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Presentation+3+Presentation+on+Berger - Textual Sociology...

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Unformatted text preview: Textual Sociology: Concepts Textual Sociology: Concepts and Tools for Analysis Peter Berger, An Invitation to Sociology An Address in Social Structure An Address in Social Structure • Individuals and Groups are located in social space • Social space consists of overlapping, concentric systems of social control • Social space consists of overlapping systems of social stratification – hierarchies of power, privilege, possession, and prestige Social Control Social Control • Individuals are exposed to others who seek to regulate their action – toward conformity or compliance • The integration and coordination of individuals is essential to social order • Individuals conform or comply to societal expectations out of self interest, necessity, or coercion. Community, informal groups Family, friends, intimates Workplace, occupational group, professional assn Culture, religion, media, education Social system: economy, legal system, political order Achieving Compliance or Achieving Compliance or Conformity • Intimate relationships starting with the family guide or • • • • coerce individual action Friends and peer groups are agents of social control and regulation Institutions assert norms and standards and use numerous methods to enforce them – rewards and punishments Cultural institutions define societal or group standards that are offered or imposed on individuals. Systems of authority rooted in law or frank power can compel compliance through coercion or persuasion – threat of violence or use and demonstration of violence. Social Stratification Social Stratification • • • Class Rooted in economic order Disparate access to resources and power over them • Differences in life chances • Differences in market power • Differences in quality of life, standards of living, outlook, aspirations. Stratification: Class Stratification: Class • Influences public identity and objective prospects in life • Shapes the inner life of individuals and groups: cultural exposure; resources; education; consumption activities that cultivate the self and taste. • Personal “choices” and intimate behaviors Race Race • A powerful and strategic belief system about physical, • • cultural, or other differences among GROUPS, with observable consequences for the life chances, cultures, and attainments of members of the groups. Race is never benign or neutral, it is ALWAYS about power and establishing access to social position and social benefits. In the US race is largely about “color.” In Rwanda race was about “tribal identity.” In Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Nazi Germany, race was about “religious belief and affiliation. “The Definition of a Situation” • • • • • W.I. and Dorothy Swaine Thomas, 1928 Founding sociologists, University of Chicago “If a situation is BELIEVED to be real, it IS real in its consequences.” Thus, whether a belief is empirically true and supportable or not, if people believe it is true, and act as if it were, then social analysts must recognize motivational power of a “mistake,” “fiction,” delusion,” “deception,” or “myth.” Perhaps the “facts” don’t matter if we are interested in understanding how and why the social world produces the results we find! Facts may be facts, but beliefs may be more influential, consequential, and determinative!” • Cf. Ron Susskind, “Without a Doubt,” NY Times, 10/17/04 ...
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