Chapter 1


Terms in this set (...)

thinking like a sociologist
-applying analytical tools to something you have done without much conscious thought
-reconsider your assumptions about society
-question what you have taken for granted
-making the familiar, strange
Sociological Imagination
what? who? pro? con?
the ability to connect the most basic, intimate aspects of an individual's life to seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces.

C. Wright Mills argued that we need to use out sociological imagination to think critically about the world around us.

pro: can be comforting to know we are not alone in our experiences.
con: view our personal lives as merely ordinary.
social institution
a complet group of interdependent positions that, together, perform a social role and reproduce themselves over time; also defined in a narrow sense as any institution in a society that works to shape the behavior of the groups/people in it.
who and why
according to comte, positivism arose out of a need to make moral sense of the social order in a time of declining religious authority.

comte claimed that a secular basis for morality did exist-- that is, we could determine right fro wrong without reference to higher powers or other concepts.
the 3 historical, epistemological stages
1. theological stage- society seemed to be the result of the divine will. everything was God's plan. scholars may consult the bible.

2. metaphysical stage- enlightenment thinkers saw human kind's behavior as governed by natural, biological instincts. to understand society, we need to strop away the layers of society to better comprehend how our basic drives and natural instincts governed and established the foundation for the surrounding world.

3. the scientific stage- we would develop a social physics of sorts in order to identify the scientific laws that govern human behavior. Comte was convinced that we could understand how social institutions worked, how well we relate to one another, and the overall structure of societies if we merely ascertained their "equations" or underlying logic.
Harriet Martineau
-translated Comte into english
-one of the earliest feminist social scientists writing in english language.
-in education, she said parents get too much control and it doesn't ensure quality.
-author of the first methods of sociology book.
Classical Sociological theory people
karl marx, max weber, and emily durkheim. some would also credit George Simmel.
Karl Marx
-his writings provided the theoretical basis for communism
-historical materialism-- elaborated a theory of what drives history.
-Marx believed that it was primarily the conflicts between classes that drove social change throughout history.
-saw history as man's struggle to gain control of and later dominate his natural environment.
Max Weber
-believed Marx went too far in being culture, ideas, religions and the like as merely and effect and not a cause of how societies evolve.
argued that the religious transformation that occurred during the protestant reformation in the 16th and early 17th centuries laid the groundwork for modern capitalism by upending the medieval ethic of virtuous poverty and replacing it with an ideology that saw riches as a sign of divine providence.
-investing back into the business; sparked capitalism. :iron cage"
Max Weber.
the basis of interpretive sociology in which researchers imagine themselves experiencing the life positions of the social actors they want to understand rather than treating those people as objects to be examined.
Emile Durkheim
-divisions of labor in society.
-he argued that the division of labor didn't just affect work and productivity, bur had social and moral consequences as well.
-suicide. he argues that one of the main social forces leading to suicide is the sense of formlessness resulting from drastic changed in living conditions of arrangements, which he calls anomie.
-often considered the founding practitioner of positivist sociology (even thought the concept originated with comte.
4 types of suicide
low integration, high integration, low regulation, and high regulation. suicides due to high integration are known as altruistic suicides aka suicide bombers.
a sense of aimlessness or despair that arises when er can no longer reasonably expect life to be predictable; too little social regulations; normlessness
positivist sociology
a strain within sociology that believes the social world can be described and predicted by certain describable relationships (akin to social physics)
george simmel
-established what we call formal sociology. Sociology of pure numbers. ex: how a group of 2 is different than a group of 3
-his work was influential in the development of urban sociology and cultural sociology
-his work with small group interactions served as an intellectual precedent for later sociologists who came to study micro interactions. provided formal definitions for small and large groups, a party, a stranger, and the poor.
Chicago school
-focussed on empirical research
-basic premise: human behaviors and personalities are shaped by their social and physical environments, a concept known as social ecology.
-the researchers of the school were concerned with how race and ethnic divisions played out in cities.
who first described immigrant assimilations into american society?
robert park
charles horton cooley
-"social self"-- how the social environments shape the individual
-cooley is best known for the looking glass self.
the looking glass self
-the self emerges from an interactive social process. we envision how others perceive us, we develop a self concept that is in constant interactions with the surrounding social world.
-y reflecting out vision of how others perceive us, we develop a self concept that is in constant interaction with the surrounding social world.
George Herbert Mead
described how the self itself develops over the course of childhood as the individual learns to take point of view of specific others in specific contexts (such as games) and eventually internalizes that he called the "generalized other."
key too cooley and mead's work
the notion that it is through social interaction that meaning emerges.
W.E.B Du Bios
-most important black sociologist of the time
-first african american to receive PHD from harvard.
-first sociologist to undertake ethnography in the african american community.
-double consciousness
double consciousness
a sense of always looking at ones self through the eyes of others.
jane adams.
-founder of social work
-won nobel prize
-founded hull house
hull house
an institution that attempted to link the ideas of the university to the poor through a full-service community center, staffed by students and professionals, which offered educational services and aid and promoted sports and the arts.
the theory that various social institutions and processes in society exist to serve some important or necessary function to keep society running.

functionalists view social inequalities as a device by which societies ensure that the most important positions are consciously filled by them most qualified persons. Durkheim

C. Wright Mills criticized Parsons and functionalist theory for reinforcing the status quo and inequalities rather than challenging how such systems evolved and offering alternatives
the notion that society is like a living organism, each part of which serves an important role in keeping society together
Conflict theory
the idea that conflict between competing interests is the basic, animating force of social change in society in general.
-draws on the ideas of marx
-through revolution and war, not evolution. today, sociologists believe change can result from revolution AND evolution

according to conflict theorists, inequality exists a say result of political struggles among different groups in society.
-shares ideas with marxist theory
-many theories that all have in common an emphasis on women experiences and a brief that sociology and society in general subordinate women
-emphasize equality
-want women represented in sociological studies
-define sex and gender
symbolic interactionism
erving goffman

a micro level theory in which shared meanings, orientations and assumptions form the basic motivations behind peoples actions.
midrange theory
robert merton

a theory that attempts to predict how certain social institutions tend to function
it is neither macro sociology or micro
history vs sociology
sociology is generally not concerned with the uniqueness of phenomena but rather with the commonalities that can be abstracted across cases
anthropology vs sociology
sociologists study "us" whereas anthropologists study "them" (other cultures or societies)