Chapter 1 - the Sociological Perspective and Research Process

Topics: Sociology, Agency, Research Pages: 14 (3957 words) Published: November 30, 2011
Chapter 1 - The Sociological Perspective and Research Process:

1. (4) Sociology is the study of man and society that seeks to determine their general characteristics, especially as found in contemporary civilizations.
! A society is a large social group that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

2. (3-5) Sociologist C. Wright Mills described sociological reasoning as The Sociological Imagination – The ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society. It helps us distinguish between personal troubles and social (or Public) issues.

C.Wright Mills
! Power elite – elite who command the resources of vast bureaucratic organizations that have come to dominate industrial societies. These are the key people in the major institutions of modern society: 1. Government

2. Military
3. Corporations
! Thus power is rooted in authority, an attribute of social organizations, not of individuals. ! These bureaucracies have become enlarged and centralized and are a means of power never before equaled in human history.

! Bureaucracies are the key to understanding modern society.
3. (5-8) The Importance of a Global Sociological Imagination. The World’s high-income countries are nations with highly industrialized economies; technologically advanced industrial, administrative and service occupations; and relatively high levels of national and personal income.

Middle income countries are nations with industrializing economies, particularly in urban areas, and moderate levels of national and personal income.
Low income countries are primarily agrarian nations with little industrialization and low levels of national and personal income.

4. (8-9) The Development of Sociological Thinking did not take hold until the 19th century and the social upheaval brought about by industrialization and urbanization.
Industrialization is the process by which societies are transformed form dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries. Urbanization is the process by which people move from rural open farms to convoluted cities.

9. (9-14) Early Thinkers: A concern with Social Order and Stability
William Thomas (Not in Text Book)
! 4 basic human wishes
o The desire for new experiences
o The desire for recognition
o The desire for mastery
o The desire for security.
! Objected to seeing people as playthings of forces over which they had no control. (opposite of Marxist theory) ! Social Change is interplay between attitudes and values. “The cause of a social or individual phenomenon is never another social or individual phenomenon alone, but always a combination of a social and an individual phenomenon. ! The Typology of Human Actors

o Philistine “always a conformist, usually accepting social tradition in its most stable elements o Bohemian “whose possibilities of evolution are not closed, simply because his character remains unformed?” (Rebel)

o Creative man does not simply act within the grooves of tradition, nor is he indiscriminately rebellious when it comes to societal requirements; rather, with a judicious blend of innovation and tradition he clears a new path through the forest of the customary and can hence be a creative guide in efforts to bring about social change. Thomas Theorem - If the situation is defined as real, it is real in its consequences. Auguste Comte coined the term sociology, though he never conducted sociological research. Heavily influenced by the French Revolution.

! Theorized that societies contain social statics (forces for social order and stability) and social dynamics (forces for conflict and change).
! The scientific method should be applied to the objective study of society. ! Positivism – a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific...
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