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Sociology chapter 1

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  • Society is a very broad field, so while sociologists are interested in society at large, many sociologists study just a small segment of society. Some examples of subfields within this discipline include the sociology of sports, religion, music, medicine, pop culture, and so on. If you are interested in seeing more examples, you can visit www.asanet.org, the American Sociological Association’s website, and look at their chapters. There you’ll get an idea of the kinds of things that interest contemporary sociologists! Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Times_Square_Panorama.jpg
  • C. Wright Mills wrote The Sociological Imagination in 1959. In Mills’s opinion, we can’t begin to understand our personal lives without thinking about the social context.
  • We generally think of institutions as stable entities that “just are,” but the reality is that these institutions are purposefully structured. Additionally, when we think of institutions, we tend to think that they “have always been this way,” but in fact, institutions change over time, reflecting the values of a society.
  • The different groups that you belong to help you tell others about your identity. You might say you are a daughter or son or a parent (your family is one of your groups). You might say you are a student (your school could be another group). You might also identify yourself by saying which groups you are not in (you’re not a college drop-out, for instance).
  • Sociology is a relatively new field of academic study; much of the early work in sociology was done as recently as the nineteenth century.
  • Each of these theories might look at the same kinds of social phenomena, but they might look for different things (for example, we could ask what the function of education is; if education is the result of conflict or if it causes conflict; what symbolic relationships are present in education, etc.) Having different theories is like having different pairs of glasses – you have one pair for reading, one for driving, one for seeing in the distance, sunglasses, safety glasses, and so on. Looking through the different pairs will help you see the same thing in different ways!
  • Sociology is a field within the social sciences, which are interested in different aspects of societies and social life. However, sociology is a very unique field.
  • For example, a sociologist might be interested in knowing how an individual makes the decision to go to college. It would be helpful to sit down with that person and talk. This would be a micro-level analysis, or an example of microsociology. On the other hand, if a sociologist wanted to know how a number of people made the decision to go to college last year, it would be impossible to sit down with each person and ask, so looking at statistical data would be more efficient. This would be an example of a macro-level study, or macrosociology.
  • Transcript

    • 1. You MayAskYourselfAn Introduction to Thinking Like a SociologistDalton ConleySECOND EDITIONChapter 1Sociological Imagination: AnIntroduction
    • 2. What Is Sociology? • Sociology is the study of human society.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 2
    • 3. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionPart I: Using Your Sociological Imagination Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 4. The Sociological Imagination • Coined by C. Wright Mills, this tool helps us to: – connect our personal experiences to society at large and greater historical forces. – “make the familiar strange,” or to question habits or customs© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. that seem “natural” to us. 4
    • 5. Thinking like a sociologist means looking at the worldaround you in a new way. Challenge conventional wisdom You May Ask Yourself, 2nd Editionand question what most people take for granted. Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 6. © 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc.6 A Radical Experiment in
    • 7. What Is a Social Institution? • Social institutions are networks of structures in society that work to socialize the groups of people within them. Examples include: – the legal system – the labor market© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. – the educational system – the military – the family 7
    • 8. What Is Social Identity? • The way individuals define themselves in relationship to groups they are a part of (or in relationship to groups they choose not to be a part of). • What groups are you in? Or not in?© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 8
    • 9. Think about their own backgrounds, including their race, gender, religion, and economic class. How larger social forces—the economy, civil rights, religious movements, and so on—have shaped what it means to be a person "like you"—someone with the same list of traits—in society today.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 9
    • 10. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 11. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 12. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 13. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 14. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 15. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 16. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 17. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionTwo Centuries of Sociology Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    • 18. The History of Sociology • Auguste Comte — society is better understood by determining the logic or scientific laws governing human behavior, called social physics or positivism. • Karl Marx — theory of historical materialism, which identifies class conflict as the primary cause of social© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. change 18
    • 19. The History of Sociology • Max Weber — emphasis on subjectivity became a foundation of interpretive sociology • Émile Durkheim — founder of positivist sociology; developed the theory that division of labor helps to determine how social cohesion is maintained, or not maintained, in that society© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. • Georg Simmel — formal sociology, or a sociology of pure numbers (for instance, how a group of two is different than a group of three) 19
    • 20. The History of Sociology • Functionalism, conflict theory, feminist theory, symbolic interactionism, postmodernism, and midrange theory are all modern sociological theories.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 20
    • 21. American Sociology • Early American sociology became prominent at the University of Chicago, so the perspective that emerged became known as the “Chicago School.” Chicago thinkers include: – Charles Horton Cooley – George Herbert Mead – W. I. Thomas – W.E.B. DuBois© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. – Jane Addams • The Chicago School focused on empirical research, with the belief that people’s behaviors and personalities are shaped by their social and physical environments. 21
    • 22. Sociology and Its Cousins • Sociology focuses on making comparisons across cases to find patterns and create hypotheses about how societies work now or how they worked in the past. • Sociology looks at how individuals interact with one another as well as at how groups, small and large,© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. interact with one another. 22
    • 23. Sociology and Its Cousins • Distinctions are important, but a lot of overlap exists between the work done in different academic disciplines. History and Psychology and Political science anthropology – biology examine focuses on one cultural things on a more aspect of social anthropology in micro level than relations –© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. particular – tend sociology does, and power. to focus more on economics is an particular entirely circumstances. quantitative discipline. 23
    • 24. Divisions within Sociology • Microsociology understands local interactional contexts, focusing on face-to-face encounters and gathering data through participant observations and in-depth interviews. • Macrosociology looks at© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. social dynamics across whole societies or large parts of them and often relies on statistical analysis to do so. 24
    • 25. This concludes the Lecture PowerPoint Presentation forChapter 1: Sociological Imagination: An Introduction For more learning resources, please visit our online StudySpace at: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/soc/conley2/ W. W. Norton & Company Independent and Employee-Owned 25

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