- concerned with understanding the relationship between indv and society
- * how does soc shape indv?
- * in turn, how do indv "make society"
- concerned with understanding "forces" particularly social forces
- social forces are REAL and real in their CONSEQUENCES
- why is there order in the world? (as opposed to disorder/chaos)
- *think systems, organizations, bureaucracies
- what is taken for granted
- *what do people assume to be true?
- *does commonsense really make sense?
- are forces because they shape, form, and conform indv in society
- *think in terms of "templates" or "molds"
- *the way we live follows a certain pattern
- ~ soc answers the Q: what are these patterns?
Natural Forces/ Social Forces
- just as there are NAT forces, there are SOC forces operative in the social world
- Like nat forces, soc forces are often invisible
- but they are real and real in their consequences
- Soc forces shape the way we think, see, and experience life
- the scientific study of soc life
- studies the relationship btwn indv and soc structures
- includes micro-level analyses focusing on indv, such as studies of sm grps and attitude change
- includes macro-level analyses focusing on soc structures, such as studies of political and econ systems
sets of explanations/ attempt to account for something
building blocks of theories, important contributing ideas that make up a theory
Birth and evolution of sociology
- social upheavals/revolutions
- *est order being overturned
- enlightenment and science
- *control/ progress
- industrialization/ urbanization (rise of capitalism)
- *social dislocation
- *transistion from agriculture to industrial
- many lived on the cup of the transition from pre-modernity to modernity
- they observed soc changes affected ppl and societies on a massive scale
August Comte (1798-1857)
- born in Fr. & heavily influence by the Fr. rev.
- coined the term sociology
- proposed applying the scientific methods used in the natural science to the soc sciences
- called this approach positivism
C. Wright Mills
the sociological imagination is the capacity for indv to understand the relationship btwn their indv lives and broad soc forces that influence them
- being able to see the link btwn:
- history <-> biography
- private troubles<-> pub issues
- indv lives <-> societal forces
- "our lives are not purely personal, but are lived out in the context of social circumstances that affect us all."
- soc ctrl
- the soc structure of reality
- soc structure
- soc change
- explain the recurrent themes
- structural-functional theory
- conflict theory
- interactionist theory
Theme: social control
- how is soc ctrl maintained in a society?
- how pwrful is soc ctrl?
- how far would you go in response to soc ctrl
- Would you let some one take pics of you naked?
Posture photos & social control
1000s of students at some of the nation's most prestigious universityies had these pics taken, incl George Bush Sr., Hilary Clinton, and many others
How can social control be so powerful?
- the great majority of social control is internalized social control in which people do thing because they believe it is the right thing to do, not because they are forced to do so.
- Emile Durkheim (structural-functionalism)
Theme: Social structure
- soc structures are enduring, relatively stable patterns of soc behavior.
- soc structures constrain soc behaviors even behaviors we might think are solely indv.
- EX: consider suicide. Suicide is not just a highly personal indv act, but is influenced by soc factors
- rates differ by country and gender
- Russell Sorgi (1942)
- *the woman was described as a divorcee. Sorgi's camera caught her as she plunged to her death
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
- social facts: regular patterns of behavior that exist independently of indv and constrain indv behavior
- conducted a classic study in which he found suicide to be related to soc integration of indv in a lgr society (EX: egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide)
- developed the structural-functional perspective
Structural functional Theory
- Structures (some social structures lead to important consequences)
- Soc consequences ( the consequences, in turn, help societies survive)
- Society (So societies, that survive are more likely to have these structures)
Structural-Functional Theory Example: Families
- Families (families have important consequences like socializing children)
- Socializing children (Well-socialized children help societies survive)
- Society (So societies that survive are more likely to have families, because those lacking families are unlikely to survive)
- AKA the consensus perspective
- *Social order is good
- *social integration: what can tie ppl into their society?
- views individuals as objects (instead of subjects)
- Humans- impacted by soc structure beyond their ctrl
- No agency
- social facts: beyond/ operates independently from indv
- Durkheim argued that crime/deviance was a necessary and function aspect of society.
- Crime was "healthy"!
- indv, though constrained by soc circumstances, can make decisions and take actions that influence their own lives and those of others.
- Symbols are used to communicate meaning btwn ppl
- emergent properties are important characteristics of groups that cannot be reduced to some simple combination of characteristics of indv
Theme: The social construction of reality
- ppl offer a "definition of the situation"- a statement or action that explicitly suggest the meaning the actor would like others to attribute to their actions
- competing defs of the situation are reconciled to produce a "negotiated order"- a shared meaning of the situation agreed upon by all participants.
- since the meaning of soc life is negotiated in a soc process amg participants, reality is not directly experienced by indv so much as it is socially constructed
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931)
- son of a new England minister
- taught at the Univ of Chicago
- developed symbolic interactionist perspective
- believe ppl can interact by taking the role of the other
- Symbolic: words, gestures, objects, ect, that communicate meaning
- highly contextual
- the conventions of relating
Focus of Interactionist theory
- Focus on micro-level
- indv, thoughts, behaviors, meaning, ect,
- day to day stuff (like interaction)
- AKA the sociology of everyday life
- an attempt to gain a subjective understanding
- the idea of understanding from the POV of "being in your shoes"
- factors in: culture, socialization, & shared ideas
- Humans have agency:
- not "simply tossed about" by structures
- humans are constrained:they respond to soc rule and can modify them
- can influence their own lives (subjects not objects)
Theme: Social inequality
There is great inequality both within societies and btwn societies
Examples of social inequality
- top 10% of US population own 91% of all securities
- the avg income in the US is 100s, even 1000s of times lgr than the avg income in some developing countries
- the per capita consumption in developed countries is more than 10x lrg than the per capita consumption in developing countries
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
- born in Germany, spent most of his life in Britain
- influence by the industrial rev
- believed that human history was the history of class conflict
- father of the conflict perspective
- society consists of grps competing for scarce resources
- what appears on the surface to be cooperation merely mask the struggle for power
- social structures persist in society
- *serve the interest of wealth & pwrful
Marx's social theory
- economic determinism
- means of production: who owns it and who doesn't?
- *owners: bourgeoisie
- *non-owners- proletariat (have to sell labor)
Why don't people free themselves from control?
- False consciousness:
- lack of awareness
- failure to recognize one's own oppression
- adopting and seeing as natural the very views and ideas that subjugate you
Critique of conflict
- conflict overstated: is it really inherent in all types of relationships?
- focus on inequalities, differentials of pwr on all scales
Theme: social change
- soc change is a pervasive aspect of soc life
- soc change occurs more quickly in some societies than in others... Why?
- German son of a successful Protestant entrepreneur
- argued modern life was experiencing increasing rationality
- traditional organizations were being superceeded by bureaucracies
- the Protestant work ethic encourage the rise of capitalism
- soc life is based on rational action guided by subjective understanding (verstehen) anchored in shared cultural ideas)