Anthropology is a broad social science concerned with the study of humans from a social, biological and cultural perspective
Physical anthropology divides into two areas, one related to tracing human evolution and the study of primates, and the other concerned with contemporary human characteristics stemming from the mixture of genetic adaptations and culture.
Sociocultural anthropology is concerned with broad aspects of the adaptation of humans to their cultures— with social organization, language, ethnographic details, and, in general, the understanding of culturally mitigated patterns of behavior
It is perhaps the oldest of the social sciences, with its concern with wealth and poverty, trade and industry
Concerned with understanding how societis distribute, value and produce and/or import goods and services.
Microeconomics is largely concerned with issues such as competitive markets, wage rates, and profit margins. Macroeconomics deals with broader issues, such as national income, employment, and economic systems
Drawn from the textbook I adopted for my marriage and family course;
Lamanna, Mary Ann & Agnes Riedmann. 2000. (7 th Edition) Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. Wadsworth Thomas Learning Publishing Company. ISBN 0-534-52507-5
Major Sociological Theoretical Approaches I . Symbolic Interaction Levels of Analysis Micro-Sociological Nature of Society A social reality continuously created through social interaction. Basis of Social interaction Shared symbols and meanings Focus of Analysis Individuals of social actors
Major Sociological Theoretical Approaches II. Social Exchange; aka Post Modernism Levels of Analysis Micro-Sociological Nature of Society A social reality continuously created through social interaction. Basis of Social interaction Social Reciprocity Elementary Forms of Social Behavior Focus of Analysis Postindustrialization, consumerism, and global communications bring into question assumptions about social life and the nature of reality
Major Sociological Theoretical Approaches III. Structural/Functional Levels of Analysis Macro-Sociological Nature of Society A social system consisting of interdependent units Basis of Social interaction Consensus deriving from shared beliefs and values. Focus of Analysis Social order and the perpetuation of society
IV. CONFLICT THEORY Levels of Analysis Macro- Sociological Nature of Society A social order characterized by competing groups and classes, each pursuing its own interests Basis of Social interaction Conflict and coercion Focus of Analysis Competition for control of limited resources
Sociologist Elijah Anderson’s 14 year study of two Philadelphia neighborhoods— one populated by low-income African Americans, the other racially mixed but increasingly middle- to upper income and white—is an example of ethnographic research.
Research Methods: Secondary Analysis of Existing Data
Materials studied may include:
books, diaries, poems, graffiti, movies, television shows, advertisements, greeting cards, music, art, and even garbage.
Which methods might be most effective in learning about the problems of the homeless, such as these street people warming themselves on a warm grate in Moscow, Russia?
Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methods Research Method Strengths Weaknesses Experiments (Laboratory, Field, Natural) Control over research. Ability to isolate experimental factors. Little time and money required. Replication possible, except for natural experiments. Artificial Reliance on volunteers or captive audiences. Ethical questions of deception.
Statistics: What We Do and Don’t Know Homelessness in the U.S. Suicide in the U. S. Explanation The homeless often avoid interviews with census takers. Critics assert the actual number may be 3 million and that the government intentionally undercounts them. Census data places Latino/as in the category of whites. Other than African Americans, people of color are listed as nonwhite—other .
Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methods Research Method Strengths Weaknesses Survey Research (Questionnaire, Interview, Telephone Survey) Useful in describing features of a large population without interviewing everyone Relatively large samples possible Multivariate analysis possible Potentially forced answers Respondent untruthfulness on emotional issues Data that are not always “hard facts” presented as such in statistical analyses
Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methods Research Method Strengths Weaknesses Secondary Analysis of Existing Data (Existing Statistics, Content Analysis) Data readily available. inexpensive to collect. Longitudinal and comparative studies possible. Replication possible. Difficult to determine accuracy of data. Failure of data gathered by others to meet goals of current research. Questions of privacy when using diaries, other personal documents.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methods Research Method Strengths Weaknesses Field Research (Participant Observation, Case Study, Ethnography, Unstructured Interview) Gain insider’s view. Useful for studying behaviors in natural settings. Longitudinal studies possible. Documentation of social problems of groups possible. Problems generalizing results. Nonprecise data measurements. Inability to test theories. Difficult to make comparisons. Not representative.
Statistics: What We Do and Don’t Know Homelessness in the U.S. Suicide in the U. S. Research Finding At least 250,000 people in the U.S. are homeless. At least 32,439 Americans committed suicide in 2004. Possible Problem Does that underestimate the number of homeless people? Are suicide rates different for some categories of U.S. citizens?
U.S. Suicides, by Sex and Method Used, 1984 and 2004 Method Males Females 1984 2000 1984 2000 Total 22,689 25,566 6,597 6,873 Firearm 14,504 14,523 2,609 2,227 Poisoning 3,203 3,200 2,406 2,600 Suffocation 3,478 5,980 863 1,356
Researchers who use grounded theory collect and analyze data simultaneously.
For example, after in-depth interviews with 106 suicide attempters, researchers in one study concluded that half of the individuals who attempted suicide wanted both to live and to die at the time of their attempt.