the scientific study of human social life, groups, and societies with emphasis on modern, industrialized systems.; factually supported ideas based on research; we can know ourselves better by studying others
have special tools for looking at human behavior
Putting things in a wider context; Seeing daily activities as a reflection of larger social issues
Brought about Sociology in the 19th century; Scientists began applying the scientific method to real world problems
The Father of Sociology; coined the term "sociology"; argued that reliance on superstition and speculation was inadequate in understanding society
thought family, religion, government are all parts of one organism—society; believed that governments should leave social problems alone
Pioneered the systematic application of scientific principles to sociology; First to use statistical methods to test hypotheses; Studied suicide
Survival of the Fittest
How Herbert Spencer thought society would correct their own issues
Welfare of Humanity
August Comte believed sociology could contribute to it by using science to understand & predict human behavior
the degree to which people are tied to a group; Emile Durkheim believed it influenced suicide
believed that economic systems determine beliefs and values; Society is not cohesive-it is divided by class differences;
Marx believed all human history had it; the ruling class seeks to exploit workers and working class seeks to overcome exploitation
Marx believed it bred conflict
believed that ideas and values have as much impact on social change as economic factors;
Advance of Bureaucracy
Weber felt it was inevitable; Society becomes more efficient but poses problems for democratic participation; Rationalization of social & economic life is the main dynamic of our development
believed that Sociology must include analysis of women's lives; focused on ignored issues including marriage, children, religious life, race relations; argued that while studying a society, one must focus on all of its aspects: political, religious, social institutions
co-founded the Hull House in Chicago; dealt methodically with array of social ills such as poverty and child labor
was the first African American to receive a doctorate at Harvard; worked on racial equality and created the NAACP
Main Theoretical Approaches
Functionalist, Conflict, Marxism, Symbolic Interactionism; Feminism; Rational Choice; Postmodernism
Sociologists use Main Theoretical Approaches
to take a macro view ("the big picture" large scale social systems) and/or micro view ("zeroing in" face to face interactions) of human society
Symbolic Interactionism Approach
A micro view; study of language is crucial; People assign meanings to each other's words and actions; All interactions involve an exchange of symbols: we look for clues on how to behave and how to interpret others' behavior; Behavior is fluid and always changing
Frees us from our limited experiences; used in Symbolic Interactionism
How the response to a person's actions is determined; used in Symbolic Interactionism
Society is made up of interdependent parts that perform functions for society as a whole; Society is held together by social consensus; Social change is seen as harmful or "dysfunctional."
the majority agree on what would be good for everybody, maintaining order & stability in society; used in the Functionalist Perspective
Portrays society as always changing and marked by conflict; Emphasizes that different groups compete with each other for scarce resources; e.g.: men and women; one religious group or another
puts more emphasis on conflict, class divisions, power, and ideology. The conflict is between the classes: the working class [proletariat] are in conflict with the ruling class [bourgeoisie]; macro level; Capitalist Societies
are based on some people wanting to make as much money as possible no matter how they treat people to get this. They believe that the ruling class make all the money as they exploit the working class and pay them low wages; Marxism Perspective
want to generalize their ideas to the whole of society
believed that there would eventually be a revolution and the working class will realize they are being exploited and get rid of the ruling class and capitalism. A new society will be created where there will be no classes, no private property and everyone will be equal. This type of society is called communism
A form of conflict theory that explains human life in terms of the experiences of women; Gender relations and gender inequality are central to the study of society
are viewed as oppressed - restrained, subordinated, controlled, and abused by a male dominated society known as patriarchy; Feminism Perspective
Rational Choice Perspective
Among the different variables that our behavior has, self interest could be the single variable that can explain Society; useful but cannot explain emotional responses like love
idea that history leads to progress has collapsed; Now, Society is dominated by "The New Media",TV programs, videos, the Web; is pluralistic and diverse, disconnected from the past; Overall narratives of history, or society do not make any more sense
Different Theoretical Approaches
are not incompatible; each offers a different view of society that when brought together, they enrich our sociological knowledge of the world
Sociology can help
To see the word from many perspectives; To write better and more informed policies; To assess the effects of policies; To increase self-understanding
Sociology IS a Science
Sociology employs systematic methods of investigation; uses the evaluation of theories based on evidence and logical arguments; is not modeled on the natural sciences; the studying of humans is fundamentally different.
Steps of the Research Process
1. Defining the research problem 2. Reviewing the literature (evidence) 3. Formulate a Hypothesis 4. Select a research design 5. Carrying out the research 6. Interpreting the results 7. Reporting the research findings
Defining the Research Problem
Step 1 in Research Process: Selecting a topic for research.
Reviewing the Literature
Step 2 in Research Process: Familiarize with the existing research on the topic.
Formulate a Hypothesis
Step 3 in Research Process: Making the problem precise, such as, What do I intend to test? What is the relationship between the variables?
Select a Research Design
Step 4 in Research Process: choose one or more research methods
Carrying out the Research
Step 5 in Research Process: Collect data, record information.
Interpreting the Results
Step 6 in Research Process: work out with the implications of the data collected.
Reporting the Research Findings
Step 7 in Research Process: What is their significance? How do my findings relate to previous findings?
Types of Questions
Factual, Comparative, Developmental, Theoretical
(empirical) collecting data. ie. What happened?
relating one social context to another, within a society or between different societies. ie. Did this happened everywhere?
comparing societies' past and present. ie. Has this happened over time?
interpreting what facts mean.
Major Research Methods
Produces information that describes our lives; Helps develop new theories; Includes: ethnography, surveys and sampling, experiments; always analyzing the existing data
is the study of people firsthand; Using participant observation or interviewing; Investigator spends time living or working with community
are questionnaires given to selected group of people
concentrates on a small proportion of overall group
tests hypothesis; The researcher manipulates variables so that their influence can be determined; A situation is created in which researcher determines if independent variable caused dependent variable
checks validity of theories
Other Research Methods
Life Histories; Comparative Research; Historical Analysis; Triangulation
Assembling biographical material about individuals
Comparing various groups in different societies
Studying past events directly through interviewing.
or written record
Because all research methods have limitations, researchers often combine several research methods in order to check and supplement material obtained from the others
Researchers should ensure welfare of participants; Researchers must be honest and disclose all details of their research; Sociologists should not do research that could be harmful to society
A set of widely shared beliefs
How you interact with others in accordance with your role/ status
What you do in your status
Your position in society, the prestige that goes along
Society's Building Blocks
Social Institutions, Groups, Roles, Status
Differetn roles attached to one status
Two conflictin roles from two different statuses
Two conflicting roles from the same status
Culture & Social Development
The process of changing from a simple to a complex society
can be classified into categories based on technologies used to produce food
hunting-gathering, pastoral, horticultural, agricultural
Modern World Societies
industrialized, communists, developing, newly industrializing, postindustrial
Based on using food provided by nature every day. Simple tools: spears, hands, sticks. Oldest and most egalitarian society in the world, simple and basic. Small communities.
Moving from one place in their search for food—nomads. Example: The Kung community in South Africa
Based on the domestication of animal herds and the use of their products as primary source of food. Groups move to where there is pasture for their animals to eat but they are more settlers than nomads. Independent and warlike societies; watching their land boundaries. A few remain in deserts of North and East Africa, Middle East.
The cultivation of domesticated crops in small gardens using hand tools. Slash & burn the field system. People with permanent settlements, sexual division of labor. Produce a surplus of food—PRESTIGE by possessing more than one garden. Warfare is common. Practice of torture. A few remain in tropical forests of Asia, Australia, South America & Africa.
Intensive strategy of production:
more labor, use of fertilizers, control of water supply, use of animals. Use of the plow—agricultural revolution—larger crops. Permanent settlements—emergence of large populations towns and cities as well as hierarchies. Great inequality, centralization of power
Appeared about 250 years ago. Production of goods through mass employment in business and commercial operations. Based on industrial production and mostly they are free enterprise; technological advances occur more faster. Most of the people (90 percent) live in cities & big towns and work in factories, offices & shops. Social life becomes impersonal & anonymous, many encounters are with strangers. Political systems are more developed. Nation-states where government has a large impact on citizen's lives.
Transition to Postindustrialism
More people moving away from big cities. Less faith in "science" to provide answers. High technology has transformed the economy. Service Oriented Societies—marketing & advertising; design. Proliferation of Information Societies—internet (blogs) cells (twitter & texting); outsourcing. Biotechnology—food production more efficient. Increasing power and freedom to individuals but impersonal relations; shallow lives; instant gratification. Greater gender equality
the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects that are passed from one generation to the next; the way of life of individual members or groups within a society
the material objects or goods that distinguish a group of people from others
a group's way of thinking and doing
is a system, a collection of interrelationships that connects individuals sharing the same territory.
Culture in Society
serves as an important source of conformity within society. Members learn norms in childhood. Social control is used when a person fails to conform
objective facts, like science
subjective and unverifiable ideas
Principles or rules of social life people observe. written and unwritten rules to control a society's behavior. Society enforces these norms through sanctions
Abstract ideals shared by a group. socially shared ideas about what is good and desirable in life. We are likely to abide by norms if we believe in their value.
weak norms that specify expectations about proper behavior If someone does not follow, we may raise our eyebrows but not send them to jail.
norms that constitute demands on our behavior. Mores are often turned into laws. If there is no normative support the laws are hard to enforce (e.g. teenage drinking).
word, gesture, music, etc
holds that language predisposes us to see the world in a certain way. Critics argue that language only influences how we think
Diverse cultures within a society. Different languages or cultural patterns
Subcultures offer opportunities
Can reject prevailing values and norms. Can promote alternatives to dominant culture. Can act as force of change
the process by which different cultures are absorbed into mainstream culture (melting pot).
calls for respecting cultural diversity and promoting equality of different cultures (salad bowl).
is judging other cultures in terms of one's own standards. Is the attitude that one's own culture is superior to those of other peoples. Sociologists try to avoid this. It can be the glue that holds society together but can lead to violence.
is judging a society by its own standards. Is the belief that culture must be understood on its own terms.
Sociologists believe a culture must be studied in terms of its own meanings and values. Counteracts ethnocentrism. Can be beneficial for U.S. businesses
U.S. Cultural Values
hard work, freedom, democracy, equality, success, progress, morality, external conformity, humanitarianism, patriotism, effiency, science, in-group superiority, individualism, material comfort
are common features of human behavior found in all societies such as: Food-getting technology, Housing, Language, Marriage, Art, Incest taboos, Cooking, Medicine, Joking plus 60 others
Increasing Cultural Conflict?
Differences between cultures are real and basic (e.g. language). World is shrinking, increasing interaction between people. Economic modernization is destroying local traditions. Western ideas often conflict with Islamic and other cultures.
Increased global communications and economic interdependence represent more than the growth of world unity. Forces that produce: Television, Unified global economy, Global citizens, International organizations, Electronic communications.
can promote a global culture or strengthen nationalism and traditional cultural values. Time and distance reorganized, bringing us closer together. But can also promote a rise of nationalism, bringing ethnic conflict and ethnic pride.