# 1 The Sociological Perspective

# 1 The Sociological Perspective - Chapter 1 The...

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Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective Sciences Nature science (biology, geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc) Social science (anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, etc) Sociology : The scientific study of society and human behavior. The Sociological Perspective The sociological perspective (view of the world) stresses the social context (setting) in which people live. Central questions of Sociology - How do groups influence people? - How are people influenced by their society , a group of people who share a culture and territory? To find out what people do what they do sociologists look at social location , the corners in life that people occupy because of where they are located in a society. Sociologists look at how jobs, income, education, gender, sex, race-ethnicity affects people’s ideas and behavior. C. Wright Mills believes that the sociological perspective enables us to grasp the connection between history (specific characteristics of a society) and biography (specific experiences of individuals in a society). In short, people don’t do what they do because of inherited internal mechanisms such as instincts. Rather, external influences (experiences) become part of our thinking and motivation. The society we grow up and our particular location in that society lie at the center of what we do and what we think. Origins of Sociology
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Sociology emerged in Western Europe during the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800s. Industrialization affected all aspects of human existence – where people lived, how they viewed life, the nature of their work etc… Imperialism-conquering other nations exposed people to differing cultures The disintegration of tradition and advancement of the scientific method , (using objective systematic observations to test theories), demanded a new way to question social life. The result was the birth of sociology. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) - Coined the term “Sociology”. - Proposed positivism , a process of applying the scientific method to the social world - Comte stressed that sociology would not only discover new social principles but would also apply them to social reform. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) - Viewed societies as evolutionary - “Survival of the Fittest” o Societies evolve from lower (“barbarian”) to higher (“civilized”) o The most capable and intelligent (fittest) survived, while the less capable die out. Thus, overtime societies improve. o By helping the lower class we are interfering with this natural process and preventing society to flourish - His views on the evolution of societies became known as Social Darwinism Karl Marx (1818-1883) - Believed that class conflict was the key to human history - Conflict Theory
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o In each society, a small group (upper class) controls the means of production and exploits those who are not in control (mass of workers). o
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# 1 The Sociological Perspective - Chapter 1 The...

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