Sociology for Everyone Course Notes

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How Society Works – Lecture Notes
Sep, 11, 2012

Introduction to Classical Social theory
* “Theories in sociology are abstract, general ideas that help organize and make sense of the social world” (attempt to link idea’s with actual events) * Classical social theory (1840s – 1920s) – The enlightenment, political revolution (American revolution, French revolution), the industrial revolution * American and French revolution inspired more widespread adoption of democratic principle and rights of citizens * Industrial revolution caused dramatic, rapid urbanization, changes in family relations, gender relations, increased secularization * Classical social theorist and macro and micro theorists – macro are interested are in social theory that can explain huge social phenomenon’s (past and future), micro are interested in smaller scale phenomenon’s * Emile Durkheim was a positivist, saw society as analogous to a body, concerned with social solidarity, and developed the idea of the ‘social fact’ * Social Solidarity: division of labour Organic: present in modern societies, high dynamic density, high degree of labour specialization (works like a human body, everything works together with high specialization) Mechanical: present in traditional societies, low dynamic density , low degree of labour specialization (works like gears, works together to complete society) * Similarities of Social Solidarity: Conscience collective similar ideas of morality, similar ideas about space time and reality (collective ideas of morality, what you can and cannot do with the influence on laws, teachings, parents etc.) * In modern society are functional, high amount of labour (all works together, functionalism) * Crime is a functional part of society (punishment s are set, so others don’t commit crime) * A social fact is way of acting. Fixed, or not capable of exercising on individual an external constrain, or way of acting which is general throughout society, while at same time existing. (Social fact: external to the self, beyond the biography of self, affects individual, actions, thoughts, religion, fashion, education etc.) * Durkheim: Studying multiple variables will allow you to determine relationship of various social facts * Durkheim: Suicide is social (men more suicidal than women) * Karl Marx: Idea of historical materialism, Labour theory of value, Understanding of ideology * Historical Materialism: “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”, human history result of human action, human action determined by material realities (economic realities: due to economy) * History is not made with time but propelled over access to power and materials (dialects of history: primitive communism, feudalism, capitalism (current system), communism) * Capitalism (a system of exploitation, the current system) * Labour Theory of Value: use value (what it does for you), exchange value (cost), surplus value (excess of value produced by labour in relation to wages) , commodity (something bought or sold with value), commodity fetishism * Surplus value: what you invest into a water bottle for ex., how much you pay your workers, and how much you sell the bottle for is the surplus value to accumulate maximum surplus value by paying workers very little * Alienation: From one’s own labour force, from the products of one’s labour, form other people, from one’s self (labour is something you can sell now, workers are alienated, they cannot afford to buy what they make most of the time) * Workers in China had suicide working in Apple factory due to too much demand and pressure of making Iphone3’s * Ideology: That which is taken as naturally, but serves the interest of the powerful ** * Ideology is like a camera of obscure (image of reality is not what it seems: distorted) * Mark: Religion is like a drug, makes you blind from...
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