Chapter 1. The Sociological Perspective & Research Process
Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives
The Sociological Research Process
Ethical Issues in Sociological Research
Why Study Sociology? (p. 4)
Helps us gain a better understanding of ourselves and our social world. Helps us see how behavior is shaped by the groups to which we belong and our society. Promotes understanding and tolerance by helping us look beyond personal experiences and gain insight into the larger world order.
The “So What and Who Cares” Factor
Sociologists study what has happened, what patterns can be observed and what social factors may have contributed to the existing social condition.
The discipline of Sociology also studies who cares and who is affected by the social condition right now.
Putting Sociological Life into Perspective
Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction. Sociologists study societies and social interactions to develop theories about: How behavior is shaped by group life
How group life is affected by individuals
A society is a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations Are We A Product of Our Environment
The sociological perspective says that we are a product of the socialization we receive in our culture.
Family is the primary agent of socialization in this life long process. Fields That Use Social Science Research
Sociological Imagination (p. 5)
The sociological imagination? - C. Wright Mills’s term for the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society.
(1) What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? (2) Where does this society stand in human history?
(3) What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail?
Suicide (p. 6)
As a Personal Trouble:
Many people consider suicide to be the result of personal problems. As a Public Issue:
Sociologist Emile Durkheim related suicide to the issue of cohesiveness in society instead of viewing it as an isolated act that could be understood by studying individual personalities or inherited tendencies.
Durkheim's Four Types of Suicide
1) Egoistic (Depression)
2) Fatalistic (Hopelessness)
3) Altruistic (Obligation to the group)
4) Anomic (Insecurity)
Hypothesized Relationships Between Variables:
Causal: Depression causes suicide.
Inverse Causal: The lack of social integration causes suicide. Multiple Causes: Many factors interact to cause suicide. (↑Social Change, ↑Poverty, ↓Religiosity) How Much Do You Know About Suicide?
In the United States, suicide occurs on the average of one every 17 minutes. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves than are women. Suicide is a leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults. Auguste Comte - “founder of sociology.”
Comte’s philosophy became known as positivism— a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry.
Comte believed objective, bias-free knowledge was attainable only through the use of science rather than religion
Two Dimensions of Comte’s Positivism
The application of scientific knowledge to physical and social phenomena. Social and political
The use of such knowledge to predict the likely results of different policies so the best one could be chosen.
Believed the limits of human potential are socially based.
One of his most important contributions was the concept of social facts. Social facts are patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one individual but exert social control over each person.
Viewed history as a clash between conflicting ideas and forces. Believed class conflict produced social change and a better society. Combined ideas from philosophy, history, and social...
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