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THE SYSTEMATIC STUDY OF HUMAN


SOCIETY ”
– SYSTEMATIC
• SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINE THAT FOCUSES
ATTENTION ON PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR
– HUMAN SOCIETY
• GROUP BEHAVIOR IS PRIMARY FOCUS; HOW
GROUPS INFLUENCE INDIVIDUALS AND VICE
VERSA
– AT THE “HEART OF SOCIOLOGY”
• THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE WHICH
OFFERS A RATHER UNIQUE VIEW OF SOCIETY
The Sociological Perspective

OBSERVATIONS ARE CERTAINLY


IMPACTED BY THE PERSONAL
PERSPECTIVES THROUGH WHICH
PEOPLE COME TO VIEW THE WORLD
• THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
– ALLOWS YOU TO START SEEING THE
GENERAL IN THE PARTICULAR
• GENERAL CATEGORIES HELP SHAPE
INDIVIDUALS’ LIFE EXPERIENCES
• THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
– ALLOWS YOU TO START SEEING THE
STRANGE IN THE PARTICULAR
• SOCIAL FORCES GUIDE HUMAN THOUGHT
AND BEHAVIOR
WOW! NOW THAT IS • COMPELLING EVIDENCE OF SOCIAL
COMPELLING! FORCES ACTING UPON HUMAN
BEHAVIOR
– DURKHEIM’S STUDY OF SUICIDE
• MORE LIKELY TO COMMIT
– MALE PROTESTANTS WHO WERE
WEALTHY AND UNMARRIED HAD
HIGHER SUICIDE RATES
• LESS LIKELY TO COMMIT
– MALES JEWS AND CATHOLICS WHO
WERE POOR AND MARRIED
• ONE OF THE BASIC FINDINGS: WHY?
– THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THESE
GROUPS HAD TO DO WITH “SOCIAL
INTEGRATION”
• THOSE WITH STRONG SOCIAL TIES HAD
LESS CHANCE OF COMMITING SUICIDE
OTHER WAYS SOCIOLOGY
ALLOWS US TO SEE ANEW
• SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL MARGINALITY
– SOME PEOPLE CAN BE REFERRED TO AS “OUTSIDERS”
• NOT PART OF THE DOMINANT GROUP
– THE LARGER THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE DOMINANT
GROUP AND A MARGINAL GROUP
• EASIER TO NOTICE MARGINALITY AND SUFFER FROM IT
• SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL CRISIS
– CONFRONTING SOCIAL PROBLEMS ALLOWS PEOPLE TO LOOK
BEYOND THEIR OWN LIVES AND SEE HOW VARIOUS SYSTEMS
IMPACT THEM
• IMPORTANCE OF THESE ITEMS
– THEY ALLOW US TO SEE BOTH THE SMALL AND THE LARGE
PICTURE
• WE BEGIN TO APPRECIATE THE INTERACTION BETWEEN MICRO
AND MACRO ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL LIFE
GLOBAL LINKAGE
• SOCIOLOGY OFFERS STUDENTS THE
OPPORTUNITY TO UNDERSTAND THE
GLOBAL VILLAGE
– ALL SOCIETIES ARE INCREASINGLY CONNECTED
THROUGH TECHNOLOGY AND ECONOMICS
– MANY SOCIAL PROBLEMS FACED BY AMERICANS
ARE MORE SERIOUS ELSEWHERE
• IMMIGRANTS STILL SEE AMERICA AS A VISION OF HOPE
AND A LAND OF GREAT OPPORTUNITIES
– UNDERSTANDING GLOBAL ISSUES AND THE
WORLD AROUND AMERICA ALLOWS STUDENTS
TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES
• LEARNING TO SEE THE MANY SIMILARITIES
• ACCEPTING AND APPRECIATING THE DIFFERENCES
• CHALLENGES FAMILIARITY
– IDEALISM VERSUS REALITY OF SITUATIONS FOR
PEOPLE
• BROADENS PERSONAL VIEWS
– SEE OUR INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS AND
POWERFUL CONSTRAINTS
• EMPOWERS PEOPLE
– FORCES STUDENTS TO ENGAGE THE WORLD
• RECOGNIZES SOCIAL DIVERSITY
– UNDERSTANDING CAN LEAD TO ACCEPTANCE
AND TOLERANCE
THE DISCIPLINE’S ORIGINS
• EARLY IN THE 19TH CENTURY, WESTERN
EUROPEAN SOCIETY EXPERIENCED MAJOR
CHANGES IN MANY SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS
• SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
– SCIENCE REPLACING TRADITIONAL FORMS OF
AUTHORITY
• GREAT AMOUNT OF CONFUSION, FEAR, AND CHAOS
• ECONOMIC REVOLUTION
– CAPITALISM CHANGING THE FACE OF ECONOMIC
SYSTEMS
• EXTREME CHANGES IN FAMILY FORM; URBAN GROWTH
• POLITICAL REVOLUTION
– LIBERTY, EQUALITY, AND BROTHERHOOD
• VIOLENCE, DISORDER, AND POLITICAL FIGHTS FOR CONTROL
• AUGUSTE COMTE (1798-1857)
PERSONALITIES – POSITIVISM; LAW OF THREE STAGES
• HARRIET MARTINEAU (1802-1876)
– FOCUS ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS
• KARL MARX (1818-1883)
– CLASS CONFLICT; HUMAN STRUGGLE
• HERBERT SPENCER (1820-1903)
– SOCIAL DARWINISM
• EMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917)
– GROUP FORCES; SOCIAL INTEGRATION
• JANE ADDAMS (1860-1933)
– HULL HOUSE; SOCIAL WORK
• W.E.B. DU BOIS (1868-1963)
– PLIGHT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
SOCIAL PARADIGMS
• THEORY: A STATEMENT OF HOW AND
WHY FACTS ARE RELATED
• PARADIGM: A SET OF FUNDAMENTAL
ASSUMPTIONS THAT GUIDES THINKING

DOW
N
WITH
PEOP PEOPLE HOLD
LE
DIFFERING OPINIONS
W ITH ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL
UP LE WORLD
O P
PE
WE ALL COME FROM
DIFFERENT SOCIAL
EXPERIENCES AND THEY
BIAS OUR ASSUMPTIONS
STRUCTURAL
-FUNCTIONALISM
• ASSUMPTION:
– MACRO-ORIENTED (LARGE-SCALE) PARADIGM
THAT VIEWS SOCIETY AS A COMPLEX SYSTEM
WHOSE PARTS WORK TOGETHER TO PROMOTE
SOCIAL STABILITY
• PRINCIPLES:
– SOCIAL STRUCTURE REFERS TO RELATIVELY
STABLE PATTERNS OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
– SOCIAL FUNCTION REFERS TO THE CONSEQUENCES
OF SOCIAL PATTERNS FOR SOCIETY
• ROBERT K. MERTON’S THOUGHTS:
– MANIFEST, LATENT, AND DYSFUNCTIONS
• ASSUMPTION:
– ANOTHER MACRO-ORIENTED
PARADIGM, BUT THIS ONE VIEWS
SOCIETY AS A SYSTEM BASED ON
INEQUALITY AND CONFLICT
• PRINCIPLES:
– FACTORS SUCH AS RACE, SEX,
CLASS, AND AGE ARE LINKED TO
SOCIAL INEQUALITY
– DOMINANT GROUP VS. MINORITY
GROUPS
• INCOMPATIBLE DIFFERENCES
• SETTING UP “SOCIAL
ROADBLOCKS” FOR OTHERS
SYMBOLIC INTERACTION
SYMBOLIC INTERACTION IS A MICRO-ORIENTED PARADIGM,
WHICH MEANS IT IS EFFECTIVELY USED WHEN ATTEMPTING
TO UNDERSTAND SMALLER SCALE SOCIAL PHENOMENA

• ASSUMPTION:
– THE VIEW THAT SOCIETY IS THE PRODUCT
OF EVERYDAY INTERACTIONS
• PRINCIPLES:
– SOCIETY IS A COMPLEX MOSAIC OF
UNDERSTANDING THAT EMERGES FROM
THE VERY PROCESS OF INTERACTING
• GOFFMAN’S DRAMATURGICAL ANALSYIS
• THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY