SYG - Sociology Now The Essentials Excerpts from the...

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Sociology Now: The Essentials Excerpts from the Preface Why Study Sociology? A Message to Students So, what did people say when you told them you were taking sociology? They probably looked at you blankly, “Like, what is sociology?” They might say, “And what can you do with it?” Sociology is often misunderstood. Some think it’s nothing more than what my roommate told me when I said I was going to go to graduate school in sociology. (He was pre-med.) “Sociology makes a science out of common sense,” he said dismissively. It turns out he was wrong: What we think of as common sense turns out to be wrong a lot of the time. The good news is that sociologists are often the ones who point out that what “everybody knows” isn’t necessarily true. In a culture saturated by self-help books, pop psychology, and TV talk shows promising instant and complete physical makeovers and utter psychological transformation, sociology says “wait a minute, not so fast.” Our culture tells us that all social problems are really individual problems. Poor people are poor because they don’t work hard enough, and racial discrimination is simply the result of prejudiced individuals. And the “solutions” offered by TV talk shows and self-help books also center around individual changes. If you work hard, you can make it. It you want to change, you can change. Social problems, they counsel, are really a set of individual problems all added together. Racism, sexism, or homophobia is really the result of unenlightened people holding bad attitudes. If they changed their attitudes, those enormous problems would dissolve like sugar in your coffee. Sociology has a different take. Sociologists see society as a dynamic interaction between individuals and institutions, like education, economy, and government. Changing yourself might be necessary for you to live a happier life, but it has little
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2011 for the course SYG 2000 taught by Professor Joos during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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SYG - Sociology Now The Essentials Excerpts from the...

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