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What is sociology

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  • 1. What is Sociology?
  • 2.
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. 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
  • 7. To what extent are you alone responsible for your own condition or destiny?
    How do members of your communities influence your everyday choices?
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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”
  • 10. 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
  • 11. 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.
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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.”
  • 14. 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
  • 15. Invitation to SociologyPeter Berger
    “It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this – things are not what they seem.”
  • 16. 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
  • 17. Thomas TheoremWI Thomas
    “If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”
  • 18. 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
  • 19. 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.”
  • 20. 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
  • 21. 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”
  • 22. 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
  • 23. 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
  • 24. We Are Scientists!
    Social Sciences
    Natural Sciences
    Biological – concerned with living organisms
    Physical – concerned with nonliving physical world
    Psychology
    Anthropology
    Economics
    Political science
  • 25. 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
  • 26. But isn’t sociology just a fancy statement of the obvious?
    Widely assumed that research findings support what we already know from common sense
  • 27. People who commit school shootings are mentally ill and suddenly snap right before the incident.
  • 28. 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
  • 29. Because poor racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in larger cities, poverty is more an urban problem than a rurual one.
  • 30. 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
  • 31. 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.
  • 32. 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
  • 33. Communication & Information Tech
    Collective Behavior & Social Movements
    Aging & The Life Course
    Crime, Law & Deviance
    Science & Technology
    Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco
    Urban
    Diasbility & Society
    Culture
    Education
    Animals & Society
    Sociology
    Emotions
    Family
    Environment
    Body & Embodiment
    Human Rights
    Migration
    Labor & Labor Movements
    Children & Youth
    Medicine
    Politics
    Peace & War
    Social Psychology
    Race, Gender & Sexuality
    Religion
    Work