SOC Notes Ch.1.docx - SOC 2010 CHAPTER 1 Understanding...

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SOC 2010 1/14/19 CHAPTER 1: Understanding Sociology What is Sociology? Sociology : the systematic or scientific study of human society and social behavior, from large-scale institutions and mass culture to small groups and individual interactions - Howard Becker (1986) defined sociology as the study of people “doing things together” - Peter Berger (1963) stated that sociology allows us to “see the general in the particular” patterns or trends Sociologists want to understand how society affects humans, as well as how humans affect society Sociology- A Social Science: Social sciences : the disciplines that use the scientific method to examine the social world, in contrast to the natural sciences, which examine the physical world - Other social sciences include: anthropology, psychology, economics, political science, and sometimes history, geography, and communication studies Sociology covers a large intellectual territory, making it exceptional among the social sciences in taking a comprehensive, integrative approach to understanding human life The Sociological Perspective: Sociology can help you develop a sociological perspective : a way of looking at the world through a sociological lens Sociologists have presented several approaches for developing a sociological perspective: - Beginner's Mind - Culture Shock - The Sociological Imagination Beginner’s Mind: Beginner’s mind : approaching the world without preconceptions in order to see things in a new way (Bernard McGrane 1994) - Differs from the expert’s mind- filled with facts, projections, assumptions, opinions, and explanations - Indeed, one should approach sociology with an open mind Culture Shock: 1
SOC 2010 1/14/19 Culture shock : a sense of disorientation that occurs when entering a radically new social or cultural environment - One way to gain a sociological perspective is to create in ourselves a sense of culture shock - A sociological perspective allows us to see the strange in the familiar (Macionis 2016) Sociological Imagination: Sociological imagination : a quality of the mind that allows us to understand the relationship between our individual circumstances and larger social forces - “Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.” (Mills 1959) - Mills differentiates between a trouble and an issue Trouble : a private matter: values cherished by an individual are felt by that individual to be threatened Issue : a public matter: some value cherished by publics is felt to be threatened - Example: Unemployment King (2017): Social context helps shapes one’s perspective and opportunities The place we are living in shapes who we meet, where we work, what we eat, and what interests we pursue King explains how his geographical context affected his career decision He asks, “How about you? How do you feel where you have come from has shaped your social life? Is place an important component of your sociological imagination?” Levels of Analysis: Microsociology : the level of analysis that studies face-to-face and small-group

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