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Chapter 1 2 3_14

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Chapter 1 2 3_14

  1. 1. Chapter 1 Sociology Perspective, Theory, and Method
  2. 2. Sociology The systematic study of human society  Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. Sociology – Anywhere there are two or more people interacting, sociologists are there with questions: • Why do they behave the way they do & what is the function of their interactions? • What is the meaning of their interactions? • Who do their interactions serve? Who benefits? © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. Sociology • Not only are sociologists interested in examining people, sociologists examine social issues and ask important questions about what exactly contributes to those issues © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Sociology • Sociologists engage in “debunking” commonly held assumptions in order to determine what is actually going on in society – Middle-aged men make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population – Most of the poor are African American – The poor could get out of poverty if only they worked – Teenage pregnancy is on the rise – Parents today spend less time with their children than parents did in the 1960s and 70s © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. Sociology  Sociologists examine diversity & what it means to be “different” in any given society  What does it mean to be white, black, rich, poor, male, female, gay, straight, etc.....  Does it mean the same thing to be poor in the United States as it does in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan? © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Sociology  Sociologists focus on how social relationships influence people’s behavior  Relationships between boss/employee; husband/wife; parent/child; politicians/constituents; teacher and students, etc…  Is each relationship is different? © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Sociology  Sociology focuses on how social forces shape and control our lives.  If you were born in another country, at a different time in history, how might your life be different?  If you were raised by a different family, had different friends, peers, teachers, how might your life be different?  Would you beliefs be different?  Would your behavior be different?  Would your personality be different? © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Sociology  At the heart of the discipline is a distinctive point of view called the sociological perspective © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Seeing the General in the Particular • The sociological perspective allows us to see how the general categories into which we fall shape our particular life experiences. (Berger,1963)  How are your life experiences shaped by the general categories into which you happen to fall (or have been placed into by society)?  Age, Sex, Race, Social Class, Sexual Orientation, etc… © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. Seeing the Strange in the Familiar • The sociological perspective allows us to “see the strange in the familiar” • “Bizarre” practices found in some societies © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Seeing the Strange in the Familiar • The sociological perspective allows us to “see the strange in the familiar” by encouraging us to view our culture as an outsider looking in • Brainstorm about three “familiar” practices in the United States. – Now find something “strange” about each of the practices. – How might they seem strange now that you are using the sociological perspective? • © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Seeing the Strange in the Familiar • Using the sociological perspective to “think sociologically” requires us to give up the familiar idea that human behavior is simply a matter of what people decide to do in favor of the initially strange notion that society guides our thoughts and deeds. © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. The Sociological Imagination Another term for the sociological perspective is the “sociological imagination” •Sociological imagination: the ability to see the link between ourselves and larger societyC. Wright Mills (1959) - © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Seeing Sociologically: Social Crisis © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Seeing Sociologically: Social Crisis – 1 in 4 people were out of work during the Great Depression – The stock market crashed, banks closed their doors, and employers stopped hiring – Do you think people blamed only themselves for their unemployment? – We can look back on this period of crisis, using our sociological imagination, and see how large, external, social forces (forces beyond people’s control) were shaping people’s lives © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Social Change and the Emergence of Sociology • An interesting irony: – Sociology itself is the result of powerful social forces. – Sociology emerged during a time of significant social change © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Social Change and the Emergence of Sociology • What social forces led to the development of sociology in the latter part of the 18 th century? • The Industrial Revolution – 3 Major Characteristics • The rise of a factory-based industrial economy • The explosive growth of cities • New ideas about democracy and political rights © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Science and Sociology • Auguste Comte (1798–1857) – French social thinker who coined the term “sociology” in 1838 to: • Describe a new way of looking at the world – Comte’s approach is called: – Positivism – understanding the world based on science, as opposed to mere speculation © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Science and Sociology • So, how do we use scientific principles to better understand society ? • We begin with theory. © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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