Cultivating the “sociological imagination”• Recognise that very few things are „natural‟• Detect the symbolic value and socially constructed nature of everyday things• Be aware of the external forces „shaping‟ our lives (and how individual choice is often a function of commmunity trends)• Be familiar with power-plays and conflicts
Good sociologists…• Are able to „step out‟ of their immediate scenarios (e.g. coffee)• Recognise their position in wider society; accept that they are a „product‟ of social influences (e.g. jeans, football teams)• Are aware of cultural differences (e.g. sexuality)• Are sensitive to the causes and effects of social policies and phenomena (e.g. Islam, social media, etc.)• Are cognizant of power-plays (key question: who is being excluded?)
The sociology of Durkheim
A social fact is…“a way of acting, thinking andfeeling, external to the individualand endowed with a power ofcoercion, by reason of which theycontrol him.”
Suicides• Divorced, more than non-divorced• Protestant more than communal religion• Single, more than married Suicide often a result of anomie i.e. a LACK of social solidarity.
Key questions Durkheim asked• Can we understand people‟s mental lives without understanding society?• Can we study society and how?• What „holds‟ society together? What is the source of social order?• What would threaten social order?
“We don‟t need religion to answersociety‟s questions”
Functionalism – society as organism?
Organic Solidarity Mechanical Solidarity
Functionalism / Durkheim• Looks at social facts which bear upon the individual (doesn‟t emphasize personal autonomy)• Is about what „works‟ in society (doesn‟t emphasize divisions and conflicts)• Is about how people feel like „mis-fits‟ in their worlds (doesn‟t emphasize the systematic production of anomie)
The amount of work workers Xneed to do to surviveThe amount of work workers X +Sare made to do by capitalists S = Surplus Value „stolen‟ from workers by the capitalist
Some organisationsyou should not putyour money into…
A must read!
Here are some of theworking conditions thelabourers mustendure…
Iris FashionsHours Per 72-80. 12-15 hour shifts; 6 days a week.WeekWages Per $0.20HourConditions No union; workers paid a $0.06 an hour premium for overtime;$0.02 for each shirt collar sewn.
You Li Fashion factoryHours Per 93. 7.30-midnight. 7 days a week.WeekWages Per $0.13HourConditions No overtime pay; no benefits; sometimes employees need to work 24- hour shifts, 6-8 people to a dorm room; dorm is dark and dirty; workers afraid; under constant surveillance; no Corporate Code of Conduct
Yue Yuen FactoryHours Per 77-84. 11-12 hour shifts; 7 days a week.WeekWages Per $0.19HourConditions Forced overtime, no overtime premium paid; excessive noise pollution; fumes in factory; no Code of Conduct
The face of alienation
Why do the workers „accept‟ this?
Women Objectification = Commodity Fetishism?
Are productsideologically (orspiritually) „neutral‟?
Next time we go „Wow!‟ and„Awesome!‟ over a product, remember…
The “Opium of the People”
What happens when the exploitation gets worse and worse?
The Bolshevik RevolutionRussia, 1917
McJob• Low-skill• Low pay• High stress, exhausting• Unstable„An unstimulating, low-paid job with fewprospects, especially one created by theexpansion of the service sector.‟
„Here was the trueMcDonald‟s workforce,the company seemed tobe saying: happy,contented, and justpassing through.‟ (Klein2000: 241)
“MNCs‟ which control more than33% of the world‟s productiveassets account for only 5% ofthe world‟s direct employment.”
• Young, mainly teens and • Young, mainly teens and early twenties early twenties• earning minimum wage (or • earning minimum wage (or below) below)
• Most retail and service employers tend to view their employees as children: students looking for summer jobs, spending money or a quick stopover on the road to a more fulfilling abd better-paying career i.e. these are great jobs for people who don’t really need them. (Klein:2000, p.232)
Young Workers…• Are more easily employed on part-time contracts (because they have other commitments such as school and college)• They can be paid lower wages (because they are usually not supporting a family and tend to live in the family home)• They are easier to control (because they have less experience of work-place politics)• They tend to be moving on – it is not a permanent career move for the majority, and so staff turn-over is fast.
Anti-Unionization• 10 McDonald‟s managers arrested for violating labor laws and trade-union rights in Germany (1994)• Two workers fired for organising strikes in Ohio (1998)• Wal-Mart threated to shut down store where workers were about to vote on whether to join union, Ontario (1997)• Starbucks shut down Vancouver distribution plant after workers unionized (1997)• McDonald‟s shut down outlet before union certification issued, Quebec (1998)
A „powerful‟ sex scene?
Chic? Fresh? Stylish? Trendy? Voguish? Or just a stupid waste of money?
Unhygienic? Dirty? Crowded? Unhealthy?Or one of Malaysia‟s “culinary delights”?
Knowing what an event „is‟allows us to decide which„rules‟ and norms apply (ordon‟t apply); it also helps usdecide what others aretrying „to „do‟
S.I. is about how peoplejustify their actions and explainthemselves in their own heads
How do you construct the meaning of…• A joke? • A suicide?• A complaint? • An abnormality?• An insult? • „In‟ and „Out‟?• A lecture? • „Coolness‟• A challenge? • A seduction?• A customer? • „Small talk‟• A student?
To construct meaning is tomake a decision about„what just happened‟