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Chapter 1 ON BEING SOCIOLOGICAL Everyday Life is Social Life Being Sociological Sociologists use abstract ideas (theories) factual (empirical) evidence Sociologists ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Chapter 1

Everyday Life is Social Life
Sociology tries to answer the question how is
social life possible? This means that it treats
society and the way we live our lives within it
as a puzzle to be explained. The technique of
thinking first in terms of the group (ie of the
SOCIAL dimension) and only afterwards in terms of
the individual is the essence of what we mean
when we talk about thinking sociologically. The
structural, institutional, and behavioural
dimensions of society are social processes
through which we make and maintain our world.
Being Sociological
  • Sociologists use
  • abstract ideas (theories)
  • factual (empirical) evidence
  • Sociologists look for
  • measurable regularities
  • underlying and invisible rules

Pleasure and Play
Peter Berger in Invitation to Sociology Sociology
s pleasure lies in seeing our familiar everyday
world in a new light This can involve
  • lateral thinking
  • a sense of play
  • recognition of ironies
  • new ways of framing our own experiences
  • understanding more clearly our own place in the
    social scheme of things

The Sociological Imagination (1)
C. Wright Mills book of the same name. With the
sociological imagination we can see that
sociological understanding takes place at the
intersection of biography and history. Biography
happens to individuals History happens to
The Sociological Imagination (2)
Every individual lives out their own individual
biography (autobiography) within (in the context
of) the big picture of history. History is the
story of the aggregation of individual lives that
we call society. An individual life begins at
birth and ends at death. We come, we are, we
depart. The social world was there before us and
remains after we die. So we live our individual
lives as best we can within the social conditions
around us.
The Sociological Imagination (3)
When we use the sociological imagination to look
at the intersection of history and biography we
will see both the large structural forces which
shape our lives and the small areas of self that
we live inside. Our lives are lived in a complex
loop between the two. The loop between inside and
outside Society is inside and outside of every
The Sociological Imagination (4)
It is outside us in all the formal institutions
of government, religion, education, and the
economy. These were made by humans but continue
through time with a life and force separate from
any single individual or even, today, any single
ethnic group or nation. And it is also inside us
in the form of culture, of learned knowledge,
beliefs and values. People do things because they
find them personally meaningful. But the
thoughts that guide their actions are not
isolated and random. They are learned within
social life.
Sociological Revelations
  • illusions punctured
  • connections and relationships revealed
  • things do not have to be as they are who
    decides and who benefits?
  • inequalities of power uncovered

Sociology as Critique
Mills represented a social protest, a social
anger in the mid twentieth century. A hundred
years earlier Karl Marx had done this too. I am
speaking of a ruthless criticism of everything
existing. The sort of questions sociologists
should ask
  • who controls whom? Economically? Politically?
  • what are the sources of social conflict?
  • who are dependent, deprived, sacrificed?

Ghosts and Silences (1)
Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters Haunting and the
Sociological Imagination The image of haunting
signifies the many ways in which good sociology
looks beneath the surface of past and present
arrangements to seek out what is missing, silent.
Ghosts and Silences (2)
Their absences mark injustices and injuries.
  • women
  • the poor
  • slaves
  • political prisoners
  • colonized indigenous peoples

Ghosts and Silences (3)
Where evidence is lacking, literature may tell us
more than orthodox sociological methods of truth
seeking. The sociological imagination draws on
literary sources as sociological evidence.
Consciousness and Connections
Both consciousness and connections continually
shift and change. There is always more going on
than meets the eye. The story of the rock pool
gives a graphic imagery to demonstrate this
point. What on the surface appears simple is in
reality deeply complex. So does Sebalds
description of the post-war German economic
Sociology came into existence as an attempt to
understand and explain the great transformation
from traditional to modern life. Details of
sociologys origins are in Chapter 3
Modernizing. Simmels essay on Metropolis and
Mental Life describes how individuals experience
and cope with the pace, variety, and complexity
of modern urban life. Charles Chaplins Modern
Times and Ron Frickes documentary Baraka both
illustrate what modernity overload feels like.
Ethics and Social Theory
Sociology helps us to make sense of the world
  • understanding how societies work is an ongoing
    process. There are always new developments to be
  • generalizing about how things are what we call
    sociological theories are not ends in
    themselves but simply means to better
    understanding of society.
  • theories can help us to distinguish good from bad
    social arrangements those that improve lives
    and those that damage them.
  • being sociological is ultimately an ethical
    practice. it means searching out those made
    insignificant, even invisible women, racial and
    ethnic minorities, outsiders by existing power

  • Water 2005 (Deepa Mehta)
  • Baraka 1992 (Ron Fricke)

Chapter 2

Qualitative Research
Most closely associated with participant
observation and other less interactive forms of
fieldwork. Similarly the collation of data
within this methodology are usually achieved by
the methods of interviews, logs and personal
journals. The varied foci and findings of
qualitative research are published in an equally
wide variety of forms and styles.
Quantitative Research
Dominated by a particular methodology and method
the survey and questionnaire, respectively. Thus
survey data are typically collected through
questionnaires which are delivered to respondents
using face-to-face techniques, mail, telephone
and the internet. The survey involves the use of
statistical analysis and now almost inevitably
uses dedicated software packages. The findings of
quantitative research also tend to have a more
standardised format which focuses on issues of
sampling, margins of error and the reliability
and validity of the questionnaire.
Quantitative-Qualitative Binary (1)
The readily observed difference between numbers
and words is important to the quantitative-qualita
tive binary. From this commonsense perspective,
quantitative research generates data and analyses
that are numerical in form, including counts,
distributions, correlations, etc whereas
qualitative research centres on words, including
stories, life histories, descriptions, etc.
Quantitative-Qualitative Binary (2)
Numbers are most commonly associated with the
capacity to condense data, insofar as a number
can represent almost anything amenable to
sociological inquiry an average, a rating, a
correlation, etc. Words or writing, on the other
hand, are prized for an opposite property, the
capacity to detail and to extend. It is
important to mention that most subjects of
sociological inquiry can be explored through the
use of either numbers or words, albeit not with
equal efficiency. In this sense numbers and words
represent opposite ends of a representational and
analytical continuum. In practice the two
mechanisms of communication are interlinked.
Cases and Variables (1)
Ragin (The Comparative Method Moving Beyond
Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies, 1987
Constructing Social Research The Unity and
Diversity of Method 1994) has written on the
linkage of qualitative - quantitative research
with the specific goals of sociological inquiry.
He recasts the numbers versus words debate in
terms of the elemental categories of research
cases and variables. Indeed the start point for
research is always either a case or a variable
(though knowing which may not be apparent at the
beginning). Regardless of the subject matter, the
experiences, attitudes, beliefs under scrutiny
can be categorised in generating a dataset as
either a case (example, instance, type, etc) or a
variable (aspect, dimension, feature, etc).
Cases and Variables (1)
Categories are the building blocks of
sociological inquiry. Quantitative research
tends to focus on large numbers of cases and
relatively few variables. The capacity for
numbers to condense data is most useful in this
context. Qualitative research tends to focus on
few or singular cases and many variables. The
capacity for words to enhance data is most useful
in this context.
Framing Research
Framing represents an interaction on the part of
the researcher between the body of sociological
theory and the problem or issue they are
interested in. The result is that research is
always a process involving the interaction of
data and theory and vice versa.
Framing Quantitative Research (1)
Ragin describes quantitative framing in terms of
fixed framing. As noted, quantitative research
tends to focus on large numbers of cases and
relatively few variables. In this respect the
most important categorisation is of the variables
and their measurement. Of central importance is
the capacity for the researcher to observe
variation in variables across the cases.
Framing Quantitative Research (2)
For example, the explanatory power of a survey is
not much affected by the addition or removal of a
few cases. There is no difference in the
statistical value of a survey with 1000 cases and
one with 1050. Even the addition or removal of
several hundred cases will have only a minor
effect on the margin of error. Thus, the most
important task for a researcher conducting a
quantitative investigation is to determine the
variables to describe the cases. It is variation
in these variables across cases that is crucial.
Finding sufficient numbers of cases to make the
observation from is a secondary problem.
Framing Quantitative Research (3)
Quantitative research has a fixed framing insofar
as decisions made around the character of
variables determine its success or failure. While
the categorisation of variables can be fine-tuned
or even piloted prior to fieldwork, once these
variables are applied to cases there is no / only
limited scope to revise them. For example, if a
questionnaire is mailed-out to 1000 addresses
(cases) and a typo is discovered in one of the
questions (variables) there is very little that
can be done to rectify the mistake.
Framing Qualitative Research (1)
Qualitative research enjoys a fluid framing.
Qualitative research tends to focus on few cases
and many variables. Of central importance is the
capacity for the researcher to develop a rich
appreciation of the case(s).
Interaction - Theory and Data
You develop and test your theory case by case.
You formulate an explanation for the first case
as soon as you have gathered data on it. You
apply that theory to the second case when you get
data on it. If the theory explains that case
adequately, thus confirming the theory, no
problem you go to the third case. When you hit a
negative case, one your explanatory hypothesis
doesnt explain, you change the explanation of
what you are trying to explain, by incorporating
into it whatever new elements the facts of this
troublesome case suggest to you, or you change
the definition of what youre going to explain so
as to exclude the recalcitrant case from the
universe of things to be explained Becker,
Tricks of the Trade How to Think About Your
Research While You're Doing It , 1998, p.195
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Chapter 3

  • European invention (1830s)
  • Early sociology was influenced by Enlightenment
  • Aims to understand group life in modern society
  • Modern societys origins are to be found in the
    Dual Revolutions the Industrial Revolution and
    the French Revolution
  • Sociologists recognize positive aspects of
    modernity improvements in health lifespan,
    broader access to consumer good, democratic
  • Sociologists also recognize negative aspects
    industrialized death in total wars and
    extermination camps, environmental degradation,
    injuries wrought by colonization

The Enlightenment (1)
  • C17th C18th liberal intellectual movement
  • Germany, France, Holland, Britain, the United
  • Celebration of progress
  • Celebration of cultures domination of nature
  • Commitment to science, critique reason against
    superstition, assertion dogma

The Enlightenment (2)
Enlightenment as journey to individual and human
freedom According to Jürgen Habermas (1987) The
Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, the
Enlightenment sets the project of modernity in
The Enlightenment (3)
Peter Hamilton (1992) The Enlightenment and the
Birth of Social Science, in Stuart Hall Bram
Gieben (eds) Formations of Modernity, Cambridge
Polity Press, p.57 The Enlightenment is one
of the starting points for modern sociology. Its
central themes formed the threshold of modern
thinking about society and the realm of the
social. Perhaps of equal importance is that it
signalled the appearance of the secular
intellectual within Western society, a figure
whose role is intimately bound up with the
analysis and critique of society. It is from this
role that emerged, amongst other intellectual
positions the modern conception of the
professional sociologist, based in a specific
institution. It is to the Enlightenment that we
should turn to see the emergence of the
profession of sociology.
The Division of Labour in the Social Sciences
The Industrial Revolution
  • Invention of modern economic life
  • Broke humanitys dependence on organic resources
  • Late C18th, early C19th beginning in Britain
  • Rise of the factory system
  • Division of labour
  • Massive increase in economic output
  • Massive increase in wealth living standards
    (though unevenly distributed)

Krishnan Kumar (1988, p. 4) To modernise is to
The French Revolution
  • 1789
  • Invention of modern political life
  • Active individual citizenship
  • The democratic impulse

Classical sociologists variants on the
traditional/modern dichotomy
  • Modernism a set of artistic practices
  • Modernisation the process of becoming modern
  • Modernity the condition of being modern

Material Changes and Modernity
Marshall Berman (1982) All That is Solid Melts
Into Air, p. 16
  • Scientific revolution
  • Industrialization of production (turns science
    into technology)
  • Demographic upheavals
  • Rapid urban growth
  • Systems of mass communication
  • Increasingly powerful national states
  • Mass social movements of people
  • Ever-expanding, drastically fluctuating
    capitalist world market

Yuri Slezkine (2005, p. 1) The Jewish Century
modernization is about everyone becoming urban,
mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually
intricate, physically fastidious, and
occupationally flexible. It is about learning how
to cultivate people and symbols, not fields or
herds. It is about pursuing wealth for the sake
of learning, learning for the sake of wealth, and
both wealth and learning for their own sake. It
is about transforming peasants and princes into
merchants and priests, replacing inherited
privilege with acquired prestige, and dismantling
social estates for the benefit of individuals,
nuclear families, and book-reading tribes
Marx and Modernity
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the
Communist Party All fixed, fast-frozen
relations, with their train of ancient and
venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept
away, all new-formed ones become antiquated
before they can ossify. All that is solid melts
into air, all that is holy is profaned, and men
at last are forced to face the real conditions
of their lives and their relations with their
fellow men. Marshall Berman (1982) All That Is
Solid Melts Into Air, Simon and Schuster New
York p.21 This is probably the definitive
vision of the modern environment.
Modernitys Debit Items
  • Modernitys underside bureaucratisation
    disenchantment, industrialised war,
    environmental pollution
  • Sustainability extraction depletion of scarce
  • Social considerations Enlightenment
    intellectuals were privileged European men what
    of women and the working class?
  • Cultural considerations - expanded international
    divisions of labour imposed ideas born in one
    place and time on other places around the world

Chapter 4

Profits, Classes and Aspirations (1)
Work is the place where things (commodities) are
made and where profits are generated. The
fundamental driver of capitalist society is the
accumulation of capital. The origin of all
capital is profit. One of the great
contradictions of capitalism is that while
workers produce all the value of society, they
receive only a portion of this value as wages
from the sale of commodities.
Profits, Classes and Aspirations (2)
Work is the place where the two great classes of
capitalism are forged the bourgeoisie and the
proletariat. Bourgeoisie describes the class of
modern capitalists who are owners of the means of
production and employers of wage labour.
Proletariat is the name given to the class of
modern wage labourers who, having no means of
production of their own, are reduced to selling
their labour power in order to live.
Profits, Classes and Aspirations (3)
Work is the place where aspirations are
generated. Work is where all the possible things
the people might find useful are given physical
form (as commodities). However, the selection of
commodities produced does not float free from the
broader struggle between capitalists and workers.
While the law of demand and supply operates it
always does so in terms of class interest.
Work - a Source of Innovation
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly
revolutionizing the instruments of production,
and thereby the relations of production, and with
them the whole relations of society. Conservation
of the old modes of production in unaltered form,
was, on the contrary, the first condition of
existence for all earlier industrial classes.
Constant revolutionizing of production,
uninterrupted disturbance of all social
conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation
distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier
ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with
their train of ancient and venerable prejudices
and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones
become antiquated before they can ossify. All
that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is
profaned, and man is at last compelled to face
with sober senses his real condition of life and
his relations with his kind Marx and Engels, The
Communist Manifesto, 2004 1848, p. 7
Control and Resistance
Management has a long history of trying to secure
control at work. Frederick Taylor was a champion
of what he called scientific management. The
sociology of work has tended to focus on efforts
at managerial control over work and workers
resistance to these initiatives.
Control and Managerial Effort
  • Productivity. Efforts at maximising the output of
  • Efficiency, which has as its goal minimising
    wastage by workers in the process of production.
  • Compliance, or ensuring that workers comply with
    the rules of management.
  • Subordination. The efforts by management to
    ensure workers are passive in work and, in
    particular, not resistant to change.
  • The goal of flexibility or ensuring that workers
    are accommodating to change.

Harry Braverman identified the process of
deskilling as central to control.
  • Deskilling involves the separation of mental work
    and manual work
  • Deskilling is the objective of scientific
    management. It is a means of securing managerial
    control over the labour process
  • Deskilling removes the skills, knowledge and
    science of the labour process and transfers these
    to management. At the same time deskilling pits
    manual and mental workers against each other
  • Deskilling facilitates the dispersal of the
    labour process across sites and time
  • Deskilling increases the capacity of capitalists
    to exploit workers and simultaneously reduces the
    capacity of workers to resist managerial control.

Deskilling reaches its zenith in the design of
work called Fordism (named after Henry Ford,
founder of the Ford Motor Company). The key to
this re-design of work was the introduction of
the assembly-line into factories. The
assembly-line allowed Ford to determine the pace
and order of work, to drastically deskill the
work involved in making cars and to hire the
cheapest labour needed to complete the range of
George Ritzer suggests that the success of the
fast-food company McDonalds is the result of the
dissemination of Fordist principles and
deskilling. In this sense, a McDonald outlet is
one big assembly-line, used to deliver a range of
pre-assembled food. McDonaldization the
process by which the principle of the fast-food
restaurant are coming to dominate more and more
sectors of American society as well as of the
rest of the world Ritzer, The McDonaldization of
Society An Investigation into the Changing
Character of Contemporary Social Life ,1996, p. 1
The Panopticon should facilitate the collection
and storage of (useful) information, provide the
means of supervision (through instructions or
physical architecture) and monitor behaviour and
compliance with instructions. The Panopticon does
this by providing a physical superstructure of
control based on visibility. Meanwhile,
compliance of the subject population is achieved
via economic, coercive or normative sanctions. A
well-developed system of surveillance at once
increases the capacity to identify any breach of
rule deserving sanction, and reduces the
likelihood of the necessity to invoke the
sanction Sewell and Wilkinson, Someone to
watch over me Surveillance, Discipline and the
J-I-T labour process,1992, p. 274
The Labour Process as a Game (1)
Michael Burawoys main contribution to the
control and resistance debate was to re-imagine
the labour process as a game in which the
struggle for control takes unexpected turns.
The Labour Process as a Game (2)
In identifying the separation of conception and
execution, the expropriation of skill, or
narrowing of the scope of discretion as the broad
tendency in the development of the capitalist
labour process, Harry Braverman missed the
equally important parallel tendency toward the
expansion of choices within those ever narrower
limits. It is the latter tendency that
constitutes a basis of consent and allows the
degradation of work to pursue its course without
continuing crisis. Thus, we have seen that more
reliable machines, easier rates, the possibility
of chiseling, and so forth, all increase the
options open to the operator in making out
Burawoy, Manufacturing Consent Changes in the
Labor Process Under Monopoly Capitalism ,1979, p.
Michel de Certeaus la perruque (the wig)
La perruque is the worker's own work disguised
as work for his employer. It differs from
pilfering in that nothing of material value is
stolen. It differs from absenteeism in that the
worker is officially on the job. La perruque may
be as simple a matter as a secretary's writing a
love letter on company time or as complex as a
cabinetmaker's borrowing a lathe to make a
piece of furniture for his living room... Du
Gay, Consumption and Identity at Work, 1996, p.
From Work Ethic to Aesthetic of Consumption
Zygmunt Bauman argues that capitalist societies
are experiencing a shift from a work ethic to
an aesthetic of consumption. This mirrors the
rise of consumer society.
Development of a Consumer Society (1)
Ideal Citizen in Producer Society Ideal Citizen
in Consumer Society Endures monotony Seeks
pleasure Is habituated to routine Looks for
difference Defers gratification Advances
gratification Is deliberate Is
compulsive Respects tradition Is eager for
experience Is loyal Is fickle Is readily
satisfied Is insatiable
Development of a Consumer Society (2)
The development of a consumer society is also
associated with disenchantment of both workers
and consumers. There are some possibilities for
resistance and re-enchantment in workers and
consumers becoming ironic and subversive agents.
Chapter 5

Acts of consumption can be broken down into two
  • The material the thing actually being consumed
  • The symbolic what it means to consume it

The former may be individual and physical the
latter is indisputably social (and frequently
pertains to status).
The Focus of Sociology (1)
Sociology tends to focus on the symbolic aspects
of consumption, but for most of human history
(and today for most of the planet) consumption
has primarily been about staying alive.
  • There are massive disparities
  • Vertically between different social classes and
    groups within countries (upper and lower classes)
  • Horizontally between different countries
    (Global north and South)

Zygmunt Bauman (1993214) Postmodern
Ethics However far and wide it spreads, the
emancipation which modernity brought in its wake
(liberation from nature, friability of
traditional constraints, infinity of human
potential, possibility of an order dictated
solely by reason), has been from the start and
will remain forever an ultimately local
phenomenon, a privilege achieved by some at
somebody elses expense it can only be
sustained, for a time, on the condition of
unequal exchange with other sectors of global
society. What we came to call economic growth
is the process of expropriation of order, not of
its global increase.
The Focus of Sociology (2)
West and Rest the former are so rich because the
latter are so poor.
When considering the ability to consume we should
be mindful of
  • class
  • age
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • sexuality

The Focus of Sociology (3)
Because people in the same social strata tend to
  • Lifestyles
  • Life chances

Multiple Meanings of Consumption (1)
Anthony Giddens example of a cup of coffee
  • Fluid intake source of refreshment
  • Ritual act of meeting up with significant
  • Social distinction you are what you drink
  • Socially acceptable drug culture, power and the

Multiple Meanings of Consumption (2)
Coffee drinking as a series of relationships
  • 1. Physiological
  • Addiction the need for a fix
  • 2. Personal
  • Opportunity to catch up with others
  • 3. Socio-economic
  • Necessity of global networks of production,
    transportation and distribution to make this
    possible (grounded in colonialism)

Consumption and Identity (1)
Fashion and modernity shared etymology Fashion
as the stylistic expression of the
modern Fashion is the supreme expression of
that contemporary spirit Ulrich Lehmann
(2000xii) Tigersprung Fashion in Modernity,
Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.
Consumption and Identity (2)
Gilles Lipovestsky on Fashion In less than half
a century, attractiveness and evanescence have
become the organizing principles of modern
collective life p. 6. modern fashion stands
out as the earliest manifestation of mass
consumption homogenous, standardized,
indifferent to frontiers p. 59. A society that
hinges on the expansion of needs is above all a
society that reorganizes mass production and
consumption according to the law of obsolescence,
seduction, and diversification this is the law
that titls the economy into the orbit of the
fashion form p. 134.
Consumption and Identity (3)
Fashion as a form of communication Who you
are Who you identify with ? Social cohesion
through consumption
Consumer Society (1)
John Benson, The Rise of Consumer Society in
Britain, p.6 1) Availability of choice and
credit 2) Social value defined by purchasing
power 3) Desire for the new ? I buy therefore I
Consumer Society (2)
In this country America there is no difference
between a person and that persons economic fate.
No one is anything other than his wealth, his
income, his job, his prospects. In the
consciousness of everyone, including its wearer,
the economic mask coincides exactly with what
lies beneath it, even in its smallest wrinkles.
All are worth as much as they earn, and earn as
much as they are worth. They find out what they
are through the ups and downs of their economic
life. Max Horkhiemer T.W. Adorno (2002)
Dialectic of Enlightenment, Stanford Stanford
University Press, p. 175.
Consumer Society (3)
  • The role of advertising
  • To get us to buy things
  • Two strategies
  • Creation of desire (sex appeal you can be this
  • Creation of anxiety (personal inadequacy you
    are this unattractive)
  • Underlying message you are how you look
    (identity image)

Other Points to Note
  • 1.) The Continuing Spread of the Consumer Ethic
  • Privatization of public life
  • Shoppers rather than citizens
  • The sacralization of consumption
  • Affluenza
  • 2.) Relationship to Production
  • Things are the products of human labour
  • Our consumption is someone elses production
  • Production presumes consumption vice versa
  • Some consume more than others (disposable
    income)/some work more than others (division of

  • Black Gold 2006 (Marc Nick Francis)
  • Maxed Out 2006 (James D. Scurlock)
  • They Live 1988 (John Carpenter)

Chapter 6

  • Has existed for most of human history
  • Rudimentary division of labour based on gender
  • Little exchange of surplus mostly subsistence

Adam Smith (1776)
  • Civilisation comes through truck, barter
  • Expansion of the division of labour
  • Specialisation of tasks

Invention of Money
  • Storage without waste (John Locke 1690)
  • Measure of value
  • Expands division of labour
  • From local to global currencies
  • Increases interdependency

Impersonal Markets
  • Now the primary mechanisms of exchange
  • Require Commodification
  • Allocate resources
  • Do not satisfy the conditions of modern price

Problems With the Market (1)
  • Buyers and sellers have imperfect knowledge
    (transaction costs)
  • There can be qualitative differences in the
    same product
  • Markets do not clear, they find equilibrium
  • It is not free it requires contracts, standards
  • Giant corporations dominate production sales
  • Consumption is manipulated by producers
  • Demand for many commodities is inelastic

Problems With the Market (2)
  • Non-price competition often dominates
  • Path dependence
  • Private markets cannot satisfy public goods (free
    rider problem merit goods)
  • Production can be efficient destructive, e.g.
    it destroys the environment (externalities)
  • The isolation paradox self-interest may
    motivate action but the actions of others
    complicate outcomes

Labour Markets (1)
  • Distinctive feature of capitalism (Karl Marx, Max
  • Increase in human toil
  • Creation of free labour markets began in Europe
  • End of worker land rights
  • Outside Europe this process often involved
    colonial projects
  • Workers are compelled to sell their labour power
  • Wages difficult assessing individual workers
    skills contributions

Labour Markets (2)
Talk of markets collapses a very complicated
struggle by a host of parties capitalists,
workers, households, states and organizations
into a misleading abstraction. Granovetter and
Tilly, 1988
Capitalists Seek to Lower Wage Costs
  • Labour-saving technologies (downsized workers)
  • Move capital from country to country
  • ?
  • Globalised labour market
  • Souths increased involvement in labour-intensive
  • Norths increasing quest for niches of hi-tech
  • Dependent uneven development massive
    disparities between CEOs workers, division
    between Global North Global South

Current Trends
  • Downsizing
  • Subcontracting
  • Increase in part-time, benefit-less work

Globalisation (1)
Refers to flows of people, finance, commodities,
images and ideas beyond the borders of nation
states. These flows are by no means recent.
Processes of globalization are uneven and they do
not form a coherent whole.
Globalisation (2)
? Annihilation of space through time David
Harvey ? The global village Marshall McLuhan
Globalisation (3)
After three thousand years of explosion, by
means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies,
the Western World is imploding. During the
mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in
space. Today, after more than a century of
electronic technology, we have extended our
central nervous system itself in a global
embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as
our planet is concerned. Quoted in Harvey,
1989, p. 293
GlobalisationThomas Friedman
  • globalization involves the inexorable
    integration of markets, nation-states and
    technologies to a degree never witnessed
    before(1999, p. 7).
  • the earth is flat (2005)

Globalisation and Americanisation
Americanisation is an important feature of
globalisation because
  • The US is the worlds dominant military power
  • US corporations are major players in the global
  • US cultural features are global (film,
    television, popular music etc)

The Future of CapitalismNewton Gingrich
More and more people are going to operate
outside corporate structures and hierarchies in
the nooks and crannies that the Information
Revolution creates. While the Industrial
Revolution herded people into gigantic social
institutions-big corporations, big unions, big
government the Information Revolution is
breaking up these giants and leading us back to
something that is strangely enough-much like
Tocqueville's 1830s America Quoted in Dawson
and Foster, 1996, p. 40
Digitisation of Trade
  • The internet virtual capitalism
  • Electronically mediated home work
  • Direct marketing, data gathering
    decision-making done online

Digitisation of Trade, but
  • Information superhighway planted on top of
    existing structure of highly corporatised global
  • Material production functions will stay
  • Retail stores fight back against online
    competitors, e.g. Niketown, super malls

The Future
Capitalism will not become friction free A system
subject to recurring booms busts But here, as
always, the future will be the product of
decisions made by all of us. It is an important
goal of this book to give citizens some of the
tools needed to be thinking participants in this
yet-to-be future.
Chapter 7

Marxs Classes as Production Relations
Karl Marx defined capitalist society as a
relationship between two social classes
wage-labour and capital. Wage workers and
capitalist employers are involved in constant
struggle over the rate of exploitation. Class
struggle was the motor of history (Marx,
Capital Vol 1 1976, pp.781-94). The separation of
workers from the ownership of the means of
production hid from view the actual process of
exploitation. Marx called this commodity
fetishism and false consciousness in which
workers saw themselves as being potentially equal
with the capitalists (Marx, 1976, Capital Vol 1
pp.163-77). Class consciousness would arise only
as a result of the intervention of
Webers Classes as Market Relations (1)
Max Webers concept of capitalism was of that of
market society in which individual actors
exchanged commodities. He viewed economic classes
in terms of individuals owning more or less
economic assets than others. Individuals also
differed according to their access to political
power (party) and according to their ability to
consume (status). Weber did not think that
individuals were assigned to classes as
production relations since they could change
their class, status and party positions.
Webers Classes as Market Relations (2)
Weber saw individuals as having social mobility,
acting to change their position in society. What
motivated individuals to try to increase their
market share was their rationality their ability
to act as rational actors in the market. The
capitalist market represented a progressive shift
from non-rational society to a rational society
where progress was measured by an increasingly
efficient division of labour. Weber regarded
socialism as a return to the non-market
irrationality of serfdom.
Marxs prediction of socialist revolution was
falsified by events. Many Marxists drew the
conclusion that economic interests alone were not
sufficient to make the working class
revolutionary. Some theorists concluded that the
proletariat was no longer the historic agent of
socialism. The working class appeared to be in
decline relative to the middle class.
  • Antonio Gramsci and the German Frankfurt School
    highlighted the dominance of capitalist ideology
    in neutralising class consciousness.
  • Eric Olin Wright and Pierre Bourdieu, are
    prominent Neo-Marxist who attempted to combine
    Marx with Weber.

Webers theory explained not only the existence
of economic classes, and the relative autonomy of
economics and politics, but also allowed for
individuals to escape particular classes and
exercise choice without the inconvenience of
overthrowing capitalist society Neo-Weberians
like Frank Parkin or Anthony Giddens claim that
capitalism has outgrown the nineteenth and early
twentieth century economic scarcity that required
classes to compete for zero-sum shares in the
national wealth. The persistence of social,
national and cultural barriers to equality is
reflected in both the upward movement of
individuals into skilled occupations and a
downward mobility of individuals into a
casualised workforce and a residual marginalised
A Marxist Response to Marx-Weber hybrid classes
There are at least two important objections to
Marx-Weber hybrid theories of class formation.
  • Classes are defined by their relation to the
    means of production and not by market share of
  • Fetishism of the Intellectuals the role of
    bourgeois intellectuals who reproduce the
    sanitised, inverted ideology of capitalism as a
    matter of fair shares.

Social Movements (1)
Social movements are the product hybrid theories
of class formation that substitute actual groups
of individuals in the marketplace (revenue
classes) for social relations of production
(Crompton, Class and Stratification An
Introduction to Current Debates 1998, pp.18-19).
Disadvantaged groups are mobilised ideologically
and politically to challenge the cultural alibis
for inequality. Their rationale is If the
problem of inequality is caused by unequal
distribution, or exchange, then the solution must
involve a political strategy to equalise
distribution or exchange.
Social Movements (2)
However, the womens movement, and movements
around gay and lesbian, black, immigrant,
indigenous rights have been remarkably
unsuccessful in securing the recognition of
rights and in equalising revenue shares (i.e.,
upward mobility). A recent attempt to rescue
social movements as agents of global change is
that of Hardt and Negri (Empire 2000 Multitude
War and Democracy in the Age of Empire 2004).
They define the Multitude as the common element
of all the singular social movements capable of
challenging the Empire of capitalism.
USA, Australia and New Zealand Lands of White
European settler states test the explanatory
power of race and gender independently of class
relations. The claim is that the United States,
Australia and New Zealand are relatively open,
fluid societies comparatively free of class
barriers. However systemic gender and racial
oppression originated with the impact of the
capitalist mode of production on pre-existing
lineage, slave and domestic modes of production
so that they became surrogates of class
relations (Miles, Capitalism and Unfree Labour
1987, p.44).
Argentina The Multitude Versus the Proletariat
In the case of Argentina, Hardt and Negri suggest
that the working class disappears when factory
jobs disappear, leaving the unemployed and
self-employed as the vanguard of the Multitude.
However arising out of these surrogate working
class movements, it is not the Multitude that
poses the real threat to global capitalism.
Rather it is the potential power of the organised
proletarian and peasant masses that capital
fears. This is why in an attempt to avoid popular
insurrections the dominant capitalist powers are
prepared to allow despotic regimes to be replaced
by popular regimes that allow the masses a voice.
Iraq Nation and Religionagainst Class
Iraq is the obvious test case where a
progressive, secular nationalism combines with a
fundamentalist Islamic nationalism to over-ride
the class interests of peasants and workers. It
is a country in which class seems the most
unlikely source of social solidarity and change.
Yet if we look at the modern history of Iraq we
find a history of class struggle. We find that
the capitalist classes in the West have conspired
with the local ruling class to maintain regimes
hostile to the mobilisation and political power
of the working class. We find that same class
re-emerging and reforming itself out of sheer
economic necessity unions have been revived
strikes for basic rights and conditions.
Chapter 8

Defining Power
  • the ability to do or act
  • political or social ascendancy or control
  • personal ascendancy
  • authorization, delegated authority

Characteristics of Sociological Theories
  • Theory is the name we give to the abstract ideas
    that structure the way we understand and think
    about the practical things we study.
  • Sociological theories attempt to organize the
    apparently random nature of social life into
    coherent social knowledge.
  • Sociologists use theories as their sociological
    maps to help them explain what societies are and
    how they work and change.

Quantifiable Power
  • Max Webers definition of power
  • the chance of a man or a number of men to
    realise their own will even against the
    resistance of others
  • Quantity concepts of power see it as capacity
  • Some people, or categories of people have more of
    it than others.
  • How much you have greatly depends on your place
    in society gender, race/ethnicity, class, age,
    wealth or poverty etc.

Legitimate Power - Leadership
Max Weber defines domination (a specific form of
power) as the probability that a command with
a given specific content will be obeyed by a
given group of persons. Economy and Society
Max Weber
Three sources of legitimate power which rulers
exercise over those they rule
Frank Parkin, Max Weber, 1982, p.77
Legitimate Power - Leadership
  • Two competing accounts of political power in the
    United States in the 1950s
  • Robert Dahl Who Governs
  • Pluralist power
  • Groups (business, workers, taxpayers, consumer
    groups etc) compete for power on equal terms
    and all get to exercise some
  • No single interest dominates

Pluralist or Elite Power?In direct contradiction
  • C Wright Mills The Power Elite
  • One power elite dominates a combination of
    political, military, and business people
  • Many of these had not been democratically
  • The citizen consent necessary for legitimate
    rule in a legal rational democracy was under

Legitimacy and Globalized Power
Present day globalization processes are
undermining the sovereign power of the nation
state. Manuel Castells network society and the
network state globally linked
organized crime Carolyn Nordstrom
international shadow powers networks of goods
and services operating outside formal state and
legal channels trading in legal and illegal
Capillary Power Michel Foucault
Power as action. Not exercised over people but
generated in interactions between them. EXAMPLE
against Damiens 1757
The Parlement declares the said Robert-François
Damiens has been convicted of having committed a
very mean, very terrible, and very dreadful
parricidal crime against the King. The said
Damiens is sentenced to pay for his crime in
front of the main gate of the Church of Paris. He
will be taken there in a tipcart naked and will
hold a burning wax torch weighing two pounds.
There, on his knees, he will say and declare that
he had committed a very mean, very terrible and
very dreadful parricide, and that he had hurt the
King.... He will repent and ask God, the King and
Justice to forgive him. When this will be done,
he will be taken in the same tipcart to the Place
de Grève and will be put on a scaffold. Then his
breasts, arms, thighs, and legs will be tortured.
While holding the knife with which he committed
the said Parricide, his right hand will be burnt.
On his tortured body parts, melted lead, boiling
oil, burning pitch, and melted wax and sulfur
will be thrown. Then four horses will pull him
apart until he is dismembered. His limbs will be
thrown on the stake, and his ashes will be
spread. All his belongings, furniture, housings,
where ever they are, will be confiscated and
given to the King. Before the execution, the said
Damiens will be asked to tell the names of his
accomplices. His house will not be demolished,
but nothing will be allowed to be built on this
same house. Source Anonymous, Pièces originales
et procédures du procès, fait à Robert-François
Damiens (Paris Pierre Guillaume Simon, 1757)
Techniques and Tacitcs of Power
Foucault wanted to upset the way of understanding
power that sees it as a) residing principally in
the state, and b) being the equivalent of
repression. He argues that Power doesnt
start from one central point. It is
experienced in a multiplicity of relations.
Power relations are specific, reversible.
Power is always and everywhere present in
human interactions.
  • The idea of discipline indicates the existence of
    a whole complex of techniques of power that do
    not rely on force and coercion.
  • From the 19th century onwards, discipline becomes
    the distinctive form of modern power. New ways
    of controlling and training people
    technologies of the body.
  • The disciplines operate through the institutions
    of incarceration, prisons, asylums, factories and

General Characteristics of Disciplinary Power
  • Hierarchical observation
  • Normalising judgements
  • Micro-penalties and rewards

Self-discipline Practices Examples in Everyday
Life (1)
Weitz, Rose, 2001. Women and Their Hair Seeking
Power through Resistance and Accommodation.
Gender and Society, 15, 5, 667-686. Cecelia Some
days I have good hair days, and some days I have
bad hair days. On good days I feel like, you
know, my hair does make me powerful. If my hair
looks good, I feel beautiful. And if I look
beautiful, and another man is attracted to me,
then, (laughs) I have got power over him.
Self-discipline Practices Examples in Everyday
Life (2)
Johns, David and Jennifer, 2000. Surveillance,
Subjectivism and Technologies of Power An
Analysis of the Discursive Practice of High
Performance Sport, International Review for the
Sociology of Sport, 32, 2, 219-234. Athletes
learn to be intensely aware of the importance of
the body and adopt technologies that permit
themselves to effect operations on their own
bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of
being, so as to transform themselves in order to
attain a certain state of happiness, purity,
wisdom, perfection, or immortality. Foucault
(Technologies of the Self).
  • Richard III 1995 (Richard Loncraine)
  • The Road to Guant?namo 2006 (Michael

Chapter 9

Introduction (1)
  • Because there is no scientific foundation for
    using the term race as a biological description
    of human populations, when sociologists need to
    use the term they often put it in quotation
  • The nineteenth and early twentieth century was
    the period of imperialist expansion which laid
    the foundation for the development of many of
    todays racial issues.
  • But the early sociologists were not aware of this
    and did not explicitly address the significance
    of ideas about race in their work.

Introduction (2)
  • Today the problem of race and issues of
    racialization are quite central to sociology.
  • In a globalizing world, conflicts and patterns of
    violence and disorder are increasingly defined in
    racial terms.
  • The vocabulary of race is an element of everyday
    language, part of the stock of cultural capital
    we draw on to organise our world, ascribe or
    claim identity, and guide our interaction with

Globalization Processes (1)
The dimensions of the globalisation process
relevant to contemporary forms of racism lie in
  • the disjunctions between the working of the
    global economic system (which creates economic
    interdependence through multiple systems of
    exchange in production, trade and finance) and
  • the political autonomy of the nation states that
    make up the system.

Globalization Processes (2)
In the processes of globalization
  • Increased mobility brings previously separate
    populations into close contact in their everyday
    life and work and increases competition for
  • Power and resources are not distributed equally
    among core and peripheral states. (Wallerstein)

Globalization Processes (3)
This results in
  • growth of distinct ethnic minorities within
    modern democracies
  • re-emergence of claims for local identity in both
    core and peripheral states
  • new forms of racism which may be masked as
    cultural incompatibility

Globalization Processes (4)
The United Nations defines an international
system of universal standards which contributes
to the process of political integration.
  • 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International and regional organizations e.g.
    UNESCO, ILO, the Council of Europe, NAFTA, the
    International Court of Justice
  • 1965 Covenant on the Elimination of all Forms of
    Racial Discrimination
  • European Union 1999 Amsterdam Treaty members
    required to take appropriate action to counter
    discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic

Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
  • These are interconnected terms
  • Each of these ideas can be the basis for social
  • Processes of racialisation discrimination on
    the basis of supposed biological distinctiveness
    and the institutionalisation of economic, legal
    and political arrangements based on these
    assumptions draw on and employ all three concepts.

Nationalism and Nationality
  • Nationalism and nationality are today associated
    with the nation state.
  • All nation states have ethnic minorities.
  • Nationality is always socially constructed.
  • Not all nationalities have achieved a nation
  • Nationalism is an inclusive concept (cf race
    which is an excluding concept).
  • Nation states control political power and the
    legitimate means of force within a defined
  • National movements generally aim for some form of
    political independence.
  • National identity is the identity acquired by
    membership of the political community.
  • National identity is the basis for the
    acquisition of citizenship that allows full
    participation in society.

Race and Ethnicity
  • The definitions and everyday use of the terms
    race and ethnicity are complex and varied.
  • The term race has an ascriptive quality and is
    mostly used to describe a population rather than
    a social group.
  • The term ethnic emerged in the 1960s (Glazer and
    Moynihan) and was used to distinguish between
    white populations within a multi ethnic state, in
    terms of their countries of origin.
  • In contemporary multi-ethnic states, a sense of
    common origin can provide a basis for
    identification and mobilisation for social,
    communal or political action.
  • Ethnic minorities may embrace their ethnic
    identity and group membership.
  • The term racism now describes unacceptable
    behaviour toward ethnic groups as well as
    racially identified populations.
  • Discrimination on the basis of cultural (ethnic)
    difference has been described as new racism.

Sociological Analysis of Race
  • Race, ethnicity and nationality make up a set of
    contested concepts.
  • A variety of theoretical approaches can be
  • Concern with race developed in Britain in the
    1960s in response to the increasing presence of
    migrant ethnic groups from the colonies and
    recognition of changes taking place within the
  • American sociologists initially examined issues
    of segregation, immigration and perceptions and
    awareness. In the 1960s they began to focus on
    the dynamics of ethnic groups.
  • Marxist tradition. Race as ideology and seen in
    historical and economic context (see the work of
    Robert Miles).
  • Miles focus on racialisation the social
    construction of race as a process located within
    the capitalist mode of production.
  • Weber on status groups (see John Rex and Michael
  • Gramsci, theory of hegemony. Stuart Hall and the
    Birmingham Centre. Cultural studies approach.
    Racism as ideology.

Racialisation and Identity
  • Contemporary identity is de-centred and
  • Race and ethnicity provide the starting point for
    the narrative construction of identity through
    negotiation with others.
  • In a mass society where strangers are brought
    into close proximity, presumed common origins
    become a source of instant recognition and
  • Local ethnicities can threaten national identity.
  • Identities are never completed they are always
    in the process of becoming through negotiation
    and interaction with the other.
  • There is a contemporary explosion of forms of
    cultural expression from migrant cultures in art,
    literature, film, mass media and theatre which
    explore the lived experience of migrants in
    interaction with the culture of the others.

Race, ethnicity and nationality are social (and
cultural) constructs which provide the basis for
the systems of symbolic representations we draw
on in constructing the social groups we inhabit
and in ordering relationships with other groups.
Chapter 10

The concept of gender is complex and
contested. Gender, like sexuality, must be seen
as something that is produced socially, in
complex ways and in struggles between those who
have power to define and regulate, and those who
Why Study Gender?
  • Because its inevitably and unavoidably always
    with us.
  • Be
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