Class 2 Wednesday, August 29, 2007
What is Sociology? Major Themes of the Discipline
Definition – Systematic study of exp of human beings in society and institutions as individs and in groups
-Society is humanly constructed; humans are inherently interdependent (dependent on others); change is a
constant. We make the world with passion, fear, desire, will. We have some constraints (our body). We
have limitations; biological forces to propel us to act certain ways (sex). These forces have conseq on
how humans shape society
-Does the fact that women bear children cause the disadvantageous place in the workplace? It is
ALLOWED a disadvantage. WE construct society.
-We are dependent on others-
neighbor, family, boss
-Maybe no progress, but we have change. Can be beneficial, damaging, neutral, small, dramatic.
Constantly in motion.
Levels of Analysis:
Micro vs. Macro. Micro = you, individuals in a group. Macro = groups (family), institution (school,
church, religion, culture, media, science, econ, pol system). System/structure of society
Five Themes in Field
Order, Power, Change, Difference, Equality
Class 5 Friday, September 07, 2007
Office hours – Daniel – Monday 9-10, 488 Barrows (Individ); 10-11 420 Barrows (group)
Class 6 Monday, September 10, 2007
Race is learned, relational, imposed; they’re properties of society that you live in. Race affects personal identities, but race
also affects our life chances in complex ways. Paper – look at the effects of society on how it shapes individs
Class 7 Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Project of Sociology
Contributions of Sociological Knowledge
C. Wright Mills,
The Sociological Imagination
locates a person, a group, an institution, a people and their
experience in social space and historical time.
Achieve a better understanding of the reasons for human action, its meanings, implications, and the possibilities
for change or alternatives.
Human beliefs often conflict with empirical reality. Beliefs may be partially accurate or distort realities. Beliefs
may be self-interested, strategic, and protective, or reflect limited or inadequate knowledge.
Sociology, like other modes of rational inquiry into human experience, seeks to gather complete and accurate