Chapter 1 Outline Society Social Science What is sociology? Microsociology vs. Macrosociology The sociological Perspective Sociology and Everyday Life The U.S. in Global Perspective The Mass Media and Popular Culture
Reality T.V. and Society Reality T.V. - the issues that are dealt with reveal social dynamics of the real world Why do we watch it? Are the issues reflective of our world? We see some aspect of social life, no matter how contrived it may be Society – a group of people who shape their lives in aggregated and patterned ways that distinguish their group from other groups. Sui generis? What can we actually see? Working, playing, eating, driving, etc…
Sociology’s Development Sociology developed out of modern science discoveries in 17th &18th centuries, new forms of knowledge and practices were established During 19th century, the concept of social science emerged Social Sciences – use scientific method to study social world (natural sciences look at physical world) Sociology is a social science Overlaps bits of other social science fields
What is Sociology? Sociology – scientific study of human society and social behavior from large institutions & mass culture to small groups & individual interactions Becker- “The study of people doing things together” As sociologists, we need to learn to question everything Neither society nor the individual exists in isolation-each is dependent and intertwined with the other
Food and Eating Food & Eating – biological or social? What, when, where and with whom we eat, and how we feel about eating- socially constructed Meaning is not inherent (McDonalds Vs. Spago) Eating and family (women) Eating and dating The values, hierarchies, and institutions of our society have all intervened in our drive to seek nourishment
Microsociology and Macrosociology Microsociology – study face to face & small group interactions – how they affect society Like a zoom lens-see details Pam Fishman-(pg. 12) recorded/analyzed heterosexual couples conversations in homes Women ask 3x as many questions as men Macro-level phenomena like gender and power are manifested in everyday interactions
Microsociology vs. Macrosociology Macrosociology - study large scale social structures – how they affect groups/individuals Like a wide-angle lens- “big picture” Christine Williams-(pg. 14) studied sex segregation in the workplace: glass ceiling vs. glass escalator Men in female-dominated jobs advance more quickly Large-scale structures create constraints by which we experience success or failure
The Macro-Micro Continuum Society Culture Social Institutions Social Inequality Groups Roles Socialization Interaction Self
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Sociology The use of either quantitative or qualitative methods depends on the question asked of research Quantitative-translates social world into numbers that can be treated mathematically Tries to find cause/effect relationships Qualitative-works with non-numerical data (texts, interviews, photos, recordings) Goal to find how people make sense of their world
The Sociological Perspective Sociological Perspective – understand the relationship between our particular situation in life and what is happening at a social level Sociological Imagination – ability to understand intersection between history & biography C. Wright Mills We normally think of our problems as being of a private matter, but they are connected to our cultural and historical context Unemployment-personal or social problem?
Sociological Imagination We look at what is going on in society and how that affects people Ex. – Columbine (pg. 18) Understand time and place (Soc. Imagination) Harris & Klebold shaped by their environment American adolescents exposed to violence through entertainment (movies to video games; guns available Sociological Imagination-gives broader context for understanding people and situations
Culture Shock and Beginner’s Mind Culture Shock – disorientation when you enter a radically new social or cultural environment Sociologists try to create this effect in our own culture We try to put ourselves in position of “the Other” Beginner’s Mind – approach world without preconceptions to see things in a new way Lose bias to understand the social world – live in the present moment Opposite of expert’s mind Sociology is not just common sense – we investigate common wisdom or knowledge
Starting Our Sociological Journey There is a difference between an everyday actor and a social analyst Everyday actor-one who has practical knowledge needed to get you through daily life, but not necessarily scientific knowledge Social analyst-must place in question everything that seems unquestionable to everyday actor Tries to act as a stranger in the social world, without biases or assumptions about it Only makes conclusions after investigation or evidence
America as a Place and Ideal America is both a real place and an ideal concept with a meaningful cultural and historical context Tocqueville-admired American ideals of freedom, equality, individuality, tolerance, democracy and enterprise Troubled by slavery, lack of universal suffrage, the exploitation of workers, tyranny of majority, materialism America & multiculturalism in large cities
The U.S. in Global Perspective We are closely linked to others around the world Open society means mutual flow of goods, services, information, ideas, and people Macro-trade agreements, multinational corp. Micro-my way of life is influenced by… “Global Village”-Term coined by Marshall McLuhan to describe how media create new kinds of social bonds Bring together as if belonged to the same small tribe
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