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Introduction to Sociology 1st Canadian Edition

William Little

MainBody

Chapter1.An Introduction to Sociology


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Introduction to Sociology 1st Canadian Edition

Figure1.1.Sociologistsstudyhowsocietyaffects
peopleandhowpeopleaffectsociety.Howdoes
beinginacrowdaffectpeoplesbehaviour?(Photo
courtesyofPDerekHatfield/wikimediacommons)

Learning Objectives

1.1.WhatIsSociology?

Explainconceptscentraltosociology
Describethedifferentlevelsofanalysisinsociology:microsociologyandmacro
Understandhowdifferentsociologicalperspectiveshavedeveloped

1.2.TheHistoryofSociology

Explainwhysociologyemergedwhenitdid
Describethecentralideasofthefoundersofsociology
Describehowsociologybecameaseparateacademicdiscipline

1.3.TheoreticalPerspectives

Explainwhatsociologicaltheoriesareandhowtheyareused
Describesociologyasamultiperspectivalsocialscience,whichisdividedintopo
paradigms
Understandthesimilaritiesanddifferencesbetweenstructuralfunctionalism,criti
interactionism

1.4.WhyStudySociology?

Explainwhyitisworthwhiletostudysociology
Identifywayssociologyisappliedintherealworld
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Introduction to Sociology

Concerts,sportsgames,andpoliticalralliescanhaveverylargecrowds.Whenyouattend
onlythepeopleyoucamewith.Yetyoumayexperienceafeelingofconnectiontothegro
cheerandapplaudwheneveryoneelsedoes.Youbooandyellalongsidethem.Youmove
needstogetby,andyousayexcusemewhenyouneedtoleave.Youknowhowtobeha

Itcanbeaverydifferentexperienceifyouaretravellinginaforeigncountryandfindyou
street.Youmayhavetroublefiguringoutwhatishappening.Isthecrowdjusttheusualm
protestofsomekind?Perhapstherewassomesortofaccidentordisaster.Isitsafeinthis
yourself?Howcanyoufindoutwhatisgoingon?Althoughyouareinit,youmaynotfee
Youmaynotknowwhattodoorhowtobehave.

Evenwithinonetypeofcrowd,differentgroupsexistanddifferentbehavioursareondisp
somemayenjoysingingalong,othersmayprefertositandobserve,whilestillothersmay
surfing.OnFebruary28,2010,SydneyCrosbyscoredthewinninggoalagainsttheUnited
hockeygameattheVancouverWinterOlympics.Twohundredthousandjubilantpeoplef
Vancouvertocelebrateandcapofftwoweeksofuncharacteristicallyvibrant,joyfulstreet
later,onJune15,2011,theVancouverCanuckslosttheseventhhockeygameoftheStanl
Bruins.Onehundredthousandpeoplehadbeenwatchingthegameonoutdoorscreens.Ev
downtownstreets.Riotingandlootingledtohundredsofinjuries,burntcars,trashedstore
totalinganestimated$4.2million.Whywasthecrowdresponsetothetwoeventssodiffe

Figure1.2.PeoplesexperiencesofthepostStanleyCupriotin
Vancouverwereverydifferent.(PhotocourtesyofPasquale
Borriello/flickr)
Akeyinsightofsociologyisthatthesimplefactofbeinginagroupchangesyourbehavi
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thatismorethanthesumofitsparts.Whydowefeelandactdifferentlyindifferenttypes
peopleofasinglegroupexhibitdifferentbehavioursinthesamesituation?Whymightpe
connectedtoothersexhibitingthesamebehaviour?Thesearesomeofthemanyquestions
peopleandsocieties.

1.1. What Is Sociology?

Figure1.3.Sociologistslearnaboutsocietyasawholewhilestudyin
onetooneandgroupinteractions.(PhotocourtesyofRobertS.
Donovan/flickr)

Adictionarydefinessociologyasthesystematicstudyofsocietyandsocialinteraction.T
fromtheLatinwordsocius(companion)andtheGreekwordlogos(speechorreason),wh
speechaboutcompanionship.Howcantheexperienceofcompanionshiportogetherness
Whilethisisastartingpointforthediscipline,sociologyisactuallymuchmorecomplex.
studyawiderangeofsubjectmatterandtoapplythesestudiestotherealworld.

ThesociologistDorothySmith(1926)definesthesocialastheongoingconcertingand
activities(Smith1999).Sociologyisthesystematicstudyofallthoseaspectsoflifedesi
Theseaspectsofsociallifeneversimplyoccurtheyareorganizedprocesses.Theycanbe
interactionsmovingtotherighttoletsomeonepassonabusysidewalk,forexampleo
interactionssuchasthebillionsofdailyexchangesthatconstitutethecircuitsofglobalc
peopleinvolved,evenintheseclusionofonesmind,thenthereisasocialinteractionthat
andcoordinatingofactivities.Whydoesthepersonmovetotherightonthesidewalk?W
decisionthatmovingtotherightratherthantheleftisnormal?ThinkabouttheTshirtsin
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sequencesoflinkagesandsocialrelationshipsthatlinktheTshirtsinyourchestofdrawe
exploitivegarmentfactoriesinruralChinaorBangladesh?Thesearethetypeofquestion
andpuzzlesofthesocialthatsociologyseekstoexploreandunderstand.

What Are Society and Culture?

Sociologistsstudyallaspectsandlevelsofsociety.Asocietyisagroupofpeoplewhosem
definablearea,andshareaculture.Acultureincludesthegroupssharedpractices,value
sociologistmightanalyzevideoofpeoplefromdifferentsocietiesastheycarryoneveryd
ofpoliteconversationfromdifferentworldcultures.Anothersociologistmightinterview
seehowemailandinstantmessaginghavechangedthewayorganizationsarerun.Yetano
migrationdeterminedthewayinwhichlanguagespreadandchangedovertime.Afourth
ofinternationalagenciesliketheUnitedNationsortheInternationalMonetaryFundtoex
dividedintoaFirstWorldandaThirdWorldaftertheendofthecolonialera.

Theseexamplesillustratethewayssocietyandculturecanbestudiedatdifferent
facetofaceinteractionstotheexaminationoflargescalehistoricalprocessesaffectingen
dividetheselevelsofanalysisintodifferentgradationsbasedonthescaleofinteractionin
chapters,sociologistsbreakthestudyofsocietydownintofourseparatelevelsofanalysis
Thebasicdistinction,however,isbetweenmicrosociologyandmacrosociology

Thestudyofculturalrulesofpolitenessinconversationisanexampleofmicrosociology
focusisonthesocialdynamicsofintimate,facetofaceinteractions.Researchisconduct
suchasconversationalpartners,familymembers,workassociates,orfriendshipgroups.I
sociologistsmighttrytodeterminehowpeoplefromdifferentculturesinterpreteachothe
rulesofpolitenessleadtomisunderstandings.Ifthesamemisunderstandingsoccurconsis
interactions,thesociologistsmaybeabletoproposesomegeneralizationsaboutrulesofp
reducingtensionsinmixedgroupdynamics(e.g.,duringstaffmeetingsorinternationalne
microlevelresearchincludeseeinghowinformalnetworksbecomeakeysourceofsuppo
bureaucraciesorhowloyaltytocriminalgangsisestablished.

Macrosociologyfocusesonthepropertiesoflargescale,societywidesocialinteractions
classes,orwholesocieties.Theexampleaboveoftheinfluenceofmigrationonchanging
macrolevelphenomenonbecauseitreferstostructuresorprocessesofsocialinteractiont
intimatecircleofindividualsocialacquaintances.Theseincludetheeconomicandotherc
theeducational,media,andothercommunicationstructuresthathelporhinderthespread
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orethnicdivisionsthatcreatedifferentslangsorculturesoflanguageusetherelativeisol
communitieswithinapopulationandsoon.Otherexamplesofmacrolevelresearchincl
lesslikelythanmentoreachpositionsofpowerinsocietyorwhyfundamentalistChristia
prominentroleinAmericanpoliticsthantheydoinCanadianpolitics.Ineachcase,thesi
thenuancesanddetailofmicrolevelinterpersonallifetothebroader,macrolevelsystem
changeandsocialcohesioninsociety.

Therelationshipbetweenthemicroandthemacroremainsoneofthekeyproblemsconfr
sociologistGeorgSimmelpointedoutthatmacrolevelprocessesareinfactnothingmore
interactionsbetweenspecificindividualsatanyonetime(1908),yettheyhaveproperties
missedifsociologistsonlyfocusedontheinteractionsofspecificindividuals.mileDurk
(1897)isacaseinpoint.Whilesuicideisoneofthemostpersonal,individual,andintima
demonstratedthatratesofsuicidedifferedbetweenreligiouscommunitiesProtestants,C
couldnotbeexplainedbytheindividualfactorsinvolvedineachspecificcase.Thediffer
explainedbymacrolevelvariablesassociatedwiththedifferentreligiousbeliefsandprac
willreturntothisexampleinmoredetaillater.Ontheotherhand,macrolevelphenomena
organizations,legalsystems,genderstereotypes,andurbanwaysoflifeprovidetheshare
notexplainitsnuancesandmicrovariationsverywell.Macrolevelstructuresconstrainth
circlesinwhichwemove,buttheyarealsofilteredthroughlocalizedperceptionsandliv
unpredictableways.

The Sociological Imagination

Althoughthescaleofsociologicalstudiesandthemethodsofcarryingthemoutarediffer
themallhavesomethingincommon.Eachofthemlooksatsocietyusingwhatpioneerso
sociologicalimagination,sometimesalsoreferredtoasthesociologicallensorsociol
wasMillswayofaddressingthedilemmasofthemacro/microdivideinsociology.Mills
howindividualsunderstandtheirownandotherspastsinrelationtohistoryandsocialstr
seeanindividualsprivatetroublesinthecontextofthebroadersocialprocessesthatstruc
sociologisttoexaminewhatMillscalledpersonaltroublesofmilieuaspublicissueso

Millsreasonedthatprivatetroubleslikebeingoverweight,beingunemployed,havingma
purposelessordepressedcanbepurelypersonalinnature.Itispossibleforthemtobeadd
personal,psychological,ormoralattributes,eitheronesownorthoseofthepeopleinone
individualisticsocietylikeourown,thisisinfactthemostlikelywaythatpeoplewillreg
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anaddictivepersonalityIcantgetabreakinthejobmarketMyhusbandisunsuppo
troublesarewidelysharedwithothers,theyindicatethatthereisacommonsocialproblem
sociallifeisstructured.Atthislevel,theissuesarenotadequatelyunderstoodassimplyp
addressedaspublicissuesthatrequireacollectiveresponsetoresolve.

Obesity,forexample,hasbeenincreasinglyrecognizedasagrowingproblemforbothchi
MichaelPollancitesstatisticsthatthreeoutoffiveAmericansareoverweightandoneout
in2012,justunderoneinfiveadults(18.4percent)wereobese,upfrom16percentofme
2003(StatisticsCanada2013).Obesityisthereforenotsimplyaprivatetroubleconcernin
practices,orexercisehabitsofspecificindividuals.Itisawidelysharedsocialissuethatp
diseaseslikehypertension,diabetes,andcardiovasculardisease.Italsocreatessignificant

Pollanarguesthatobesityisinpartaproductoftheincreasinglysedentaryandstressfulli
butmoreimportantlyitisaproductoftheindustrializationofthefoodchain,whichsince
increasinglycheapandabundantfoodwithsignificantlymorecaloriesduetoprocessing.
aremuchcheapertoproducethannaturalsugars,ledtothetrendofsupersizedfastfoods
Pollanargues,tryingtofindaprocessedfoodinthesupermarketwithoutacheap,calorie
challenge.Thesociologicalimaginationinthisexampleisthecapacitytoseetheprivatet
withbeingoverweightasanissueofhowtheindustrializationofthefoodchainhasaltere
relationship,inparticularwithrespecttothetypesoffoodweeatandthewayweeatthem

Bylookingatindividualsandsocietiesandhowtheyinteractthroughthislens,sociologis
influencesbehaviour,attitudes,andculture.Byapplyingsystematicandscientificmethod
withoutlettingtheirownbiasesandpreconceivedideasinfluencetheirconclusions.

Studying Patterns: How Sociologists View Society

Allsociologistsareinterestedintheexperiencesofindividualsandhowthoseexperiences
socialgroupsandsocietyasawhole.Toasociologist,thepersonaldecisionsanindividua
Culturalpatternsandsocialforcesputpressureonpeopletoselectonechoiceoveranothe
generalpatternsbyexaminingthebehaviouroflargegroupsofpeoplelivinginthesames
societalpressures.

Understandingtherelationshipbetweentheindividualandsocietyisoneofthemostdiffi
however.Partlythisisbecauseofthereifiedwaythesetwotermsareusedineverydaysp
inwhichabstractconcepts,complexprocesses,ormutablesocialrelationshipscometobe
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exampleofthisiswhenpeoplesaythatsocietycausedanindividualtodosomethingor
writingessays,firstyearsociologystudentssometimesrefertosocietyasacauseofsoc
independentagency.Ontheotherhand,theindividualisabeingthatseemssolid,tangib
goingonoutsideoftheskinsackthatcontainsitsessence.Thisconventionaldistinctionb
aproductofreificationinsofarasbothsocietyandtheindividualappearasindependent
individualandaconceptofsocietyhavebeengiventhestatusofreal,substantial,inde
thechapterstocome,societyandtheindividualareneitherobjects,noraretheyindepend
isinconceivablewithouttherelationshipstoothersthatdefinehisorherinternalsubjectiv
sociallydefinedroles.

Theproblemforsociologistsisthattheseconceptsoftheindividualandsocietyandthere
thoughtofintermsestablishedbyaverycommonmoralframeworkinmoderndemocrati
individualresponsibilityandindividualchoice.Ofteninthisframework,anysuggestiont
tobeunderstoodintermsofthatpersonssocialcontextisdismissedaslettingtheindivi
responsibilityfortheiractions.

Talkingaboutsocietyisakintobeingmorallysoftorlenient.Sociology,asasocialscienc
moralquestions.Theconceptualizationoftheindividualandsocietyismuchmorecompl
beabletoseetheindividualasathoroughlysocialbeingandyetasabeingwhohasagen
beingswhodotakeonindividualresponsibilitiesintheireverydaysocialrolesandriskso
liveuptothem.Themannerinwhichtheytakeonresponsibilitiesandsometimesthecom
definedhowever.Thesociologicalproblemistobeabletoseesocietyasadimensionofe
andpredictablepatternsofbehaviourthatexistindependentlyofanyspecificindividuals
atthesametimeasocietyisnothingbuttheongoingsocialrelationshipsandactivitiesof

Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

The Individual in Society: Choices of Aboriginal Gang Members

In2010theCBCprogramTheCurrentairedareportaboutseveralyoungaboriginalm
prisoninSaskatchewanforgangrelatedactivities(CBC2010).Theyallexpressedde
theirdrugaddictionissues,returntotheirfamilies,andassumetheirresponsibilitiesw
complete.Theywantedtohavetheirownplaceswithnicethingsinthem.However,a
percentoftheprisonpopulationintheSaskatchewanCorrectionalCentrewereaborig
weregangmembers.Thisisconsistentwithnationalstatisticsonaboriginalincarcerat
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2011,theaboriginalincarcerationratewas10timeshigherthanforthenonaborigina
peopleaccountforabout4percentoftheCanadianpopulation,in2013theymadeup
penitentiarypopulation.In2001theymadeuponly17percentofthepenitentiarypop
overrepresentationinprisonshascontinuedtogrowsubstantially(OfficeoftheCorre
outcomesofaboriginalincarcerationarealsobleak.ThefederalOfficeoftheCorrecti
thesituationasfollows.Aboriginalinmatesare:

Routinelyclassifiedashigherriskandhigherneedincategoriessuchasemploym
andfamilysupports
Releasedlaterintheirsentence(lowerparolegrantrates)mostleaveprisonatSta
Expirydates
Overrepresentedinsegregationandmaximumsecuritypopulations
Disproportionatelyinvolvedinuseofforceinterventionsandincidentsofprison
Morelikelytoreturntoprisononrevocationofparole,oftenforadministrativere
(2013)

Thefederalreportnotesthatthehighrateofincarcerationforaboriginalpeopleshas
discriminationandattitudesbasedonracialorculturalprejudice,aswellaseconomic
substanceabuseandintergenerationalloss,violenceandtrauma(2013).
Thisisclearlyacaseinwhichthesituationoftheincarceratedinmatesinterviewedon
structuredbyhistoricalsocialpatternsandpowerrelationshipsthatconfrontaborigina
Howdoweunderstanditattheindividuallevelhowever,atthelevelofpersonaldeci
responsibilities?Oneyounginmatedescribedhow,attheageof13,hebegantohang
werepartofagang.Hehadnotgrownupwiththebestlifewithfamilymemberssu
andtraumas.Theappealofwhatappearedasafastandexcitinglifestylethesenseo
makeonesownlife,insteadofenduringpovertywascompelling.Hebegantoearn
alsobegantodevelopaddictions.Hewasexpelledfromschoolforrecruitinggangme
hadwassellingdrugs.Thecircumstancesinwhichheandtheotherinmateshadenter
difficultiesgettingoutofittheyknewawaitedthemwhentheyleftprisonreflectaset
fundamentallydifferentthanthosefacingmostnonaboriginalpeopleinCanada.

Akeybasisofthesociologicalperspectiveistheconceptthattheindividualandsocietya
studyonewithouttheother.GermansociologistNorbertEliascalledtheprocessofsimult
ofindividualsandthesocietythatshapesthatbehaviourfiguration.Hedescribeditthrou
canbenodancewithoutthedancers,buttherecanbenodancerswithoutthedance.Witho
ideaaboutmotionsinachoreographershead.Withoutadance,thereisjustagroupofpe
Similarly,thereisnosocietywithouttheindividualsthatmakeitup,andtherearealsono
thesocietyinwhichtheylive(Elias1978).
1.2.
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Figure1.4.Peoplehavebeenthinkinglikesociologistslongbefore
sociologybecameaseparateacademicdiscipline:(a)Platoand
Aristotle,(b)Confucius,(c)Khaldun,and(d)Voltaireallsetthe
stageformodernsociology.(Photos(a),(b),(c),(d)courtesyof
WikimediaCommons).

Sinceancienttimes,peoplehavebeenfascinatedbytherelationshipbetweenindividuals
belong.TheancientGreeksmightbesaidtohaveprovidedthefoundationsofsociologyt
betweenphysis(nature)andnomos(laworcustom).Whereasnatureorphysis
withouthumanintervention,nomosintheformoflawsorcustoms,werehumanconventi
behaviour.HistoriesbyHerodotus(484425BCE)wasaprotoanthropologicalworkthat
thenomosofdifferentancientsocietiesaroundtheMediterranean,indicatingthathumans
naturebutaproductofhumancreation.Ifhumansociallifewastheproductofaninvaria
cultureswouldbethesame.TheconcernsofthelaterGreekphilosophersSocrates(4693
andAristotle(384322BCE)withtheidealformofhumancommunity(the
ethicaldilemmasofthisdifferencebetweenhumannatureandhumannorms.Themodern
socialrulethatregulateshumanbehaviour)comesfromtheGreektermnomos

Inthe13thcentury,MaTuanLin,aChinesehistorian,firstrecognizedsocialdynamicsas
historicaldevelopmentinhisseminalencyclopedia,GeneralStudyofLiteraryRemains
developmentofChinesestateadministrationfromantiquityinamannerakintocontempo
centurysawtheemergenceofthehistoriansomeconsidertobetheworldsfirstsociologi
(13321406)ofTunisia.HisMuqaddimah:AnIntroductiontoHistoryisknownforgoing
analysisofhistoricalprocessesofchangebasedonanunderstandingofthenatureofthin
(KhaldunquotedinBeckerandBarnes1961).Keytohisanalysiswasthedistinctionbetw
thenomadiclifeofpastoralpeoplesliketheBedouinandBerbers.Thenomads,whoexist
developedasocialbondbasedonbloodlineageandespritdecorps(Asabijja)
andactinaunifiedandconcertedmannerinresponsetotheruggedcircumstancesofdese
enteredintoadifferentcycleinwhichespritdecorpissubsumedtoinstitutionalpoweran
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befocusedonsubsistenceisreplacedbyatrendtowardincreasingluxury,easeandrefine
betweenthetwopolesofexistence,nomadismandsedentarylife,wasatthebasisofthed
civilizations(BeckerandBarnes1961).

However,itwasnotuntilthe19thcenturythatthebasisofthemoderndisciplineofsocio
established.Theimpetusfortheideasthatculminatedinsociologycanbefoundinthethr
definedmodernsocietyandthecultureofmodernity:thedevelopmentofmodernscience
emergenceofdemocraticformsofgovernmentwiththeAmericanandFrenchRevolution
respectively),andtheIndustrialRevolutionbeginninginthe18thcentury.Notonlywasth
knowledgeestablishedintheseevents,butalsotheinitialmotivationforcreatingascienc
ComteandMarxsoughttoformulatearational,evidencebasedresponsetotheexperienc
unprecedentedsocialproblemsbroughtaboutbythetransitionfromtheEuropeanfeudale
intentionwastorestoreordertothechaoticdisintegrationofsociety,asinComtescase,o
revolutionarytransformationinMarxs,arationalandscientificallycomprehensiveknow
wasrequired.Itwasinthiscontextthatsocietyitself,inthemodernsenseoftheword,
earlyinvestigatorsofthesocialcondition.

Figure1.5.WilliamBlake,Newton(1795).(Photocourtesyof
WilliamBlake/wikipedia)

Thedevelopmentofmodernscienceprovidedthemodelofknowledgeneededforsociolo
philosophical,andreligioustypesofreflectiononthehumancondition.Keytothedevelo
technologicalmindsetthatMaxWebertermedthedisenchantmentoftheworld
incalculableforcesthatcomeintoplay,butratheronecan,inprinciple,masterallthingsb
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scienceabandonedthemedievalviewoftheworldinwhichGod,theunmovedmover,
asachangeless,cyclicalcreationorderedandgivenpurposebydivinewill.Insteadmode
philosophicaltraditionsthathadhistoricallybeenatodds:PlatosrationalismandAristotl
thelawsthatgovernedthetruthofreasonandideas,andinthehandsofearlyscientistslik
highestformofexpressioninthelogicalformulationsofmathematics.Empiricismsought
operationoftheworldthroughthecareful,methodical,anddetailedobservationofthewo
thereforecombinedtheclearandlogicallycoherentconceptualformulationofproposition
empiricalmethodofinquirybasedonobservationthroughthesenses.Sociologyadopted
thatclaimsaboutsocietyhadtobeclearlyformulatedandbasedonevidencebasedproce

Theemergenceofdemocraticformsofgovernmentinthe18thcenturydemonstratedthat
theworld.TherigidhierarchyofmedievalsocietywasnotaGodgiveneternalorder,but
challengedandimproveduponthroughhumanintervention.Societycametobeseenasbo
humanendeavours.AgeofEnlightenmentphilosopherslikeLocke,Voltaire,Montaigne,
principlesthatcouldbeusedtoexplainsociallife.Theiremphasisshiftedfromthehistori
thelifeofordinarypeople.MaryWollstonecraftsAVindicationoftheRightsofWomen
ofhermaleEnlightenmentcontemporariestothesituationofwomen.Significantlyformo
theuseofreasoncouldbeappliedtoaddresssocialillsandtoemancipatehumanityfrom
examplearguedthatsimplyallowingwomentohaveapropereducationwouldenablethe
ofsociety,especiallythroughtheirinfluenceonchildren.Ontheotherhand,thebloodyex
revolutions,particularlytheFrenchRevolution,whichresultedintheReignofTerroran
subjugateEurope,alsoprovidedacautionarytalefortheearlysociologistsabouttheneed
societytoaddresssocialproblems.

TheIndustrialRevolutioninastrictsensereferstothedevelopmentofindustrialmethods
industrialmachinery,andtheorganizationoflabourinnewmanufacturingsystems.These
massivetransformationofhumanlifebroughtaboutbythecreationofwagelabour,capita
mobility,urbanization,individualism,andallthesocialproblemstheywrought:poverty,e
conditions,crime,filth,disease,andthelossoffamilyandothertraditionalsupportnetwo
socialandpoliticalupheavalwiththeriseofempiresthatexposedmanypeopleforthef
otherthantheirown.Millionsofpeopleweremovingintocitiesandmanypeopleweretu
religiousbeliefs.Wars,strikes,revolts,andrevolutionaryactionswerereactionstounderl
existedbeforeandcalledforcriticalexamination.AugustComteinparticularenvisioned
antidotetoconditionsthathedescribedasmoralanarchy.
Sociologythereforeemergedasanextensionofthenewworldviewofscienceasaparto
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appreciationofhistoricalchange,socialinjustice,andthepossibilitiesofsocialreforman
andunprecedentedtypesofsocialproblemsthatappearedinthe19thcentury.Itdidnotem
however,asitsfoundersbroughtdistinctlydifferentperspectivestoitsearlyformulations.

August Comte: The Father of Sociology

Figure1.6.AugusteComteisconsideredby
manytobethefatherofsociology.(Photo
courtesyofWikimediaCommons)

Thetermsociologywasfirstcoinedin1780bytheFrenchessayistEmmanuelJosephSie
manuscript(Fauretal.1999).In1838,thetermwasreinventedbyAugusteComte(1798
Comteslifeandthetimeshelivedthroughcanbeinlargepartreadintotheconcernsthat
sociology.Hewasbornin1798,year6ofthenewFrenchRepublic,tostaunchmonarchis
comfortablyoffthefathersearningsasaminorbureaucratinthetaxoffice.Comteorigin
afterrejectinghisparentsconservativeviewsanddeclaringhimselfarepublicanandfree
kickedoutofschoolat18forleadingaschoolriot,whichendedhischancesofgettingaf
anacademicorgovernmentofficial.

HebecameasecretaryoftheutopiansocialistphilosopherClaudeHenrideRouvroyCom
untiltheyhadafallingoutin1824(afterSt.SimonperhapspurloinedsomeofComteses
them).Nevertheless,theyboththoughtthatsocietycouldbestudiedusingthesamescient
sciences.Comtealsobelievedinthepotentialofsocialscientiststoworktowardthebette
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sloganorderandprogresstoreconciletheopposingprogressiveandconservativefactio
ridden,postrevolutionaryFrenchsociety.Comteproposedarenewed,organicspiritualor
sciencewouldbethemeanstoreconcilethepeopleineachsocialstratawiththeirplacein
influencethatthephraseorderandprogressadornstheBraziliancoatofarms(Collinsa

Comtenamedthescientificstudyofsocialpatternspositivism.Hedescribedhisphilosop
seriesoflectures,whichhepublishedasTheCourseinPositivePhilosophy
(1848).Hebelievedthatusingscientificmethodstorevealthelawsbywhichsocietiesan
inanewpositivistageofhistory.Hismainsociologicaltheorywasthelawofthreesta
societiesandallformsofhumanknowledgeevolvethroughthreedistinctstagesfromprim
themetaphysical,andthepositive.Thekeyvariableindefiningthesestageswasthewaya
causationorthinkabouttheirplaceintheworld.

Inthetheologicalstage,humansexplaincausesintermsofthewillofanthropocentricgo
happen).Inthemetaphysicalstage,humansexplaincausesintermsofabstract,specula
rights,orselfevidenttruths.ThiswasthebasisofhiscritiqueoftheEnlightenmentphi
rightsandfreedomshadledtotheFrenchRevolutionbutalsotothechaosofitsaftermath
metaphysicalknowledgeofthephilosopherswasbasedondogmaticideasthatcouldnotb
contraction.Thisleadtoirreconcilableconflictandmoralanarchy.Finally,inthe
termsofscientificproceduresandlaws(i.e.,positiveknowledgebasedonpropositions
observed).Comtebelievedthatthiswouldbethefinalstageofhumansocialevolutionbe
divisionbetweenpoliticalfactionsoforderandprogressbyeliminatingthebasisformora
applicationofpositivephilosophywouldleadtotheunificationofsocietyandofthescien

AlthoughComtespositivismisalittleoddbytodaysstandards,itinauguratedthedevelo
withinsociology.Inprinciple,positivismisthesociologicalperspectivethatattemptstoa
samewaythatthenaturalsciencesapproachthenaturalworld.Infact,Comtespreferred
physicsthesciencesofobservationappliedtosocialphenomena,whichhesawasth
developmentofthesciences.Morespecifically,forComte,positivism:

1.Regardsallphenomenaassubjectedtoinvariablenaturallaws

2.Pursuesanaccuratediscoveryoftheselaws,withaviewofreducingthemtothes

3.Limitsitselftoanalyzingtheobservablecircumstancesofphenomenaandtoconne
ofsuccessionandresemblanceinsteadofmakingmetaphysicalclaimsabouttheires
1830)
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WhileComteneverinfactconductedanysocialresearchandtook,astheobjectofanalys
calledthegeneralhumanmindofasociety(difficulttoobserveempirically),hisnotion
thatmighteffectivelysociallyengineerabettersocietywasdeeplyinfluential.Wherehis
wayinwhichhebecameincreasinglyobsessiveandhostiletoallcriticismashisideaspro
scienceofsocietytopositivismasthebasisofanewcultlike,technocraticreligionof
imaginedwasdeeplyconservativeandhierarchical,akindofacastesystemwitheveryle
itselfwithitsscientificallyallottedplace.Comteimaginedhimselfatthepinnacleofso
PriestofHumanity.Themoralandintellectualanarchyhedecriedwouldberesolved,bu
sociologistswouldeliminatetheneedforunnecessaryanddivisivedemocraticdialogue.S
incompatiblewithaperpetualdiscussionofthefoundationsofsociety(Comte1830).

Karl Marx: The Ruthless Critique of Everything Existing

Figure1.7.KarlMarxwasoneofthefoundersof
sociology.Hisideasaboutsocialconflictarestill
relevanttoday.(PhotocourtesyofJohn
Mayall/WikimediaCommons)

KarlMarx(18181883)wasaGermanphilosopherandeconomist.In1848heandFriedr
authoredtheCommunistManifesto.Thisbookisoneofthemostinfluentialpoliticalman
inahighlycondensedformMarxstheoryofsociety,whichdifferedfromwhatComtepro
goalofsociologyasrecreatingaunified,postfeudalspiritualorderthatwouldhelptoins
andsocialstability,Marxdevelopedacriticalanalysisofcapitalismthatsawthe
powerrelationsasthecauseofsocialinstabilityandconflict.Thefocusofsociology,orw
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materialism(thematerialistconceptionofhistory),shouldbetheruthlesscritiqueofe
lettertohisfriendArnoldRuge.Inthiswaythegoalofsociologywouldnotsimplybeto
describesociety,buttousearigorousscientificanalysisasabasistochangeit.Thisfram
contemporarycriticalsociology.

MarxrejectedComtespositivismwithitsemphasisondescribingthelogicallawsofthe
sociologywasaformofidealism,awayofexplainingthenatureofsocietybasedon
perspective,peopleinventideasoffreedom,morality,orcausality,etc.andthench
institutionstoconformtotheseideas.Thistypeofunderstandingcouldonlyeverleadtoa
accordingtoMarx.Insteadhebelievedthatsocietiesgrewandchangedasaresultofthes
overcontrolofthemeansofproduction.Historicalmaterialismisanapproachtoundersta
changeandhumanideasintermsofunderlyingchangesinthemodeofproductionore
transformationsinthewayhumansocietiesactupontheirmaterialworld(theenvironmen
ittomeettheirneeds.Marxarguesthereforethattheconsciousnessorideaspeoplehavea
changesinthismaterial,economicbasis.Assuch,theideasofpeopleinhuntergatherers
ideasofpeopleinfeudalsocieties,whichinturnwillbedifferentfromtheideasofpeople

Thesourceofhistoricalchangeandtransitionbetweendifferenthistoricaltypesofsociety
Marxwasdevelopinghistheories,theIndustrialRevolutionandtheriseofcapitalismhad
wealthofsocietybutalsomassivedisparitiesinwealthandpowerbetweentheownersof
workers(theproletariat).Capitalismwasstillarelativelyneweconomicsystem,anecon
privateorcorporateownershipofgoodsandthemeanstoproducethem.Itwasalsoasys
pronetocrisis,yetincreasinglyglobalinitsreach.

AsMarxdemonstratedinhismasterpieceCapital(1867),capitalismsinstabilityisbased
capitalistsaccumulatetheircapitalorassets,namelybyengagingincoldbloodedcompet
saleofcommoditiesinthecompetitivemarket.Thereisacontinuousneedtoexpandmar
costsofproductioninordertocreateevercheaperandmorecompetitiveproducts.Thisle
wages,theintroductionoflaboursavingtechnologiesthatincreaseunemployment,thefa
periodiceconomiccrisesandrecessions,andtheglobalexpansionofcapitalismasbusine
cheapersourcesoflabour.Yetashepointedout,itwastheworkerslabourthatactuallyp
ownedthefactoriesandmeansofproductionwereinasenseparasiticonworkerslabour
palpable.Marxpredictedthatinequalitiesofcapitalismwouldbecomesoextremethatwo
theircommonclassinterests,developacommonclassconsciousnessorunderstandingo
strugglewouldleadtothedestructionoftheinstitutionofprivatecapitalandtothefinals
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calledcommunism.

AlthoughMarxdidnotcallhisanalysissociology,hissociologicalinnovationwastoprov
economicsystem.WhereasAdamSmith(17231790)andthepoliticaleconomistsofthe
economiclawsofsupplyanddemandsolelyasamarketmechanism(similartotheabstra
indicesandinvestmentreturnsinbusinesspagesofnewspaperstoday),Marxsanalysissh
hadcreatedthemarketsystemandthesocialrepercussionsoftheiroperation.Assuch,hi
notstaticorsimplydescriptive.Hewasabletoputhisfingerontheunderlyingdynamism
characterizedcapitalistsociety.InafamouspassagefromTheCommunistManifesto
destructivepenchantforchangeinherentinthecapitalistmodeofproduction:

Thebourgeoisiecannotexistwithoutconstantlyrevolutionizingtheinstrumentsofproduct
production,andwiththemthewholerelationsofsociety.Conservationoftheoldmodesof
was,onthecontrary,thefirstconditionofexistenceforallearlierindustrialclasses.Const
uninterrupteddisturbanceofallsocialconditions,everlastinguncertainty,andagitationdis
fromallearlierones.Allfixed,fastfrozenrelations,withtheirtrainofancientandvenerab
sweptaway,allnewformedonesbecomeantiquatedbeforetheycanossify.Allthatissoli
isprofaned,andmanisatlastcompelledtofacewithsobersenseshisrealconditionoflife
(MarxandEngels1848).

Marxwasalsoabletocreateaneffectivebasisforcriticalsociologyinthatwhatheaimed
inanotherlettertoArnoldRuge,theselfclarificationofthestrugglesandwishesofthea
principledvaluepositioninhiscritique,hedidnotdosodogmatically,basedonanarbitra
personallythoughtwasgoodandbad.Hefeltratherthatacriticalsocialtheorymustenga
issuesofsocialjusticethatwereinherentwithintheexistingstrugglesandwishesofthea
endeavouredtoshowhowthevarietyofspecificworkactions,strikes,andrevoltsbywor
betterpay,saferworkingconditions,shorterhours,therighttounionize,etc.containedth
equality,collectivejustice,andultimatelytheidealofaclasslesssociety.

Harriet Martineau: The First Woman Sociologist?


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Figure1.8.HarrietMartineau(18021876)
WikimediaCommons.(photocourtesyof
wikimediacommons)

HarrietMartineau(18021876)wasoneofthefirstwomensociologistsinthe19thcentur
womenwhomightcompetewithherforthetitleofthefirstwomansociologist,suchasC
Wollstonecraft,FloraTristan,andBeatriceWebb,butMartineausspecificallysociologica
alongtimeknownprincipallyforherEnglishtranslationofComtesCourseinPositiveP
translationsheintroducedtheconceptofsociologyasamethodologicallyrigorousdiscipl
audience.Butshealsocreatedabodyofherownworkinthetraditionofthegreat
19thcenturyandintroducedasorelymissingwomansperspectiveintothediscourseons

Itwasatestamenttoherabilitiesthataftershebecameimpoverishedattheageof24with
fianc,shewasabletoearnherownincomeasthefirstwomanjournalistinBritaintowri
ageof12,shesufferedfromseverehearinglossandwasobligedtousealargeeartrumpe
audiencewithaseriesofarticlesonpoliticaleconomyin1832.In1834sheleftEnglandt
thenewrepublicoftheUnitedStatesanditsemerginginstitutions:prisons,insaneasylum
plantations,universities,hospitals,andchurches.Onthebasisofextensiveresearch,inter
publishedSocietyinAmericaandworkedwithabolitionistsonthesocialreformofslaver
forsocialreforminthesituationofwomen:therighttovote,haveaneducation,pursuean
legalrightsasmen.TogetherwithFlorenceNightingale,sheworkedonthedevelopment
earlyformulationsofthewelfaresysteminBritain(McDonald1998).
Particularlyinnovativewasherearlyworkonsociologicalmethodology,HowtoObserve
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thisvolumeshedevelopedthegroundworkforasystematicsocialscientificapproachto
recognizedthattheissuesoftheresearcher/subjectrelationshipwouldhavetobeaddresse
toanatural,science.Theobserver,ortraveller,assheputit,neededtorespectthreecrit
impartiality,critique,andsympathy.Theimpartialobservercouldnotallowherselftobe
practicesthatshecouldnotpersonallyreconcileherselfwith.Yetatthesametimeshesaw
butcriticalassessmentofthemoralstatusofaculture.Inparticular,thegoalofsociology
sexual,orclassdominationinthenameofautonomy:therightofeverypersontobease
whatdistinguishedthescienceofsocialobservationfromthenaturalscienceswasthatthe
sympathyforthesubjectsbeingstudied(LengermannandNiebrugge2007).Thislaterbec
Webersinterpretivesociology,althoughitisnotclearthatWeberreadMartineauswork

AlargepartofherresearchintheUnitedStatesanalyzedthesituationsofcontradictionb
actualmoralpractices.Forexample,shewasfascinatedwiththewaythattheformaldem
slaveryabolitioniststoholdpublicmeetings,butwhenthemeetingswereviolentlyattack
notthemobswereaccusedofincitingtheviolence(Zeitlin1997).Thisemphasisonstudy
thedistinctionshedrewbetweenmoralssocietyscollectiveideasofpermittedandforb
theactualpatternsofsocialactionandassociationinsociety.Assherealizedthedifficulty
representationofanentiresocietybasedonalimitednumberofinterviews,shedeveloped
keyThingsexperiencedbyallpeopleage,gender,illness,death,etc.andexamineh
differentlybyasampleofpeoplefromdifferentwalksoflife(LengermannandNiebrugge
thereforefocusedonsurveyingdifferentattitudestowardThingsandstudyingtheanom
towardthemcontradictedasocietysformalmorals.

mile Durkheim: The Pathologies of the Social Order


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Figure1.9.mileDurkheim(1858
1917)WikimediaCommons.(photo
courtesyofwikimediacommons)

mileDurkheim(18581917)helpedestablishsociologyasaformalacademicdiscipline
departmentofsociologyattheUniversityofBordeauxin1895andbypublishinghis
1895.HewasborntoaJewishfamilyintheLorraineprovinceofFrance(oneofthetwop
werelosttotheGermansintheFrancoPrussianWarof18701871).WiththeGermanoc
communitysuddenlybecamesubjecttosporadicantiSemiticviolence,withtheJewsofte
defeatandtheeconomic/politicalinstabilitythatfollowed.Durkheimattributedthisstrang
scapegoatingtothelackofmoralpurposeinmodernsociety.

AsinComtestime,Franceinthelate19thcenturywasthesiteofmajorupheavalsandsh
theFrancoPrussianWar,theParisCommune(1871)inwhich20,000workersdied,thefa
NapoleonIII(NapoleonIsnephew),thecreationoftheThirdRepublic,andtheDreyfus
focusinDurkheimssociologyonthemesofmoralanarchy,decadence,disunity,anddiso
sociologywasascientificbutalsoamoralcallingandoneofthecentraltasksofthesoc
causesofthegeneraltemporarymalajustmentbeingundergonebyEuropeansocietiesand
(1897).Inthisrespect,Durkheimrepresentedthesociologistasakindofmedicaldoctor,
moralorderandproposingsocialremediesandcures.Hesawhealthysocietiesasstable,w
experiencedabreakdowninsocialnormsbetweenindividualsandsociety.Thestateofno
normsthatgivecleardirectionandpurposetoindividualactionswastheresultofsocie
individuals(1897).
Hisfatherwastheeighthinalineoffathersonrabbis.Althoughmilewasthesecondso
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fathersvocationandwasgivenagoodreligiousandseculareducation.Heabandonedthe
career,however,andbecameverysecularinhisoutlook.Hissociologicalanalysisofrelig
ReligiousLife(1912)wasanexampleofthis.Inthisworkhewasnotinterestedinthe
existenceorpurpose,butindevelopingaverysecular,sociologicalquestion:WhetherGo
functionsociallyinasociety?Hearguedthatbeneaththeirrationalismandthebarbarous
mostprimitiveandthemostmodernreligionsistheirabilitytosatisfyrealsocialandhum
whicharefalse(Durkheim1912)hesaid.Religionperformsthekeyfunctionofprovidin
rituals,theworshipoficons,andthebeliefinsupernaturalbeingsexcite,maintainorrec
(Durkheim1912)thatbringpeopletogether,providearitualandsymbolicfocus,andunif
becamethebasisofthefunctionalistperspectiveinsociology.Heexplainedtheexistenc
basisofthenecessaryfunctionitperformedinunifyingsociety.

Durkheimwasalsoakeyfigureinthedevelopmentofpositivistsociology
theconnectionithadwithComtesquasireligioussociologicalcult.However,in
sociologyasthestudyofobjectivesocialfacts.Socialfactsarethosethingslikelaw,cust
practices,language,systemsofmoney,creditanddebt,businessorprofessionalpractices,
theindividual.Socialfacts:

Precedetheindividualandwillcontinuetoexistafterheorsheisgone

Consistofdetailsandobligationsofwhichindividualsarefrequentlyunaware

Areendowedwithanexternalcoercivepowerbyreasonofwhichindividualsarecon

ForDurkheim,socialfactswerelikethefactsofthenaturalsciences.Theycouldbestudi
subjectiveexperienceofindividuals.Hearguedthatsocialfactsmustbestudiedasthing
individual(Durkheim1895).Individualsexperiencethemasobligations,duties,andrest
independentlyoftheirwill.Theyarehardlynoticeablewhenindividualsconsenttothem
individualsresist.

Inthisway,Durkheimwasveryinfluentialindefiningthesubjectmatterofthenewdiscip
sociologywasnotaboutjustanyphenomenatodowiththelifeofhumanbeingsbutonly
exclusivelytoasociallevelofanalysis.Itwasnotaboutthebiologicalorpsychologicald
example,butaboutthesocialfactsthroughwhichthelivesofindividualswereconstraine
humanexperiencedescribedbysocialfactshadtobeexplainedinitsownterms.Itcould
drivesorpsychologicalcharacteristicsofindividuals.Itwasadimensionofreality
characteristics).Itcouldnotbeexplainedby,orreducedto,itsindividualcomponentswit
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features.AsDurkheimputit,asocialfactcanonlybeexplainedbyanothersocialfact(

ThisistheframeworkofDurkheimsfamousstudyofsuicide.InSuicide:AStudyinSoci
todemonstratetheeffectivenessofhisrulesofsocialresearchbyexaminingsuicidestatis
Suicideisperhapsthemostpersonalandmostindividualofallacts.Itsmotiveswouldsee
individualandtoindividualpsychopathology.However,whatDurkheimobservedwastha
remainedfairlyconstantyearbyyearandregionbyregion.Therewasnocorrelationbetw
psychopathology.Suicideratesdidvary,however,accordingtothesocialcontextofthesu
affiliationofsuicides.ProtestantshadhigherratesofsuicidethanCatholics,whereasCath
thanJews.Durkheimarguedthatthekeyfactorthatexplainedthedifferenceinsuicide
purelyindividualmotivesforthesuicides)werethedifferentdegreesofsocialintegration
communities,measuredbytheamountofritualanddegreeofmutualinvolvementinrelig
haddifferinglevelsofanomie,ornormlessness,whichDurkheimassociatedwithhighrat
uniqueandinsightfulbecausehedidnottrytoexplainsuicideratesintermsofindividual
regardedtheregularityofthesuicideratesasafactualorder,implyingtheexistenceofco
individual(Durkheim1897),andexplainedtheirvariationwithrespecttoanothersocial
thedegreeofintegrationofthesocialgroupsofwhichtheindividualformsapart(Durkh

Max Weber: Verstehende Soziologie

Figure1.10.MaxWeber(18641920)WikimediaCommons.(Photo
courtesyofwikimediacommons)

ProminentsociologistMaxWeber(18641920)establishedasociologydepartmentinGe
UniversityofMunichin1919.Weberwroteonmanytopicsrelatedtosociologyincluding
conditionofGermanfarmworkers,andthehistoryofworldreligions.Hewasalsoaprom
importantroleintheGermanpeacedelegationinVersaillesandindraftingtheillfatedG
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followingthedefeatofGermanyinWorldWarI.

Weberisknownbestforhis1904book,TheProtestantEthicandtheSpiritofCapitalism
societies,businessleadersandownersofcapital,thehighergradesofskilledlabour,andt
commerciallytrainedpersonnelwereoverwhelminglyProtestant.Healsonotedtheuneve
Europe,andinparticularhowcapitalismdevelopedfirstinthoseareasdominatedbyProt
thedistrictsofhighesteconomicdevelopmentatthesametimeparticularlyfavourableto
theProtestantReformation(15171648))(Weber1904).Hisanswerfocusedonthedevel
thedutytoworkhardinonescallinginparticularProtestantsectssuchasCalvinism,

AsopposedtothetraditionalteachingsoftheCatholicChurchinwhichpoverty
maintainingtheindividualandcommunity,theProtestantsectsbegantoseehard,continu
itself.Hardlabourwasfirstlyanascetictechniqueofworldlyrenunciationandadefence
theuncleanlife,sexualtemptations,andreligiousdoubts.Secondly,theProtestantsectsb
towardtheindividualwaspredeterminedandcouldneverbeknownorinfluencedbytrad
confession,penance,andbuyingindulgences.However,oneschosenoccupationwasac
signofGodsfavourorrecognitioninthisworldwastoreceivegoodfortuneinonescall
steadyaccumulationofwealththroughpersonaleffortandprudencewasseenasasignof
Weberarguedthattheethic,orwayoflife,thatdevelopedaroundthesebeliefswasakey
boththeaccumulationofcapital,asthegoalofeconomicactivity,andforthecreationofa
labourforce.

Inthisregard,Weberhasoftenbeenseenaspresentinganidealistexplanationofthedeve
Marxshistoricalmaterialistexplanation.Itisanelementofculturalbelief
organizationandclassstrugglesoftheeconomicstructure.Itmightbemoreaccurate,how
onMarxsandtoseehisProtestantethicthesisaspartofabroadersetofthemesconcerni
WhydidtheWesternworldmodernizeanddevelopmodernscience,industry,anddemocr
theIndiansubcontinent,andtheMiddleEastweretechnically,scientifically,andculturall
WeberarguedthatthemodernformsofsocietydevelopedintheWestbecauseoftheproc
tendencyofmoderninstitutionsandmostareasoflifetobetransformedbytheapplicatio
bureaucraticorganization,calculation,andtechnicalreasonandtheovercomingofmag
referredtoasthedisenchantmentoftheworld).Astheimpedimentstowardrationalizat
andinstitutionswererestructuredontheprincipleofmaximumefficiencyandspecializati
(inefficient)typesoforganizationweregraduallyeliminated.
TheironyoftheProtestantethicasonestageinthisprocesswasthattherationalizationo
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organizationoflaboureventuallydispensedwiththereligiousgoalsoftheethic.Attheen
SpiritofCapitalism,Weberpessimisticallydescribesthefateofmodernhumanityasan
metaphorfortheconditionofmodernhumanityinatechnical,rationallydefined,andeff
forgottenitsspiritualorotherpurposesoflife,humanitysuccumbstoanordernowboun
conditionsofmachineproduction(Weber1904).Themodernsubjectintheironcageis
movingmechanismwhichprescribestohimanessentiallyfixedrouteofmarch(Weber1

Weberalsomadeamajorcontributiontothemethodologyofsociologicalresearch.Along
Dilthey(18331911)andHeinrichRickert(18631936),Weberbelievedthatitwasdiffic
naturalsciencemethodstoaccuratelypredictthebehaviourofgroupsaspositivistsociolo
theinfluenceofcultureonhumanbehaviourhadtobetakenintoaccount.Whatwasdistin
itisessentiallymeaningful.Humanbehaviourcouldnotbeunderstoodindependentlyoft
attributedtoit.AMartiansanalysisoftheactivitiesinaskateboardparkwouldbehopele
thattheskateboardersweremotivatedbytheexcitementofrisktakingandthepleasurein
themeaningfulnatureofhumanbehaviourevenappliedtothesociologiststhemselves,w
ofhowtheirownculturalbiasescouldinfluencetheirresearch.Todealwiththisproblem,
conceptofVerstehen,aGermanwordthatmeanstounderstandinadeepway.Inseeking
socialworldanentirecultureorasmallsettingattempttounderstanditempathetically

InhisessayTheMethodologicalFoundationsofSociology,Weberdescribedsociology
interpretiveunderstandingofsocialactioninordertherebytoarriveatacausalexplanatio
1922).Inthiswayhedelimitedthefieldthatsociologystudiesinamanneralmostopposi
Ratherthandefiningsociologyasthestudyoftheuniquedimensionofexternal
socialaction:actionstowhichindividualsattachsubjectivemeanings.Actionissocialin
subjectivemeaningattachedtoitbytheactingindividual(orindividuals),ittakesaccoun
therebyorientedinitscourse(Weber1922).Theactionsoftheyoungskateboarderscan
experiencedboardersinesteemandattempttoemulatetheirskillsevenifitmeansscrapin
fromtimetotime.Weberandotherlikemindedsociologistsfoundedinterpretivesociolo
strivetofindsystematicmeanstointerpretanddescribethesubjectivemeaningsbehinds
societalvalues.Thisapproachledtoresearchmethodslikeethnography,participantobser
analysiswhoseaimwasnottogeneralizeorpredict(asinpositivisticsocialscience),but
understandingofsocialworlds.Thenaturalsciencesmaybeprecise,butfromtheinterpre
methodsconfinethemtostudyonlytheexternalcharacteristicsofthings.
Georg Simmel: A Sociology of Forms
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Figure1.11.GeorgSimmel(18581918)
WikimediaCommons.(Photocourtesyof
JuliusCorneliusSchaarwchter/wikimedia
commons)

GeorgSimmel(18581918)wasoneofthefoundingfathersofsociology,althoughhispl
recognized.Inpart,thisoversightmaybeexplainedbythefactthatSimmelwasaJewish
20thcentury,anduntil1914wasunabletoattainaproperpositionasaprofessorduetoan
ofhissociologicalinsights,thequantityofhispublications,andthepopularityofhispubl
UniversityofBerlin,hislackofaregularacademicpositionpreventedhimfromhavingth
wouldcreatealegacyaroundhisideas.Itmightalsobeexplainedbysomeoftheunconve
wroteon:thestructureofflirting,thesociologyofadventure,theimportanceofsecrecy,t
significanceofmoney,etc.Hewasgenerallyseenatthetimeasnothavingasystematico
However,hisinsightsintohowsocialformsemergeatthemicrolevelofinteractionandh
phenomenaremainvaluableincontemporarysociology.

Simmelssociologyfocusedonthekeyquestion,Howissocietypossible?Hisanswerl
formalsociology,orthesociologyofsocialforms.InhisessayTheProblemofSociolog
conclusionforasociologist:Thereisnosuchthingassocietyassuch.Societyisjus
extraordinarymultitudeandvarietyofinteractions[that]operateatanyonemoment(Si
ofmicrosociology.Howeverusefulitistotalkaboutmacrolevelphenomenalikecapital
rationalization,intheendwhatthesephenomenarefertoisamultitudeof
betweenspecificindividuals.Nevertheless,thephenomenaofsociallifedohaverecogniz
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thebehaviourofindividualsinaregularizedway.Abureaucracyisaformofsocialintera
Onedoesnotcomeintoworkonemorningtodiscoverthattherules,jobdescriptions,pap
thebureaucracyhavedisappeared.Simmelsquestionswere:Howdotheformsofsociall
thefirstplace?Whathappenswhentheygetfixedandpermanent?

Simmelnotesthatsocietyexistswhereanumberofindividualsenterintointeraction(1
wheneverpeoplegather,somethinghappensthatwouldnothavehappenediftheindividu
attunethemselvestooneanotherinawaythatisverysimilartomusicianstuningtheirins
orformofinteractionemergesthatbeginstoguideorcoordinatethebehaviouroftheindi
isofacocktailpartywhereasubtlesetofinstructionsbeginstoemergewhichdefineswh
cocktailpartywheretheconversationislightandwitty,theeffectwouldbejarringofsom
insurancepolicyortalkingaboutthespousalabusetheyhadsuffered.Thepersonwouldb
inappropriate.Similarlyinthepleasantpastimeofflirtation,ifoneofthepartiesbeganto
flirtationbyhavingsex,theflirtationwouldbeover.Flirtationisaformofinteractioninw
havingsexyesornoisperpetuallysuspended.

Inbothexamples,Simmelarguedthatthesocialinteractionhadtakenonaspecificform
calledtheplayformofsocialinteraction,orpuresociability:thepleasurepeopleexperi
together,regardlessofthecontentoftheinteraction(Simmel1910).Ifthecocktailpartyc
businesspropositionoranoverlypersonalconfession,itisnolongerplayful.
violated,eveniftheparticipantswerenotconsciouslyawarethattheyhadadoptedaparti
proposedthatsociologywouldbethestudyofthesocialformsthatrecurindifferentcont
contents.Thesameplayformgovernstheinteractionintwodifferentcontextswithtwod
isthefreerangingcontentofpoliteconversationtheotherissexualdesire.Amongother
weresuperiorityandsubordination,cooperation,competition,divisionoflabour,andmon
appliedinavarietyofdifferentcontextstogivesocialformtoavarietyofdifferent
spiritual,acquisitive,defensive,playful,etc.TheemphasisonformsiswhySimmelcalled
societyformalsociology.

Simmelsfocusonhowsocialformsemergebecameveryimportantformicrosociology,
studiesofhotellobbies,cigarettegirls,andstreetcornersocieties,etc.popularizedbythe
20thcentury.Hisanalysisofthecreationofnewsocialformswasparticularlytunedinto
experienceofmodernsociallifethatwasboundupwiththeunprecedentednatureandsca
lifetime,thecityofBerlinwherehelivedandtaughtformostofhiscareerhadbecomea
millionpeopleby1900,aftertheunificationofGermanyinthe1870s.However,hiswork
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interactions.Hedevelopedananalysisofthetragedyofcultureinwhichhearguedthatt
cultureliketheemergentsocialformscreatedbypeopleintheirfacetofaceinteractio
analyses,etc.tendedtodetachthemselvesfromlivedexperienceandbecomefixedand
culturetheaccumulatedproductsofhumanculturalcreation.Thereareintrinsiclimits
organize,appreciate,andassimilatetheseforms.Asthequantityofobjectivecultureincre
becomesprogressivelymorealienating,incomprehensible,andoverwhelming.Ittakeson
cannolongerseehimorherselfreflectedinit.Music,forexample,canbeenriching,but
ofcontemporarymusiccanoftenbebaffling,asifyouneedanadvancedmusicdegreejus
youarehearingismusic.

InhisfamousstudyTheMetropolisandMentalLife,Simmeldescribedhowthebuilte
anonymityofthecityhadbecomeasocialform,whichhecalledthemetropolitanwayo
architecture,andthevarietyofwaysoflifeitcontainedwereproductsofhumancreation
confrontedtheindividualasakindofoverwhelmingmonstrositythatthreatenedtoswallo
technologicalmechanism(Simmel1903).Asameansofselfprotectionagainstthecity
peoplecutthemselvesofffrompotentiallyenrichingcontactwithothersandbecomecold
blas.

Making Connections: Social Policy & Debate

How Do Working Moms Impact Society?

WhatconstitutesatypicalfamilyinCanadahaschangedtremendouslyoverthepas
notablechangeshasbeentheincreasingnumberofmotherswhoworkoutsidethehom
mostfamilyhouseholdsconsistedofoneparentworkingoutsidethehomeandtheoth
provider.Becauseoftraditionalgenderrolesandfamilystructures,thiswastypically
homemom.Researchshowsthatin1951only24percentofallwomenworkedoutsid
58.3percentofallwomendid,and64.4percentofwomenwithchildrenyoungerthan
employed(StatisticsCanada2011).
Sociologistsinterestedinthistopicmightapproachitsstudyfromavarietyofangles.
impactonachildsdevelopment,anothermayexploreitseffectonfamilyincome,wh
othersocialinstitutionshaverespondedtothisshiftinsociety.Asociologiststudying
onachildsdevelopmentmightaskquestionsaboutchildrenraisedinchildcaresettin
differentlywhenraisedlargelybyachildcareproviderratherthanaparent?Doearly
childcaresettingleadtoimprovedacademicperformancelaterinlife?Howdoesach
perceivegenderrolescomparedtoachildraisedwithastayathomeparent?Another
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intheincreaseinworkingmothersfromaneconomicperspective.Whydosomanyh
incomes?Hasthischangedtheincomeoffamiliessubstantially?Howdowomensdu
thewidereconomyaffecttheiroccupationalachievementsandabilitytoparticipateon
workforce?Whatimpactdoesthelargereconomyplayintheeconomicconditionsof
peopleviewmoneysavings,spending,debtdifferentlythantheyhaveinthepast?
Curiosityaboutthistrendsinfluenceonsocialinstitutionsmightleadaresearcherto
educationalandchildcaresystems.Hastheincreaseinworkingmothersshiftedtradit
ontoschools,suchasprovidinglunchandevenbreakfastforstudents?Howdoesthe
programsshiftresourcesawayfromtraditionalschoolprograms?Whatwouldtheeffe
subsidizedchildcareprogramontheabilityofwomentopursueuninterruptedcareers
Astheseexamplesshow,sociologistsstudymanyrealworldtopics.Theirresearchof
andpoliticalissues.Resultsfromsociologicalstudiesonthistopicmightplayarolein
liketheEmploymentInsurancematernityandparentalbenefitsprogram,ortheymigh
advocacygroupstrivingtoreducesocialstigmasplacedonstayathomedads,orthey
determinehowtobestallocatefundingforeducation.ManyEuropeancountrieslikeS
supportpolicies,suchasafullyearofparentalleaveat80percentofwageswhenach
subsidized,highqualitydaycareandpreschoolprograms.InCanada,anationalsubsid
brieflyin2005butwasscrappedin2006bytheConservativegovernmentandreplace
paymenttoparentsforeachchild.Sociologistsmightbeinterestedinstudyingwhethe
systemintermsofchildrenswellbeing,lowerfamilypoverty,andgenderequality
higherSwedishtaxrates.

1.3. Theoretical Perspectives

Figure1.12.Peopleholdingpostersandwavingflagsataprotest
rally(photocourtesyofSteveHerman/wikimediacommons)

Sociologistsstudysocialevents,interactions,andpatterns.Theythendeveloptheoriesto
canresultfromthem.Insociology,atheoryisawaytoexplaindifferentaspectsofsocial
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propositionsaboutsociety(Allan2006).Forexample,Durkheimspropositionthatdiffere
explainedbydifferencesinthedegreeofsocialintegrationindifferentcommunitiesisath

Asthisbriefsurveyofthehistoryofsociologysuggests,however,thereisconsiderabledi
approachessociologytakestostudyingsociety.Sociologyisamultiperspectivalscience
orparadigmsoffercompetingexplanationsofsocialphenomena.Paradigms
usedwithinadisciplinetoformulatetheories,generalizations,andtheresearchperformed
theunderlyingorganizingprinciplesthattiedifferentconstellationsofconcepts,theories,
together(Drengson1983).TalcottParsonsreformulationofDurkheimsandotherswork
1950sisanexampleofaparadigmbecauseitprovidedageneralmodelofanalysissuited
topics.Parsonsproposedthatanyidentifiablestructure(e.g.,roles,families,religions,ors
particularfunctionitperformedinmaintainingtheoperationofsocietyasawhole.Critica
interactionismwouldformulatetheexplanatoryframeworkandresearchproblemdifferen

Themultiperspectivalapproachofsociologycanbeconfusingtothenewcomer,especial
withthemoreunifiedperspectiveofthenaturalscienceswheredivisionsinperspective
sciencesarelargelyabletodispensewithissuesofmultipleperspectiveandbuildcumula
factsbecausetheobjectstheystudyareindifferenttotheirobservation.Thechemicalco
proteincanbeassumedtobethesamewhereveritisobservedandbywhomeveritisobse
socialphenomena,whicharemediatedbymeaningsandinterpretations,dividedbypolitic
historicalchangeandhumanagency,characterizedbycontradictionsandreconciliations,
observedatamicroormacrolevel.Socialrealityisdifferent,dependingonthehistorical
criteriafromwhichitisviewed.

Nevertheless,thedifferentsociologicalparadigmsdorestonaformofknowledgethatis
broadsensetomeantheuseofreasonedargument,theabilitytoseethegeneralinthepar
fromsystematicobservationofsocialreality.Withinthisgeneralscientificframework,ho
samedivisionsthatseparatetheformsofmodernknowledgemoregenerally.Bythetime
perspectiveofChristendomhadbrokenintothreedistinctspheresofknowledge:thenatur
interpretivesciences),andcritique(Habermas1972).Sociologyissimilarlydividedintot
knowledge,eachwithitsownstrengths,limitations,andpracticaluses:positivistsociolog
criticalsociology.Withinthesethreetypesofsociologicalknowledge,fourparadigmsha
thinking:structuralfunctionalism,criticalsociology,feminism,andsymbolicinteract
Positivism
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Thepositivistperspectiveinsociologyintroducedabovewithregardtothepioneersof
mileDurkheimismostcloselyalignedwiththeformsofknowledgeassociatedwithth
onempiricalobservationandmeasurement(i.e.,observationthroughthesenses),valuene
searchforlawlikestatementsaboutthesocialworld(analogoustoNewtonslawsofgrav
mathematicsandstatisticaloperationsarethemainformsoflogicaldemonstrationinthe
positivismreliesontranslatinghumanphenomenaintoquantifiableunitsofmeasurement
objectiveorpositivereality,innoessentialrespectsdifferentfromthenaturalworld.Po
knowledgeusefulforcontrollingoradministeringsociallife,whichexplainsitstiestothe
goingbacktoComtesoriginalvisionforsociology.Twoformsofpositivismhavebeend
1940s:quantitativesociologyandstructuralfunctionalism.

Quantitative Sociology

Incontemporarysociology,positivismisbasedonfourmainrulesthatdefinewhatcons
typesofquestionsmaybereasonablyasked(Bryant1985):

1.Theruleofempiricism:Wecanonlyknowaboutthingsthatareactuallygivenine
claimsaboutthingsthatareinvisible,unobservable,orsupersensiblelikemetaphysica

2.Theruleofvalueneutrality:Scientistsshouldremainvalueneutralintheirresearch
empiricismthatvalueshavenoempiricalcontentthatwouldallowtheirvalidityto

3.Theunityofthescientificmethod:Allscienceshavethesamebasicprinciplesand
naturalorhuman.

4.Lawlikestatements:Thetypeofexplanationsoughtbyscientificinquiryisthefor
lawofgravity)toexplainspecificphenomena(likethefallingofastone).

Muchofwhatisreferredtotodayasquantitativesociologyfitswithinthisparadigmofp
usesstatisticalmethodssuchassurveyswithlargenumbersofparticipants.Researchersa
techniquestoseeiftheycanuncoverpatternsofhumanbehaviour.Lawlikerelationships
intheformofstatisticalrelationshipsormultiplelinearregressionformulasthatquantify
causalorindependentvariableshaveonaparticularoutcome(ordependentvariable).For
ofanindividualinCanada,measuredbythefrequencyofchurchattendanceorreligiousp
combinationofdifferentindependentvariablessuchasage,gender,income,immigrantst
Structural Functionalism
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StructuralFunctionalismalsofallswithinthepositivisttraditioninsociologyduetoDu
thesubjectmatterofsociologyintermsofobjectivesocialfactssocialfactsmustbest
externaltotheindividual(Durkheim1895)andtoexplainthemintermsoftheirsocial
ordertostudysociety,sociologistshavetolookbeyondindividualstosocialfacts:thelaw
customs,fashions,rituals,andalloftheculturalrulesthatgovernsociallife(Durkheim18
servesoneormorefunctionswithinasociety.Forexample,onefunctionofasocietyslaw
violence,whileanotheristopunishcriminalbehaviour,whileanotheristopreservepubli

FollowingDurkheimsinsight,structuralfunctionalismseessocietyasastructurewithint
biologicalandsocialneedsofindividualswhomakeupthatsociety.Inthisrespect,societ
differentorganstoperformcrucialfunctions.InfacttheEnglishphilosopherandbiologis
likenedsocietytoahumanbody.Hearguedthatjustasthevariousorgansinthebodywo
systemfunctioningandregulated,thevariouspartsofsocietyworktogethertokeepthee
regulated(Spencer1898).Bypartsofsociety,Spencerwasreferringtosuchsocialinstitu
systems,healthcare,education,media,andreligion.Spencercontinuedtheanalogybypo
asthebodiesofhumansandotheranimalsdo(MaryanskiandTurner1992).

Aswehaveseen,mileDurkheimdevelopedasimilaranalogytoexplainthestructureof
surviveovertime.Durkheimbelievedthatearlier,moreprimitivesocietieswereheldtoge
performedsimilartasksandsharedvalues,language,andsymbols.Therewasalowdivisi
systemofsocialbeliefs,andalowdegreeofindividualautonomy.Societywasheldtoget
solidarity:asharedcollectiveconsciousnesswithharshpunishmentfordeviationfromth
accordingtoDurkheim,weremorecomplex.Peopleservedmanydifferentfunctionsinso
theirfunctiondependeduponothersbeingabletocarryouttheirs.Modernsocietywashe
divisionoflabourororganicsolidarity:acomplexsystemofinterrelatedparts,working
anorganism(Durkheim1893).Accordingtothissociologicalparadigm,thepartsofsocie
academicreliesonthemechanicforthespecializedskillsrequiredtofixhisorhercar,the
touniversitytolearnfromtheacademic,andbothrelyonthebakertoprovidethemwith
partinfluencesandreliesontheothers.

AccordingtoAmericansociologistTalcottParsons(18811955),inahealthysociety,all
produceastablestatecalleddynamicequilibrium(Parsons1961).Parsonswasakeyfig
viewsinthe1940sand1950s.Hearguedthatasociologicalapproachtosocialphenomen
natureofsocietyatalllevelsofsocialexistence:therelationofdefinablestructurestot
needsormaintenanceofthesystem.HisAGILschemaprovidedausefulanalyticalgri
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anindividual,aninstitution,oranentiresocietycouldbeseenasasystemcomposedofst
functions:

Adaptation(A):howthesystemadaptstoitsenvironment

Goalattainment(G):howthesystemdetermineswhatitsgoalsareandhowitwillatt

Integration(I):howthesystemintegratesitsmembersintoharmoniousparticipationa

(Latent)PatternMaintenance(L):howbasicculturalpatterns,values,beliefsystems,

Soforexample,thesocialsystemasawholereliedontheeconomytodistributegoodsan
adaptationtothenaturalenvironmentonthepoliticalsystemtomakedecisionsasitmea
normstoregulatesocialbehaviourasitsmeansofsocialintegrationandon
commonvaluesasitsmeansoflatentpatternmaintenance.FollowingDurkheim,heargu
functionshadtobemadeatthelevelofsystemsandnotinvolvethespecificwantsandne
thereisaninterrelationofcomponentpartswhereachangeinonecomponentaffectstheo
ofindividuals.

Anothernotedstructuralfunctionalist,RobertMerton(19102003),pointedoutthatsocia
functions.Manifestfunctionsaretheconsequencesofasocialprocessthataresoughtor
aretheunsoughtconsequencesofasocialprocess.Amanifestfunctionofcollegeeducati
knowledge,preparingforacareer,andfindingagoodjobthatutilizesthateducation.Late
includemeetingnewpeople,participatinginextracurricularactivities,orevenfindingas
functionofeducationiscreatingahierarchyofemploymentbasedonthelevelofeducatio
beneficial,neutral,orharmful.Socialprocessesthathaveundesirableconsequencesforth
dysfunctions.Ineducation,examplesofdysfunctionincludegettingbadgrades,truancy,
notfindingsuitableemployment.

Criticism

Themaincriticismsofbothquantitativepositivismandstructuralfunctionalismhavetod
phenomenaareturnedintoobjectivesocialfacts.Ononehand,interpretivesociologysug
variablesinquantitativesociologyreducestherichcomplexityandambiguityofsociallif
statisticalrelationshipsthatcannotcapturethemeaningitholdsforindividuals.Measurin
belieforreligiositybythenumberoftimestheyattendchurchinaweekexplainsveryl
Similarly,interpretivesociologyarguesthatstructuralfunctionalism,withitsemphasison
functionstendstoreducetheindividualtothestatusofasociologicaldupe,assumingpre
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withoutanyindividualagencyorcapacityforselfcreation.

Ontheotherhand,criticalsociologychallengestheconservativetendenciesofquantitativ
functionalism.Bothtypesofpositivistanalysisrepresentthemselvesasbeingobjective,o
inthecontextofcriticalsociologysadvocacyforsocialjustice.However,bothtypesofp
assumptionsbuiltintotheirbasicapproachtosocialfacts.Thefocusinquantitativesocio
likestatementspresentsahistoricalanddeterministicpictureoftheworldthatcannotacc
dynamicsofpowerrelationshipsandclassorothercontradictions.Onecanempiricallyob
tospeak.Similarly,thefocusontheneedsandthesmoothfunctioningofsocialsystemsin
aconservativeviewpointbecauseittendstoseethefunctioninganddynamicequilibrium
whereaschangeispathological.InDavisandMooresfamousessaySomePrinciplesof
theauthosarguedthatsocialinequalitywasessentiallygoodbecauseitfunctionedtopr
toworkhardtogetahead.Criticalsociologychallengesboththejusticeandpracticalcon

Table1.1.SociologicalTheoriesorPerspectives.Differentsociologicalperspectivesenab
throughavarietyofusefullenses.

SociologicalParadigm LevelofAnalysis Focus


StructuralFunctionalism Macro Howeachpartofsocietyfunctionstogethertocontributetothe
SymbolicInteractionism Micro Onetooneinteractionsandcommunications
CriticalSociology Macro Howinequalitiescontributetosocialdifferencesandperpetuat

Interpretive Sociology

Theinterpretiveperspectiveinsociologyisalignedwiththehermeneutictraditionsofthe
philosophy,andhistory.Thefocusisonunderstandingorinterpretinghumanactivityinte
attributetoit.MaxWebersVerstehende(understanding)sociologyisoftencitedastheor
becauseofhisemphasisonthecentralityofmeaningandintentioninsocialaction:

Sociologyisasciencewhichattemptstheinterpretiveunderstandingofsocialactionin
explanationofitscourseandeffects.Inactionisincludedallhumanbehaviourwhenand
attachesasubjectivemeaningtoit.[Socialactionis]actionmutuallyorientedtothatof

Thisemphasisonthemeaningfulnessofsocialactionistakenuplaterbyphenomenology
interactionism.Theinterpretiveperspectiveisconcernedwithdevelopingaknowledgeof
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orientedpractice.Itpromotesthegoalofgreatermutualunderstandingandthepossibility
society.

Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolicinteractionismprovidesatheoreticalperspectivethathelpsscholarsexaminet
theirsociety.Thisperspectiveiscentredonthenotionthatcommunicationortheexchan
andsymbolsishowpeoplemakesenseoftheirsocialworlds.AspointedoutbyHerma
viewpointseespeopleasactiveinshapingtheirworld,ratherthanasentitieswhoareacte
Reynolds1994).Thisapproachlooksatsocietyandpeoplefromamicrolevelperspectiv

GeorgeHerbertMead(18631931)isconsideredoneofthefoundersofsymbolicinteract
Society(1934)ontheselfasasocialstructureandonthestagesofchilddevelopmenta
capacitiesprovidestheclassicanalysesoftheperspective.

HisstudentHerbertBlumer(19001987)synthesizedMeadsworkandpopularizedtheth
symbolicinteractionismandidentifieditsthreebasicpremises:

Humansacttowardthingsonthebasisofthemeaningstheyascribetothosethings.

Themeaningofsuchthingsisderivedfrom,orarisesoutof,thesocialinteractiontha
society.

Thesemeaningsarehandledin,andmodifiedthrough,aninterpretativeprocessused
thingsheorsheencounters(Blumer1969).

Inotherwords,humaninteractionisnotdeterminedinthesamemannerasnaturalevents
eachotherasforcesactinguponforcesorasstimuliprovokingautomaticresponses.Rath
interpretingthemeaningofeachothersactions,gestures,orwords.Interactionis
themediation,exchange,andinterpretationofsymbols.Onepersonsactionrefersbeyond
fortheresponseoftheother:itindicateswhatthereceiverissupposedtodoitindicatesw
togethertheyformamutualdefinitionofthesituation,whichenablesjointactiontotakep
stringingtogetheroraligningofmultiplejointactions.

Socialscientistswhoapplysymbolicinteractionistthinkinglookforpatternsofinteractio
ofteninvolveobservationofoneononeinteractions.Forexample,whileastructuralfunc
mightfocusonthefunctionprotestplaysinrealigningtheprioritiesofthepoliticalsystem
bemoreinterestedinseeingthewaysinwhichindividualsintheprotestinggroupinteract
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protestersuseenableacommondefinitionofthesituatione.g.,anenvironmentalorsoc
established.

ThefocusontheimportanceofsymbolsinbuildingasocietyledsociologistslikeErving
frameworkcalleddramaturgicalanalysis.Goffmanusedtheatreasananalogyforsocial
peoplesinteractionsshowedpatternsofculturalscripts.Insocialencounters,individua
statuswithinthegrouptheypresentafacebutitisnevercertainthattheiraudience
alwaysthepossibilitythatindividualswillmakeagaffthatpreventsthemfromsuccessfu
managetheimpressiontheyaremakinginthesamewayandoftenusingthesametypeof
becauseitcanbeunclearwhatpartapersonmayplayinagivensituation,heorshehasto
situationunfolds.ThisledtoGoffmansfocusontheritualnatureofsocialinteractionth
socialencountersbecomeroutine,repetitive,andunconscious.Nevertheless,theemphasi
symbolicinteractionismasawhole,isthatthesocialencounter,andsocialrealityitself,is
realityisnotpredeterminedbystructures,functions,roles,orhistory(Goffman1958).

Symbolicinteractionismhasalsobeenimportantinbringingtolighttheexperiencesandw
typicallyexcludedfromofficialaccountsoftheworld.HowardBeckersOutsiders
oflabellinginwhichindividualscometobecharacterizedorlabelledasdeviantsbyauth
whichayoungpersonispickedupbypoliceforanoffence,definedasayoungoffender,
system,andthenintroducedtothecriminalsubculturethroughcontactwithexperiencedc
pointofviewoftheyoungperson.Thesignificanceoflabellingtheoryistoshowthatind
criminal,butbecomecriminalthroughaninstitutionalizedsymbolicinteractionwithauth

socialgroupscreatedeviancebymakingruleswhoseinfractioncreatesdeviance
particularpeopleandlabellingthemasoutsiders.Fromthispointofview,devianceis
commits,butratheraconsequenceoftheapplicationbyotherofrulesandsanctionstoan
whomthatlabelhasbeensuccessfullyapplieddeviantbehaviorisbehaviourthatpeoples

Studiesthatusethesymbolicinteractionistperspectivearemorelikelytousequalitativer
interviewsorparticipantobservation,becausetheyseektounderstandthesymbolicworld

Criticism

Researchdonefromthisperspectiveisoftenscrutinizedbecauseofthedifficultyofremai
extremelynarrowfocusonsymbolicinteraction.Proponents,ofcourse,considerthisone
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Oneoftheproblemsofsociologythatfocusesonmicrolevelinteractionsisthatitisdiffi
situations,involvingveryfewindividuals,tomakesocialscientificclaimsaboutthenatur
isthat,whiletherichtextureoffacetofacesociallifecanbeexaminedindetail,theresu
withoutanyexplanatoryoranalyticalstrength.Inasimilarfashion,itisverydifficulttog
relationsofpowerthatstructureorconditionfacetofacesymbolicinteractions.Thepersp
unstructuredandunconstraineddomainofagencyandsubjectivemeaningshasdifficulty
lifedoesbecomestructuredandconstrained.

Making Connections:The Big Picture

A Global Culture?

Figure1.13.Somesociologistsseethe
onlineworldcontributingtothecreationof
anemergingglobalculture.Areyouapart
ofanyglobalcommunities?(Photocourtesy
ofquasireversible/flickr)

Sociologistsaroundtheworldarelookingcloselyforsignsofwhatwouldbeanunpre
ofaglobalculture.Inthepast,empiressuchasthosethatexistedinChina,Europe,A
Americalinkedpeoplefrommanydifferentcountries,butthosepeoplerarelybecame
livedtoofarfromeachother,spokedifferentlanguages,practiseddifferentreligions,
increasesincommunication,travel,andtradehavemadetheworldamuchsmallerpla
abletocommunicatewitheachotherinstantlywherevertheyarelocatedbyteleph
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movies,televisionshows,music,games,andinformationovertheinternet.Studentsc
pupilsfromtheothersideoftheglobe.Governmentsfindithardertohideconditions
restoftheworld.
Sociologistsareresearchingmanydifferentaspectsofthispotentialglobalculture.So
involvedinthesocialinteractionsofglobalonlinecommunities,suchaswhenmembe
groupmembersthantopeopleresidingintheirowncountry.Othersociologistsarestu
internationalculturehasonsmaller,lesspowerfullocalcultures.Yetotherresearchers
internationalmarketsandtheoutsourcingoflabourimpactsocialinequalities.Sociolo
peoplesabilitytounderstandthenatureofthisemergingglobalcultureandhowtore

Critical Sociology

Thecriticalperspectiveinsociologyhasitsoriginsinsocialactivism,socialjusticemove
radicalcritique.AsKarlMarxputit,itsfocuswastheruthlesscritiqueofeverythingexi
elementsofthisanalysisaretheemphasesonpowerrelationsandtheunderstandingofso
change,struggle,contradiction,instability,socialmovementandradicaltransformation.R
neutrality,thetraditionofcriticalsociologypromotespracticesofliberationandsocialch
socialjustice.AsMarxstated,thephilosophershaveonlyinterpretedtheworld,invariou
(1845).Thisiswhyitismisleadingtocallcriticalsociologyconflicttheoryassomeint
conflictiscertainlycentraltothecriticalanalysesofpoweranddomination,thefocusofc
typesofknowledgeandpoliticalactionthatenableemancipationfrompowerrelations(i.
society).Historicalmaterialism,feminism,environmentalism,antiracism,queerstudies,
examplesofthecriticalperspectiveinsociology.

Oneoftheoutcomesofasystematicanalysissuchastheseisthatitgeneratesquestionsab
everydaylifeandissuesconcerningsocialjusticeandenvironmentalsustainability.Inline
theEnlightenment,criticalsociologyissociologywithanemancipatoryinterest(Haber
seeksnotsimplytounderstandordescribetheworld,buttousesociologicalknowledgeto
emancipatepeoplefromconditionsofservitude.Whatdoesthewordcritical
thatitisimportanttounderstandthatthecriticaltraditioninsociologyisnotaboutcompl
aboutadoptingamoralpositionfromwhichtojudgepeopleorsociety.Itisnotaboutbein
opposedtoobjective.AsHerbertMarcuseputitinOneDimensionalMan
judgments:
1.Thejudgmentthathumanlifeisworthliving,orratherthatitcanbeandoughttob
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2.Thejudgmentthat,inagivensociety,specificpossibilitiesexistfortheamelioratio
andmeansofrealizingthesepossibilities

Criticalsociologythereforerejectsthenotionofavaluefreesocialscience,butdoesnott
anindividualsubjectivevaluepreferenceasaresult.Beingcriticalinthecontextofsoc
empiricalknowledgetoassessthepossibilitiesandbarrierstoimprovingorameliorating

Historical Materialism

ThetraditionofhistoricalmaterialismthatdevelopedfromKarlMarxsworkisoneoft
sociology.AswenotedinthediscussionofMarxabove,historicalmaterialismconcentrat
everydaylivesarestructuredbytheconnectionbetweenrelationsofpowerandeconomic
approachbeginswiththemacrolevelquestionofhowspecificrelationsofpowerandspe
developedhistorically.Theseformthecontextinwhichtheinstitutions,practices,beliefs,
everydaylifearesituated.Theelementsthatmakeupacultureasocietyssharedpractic
arestructuredbythesocietyseconomicmodeofproduction:thewayhumansocietiesac
resourcesinordertousethemtomeettheirneeds.Huntergatherer,agrarian,feudal,andc
beentheeconomicbasisforverydifferenttypesofsocietythroughoutworldhistory.

Figure1.14.ThomasFaed,TheLastoftheClan(1865)Wikimedia
Commons.(PhotocourtesyofThomasFaed/wikimediacommons)

Itisnotasifthisrelationshipisalwayscleartothepeoplelivinginthesedifferentperiods
mechanismsandstructuresofsociallifeareobscure.Forexample,itmightnothavebeen
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expelledfromtheirancestrallandsinScotlandduringtheHighlandclearancesofthe18th
emigratedtotheRedRiversettlementsinRupertsLand(nowManitoba)thattheywereli
transformationfromfeudalismtocapitalism.Thistransitionwasneverthelessthecontext
familiesmadetoemigratefromScotlandandattempttofoundtheRedRiverColony.Itm
themthattheywereparticipatinginthedevelopmentofcolonialpowerrelationshipsbetw
AmericaandtheEuropeansthatpersistupuntiltoday.ThroughcontactwiththeScotsand
andAnishinabeweregraduallydrawnoutoftheirownindigenousmodesofproductiona
capitalisteconomyasfurtrappersandprovisionersfortheearlyEuropeansettlements.Itw
thelossofcontrolovertheirlands,thedestructionoftheirwayoflife,thedevastatingspr
impositionoftheIndianAct,theestablishmentoftheresidentialschoolsystem,institution
enduringlegacyofintractablesocialproblems.

Inasimilarway,historicalmaterialismanalyzestheconstraintsthatdefinethewayindivi
theirdecisionsinpresentdaysociety.Fromthetypesofcareertopursuetothenumberof
practicesofeverydaylifemustbeunderstoodintermsofthe20thcenturyshifttocorpora
contextofglobalizationinwhichcorporatedecisionsaboutinvestmentsaremade.

Thehistoricalmaterialistapproachemphasizesthreecomponents(Naiman2012).Thefirs
relateditisnotpossibletostudysocialprocessesinisolation.Thesecondisthateveryth
processofcontinuoussocialchange).Itisnotpossibletostudysocialprocessesasifthey
isthatthetensionsthatformaroundrelationshipsofpowerandinequalityinsocietyareth
thelanguageofMarx,thesetensionsarebasedoncontradictionsbuiltintotheorganiza
relationshipsthatstructureourlivelihoods,ourrelationshipstoeachother,ourrelationshi
withintheglobalcommunity.Itisnotpossibletostudysocialprocessesasiftheywerein
formationsofpowerthatbothstructurethemanddestabilizethem.

Feminism

Anothermajorschoolofcriticalsociologyisfeminism.Fromtheearlyworkofwomenso
feministsociologyhasfocusedonthepowerrelationshipsandinequalitiesbetweenwome
ofinequalityfacedbywomenbeaddressed?AsHarrietMartineauputitin

Allwomenshouldinformthemselvesoftheconditionoftheirsex,andoftheirownpositio
thenoblestofthemwill,soonerorlater,putforthamoralpowerwhichshallprostratecant
thebonds(silkentosomebutcoldirontoothers)offeudalprejudiceandusages.Intheme
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theprinciplesoftheDeclarationofIndependencebearnorelationtohalfofthehumanrac
thislimitation?

Feministsociologyfocusesonanalyzingthegroundsofthelimitationsfacedbywomenw
withmen.

Inequalitybetweenthegendersisaphenomenonthatgoesbackatleast4,000years(Lern
waysinwhichithasbeenpractiseddifferbetweenculturesandchangesignificantlythrou
theformulationoftheconceptofpatriarchy.Patriarchyreferstoasetofinstitutionalstru
topositionsofpower,relationshiptosourcesofincome)thatarebasedonthebeliefthatm
andunequalcategories.Keytopatriarchyiswhatmightbecalledthedominantgenderi
theassumptionthatphysiologicalsexdifferencesbetweenmalesandfemalesarerelatedt
behaviour,andability(i.e.,theirgender).Thesedifferencesareusedtojustifyagendered
inequalityinaccesstorewards,positionsofpower,andprivilege.Thequestionthatfemin
distinctionbetweenmaleandfemale,andtheattributionofdifferentqualitiestoeach,serv
thefamily,law,theoccupationalstructure,religiousinstitutions,thedivisionbetweenpub
inequalitybetweenthesexes?

Feminismisadistincttypeofcriticalsociology.Thereareconsiderabledifferencesbetwe
example,thedifferencesoftenattributedtothefirstwaveoffeminisminthe19thandearl
offeminismfromthe1950stothe1970s,andthethirdwaveoffeminismfromthe1980s
betweendifferenttypesoffeministapproach,therearefourcharacteristicsthatarecommo

1.Genderisacentralfocusorsubjectmatteroftheperspective.

2.Genderrelationsareviewedasaproblem:thesiteofsocialinequities,strains,andc

3.Genderrelationsarenotimmutable:theyaresociologicalandhistoricalinnature,s

4.Feminismisaboutanemancipatorycommitmenttochange:theconditionsoflifeth
tobetransformed.

Oneofthekeensociologicalinsightsthatemergedwiththefeministperspectiveinsociolo
political.Manyofthemostimmediateandfundamentalexperiencesofsociallifefrom
totheexperienceofsexualviolencehadsimplybeeninvisibleorregardedasunimporta
Smithsdevelopmentofstandpointtheorywasakeyinnovationinsociologythatenable
addressedinasystematicway(Smith1977).Sherecognizedfromtheconsciousnessraisi
initiatedbyfeministsinthe1960sand1970sthatmanyoftheimmediateconcernsexpress
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liveshadacommonalityofthemes.Thesethemeswereneverthelessdifficulttoarticulate
thelanguageofpoliticsorlaw.

Partoftheissuewassociologyitself.Smitharguedthatinsteadofbeginningsociological
viewofinstitutionsorsystems,womenslivescouldbemoreeffectivelyexaminedifone
livedexperienceintheimmediatelocalsettingsofeveryday/everynightlife.Sheasked,
womenseverydaylives?Fromthisstandpoint,Smithobservedthatwomenspositionin
bytheexperienceofdualconsciousness.Everydaywomencrossedatangibledividingli
particularizingworkinrelationtochildren,spouse,andhouseholdtotheinstitutionalw
concernsatwork,orintheirdealingswithschools,medicalsystems,orgovernmentburea
institutionallife,theactualitiesoflocalconsciousnessandlivedlifeareobliterated(Sm
womenisgroundedinbodily,localized,hereandnowrelationshipsbetweenpeople,du
domesticsphere,societyisorganizedthroughrelationsofruling,whichtranslatethesu
intoabstractbureaucraticcategories.Powerandruleinsociety,especiallythepowerandr
thelivesofwomen,operatethroughaproblematicmoveintotranscendencethatprovid
werepossibletostandoutsideofit.Smitharguedthattheabstractconceptsofsociology,a
atthetime,onlycontributedtotheproblem.

Criticism

Whereascriticalsociologistsoftencriticizepositivistandinterpretivesociologyfortheirc
alsotrue.Inparttheissueisaboutwhethersociologycanbeobjective,orvalueneutral
thecriticismisoftenaimedattheradicalnatureofcriticalanalyses.Marxscritiqueofcap
patriarchyforexampleledtoveryinterestinginsightsintohowstructuresofpowerandin
viewthatseesonlythemostrevolutionarytransformationofsocietyasasolution.

Criticalsociologyisalsocriticizedfromthepointofviewofinterpretivesociologyforov
groupstomanipulatesubordinategroups.Forexample,mediarepresentationsofwomena
standardsofbeautyortoreducewomentoobjectsofmaledesire.Thistypeofcritiquesu
controlledbymediaimagesratherthanrecognizingtheirindependentabilitytorejectmed
imagesforthemselves.Inasimilarway,criticalsociologyiscriticizedforimplyingthatp
macrolevelhistoricalforcesratherthanindividualswithacapacityforindividualandcol
arguethatMenmaketheirownhistoryitisjustthattheydonotmakeitjustastheyp
circumstanceschosenbythemselves,butundercircumstancesencountered,given,andtra
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1851).

Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Farming and Locavores: How Sociological Perspectives Might View Food Consumption

Theconsumptionoffoodisacommonplace,dailyoccurrence,yetitcanalsobeassoc
inourlives.Eatingcanbeanindividualoragroupaction,andeatinghabitsandcusto
cultures.Inthecontextofsociety,ournationsfoodsystemisatthecoreofnumerous
issues,andeconomicdebates.Anyofthesefactorsmightbecomeatopicofsociologi
Astructuralfunctionalapproachtothetopicoffoodconsumptionmightbeinterested
industrywithinthenationseconomyandhowthishaschangedfromtheearlydaysof
modernmechanizedproduction.Foodproductionisaprimaryexampleofhowhuman
environmentalsystems.Inmanyrespectstheconcernsofenvironmentalistsandother
relationshipbetweenindustrialagricultureandtheecosystemaretheresultsofadysfu
Theconceptofsustainableagriculturepointstothechangesneededtoreturntheinter
naturalenvironmenttoastateofdynamicequilibrium.
Asociologistviewingfoodconsumptionthroughasymbolicinteractionistlenswould
leveltopics,suchasthesymbolicuseoffoodinreligiousrituals,ortheroleitplaysin
familydinner.Thisperspectivemightalsostudytheinteractionsamonggroupmembe
basedontheirsharingaparticulardiet,suchasvegetarians(peoplewhodonteatmea
strivetoeatlocallyproducedfood).Theincreasingconcernthatpeoplehavewiththei
thelifeofthebiologicalbodyisasmuchasymbolicreality,interpretedwithincontem
risksandbeauty,asitisabiologicalreality.

Acriticalsociologistmightbeinterestedinthepowerdifferentialspresentintheregulatio
righttoinformationintersectswithcorporationsdriveforprofitandhowthegovernment
criticalsociologistmightbeinterestedinthepowerandpowerlessnessexperiencedbyloc
conglomerates.InthedocumentaryFoodInc.,theplightoffarmersresultingfromMonsa
isdepictedasaproductofthecorporatizationofthefoodindustry.Anothertopicofstudy
betweendifferentsocialclasses.

1.4. Why Study Sociology?


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Figure1.15.TommyDouglas(19041986).
AspremierofSaskatchewanTommy
Douglasintroducedlegislationforthefirst
publiclyfundedhealthcareplaninCanada
in1961.SociologistBernardBlishen(1919
)wastheresearchdirectorfortheRoyal
CommissiononHealthServiceswhich
drewuptheplanforCanadasnational
medicareprogramin1964.(PhotoNational
ArchivesofCanada,C036222)

WhenBernardBlishenpickedupthephoneonedayin1961,hewassurprisedtohearCh
endofthelineaskinghimtobetheresearchdirectorforthenewlyestablishedRoyalCom
PublicallyfundedhealthcarehadbeenintroducedforthefirsttimeinCanadathatyearby
CommonwealthFederation(CCF)governmentinSaskatchewanamidbittercontroversy.D
strikeandprivatehealthcareinsurersmountedanexpensiveantipublichealthcarecamp
governmentcommission,appointedbyPrimeMinisterJohnDiefenbaker,Blishenscollea
tobeawhitewashdocumenttodefendtheinterestsofprivatemedicalcare.However,Blis
challenge,andwhenthecommissionsreportwaspublisheditadvocatedthattheSaskatch
(Vaughan2004).

Blishenwentontoworkinthefieldofmedicalsociologyandalsocreatedawidelyused
statusknownastheBlishenscale.HereceivedtheOrderofCanadain2011inrecognition
ofpublichealthcareinCanada.
Sinceitwasfirstfounded,manypeopleinterestedinsociologyhavebeendrivenbythesc
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knowledgetothisfield,whileothershaveseenitaswaynotonlytostudysociety,butals
ofpublichealthcareinCanada,sociologyhasplayedacrucialroleinmanyimportantsoc
opportunityforwomenintheworkplace,improvedtreatmentforindividualswithmental
recognitionandaccommodationforpeoplefromdifferentethnicbackgrounds,thecreatio
ofaboriginalpopulationstopreservetheirlandandculture,andprisonsystemreforms.

TheprominentsociologistPeterL.Berger(1929),inhis1963bookInvitationtoSociolo
describesasociologistassomeoneconcernedwithunderstandingsocietyinadisciplined
haveanaturalinterestinthemonumentalmomentsofpeopleslives,aswellasafascinati
occurrences.Bergeralsodescribestheahamomentwhenasociologicaltheorybecomes

[T]hereisadeceptivesimplicityandobviousnessaboutsomesociologicalinvestigations.O
familiarscene,remarksthatonehasheardallthisbeforeanddontpeoplehavebetterthing
ontruismsuntiloneissuddenlybroughtupagainstaninsightthatradicallyquestionsev
assumedaboutthisfamiliarscene.Thisisthepointatwhichonebeginstosensetheexcite

Sociologycanbeexcitingbecauseitteachespeoplewaystorecognizehowtheyfitintoth
them.Lookingatthemselvesandsocietyfromasociologicalperspectivehelpspeoplesee
groupsbasedonthemanydifferentwaystheyclassifythemselvesandhowsocietyclassif
ofhowthoseclassificationssuchaseconomicandstatuslevels,education,ethnicity,or
perceptions.

Sociologyteachespeoplenottoaccepteasyexplanations.Itteachesthemawaytoorgani
askbetterquestionsandformulatebetteranswers.Itmakespeoplemoreawarethatthere
intheworldwhodonotnecessarilythinkthewaytheydo.Itincreasestheirwillingnessa
fromotherpeoplesperspectives.Thispreparesthemtoliveandworkinanincreasinglyd

Sociology in the Workplace

Employerscontinuetoseekpeoplewithwhatarecalledtransferableskills.Thismeans
knowledgeandeducationcanbeappliedinavarietyofsettingsandwhoseskillswillcon
sociologycanprovidepeoplewiththiswideknowledgeandaskillsetthatcancontribute

Anunderstandingofsocialsystemsandlargebureaucracies
Theabilitytodeviseandcarryoutresearchprojectstoassesswhetheraprogramorpo
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Theabilitytocollect,read,andanalyzestatisticalinformationfrompollsorsurveys

Theabilitytorecognizeimportantdifferencesinpeoplessocial,cultural,andeconom

Skillsinpreparingreportsandcommunicatingcomplexideas

Thecapacityforcriticalthinkingaboutsocialissuesandproblemsthatconfrontmode
Sociology,UniversityofAlabama)

Sociologypreparespeopleforawidevarietyofcareers.Besidesactuallyconductingsocia
field,peoplewhograduatefromcollegewithadegreeinsociologyarehiredbygovernme
organizations,andcorporationsinfieldssuchassocialservices,counselling(e.g.,family
designingandevaluatingsocialpoliciesandprograms,healthservices,pollingandindepe
andhumanresourcesmanagement.Evenasmallamountoftraininginsociologycanbea
relations,journalism,teaching,law,andcriminaljustice.

Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Please Friend Me: Students and Social Networking

ThephenomenonknownasFacebookwasdesignedspecificallyforstudents.Wherea
ineachothersprintedyearbooksattheendoftheacademicyear,moderntechnology
dynamicnewwaysforpeopletointeractsocially.Insteadofhavingtomeetuponcam
Skypefromtheirdormrooms.Insteadofastudygroupgatheringweeklyinthelibrary
helplearnersconnect.Theavailabilityandimmediacyofcomputertechnologyhasfor
engagewitheachother.
Now,afterseveralsocialnetworkshaveviedforprimacy,afewhaveestablishedtheir
haveattractednicheaudience.WhileFacebooklaunchedthesocialnetworkingtrendg
adults,nowpeopleofallagesareactivelyfriendingeachother.LinkedIndistinguis
professionalconnections,servingasavirtualworldforworkplacenetworking.Newer
peopleconnectbasedontherealworldplacestheyfrequent,whileTwitterhascorner
Thesenewermodesofsocialinteractionhavealsospawnedquestionableconsequence
whatsomecallFAD,orFacebookaddictiondisorder.Inaninternationalstudyofsma
percentsaytheyarecompulsiveaboutcheckingtheirsmartphonesand42percenta
disconnected75percentchecktheirsmartphonesinbedmorethan33percentcheck
percentemailandchecksocialmediawhileeating(Cisco2012).AnInternationalDat
7,446smartphoneusersaged18to44intheUnitedStatesin2012foundthat:
HalfoftheU.S.populationhavesmartphonesandofthose70percentuseFacebo
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mostcommonsmartphoneactivity,behindemail(78percent)andwebbrowsing(
61percentofsmartphoneuserscheckFacebookeveryday.
62percentofsmartphoneuserschecktheirdevicefirstthingonwakingupinthe
within15minutes.Among18to24yearoldsthefiguresare74percentand89pe
SmartphoneuserscheckFacebookapproximately14timesaday.
84percentofthetimeusingsmartphonesisspentontexting,emailingandusings
whereasonly16percentofthetimeisspentonphonecalls.Peoplespendanaver
theirsmartphonesincluding33minutesonFacebook.
PeopleuseFacebookthroughouttheday,eveninplaceswheretheyarenotsuppo
whiledoingerrandsandshopping47percentwhentheyareeatingout48percen
inmeetingsorclassand50percentwhileatthemovies.

Thestudynotedthatthedominantfeelingthesurveygroupreportedwasasenseoff
Yet,intheinternationalstudycitedabove,twothirdsof18to30yearoldsmartphon
timewithfriendsonlinethantheydoinperson.
Allofthesesocialnetworksdemonstrateemergingwaysthatpeopleinteract,whether
Sociologistsaskwhethertheremightbelongtermeffectsofreplacingfacetofaceint
aninterviewontheConanOBrianShowthatironicallycirculatedwidelythroughsoc
CKdescribedtheuseofsmartphonesastoxic.Theydonotallowforchildrenwhou
empathybecausethechildrendonotinteractfacetoface,orseetheeffectstheircomm
heargues,theydonotallowpeopletobealonewiththeirfeelings.Thethingis,you
beyourselfandnotbedoingsomething.Thatswhatthephonesaretakingaway(Ne
think?HowdosocialmedialikeFacebookandcommunicationtechnologieslikesma
communicate?Howcouldthisquestionbestudied?

Key Terms

AGILschemaTalcottParsonsdivisionofsocietyintofourfunctionalrequisites:
Integration,andLatentpatternmaintenance
anomieasocialconditionornormlessnessinwhichalackofclearnormsfailstogive
individualactions
capitalismaneconomicsystemcharacterizedbyprivateorcorporateownershipandp
saleinacompetitivemarket
contentthespecificreasonsordrivesthatmotivateindividualstointeract
criticalsociologyatheoreticalperspectivethatfocusesoninequalityandpowerrelati
achievesocialjusticeandemancipationthroughtheirtransformation
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cultureincludesthegroupssharedpractices,values,beliefs,normsandartifacts
disenchantmentoftheworldthereplacementofmagicalthinkingbytechnologicalr
dominantgenderideologythebeliefthatphysiologicalsexdifferencesbetweenmale
differencesintheircharacter,behaviour,andability
dramaturgicalanalysisatechniquesociologistsuseinwhichtheyviewsocietythrou
performance
dualconsciousnesstheexperienceofafissureordividingpointineverydaylifewher
irreconcilableformsofconsciousnessorperspective
dynamicequilibriumastablestateinwhichallpartsofahealthysocietyareworking
dysfunctionssocialpatternsthathaveundesirableconsequencesfortheoperationofs
feminismthecriticalanalysisofthewaygenderdifferencesinsocietystructuresocia
figurationtheprocessofsimultaneouslyanalyzingthebehaviourofanindividualand
behaviour
formalsociologyasociologythatanalyticallyseparatesthecontentsfromtheformso
commonformsthatguidehumanbehaviour
functionthepartarecurrentactivityplaysinthesociallifeasawholeandthecontrib
continuity
functionalism(functionalistperspective)atheoreticalapproachthatseessocietyas
partsdesignedtomeetthebiologicalandsocialneedsofindividualsthatmakeupthat
historicalmaterialismanapproachtounderstandingsocietythatexplainssocialchan
organizationintermsofunderlyingchangesintheeconomic(ormaterial)structureof
idealismanapproachtounderstandingsocietythatemphasizesthatthenatureofsoci
determinedbyasocietysideas,knowledge,andbeliefs
idealistonewhobelievesinidealism
interpretivesociologyaperspectivethatexplainshumanbehaviourintermsofthem
it
labellingasocialprocessinwhichanindividualssocialidentityisestablishedthroug
byauthorities
latentfunctionstheunrecognizedorunintendedconsequencesofasocialprocess
lawofthreestagesthethreestagesofevolutionthatsocietiesdevelopthrough:theol
positive
macrosociologyawidescaleviewoftheroleofsocialstructureswithinasociety
manifestfunctionssoughtconsequencesofasocialprocess
mechanicalsolidaritysocialsolidarityorcohesionthroughasharedcollectiveconsc
fordeviationfromthenorms
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metaphysicalstageastageofsocialevolutioninwhichpeopleexplaineventsinterm
ideas
microsociologythestudyofspecificrelationshipsbetweenindividualsorsmallgrou
modeofproductionthewayhumansocietiesactupontheirenvironmentanditsreso
meettheirneeds
multiperspectivalscienceasciencethatisdividedintocompetingordiverseparadig
organicsolidaritysocialsolidarityorcohesionthroughacomplexdivisionoflabour
paradigmsphilosophicalandtheoreticalframeworksusedwithinadisciplinetoform
andtheexperimentsperformedinsupportofthem
patriarchyinstitutionsofmalepowerinsociety
positivestageastageofsocialevolutioninwhichpeopleexplaineventsintermsofs
positivism(positivistperspectiveorpositivistsociology)thescientificstudyofsoci
methodologicalprinciplesofthenaturalsciences
Protestantethicthedutytoworkhardinonescalling
quantitativesociologystatisticalmethodssuchassurveyswithlargenumbersofpart
rationalizationthegeneraltendencyofmoderninstitutionsandmostareasoflifetob
applicationofinstrumentalreason
reificationreferringtoabstractconcepts,complexprocessesormutablesocialrelatio
socialactionactionstowhichindividualsattachsubjectivemeanings
socialfactstheexternallaws,morals,values,religiousbeliefs,customs,fashions,ritu
governsociallife
socialreformanapproachtosocialchangethatadvocatesslow,incrementalimprove
ratherthanrapid,revolutionarychangeofsocietyasawhole
socialsolidaritythesocialtiesthatbindagroupofpeopletogethersuchaskinship,s
societyisagroupofpeoplewhosemembersinteract,resideinadefinablearea,andsh
sociologicalimaginationtheabilitytounderstandhowyourownuniquecircumstanc
aswellastohistoryingeneralandsocietalstructuresinparticular
sociologythesystematicstudyofsocietyandsocialinteraction
standpointtheorytheexaminationofhowsocietyisorganizedandcoordinatedfrom
sociallocationorperspectiveinsociety
structuralfunctionalismseefunctionalism
symbolicinteractionismatheoreticalperspectivethroughwhichscholarsexamineth
withintheirsocietybystudyingtheircommunication(languageandsymbols)
theologicalstageastageofsocialevolutioninwhichpeopleexplaineventswithresp
theoryaproposedexplanationaboutsocialinteractionsorsociety
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tragedyofculturethetendencyfortheproductsofhumanculturalcreationtoaccum
complex,specialized,alienating,oroppressive
VerstehenGermanforunderstandinginsociologyitreferstotheuseofempathy,o
place,tounderstandthemotivesandlogicofanothersaction

Section Summary

1.1.WhatIsSociology?
Sociologyisthesystematicstudyofsocietyandsocialinteraction.Inordertocarryoutth
culturalpatternsandsocialforcesanddeterminehowtheyaffectindividualsandgroups.T
theirfindingstotherealworld.

1.2.TheHistoryofSociology
Sociologywasdevelopedasawaytostudyandtrytounderstandthechangestosocietyb
Revolutioninthe18thand19thcenturies.Someoftheearliestsociologiststhoughtthatso
societycouldbestudiedusingthesamescientificmethodologiesthatwereusedinthenat
thatiswasimpossibletopredicthumanbehaviourscientifically,andstillothersdebatedth
perspectivescontinuetoberepresentedwithinsociologytoday.

1.3.TheoreticalPerspectives
Sociologistsdeveloptheoriestoexplainsocialevents,interactions,andpatterns.Atheory
patterns.Theorieshavedifferentscales.Macroleveltheories,suchasstructuralfunctiona
explainhowsocietiesoperateasawhole.Microleveltheories,suchassymbolicinteracti
betweenindividuals.

1.4.WhyStudySociology?
Studyingsociologyisbeneficialbothfortheindividualandforsociety.Bystudyingsocio
criticallyaboutsocialissuesandproblemsthatconfrontoursociety.Thestudyofsociolog
preparesthemforcareersinanincreasinglydiverseworld.Societybenefitsbecausepeop
betterpreparedtomakeinformeddecisionsaboutsocialissuesandtakeeffectiveactionto

Section Quiz

1.1.WhatIsSociology?
1.Whichofthefollowingbestdescribessociologyasasubject?
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a.thestudyofindividualbehaviour
b.thestudyofcultures
c.thestudyofsocietyandsocialinteraction
d.thestudyofeconomics

2.WrightMillsoncesaidthatsociologistsneedtodevelopasociological__________
individuals.

a.culture
b.imagination
c.method
d.tool

3.Asociologistdefinessocietyasagroupofpeoplewhoresideinadefinedarea,sha

a.interact
b.workinthesameindustry
c.speakdifferentlanguages
d.practisearecognizedreligion

4.Seeingpatternsmeansthatasociologistneedstobeableto:

a.comparethebehaviourofindividualsfromdifferentsocieties
b.compareonesocietytoanother
c.identifysimilaritiesinhowsocialgroupsrespondtosocialpressure
d.compareindividualstogroups

1.2.TheHistoryofSociology
5.Whichofthefollowingwasatopicofstudyinearlysociology?

a.astrology
b.economics
c.physics
d.history

6.Whichfounderofsociologybelievedsocietieschangedduetoclassstruggle?

a.mileComte
b.KarlMarx
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c.Plato
d.HerbertSpencer

7.Thedifferencebetweenpositivismandinterpretivesociologyrelatesto:

a.whetherindividualslikeordisliketheirsociety
b.whetherresearchmethodsusestatisticaldataorpersontopersonresearch
c.whethersociologicalstudiescanpredictorimprovesociety
d.alloftheabove

8.Whichwouldaquantitativesociologistsusetogatherdata?

a.alargesurvey
b.aliteraturesearch
c.anindepthinterview
d.areviewoftelevisionprograms

9.Weberbelievedhumanscouldnotbestudiedpurelyobjectivelybecausetheywere

a.drugs
b.theirculture
c.theirgeneticmakeup
d.theresearcher

1.3.TheoreticalPerspectives
10.Whichofthesetheoriesismostlikelytolookatthesocialworldonamicrolevel?

a.structuralfunctionalism
b.conflicttheory
c.positivism
d.symbolicinteractionism

11.Whobelievedthatthehistoryofsocietywasoneofclassstruggle?

a.mileDurkheim
b.KarlMarx
c.ErvingGoffmann
d.GeorgeHerbertMead
12.Whocoinedthephrasesymbolicinteractionism?
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a.HerbertBlumer
b.MaxWeber
c.LesterF.Ward
d.W.I.Thomas

13.Asymbolicinteractionistmaycomparesocialinteractionsto:

a.behaviours
b.conflicts
c.humanorgans
d.theatricalroles

14.Whichresearchtechniquewouldmostlikelybeusedbyasymbolicinteractionist?

a.surveys
b.participantobservation
c.quantitativedataanalysis
d.noneoftheabove

15.Whichsociologistdescribedsociologyasthestudyofsocialforms?

a.Martineau
b.Simmel
c.Weber
d.Becker

1.4.WhyStudySociology?
16.StudyingSociologyhelpspeopleanalyzedatabecausetheylearn:

a.interviewtechniques
b.toapplystatistics
c.togeneratetheories
d.alloftheabove

17.Bergerdescribessociologistsasconcernedwith:

a.monumentalmomentsinpeopleslives
b.commoneverydaylifeevents
c.bothaandb
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d.noneoftheabove

Short Answer

1.1.WhatIsSociology?

1.WhatdoyouthinkC.WrightMillsmeantwhenhesaidthattobeasociologist,
sociologicalimagination?
2.Describeasituationinwhichachoiceyoumadewasinfluencedbysocietalpre

1.2.TheHistoryofSociology

1.WhatdoyoumakeofKarlMarxscontributionstosociology?Whatperception
exposedtoinyoursociety,andhowdothoseperceptionsinfluenceyourviews?
2.Doyoutendtoplacemorevalueonqualitativeorquantitativeresearch?Why?
beingstudied?

1.3.TheoreticalPerspectives

1.Whichtheorydoyouthinkbetterexplainshowsocietiesoperatestructuralfu
Why?
2.Doyouthinkthewaypeoplebehaveinsocialinteractionsismoreduetotheca
constraintsormorelikeactorsplayingaroleinatheatricalproduction?Why?

1.4.WhyStudySociology?

1.Howdoyouthinktakingasociologycoursemightaffectyoursocialinteraction
2.Whatsortofcareerareyouinterestedin?Howcouldstudyingsociologyhelpy

Further Research

1.1.WhatIsSociology?
Sociologyisabroaddiscipline.Differentkindsofsociologistsemployvariousmethodsfo
betweenindividualsandsociety.Checkoutmoreaboutsociologyathttp://openstaxcolleg

1.2.TheHistoryofSociology
Manysociologistshelpedshapethediscipline.Tolearnmoreaboutprominentsociologist
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checkouthttp://openstaxcollege.org/l/ferdinandtoennies.

1.3.TheoreticalPerspectives
Peopleoftenthinkofallconflictasviolent,butmanyconflictscanberesolvednonviolen
methodsofconflictresolutioncheckouttheAlbertEinsteinInstitutionhttp://openstaxcoll

1.4.WhyStudySociology?
Socialcommunicationisrapidlyevolvingduetoeverimprovingtechnologies.Tolearnm
theimpactofthesechangescheckouthttp://openstaxcollege.org/l/media

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Introduction to Sociology 1st Canadian Edition
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1.4.WhyStudySociology?
Berger,PeterL.1963.InvitationtoSociology:AHumanisticPerspective.NewYork:Anc

Cisco.2102.GenY:NewDawnforWork,Play,IdentityCiscoConnectedWorldTechnolo
2012fromhttp://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns1120/2012
Results.pdf

DepartmentofSociology,UniversityofAlabama.N.d.IsSociologyRightforYou?
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IDC.2012.AlwaysConnected:HowSmartphonesandSocialMediaKeepUsConnected
February4,2014fromhttps://fbpublic.app.box.com/s/3iq5x6uwnqtq7ki4q8wk

NewsComAu.2013.ComedianLouisCKscompellingphilosophy:Smartphonesareto
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philosophy8216smartphonesaretoxic8217/storyfn6vihic1226724328876

Vaughan,Frederick.2004.AggressiveinPursuit:TheLifeofJusticeEmmettHall.

Solutions to Section Quiz

1.C|2.B|3.A|4.C|5.B|6.B|7.C|8.A|9.B|10.D|11.B|12.A|13.D|14.B|

Image Attributions

Figure1.1CanadaDayNationalCapitalbyDerekHatfield
(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canada_Day_National_Capital.jpg
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Figure1.2.Il(secondo?)baciopifamosodellastoria:VancouverRiotKissbyPasquale
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Figure1.4cIbnKhaldunbyWaqasAhmed(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ibn
SA3.0(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/bysa/3.0/deed.en)

Figure1.5.NewtonWilliamBlakebyWilliamBlake
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_(Blake)#mediaviewer/File:NewtonWilliamBlake.j
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Figure1.6Hon.T.C.DouglasbyLieut.G.BarryGilroy(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File
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Figure1.8.HarrietMartineauportrait(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harriet_martinea
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Figure1.9.EmileDurkheim(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Emile_Durkheim.jpg)
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Figure1.11.GeorgSimmelbyJuliusCorneliusSchaarwchter
(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Georg_Simmel.jpg)isinthepublicdomain
(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Material_in_the_public_domain

Figure1.14.Hon.T.C.Douglas,PremierofSaskatchewanbyLieut.G.BarryGilroy
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tommycropped.jpg)isinpublicdomain.

Figure1.15.TheLastoftheClanbyThomasFaed(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F
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