Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Sociology Part Part II: Agency and Structure
Lecture 8: Microsociology and Social Action Wednesday, February 24 Structure vs. Agency
- Structure: the processes and features of society (e.g., the economy, race relations) to which individuals are exposed, and which may affect individuals in various ways - Agency: the intentional, volitional, and independent actions of individuals individuals Agency Agency and Structure
• • • • • Microsociology – the study of social action Social exchange – the trading of resources, services, favors, sentiments, and symbols, between people (economic sociology, network analysis) (economic Social control and deviance – conformity to or breaching of norms and laws (criminology, (criminology, sociology of law) Collective behavior I: Crowds and disasters – participation in group/crowd behavior, behavior, disaster evacuation (political sociology, sociology of disasters) (political Collective behavior II: Religion and social movements – organized, pre-planned preforms of collective behavior (sociology of religion, political sociology, social (sociology movements research) Socialization – the learning of social roles, behaviors, identities (social (social psychology, gender studies, criminology) Impression management – the control of one’s own behavior to make certain impressions (symbolic interactionism, social psychology) (symbolic Structure and emotion – the influence of social conditions on emotion (sociology (sociology of emotion, social psychology) • • • Criticisms Criticisms of Early Macrosociology
- Was overly abstract and too theoretical - Relied on methodological holism or collectivism (where societies are the primary objects of study)
• Gave rise to a misleading organismic analogy (i.e., society as a living living organism) • Yielded oversimplified models of social phenomena which ignored heterogeneity • Ignored the role of individuals Microsociology Microsociology
- Zooms in to observe individuals, dyads, triads, and how social action works at these levels - Usually adopts methodological individualism – individuals and methodological other micro-structures (dyads and triads) should be the main microobjects objects of study - Considers both how individuals affect structure (agency) and how structure affects individual behavior (structure) Social Social Action
- Social action – any action that a given individual undertakes with with other people in mind - Does not include: not include:
• • • • Behavior oriented toward objects Solitary behavior NonNon-social physical contact Simple imitation Types Types of Social Action
- Instrumentally rational – action taken with explicit consideration of means and ends (goal-oriented) (goal- Value-rational – action taken to adhere to a given value system Value- Affectual – action stemming from feelings and emotions - Traditional – action occurring out of habit, routine, tradition Dyads Dyads vs. Triads Dyads Stability Low Triads Higher Intimacy High Lower Purely Purely Triadic Phenomena
A B C - Indirect connectedness – A reaches B not only directly, but also indirectly, through C indirectly, - “Divide and conquer” – A can manipulate the relationship between B and C to achieve some goal - Coalition formation – A and B can gang up/conspire against C - Gatekeeping – A can “block” B from C - Brokerage – A can charge B for relaying things from C ...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 11/07/2010 for the course SOC 1101 taught by Professor Mclaughlin during the Spring '07 term at Cornell.
- Spring '07