Goffman explored how our everyday personal encounters shape and reinforce our

Goffman explored how our everyday personal encounters

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Goffman explored how our everyday personal encounters shape and reinforce ournotions about class and social statusPostmodernismPostmodernism can be summarized as the notion that these shared meanings haveerodedoDEF: a condition characterized by a questioning of the notion of progress andhistory, the replacement of narrative within pastiche, and multiple, perhapseven conflicting, identities resulting from disjointed affiliationsEverything is interpretable within this framework; even “facts” are up for debateIt’s as if everyone has become a symbolic interactionist and decided that seeminglyobjective phenomena are social constructions, so that all organizing narratives breakdownoDEF: an entity that exists because people behave as if it exists and whoseexistence is perpetuated as people and social institutions act in accordancewith the widely agreed-upon formal rules or informal norms of behaviorassociated with that entityMidrange TheoryMost sociologists have returned to what sociologist Robert Merton called midrangetheoryoDEF: a theory that attempts to predict how certain social institutions tend tofunctionThe key to midrange theory is that it generates falsifiable hypotheses—predictionsthat can be tested by analyzing the real world RV
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CHAPTER 1: THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: AN INTRODUCTIONSociology and its CousinsAll of sociology boils down to comparisons across cases of some form or another, andperhaps the best way to conceptualize its role in the landscape of knowledge is tocompare it with other fields History Historians have traditionally been concerned with explaining unique casesHistorians’ research questions center on the notion that by understanding theparticularity of certainpast events, individual people, or intellectual concepts, we canbetter understand the world in which we liveSociology by contrast, is generally not concerned with the uniqueness of phenomenabut rather with commonalities that can be abstracted across cases Whereas the unique case is the staple of the historian the comparative method is thestaple of sociologistsSociologists are always at least implicitly drawing comparisons to identifyabstractable patterns AnthropologyThe field of anthropology is split between physical anthropologists, who resemblebiologists more than sociologists, and cultural anthropologists, who study humanrelations similarly to the way sociologists do Some would agree that nothing distinguishes sociology from cultural anthropology However, certain aspects of sociology are almost indistinguishable from those ofcultural anthropology, sociology as a whole has a wider array of methods to answerquestions, such as experimentation and statistical data analysisThe Psychological and Biological SciencesPsychologists focus on the individual to explain the phenomenon under consideration,examining how urges, drives, instincts, and the mind can account for human behavior,whereas sociologists examine group-level dynamics and social structuresBiology, especially evolutionary biology, increasingly attempts to explain phenomena
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