Sociology What is it anyway ? Agenda Make sure you have your syllabus Put away your electronic devices Will discuss your first paper will post tonight. What is sociology? What is the sociological imagination What is Sociology? The scientific study of society (everything in society). WHAT IS IN SOCIETY? EVERYTHING
Sociologists study social behavior and human groups. Sociology focuses on: Social relationships (our interactions) Our attitudes and how society shapes Social institutions/structure (GREEFMC) develops and change over time and how that changes human interactions and behaviors Sociologists study the influence that society has on EVERYTHING in society; we study the SOCIAL FORCES that systematically cause some people move in one direction and others in another direction. The Sociological Perspective and Imagination
According to sociologist, C. Wright Mills, people fail to see the links between their own individual lives and the society around them. The process of interpreting your individual life in the context of your community or the society in which you live is called SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION. When you use your sociological imagination, you discuss the unbreakable connection between your individual experiences and society. Bronfenbrenners Ecological Model & Theory
Personal Narratives of Success and Failure My successes are because: I am very smart or talented I work hard I make good choices I am a good person, and I deserve it No body helped me, I am independent and in control My failures are because:
I am not good enough I am lazy; I am not motivated I squander my opportunities. I am dumb; not smart; I just cant do it. I am depressed/ or am sick Sociological Imagination Narrative of Success My successes are because:
I went to great schools with great teachers and quality resources I have a family who cares about my learning.they enrolled me in take piano lessons and expensive sports camps. I live in a country that has laws that protect my freedoms and rights and choices I live in a neighborhood where I feel safe and have access to wonderful role models and friends who were going to college or who parents were professionals in the community Professionals in my community nurture my goals to go to college and support my efforts to get into the best schools by writing letters of reference and making phone calls for me. My mother and father have careers that allow them to spend quality time with me and support my afterschool extracurricular activities, my academic goals, and in general be there for me. Sociological Imagination Narrative of Failure
My failures are because: My grandparents or parents never did go to college because of discriminatory laws and practices based on race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality. My mom works low-wage jobs that dont pay, so I have to work a lot to help my family get by Lack of opportunities for good schools, jobs, housing and positive mentorship where I live Area where I live is wrought with violence, drug activity, negative peer pressure and a lack of adult monitoring My mom and dad are not home because they are always working to put food on the table. People never give me a chance, because they label me as from the wrong side of the tracks or from a bad zip code. People in my area only think about getting a job, playing ball, or becoming a music artist. They dont talk about finding a trade; they sell drugs because its
easy. Its whats here. They dont know much else. Class Exercise According to sociologist, C. Wright Mills, people often believe that their private lives can only be explained in terms of their personal successes and failures. They fail to see the links between their own individual lives and the society around them. The process of interpreting your individual life in the context of your community or the society in which you live is called sociological imagination. Choose ONE of the following issues: Being a homeless person and the broader issue of poverty in society Being unemployed and the impact of unemployment as a broad issue Being an unmarried pregnant teenager and the impact that unmarried teen pregnancy has on society
Being a college graduate and the broader impact of having an educated population/citizenry on a society Use your sociological imagination to discuss the connection between individual experiences and the social impact of the issue you chose. Sociology Focuses On Cause & Effect SF SF SF SF
DRUG ABUSE EFFECTS of drug abuse CAUSES of drug abuse SF SF SF SF SF
= social forces are social institutions such as the environment, family, the media, our schools, our neighborhoods, peer groups or organizations we belong to, culture, politics, laws, economic system, values (perceptions of right and wrong), religion, etc. Drug/Alcohol Addiction Causes Effects
Drug infested neighborhood Drug infested family/home environment Lack of job opportunities in the inner cities Peer pressure (need to belong) Schools do not educate or address
(esp if there are no resources) Easy availability and access Not regulated Lack of treatment facilities Lack of treatment facilities that are affordable Drug culture is rampant and portrayed in media as glamorous and powerful
Deteriorating neighborhoods Lawlessness in cities High incarceration rates Drug users have poor or no performance at work Drunk driving accidents and deaths Overdoses High hospital incidents Divorce Youth drug culture Drug trafficking and violence (murders, child labor, slaves, etc.) Drug addicted infants Neglectful of and abusive families to children
Understanding Sociology Three Major Theoretical Perspectives of Sociology Structural functionalism Conflict perspective Symbolic interactism Three Perspectives of Sociology Functionalist perspective/theory Society is functional, stable and all in it serves a good purpose to maintain order and consensus (human body and organs) Conflict perspective/theory Society is competitive; there is an unequal distribution of goods, power and resources depending on your social status (game)
Interactionist perspective/theory Society is about acting depending on our roles in society and how those roles are perceived in society; interaction patterns are determined by the meaning of the messages we send and receive; we follow scripts depending on our roles, and people respond to our scripts (scripts are reinforced by society). Structural Functionalism Everything is connected to create stability. When one thing changes, something else changes. Our environment or social structure/society consists elements that are co-dependent. Without one part, another part cannot function. Structural Functionalism Why does the below image remind us of
structural functionalism? Conflict Perspective Different groups with different desires, interests and agendas struggle and compete for scarce resources; the strong, the smart, and the fast get access to the scarce resources leaving some with resources and others without them ---- INEQUALITY!! Conflict
Competition Power Struggles Stress and frustration Disenchantment Violence Change Symbolic Interactionism Everything around us has been given meaning. The meaning of those things dictate how we interact. We are all just actors playing a part, and the part (dress, script, props)
depends on the scene. Please pay attention! Sociologists dont spend time looking at a person and holding them accountable for their attitudes and behaviors (i.e. drug addicts are addicts because that is what they want). Sociologists spend time looking at the environment and what in the environment constrains or encourages peoples decisions and their actions and behaviors (i.e. drug addicts are more likely to come from families where drugs were used). That is the sociological imagination! Difference Between Psychology and Sociology
Psychology Study of the human mind Mental behavior Study of individuals Experimental Individual is singly responsible for all activities
Human emotions Within/internal Nature (what you are born with) Troubles Sociology Study of human behavior Origin and development of human society Study of groups Observational Individuals are influenced by surroundings Human interactions Without/external Nurture (what you are raised with)
Issues They are both a social science! Sociology vs. Common Sense Sociology / Social Science Researchers / academics Respected body of knowledge Objective methods to obtain concrete data / facts Careful records of observations Accumulation of verifiable data
Information is tested Quantifiable/statistical Common Sense
Anyone / everyone Personal experiences Stories Opinion/Assumptions Rumors Legends What we read Conversations Stereotype What we see superficially What it seems to be Sociological Imagination You are walking down the street in your hometown. In looking around you, you cant help noticing that almost every other person
you see is overweight (what is your narrative for this?). How do you explain your observation? Who is overweight? What makes them overweight? When did this begin to happen? Where do these people live? Why are so many people overweight? Sociologists Ask Who? gender, age, race, ethnicity,
marital status, income levels, etc) What? food, behavior, other people, genetics, etc. When? infancy, turning point in ones life, period in history, etc. Where? neighborhood, city, state, country, etc. Why are so many overweight? (patterns?) Hypothesis A proposed relationship between two variables Does A cause B or Does A change B Peer pressure Teen Pregnancy
Outsourcing jobs U.S. unemployment No social network Suicide The ________ the peer pressure, the _______the chance of teenage pregnancy. Research methods for data collection (To test your hypothesis is it true or false) Quantitative methods Surveys Operationalizing (measuring a term precisely) Counting Statistical Qualitative methods Interviews
Participant Observations What is sociological theory? An attempt to explain events, forces, materials, ideas or behavior in a comprehensive manner. A set of statements that seeks to explain problems actions or behavior. An effective theory has explanatory AND predictive power. Think about: What would be your theory of the causes of homelessness, unemployment, etc.? Example: Emile Durkheims theory or explanation for suicide. Using Durkheims theory what specific aspect of society
could explain or predict the high incidence of suicide among young people in the U.S today? Be sociological (think social structure); not psychological!!! Where did sociology come from? 19th Century 20th Century
Auguste Comte Harriet Martineau Herbert Spencer Emile Durkheim Max Weber Karl Marx W.E.B. DuBois A. Kristina Rodriguez [email protected]
Charles Cooley Jane Addams Robert Merton Pierre Bourdieu SOCY 100 Spring 2010 University of Maryland University College Sather Airbase: Baghdad, Iraq Why sociology? Why does it matter? Help understand and resolve social problems / difficult questions confronting societies at home and around the world
Educational inequality Segregated neighborhoods Discrimination (age, gender, religious, racial, ethnic and sexual) Information can be used for social reform Developing policies that benefit the powerless, the poor or the disenfranchised Creating institutions or programs that improve relations, communities, etc Applied Sociology and/or Public Sociology Questions to Consider What social issues concern you?
Why do these social issues concern you? How would you begin to address these social issues? How would that improve conditions? For who? Sociological Imagination Lets use it! Sociological Imagination is.
A type of critical thinking/inquiry An awareness of individual relationship to the WIDER society; how the world and its institutions shape you and groups. The ability to see issues, problems, events, patterns and phenomenon in your social setting and ask questions as an outsider (not just blame the victim). About being curious about people and their behaviors and what causes people to do certain things or act in certain ways. Understanding that problems are not individualized, and nor are they caused by the individual or manifested by the individual alone (esp when we begin to look at not just one or two or 20 or 50, but millions of teens pregnant, or millions unemployed or homeless). Excerpts from Sociological Imagination
No social study that does not come back to the problems of biography, of history and of their intersections within a society has completed its intellectual journey. Whatever the specific problems of the classic social analysts, however limited or however broad the features of social reality they have examined, those who have been imaginatively aware of the promise of their work have consistently asked three sorts of questions: (1) What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of social order? Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and for its change? (2) Where does this society stand in human history? What are the mechanics by which it is changing? What is its place within and its meaning for the development of humanity as a whole?
How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by, the historical period in which it moves? And this period-what are its essential features? How does it differ from other periods? What are its characteristic ways of history-making? (3) What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of 'human nature' are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for 'human nature' of each and every feature of the society we are examining? Excerpts from Sociological Imagination In these terms, consider unemployment. When, in a city of 100,000, only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble, and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills, and his immediate opportunities. But when
in a nation of 285 million employees, 9% (26 million persons) are unemployed, that is an HUGE SOCIAL issue, and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one individual. In this case, the very structure of opportunities has collapsed. Both the correct statement of the problem and the range of possible solutions require us to consider the economic and political institutions of the society, and NOT just or merely the personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals. Excerpts from Sociological Imagination Consider war. The personal problem of war, when it occurs, may be how to survive it or how to die in it with honor; how to make money out of it; how to climb into the higher safety of the military apparatus; or how to contribute to the war's termination. But the structural issues of war have to do with its causes; with what types
of men it throws up into command; with its effects upon economic and political, family and religious institutions, with the unorganized irresponsibility of a world of nationstates. Excerpts from Sociological Imagination Consider marriage. Inside a marriage a man and a woman may experience personal troubles, but when the divorce rate during the first four years of marriage is 250 out of every 1,000 attempts, this is an indication of a structural issue having to do with the institutions of marriage and the family and other institutions that bear upon them... (what could these structural issues be?) Examples of the Sociological Imagination What are the structural issues here?
Inner city blight Homelessness Rural poverty Disproportionate rates of incarceration of black men Muslim martyrdom/suicide bombers
High rates of divorce Low rates of college graduation Bullying in schools Segregated neighborhoods Mental illness The rich getting richer
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