Insocio lecture 1 nature of sociology


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Insocio lecture 1 nature of sociology

  1. 1. Chapter 1- NATURE OF SOCIOLOGY Lecturer: Mrs Ace Ordonez- Samaniego Human being cannot escape from the effects of society. Even unborn fetus inside his mother’s womb is affected by “social milieu”. Human beings are born into and spend their entire lives within groups. As such they can be described as “social animals” who depend on others for the satisfaction of their needs. Through childhood and into adulthood, groups give meaning and support to the individual. Relationship between people and structure The influence of society is the central question asked by sociologists when they attempt to explain human behavior. People are social beings more than they are individuals. Our thinking and motivation are largely shaped by our life experiences as we interact with one another. “Society profoundly shapes people’s behavior and attitudes." We exist within social structure, which refers to patterns of social interaction and social relationships. Social structure, in turn, has great influence on who we are as individuals. It influences our behavior, our attitudes, and our life chances. 1 Sociology Human Interaction Groups Relationship within the group
  2. 2. Sociology is not concerned with the study of human being as an isolated individual, but with the study of people in the group or social context. Sociology is defined as the scientific study of human interaction and the products of such interaction. Sociology is concerned with the ultimate question of how and why human beings act the way they do. The Origin of the word Sociology The word sociology derives from the French word, sociologie, a hybrid coined in 1830 by French philosopher Isidore Auguste Comte (1798-1857), from the Latin: socius, meaning "companion"; and the suffix -ology, meaning "the study of", from the Greek λόγος, lógos, "knowledge". The English word, sociology, appeared in 1843. 2 Sociology is a science. In attempt to understand society and its problems, sociologists use different methods of studies. Ex. Statistics “A sociologist is value-free.” This doesn’t mean that a sociologist doesn’t have any values but according to Max Weber, a German sociologist; A sociologist should have “objectivity”. In practicing sociology, a sociologist should separate his personal opinion, beliefs and values. These could be hindrance in searching for truths from the gathered information or data. Any person can be a sociologist if he will only use his sociological point of view and ways of analysis.
  3. 3. Early sociologist 1. Auguste Comte  Considered the founder of sociology.  Raised in the shadow of French Revolution, he was stimulated to investigate society by the momentous social changes swirling around him.  The breakdown of traditional social pattern s disturbed Comte, but he hoped that the scientific study would improve the human condition.  Comte felt that sociology should use the method of “POSITIVISM”- a path to understanding the world based on science.  Posivitism emphasizes the techniques of observation, comparison ( particularly historical comparison), and experimentation in the development of knowledge concerning the nature of society and human action. 2. Karl Marx –  German economist and philosopher  Marx saw the conflict between the bourgeoisie ( the owner of the production) and the proletariat (laboring class)  He believed that society should not only be studied but should be changed because the status quo (existing state of society) was resulting from the oppression of most population by a small group of wealthy people. 3 Looking back in history … we find that no philosophers ever viewed matters with sociological perspectives until quite recently. Before the birth of sociology, philosophers and theologians concentrated their energies on imagining the ‘ideal society”. None attempted to analyze “real society”, as it actually was. In creating the discipline of sociology, pioneers such as Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim reversed these priorities. Although they were concerned with how human society can be improved, the major goal of early sociologist s was to understand how society actually operates.
  4. 4.  Marx stressed that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas and forces.  He believed that conflict especially class conflict is necessary in order to produce social change and a better society. 3. Emile Durkheim  According to Durkheim the problem of society is anomie or the breakdown of societal norms.  He believed that sociology should study the normal and balance reality of the society.  Durkheim was against socialism. He did not believe in class struggle. • Perspectives might best be viewed as models: • Each perspective makes assumptions about society. • Each one attempts to integrate various kinds of information about society. • Models give meaning to what we see and experience. • Each perspective focuses on different aspects of society. 4 Sociological Perspectives  Structural Functionalism  Conflict  Symbolic Interactionism
  5. 5. Structural Functionalism View of Society • Society as a system of interrelated parts. All the parts act together even though each part may be doing different things. • Institutions, such as family, education, and religion are the parts of the social system and they act to bring about order in society. • Integration of the various parts is important. When all the "parts" of the system work together, balance is maintained and the overall order of the system is achieved. • Social structures in society promote integration, stability, consensus, and balance. Conflict Perspective • Conflict theorists see society less as a cohesive system and more as an arena of conflict and power struggles. Instead of people working together to further the goals of the "social system," • People are seen achieving their will at the expense of others. • People compete against each other for scarce resources. • Basic inequalities between various groups are a constant theme of conflict theory. • Power, or the lack of it, is also a basic theme of conflict theory. • Since some people benefit at the expense of others, those who benefit use ideology to justify their unequal advantage in social relationships. Conflict and Change As a result of tension, hostility, competition, and disagreements over goals and values, change is one of the basic features in society. In general, change occurs because of inequality and the battle over scarce resources. Conflict occurs because people want things (power, wealth, and prestige) that are in short supply. One should realize that conflict is not intrinsically bad. Conflict provides grounds where people unite in order that they may act on their common interests. Conflict is the motor for desirable change. Who Benefits? • Like the functionalists, conflict theorists recognize the existence of social structures, but instead of structures existing for the good of the whole system, social structures (institutions) serve the interests of the 5
  6. 6. powerful. One should also recognize the flip side of this coin. Structures that serve the powerful also are designed to keep other groups in society in their place for the privilege of others. • Instead of following the functionalist path of addressing dysfunction (i.e. something that doesn't work) conflict theorists would ask "Who Benefits?" • Example: Acid rain Acid rain is not "bad" for everyone. The powerful people who control polluting industries stand to make huge profits by not providing proper air purification. Symbolic Interactionism • Interactionists focus on the subjective aspects of social life, rather than on objective. Interactionists prefer to explore the interaction of individuals or groups of individuals • One reason for this focus is that interactionists base their theoretical perspective on their image of humans, rather than on their image of society (as the functionalists do). • For interactionists, humans are pragmatic actors who continually must adjust their behavior to the actions of other actors. • We can adjust to these actions only because we are able to interpret them, i.e., to denote them symbolically and treat the actions and those who perform them as symbolic objects. • Thus, the interactionist theorist sees humans as active, creative participants who construct their social world, not as passive, conforming objects of socialization. • For the interactionist, society consists of organized and patterned interactions among individuals. Thus, research by interactionists focuses on easily observable face-to-face interactions rather than on macro-level structural relationships involving social institutions. How does Interactionist view change? • Society is dynamic. • Change occurs as a result of interaction between individuals. • Continuous change, not stable patterns, characterizes the real nature of society. This kind of change is much less deterministic than change associated with the conflict perspective. Marxists look for change that is determined by characteristics in the social structure. Change from the Interactionist perspective is free-form. Lectured by: Mrs Ace Ordonez Samaniego 6
  7. 7. File name: Insocio chapter 1 lecture 7