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The Birth of Sociology, the Sociological Imagination, Sociological Theory, and Research Methods What key historical events and processes can we identify as integral to the birth and development of sociology? oScientific Revolution—the rise of modern natural and physical sciences offered scholars a more advanced understanding of the physical world (16thcentury). Science could be applied to human affairs, enabling people to improve or even perfect it. Auguste Comte coined the term sociology—“Social Physics”oProgress (The Enlightenment)—French philosophers in the 18thcentury (Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, Rousseau) promised that humankind could attain lofty heights by applying scientific understanding to human affairs. Emile Durkheim argued that sociological understanding would create a more egalitarian, peaceful society, in which individuals would be free to realize their full potential. oThe Industrial Revolution—mid 18thcentury, began in England and spread to other countries. Traditional agricultural economies and the small-scale production of handicrafts in the home gave way to more efficient, profit-driven manufacturing based in factories.oUrbanization—the population shift toward cities. Late 19thcentury, sociologists feared the potential breakdown of stabilizing beliefs and values in modern urban society.What is the sociological imagination? With whom is this concept associated? (Be sure you can describe specifically at least one example of a social phenomenon to which we could apply the sociological imagination.) [see chapter 1 and Mills reading]oC. Wright MillsoThe sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within societyoThe personal troubles of the milleu and the public issues of the social structureAn unhappy couplenational divorce ratesJob lossunemployment trendsSomeone sent to prisonMass incarceration of people of color“Dear Mama”What is sociological theory and how are theories used in the sociological study of social phenomena and institutions?oA sociological theory is a set of interrelated ideas that allow for the systemizationof knowledge of the social world, the explanationof that world, and predictionsabout the future of the social world.oThree main perspectives
FunctionalistConflictSymbolic interactionistoWhat are the key characteristics (assumptions and questions) associated with the functionalist (structural functionalist) and social conflict perspectives? [see chapter 1]oFunctionalistWhat function does this phenomenon or institution serve in (the maintenance of) society?AssumptionsThe normal state of society is harmony, solidarity, equilibrium“Parts” of society are interrelated and interdependentThe social order is reproduced through consensusChange is evolutionary and change can be disruptive and destabilizingoConflictWho benefitsfrom this social arrangement?