Chapter 1
The Sociological Perspective
and Research Process
Welcome To Sociology!!
• Let’s take the Quiz in Box 1.1 on Page
3!!!!
• Why is this a sociological (societal) issue
rather...
Social Problems:
Going Beyond the Individual…
• Social problems require solutions at the
societal level, not just the pers...
What is Sociology?
• _________ = the systematic study of
human society and social interaction
• Society = People who are u...
2 Orientations of Sociology
(2 “scopes”)
• Micro vs. Macro
Development of Sociology
• What social revolution occurred between
1760-1850 in Great Britain, which spread
through the re...
Development of Sociology….
• Industrialization = the process by which
societies are transformed from agricultural
economie...
Development of Sociology: the
Early Thinkers
• Auguste Comte
• Harriett Martineau
• Herbert Spencer
• Emile Durkheim

• Wh...
Development of Sociology:
Early Thinkers…
Anomie = “without norms” or when norms
for behavior are unclear, weak, or absen...
Development of Sociology:
Early Thinkers…
• Karl Marx: Viewed history of societies as
a constant conflict of interests bet...
Development of Sociology:
Early Thinkers (Marx)
• Worker alienation = a feeling of
powerlessness from others and oneself
•...
Development of Sociology:
Early Thinkers
• Max Weber
– w. “The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of
Capitalism”
– Study of soc...
Development of Sociology:
Early Thinkers
• Georg Simmel
– Micro sociology
– Group size
– Dyad
– Triad

– Formal sociology ...
Sociology Enters the U.S.!
• University of Chicago – Late 1800’s/Early
1900’s.
•
•
•
•

A natural “laboratory.” WHY?
Rober...
Sociology Enters the U.S….
• Atlanta University (today “Clark Atlanta
University”)
• Dept. founded by W.E.B. DuBois
– Crea...
Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives in Sociology
• {Theory = A set of logically-related statements
that attempt to descr...
Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives in Sociology
• Why are theories (in general) important??
• In sociology, we are atte...
4 Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives in Sociology
I.

______________ Perspectives {aka
“functionalism” or “structural-f...
Functionalist Perspectives…
• Key Terms:
– Social structure = Any stable pattern of social
behavior
Examples?

– Social in...
Functionalist Perspectives…
• Talcott Parsons
• Robert Merton
– “Manifest functions:” intended & overtly
recognized
– “Lat...
4 Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives continued…
II. __________ Perspectives
Key Assumption
•
Society is a continuous, c...
Conflict Perspectives…
• C. Wright Mills: claimed a “power elite”
exists (a small clique of top corporate,
political, & mi...
Conflict Perspectives…
Feminist Approach: (key assumptions…)
• Constraints on women are sociallyconstructed, rather than b...
Contemporary Perspectives…
• In its original formulations, is
functionalism “macro” OR “micro?”
• In its original formulat...
4 Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives continued…
III.
•
•

•

_____________________ Perspectives
Society is the sum of i...
Symbolic Interactionist
Perspectives…
• Is this framework “micro” OR “macro?”
4 Contemporary Theoretical
Perspectives continued…
IV.
•

•

•

______________ Perspectives: Emerged >
WWII
Some nations w...
Postmodern Perspectives…
• Key terms



Modernity = social patterns reflecting industrialization
Postmodernity = social ...
Sociological Research!!
• View Figure 1.3 on page 22; “The
Theory and Research Cycle”
• “Theory guides research, while res...
What is Research?
• The process of systematically collecting
information for the purpose of testing an
existing theory OR ...
2 Orientations to
Sociological Research
I.

•
•

Quantitative  To objectively
understand social patterns thru analysis
of...
2 Orientations to
Sociological Research…
II. Qualitative  To subjectively understand social
patterns thru analysis of wor...
Questions to Consider…
Note: In any study, we specifically identify
what varies...
• Which factors “varied” in Durkheim’s
...
Key Terms in Research
• A concept (or factor) that differs from one case
to the next in your study is called a
___________...
Key Terms in Research…
• Any concept (factor) that does NOT vary
from one case to the next in your study is
called a _____...
Key Terms in Research…
• Measurement = the process of determining the
value or content of a variable in a specific case.
N...
Research Methods in Sociology
Research methods = specific strategies or
techniques for conducting research.
4 research met...
Surveys…
• What are “strengths” (or advantages) of
surveys??
• What are “weaknesses” (or
disadvantages) of surveys??
• Rev...
Research Methods in Sociology…
II. Secondary Analysis of Existing Data = Data
are analyzed that were originally collected ...
Secondary Analysis
of Existing Data…
• What are “strengths” (or advantages) of
secondary analysis (of existing data)??
• W...
Research Methods in Sociology…
III. Field Research = People are observed and/or
interviewed in NATURAL settings (to reveal...
Field Research…
• In your opinion, what are “strengths” (or
advantages) of field research??
• In your opinion, what are “w...
Research Methods in Sociology…
IV. Experiment = The researcher studies variables under
highly-controlled conditions (to le...
Experiments…
• What are “strengths” (or advantages) of
experiments??
• What are “weaknesses” (or
disadvantages) of experim...
Questions to Consider…
• Which research method did Durkheim’s
study of suicide involve??
• Was Durkheim’s study quantitati...
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Ch.1

  1. 1. Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective and Research Process
  2. 2. Welcome To Sociology!! • Let’s take the Quiz in Box 1.1 on Page 3!!!! • Why is this a sociological (societal) issue rather than just a personal one?? • C. Wright Mills (1959) described the “sociological imagination” as the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society.
  3. 3. Social Problems: Going Beyond the Individual… • Social problems require solutions at the societal level, not just the personal level… • Other examples of social problems?? • What about credit card debt? • What about obesity?
  4. 4. What is Sociology? • _________ = the systematic study of human society and social interaction • Society = People who are united by a geographic boundary who share many aspects of a culture (e.g., political system, economy, language). • Examples of societies??
  5. 5. 2 Orientations of Sociology (2 “scopes”) • Micro vs. Macro
  6. 6. Development of Sociology • What social revolution occurred between 1760-1850 in Great Britain, which spread through the rest of W. Europe and the U.S. thereafter??
  7. 7. Development of Sociology…. • Industrialization = the process by which societies are transformed from agricultural economies to manufacturing economies. • Urbanization = the concentration of humanity into cities rather than in rural areas (includes “suburbs” of today).
  8. 8. Development of Sociology: the Early Thinkers • Auguste Comte • Harriett Martineau • Herbert Spencer • Emile Durkheim • What were the contributions of EACH of the above??? {Review Text}
  9. 9. Development of Sociology: Early Thinkers… Anomie = “without norms” or when norms for behavior are unclear, weak, or absent Durkheim believed that constraints on the indivdual’s potential are socially-based, NOT biologically-based Durkheim viewed society as characterized by social structure/stability; change is the exception
  10. 10. Development of Sociology: Early Thinkers… • Karl Marx: Viewed history of societies as a constant conflict of interests between those w/ wealth & power and those without. During I.R., M. focused on “class conflict:” Capitalist class vs. Working Class
  11. 11. Development of Sociology: Early Thinkers (Marx) • Worker alienation = a feeling of powerlessness from others and oneself • What did Marx predict would happen w/ the working class?
  12. 12. Development of Sociology: Early Thinkers • Max Weber – w. “The Protestant Ethic & the Spirit of Capitalism” – Study of society should be “value free” – Bureaucracy (an organizational model characterized by a hierarchy of authority, rules, etc.) would dominate social institutions. – Bureaucracies would determine social relations in society (RATHER than class struggle)
  13. 13. Development of Sociology: Early Thinkers • Georg Simmel – Micro sociology – Group size – Dyad – Triad – Formal sociology = the study of social form
  14. 14. Sociology Enters the U.S.! • University of Chicago – Late 1800’s/Early 1900’s. • • • • A natural “laboratory.” WHY? Robert Park G. H. Mead Jane Addams {Review contributions of each in text)
  15. 15. Sociology Enters the U.S…. • Atlanta University (today “Clark Atlanta University”) • Dept. founded by W.E.B. DuBois – Created research programs, founded 2 journals, started sociological conferences & published profusely – Fcoused on social problems which result in what he called a “double consciousness” = the identity conflict of being black and an American. – Noted that Americans claim to promote values of democracy, freedom, and equality but accept racism.
  16. 16. Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology • {Theory = A set of logically-related statements that attempt to describe, explain, & sometimes predict events • In sociology, what are some “events” that theorists would try to explain? (Examples).}
  17. 17. Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology • Why are theories (in general) important?? • In sociology, we are attempting to examine and make sense of social life….
  18. 18. 4 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology I. ______________ Perspectives {aka “functionalism” or “structural-functionalism”} Key Assumptions • Society is a stable, orderly system • System is made up of interrelated “social structures” (institutions) • Each social structure provides functions (positive consequences) for the whole
  19. 19. Functionalist Perspectives… • Key Terms: – Social structure = Any stable pattern of social behavior Examples? – Social institutions = large-scale social structures designed to meet society’s needs » Examples? – Functions = positive consequences on the whole system (e.g., society) » Examples?
  20. 20. Functionalist Perspectives… • Talcott Parsons • Robert Merton – “Manifest functions:” intended & overtly recognized – “Latent functions:” unintended or hidden Consider information technology…. - Recognized that social structures can be dysfunctional (threatening adaptability of society). Examples??
  21. 21. 4 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives continued… II. __________ Perspectives Key Assumption • Society is a continuous, competitive struggle for control over scarce resources, such as??? • Proponents of this framework: – – – – – Karl Marx Max Weber Georg Simmel W. E. B. DuBois C. Wright Mills
  22. 22. Conflict Perspectives… • C. Wright Mills: claimed a “power elite” exists (a small clique of top corporate, political, & military officials) Feminist Approach: Key Assumptions • Gender is a key element of social structure and social life • We live in a patriarchy = a system of male dominance over women
  23. 23. Conflict Perspectives… Feminist Approach: (key assumptions…) • Constraints on women are sociallyconstructed, rather than biologicallyconstructed, and that social change is needed for people to develop potential How does historical change support this view? • Society reinforces patriarchy thru traditional socialization How so??
  24. 24. Contemporary Perspectives… • In its original formulations, is functionalism “macro” OR “micro?” • In its original formulation, is conflict theory “macro” OR “micro”? – What about the feminist approach?
  25. 25. 4 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives continued… III. • • • _____________________ Perspectives Society is the sum of interactions of specific individuals and groups The PROCESS of interactions and SYMBOLS are important; symbols give meaning to social interaction{symbol = anything that represents something else}. Examples?? Each individual brings her/his own subjective reality to social life Symbolic interaction occurs when people communicate thru use of symbols (e.g., language, gestures, clothing…)
  26. 26. Symbolic Interactionist Perspectives… • Is this framework “micro” OR “macro?”
  27. 27. 4 Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives continued… IV. • • • ______________ Perspectives: Emerged > WWII Some nations were entering a period of “postindustrialization,” called “postmodern” societies Social life in postmodern societies is characterized & influenced by postindustrialization, consumerism, global communications & info. overload Recognize influence of tech. in shaping social life & also influence of history itself…
  28. 28. Postmodern Perspectives… • Key terms   Modernity = social patterns reflecting industrialization Postmodernity = social patterns reflecting postindustrialization • What kind of society were the early scholars trying to explain (hint: the I.R.)?? • Which societies today would be “postmodern?” • Can we explain life today with the 3 original frameworks??? • Are postmodern perspectives “micro” OR “macro”?
  29. 29. Sociological Research!! • View Figure 1.3 on page 22; “The Theory and Research Cycle” • “Theory guides research, while research guides theory.” - Norm Denzin
  30. 30. What is Research? • The process of systematically collecting information for the purpose of testing an existing theory OR generating a new one defines ___________ • First sociological study? _____________
  31. 31. 2 Orientations to Sociological Research I. • • Quantitative  To objectively understand social patterns thru analysis of _____________ data. A numerical code is assigned to all variables. Examples: Statistical analyses can be applied to see how different social categories vary on some behavior or attitude.
  32. 32. 2 Orientations to Sociological Research… II. Qualitative  To subjectively understand social patterns thru analysis of words, gestures, images, themes, with a focus on their_________ __________. • What do we mean by “subjective?” • What are some topics we could study qualitatively? (Examples: consider language use, messages from advertising….) • Which theoretical framework would likely correspond well with a qualitative study?
  33. 33. Questions to Consider… Note: In any study, we specifically identify what varies... • Which factors “varied” in Durkheim’s study? • In which orientation to research are we likely to precisely measure the factors that vary??
  34. 34. Key Terms in Research • A concept (or factor) that differs from one case to the next in your study is called a ____________. {Note: In sociology a “case” could be an individual, a group, a school, an organization, a region, a society, etc.} Examples of variables that you could study??
  35. 35. Key Terms in Research… • Any concept (factor) that does NOT vary from one case to the next in your study is called a __________. • Example: You are interested in how “physical exercise” affects “selfconfidence” among 19-year olds. What varies? What is constant?
  36. 36. Key Terms in Research… • Measurement = the process of determining the value or content of a variable in a specific case. Note: In the social sciences, measurement can be tricky!! 2 criteria for a good measure of variables: • The extent to which a study (or research instrument) accurately measures what it is supposed to measure is called?? __________. • The extent to which a study (or research instrument) yields consistent results is called?? ___________.
  37. 37. Research Methods in Sociology Research methods = specific strategies or techniques for conducting research. 4 research methods I. Survey = Participants respond to a series of questions or statements to tell us about social / personal life patterns. {Commonly used to study that which is NOT directly observable, e.g., past behavior, as well as current beliefs, opinions, and attitudes}. 2 kinds: *self-administered questionnaire: *structured interview: • Are surveys “quantitative” OR “qualitative?”
  38. 38. Surveys… • What are “strengths” (or advantages) of surveys?? • What are “weaknesses” (or disadvantages) of surveys?? • Review Text for these.
  39. 39. Research Methods in Sociology… II. Secondary Analysis of Existing Data = Data are analyzed that were originally collected by another person, group, or agency. Examples? “content analysis” = one type of secondary analysis which involves examination of cultural artifacts OR various forms of communication. Examples? • Is secondary analysis “quantitative” OR “qualitative?”
  40. 40. Secondary Analysis of Existing Data… • What are “strengths” (or advantages) of secondary analysis (of existing data)?? • What are “weaknesses” (or disadvantages) of secondary analysis (of existing data)?? • Review Text for these.
  41. 41. Research Methods in Sociology… III. Field Research = People are observed and/or interviewed in NATURAL settings (to reveal aspects of social life). Examples of settings? Ethnography = A type of field research which involves an in-depth study of a group, usually over a long period of time (months or years!) Which theoretical framework would likely guide field research? • Examples of topics to study using field research? • Is field research “quantitative” OR “qualitative?”
  42. 42. Field Research… • In your opinion, what are “strengths” (or advantages) of field research?? • In your opinion, what are “weaknesses” (or disadvantages) of field research??
  43. 43. Research Methods in Sociology… IV. Experiment = The researcher studies variables under highly-controlled conditions (to learn about processes of social life). (Some variables are manipulated by the researcher). Note: Experiments are the best method to determine if a “cause and effect” relationship exists between variables. WHY? 2 kinds: *laboratory experiment *field experiment • Examples of topics to study using an experiment? • Is the experiment “quantitative” OR “qualitative?”
  44. 44. Experiments… • What are “strengths” (or advantages) of experiments?? • What are “weaknesses” (or disadvantages) of experiments?? • Review Text for these.
  45. 45. Questions to Consider… • Which research method did Durkheim’s study of suicide involve?? • Was Durkheim’s study quantitative OR qualitative? • How could you study suicide using the OTHER orientation? • Which research method is the OLDEST? • Which research method is the MOST COMMON in sociology?

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