Sociology and Social Interaction

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Sociology

Systematic study of human societies.
Special emphasis to modern, industrialized systems.

Emergence of Sociology

The emergence of sociology as a discipline attempting to study systematically the human behavior and society dates from the early 1800s.

The background to the origins of sociology was the series of sweeping changes ushered in by:

French Revolution of 1789
questioning the legitimacy of their monarchies
questioning the authority of their churches
demand for freedom
HOW DID SUCH A RADICAL CHANGE HAPPEN?

emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Europe
transformation of rural and stable societies into industrialized, urbanized, chaotic ones. Exploitation of factory workers
The migration of people from farms to cities:
Poverty in the cities
Crowded housing
Broken families
Rising crime

Important Thinkers
Auguste Comte
Emile Durkheim
Karl Marx
Max Weber
Micheal Foucault
Jurgen Habermas

European Sociology (large scale social theories)
Crime
Broken families
Poor neighborhoods
Racial problems
Social order and change

US sociology (pragmatic)
Prostitution
Street gangs
Racial discrimination in employment

Scope of Sociology
To some people sociology appears to be a laborious study of the obvious, an expensive way to discover what everybody already knows/common sense knowledge

By systematically checking commonsense ideas against reliable facts, sociology can tell us which popular beliefs are myths and which are realities.

the sociological imagination:
the sociological imagination requires to think ourselves away from the familiar routines of our daily lives in order to look at them anew:

i.e. madness (please think about other cases!)

Social Structure

The framework that surrounds us, consisting of the relationships of people and groups to one another, which give direction to and set limits on behavior.

We are all influenced by social contexts.
We also create our own individuality.

Our activities both structure the social world around us and at the same time are structured by that social world. There are regularities in the ways we behave and in the relationship we have with one another.

i.e: suicide

Components of Social Structure
Culture
Social Class
Social Status
Roles
Groups
Institutions

MAJOR PERSPECTIVES of SOCIOLOGY

MACROSOCIOLOGY:
broad features of the society and large-scale social forces that influence individuals.

1)Functionalist (Durkheim)
Focus:
Social Order and Stability

Insights:
Society consists of interdependent groups (family, school, economy, state) pursuing common goals. Social order is maintained through social consensus, whereby people agree to cooperate in order to contribute to social order.

If something happens to disrupt the social order, its parts will adjust in a way that produces new stability:

consensus: a condition in which most members of the society agree on what would be good for everybody and cooperate to achieve it.

2)Conflict (Marx)
Focus:
Social conflict or change

Insights:
Society is made up of conflicting groups such as women and men, each pursuing their own interest.

Social order is maintained through coercion, whereby the social order is imposed by the powerful over the weak.

MICROSOCIOLOGY:
Focuses on social interaction and what people do when they come together

3)Symbolic Interactionist (Mead, Herbert)

Focus:
Interaction between individuals

Insights:
Society is composed of individuals whose action depend on interpreting each other’s behavior. Social order is maintained through constant negotiation between individuals trying to understand each others actions and reactions.

Components of Social Structure
Culture
Social Class
Social Status
Roles
Groups
Institutions

Components of Social Structure

Culture 

Social Class...
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