Sociology Notes

Sociology Notes - January 23 SBI pg 1-9 What is Sociology...

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January 23 SBI pg. 1-9 What is Sociology? Sociology - the scientific study of social behavior and human groups Sociologists rely on sociological imagination – an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society o Ability to view one’s own society as an outsider would Sociology and Common Sense o Commonsense knowledge while sometimes accurate, is not always reliable, because it rests on commonly held beliefs rather than on systematic analysis of facts Sociological theory – a set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior o Example – Durkheim’s work on suicide and comparison of the rates between countries SBI pg. 9 - 24 The Development of Sociology o Auguste Comte French Coined the term sociology to apply to the science of human behavior Hoped that the systematic study of social behavior would lead to more rationality during the Revolution Hoped to improve society o Harriet Martineau Translated Comte’s works Wrote Society in America Gave special attention to social class distinctions and believed that sociologists should act on their studies not just report them o Herbert Spencer Did not feel compelled to correct or improve society Applied Darwinian idea to explain how species change Unlike Comte, Spencer believed it not necessary to be critical of society or work for change o Emile Durkheim Important work on suicide Insisted that behavior must be understood within a larger social context, not just in individualistic terms Studied role of religion in maintaining group solidarity Anomie – the loss of direction felt in society when social control of individual behavior has become ineffective
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Advocated for social change through creation of new social groups o Max Weber Verstehen – the German word for “understanding” or “insight” Must learn the subjective meanings people attach to their actions Came up with the ideal type – a model for evaluating specific cases, ideal does not mean positive o Karl Marx Believed that society was fundamentally divided between two classes that clashed in pursuit of their own interests Critical of existing institutions Argued that the working class should overthrow the existing class system Modern Developments o Charles Horton Cooley Specialized in groups of relatively small size (ie gangs, families) o Jane Addams Her goal was assisting the underprivileged and creating a more egalitarian society Co-founded the Hull House o Robert Merton Produced a theory about deviant behavior Noted different ways in which people achieve success in life Some may deviate from the norm o Example – innovators are people who pursue material wealth but use illegal means to do so o Poor people who see no hope of advancing themselves thru the normal way resort to crime Macrosociology – concentrates on large scale phenomena or entire civilizations
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Sociology Notes - January 23 SBI pg 1-9 What is Sociology...

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