Sociology

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Chapter 1

* Sociology helps people gain insight into themselves and into society, so they can live more satisfying, self-determined, and responsible lives * Paying attention to and making sense of the social world in a sociological way = being sociologically mindful * To be mindful of a thing is to see and appreciate its unique qualities. Ex: mindful of a person = beyond stereotypes and prejudices * People have to be understood in terms of ideas, feelings, desires, bodies, and habits * Sociological mindfulness = practice of seeing how the social world works * Mindfulness helps us see how our lives are intertwined and how our words and deeds help or harm others in nonobvious ways. Ex. racism * Failing to be mindful = diminish or own and others’ chances of living good lives * Mindfulness can help decrease the amount of hatred and conflict in the world * American individualism inhibits sociological mindfulness because it prevents us from seeing our interdependence with others

Chapter 2

* Shared belief is enormously consequential along side shared ideas * The social world is made of: patterns of activity; without ideas we would have no society * The social world depends on ideas invented by human beings * Reasons why the social world is durable:

1. People refuse to doubt the ideas that hold it together 2. People hold tightly b/c these ideas tell them right from wrong 3. Ideas allow people to feel good about themselves
* Most ideas exist only in people’s heads, or are embodied in habit; the invisibility of the ideas that hold the social world together is part of what makes it seem so real. * Invisible b/c they are built into habit. Ex: brushing teeth. Guiding ideas are still there, but only visible as habits * Someone finds a solution to a problem, other people see that it works and adopt it, and eventually the solution becomes “what everyone does” * Every society is built on a set of practices and to change these practices is very risky. Those who benefit from them are the ones least likely to want to change it (conservative attitude) * The failure to see the social world as humanly made is called reification; the social world is just there. Ex: “computer technology is the major force behind changes in our economy today” makes the economy seem independent of human beings * Reification makes the people and their choices disappear; the tendency to reify is strong because it can be hard to see where, how, and by whom decisions are made * Reification makes it hard to hold anyone accountable for the good or bad results arising from their actions * Reification makes us feel powerless b/c the social world comes to seem like a place that is beyond human control; we are confusing its reality; forgetting to be mindful of the social world as a humanly made place * People invent and categorize themselves; these things are defined into existence * Ex: race is a result from the invention of schemes for sorting people into groups so is gender * If we did not label things, we wouldn’t produce certain kinds of people to classify * Identities derive from invented categories, they are not apart of nature * The rules we use to decide which ideas are true are also invented. Ex: truth from books, word of mouth, or proven by science? * Not everyone has an equal say in deciding what is real and true, and truth often bends toward power * The social world could not continue to exist if we did not reenact it every day, in our thoughts, feelings, and behavior * The making of the social world is a collaboration; we can’t make anything social by ourselves

Chapter 3

* How you grow up is basically what you continue to see. Ex: men treating women as subordinates at home = that’s what he’s going to expect from women at work * Part of being sociologically mindful is seeing how our actions in one part of life are the causes and consequences of...
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