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Unformatted text preview: C C HAPTER HAPTER 2 2 T HEORETICAL HEORETICAL P P ERSPECTIVES ERSPECTIVES AND AND M ETHODS ETHODS OF OF S S OCIAL OCIAL R R ESEARCH ESEARCH Chapter 2 is the theory and methods chapter. It is probably the most challenging chapter in the textbook. It may also be the most important. It introduces you to the three major theoretical perspectives sociologists use to think about any issue or event. It also introduces you to research techniques sociologists use to observe the things going on around them and in the world. You will notice that Chapter 2 focuses on Mexico—more specifically, on the border fences that were constructed by the United States and that are used to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States from Mexico. Eighty miles of fence are already in place, and another 700 miles are planned. Look at the map. The blue lines show where the fences have already been built, and the red lines show the sites of proposed fences. I chose the border fences because they are such an emotional issue for people on both sides of the border. The three major theoretical perspectives help us to keep emotions in check by offering key questions that guide our thinking—questions like . . . • Who benefits from the construction of the fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, and at whose expense? • What are some of the ways the fence has affected and shaped interactions between Mexicans and Americans? In Chapter 2, we also look at the research methods sociologists use to help them answer these questions, such as • riding with border patrol agents during ten-hour shifts under the scorching sun. • reading letters undocumented workers send home to family members. • walking the paths the undocumented take into the United States and observing the kinds of litter they leave behind. • interviewing people in Mexican communities to learn the number of family members who have made successful trips into the United States as undocumented workers. Chapter Outline Theoretical Perspectives and Methods of Social Research: With Emphasis on Mexico I. Why Focus on Mexico? A. The United States and Mexico share a 2,000-mile border. Millions of people cross each week to work, shop, socialize, and vacation. B. The border includes fences and other barriers to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States from Mexico. 1. The fences are known in Mexico as the “Walls of Shame.” 2. The fences are known in the United States by such names as “Operation Gatekeeper” in California (launched 1994), “Operation Hold-the-Line” in Texas (launched 1993), and “Operation Safeguard” in Arizona (launched 1994). 3. In 2006, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act, authorizing the construction of at least 700 additional miles of strategically placed fences....
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- Spring '09
- Sociology, Core concept