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Unformatted text preview: Sociology 1101 Social life divided into 5 dimensions Stratification- wealth and distribution Morphology- social relationships Culture- ideas of the good, the true, and the beautiful Organization- collective action- govrn etc Morality- defining and responding to right and wrong – crime, law, etiquette What’s different about sociology? 1. Our subject matter (ie. What we study): social life a. (social life = anything we do with or with reference to other people) 2. Our explanations: we develop social explanations of social life. The Subject Matter-Sociology’s subject matter is vast. The five dimensions of social life allow us to reduce it to a smaller number of categories: (see above)-These 5 dimensions allow us to classify all the things that sociologists study, such as-race and ethnicity (culture)-politics and the state (organization)-occupations and work (stratification)-the family (morphology)-tattooing (culture)-crime and deviance (morality)-urbanization (morphology) -sport (culture)-social change (all 5 dimensions)-gender (stratification) Social Explanations-an explanation is like a cause, but a cause implies physical contact -Many social processes do not work through contact (e.g., social inequality increases violent crime). Hence, the term “explanation” is often more appropriate than the term “cause”-A social explanation looks to the social environment, not to genes (biology) or to personality (psychology). E.g., crime -Social explanations can be small-scale (micro) or large-scale (macro)-Micro explanations include peers and parents-Micro explanations invoke larger structural changes, such as greater societal inequality. C. Wright Mills notes that people are often unaware of macro forces- unemployment cycles, rising divorces rates etc. – being able to see your own life in a larger context-Finding social explanations involves looking behind the façade of things- using one’s “sociological eye” An example of sociology-sociologists do research on aspects of social life and then seek to explain them-An example: My work on the morality of killing. My book MS: “Is Killing Wrong?”-The book looks not at how we talk or think about homicide but what we actually do to the killers- do we punish them? If so, how severely? Cooney Subject Matter-read hundreds of books and articles that deal with how killers are handled today and in the past, in modern and pre-modern societies alike-found enormous variation in the handling of homicide- some killers are punished severely, others lightly or not at all Explanation-The critical ? is: what explains the response to homicide?-The factors that lawyers rely on do not explain it- factors such as, did the killer act intentionally? But some intentional killings are treated very leniently-Ex. Woman in Houston shoots adult son in back of head at point blank range- gets just 5 years -To explain the response to killing I draw on a sociological theory known as pure sociology (PS)....
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course SOCI 1101 taught by Professor Beck during the Fall '08 term at UGA.
- Fall '08