Sociological Imagination (Berger) – Turning personal problems into public issues
What do Sociologist’s do (Beside teach??)
Excellent preparation for the working world
Research (government agencies, private foundations and businesses)
In almost any type of work, success depends on understanding how categories of people differ in beliefs, family patterns and other ways of life = Sociology
What is Sociology?
Break into groups of 4 and answer the following question:
What is the most important issue(s) facing society today?
Be prepared to share your list with the class
The power of the sociological perspective lies not just in changing individual lives but in transforming society.
“… What they need is a quality of mind that will help them to see what is going on in the world and may be happening within themselves. It is this quality that may be called the sociological imagination.” (C. Wright Mills)
National Map 1-1 (p. 14) Suicide Rates across the United States This map shows which states have high, average, and low suicide rates. Look for patterns. By and large, high suicide rates occur where people live far apart from one another. More densely populated states have low suicide rates. WHY?
Where we live makes a great difference in shaping our lives
Societies throughout the world are increasingly interconnected through technology and economics
Many problems that we faced in the united states are more serious elsewhere
Thinking globally is a good way to learn more about ourselves
Global Map 1-1 (p. 4) Women’s Childbearing in Global Perspective Is childbearing simply a matter of personal choice? A look around the world shows that it is not. In general, women living in poor countries have many more children than women in rich nations. Can you point to some of the reasons for this global disparity? In simple terms, such differences mean that if you had been born into another society (whether you are female or male), your life might be quite different from what it is now. Source : Data from United Nations (2000) and U.S. Census Bureau (2003). Map projection from Peters Atlas of the World (1990).
By using Sociological Imagination/Perspective, how do we gain power over our world?
It helps us assess the truth of “common sense”
It helps us to see the opportunities and constraints in our lives
It empowers us to be an active participant in our society
It helps us live in a diverse world
Methods of Evaluation
Etiquette (Student and Professor)
Office Hours and Contact
Use of BlackBoard
Double Entry Journals
The History of Sociology
One of the youngest of academic disciplines, sociology has it origins in powerful social forces:
Industrialization, urbanization, political revolution, and a new awareness of society
The discipline of Sociology was born in France, England and Germany. Auguste Comte coined sociology in 1838 and as a Frenchman they say Sociology was founded in France.
During the 18 th and 19 th centuries many changes were going on in Europe: rise of a factory based industrial economy, explosive growth of cities and new ideas about democracy and political rights. These changes made people more aware of their surroundings and gave them a sense of their individuality, their individual liberty and individual rights.
Who is Who in Sociology & Sociological Theory
A theory states how facts are related, weaving observations into insight and understanding
Sociologists use three major theoretical approaches to describe the operation of society
A macro-level orientation, concerned with broad patterns that shape society as a whole
Views society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability
Key elements :
Social structure refers to any relatively stable patterns of social behavior found in social institutions (family, workplace, classroom, community)
Social function refers to the consequences for the operation of society as a whole
Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Robert Merton
How is society held together?
What are the major parts of society?
How are these parts linked?
What does each part do to help society work?
What is the function of the structure? Manifest? Latent?
What makes society “tick?”
The basics :
A micro-level orientation, a close-up focus on social interactions in specific situations
Views society as the product of everyday interactions of individuals
Key elements :
Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another
Society is a complex, ever-changing mosaic of subjective meanings
Attachment of meaning to symbols
Max Weber, George Herbert Meade, Erving Goffman
How do people experience society?
How do people shape the reality they experience?
How do behavior and meaning change from person to person and from one situation to another?
The basics :
A macro-oriented paradigm
Views society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and social change
Key elements :
Society is structured in ways to benefit a few at the expense of the majority (“haves” vs. “have nots”)
Factors such as race, sex, class, and age are linked to social inequality
Dominant group vs. Minority group relations
Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois
How does society divide a population?
What is the inequality and resulting conflict? (The “haves” and “have nots”)
How do disadvantaged people challenge the system seeking change?
Lets Apply It College of Western Idaho
Structural-Functional Theory: Students attending college after high school keeps them (relatively) out of the job market and provides for educated employees. Manifest function: Education. Latent function: Marriage
Symbolic-Interaction Theory: Behavior/dress of students/teacher. Shared reality of “students” differs from other roles
Social-Conflict Theory: Higher education further divides people into have’s and have not’s.
Lets Apply It Sports
Structural-Functional Theory: What is the function of sports? Manifest? Latent?
Symbolic-Interaction Theory: Understanding of the game? Behavior?
Social-Conflict Theory: Do sports reflect social standing? Racial/Gender discrimination?
Working in groups of two apply the three theoretical approaches to the Global War on Terrorism.
Be prepared to share your responses.
Minute Paper Please address: Any issues/concerns/confusion regarding this week’s material Why did you choose CWI? What is your education background? Previous college? First class?