I. What is Sociology?
A. Sociology offers a perspective or view of the world
- Allows individuals to view their lives as they are shaped by historical/social forces
B. Sociology is a science
C. Sociology and Common Sense
D. Sociological Theory - Sociologists attempt to explain events, forces, materials, ideas, behaviors, etc. in a comprehensive manner.
- Explanatory or predictive
E. The Development of Sociology - People have always been curious about sociological matters.
- Sociology developed out of social upheaval and change (18th and 19th centuries)
← all these contributed to people relying less on tradition and more on science to understand social life
F. Early Sociologists • Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
• Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)
• Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
• Karl Marx (1818-1883)
• Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
• Max Weber (1864-1920)
• W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
II. Why study sociology? • Sociology and the sociological perspective help us to… o gain an understanding of ourselves and our social world o see opportunities and constraints in our lives o see connections between our lives and the patterns of society o be active participants in our society o live in a diverse world o critically assess “common sense ideas”
III. What sort of issues do sociologists study? • At BGSU…
• Family Studies
• Social Psychology
IV. Major Theoretical Perspectives How can we use sociology to interpret everyday life?
• Sociologists place their observations into frameworks – theories – that help them to understand everyday life.
• Perspectives differ in their levels of analysis
A. Functionalist Perspective
• Views society as a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together
• If society is to function smoothly, various parts must work together in harmony. • Examines the relationships among the parts of society
B. Conflict Perspective • Views society as composed of groups competing for resources
• Examines the conflict or tension between competing groups
• Developed by Karl Marx o Industrial Revolution
• Feminist Perspective
C. (Symbolic) Interactionist Perspective • Examines social interactions; studies how people use symbols to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and to communicate with one another
• Analyzes how our behaviors depend on the ways we define ourselves and others
V. Sociological Research How do sociologists know what they know? - Research and theory go hand in hand
A. Scientific Method
1. Define the problem
2. Review the literature
3. Formulate hypothesis