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The Sociological Imagination
o Ability to connect one’s personal experience to society at large and greater historical forces.
o Using our sociological imagination allows us to “make the familiar strange,” or to question habits or customs that seem “natural” to us.
-Effective solutions to social problems are often social structural and not individual solutions
§ Into Positivism – society can be understood by determining the logic or scientific laws governing human behavior
§ Arose through the French Revolution
§ Argued that a scientific discipline of sociology could restore social harmony
§ Was not in favor of religion, he wanted sociology, a moral discipline, to rule our lives.
§ Believed sociologists could answer fundamental moral questions (right and wrong)
§ Founder of positivist sociology: scientific study of “social studies”
§ Theory that division of labor influences social cohesion (connectedness)
· Mechanically solidarity: social cohesion based on similarity of individuals (pre-modern)
§ Thought of society as a web of connectivity – cohesion.
§ We need each other to exist because we all play a fundamental role in society.
§ Organic solidarity: social cohesion based on interdependence of individuals with different roles (modern)
· Specialization of roles due to the rise in complexity
§ social cohesion based on interdependence of individuals with different roles (modern)
· social cohesion based on similarity of individuals (pre-modern)
§ society can be understood by determining the logic or scientific laws governing human behavior
Direct and Indirect social fact
o Direct - A law or religious discipline
o Indirect – non-formal rules followed by society
o Karl Marx
§ Marx asks who makes the rules and who benefits and to what end or consequence are they made where as Durkeheim just asked what the rules are.
§ The ruling class, the top class are the Bourgeois and they have all the power. The control mostly everything.
§ Marx believes that the middle class can not exist.
§ Bourgeois control the ideology. The control the social fact that operate in society.
§ Stockholm syndrome is called false consciousness. Don’t see the social facts around you that are constraining them and Marx would say you don’t see what is around you.
§ Alienation – a sense of separation. A worker where your labor is disassociated from yourself. The laborers become a commodity – exchange value,
§ a sense of separation. A worker where your labor is disassociated from yourself. The laborers become a commodity – exchange value
o Max Weber
§ Wanted to argue that economics aren't the sole determinate. Religion and culture also have an effect.
o Imply sets of hypotheses that can be tested empirically
o The best explanation, given the evidence available.Change over time as new empirical evidence emerges
o Social patterns exist because of the useful function they serve.
o Society is a stable, ordered system of interrelated structures
o Social patterns exist because of the useful functions they serve.
o social patterns exist because they serves those with power
o Major sociological theory which has roots in the 19th century writing of Karl Marx
o Society is characterized by competition and conflict
o Conflict between competing interests is the basic, animating force of society in general and social change in particular.
o Social patterns exists because they serve those with power.
§ 1. Humans have things they want and attempt to acquire them
§ 2. Power is at the base of all social relationships, and it is always scarce, unequally distributed, and coercive
§ 3. Values and ideas are weapons used by different groups of people to advance their own ends
o Focuses on how social patterns come to exist (i.e., process), not why they exist
o Social patterns maintained and changed by people interacting
o Dramaturgy (Goffman): We are actors on a stage with both front-stage personas (performed role) and back-stage personas (true self).
§ Hypothesis is a proposed relationship between two variables, typically based on theory and/or prior empirical research
o Deductive Approach
§ Starts with a theory
§ Develops a hypothesis
§ Makes empirical observations
§ Analyzes the data to confirm, reject, or modify the original theory
o Inductive Approach
§ Starts with empirical observation
§ Then works to form a theory
§ Is exploratory
o – the likelihood of gaining consistent results using the same method
· using a survey and then analyze
o Best are sometimes nationally representative survey
o Selection bias
o Independent variable – the variable changed to watch the reaction
o Dependent variable – the outcome the researcher is trying to manipulate with the independent variable
§ collect information about the social world that cannot be readily converted to numeric form – inductive reasoning
-Two Types: Ethnography/Participant Observation and In-depth Interview
o Have to have ongoing social interaction
o A distinguishable characteristic
o 2 or more people
o – group of 2
§ Ex: Spouses
§ Mutually Dependent
§ Very fragile
o group of 3
§ Ex: Family with one child
§ More stable, but still fragile
§ Third wheel can be left out
§ Allegiances or coalitions form
§ Power of the group is more because it goes beyond the individual
· Supra individual power
§ How others think of me
o The Asch Test is an experiment developed in the 1940s that shows how much people are influenced by the actions or norms of a group
§ incompatibility among roles that corresponds to a single status
· Being close to your parent but you are also suppose to be independent
§ tension caused by competing demands between two or more roles for different statues
o A set of beliefs, traditions, norms, practices,
o any part of our environment that is given meaning by humans
§ Walking stick example
§ 1. Symbols – anything that represents something else to more than one person
§ 2. Language – organized sets of symbols
· Language and symbols are the only way to transmit culture
§ 3. Beliefs/ideology -
· Belief = people’s ideal about what is real and what is not real
· Ideology: System of beliefs, concepts and relationships
· Are so much a part of culture that they are often taken for granted, unexamined, and unquestioned.
§ 4. Values – abstract ideas about and ranking of what is good and desirable (and what is bad and undesirable) in a society
5. Social Norms
· Range from folkways to mores/laws to taboos
o Folkways: Casual, sanctions not severe
§ Manner are a folkway
o Mores: formal rules about behavior (laws)
o Taboos: so deeply held that even thought of their violation is upsetting
· Social deviance is any transgression of socially established norms.
o Informal deviance: Minor transgressions of norms
§ Ex. Speeding
o Formal deviance or crime: Violations of laws
§ is focused on making the violator suffer and thus defining the boundaries of acceptable behavior
§ is a philosophy of criminal justice based on the notion that crime results from a rational calculation of its cost and benefits
· Stiffer penalties and increased prison terms should reduce crime
· too much social regulation and people choose to become deviant and/or take their life.
o Prison people commit suicide
· too much social integration into a community of people and lose your sense of self for other people
o Suicide bomber
§ Developed by Philip Zimbardo
§ Explains how social context and social cues impact the way individuals act
§ People who wouldn’t exhibit a certain behavior in one social context might do so in another context where the behavior seems more permissible
o Deviant behavior is learned through Differential Association
o People may be socialized into a deviant subculture
o Critiques of this theory?
§ People still can be deviant if you aren’t taught
§ If your taught to be deviant
o People unconsciously notice how others see or label them, and over time they internalize these labels and come to accept them as “truth’
o People then behave in accordance to expectations surrounding the label they’ve been assigned or that’s been assigned to another – in this way deviance is a social construct
§ is a systematic inequalities among individuals and groups in society based on ranking with respect to class, status/prestige and/or power.
§ 3 Characteristics of Stratification
· 1. Ranking apply to social categories of people who share a common characteristic (gender, race/ethnicity)
· 2. One’s life experiences and opportunities depend on how their social category is ranked
· 3. Ranks change very slowly over time
§ Class system
· Economically based system of stratification characterized by categorization and somewhat loose social mobility
· Based on achieved status (social mobility common)
· Large scale
§ Socioeconomic Status (SES)
· Basic metric of stratification in modern U.S.
· 1. Income – new monely people receive in a given time interval
o Wages, salaries, and investment money
· 2. Wealth – what people own at one point in time
o Cash, savings, investments, property
o Why from your reading, is wealth so important
· 3. Educational Attainment – highest level of education
· 4. Occupational Status – prestige of occupation
Income Inequality in the U.S.
o Men have less mobility than women because women can marry rich
o US is worst than other countries
§ Unequal access to education
o (money, property, assets)
o network of influence of support based on group membership
§ Clicks – only have capital because people follow you
§ Sororities and Fraternities
o forms of knowledge, education, skills
§ Can link to social capital
§ Learning how to eat fancy
o Lower living standards than the majority; lacks decent standards of housing and healthy living conditions
o What causes differences between men and women in behavior, attitudes, preferences, and social structural position?
§ Biology – Essential explanation
§ Culture and socialization
§ Social structure
· 3 Gender as Social Structure and Gender Inequality
§ Social systems in which socioeconomic resources and political power are distributed on the basis of one’s sex and gender
§ Indicates higher social status of one gender over another
§ Typically men over women in terms of income, educational attainment, wealth, occupational status...
o 1. Gender selves
§ Gender through socialization and the ideals of society.
o 2. Structure over personality
§ Men and women play different roles in society and are gendered through these roles
o 3. Doing Gender – symbolic interaction
§ Once a person is labeled they conduct themselves in a way that go with these labels
o 4. Gender as social structure – Conflict
§ Gender is its own thing and it exists to justify social patterns and male difference
· either have conflicting genders and sex or doesn’t recognize as any a gender.
· have either a mixtures of genitals, or an extra chromosomes
§ John Money thought that children were gender neutral and could be taught gender.
o 3 Components of Sexuality
§ 1. Behavior – having sexual intercourse with opposite sex
§ 2. Attraction –
§ 3. Identity - what you self-identify as
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