Introduction to Social Sciences
What is anthropology?
Examines the development of the human species and human cultures throughout the world Anthropologists try to live with the group that they are studying, often for extended periods What is sociology?
Looks at the development and structure of human society and how it works Examines how people act in group situations
Use statistical analysis as one of their basic research tools to explain human behaviour What is psychology?
Study of people’s feelings, thoughts and personality development Goal is to discover the underlying triggers or causes of human behaviours Interested in incidents in people’s pasts that influence them
How does each answer questions regarding social change?
Sources of cultural change:
1. Invention: a new product, idea, social pattern that affect the way people live 2. Diffusion: spread of ideas, methods, tools from one culture to another through trade/migration/war 3. Discovery: something previously unknown to a culture
An anthropologist would focus on the process of enculturation – by which members of a culture learn and internalize shared ideas, values and beliefs. According to one system of classification, culture is made up of four parts: 1. Physical environment – the length of winter affects the number of jackets Canadians buy 2. Level of technology – a busy metropolitan area would have more need for a rail system than a rural farm community 3. Social organization – how the culture is organized, it’s kinship system, how labour is divided 4. Systems of symbols – objects, symbols, trends, anything that identifies a person as a member of a particular culture Psychology:
* What must people do to successfully change their behaviours? * What factors make behaviour-modification programs successful? * Do most people need help changing behaviour or can they be self-changers?
Strong links between attitudes – what people think – and behaviours – what they do.
Cognitive consistency – wanting to avoid attitudes that conflict with each other Cognitive dissonance theory – state of having inconsistent actions and thoughts and will act to try and get around the inconsistency
Explaining social change:
From decaytheory that social change can be seen as caused by decline or degeneration where all societies begin in an ideal state and become more materialistic and less spiritual From cycles of growth and decayvariation on previous theory of decay, societies do not head inevitably toward destruction but go through cycles of growth and decay From progress social change occurs as a result of the phenomenon of progress where each new society builds on experiences of its predecessors and social institutions change as a result
Reductionist - a single factor was at work causing change
Determinist - a specific factor will determine the nature of the social change it causes
* Famous sociologist determinist
* Believed that the struggle for economic power between competing social groups determined the nature of social institutions and the way in which they would change * Believed that those with power would fight to the death to keep it
Patriarchy – a place designed for the convenience of men, ruled by men and women are simply allowed to live in it Norms – customary types of behaviour
To the sociologist, social change might be defined as “any observable difference or modification in social organization or patterns of behaviour over time”. Sociologists tend to look at the four aspects of social change in their studies:
1. Direction of change – is it positive/negative, who says? 2. Rate of change – is the degree of change slow/medium/fast? What factors are affecting this rate? 3. Sources – what factors are behind the influences of change I na society a. Exogenous – from another society into this one