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					            What is Sociology?
• Sociology is the ―systematic and scientific study
  of human behavior, social groups, and society‖
• Basic insights
  – Who we are is affected by the groups we belong to
  – Interaction takes place in patterned ways
Two questions
• Why do people behave the way they do?
• Why are their social situations the way they are?
  (Coser et al. 1991:4)
      Sociology as a science
• ―systematic methods to study the social
  and natural worlds and the knowledge
  obtained by those methods‖ (Henslin 2007b:3)
• Built on the logic of correlation (cause and
  effect) explanations
• Social Sciences: Anthropology;
  Economics; Political Science; Psychology
     Sociological Perspective
• Seeing the general in the particular
• Seeing the strange in the familiar
• A collective view beyond the individual
• Peter Berger (1963:23)
   – ―the first wisdom of sociology is this—
     things are not what they seem…Social
     reality turns out to have many layers of
     Sociological Imagination:
        (Mills 1959 [2000])
• Sociological Imagination: ―...the vivid
  awareness of the relationship between
  experience and the wider society.‖
• The sociological imagination helps us to
  grasp the relationship between history
  and biography
  – links between history and biography
  – links between public issues and personal
         Origins of Sociology
•   The Enlightenment
•   A New Industrial Economy
•   The Growth of Cities
•   Political Change
•   A New Awareness of Society
      European Beginnings
• Two goals of early European social
  philosophers and sociologists
  – understand and explain how and why
    societies endured—to understand the
    aspect of order and stability
  – what caused societies to change and
    what shaped the nature of that change
              Early Sociologists
• Auguste Comte             • Emile Durkheim
  – Positivism; Father of     – Sociology as a
    Sociology                   discipline
• Herbert Spencer             – Study Social Facts
  – Social Darwinism          – Suicide: group
• Karl Marx
  – Bourgeoisie &           • Georg Simmel
    proletariat               – Importance of
  – Society driven by           interaction and role of
    economic forces             social types
• Max Weber                 • Harriet Martineau
  – Verstehen                 – Work was ignored but
                                published before
  – Importance of values        Weber and Durkheim
                              – Translated Comte
Seeing the General in the Particular
 10                                  20.2                                   8
  6   10.9                                  12.4
               6.2                                                          2
  2                                                   4.9
                     1.9                                                    0
       African Americans                    Whites
                           By Race and Sex PER 100,000 PERSONS
       Males                  Both Sexes             Females
                                                      U.S. Bureau of the Census
Sociology in North America
Jane Addams
  (1860-1935) and
  Social Reform

W.E.B. Du Bois
 (1868-1963) and
 Race Relations
Sociology in North America
• 1940s - Talcott
  Parsons and social
  theory emphasis

• 1950s – C. Wright
  Mills return to social
    The Sociological Imagination
•   took issue with American sociological practice
    in the fifties
•   ‗nowadays men often feel that their private lives
    are a series of traps‘
•   ‗their visions and their powers are limited to the
    close-up scenes of job, family [and]
•   "neither the life of an individual nor the history
    of a society can be understood without
    understanding both, we need to develop a way
    of understanding the interaction between
    individual lives and society.‖
          Sociological Theory
• Macro-sociology –       • Micro-sociology –
  study of society as a     study of individuals
  whole                     within society
• society shapes
• positivism
• perspectives
  – consensus
  – conflict (Marxism)
Major Theoretical Perspectives:
• How is social order maintained?
• Subsystems/institutions have functions;
  mutually interdependent
• Concern for social order, stability, and
• What function does this play?
• Manifest and Latent functions
• Dysfunctions
• Social change occurs through evolution
 Major Theoretical Perspective:
• How is society organized and who benefits
  from this?
• Social life is characterized by conflict over
  power and resources
• Social change comes from conflict
• Marxism focuses on how people organize
  themselves to satisfy their material needs
          Sociological Theory
• Macro-sociology –       • Micro-sociology –
  study of society as a     study of individuals
  whole                     within society
• society shapes          • individuals create
  individuals               society
• positivism              • social construction of
• perspectives              reality
  – consensus             • perspective
    (Functionalism)          – Symbolic
  – conflict (Marxism)         Interactionism
 Major Theoretical Perspective
   Symbolic Interactionism
• How, and in what way, do people interpret
  and negotiate their surroundings?
• Key assumptions:
  – People act toward things based on meanings
  – People give meanings to things based on
    interactions with others
  – Meanings change as relationships change
  Schools of Symbolic Interactionism
 Chicago School                 Iowa School
• individual is subjective &    • generalizable & predictable
  unpredictable                 • adherence to roles; create
• constructing &                  meaning but not the roles
  reconstructing our social       themselves
  roles                         • stable, predictable, &
                                  controllable networks of
• changing & negotiating          statuses and roles
  statuses & roles              • empirical methods
• participant observation &     • deductive theorizing with
  ethnographic methods            prediction & controls of
• explanatory & investigative     social phenomena
 Major Theoretical Perspectives
Theory                    View of Society

Functionalism             Composed of interrelated parts that
                          work together to maintain stability.

Conflict                  Society is characterized by social
                          inequality; social life is a struggle for
                          scarce resources.

Symbolic Interactionism   Behavior is learned in interaction with
                          other people.

•Which one is best?
•Why did SI begin in US?
  Max Weber and social action
• subjective meaning that humans attach to
  their actions
• believed more and more of our behavior
  was being guided by zweckrational
• modern society shift in motivation
• based on structural and historical forces.
        Ways of knowing –
         Kinds of “Truth”
• Belief or faith
  – Knowing without
    empirical evidence
• Expert testimony
• Simple agreement
• Science
  – Logical system based
    on direct, systematic
     Major Types of Research
• Quantitative research focuses on data
  that can be measured numerically
  (comparing rates of suicide, for example).

• Qualitative research focuses on
  interpretive description rather than
  statistics to analyze underlying meanings
  and patterns of social relationships.
       Sociological Research
• Research Model: 4 broad steps
  – formulating a research question
  – collecting data
  – analyzing the data
  – share results with peers
Deductive and Inductive Logical Thought
• Types of variables
  – Independent: the variable that causes the change
  – Dependent: the variable that changes (it’s value
    depends upon the independent variable)
• Correlation
  – A relationship by which two or more variables
    change together
• Cause and effect
  – A relationship in which change in one variable
    causes change in another
• Spurious correlation
  – An apparent, though false, relationship between two
    or more variables caused by some other variable
    Correlation Does Not Mean Causation
• Conditions for cause and effect to be
    – Correlation
    – Time
    – Correlation is not spurious
•   Storks and babies
•   Ice cream consumption and crime
•   Music lessons and high SAT scores
•   Web usage and tolerance (2000 GSS)
          Who we study
– Population
   • The entire group of people who are the
     focus of the research
– Sample
   • The part of the population that
     represents the whole
– Random Sample
   • Drawing a sample from a population so
     that every element of the population has
     an equal chance of being selected
        Research Methods:
         Survey Research
• Describes a population without
  interviewing each individual.
• Able to gather data on large numbers of
  people at a lower cost
• Standardized questions force
  respondents into categories.
• Relies on self-reported information, and
  some people may not be truthful.
     Research Methods:
   Analysis of Existing Data
• Also known as secondary analysis
• Less cost in collection of data
• You have to rely on validity and
  ethics of someone else
• Sometimes data does not ―fit‖ well
  with research question
• Examples: NCVS, UCR/NIBRS,
  Census, GSS & NORC
      Research Methods:
• Study the impact of certain variables on
  subjects‘ attitudes or behavior.
• Designed to create ―real-life‖ situations.
• Used to demonstrate a cause-and-effect
  relationship between variables.
• Some behavior is not testable in this way
• Artificial environment
     Research Methods:
Field Research/Ethnographic
• Study of social life in its natural setting.
• Observing and interviewing people where
  they live, work, and play.
• Generates observations that are best
  described verbally rather than
• Subject to interpretation
• Danger of going ―native‖
Ethical Guidelines for Research
 • Must strive to be technically competent &
 • Must disclose findings in full without omitting
   significant data & be willing to share their
 • Must protect the safety, rights and privacy of
   – Brajuha research project
 • Must obtain informed consent-- subjects are
   aware of risks and responsibilities and agree
   – Humphrey Tearoom Trade
 • Must disclose all sources of funding & avoid
   conflicts of interest
 • Must demonstrate cultural and gender
 Limitations of Scientific Sociology

• Human behavior is too complex to predict
  precisely any individual’s actions
• The mere presence of the researcher may
  affect the behavior being studied
   – Hawthorne Effect
• Social patterns change
• Sociologists are part of the world they study
  making value-free research difficult