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SpencerJune21Outline - SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of...

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SOCIOLOGY 313 Development of Sociological Theory Herbert Spencer Key Points: o Discuss Spencer’s theory of societal evolution, taking care to highlight his organismic and functionalist thinking. o Critically compare Spencer’s sociology to Comte’s. Brief biography of Herbert Spencer o Born in Derby, England, in 1820 o Home-schooled, with strong emphasis in math and natural sciences o Never received a “well-rounded” education o Worked as a railroad engineer, writing in spare time o Became an independent scholar after receiving a sizable inheritance o Recluse after a mental breakdown o No academic position or degree, yet internationally influential during his lifetime o Died in 1903 Methodological problems confronting sociology o “From the intrinsic natures of its facts, from our natures as observers of its facts, and from the peculiar relation in which we stand toward the facts to be observed, there arise impediments in the way of Sociology greater than those of any other science.” o Objective difficulties: Examples?? o Subjective (intellectual and emotional) difficulties: ?? Methodological solution: triangulation of data, collected at different times by different investigators On the proper sphere of Government
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o Argued for an extreme restriction of the scope of government o The whole field of human activity (except for policing) should be left to private enterprise o no poor laws, no national education, no established church, no restrictions on commerce, no factory legislation o
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