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Sociology 370 - Vast Changes 1400-1800

Sociology 370 - Vast Changes 1400-1800 - Why was...

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Why was Tocqueville worried about “democracy?” Who could possibly be against individualism, equality, progress, rationality?
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Every era has its promises, its moral stories about “who we are and why what we do is good and better than what came before” The promises are never fully met and often have unintended consequences. The promises and stories help organize society, even though they are part fiction. Sociology’s job: to ask BOTH: “What moral, emotionally powerful stories are people in a given society telling each other (in “America,” in Tocqueville’s case)?” AND “How do they match up with real-life conditions ? For example, what happens when people share faith in the story of “individualism” in conditions of inequality?” What happens to poor people, for example, when “democracy breaks the chain (that had, in earlier times, connected people to one another in a chain of obligations and expectations) and frees each link?” To ask these two questions at once, you need to understand the promises against a backdrop of “social history”: asking what average people’s everyday life conditions were like at the time.
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A big, broad-brushed sketch of vast changes--1500’s-1800’s
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Sociology 370 - Vast Changes 1400-1800 - Why was...

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