What is sociology - What is sociology Sociology the scientific study of human social relationships groups and societies Aims to understand human

What is sociology - What is sociology Sociology the...

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What is sociology? Sociology: the scientific study of human social relationships, groups, and societies.Aims to understand human behavior, social relations, and social institutions on a larger scaleScientific approachRigorous research methodsPrinciple of social embeddedness: the idea that economic, political, and other forms of human behavior are fundamentally shaped by social relationsWhat is the sociological imagination?The ability to grasp the relationship between individual lives and the larger social forces that shape themRelationship between private troubles and public issuesWhere biography and history intersectA sociological perspective: Highlights many ways people influence and are influenced by their social worlds.Enables us to see the world through a variety of lenses. Helps us to gain a better picture of the issues confronting us locally and globally.Structural Functionalism◦ Durkheim – mechanical solidarity; organic solidarity; anomieÉmile Durkheim (1858-1917)French founding sociologistPioneered early research on relationship between suicide rates & social solidarityEstablished early subject matter of sociology, laid out rules for conducting research, developed important theory of social changeSocial Facts: qualities of groups that are external to individual members yet constrain their thinking and behaviorSocial solidarity: the social bonds that unite members of a social groupTraditional communities were held together by norms: shared, accepted standards of behavior and beliefModern industrial communities were threatened by anomie: a state of disruption of the norms that give order and meaning to peoples lives.Mechanical solidarity: in traditional society bonds are based on similarity – shared language, customs and beliefs, and perform similar work tasks.Hallmark of mechanical solidarity is a collective conscience: common beliefs and values that bind a society together.Organic solidarity: characterizes modern society where bonds are formed on mutual dependence on one another for safety, education, and the provision of food and other goods essential to survivalDurkheim: mechanical solidarity stronger than organic.
Observed weakened normsand increased anomie◦ Robert Merton – manifest & latent functionsManifest function: obvious and intended functions of a given phenomenon or institutionLatent function: functions that are not recognized or expectedExample: SchoolManifest: transmission of knowledge, socialization, transmission of cultural norms & valuesLatent: childcare/supervision, lowers # of people in the workforce, “hidden curriculum” Introduced idea of dysfunction to structural functionalismDysfunctions lead to deviance, instability & changeHerbert J. Gans – Uses of Poverty(positive functions of poverty)Social phenomenon can be analyzed in terms of:causes which initiate & perpetuate itconsequences or functions

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