the special point of view of sociology that sees general patterns of society in the lives of particular people
C. W Mills
The sociological imaginiation brings people together to create change by transforming personal problems into public issues.
The Origins of Sociology
Sociology was born in response to wide-reaching changes in Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Three changes - the rise of an industrial economy, the explosive growth of cities, and the emergence of new political ideas made people pay attention to how society operates.
The new discipline of sociology
was born in England, France and Germany where the changes were greatest.
A theory states how facts are related, weaving observations into insight and understanding. The job of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world.
In building theory, sociologist face two questions
What issues should we study? How should we connect the facts?
Three major theoretical approaches:
1) the structural-functional approach 2) the social-conflict approach 3) symbolic-interaction approach
is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.
is a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change.
a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals.
Auguste Comte's contribution came in applying the scientific approach. Comte's approach is called positivism, a way of understanding based on science.
Robert K. Merton
expanded our understanding of the concept of social function by pointing out that any social structure probably has many functions. He distinguished between manifest functions and latent functions.
They study of suicide, found that some categories fo people were more likely than others to commit suicide.
(1860-1935) was a sociological pioneer whose contributions began in 1889 when she helped found Hull House, a Chicago settlement house that provided assistance to immigrant families. Addams spoke out on issues involving immigration and the pursuit of peace. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
(1802-1876) is regarded as the first woman sociologist. In 1853 translated the writings of Auguste Comte from French to English. Published writings on the evils of slavery and argued for laws to protect factory workers, defending workers rights to unionize. Concerned about the position of women in society and fought for changes in education policy so women could look forward to more in life than marriage and raising children.
W.E. B Du Bois
(1868-1963) Born to a poor Masschusetts family, enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville, TN, and then at Harvard University, where he earned the first doctorate awarded by that university to a person of color. Spoke out against racial separation and was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Marx's materialist approach claims that societies are defined by their economic systems. He traced conflict between social classes, from "ancient" societies (masters and slaves) to agrarian societies (nobles and serfs) to industrial-capitalist societies (capitalists and proletarians).
There are two basic requirements 1) Apply the sociological perspective 2) Be curious and ask questions about the world around us.
Common Sense vs. Scientifc Evidence
Scientific evidence sometimes challenges our common sense. Example: "Most poor people don't want to work" It is not what we do not know that gets us into trouble as much as things we do know that are not true. We all have been brought up believing widely accepted truths, being bombarded by expert advice, and feeling pressure to accept the opinions of people around us. We need to evaluate more critically what we see, read and hear.
Reliability refers to consistency in measurement. A measurement is reliable if repeated measurements give the same result time after time. But consistency does not guarantee validity.
Cause and Effect
a relationship in which change in one variable causes change in another. Example: Studying hard for an exam results in a high grade.
The variable that causes the change (how much you study) is called the independent variable.
The variable that changes (the exam grade) is called the dependent variable. Allows us to predict the outcome of future events.
Research can harm as well as help subjects or communities. For this reason, the American Sociological Association (ASA) - the major professional association of sociologist of North America - established formal guidelines for conducting research (1997).
Research Ethics - Sociologist must:
a) strive to be both skillfull and fairminded in their work. b) Must disclose all research findings, without omitting significant data. c) They should make their results available to other sociologist (for replicate study) d) make sure subjects are not harmed e) protect the privacy f) must include in their published results the sources of all financial support g) avoid taking money taht raises concerns of conflicts of interest
a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions. Generates quantitive data.
a statement of possible relationship between two (or more) variables. A hypothesis typically takes the form of an if-then statement: If one thing were to happen, then something else will result.
a research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions in a questionnaire or an interview. Are good for studying attitudes - such as beliefs about politics, religion, or race-since there is no way to observe directly what people think. Useful for descriptive and explanatory research. Generates quantitative or qualitative data.
a series of written questions a researcher presents to subjects. One type of questionnaire provides not only the questons but also a selection of fixed responses (similar to a multiple-choice examination). This is a closed-ended format.
a research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities. Allows an inside look at social life settings ranging from nightclubs to religious seminaries. Called fieldwork to study communities and other societies.
Sometimes sociolgists analyze existing sources, data collected by others. For descriptive or expanatory research. Saves time and expense of data collection. Researcher has no control over possible biases in data.
is the values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that together form a people's way of life. Culture includes what we think, how we act, and what we own. Culture is a way of life shared by members of society.
Elements of Culture
Although cultures vary greatly, they all have common elements, including symbols, language, values, and norms.
is anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture. A word, a whistle, a wall graffitis, a flashing red light, a raise fist - all serve as symbols.
culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and beautiful, and that serve as broad guidelines for social living. Values are standards that people who share a culture use to make choices about how to live.
Values are broad principles that support beliefs. Beliefs are specific statements that people hold to be true.
Key Values of US Culture
Sociologist Robin Williams (1970) Identified 10 values that are widespread in the US and are central to our way of life:
1) Equal Opportunity - chance to get ahead
2) Achievement and success -
3) Material Comfort
4) Activity and work
5) Practcality and efficiency
6) Progress 7) Science 8) Democracy and free enterprise
9) Freedom 10) Racism and group superiority
rules and expectations by which society guides the behavior of its members. Norms which guide human behavior, are of two kinds: mores, which have great moral significance and folkways, which are norms for everyday interaction.
norms that are widely observed and have great moral significance. Mores, or taboos, include our society's insistence that adults not engate in sexual relations with children. Mores distinguish between right and wrong.
norms for routine or casual interaction. Examples include ideas about appropriate greetings and proper dress. Folkways draw a line between right and rude.
the physical things created by members of a society. Example: Everything from armchairs to zippers.
the ideas created by members of society.
Example: Ideas that range from art to Zen.
emphasizing and promoting African Cultural patterns.
(Emphazing achievements of African societies, and African Americans after centuries of minimizing or ignoring them).
the fact that some cultural elements change more quickly than others, distrupting a cultural system.
Note: Technology moves quickly, generating new elements of material culture (things) faster than nonmaterial culture (ideas) can keep up with them. Example: A woman can give birth to a child by using another woman's egg, which has been fertilized in a lab with sperm of a total stranger.
traits that are part of every known culture.
Example: The family, which functions everywhere to control sexual reproduction and to oversee the care of children.
theoretical approach that explores ways in which human biology afftects how we create culture.
Note: Sociobiology rests on theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin regarding natural selection.
the dominance of European (especially English) cultural patterns.
Note: Early in US history English established as the nation's dominate language.
Hunting and Gathering Societies
Composed of a small number of family-centered nomads. Depend on the family. The family must get and distribute food, protect its members, and teach the children. Healthy adults do most of the work, leaving the very young and the very old to help out as they can. Women gather vegetation.
the use of hand tools to raise crops.
Note: The hoe was used to work soil and plant seeds in the ground. These inventions allowed people to give up gathering in favor of growing their own food.
Horticultural and Pastorial Societies
Pastorialists remained nomadic, leading their herds to fresh grazing lands. But Horicuturalists formed settlements, moving only when the soil gave out. Joined by trade, these settlements formed societies with populations into the thousands.
large scale cultivation using plows harnessed to animals or more powerful energy sources.
Plows have the added advantage of turning and aerating the soil, making it more fertile. Farmers could work the same land for generations, encouraging permanent settlements. Agrarian societies have extreme social inequality. In most cases, a large share of people are peasants or slaves, who do most of the work. Elites have more time for refined activities. Raises men to a position of social dominance, men take charge of food production by using metal plow pulled by animals and women are left with support task, such as weeding and carrying water to the fields.
Until the industrial era began, the major source of energy had been with muscles of humans and animals they tended. In 1750, people turned to water power and then steam boilers to operate mills and factories filled with larger and larger machines. Change was so rapid it sparked the birth of sociology itself. Industrialization drew people away from home to factories situated near energy sources (such as coal fields) that power large machinery. Workers lost close working relationships, strong family ties, and many traditional values, beliefs, and customs that guide agrargarain life. Industrial technology changes the family, reducing its traditional importance as the center of social life. The greatest effect has been to raise living standards, which have increased in the US. People have more comfortable lives. Industrial societies provide extended schooling and greater political rights.
production has shifted from heavy machinery making material things to computers and related technology processing information. The Information Revolution, which is at the heart of postindustrial society, is most evident in rich nations, yet new information affects the whole world. A worldwide flow of goods, people, and information how links societies has advanced a global culture.
the lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture.
Charles Darwin 1859 study of evolution, led people to think that human behavior was instinctive, simply our "nature". Example: that some people are "born criminals", or that women are "naturally" emotional while men are "naturally rational. Nature is biology (height, hair color) and heredity plays a part in intelligence, musical and artistic talent.
Unless children are stimulated to use their brains early in life, the brain does not fully develop. Therefore, the ability to realize any inherited potential depends on having the opportunity to develop it. Nuture matters more in shaping human behavior.
There is a point precisely when is unclear from the small number of cases studied at which isolation in childhood causes permanent developmental damage.
Sigmund Freud's Elements of Personality
Freud combined basic needs and the influence of society into a model of personality with three parts: id, ego and the superego.
Freud's term for the human beings basic drives, which are unconscious and demand immediate satisfaction. Represents innate human drives (the live and death instincts). Rooted in biology, the id is present at birth, making a newborn a bundle of demands for attention, touching, and food.
Freud's term for a person's conscious efforts to balance innate pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society.
the cultural values and norms internalized by an individual. The superego operates as our conscience, telling us why we cannot have everything we want.
Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
believed that human development involves both biological maturation and gaining social experience. He identified 4 stages: 1) sensorimotor 2) preoperational 3) concrete operational 4) formal
Piaget's term for the level of human development at which individual experience the world only through their senses.
Piaget's term for the level of human development at which individuals first use language and other symbols.
Piaget's term for the level of human development at which individuals first see casual connections in their surroundings.
Paiget's term for the level of human development at which individuals think abstractly and critically.
Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development
applied Piaget's approach to moral development. We first judge rightness in preconventional terms, according to our individual needs. Next, conventional moral reasoning takes account of parental attitudes and cultural norms. Finally, postconventional reasoning allows us to critize society itself.
The I and Me
George Herbert Mead - the self has two parts. One part of the self operates as subject, being active and spontaneous. Mead called the active side of the self the "I" . The other part of the self works as an object, the way we imagine others see us. Mead called the objective side of the self the "me".
The Looking Glass Self
Charles Horton Cooley used the term looking-glass self to explain that we see ourselves as we imagine others see us.
George Herbert Mead - the part of an individual's personality composed of self-awareness and self-image. Mead saw the self as the product of social experience.
Development of the Self
For George Herbert Mead, self develops only as the individual interacts with others.
Agents of Socialization
Usually, the first setting of socialization, the family has the greatest influence on a child's attitudes and behavior. Schools expose children to greater social diversity and introduce them to impersonal bureaucracy. Peer groups free children from adult supervison and tak on great significance during adolescence. The mass media, especially television, have great impact on the socialation process.
Death and Dying
Psychologist Elisabeth Kuber-Ross (1969) - described death as an orderly transition involving five distinct stages.
a setting in which people are isolated from the rest of society and manipulated by an administrative staff.
efforts to radically change an inmate's personality by carefully controlling the environment.
a social position a person takes on voluntarily that reflects personal ability and effort.
a social position a person takes on voluntarily that reflects personal ability and effort.
a status that has special importance for social identity, often shaping a person's entire life.
The Social Construction of Reality
The process by which people creatively shape reality through social interaction.
Harold Garfinkel's term for the study of the way people make sense of their everyday surroundings
communication using body movements, gestures, and facial expressions rather than speech
a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or activity. Example: Students in same college course.
Groups benefit from two kinds of leadership: 1) Instrumental leadership - a group leadership that focuses on the completion of task. Members look to instrumental leaders to make plans, give orders, and get things done. 2) Expressive Leadership - by contrast, is a group leadership that focuses on the group's well-being. Expressive leaders take less interest in achieving goals than in raising group morale and minimizing tension and conflict amoung members.
a social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions.