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Intro to intro soc 1


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  • 1. “Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche philosopher 1
  • 2. “Hell is other people.” ~Jean Paul Sartre philosopher 2
  • 3. It can be said that the first wisdom of sociology is this: things are not what they seem. ~Peter L. Berger (1929 -) Sociology … is a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects. ~Max Weber (1864 - 1920) 3
  • 4. States one sociologist: Once the sociological nature of individualism and the social problems caused by it are understood, an appreciation of the sociological is possible. Until this appreciation is achieved, sociology often remains mysterious in this, the most ideologically individualistic of societies. David R. Simons, 1995 4
  • 5. C. Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination 5
  • 6. 6 It is the political task of the social scientist — as of any liberal educator — continually to translate personal troubles into public issues, and public issues into the terms of their human meaning for a variety of individuals. ~C. Wright Mills
  • 7.  Biography and history  Personal troubles versus public issues  The social versus the individual 7
  • 8. Sociology is where biography and history meet. It is where you, as a person, interact with those larger forces around you – what Durkheim called social facts. What is your history, your epoch or social environment like? What does it contain? 8
  • 9.  Civil Rights movement  Assassination of Martin Luther King  Assassination of President Kennedy  Assassination of Robert Kennedy  Charlie Manson  The (second) feminist movement  LSD  The American Indian movement (AIM)  The Vietnam War and the ant-war movement 9
  • 10.  The draft  Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)  The Weathermen revolutionary group  Nixon and the Watergate scandal  The Pentagon Papers  Hippies  Assassination of John Lenon  Bay of Pigs  Cuban Missile Crisis 10
  • 11.  Smart phones, tablets, twitter, Facebook…  9/11 Trade Towers attacked  First black president  Iraq and Afghanistan  Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo  Water boarding  Wikipedia  WikiLeaks  Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden 11
  • 12.  Banking and mortgage crash  Growing educational costs  Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street  Reversal of Voting Rights Act  Cyber war, hacking, “Anonymous”  Drones  Globalization and corporate “personhood”  Same sex marriage (some states)  Legalization of marijuana (some states)  Massive increases in prison populations 12
  • 13. Your history helps shape you just as you participate in the shaping of history. History cannot exist, per se, without people both living it and making it. You live in an historically specific moment that was constructed out of a series of such moments. As well, you are making history now. 13
  • 14. Mills was concerned with class issues. The working class had changed after WWII. There was now a “new middle class” of white collar workers. 14
  • 15. Contrary to Marx’s reasoning, for Mills, the next revolution would not come from a blue- collar, so-called, working class. (The proletariat) Perhaps necessary change would come from this “new middle class.” 15
  • 16. But for Mills, this new middle class had become “a kind of hypercompetetive marketplace of status-hunting that he called ‘the status panic.’” ~Collins & Makowsky, 2005 16
  • 17.  Work is an anonymous “great salesroom”  The trades are no longer independent but merely “tools of the establishment.”  People have become “cheerful robots.” 17
  • 18. “The new middle class is superficially satisfied, but inwardly anxious, and dishonest about admitting it to themselves … They have no independent source of power.” (ibid.) 18
  • 19. In the power elite world organizations converge causing the collective biographies of the individuals within them to come to resemble one another. Does this sound like now? Does this sound like your epoch? 19
  • 20. 20 Mills saw social problems as social ills that arise from contradictions. What are some social contradictions? (Also called antagonisms)
  • 21. EXPECTATIONS REALITY  Education  A quality job  Owning a home  Having a family  Health  Optimism toward the future  Trust in social institutions  Freedom  Higher Tuition  Layoffs and off shoring  Costs  Putting off for education  Lack of or limited health care program  Changing and uncertain social structure  Banking crisis and Iraq  Freedom to do what? 21
  • 22. 22
  • 23. General enlightenment – the ways in which social arrangements shape our lives; sociology affects public understanding. (I’m just plain curious. And you?) 23
  • 24. The possibility for designing solutions – sociologists can function as advisors, and can recommend solutions to social problems as a way of influencing public policy. To wit: 24 From ASA Footnotes, July/August 2002, by Lee Herring, ASA Director of Communications “Sociology’s presence on Capitol Hill has increased this spring, as ASA has collaborated with sister social science organizations to co-sponsor or participate on speaker panels conducting four high- visibility congressional briefings.”
  • 25. Sociology is an empirical discipline  It relies on evidence  Is systematic observation and experimentation  Is verifiable through independent observation  There is a demand for proof (hunches are for direction only) 25
  • 26. It is a public venture Results are public for other’s verification (peer review) Open discussion and examination of research Conclusions are never final or absolute- they are open to question 26
  • 27. Questioning public assumptions – Peter Berger’s “debunking motif” comes to mind, or the notion of urban legends. (Alligators in the sewer, California falling off the continent Nostradamus and the apocalypse.) 27
  • 28.  Identifying social problems – calling attention to hidden, ignored, or misunderstood social problems; Example: family violence. The first national survey on family violence was done in 1976 and surprised the public in that it showed family violence as a pervasive phenomena. 28
  • 29. 29
  • 30.  Gender  Education  Race  Sexuality  Media and technology  Family and marriage  Ethnicity  Social stratification 30
  • 31. • Crime and deviance • Drugs • Environment • Sexism • Globalization • Work and the economy • Health and medicine • …and on and on 31
  • 32.  Interests you  Worries you  Frightens you  Makes you angry  Makes you want to help  Makes you happy  Gives you hope  Makes you despair 32
  • 33. GO FOR IT! 33
  • 34. 34