School Shootings 1990s “Juvenile superpredator” Coined by John Dilulio Sociopaths with no respect for anyone, not deterred by the threat of punishment Biologically different, altered DNA damaged by drugs and alcohol taken by their young, unwed mothers
School Shootings The reality 1993-1997, for students in grades 9-12, while in school… 1 in 7 would get in a fight 1 in 13 would be injured with a weapon 1 in 1,000,000 would be murdered Safer at school than at home
The Importance of Sociology Sociologists examine issues based on critical analysis, instead of relying on their own personal experiences or what the media tells them
The Importance of Sociology Our lives are governed by the society in which we live Social rules and conventions influence every aspect of our lives starting before we were even born
To what extent are you alone responsible for your own condition or destiny? How do members of your communities influence your everyday choices?
The Effects of the Social Even when you think you are making your own choices, you’re often picking from a limited range of options that others allow you Marriage
So What is Sociology? Sociology is the scientific study of human behavior, social groups and society Auguste Comte Socius – companion or associate Logos – Word “Words about human associations or society”
American Sociological Association Study of social life and the social causes and consequences of human behavior “Social life” – all interpersonal relationships, groups or collections of people, types of social organization “Causes and consequences of human behavior” – how these relationships are interrelated, have influence, change or stay the same, and their consequences
The Sociological ImaginationC Wright Mills The sociological imagination is a quality of mind that allows us to understand the influence of history and biography on our interactive processes.
The Sociological Imagination Emerged out of a need created by modernity Private lives feel like a series of traps “The very shaping of history now outpaces the ability of men to orient themselves in accordance with cherished values.” Old ways of thinking are collapsing and new beginnings are too ambiguous to mean anything
The Sociological Imagination Cannot cope with the larger world & retreat into private life “What they need, and what they feel they need, is a quality of mind that will help them use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and what may be happening within themselves.”
The Sociological Imagination Troubles vs. Issues Troubles – “Occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others” Issues – “Matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life” Overlapping and interpenetrating milieu
Invitation to SociologyPeter Berger “It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this – things are not what they seem.”
Invitation to Sociology Culture shock Revealing other levels of reality for investigation Sociological perspective – a conscious effort to question the obvious, remove ourselves from familiar experiences and examine them critically and objectively Go beyond individual experiences Look for patterns
Thomas TheoremWI Thomas “If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”
Thomas Theorem Sociology studies the interactions and relationships between people – the realities and the perceived realities Must take into consideration not only what is going on, but what people think is going on
What is a Social Fact?Emile Durkheim “A social fact is a way of acting, whether fixed or not, capable of exerting over the individual and external constraint; or: which is general over the whole of a given society whilst having an existence of its own, independent of its individual manifestations.”
What is a Social Fact? Durkheim’s project Attempt to establish society as a reality sui generis Literally meaning of its own kind/genus or unique in its characteristics
What is a Social Fact? “If they existed before he did, it follows they exist outside him…Thus are ways of acting, thinking, and feeling which posses the remarkable property of existing outside the consciousness of the individual. Not only are these types of behavior and thinking external to the individual, but they are endued with a compelling and coercive power by virtue of which, whether he wishes it or not, they impose themselves upon him”
What is a Social Fact? Social facts are General – general throughout society and diffused throughout the group External – exist outside the individual, prior to him and independent of his will Constraining – coercive Social facts are things, not ideas Can be observed
We Are Scientists! Sociology is the SCIENTIFIC study of social life and the social causes and consequences of human behavior All branches of science attempt to discover truths, propositions, or laws through methods based on observation and experimentaion
We Are Scientists! Social Sciences Natural Sciences Biological – concerned with living organisms Physical – concerned with nonliving physical world Psychology Anthropology Economics Political science
We Are Not Social Workers! Social work applies the principles of the social sciences (particularly sociology) to actual social problems Applied vs. pure science Knowledge for its own sake
But isn’t sociology just a fancy statement of the obvious? Widely assumed that research findings support what we already know from common sense
People who commit school shootings are mentally ill and suddenly snap right before the incident.
2002 study by the US Dept. of Education & Secret Service No prior psych diagnoses or assistance from a behavioral agency Display concerning behavior long before Virginia Tech – 8th grade Columbine – Websites
Because poor racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in larger cities, poverty is more an urban problem than a rurual one.
Poverty more prevalent in rural areas 2005 study 15.1% rural population in poverty 12.5% urban population in poverty 2004 study 48 of top 50 US counties with highest rates of child poverty were rural
Because capital punishment leads people to give serious thought to the consequences before committing crimes, crime rates are lower in states that have capital punishment.
Very little relationship between crime rates and capital punishment Murder rates are not consistently lower Imprisonment is not even a deterrent Recidivism rates don’t show a different Punishment may just make criminals better at hiding future crimes
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