Soc 101 Note

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SOC 101 note
CHAPTER 1: UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
The Sociological Perspective
 Sociology:
o The systematic study of human groups and their interactions  Sociological perspective:
o A view of society based on the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live
Charles Wright Mills and the Sociological Imagination
 Suggests that people who do not, or cannot, recognize the social origins and character of their problems may be unable to respond to these problems effectively.  Personal troubles:
o Personal challenges that require individual solutions
 Social issues:
o Challenges caused by larger social factors that require collective solutions  Quality of mind:
o Mills’ term for the ability to view personal circumstance within a social context o Has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or level of education o to improve, Mills argued that sociologists need to expose individuals to what he called the sociological imagination

 Sociological imagination:
o C.W. Mills’ term for the ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives
 Defines sociological perspective as the ability to view the world from two distinct yet complementary perspectives: seeing general in the particular and seeing the strange in the familiar
Seeing the General in the Particular
 According to Berger, seeing the general in the particular is the ability to look at seemingly unique events or circumstances and then recognize the larger (or general) features involved  Ability to move from the particular to the general and back again is one of the hallmarks of the sociological perspective

Seeing the Strange in the Familiar
 According to Berger, sociologists also need to tune their sociological perspective by thinking about what is familiar and seeing it as strange
 While something seems familiar and normal, if you really think about it, it is truly strange  Ability to see the general in the particular and the strange in the familiar is the cornerstone of the sociological perspective

 Sociology is less about remembering details and specifics than about seeing the social world from a unique position – one that allows us to understand social context and to appreciate the position of others

What Makes You, You? Engaging the Sociological Imagination
 To some extent, we all have what sociologists refer to as agency o The assumption that individuals have the ability to alter their socially constructed lives  We are all individuals, we are also the culmination of many social forces  There are ways to define ourselves

Minority Status
 People who are members of a visible minority groups, who have a physical disability, or a mental disability, or who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, face various forms of discrimination o Social experiences would influence the person you would become Gender

 Society treats men and women differently
 Canada, and virtually all human societies, remains patriarchal o A system of rule that translates to “rule by the father” in which men control the political and economic resources of society
Socio-Economic Status (SES)
 Term used to describe a combination of variables to position or score people on criteria such as income level, level of education achieved, occupation, and area of residence  Ascribed status:

o Attributes (advantages and disadvantages) assigned at birth (e.g., sex)  Achieved status:
o Attributes developed throughout life as a result of effort and skill (e.g., course grades) Family Structure
 Socio-economic status does influence a person’s opportunities  Well-being of children is almost always associated with household income o Higher income tends to be related to better physical, social/economical, cognitive, and behavioural well-being

 Family structure influences a child’s development
o Female lone-parent families tend...
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