Sociology midterm notes

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Week 1: -Sociology: Study of groups and group interaction, societies and social institutions, from small and personal groups to very large groups. -Society: A group of people who live in a defined geographic area, who interact with one another, and who share a common culture. -Culture: a group's shared practices, values and beliefs. -Macrosociology: trends among and between large groups or societies. -Microsociology: Interactions between small groups and individuals. -All of these can change over time. Agency vs. Structure Personal choices and social forces Social forces-personal choices-social forces-personal choices Agency: people's capacity to make choices, which then have an impact on other people and on the society in which they live. the idea that people make their own decisions and are responsible for their own actions. Social Structure: the framework of cultural elements and social patterns in which social interactions take place. The structure versus agency debate may be understood as an issue of socialization against autonomy in determining whether an individual acts as a free agent or in a manner dictated by social structure. -Sociological imagination (C. Wright Mills, 1959) "The sociological imagination enables us to grab history and biography and the relations between the two within society. This is its task and its promise."- C Wright Mills, 1959 "the awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society." "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" -It is the awareness of the relationship between a person's behaviour and experience and the wider culture that shaped the persons choice and perceptions. Norms -Formal and informal rules of conduct for membership in a group. -They are expectations of conduct in particular situations and they regulate human social relations and behavior. -Norms vary according to how widely people accept them, how society enforces them, how it transmits them, and how much conformity they require. -Folkways is a category of norm that is roughly translated to a 'social or cultural custom'. An example of this is covering your mouth when coughing. Folkways are not very serious when broken but are meant to be polite. -Mores are moral norms which means they have an element of right or wrong. Example is lying, stealing, bullying etc. -Taboos is the prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred and consecrated or too dangerous and accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake. An example is that eating pork is against Muslim beliefs. Science is the systematic methods used to study social and natural worlds and the knowledge gained by using those methods. -Natural science
-Social sciences: Political science Economics Anthropology Psychology Social work Sociology History of Sociology -Origins of sociology -Industrial revolution, urbanization, population growth (Thomas Malthus, 1766-1834). -Imperialism: Imperialism is when a country extends its power into other territories for economic or political gain. The goal of imperialism is to acquire as many resources as possible, often through exploitation and expansion by force. Motives for imperialism include economic, cultural, political, moral, and exploratory arguments. -Success of Natural sciences: The social scientist's eagerness of creating a science of society resulted the beginning of sociology which is the scientific study of the society. August Comte (1798-1857) Positivism: Comte was a positivist, believing in the natural rather than the supernatural. Positivism is the belief that human knowledge is produced by the scientific interpretation of observational data. Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) First female sociologist Martineau's key contribution to the field of sociology was her assertion that when studying society, one must focus on all aspects of it. She emphasized the importance of examining political, religious, and social institutions. Karl Marx (1818-1883) Critical sociology: Critical Theory is a social theory that aims to critique and change society as a whole. Critical theories attempt to find the underlying assumptions in social life that keep people from fully and truly understanding how the world works. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) Social facts: A social fact consists of collective thoughts and shared expectations that influence individual actions. Examples of social facts include social roles, norms, laws, values, beliefs, rituals, and customs. Anomie: anomie theory describes the effects of the social division of labor developing in early industrialism and the rising suicide rate. Max Weber (1864-1920) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: book written by Max weber Objectivity: The essence of objectivity is to make a given research free from researcher's biases. The bias can be caused by a variety of reasons and not all the reasons are always controllable by the researcher. Verstehen (interpretive methods): the study of society that concentrates on the meanings people associate to their social world. Interpretive sociology strives to show that reality is constructed by people themselves in their daily lives. Antipositivism: antipositivists use research methods which rely more on ethnographic fieldwork, conversation/discourse analysis or open-ended interviews. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (W.E.B. Du Bois) (1868-1963) Du Bois was the first sociologist to articulate the agency of the oppressed
Different kinds of sociology -Structural Functionalism: A school of thought according to which each of the institutions, relationships, roles, and norms that together constitute a society to serve a purpose and each is indispensable for the continued existence of the others and society as a whole. Macrosociological approach - examines large scale patterns in society Social institutions: a relatively permanent societal structure that governs the behavior of groups and promote social order. -Conflict Theory: A theory by Karl Max that states society is in a state of perpetual conflict because of competition for limited resources. Social Order is maintained by domination and power rather than by consensus and conformity(compliance with standards, rules, or laws). -Symbolic Interactionism: A sociology theory that seeks to understand humans relationship with their society by focusing on the symbols that help us give meaning to the experience in our life. Example is saying the word dog, through interactions with the letters dog, you see this as a furry, four legged canine. -Feminist Theory: A way to look at the social world through the lens of gender inequality. -Postmodern theory: the state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity, a historical condition that marks reasons for the end of modernity which is an era characterized by scientific thought (rather than metaphysical or supernatural belief), individualism, a focus on industrialization and technical development and a rejection of some traditional values. Robert Merton (1910-2003) Functions: -manifest: those objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adaptation of the system which are intended and recognized by partici- pants in the system -Latent function: Latent functions of education include social integration, establishing relationships, and conformity to peer norms. Examples include matching the attitudes and beliefs of a person's peer group and giving children the opportunity to socialize and allowing them to form meaningful relationships. What does latent dysfunction mean in sociology? Dysfunction is a negative outcome of a social policy or action. Latent dysfunction is a harmful latent function, or a consequence that is unexpected and also negative in nature. A manifest dysfunction is a negative manifest function, or a consequence that is anticipated and also negative Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) Class struggle:Class conflict, also referred to as class struggle and class warfare, is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society because of socio-economic competition among the social classes or between rich and poor. Bourgeoisie Owners of the means of production Proletariat Exploited working class Revolution:Marx believed that Revolution was both fundamentally essential and inevitable to the progress of human society. Macro theory: Macro theories are large scale theories - what postmodernists call grand narratives - about society. They are structural theories such as functionalism and Marxism. Praxis: praxis is the transformation of subjectivity through the process of human action or labour upon an object. Criticisms •Micro sociological theory that focuses on the relationship between individuals in society. •George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) and Herbert Blumer (1900-1987)
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