Understanding Sociology

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first part of the introductory discussions in SoAn-101

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Understanding Sociology

  1. 1. Understanding Sociology
  2. 2. What is Sociology? <ul><li>What has Sociology got to do with me or my life? </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. It focuses on social relationships, how these relationships influence people’s behavior, and how societies, the sum total of these relationships, develop and change. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Sociological Imagination <ul><li>By C.Wright Mills </li></ul><ul><li>It is the awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society, and which awareness allows us to comprehend the links between our immediate, personal settings and the remote, impersonal social world that surrounds us and help shape us. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The key element is the ability to view one’s own society as an outsider would, rather than only from the perspective of personal experiences and cultural biases. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>It allows us to go beyond personal experiences and observations to understand broader public issues. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sociology and the Social Sciences <ul><li>Is Sociology a Science? </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Science vs. Social Science </li></ul>
  8. 8. Natural Science <ul><li>It is the study of the physical features of nature and the ways in which they interact and change. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li> Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics…. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Social Science <ul><li>It is the study of the social features of humans and the ways they interact and change. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Sociology, Anthropology, economics, History, Psychology and Political Science </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Anthropologists usually study past cultures and pre-industrial societies. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Economists explore the ways in which people produce and exchange goods and services, along money and other resources. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Political scientists study international relations, the workings of government, and exercise of power and authority </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Psychologists investigate personality and individual behavior </li></ul>
  16. 16. What is therefore the focus of Sociologists?
  17. 17. <ul><li>They study the influence that society has on people’s attitudes and behavior and the ways in which people interact and thereby shape society. </li></ul><ul><li>Sociologists scientifically examine our social relationships with others. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Sociologists put their Sociological imagination to work in variety of areas- including aging, family, human ecology, and religion. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sociology and Common Sense <ul><li>Our theories and opinions typically come from “common sense”…. </li></ul><ul><li>But this is not enough! </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>The commonsense knowledge, while sometimes accurate, is not always reliable, because it rests on commonly held beliefs rather than on systematic analysis of facts. </li></ul>

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