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Unformatted text preview: Thinking Sociologically, thinking theoretically 22:28 What is theory? Written by people in particular social contexts Explanations about how and why events in the universe occur Assumes underlying order and patterns, fundamental properties and processes; the goal is to discover them, amongst the particulars of the specific case Focus on the generic, the fundamental, the timeless, and the universal; generalizations separated from the particulars, an abstraction separated from a concrete case Inductive vs. deductive reasoning Inductive: build theory from cases; no prior thoughts or ideas Deductive: using theory to explain cases Metaphysical vs. empirical environments; from theories to facts (Alexander reading p. 7) A continuum Formally stated and testable One-line summaries of various sociological theories The modern world is an iron cage of rational systems from which there is no escape. (Weber) Capitalism tends to sow the seeds of its own destruction. (Marx) The modern world has less moral cohesion than earlier societies had. (Durkheim) The city spawns a particular type of personality. In their social lives, people tend to put on a variety of theatrical performances. (Goffman) The social world is defined by principles of reciprocity in give-and-take relationships. People always retain the capacity to change the social worlds that constrain them. Society is an integrated system of social structures and functions. What is sociology? Standard answer: Sociology is the study of society or social life. But what does it mean to study society and social life? The turf view: sociology has its own turf, distinct area of social life alongside politics, the economy, language, etc. The angle of vision view: sociology has a distinctive perspective on social life Sociology as a way of thinking Connecting biography and history, private troubles and public issues, personal experience and large-scale social processes and structures Specifying the social forces in which individuals are caught upyet without treating individuals as mere puppets of such forces; connecting structural constraint and human agency. Integrating the views from inside and outside, participant and observer, the subjective and objective points of view Focusing on interconnections and interdependencies, rather than single actions or isolated individuals Identifying patterns and tendencies rather than unique situations or particular events Making comparisons between different times, places, institutions, and groups....
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- Summer '11