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C C HAPTER HAPTER 1 1 T HE HE S S OCIOLOGICAL OCIOLOGICAL I I MAGINATION MAGINATION My name is Joan Ferrante, and I am the author of your textbook , Sociology: A Global Perspective . This textbook introduces sociology’s concepts and theories, but it does not do it in an encyclopedia-like way. My goal is to show that the concepts and theories covered in the textbook are more than a list of terms to be memorized and then forgotten. Rather, I present them as powerful analytical tools for thinking about personal, local, national, but especially global issues and events. At the end of this course, I expect you to be able to use these concepts and theories to ask and then answer meaningful questions about any issue or event that affects you, your community, our country, and our planet. At this point, I think it is best to show you a few photographs that will give you a preview of the kinds of questions sociologists ask. Sociologists do not just see a “black” father and his “white” son. Instead, they ask these kinds of questions: “How is it that, in the United States, a parent and his or her biological offspring can be classified into different races? How did that practice come to be? What are the consequences of dividing family members into racial categories based on hair texture and skin color?” Sociologists do not just see a mother pouring a glass of apple juice for her daughter. Instead, sociologists ask: “Why is apple juice made from concentrate that comes from at least 10 countries, including China, Turkey, Brazil, and the United States? Why is something as simple as making apple juice an international effort, rather than a local effort? Sociologists do not just see an Iraqi child watching an American soldier. Instead, sociologists see this child as one of 10 million Iraqis 14 years of age or younger. This image prompts sociologists to ask, “What does it mean for the United States to occupy a country where 40 percent of the population is 14 years of age or younger?” Sociologists do not just see a large plate of food in front of U.S. soldiers and local
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Iraqi leaders. Sociologists would not ask, “Why are they taking food from the dish with their hands?” Instead, they ask, “What does this eating arrangement say about the relationship of the individual to the group?” If you read the chapters of your textbook, listen to your professor, and discuss material with classmates and others, you will learn to ask and answer such questions. I hope this preview of the kinds of questions sociologists ask peaks your interest in the discipline. Chapter Outline I. What is Sociology? A. Definition: the study of human behavior as it is affected by social interaction taking place within the context of groups, organizations, societies, and the planet. Social interactions may involve two or more persons, be recalled as memories, be imagined as projections. B. Definition: a scientist who studies social interactions on a local, international,
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