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The Sociological Point of View


Title: Chapter 1, Developing A Sociological Perspective Author: stacy Last modified by: MCELVEEN, DANIELLE Created Date: 8/23/2001 5:14:42 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Sociological Point of View

Chapter 1
  • The Sociological Point of View

Section 1 Examining Social Life
How would your life be different if
  • You were born 100 years ago?
  • Your were born into a wealthy aristocratic
  • You were born in a less developed country?

Early 1900s Life expectancy for white Americans
was just 48 years. If a mother had four
children, there was a fifty-fifty chance that one
would die before the age of 5. At the same
time, half of all young people lost a parent
before they reached the age of 21. The average
family had an annual income of 3,000 (in today's
dollars). The family had no indoor plumbing, no
phone, and no car. About half of all American
children lived in poverty.
Most teens did not attend school instead, they
labored in factories or fields. The nation's
population shifted from the Northeast to the
Sunbelt. About 60 percent of the population
lived on farms or in rural areas. The top five
names in 1900 for boys were John, William, James,
George and Charles for girls they were Mary,
Helen, Anna, Margaret, and Ruth
  • Two of America's ten biggest industries were boot
    making and malt liquor production.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the country--none
    west of the Mississippi River.
  • Dot-com communication still meant the telegraph.

Our lives are shaped by society
  • The jobs we have
  • The things we value
  • Our life expectancy
  • What are some other ways society shapes us?

  • Sociology can even be found in the restroom

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  • What do these social encounters tell us about
    ourselves and our society?

Sociology Defined
The scientific study of human society
What is a society?
What are the basic components of society you
What does it mean to be a science?
  • Science is the concerted human effort to
    understand, or to understand better, the history
    of the natural world and how the natural world
    works, with observable physical evidence as the
    basis of that understanding. It is done through
    observation of natural phenomena, and/or through
    experimentation that tries to simulate natural
    processes under controlled conditions.

What are the alternative to a science?
  • Where do you get your knowledge if you do not get
    it scientifically?
  • Authority parents, political leaders,
    teachers, etc.
  • Tradition Thats the way it has always been
    Whiskey cures a cold
  • Common sense - knowledge people gain about the
    world through their everyday experience

Is sociology common sense?
  • Example The Problem of "Illegal Aliens"
  • Common sense tells us that undocumented workers
    take jobs from Americans and that, in general,
    they create a burden for the U.S. taxpayers.
  • Facts, however, show us that undocumented workers
    may not be as big of a burden on the United
    States economy as people think. Furthermore, they
    tend to take jobs that most Americans may not

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  • Example Buy American! What Does This Mean?
  • As Americans struggled with the global economy in
    the 1980s, many advocated buying American
    products from American companies.
  • Common sense told us that buying American would
    put Americans to work and make the U.S. economy
  • Fact Even though the company is American mos the
    work happen outside the U.S. therefore thats
    where most the money goes.

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GM Production Facilities
Having a Sociological Imagination
  • The ability of understanding the intersection of
    one's own biography and other biographies with
    history and the present social structure you find
    yourself and others in. In essence, it is
    understanding the private in public terms.
  • - C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination
  • In other words...

  • To truly understand peoples behavior, we must
    look beyond those individuals to the larger
    social contexts in which they live.
  • Individuals make choices, but their choices are
    constrained by social, historical, cultural,
    political and economic factors
  • Most important, people frequently do not even
    realize the extent to which their lives are
    affected by things that are external to them and
    outside their control.

Consider Drinking Coffee
Why do some countries consume more coffee?
Common sense reason
  • They like coffee.

Using the sociological imagination
  • (a) the symbolic value of coffee drinking as a
    social ritual

Using the sociological imagination
  • (b) coffees status as an accepted Western drug
    which contrasts both with substances deemed
    anti-social in the West and the prohibition of
    coffee in other cultures, and

1511 coffee banned in Mecca due to Islamic Law
1600 Christian plead with the pope to ban
Using the sociological imagination
  • (c) coffees availability as a commodity, the
    result of a complex system of production and
    distribution operating across the globe

Consider Marriage
  • Why do people get married?

  • Not everyone in every culture gets married. Why?

The Women's Kingdom
U.S. Vs. Mosuo
  • Explain the differences in marriage between the
    United States and the Mosuo tribe using your
    sociological imagination.

Specifically sociology is a social science
  • The social sciences are academic disciplines
    concerned with the study of the social life of
    human groups and individuals.

Sociology Vs. Other Social Sciences
Sociology Anthropology

Sociology Vs. Other Social Sciences
Sociology Psychology

Sociology Vs. Other Social Sciences
Sociology Economics

Sociology Vs. Other Social Sciences
Sociology Political Science

Sociology Vs. Other Social Sciences
Sociology History

  • Be sure to know the following terms/people for
    your quiz
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Sociological imagination
  • C. Wright Mills
  • Society

Development of Sociology
  • Sociology has a relatively short history. (1800s)
  • The systematic study of patterns of behavior
    began in the early part of the 19th century in
    France, and then appeared in other European
    societies and the United States as that century
  • Why did sociology appear at this time and place?

  • Answer There was a need to understand the rapid
    social changes that were occurring throughout
    these societies as they experienced political,
    economic, and social upheavals.
  • What was happening in France, Europe and the
    United States around 1800s that lead to these
    rapid changes in these counties politics,
    economies, and social lives?

  • Answer Industrial revolutions
  • Rural economies gave way to large-scale
    production economies
  • Factories replaced homes as main site for
  • Cities grew producing a multitude of social
  • Number of people seeking work outpaced available
  • Housing shortages developed
  • Crime increased
  • Pollution became a major problem
  • Cities were impersonal

The Early Years
  • Took roots in the 1800s, primarily in France,
    Germany, and Great Britain.
  • These countries had most strongly felt the
    effects of the Industrial Revolution.

The Most Influential Early Sociologist
  • Auguste Comte
  • Herbert Spencer
  • Karl Marx
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Max Weber

Auguste Comte 1798 1857
  • Considered the founder of sociology
  • One of the first to apply the methods of the
    sciences to the study of social life
  • Coined the term sociology
  • Believed social statics hold society together
    and society changes through social dynamics
  • Utilized the functionalist perspective

  • Social Statics What keeps society at
  • Language binds people and allows for consensus
  • Common religious beliefs bind people and is the
    root of social order
  • Men are bound together by the need for the labor
    others provide

  • Social Dynamics
  • Dynamics begin when the functions of the social
    institutions are altered or changed.
  • Change is necessary and inevitable.
  • social dynamics describe the successive and
    necessary stages in the development in the human
    mind and the society.

Herbert Spencer 1820 - 1903
  • Influenced by the views of Charles Darwin
  • Adopted a biological model of society all parts
    work together to sustain the organism
  • Considered social change and unrest to be natural
    occurrences during societys evolution toward
    stability and perfection
  • Therefore, no steps should be taken to correct
    social ills
  • To allow the fittest societies to survive and the
    world to upgrade (Social Darwinism)
  • Coined the term survival of the fittest
  • Utilized the functionalist perspective

Karl Marx 1818 - 1883
  • Did not consider himself to be a sociologist
  • Believed the structure of society is influenced
    by how the economy is organized
  • 2 classes
  • Bourgeoisie/capitalist own the means of
  • Proletariat/workers provide the labor needed to
    produce goods and services
  • Imbalance of power would lead to conflict and
    would only end when the proletariat overthrew the
    bourgeoisie resulting in a classless society in
    which each citizens contribute according to
    his/her ability and is rewarded according to
    his/her needs
  • Founder of the conflict perspective

Emile Durkheim 1858 1917
  • Developed Frances first sociology course
  • One of the first sociologist to systematically
    apply the methods of science to the study of
    society Suicide
  • He saw society as a set of interrelated parts
    however he preferred to view these parts in terms
    of their function example religion in
    maintaining social order
  • He believed that sociologist should only study
    features that were directly observable
  • Utilized functionalist perspective

Max Weber 1864 - 1920
  • Interested in separate groups within society
    rather than society as a whole
  • Believed sociologist should study more than just
    what is directly observable but should also
    uncover the feelings and thoughts of individuals
  • Verstehen (fehr-SHTAY-en) see situations
    through others eyes
  • Ideal type a description comprised of the
    essential characteristics of a feature of

Sociological Perspectives
  • Perspectives on human behavior
  • Functionalism
  • Conflict Theory
  • Interactionist Theory

  • Based on ideals of Comte, Spencer and Durkheim
  • View society as a set of interrelated parts that
    work together to produce a stable social system.
  • Society is held together by consensus
  • View the elements of society in term of their
    function, or positive consequences for society
  • Manifest function intended and recognized
  • Latent function unintended and unrecognized
  • A dysfunction is the negative consequence an
    element has for the stability of a social system.

  • Associated with Karl Marx
  • Focus on the forces that promote competition and
  • Scarce resources causes social conflict
  • Social change is inevitable
  • Topics
  • Power in society
  • Men and women
  • Different ages
  • Races
  • Families

  • Associated with Max Weber
  • Focuses on how individuals interact with one
    another in society such as how they respond to
    one another and the meanings that they attach to
    their actions and the actions of others
  • Primarily interested in how individuals use
    symbols when interacting a symbol is anything
    that represents something else and the meaning is
    agreed upon by society

Section 2 Quiz Be sure to know the following
terms and people 1. Social Darwinism 2.
Function 3. Verstehen 4. Ideal Type 5.
Functionalist Perspective 6. Dysfunctional 7.
Manifest Function 8. Latent Function 9.
Conflict Perspective 10. Interactionist
Perspective 11. Symbol 12. Comte 13. Spencer
14. Marx 15. Durkheim 16. Weber
  • Survival of the Fittest
  • Comte
  • Spencer
  • Marx
  • Durkheim
  • Weber
  • Suicide
  • Social Statics
  • Social Dynamics
  • Charles Darwin
  • Sociology
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Social Darwinism
  • Function
  • Verstehen
  • Ideal type
  • Functionalist Perspective
  • Dysfunctional
  • Manifest Function
  • Latent function
  • Conflict perspective
  • Interactionist perspective
  • Symbol
  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Theory
  • France

Research Process
  • Define the problem
  • Review the literature
  • Form a Hypothesis
  • Choose a Research Design
  • Collect the Data
  • Analyze the Data
  • Present Conclusions

Step 1 Defining the Problem
  • You must select a topic for study and develop
    operational definitions.
  • Operational definitions is a definition that is
    stated in terms of measurable characteristics.
  • Ex Durkheim wished to study suicide rates among
    various groups of individuals. In order to study
    this he needed to define suicide and social
    interaction in terms that were measurable.

Step 2 Reviewing the Literature
  • Sociologist review the published reports of
    studies that have a bearing on their research
  • This provides the researcher with valuable
    insights that help to guide their own research
    but also prevents duplication of research

Step 3 Forming a Hypothesis
  • Hypothesis a statement that predicts the
    relationship between two or more variables.
  • Ex The more family, religious, and community
    bonds group members have, the less likely they
    are to commit suicide.

Step 4 Choosing a Research Design
  • Research design plan for collecting, analyzing,
    and evaluating data.
  • Most of the data collection methods used by
    sociologist fall into four categories Surveys,
    experiments, observational studies, and the
    analysis of existing sources.

Method Definition Advantages Disadvantages
Analysis of Existing Documents (Historical Method And Content Analysis)
Case Study
Step 5 Collecting the Data
  • Once sociologist have developed a research design
    they then follow the design to collect their

Step 6 Analyzing the Data
  • Purpose to determine whether the data supprts
    the research hypothesis.
  • Ex When Durkheim analyzed his data on suicide,
    he found that rates varied among different groups
    within society. Catholics had a lower rate of
    suicide than Protestants and married people,
    particularly those with children were less likely
    than single people to commit suicide.

Step 7 Presenting Conclusion
  • The last step in research is to draw conclusions
    from the data and present those findings to
  • Sociologist usually do this in the form of
    professional journals.

Ethical Issues in Research
  • The American Sociological Association has
    established specific guidelines for research. A
    code of ethics.
  • Why is a code necessary?

Unethical Research
  • Nazi Experiments
  • Milgrams Experiment
  • Tuskegee Syphilis Study
  • Willowbrook Study
  • Laud Humphreys Tearoom Study

  • The institution review boards were established.

  • IRB insures the following guidelines are meet.
  • 1. risk to subjects are minimized
  • 2. risk to subjects are reasonable in relation to
    anticipated benefits,
  • 3. selection of subjects is equitable, i.e. fair
  • 4. informed consent is sought form each subject
    or his/her legally authorized representative,
  • 5. informed consent is appropriately documented,
  • 6. when appropriate, the research plan makes
    provisions for monitoring data collection,
  • 7. privacy and confidentiality of research
    subjects is appropriately protected, and
  • 8. when some or all of the subjects are likely to
    be vulnerable to coercion or undue influence,
    additional safeguards have been included.

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Using Statistics
  • Sociologist use mathematical procedures,
    involving statistics to organize, analyze and
    interpret the data they collect.
  • Statistics helps sociologist to make sense of
    their research findings.

Understanding Frequency
  • One of the most common forms of statistical
    analysis is frequency distribution.
  • A frequency distribution allow you to see how
    often certain pieces of data occur.

  • Sometimes a research may substitute specific
    numerical spans, called intervals, for individual

Papers Sold Frequency
15-19 2
20-24 7
25-29 1
  • Fifteen people were asked to state the number of
    hours they exercise in a seven day period. The
    results of the survey are listed below. Make a
    frequency table to display the data.
  • 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 11, 11,
    12, 13

Frequency Distribution Table
Hours of Exercise Tally Frequency
0 2 I 1
3 5 I I 2
6 8 I I I I I 5
9 11 I I I I I 5
12 14 I I 2
  • Often sociologist make graphs or charts to
    visually display their data.

Let Try it!!!
  • Make a graph of the data outlined below in the
    frequency distribution table.

Hours of Exercise Tally Frequency
0 2 I 1
3 5 I I 2
6 8 I I I I I 5
9 11 I I I I I 5
12 14 I I 2
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Measure of Central Tendancy
  • Mode piece of data that occurs the most
  • Mean the average
  • Median piece of data in the middle

  • be careful with mean it can be distorted by
    extremes (outliers)
  • Example five waiters earn 300, 350, 325,
    390, and 600. What is the average weakly salary
    of these employees?
  • Would the mean be representative of the waiters
    wages in this case?

  • In the wait staff scenario the median would be a
    better representation of the salaries because it
    is not affected by extreme scores.
  • Example five waiters earn 300, 350, 325,
    390, and 600. What is the median salary?

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Measures of Variability
  • Measures of variability tell researchers how much
    variability (how far apart they are) there is
    among the scores in a group of numbers.
  • Sociologist typically use two measures range,
    and standard deviation.

  • The mathematical difference between the highest
    and lowest scores in a frequency distribution.
  • If the highest grade in a class is 100 and the
    lowest is 60 the range is 40. (100-6040).
  • The mean for two sets of data can be the same but
    the range be different.
  • EX Consider the following batting averages of
    two baseball teams
  • Team A 210 250 285 300 340
  • Team B 270 270 275 285 285
  • What is the mean for each team?
  • What is the range for each team?
  • What does this tell us?

  • Range tells us how similar the subjects in each
    group are to one another in terms of what is
    being measured.
  • The batting abilities of team B are more alike
    than team A.

Standard Deviation
  • Standard Deviation The Standard Deviation is a
    measure of how spread out the numbers are.
  • The higher the variance or SD, the more spread
    out the distribution is.

Why is Standard Deviation Important?
  • using the Standard Deviation we have a "standard"
    way of knowing what is normal, and what is not.

Its not that complicated

Lets Try it!!!!
Correlational Research
  • Detects relationships between variables.
  • Does NOT say that one variable causes another.

There is a positive correlation between ice cream
and murder rates. Does that mean that ice cream
causes murder?
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Measured using a correlation coefficient.
  • A statistical measure of the extent to which two
    factors relate to one another

How to Read a Correlation Coefficient
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  • Lets Try it!!!
  • For the correlation coefficients below indicate
    the strength and direction of the relationship.
  • -0.30 a weak negative correlation.
  • 1.
  • 0.70
  • -0.87
  • -0.50
  • 0
  • Which of the correlation coefficients above is
    the strongest?

Lets Try It!!!
If there is a correlation what type of
correlation is it?
  • Section 3 Quiz
  • Be able to identify the research methods used by
  • Be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses
    of these methods and which research method would
    be best for studying a particular research
  • Be able to calculate measures of central tendency
    and measures of variance.
  • Be able to interpret correlation coefficients and
    scatter plots to make conclusion about the
    variables relationship.
  • Be able to draw a scatter plot.
  • Know what is meant when we say something has a
    positive correlation, negative correlation, or is
    not correlated.
  • Be able to identify the stronger/weaker