Exam One Study Guide Chapter One: The Sociological Perspective The Difference Between Psychology and Sociology ➔ Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction ◆ It is a systematic study because sociologists apply both theoretical perspectives and research methods to examinations of social behavior ◆ Particularly interested in contemporary social organization, relations, and social change ◆ Specifically focuses on external social factors, such as the effects of groups, organizations, and social institutions on individuals and social life ➔ Psychology primarily focuses on internal factors relating to the individual in its explanations of human behavior and mental processes Why Study Sociology? ➔ Sociology helps you gain a better understanding of yourself and the social world ◆ It enables you to see how the groups to which you belong and the society in which you live largely shape behavior ➔ Examining the world order helps us understand that we are all affected by global interdependence — ◆ a relationship in which the lives of all people everywhere are intertwined closely and any one nation’s problems are part of a larger global problem ➔ You can make use of sociology on a more personal level ◆ Sociology enables us to move beyond established ways of thinking, thus allowing us to gain new insights into ourselves and to develop a greater awareness of the connection between our own “world” and that of other people
➔ Sociology promotes understanding and tolerance by enabling each of us to look beyond intuition, common sense, and our personal experiences ◆ Commonsense knowledge guides ordinary conduct in everyday life ◆ Many commonsense notions are actually myths, a popular but false notion ➔ By contrast, sociologists strive to use scientific standards, not popular myths or hearsay, in studying society and social interaction ◆ Whereas some sociologists argue that sociology must be completely value free—free from distorting subjective (personal or emotional) bias—others do not think that total objectivity is an attainable or desirable goal when studying human behavior Early Thinkers: A Concern with Social Order and Stability ➔ Auguste Comte, Harriet Martineau, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkeheim ➔ Auguste Comte ◆ Strongly influenced by the upheavals of the French Revolution ◆ Coined the term sociology ◆ Never conducted sociological research but is considered the “founder of sociology” ◆ Social statics - forces for social order and stability ◆ Social dynamics- forces for conflict and change ◆ Divided sociology into two areas: theories of stability and the practice of social interventionism ◆ Stressed that methods of the natural sciences should be applied to the study of society ◆ Comte’s philosophy became known as positivism - a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry ➔ Harriet Martineau ◆ Made Comte’s works more accessible ◆ Translated and condensed his works
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