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Introduction to Sociology

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Title: Introduction to Sociology


1
Introduction to Sociology
2
Sociology
  • the systematic study of human society

3
Purpose of Sociology
  • C. Wright Mills
  • the sociological imagination
  • allows sociologists to place personal troubles of
    individuals within a framework of larger social
    issues
  • I.e. divorce

4
Sociological Perspective
  • seeing the general in the particular (Peter
    Berger, 1963)
  • Possible to identify general patterns in the
    behavior of particular people

5
  • People are split into different categories
  • men vs. women
  • rich vs. poor
  • The categories to which we belong shape our
    experiences

6
Lillian Rubin (1976) Marriage Study
  • Higher income women expect their men to be
    sensitive to others, to talk readily, and to
    share feelings
  • Lower income women look for men who do not drink
    to much, were not violent, and held steady jobs

7
Seeing Strange in the Familiar
  • People do NOT decide what to do society shapes
    our thoughts and deeds
  • Why do you choose a particular college?
  • I wanted to stay close to home
  • I got a basketball scholarship
  • My girlfriend goes to school here
  • I didnt get into the school I wanted
  • Doesnt really tell you how and why people go to
    college

8
Personal Choice
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Studied suicide figures in France and found
  • Protestants, wealthy, single, and men were more
    likely to commit suicide
  • Catholics, Jews, poor, and women were less likely
    to commit suicide
  • Social Integration categories of people with
    strong social ties vs. more individualistic

9
Living on the Margins
  • Outsiders- not part of the dominant group
  • the greater the social marginality, the better
    someone can use the sociological perspective
  • Need to be able to step back and observe

10
Crisis
  • Great Depression
  • people realized general forces were at work in
    their particular lives
  • Not Something is wrong with me I cant find a
    job
  • Rather The economy has collapsed there are no
    jobs to be found

11
  • If we can observe and learn about the system we
    can then make changes if necessary

12
Global Perspective
13
Global Perspective
  • The study of the larger world and our societys
    place in it
  • Our place in society shapes our life experiences
  • The position of our society in the larger world
    system effects everyone in the U.S.

14
High-income Countries
  • Nations with the highest overall standard of
    living
  • Includes top 60 counties
  • U.S., Canada, Argentina, Western Europe, South
    Africa, Israel
  • Produce most of the worlds goods and services
  • Own most of the wealth
  • These people are better off simply because they
    were born in these countries

15
Middle-income Countries
  • Nations with a standard of living about average
    for the world as a whole
  • Includes 76 countries
  • Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia
  • Receive 6-8 years of schooling
  • Extreme social inequality (some very rich, some
    very poor)

16
Low-income Countries
  • Nations with a low standard of living in which
    most people are poor
  • Most countries are located in Africa and a few in
    Asia
  • Some very rich
  • Most lack safe housing, water, food, and little
    chance to improve their lives

17
Comparisons to the U.S.
  • 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 about ourselves

18
Applying the Sociological Perspective
19
Sociological Perspective
  • Seeing the general in the particular
  • Society shapes the lives of its members

20
Applying the Sociological Perspective
  • Why it is useful
  • Sociology guides many of the laws and policies
    that shape our lives
  • Making use of the sociological perspective leads
    to important personal growth and expanded
    awareness
  • Good preparation for work

21
Sociology and Public Policy
  • Sociologists help shape public policy
  • Racial desegregation, school busing laws, divorce
  • Example
  • Lenore Weitzman discovered women who leave
    marriages lose income
  • Many states have passed laws that have increased
    womens claim to martial property and enforced
    fathers job to support women raising their
    children

22
Benefits of Sociological Perspective
  • Helps us assess the truth of commonly held
    assumptions
  • -Do we decide our own fate, if so we are likely
    to praise successful people as superior
  • -pg. 10 Seeing Sociology in Everyday Life

23
  • 2. Helps us assess both the opportunities and
    constraints in our lives
  • -we play our cards but society deals us the
    hand
  • -helps us size up the world to better
    accomplish our goals

24
  • 3. Empowers us to be active participants in our
    society
  • -if we do not understand how society operates,
    we are likely to accept the status quo
  • -pg. 7 C. Wright Mills

25
  • 4. Helps us live in a diverse world
  • -U.S. represents 5 of the worlds population
  • -95 live very differently
  • -everyone sees their life as right,
    natural, and better
  • -helps us think more critically about all
    ways of life

26
Origins of Sociology
27
Science and Sociology
  • French social thinker Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
    first came up with the term sociology
  • Described a new way of looking at society
  • Wanted to find out how society could be improved
    and how society actually operates

28
Comte
  • Saw sociology as the product of a 3-stage
    historical development
  • 1. Theological- thinking guided by religion
  • 2. Metaphysical- society as a natural, not
    supernatural system
  • 3. Scientific- used a scientific approach to
    study sociology

29
Positivism
  • Definition a way of understanding based on
    science
  • Society operates according to its laws
  • (much like the laws of nature)

30
Sociological Theory
31
Structural-Functional
  • Definition
  • Framework for building theory that sees society
    as a complex system whose parts work together to
    promote solidarity and stability
  • Sociologists
  • Emile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer

32
  • Points to Social Structure
  • any relatively stable pattern of social behavior
  • gives our lives shape (families, school, work,
    community)

33
  • Examines Social Functions
  • the consequences of any social pattern for the
    operation of society as a whole
  • all social structures keep society going
  • similar to the way the human body operates

34
Robert K. Merton
  • Manifest Functions
  • recognized and intended consequences of any
    social pattern
  • Latent Functions
  • unrecognized and unintended consequences of any
    social pattern

35
  • Social Dysfunction
  • any social pattern that may disrupt the operation
    of society

36
Summary
  • Main goal is to figure out what makes society
    tick
  • critics say it ignores inequalities of social
    class, races, and gender

37
Social-Conflict Theory
  • Definition
  • a framework for building theory that sees society
    as an arena of inequality that generates conflict
    and change

38
  • investigate how social class, race, ethnicity,
    gender, sexual orientation, and age are linked to
    societys unequal distribution of money, power,
    education, and social prestige
  • Focus on how social patterns benefit some while
    hurt others

39
  • Can be used to bring about societal change that
    reduces inequality

40
Feminism and the Gender-Conflict Approach
  • Definition
  • a point of view that focuses on inequality and
    conflict between women and men
  • closely linked to feminism
  • support of social equality for women and men

41
  • Helps make us aware of the ways life places men
    in positions of power over women
  • at home, at work, in the media
  • also, shows importance of women to the
    development of society

42
Race-Conflict Approach
  • Definition
  • point of view that focuses on inequality and
    conflict between people of different racial and
    ethnic categories

43
  • Points out contributions made by people of color
    to the development of sociology

44
Review of Social-Conflict Approaches
  • Critics
  • ignores shared values and interdependence
  • cannot claim scientific objectivity
  • paints society in broad strokes

45
Symbolic-Interaction Approach
  • Definition
  • framework for building theory that sees society
    as the product of the everyday interactions of
    individuals
  • Max Weber
  • understand a setting from the point of view of
    the people in it

46
  • Society amounts to people interacting
  • Shows how individuals actually experience society

47
Macro-level Orientation
  • Definition
  • a broad focus on social structures that shape
    society as a whole
  • Big picture
  • Includes the structural-functional approach and
    the social-conflict approach

48
Micro-level Orientation
  • Definition
  • a close-up focus on social interactions in
    specific situations
  • includes the symbolic-interaction approach

49
Applying the Approaches The Sociology of Sports
  • The Functions of Sports
  • A structural-functional approach directs our
    attention to the ways in which sports help
    society operate
  • Sports have functional and dysfunctional
    consequences

50
Sports and Conflict
  • Social-conflict analysis points out that games
    people play reflect their social standing.
  • Sports have been oriented mostly toward males.
  • Big league sports excluded people of color for
    decades.
  • Sports in the United States are bound up with
    inequalities based on gender, race, and economic
    power.

51
Figure 1.2 Stacking in Professional Football
52
Sports as Interaction
  • Following the symbolic-interaction approach,
    sports are less a system than an ongoing process.
  • All three theoretical approachesstructural-functi
    onal, social-conflict, and symbolic-interactionpr
    ovide different insights into sports. No one is
    more correct than the others.
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