The Sociological View

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					The Sociological View
      Sociological Perspective
• Special vision

  – Seeing the general in the particular
  – Seeing the strange in the familiar
  – Seeing individuality in social context
    Benefits of the Sociological
• Helps us assess the truth of “common
• Helps us assess both opportunities and
  constraints in our lives.
• Empowers us to be active participants in
• Helps us to live in a diverse world.
          What is Sociology?
• The scientific study of social behavior and
  human groups.
  – Influence of social relationships on individual
    attitudes and behavior
             C. Wright Mills
• Sociological Imagination
  – An awareness of the relationship between the
    individual and the wider society.
     • View as an outsider
     • Beyond personal to public
                Key concepts
• Skepticism
    – Uncovering “inconvenient facts”- Weber
•   Method of organizing perspectives
•   Objectivity
•   Ethics
•   Critical thinking
         Origins of Sociology
• Industrial Revolution
  – Growth of cities
     • Pull of factories
     • Push of enclosure
• Political Change
  – Pursuit of self-interest
             August Comte
• Born in France
• Coined the term “Sociology” in 1838
• Favored Positivism
  – A way of understanding based on science
• Social Statics vs. Social Dynamics
• Not only discovered social principles but
  also applied them to social reform
          Harriet Martineau
• Wrote “Society in America” – family, race,
  gender, politics, and religion
• Translated August Comte’s ideas into
  English and reduced 7 volumes to 2
            Emile Durkheim
• Emphasis on showing how social forces
  impact people’s behavior
• Emphasis on thorough research
• Suicide (1897)
  – Social factors underlie suicide – not simply
    personal reasons
  – Social integration – the degree to which people
    are tied to their social group
            Emile Durkheim
• Social research must be practical
  – Discover causes for social ills and recommend
• Anomie
  – Breaking down of the controlling influences of
     • People become detached form society and are left
       with too little moral guidance
        – -answer – more social groups
                Karl Marx
• Class conflict is the engine of human
• Society divided into classes who clash in
  pursuit of their own class interests
• Group identifications and associations
  influence an individual’s place in society
                 Karl Marx
• People should take active steps to change
• Concept of “praxis”
  – theory and action
              Max Weber
• Urged students to use “Verstehen”
  (understanding) in their intellectual work
• To fully comprehend behavior, we must
  learn the subjective meanings people attach
  to their actions – how they themselves view
  and explain their behavior
                Max Weber
• Disagreed with Marx that economics was
  the central force in change
  – Felt that religion was
• Concept of the “ideal type”
  – Construct – a made-up model that serves as a
    measuring rod against which actual cases can
    be evaluated
            W.E.B. DuBois
• Worked under Max Weber
• 1st person of color to receive a doctorate
  from Harvard
• Founding member of the NAACP
• Worked on race and inequality
• U.S. State Department refused to give him a
            Herbert Spencer
• Did not believe that sociology should guide
  social reform
• Believed in “social Darwinism”
  – Over time, societies improve
  – Coined the term “Survival of the fittest”
• Did not conduct scientific studies
              Why Theory?
• Allows for full exploration of an issue or
• 3 sociological theoretical paradigms
  – Sets of assumptions that guide thinking and
• Society is a complex system whose parts
  work together to promote solidarity and
  – Social structure – relatively stable patterns of
    social behavior
• If something does not serve a useful,
  identifiable purpose, it will not be passed
  from generation to generation
• Manifest function – recognized and
  intended consequences of any social pattern
• Latent function – largely unrecognized or
  unintended consequence
• Dysfunction – undesirable consequence or
  disruption to social structure
       Social-Conflict Theory
• Sees society as an arena of inequality,
  generating conflict and change
• Interested in how society’s institutions
  including family, government, religion,
  education, and the media may help to
  maintain the privileges of some groups and
  keep others in subservient positions
• Looks to who benefits and who suffers
• Sees society as the product of the everyday
  interactions of individuals
• Micro-level orientation
• Humans live in a world of meaningful
  – symbols
           Feminist Perspective
• Views inequity in gender as central to all
  behavior and organization
   – Often allied with conflict theory
   – Tend to focus on the relationships of everyday
     life like the interactionists would
   – Extended analysis beyond the male
     point of view
     How Sociology is studied
• Science – a logical system that bases
  knowledge on empirical evidence
• Scientific method
  – Systematic, organized series of steps that
    ensures maximum objectivity and consistency
    in researching a problem
  Step 1 – Defining the Problem
• State as clearly as possible what you hope
  to investigate
  Step 2 – Review the Literature
• See what other people have already written
  about the issue
  Step 3 – Formulate Hypothesis
• Hypothesis – A speculative relationship
  between 2 or more factors
  – Variables – concepts whose value changes from
    case to case
     • Measurable and subject to change under different
  Step 3 – Formulate Hypothesis
• Independent variable – the variable that
  influences other variables
• Dependent variable – the variable that
  “depends” on the influence of the
  independent variable
  Step 3 -Formulate Hypothesis
• Causation vs. Correlation
  – Causation – the independent variable “causes” a
    change in the dependent variable

  – Correlation – a change in one variable
    coincides with a change in the other.
  Step 3 – Formulate Hypothesis
• Measurement – the process of determining
  the value of a variable in a specific case
  – Reliability – the extent to which a measure
    produces consistent results.
  – Validity – the degree to which a scale or
    measure truly reflects the phenomenon under
     • Operationalize data
 Step 4 – Selecting Research Design

• Detailed plan for obtaining data
• Survey research – a study which provides
  info on how people think and act
  – Interview
  – questionnaire
Step 4 – Selecting Research Design

• Samples
  – Representative – a selection from the larger
    population that is statistically typical
  – Random – everyone in the population has the
    same change of being selected
 Step 4 – Selecting Research Design
• Existing sources
• Observation – watching individual behavior
   – Competence vs. performance
   – What people say they do and what they actually do
• Experiments – specific design to produce expected
   – Experiment group – exposed to the independent
   – Control group – not exposed to the independent
Step 5 – Developing the Conclusion

• May not support hypothesis
• Serves as basis for further research

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