Lecture 1 Essay

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Sociology Notes- Lecture 1

12/11/2011 2:44:00 PM

Sociology: systematic study of human groups and their interactions
Sociological perspective: a view of society based on the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live.
Charles Wright Mills
Quality of mind: Mill¶s term for the ability to view personal circumstance within a social context
Sociological imagination: CW Mill¶s term for the ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives
Peter Berger
Seeing the general in the particular: ability to look at unique events or circumstances and recognize the larger features involved. For example, a street person asking for spare chance ± a particular incident that occurred at a specific time, sociologists understand that seeing one homeless person means that there are many that we don¶t see. To appreciate an individual circumstance and broaden your perspective to the larger social patterns
Seeing the strange in the familiar: asking questions that suggest that someone is looking at what appears normal and familiar and seeing it as peculiar and strange.
Sociological imagination
Our perspective of ourselves and others are the product of many factors including: Minority status: Those who are part of a visible minority group or a mental disability, gay, lesbian, bisexual face various forms of discrimination
Gender: Society treats men and women differently, full time working men earn more than full time working females.
Socio economic status: combination of variables to position or score people on criteria such as income level, level of education achieved, occupation and area of residence. Ascribed status: attributes assigned at birth. Achieved status: attributes developed throughout life as a result of effort and skill
Family structure: Female lone parent families vs. Two parent families

Urban rural differences: differences b/w small towns and large cities (access to health care, diversity in entertainment and cultural events)
Historical Development of Sociology
August Comte: scientist and believed that the techniques used in hard sciences such as chem and physics to explain the physical world should be applied to the social world as well. Law of three stages:
First stage: Theological Stage: Longest period of human thinking, beginning with early human ancestors to the Middle Ages. Human society as an expression of God¶s will and views science as a means to discover God¶s intentions. Metaphysical stage: understanding of truth and the relationship between mind and matter. Period in which everyone started questioning everything and challenge the teachings of the Church.
Positive stage: the world would have been interpreted through a scientific lens Positivism: theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based on science.
Anti-Positivism: theoretical approach that considers knowledge and understanding to be the result of human subjectivity
Quantitative sociology: the study of behaviors that can be measured ex.
Number of divorces per capita or crime rates over time.
Qualitative sociology: the study of non-measurable, subjective behaviors ex.
Emotional effects of going through a divorce
The political revolution: we are masters of our own destiny. Promotion of individual rights and social responsibility, equality of opportunity and the political ideology of democracy.
Industrial revolution: replaced agriculture as dominant means of supporting ourselves and families moving from an agricultural and rural economy to a capitalist and urban one. Emergence of steam engine
Macrosociology: study of society as a whole

Microsociology: study of individual or small group dynamics within a larger society. Thomas Hobbes: people are responsible for creating the social world around them. Hobbes was one of the first theorists to view people as responsible and accountable for the society they