Sociology by turner, Rey Ty's Notes

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Sociology, Rey Ty, Durkheim, Spencer, Marx, Comte, Weber, functionalism, conflict theory, interactionism

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Sociology by turner, Rey Ty's Notes

  1. 1. Sociology Rey Ty’s Notes Source: Jonathan H. Turner. (2006). Sociology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, pp. 27-28. “1. 1. Sociology is the study of human behavior, interaction, and social organization. 2. Sociology is relevant to each of our daily lives because it provides a vehicle for understanding the sources of constraint in our thoughts, perceptions, and actions. 3. Sociology emerged under conditions of change associated with: (a) the decline of feudalism and the emergence of commerce, industry, and urbanization; (b) the intellectual movement known as The Enlightenment in which science and secular thought about the physical, biological, and social worlds could flourish; and (c) the traumatic shock over the violence and sudden change associated with the French Revolution of 1789. 4. The name, sociology, was proposed by the French thinker, Auguste Comte, who believed that a science of society could emulate the natural sciences. Comte also felt that discovery of the laws of human social organization could be used to reconstruct society in a more humane way. 5. Harriet Martineau not only translated Comte’s great work, but she took sociology to the larger public and argued that it should address issues and problems of the real world. 6. Herbert Spencer in England argued that laws of human organization could be developed. These laws would focus on the growing size and complexity of (page 27) society as these forces created pressures for (a) increased exchange and interdependence among people and organizations of society and (b) increased use of power to regulate, control, and coordinate activities of people and organizational units. Spencer founded a sociological approach known as functionalism, where the effects of a social pattern on the maintenance of society are emphasized. 7. Emile Durkheim Comtean and French tradition of emphasizing the importance of cultural ideas for the integration of society. Like Spencer, he was a functionalist and believed that laws of human organization could be discovered, but he added to Spencer’s approach the importance of discovering the causes and functions of cultural symbols for integrating society. 8. Karl Marx, a German who was expelled from his homeland and eventually settled in England, emphasized the conflictual nature of society, founding an approach known as conflict theory or conflict sociology. In Marx’s view, inequalities in the distribution of resources set the stage for the transformation of society as those without resources to organize and engage in conflict with those who control production, who possess power, and who manipulate cultural symbols to legitimate their privilege. Unlike Comte, Spencer, and Durkheim, Marx did not believe that the general laws of human organization, transcending historical epochs, could be developed. 9. Max Weber, the other major German founder of sociology, engaged in a life-long but silent dialogue with Marx, emphasizing that inequality is multidimensional and not based solely upon the economy, that conflict is contingent on historical conditions and is not the inevitable and inexorable outcome of inequality, and that change could be caused by ideas as well as the material and economic base of society. He also stressed that sociology must look at both the larger scale structure of society and the meanings that individuals give to these larger scale forces. Like Marx, he doubted if there were general laws of human organization, but unlike
  2. 2. Marx, he felt that it is necessary to be value-free and objective in the description and analysis of social phenomena. 10. Early American sociology adopted European ideas to specific problems associated with urbanization and industrialization, but it did initiate two important trends: (a) the widespread use of quantitative, statistical techniques and (b) the theoretical approach that was to become known as interactionism, where concern is with the processes by which society is sustained and changed by the behaviors of individuals in micro face-to-face encounters. 11. Early American sociology also exhibited an agenda for helping people in need, creating a concern for “practice” and “applied sociology” where sociological inquiry seeks to rebuild problematic social structures. 12. Sociology is now a large and diverse field analyzing all facets of human culture, social structure, behavior and interaction, and social change.” (page 28) “Law of the Three Stages: Auguste Comte’s view that ideas, and society as a whole, pass through three stages: (a) the theological, where religious ideas dominate; (b) the metaphysical, where systematic thought is stressed; and (c) the positivistic, where science comes to dominate” (Turner, 2006, p 29).

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