January 24 2008

January 24 2008 - Sociology 101 January 24, 2007 Chapter 1:...

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Sociology 101 January 24, 2007 Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective Sociology: The scientific study of human social behavior. This implies that: o Sociology is based upon the gathering of empirical evidence o Sociology is oriented toward the study of (sometimes controversial) social issues o Sociology is increasingly global in its scope This class will focus particularly on American society and US social issues, however areas such as population growth and globalization necessarily operate on a more global scale Assumptions of Sociology Social life has certain basic regularities Social factors are important in explaining these regularities o The way we act and think is not completely individual and psychological o The manner in which we behave is shaped by factors such as group membership like religion or profession, social categories, and how we are taught to behave Society and the Individual The relationship between society and the individual is back and forth: we help to create the society in which we live, but we are also influenced by it. o For example, the educational system is structured by people, but individual people are influenced by the structure of the educational system Sociological Imagination The American Sociologist C. Wright Mills coined this term, and it refers to a person’s ability to understand the relationship between larger social factors and people’s personal lives o We are asked to consider the fact that very individual problems, or “personal troubles” could also be influenced by social issues The book discusses the issue of divorce While this is considered a personal choice, it may be influenced by the women’s liberation movement or changes in people’s overall economic well being The Sociological Perspective Sociology operates on a number of basic foundations o Sociology is empirical, methodical, and employs the scientific method o Sociology attempts to debunk conventional explanations, and attempts to look beyond commonly accepted explanations for behavior o Sociology directs attention to social diversity This ties into the attempt to debunk conventional wisdom, as marginalized groups often offer alternatives to “common knowledge” assumptions
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o Sociology displays strong global orientation, paying attention to the cultural and economic differences between various societies Sociology as a Science Sociology uses as specific set of research procedures o It utilizes empirical evidence, or observable phenomena to draw its conclusions o It attempts to uncover results that can be generalized to societies as a
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January 24 2008 - Sociology 101 January 24, 2007 Chapter 1:...

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