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The study of human society and social behavior. More specifically sociologists are concerned with how and why people as members of a group act the way they do toward each other.
Founder of sociology. Believed there was a hierarchy to science and knowledge got more difficult as you go up.
Why is it more problematic to study humans than it is bacteria?
Because humans start to change their behavior when they realize they are being studied.
dealt with problems of social order, argued that societies are held together by the shared beliefs and values of its members
Conflict theorist who believed in the process of competition and change. Believed there was a tension and struggle going on in society for social change.
Conflict theorist concerned with everyday social behavior, how is it that we know how to act in certain situations?
1st female sociologist, many argue that she is the founder. Wrote dozens of books. 1st to translate Comte's work into English. Was ignored at the time because she was a woman.
W.E.B. Du Bois
1st black sociologist, harvard educated, pioneered work looking at experience of black people. Founded the Atlanta School of Sociology. Co-founder of NAACP. Well received globally but not in the US.
Considering the Broader social context when looking at something sociologically
1. Consider the social location of people (where people are located in history and in a particular society).
2.Consider the relationship of one group to another.
3. Consider the external influences (people's experiences) which are internalized and become part of their thinking and motivation.
Steps in Sociological Work
1. Wonder-what are you going to think about?
2.Conceptualization- narrowing your topic down and asking specific questions.
Theorize- stating how and why concepts are related.
Methods to study Sociology
1. Surveys- involves asking people a series of questions about the research, often times ignored, don't know how accurate it is.
2. Participant Observation- participating in the proceedings but with a critical eye.
3. Secondary analysis- involves analyzing the data that someone else has gathered.
4.Documents- involves obtaining info from books, govt records, newspapers, etc.
5. Unobtrusive measures- a technique that involves observing people without their knowledge or consent
6. Experiments- involve experimental and control group
Work of Humphreys
Study on individuals frequenting tea rooms. Example of dangerous unobtrusive measures.
Did an obedience experiment. Individuals were either teachers or students. Teachers administered electric shocks. Showed that people will do what they are told to do. Forced people to look at themselves- was problem with experiment.
Just concerned with how things function.Society is composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability within society. This stability is threatened by dysfunctional acts and institutions.
View world as divided by haves and have nots.Society is characterized by social inequality; social life is a struggle for scarce resources. Social arrangements benefit some groups at the expense of others.
Symbolic Interactionist Theory
Perspective has impact on how we behave.Society is the sum of the interactions of people and groups. Behavior is learned in interaction with other people; how people define a situation becomes the foundation for how they behave.
A relatively self sufficient and self sustaining group of people who are united by social relationships and who live in a particular territory.
The complex pattern of living that humans have developed and that they pass from one generation to the next. Accounts for our success as a species.
Norms (a category of nonmaterial culture)
Social rules or guidelines that specify what behavior is appropriate in a given situation.
Socially forbidden act, sometimes there are laws against but so repugnant it gets its own category.
Values (a category of nonmaterial culture)
What justify norms. Def: Socially shared ideas about what is good, right, and desirable. More abstract than norms and add cohesiveness to society.
Roles (a category of nonmaterial culture)
A collection of norms associated with a particular position in society.
Language (a category of nonmaterial culture)
Our most important characteristic as a species. Def: A socially structured system of sound patterns with specific and arbitrary meaning.
Aspects of language
Lets us pass on info and discuss past, present, and future. Unique to humans as far as we know. Made of symbols (anything that can socially come to stand for something else).
Functions of Symbols
1. Allow people to deal with the material and social world by allowing them to name, categorize and remember the objects they encounter.
2. Improve people's ability to perceive the environment (ex: 3 ft)
3. Improve our ability to think.
4. Increase the ability to solve problems.
5. Allow us to transcend or go beyond time, space, culture, and individuality.
6. Allow us to imagine abstract concepts.
7. Symbols help people to avoid being enslaved by their environment.
The peculiar and distinctive character of interaction, as it takes place between human beings. Peculiar part is that people interpret other interactions based on context.
A group whose values and behaviors are so distinct that they set them apart from the general population. Ex: Amish
Occurs as the result of coming into contact with a radically different culture that challenges our assumptions
The Looking Glass Self theory- the process whereby human development is created through interaction with others.
Steps in the Looking Glass Self
1. We imagine how we look to others.
2. We interpret others reaction or how they educate us.
3. We develop a self concept such as pride or mortification.
Mead's 3 stages of play
1. Children mimic the gestures and words of others.
2. Second Stage- occurs about the age of 3, children start to play the roles of specific people.
3. In the 1st years of school they become involved in organized team games and they learn the role of each position.
1. Sensori Motor Stage- A child's understanding is limited to direct contact with the environment.
2. The pre-operational stage- children develop the ability to use symbols.
3.The concrete Operational stage- reasoning ability becomes more developed as does an understanding of numbers and causation.
4.Formal operational stage- beginning of abstract thinking and imagination.
Argued that personality consists of 3 elements:
1. Id- your inborn drive for self gratification (what you'd really like to have happen)
2. Super ego-your conscious of culture within you.
3. Ego- the mediator between the two, balances the needs of the id and society.
Socialization by Gender
Experts have noted that parents often treat kids differently based on gender. Parents physically handle kids differently based on sex.
Family as an agent of socialization
Gives us our norms, role social class of family plays in socialization of a child
Daycare as an agent of socialization
newer agent, children end up with values and beliefs of daycare
School as an agent of socialization
gives you your peer groups. 1st time kids are exposed to socialization that is different from families.
2nd stage of socialization. 13- 19 years old. Time of childhood exploration and rebellion. Rebellion part is actually a social invention in Western culture.
Early middle years
3rd stage of socialization. 20-45 years of age. When people are trying to establish a career and start a family. Education in this part is a western thing.
Later middle years
Mid 40s to early 60s. People often change careers here and or divorce. Empty nest occurs. Begin thinking about what you want to do with the 2nd half of your life.
Last stage of socialization. Retire, slow down. Today this is not always the case as people work much later on in life.
Researcher Edward Hall noted that people have a different concept of distance around the world--how close you stand to someone.
1. Intimate distance- zero to 18 inches. For someone who knows you really well.
2. Personal distance- 18 inches to 4 feet. The ATM distance.
Symbolic Interactionist. Theory of Dramaturgy aka staging behavior. He argued that we are all actors in the social world putting on a stage performance. We divide our world up into front stage and back stage. Front--What we let the world see of us. Back-- your private life.
Pertains to the study of social structures, institutions, groups, organizations, and societies.
the traits of groups as opposed to individual members themselves. The specific people of a social structure are interchangeable but the function of the social structure remains the same.
A stable cluster of values, norms, statuses, and roles that develop around a basic need of society.
One in which your position is based on your own efforts. Open systems--your own efforts allow you to succeed or fail.
Def: a postion in a social structure.
1. It helps us get a long with one another
2. It may vary depending on the situation we are in.
Work of Tonnies
Gesellschaft-refers to a large population or a large city in which relationships are impersonal and based on functional need.
Mechanical solidarity-social bonds based on collective conformity to tradition.
Organic solidarity-social bonds based on specialization and interdependence.
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