerns: accuracy of the test, privacy, accuracy, and possible unintended social, economic, or psychological consequences. --There are NO definitive genetic markers for race! They merely find similar genetic codes to the ones sent in by the person. They do NOT have an exhausted data base either  inaccuracy --PBS Documentary: The Lost Tribes of Israel (2000). Genetic testing was used to confirm that a group of Jewish South Africans called the Lemba were most likely direct descendants from the original tribes of Israel. --Race is a social construct… BUT, with all of the negotiating over genetic testing, its biological results have an impact on the sociological outcomes and actions of the person as a result.


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