Sociology General Notes

Sociology General Notes - Sociology is the scientific study...

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Sociology is the scientific study of societies and human social behavior. The basic premise of sociology is that human behavior is largely determined by the groups to which people belong and by the societies in which they live. I. The Sociological Perspective a. The sociological perspective emphasizes the powerful role that group membership and social forces play in shaping behavior. b. Sociologists focus on social interaction and social relationships rather than on individuals. c. The diversity of Social Reality i. A key insight of the sociological perspective is that beliefs, values, and behaviors are relative to particular groups or societies and can be understood only in the context of those affiliations. ii. Within any society, there is also considerable variation in beliefs, values and behaviors from one group to another. d. Cross-Cultural and Global Perspectives i. Peter Berger referred to the sociological perspective as an “emancipated vista” that can free people from blind submission to social forces that they do not understand. ii. C. Wright Mills coined the term “sociological imagination”- the ability to understand the relationship between what is happening in people’s personal lives and the social forces that surround them. iii. Sociology offers not only emancipation but also empowerment: it assists people in taking control of their own circumstances and lives. II. Sociology as a Science a. Science is a method of obtaining objective and systematic knowledge through observation. Science has certain characteristics that distinguish it from non scientific sources of knowledge: i. Science is EMPIRICAL, it is based on observation ii. SYSTEMATIC, it follows methodical and generally accepted procedures. Consequently scientific research is always open to critical review and assessment by other scientists in order to determine errors or biases. Part of this assessment, scientific investigations are often repeated, a process called replication. iii. CAUSATION, all events are caused, or determined, by something else. iv. PROVISIONAL, results of scientific investigations are considered tentative, and they are always open to question and possible repudiation.
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v. OBJECTIVE, scientists strive to prevent their personal values from affecting their investigations. III. The Social Sciences a. Social sciences are disciplines that use the scientific method to study human behavior, groups, and society. b. Anthropology- the social science most similar to sociology, is the study of cultures, customs, origins, evolution, and physical characteristics of human beings. c. Psychology- focuses on the mental processes of individuals. d. Economics- concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with people’s behavior as economic consumers. e.
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Sociology General Notes - Sociology is the scientific study...

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