The Sociological Perspective the sociological perspective sociology ? the systematic study of human society seeing the general in the particular sociological perspective ? seeing the general in the particular by this, peter berger meant, sociologists look for general patterns in the behavior of particular people society shapes the lives of people in various categories very differently society has the power to guide our actions, thoughts, and feelings seeing the strange in the familiar because we live in an individualistic society, learning to see how society affects us may take some practice seeing society in our everyday lives society affects the choices we make ex: how many kids we have seeing sociologically : marginality & crisis two situations help people see clearly how society shapes individual lives living on the margins of society living through a social crisis for some being an outsider (not part of the dominant group) is an everyday experience the grater people?s social marginality, the better they are able to use the sociological perspective just as social change encourages sociological thinking, sociological thinking can bring about social change the importance of a global perspective as new information technology draws even the farthest reaches of the planet closer together, many academic disciplines are taking a global perspective global perspective ? the study of the larger world and our society?s place in it the world?s nations are divided into three categories high income countries ? the nations with the highest overall standards of living middle income countries ? the nations with a standard of living about average with the world as a whole low income countries ? the nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor a global perspective is crucial to comparisons between the U.S. and other nations for four reasons where we live shapes the lives we lead societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected many social problems that we face in the U.S. are far more serious elsewhere thinking globally helps us learn more about ourselves we can understand ourselves only to the extent that we understand others applying the sociological perspective sociology is at work guiding many of the laws and policies that shape our lives on an individual level, making use of the sociological perspective leads to important growth and expanded awareness studying sociology is excellent preparation for the world of work sociology and public policy sociologists have helped shape public policy in countless ways racial desegregation school busing divorce laws sociology and personal growth using sociology benefits us in four ways the sociological perspective helps us asses the truth of ?common sense? the sociological perspective helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives the sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society the sociological perspective helps us live in a diverse world the origins of society the birth of sociology was itself the result of powerful social forces social change and society a new industrial economy new sources of energy were available ex: water, steam the growth of cities as cities grew larger, the amount of farms lands decreased political change religion lost some of it emphasis, it was more about personal liberties a new awareness of society more aware of surroundings science and sociology auguste comte coined the term sociology comte saw sociology as a three stage historical development the theological stage ? people too a religious view that society expressed god?s will the metaphysical phase ? people saw society as a natural rather than a supernatural system the scientific stage ? used the study of the physical world comte approach is called positivism positivism ? a way of understanding based on science society operates according to its own laws sociological theory theory ? a statement of how and why specific facts are related the job of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world sociologists test their theories by gathering evidence using various research methods in building a theory, sociologists face two basic questions what issues should we study? how should we connect the facts? Sociologists look to one more more theoretical approaches and ?road maps? theoretical approach ? a basic image of society that guides thinking and research sociologists make use of three major theoretical approaches structural functional approach ? a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability this approach points to social structure social structure - any relatively stable pattern of social behavior this approach also looks for a structure?s social functions social function ? the consequences of any social pattern for the operation of society as a whole any social structure probably has many functions manifest function ? the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern latent function ? the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern not all the effects of social structure are good social dysfunction ? any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society social conflict approach ? a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change includes the gender conflict approach and race conflict approach gender conflict approach ? a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and med feminism ? support of social equality for women and men race conflict approach ? a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories the symbolic interaction approach the structural functional and social conflict approaches share a macro level orientation macro level orientation ? a broad focus on social structures that shape society as a whole macro level sociology takes in the big picture sociology also uses a micro level orientation micro level orientation ? a close up focus on social interaction in specific situations micro level sociology explores life at street level symbolic interaction approach ? a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interaction of individuals dramaturgical analysis ? describes how we resemble actors on a stage as we play our various roles social exchange analysis ? social interaction is guided by what each person stands to gain or lose from the interaction stereotype ? simplified description applied to every person in some category
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