Sociological Imagination and Political Life
.• Sociology helps us to have a better understanding of the social world in which we live • Factors contributing to the development of this world • The way the world changes over time • Goes beyond world taken for granted • Allows us to study society and discover patterns of development • Peter Berger Invitation to Sociology – seeing the general in the particular • Challenges common sense by revealing that human behaviour is not as individualistic as we may think • Sociology provides insights: into the importance of socialization in the moulding of individual identity • The features of culture in the social context • By studying sociology we might realise that our views about the society may not reflect the reality • Understand that cultures are relative • Sociology helps us gain a better understanding of ourselves and our social world.
Women. • High risk of suicide stems from a low level of integration. Theories explain the world. • Sociologists use social theory to understand social systems and societies and explain how they operate. hearing)
. Theories tested but not proven.Perspectives in Sociology
Functionalism Conflict theory Symbolic interactionism
What is a Theory What is a Perspective? THEORY explains events. the wealthy and unmarried have higher suicide rates.touching. Empirical= explained by the senses 3 (visual . It tells how facts and events are related. Men . Catholics and Jews and the married have lower rates Theoretical Perspective is a basic image that guides thinking and research • We use theories in our daily lives to assist us in interpreting how the world works. Used to explain events or empirical situation. protestants.
Dominant Perspectives in Sociology 1) Functionalism The structural-functionalist perspective is a macro level perspective. Family. Sociology often goes against our common sense understanding of an event Perspectives are a set of guiding principles Perspectives are frameworks to help us interpret the world. Sociological imagination is a perspective Sociological imagination: the idea that people's thoughts and actions are influenced by the social realities and groups in which they belong. education • Parts contribute to the survival of the whole Main characteristic of society is order and stability – conservative Widespread social change can be destructive for social systems
. This means that the perspective examines social systems • Society as a system • Parts support the system • Changes in one part changes in other part of societies.Social theories provide frameworks for understanding events.
Functionalist interested in negative changes in the social order. With written rules and regulations. and Spencer. and changing social relationships based on relations between strangers. Manchester Functionalists attempt understand how to preserve a stable social order
. Durkheim. Anomie and normlessness characterise urban life Anomie = lack of guiding principle Chaotic city life in early industrialisation : London . increased suicide. Experienced the social changes in the 1800 The changes (urbanization. Functionalism emerged through the work of Comte. • Face to face relations are replaced by contractual relations.• industrial revolution in Western countries urbanization and demographic movements led to high crime levels. Social change brought about disorganisation. industrialization. . Sociology emerged as a science to try to explain these changes. and democracy) had profound influences on human behaviour and organization.
race. • Marx observed working class living in miserable conditions.
. Believes that all institutions play a significant role in society. and had little power to shape their lives Great movement into cities by peasants Factory system replacing artisanal workshops Massive labour force. social inequality. Ralf Dahrendorf Originates form Karl Marx conflict approach assume that some groups within society exploit other groups within society. it is functional for society. ethnicity. gender 2) The Conflict Perspective takes as given that conflict. and power/powerlessness are all key aspects of society. Does not explain inequalities. Robert Merton Society as a harmonious whole. Labour struggle is a key idea for conflict theorists.It gives priority to the maintenance of social order. • Awful work place conditions • little access to resources or possessions. Talcott Parsons. class.
. conflict theorists argue that the driving force of society is conflict over scarce resources and power arrangements. In an information society the ability to control technology has become a main source of power and wealth. or the mass media.Conflict perspective assume that some groups benefit more than others from social arrangements. Unlike functionalist who believe that society is based on order and consensus. tools. Establish hegemony (Antonio Gramsci) means of production (land. money. macro level perspective – exploitation occurs on a large scale level between groups Dominant groups control many forms of resources : wealth. technology) which produces goods and services. Mass media gives the ability to define and construct situations. Dominant groups try to control the media . This in turn gives the powerful the ability to shape how the world works. social status. access to social institutions (health care or education).
The car you drive all are affordable because of the far reaches of capitalism. Summary: conflict theorists use the ideas of exploitation.Today. The electronics you use. power and powerlessness. and individual behaviour. self. The clothes you wear. and conflict between groups to explain the social world. A key idea is social interaction Social Interaction is a key concept. Two or more people respond to each other and create symbols and act upon these symbols
. where is the proletariat? The proletariat are third world workers who provide labour that makes our products cheaper. Glosses over how social values and interdependence generate unity among members of society 3) Symbolic Interactionism symbolic interactionism focus on the individual and the creation of the mind.
Tries to explain the interconnectedness of the world.
Pays attention to details of interpersonal interaction. Tries to show how individuals attempt to change the reality perceived by others Criticised for ignoring larger issues of power and structure within society and how they serve to constrain individual actor. Symbolic interaction stresses the importance e of face to face relations in creations of societies and institutions. 4) Global Perspective Takes the world as a unit of analysis . This detail is used to make sense of what others say and do. The topics covered include: TNCs Development of global media Emergence of global cultures International governance
.Margaret Mead: Humans rely on shared symbols and understanding in their interactions with each other.
TYPES OF SOCIETY
Disappearing pre-modern Societies
Half a million year of known existence of human beings Fixed settlements for only 12 thousand years Civilisation only 6 thousand years Rapid transformation of societies since the industrial revolution Hunting Gathering societies 50. Religious ceremonies and rituals Africa.000 BCE to the present – almost disappeared • Nomadic • Settled in small villages Hunting. Differentiation by age and gender Agrarian Societies 1200 BCE to the present.in the process of dissolution. Limited technological capability and tools. collecting edible plants. fishing. Part of larger political entities
agriculture as the main source of livelihood Subsistence agriculture and hunting and gathering More inequalities Ruled by chiefs
. New Guinea More or less equal individuals. Brazil.
• Earliest civilisations emerged in the Middle East – fertile river areas • Chinese empire originated 2000 CE • Aztecs of Mexico and Mayas of Yucatan Peninsula and Incas of Peru • King or emperor controls the state
. thus called civilisations. Ruled by chiefs and warrior kings. Some became horticulturalist by goring some seeds. Middle East. Loosing their identities • Small and large communities. Distinct inequalities Traditional Societies 6000 BCE to the 19th Century All traditional states have disappeared • Up one million people • Some cities – trade and manufacture • Largely agricultural societies • Existence of different classes and thus inequalities • Flourishing arts and science. Africa.Pastoral Societies 12000 BCE to the present • Mostly part of larger societies. Central Asia • Mainly nomadic. • Domesticated animals as a source of livelihood.
Powerful governments • Production for war and peace. • More developed political system than traditional societies • Nations states. • Some of colonies became independent after the SWW. London. Nigeria. Superior economic power. India. Largest cities are extremely big. • The US became a major world economic and military power after the FWW. Istanbul • Business corporations. Spread of western ways of life GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT Colonialism 17th c to 20th c . Algeria etc. government organisations influence life. Brazil. The west occupied many areas . Developing world China. Economic exploitation Settler colonialism North America. New Zealand. Clear boundaries. • Some countries manage to become industrialised later. New York.Industrialise societies of the modern world • Machine production requiring little human force • Large numbers are employed in industry and services • Majority live in urban areas. Mexico City. Australia. They are sometime called the Third world
. South Africa. Hunters gatherers were de-populated.
Giddens’ categorisation is highly problematic. Dismantling of the Soviet union • Conflict in the Arab world
• We shall be looking at some of these transformations and the factors behind them. religious and regional divisions occur. BRICs –Brazil. Eastern Europe Third World (developing countries) – ex colonial countries These categorisations are constantly changing and they are highly subjective. India. • Ethnic . First world: Industrialised Europe. political. Second world: Soviet Union. and China?
Globalisation is not just a technological phenomenon. Canada etc. cultural and social transformations. US. Globalisation both unites and divides the world • Interconnectedness occurs but some countries and their companies dominate the nature of this interconnectedness.
. It includes economic.