Unit 2. Awakening the sociological imagi


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Unit 2. Awakening the sociological imagi

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. Objectives:  Presentation of the Beginner’s mind Assignment  Demonstrate the ability to define theory and explain how theories can change over time:  Introduce the modern school of thoughts in Sociology (the classical paradigms):  Explain the key components of structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism  Introduce new theoretical approaches;  Explain the key tenets of feminist theory, queer theory, and postmodern theory  Give a brief introduction of common research methods in social sciences: the tools of the sociological imagination uses to study society 2
  3. 3. Assignment: Analyzing everyday life 3
  4. 4. Entering the theoretical zone… 4
  5. 5. What is a Theory? 5  Attempts to understand the (social) world and our place in it, has led to the development of theories  Theories are abstract propositions about how things are as well as how they should be (an explanation of how we think things work)  We refer to theories as approaches, schools of thought (implying that they are different schools of thought), paradigms or perspectives.  Social theories are guiding principles or abstract models that attempt to explain and predict the social world  A theory is comparable to a map. When you discover new places, you have to modify this map
  6. 6. 6 Is there something like ‘down’ or ‘above’? ‘down’ and ‘above’ become relative…
  7. 7. Theories are dynamic, they change… 7  Theories have to be tested:  That’s what scientifically research is all about!  We develop theories and test them, modify them to fit the reality better, why?  Theories will change over time, because their area of study they seek to understand and explain: Society, itself changes over time  Theories seek to understand society in periods of both order and change  Social change makes theoretical change a continual necessity
  8. 8. Example of a theoretical model: “the social change model” 8
  9. 9. Modern schools of thought 9
  10. 10. Modern school of thoughts: paradigms  Theoretical umbrellas: they have explanatory broad power  None of them on their own can give an entirely explanation of a whole social phenomena, each one gives its specific answers These are:  Structural Functionalism  Conflict theory  Symbolic interactionism
  11. 11. 1. Structural Functionalism (1)  The 2 words can give an idea of this approach: structure and function  Founding fathers: Comte, Spencer and Durkheim Tenets:  Society is a stable, ordered system of interrelated parts of the structures  Each structure has a function that contributes to the continued stability or equilibrium of the whole
  12. 12. Structural Functionalism (2)  Structures defined as social institutions like the family, the educational system, politics, religion, mass media systems, and the economy  Structures meet the need of society by performing different functions:  What would be the functions of above mentioned social institutions? (in terms of manifest* vs. latent** functions)  Dysfunction: a disturbance to or undesirable consequence of some aspect of the social system  Harmony & stability *Manifest: the obvious intended functions of a social institution (or social system ** Latent: the less obvious, perhaps unintended functions of a social structure
  13. 13. 2. Conflict theory  Proposes conflict and tension as basic facts of social life and suggests that people have disagreements over goals and values and are involved in struggles over both resources and power  Theory focuses on dominance, competition and social change  Founding father: Marx Tenets: 1. A materialistic view of society (focused on labor practices and economic reality, we play by the rules (roles and functions) of these social systems 2. A critical stance towards existing social arrangements (labor market, democracy, inequality between social groups) 3. A dynamical model of historical change in which the transformation of society is inevitable (change)
  14. 14. 3. Symbolic Interactionism  Most influential  Founding father: Mead Tenets: 1. We act toward things on the basis of their meanings 2. Individual, social groups meaning to experience of life: we negotiate meaning 3. Meanings can change or be modified through interaction and through time
  15. 15. Changing meanings of the concept of beauty for teenagers(1975 vs. 2010):
  16. 16. New theoretical Approaches 16
  17. 17. New Paradigms in Sociology  Because all 3 major paradigms have weakness as well as strengths, they will probably never fully explain the totality of social phenomena, even when taken together  New perspectives will, and indeed must, continue to rise  Changes in society, bring changes in our conceptual way of studying it 17
  18. 18. Three contemporary approaches 18  Each is linked to a major contemporary social transformation:  Changing ideas about gender roles  Changing notions of sexual identity  And the changes associated with a postindustrial, technologically based society
  19. 19. 1. Feminist theory 19  Looks at gender inequalities in society and the way gender structures the social world  Gender is a social construct
  20. 20. E.g. A feminist analysis of female fairy tale characters 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 2. Queer theory 22  Proposes that categories of sexual identity are social constructs and that no sexual category is fundamentally either deviant or normal
  23. 23. 2. Postmodern theory 23  Suggests that there is no universal, knowable truth: realities are fluid and diverse  The kaleidoscope metaphor
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. 25 Perspective Focus of Analysis Structural- Functionalism Assumes that society is a unifies whole that functions because of the contributions of its separate structures Conflict theory Sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change emphasizes a materialist view of society, a critical view of the status quo and a dynamic model of historical change Symbolic interactionism Asserts that interaction and meaning are central to society and assumes that meanings are not inherent but are created through interaction Feminist theory Looks at gender inequalities in society and the way gender structures the social world Queer theory Questions the basis of all social categories, including but not limited to those involving sexuality Postmodernist theory Suggests that social reality is diverse, pluralistic and constantly in flux
  26. 26. Introduction to common research methods to study society 26
  27. 27. Studying social life: Sociological research methods (1) 27  Distinction between Quantative and Qualitative research methods  Quantative: uses data that can easily be converted into numbers, such as a survey or an experiment  E.g. Censo 2010
  28. 28. Studying social life: Sociological research methods (2) 28  Qualitative: involves data that cannot easily be converted to numbers, such as observation or informal interviews.  Most sociological research uses the scientific method  This is the standard for acquiring and verifying empirical scientific knowledge:  After conducting a literature review, a researcher forms a hypothesis stating a potential relationship between 2 or more variables:  The number of friendships at the work & the level of job satisfaction  e.g. more friendships at the workplace increases job satisfaction  Variables must be clearly defined so that they can be measured
  29. 29. A social scientist is like an explorer 29
  30. 30. Steps of the scientific Method 1. Identify a problem or ask a question 2. Conduct a literature review 3. Form a hypothesis: give operational definitions to variables 4. Choose a research design or method 5. Collect data 6. Analyze data 7.Dissemi nate findings Starting from 1 to 7 = Deductive research Starting from 5 (4) to 1 = Inductive research 30
  31. 31. 1. Ethnographic methods 31  One way to collect data is through ethnography, a method based on studying people in their own environment in order to understand the meanings they attribute to their activities  It involves:  Active participation in and observation of a naturally occurring setting and a written account (field notes) of what goes on there.  In participant observation the research observes and becomes a member in the social setting  Anthropology uses this method often
  32. 32. Ethnography: 32 Snow white joined the 7 dwarfs in their private homes, here she could observe their social practices
  33. 33. Interviews 33  Involves direct, face-to-face contact with respondents.  The researcher identifies the target population that she wishes to study and then selects a sample of people to be interviewed from that population  close-ended questions:  E.g. Are you for or against the legislation of abortus? (yes-no)  open-ended question:  What is your opinion about legalizing abortus? please elaborate…  What do you think of married couples cheating on
  34. 34. Surveys 34  Surveys are questionnaires that are administrated to a sample of respondents selected from a target group population  Tend to look at Large-scale social patterns and employs statistics methods of analysis  http://www.censo2010.aw/
  35. 35. Experimental methods 35  Experiments are formal test of whether an independent variable causes the dependent variable that are performed in a controlled setting where all aspects of the situation can be controlled.  Comparison between experimental group vs. control group (sample without intervention)  Experiments in social science are very difficult to conduct because of ethical questions:  Twins separated at birth, one grows-up in a nice family, one in a dysfunctional family?
  36. 36. Pill to make you dance at a party when you don’t like dancing 36 Control: she takes a placebo pill Experiment: she takes the to be tested pill
  37. 37. Issues in Social science research 37  Social scientists/researches should be Value- free  Code of ethics to avoid bias, protect respondents from harms, privacy issues and unethical behavior in the name of science etc.  On the wikispace you can find examples of different code of ethics for social sciences
  38. 38. E.g. Unethical research 38 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/ 02/health/research/02infect.html? _r=1&ref=todayspaper Article trackback:
  39. 39. 39 Awakening the sociological imagination: “Studying = feeling like a space traveler, flying above earth, fascinated by its organizing ecology & exploring its encoded meanings” N.D.L.
  40. 40. 40 Social Scientists…