Key Concepts for Chapter 1
1. How did sociology develop? What is positivism?
Sociology is the study of human behavior in society, and the sociological imagination is the ability to see societal patterns that influence individual and group life. Sociology is an empirical discipline, relying on careful observations as the basis for its knowledge. Positivism: is a system of though in which accurate observation and description is considered the highest form of knowledge, as opposed to religious dogma or poetic inspiration. Theories:
-Interprets each part of society as contributing to the stability of the whole the frame work for the theory emphasizes consensus and order in society, focusing on social stability and shared public values. Disorganization leads to change because of societal components must adjust to achieve stability. A key part: when one part of society is not working (dysfunctional), it affects all the other parts and creates social problems. Conflict Theory
– Emphasizes the role of coercion and power, which is the ability of a person or group to exercise influence and control over others. Pictures society as fragmented groups that compete for social and economic resources. Social order is maintained by domination, not consensus, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic and social resources. Coercion and social control, not shared values and conformity, bind people to society. All families are situated within larger systems of power and inequality systems that affect family life. Symbolic Interaction Theory
Differences between micro and macro levels of analysis
Macrosociology are theories that strive to understand society as a whole. Conflict theory
Microsociology center on face-to-face social interaction
Symbolic Interaction Theory
Is sociology "value free"?
Durkheim (1858 - 1917)
Social Solidarity: social bonds link members of a group
People in society are glued together by belief systems. He helped explain social deviance. Deviant behavior: actions that others perceive as violating the customary ways of doing things Thought that deviance, like public rituals, sustains moral cohesion in society He described this as society suigeneris (meaning “a thing in itself”). Society as an integrated whole, each part contributing to the overall stability of the system. Basis for functionalism. Functionalism: interprets each part of society as contributing to the stability of the whole. The different parts are primarily the institutions of society, each organized to fill different needs, and each with particular consequences for the form of society. Social facts: as those social patterns that are external to individuals. Weber (1864 - 1920)
Theorized that society had three (3) basic dimensions:
Developed multidimensional analysis of society that goes beyond Marx’s one-dimensional focus on economics Did not believe that a value-free sociology could exist, because values would always influence what sociologists studied. Verstehen (meaning, “understanding”): understanding social behavior from the point of view of those engaged in it. Social action: as a behavior to which people give meaning; people do things in a context and use their interpretive abilities to understand and give meaning to their action. Marx (1818 - 1883)
Work was devoted to explaining how capitalism shaped society. Used class analysis to explain capitalism Capitalism: is an economic system based on the pursuit of profit and the sanctity of private property. The capitalist class owns the means of production, the system by which goods are produced and distributed; they not only own the property but also the system by which wealth is accumulated. The capitalist system is inherently unfair because it rests on workers getting less than they give. Marx considered society to be fundamentally shaped by...
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