Sociology - Sociology TUESDAY JANUARY 22ND 2008 The...

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Sociology TUESDAY, JANUARY 22 ND , 2008 The youngest social science. 1800s split. Similar to how natural sciences split from philosophy in the 1600s. the idea of applying science to the human condition is very new. Originated in Europe, particularly in France. 40s-30s Harvard, Columbia, UChicago first few to institutionalize these as academics. Talcott Parsons, Harvard, late 1930s book structure of social action , in which he laid out ideas of social theorists Durkheim, . . except Marx. Interpreting significance in specifically American way. Statistical trend, work brought out by Durkheim, founder of French sociology. Philosophical department resisted the forming of sociology because it didn’t think science could be applied to the human condition In order to establish itself as a legitimate discipline, had to prove that it had independent level of phenomena worthy of professional study, independent study matter. The first move that was made was to distinguish sociological from biological and psychology (which they thought to have a self-centered nature), requires specific methods and reasoning that was not already covered elsewhere. While others speculated about human behavior. Durkheim. Sociology is not the study of human societies. It studies social phenomena. What are social phenomena, and do they exhibit an independent reality, or are they simply aggregates of individual level phenomena, and not necessary to have own study. He opposed reductionism of social phenomena to any other ordered phenomena, with characteristics that are irreducible . Phenomena have cohort-independence . Eg, class has different properties than sum of people in it. There are group phenomena that have different characters and properties separate from the individuals in it, therefore have to use abstract understanding. Social phenomena are sui generis —irreducible and cohort independent. They can be culture dependent, with a good example being language, which transcends any collection of its speakers. It is therefore cohort-independent, and the fact that it cannot be described from the vocal cords, therefore it is irreducible. Phenomenology. Edmund Husserl. What is a number? There is nothing empirical about the question, but rather a conceptual one. Of course, numbers can empirically answer questions. Empirical phenomena have empirical and conceptual answers: two dimensions. What makes and x an x? This is a phenomenological question, some of which have an empirical answers if experiments have answered. Alfred Schutz. Some questions don’t allow us to fully answer the question what makes and x an x when they are social phenomena. Both Husserl and Durkheim say that the social phenomenon has the property of being
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able to predate all the individuals that inact it, and postdate their actors. Some have been almost timeless and virtually immutable, whereas others have changed or become non- existant, even in a short time. Rules that govern it and context . These don’t belong to
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Sociology - Sociology TUESDAY JANUARY 22ND 2008 The...

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