lec012710 - Sociology 101 (7-12) Introduction to Sociology...

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Introduction to Sociology Professor: Deborah Carr ( [email protected] ) Wednesday January 27, 2010: Sociological Theory I. Origins of Sociological Thought (cont’d). D. Max Weber 1. Late 19 th c/early 20 th c. Germany. 2. Argues that technological and scientific development will give rise to a “rationale society” where social and economic life is based on efficiency and technical knowledge. a. Contemporary application: George Ritzer’s McDonaldization of Society. Visitors to McDonald’s anywhere in the world know what kind of food and service to expect. Workers could be transported from one store to another, and could easily resume their tasks. This is an efficient model of operation. 3. Weber argued that division of labor was a core component of efficiency. Division of labor is the process where by each worker specializes in one specific task. They develop special skills and thus maximize company output and efficiency. i. By contrast, Marx holds that division of labor is alienating because individual workers never see the end product of their labor, and workers are reduced to their relatively specifc inputs into the production process. II. Explaining Social Behavior. Using Sociological Theory. B. Sociological Theories. 1. Functionalism: a. Core assumptions. Adherents to this perspective view society as greater than the sum of its parts, and interpret each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole. This perspective views society as an organism, such as the human body. It focuses on how a given phenomenon or social institution contributes to society as a whole, and views each social phenomenon as necessary for a society to maintain itself. (If something exists, it must be necessary). The emphasis is on social institutions – including family, economy, education, religion, media, polity/state, etc. An institution is a set of groups and organizations with norms and values that center around the most basic needs of a society. Each carries out crucial tasks for our society. Institutions help to maintain the status quo, such as family or education. b. Historical roots. This theory developed and prevailed in the 1950s, and its main proponents at that time were Talcott Parsons and Robert K. Merton. The conservative underpinnings of the theoretical perspective are consistent with the conservative political and social climate of the 1950s. c. What are functions?
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This note was uploaded on 11/20/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 920:101 taught by Professor Carr during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

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lec012710 - Sociology 101 (7-12) Introduction to Sociology...

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