Week 1 Sociology Notes

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Week One Assignment

Chapter One
The Sociological Perspective

The sociological perspective provides a specific view of the world. Briefly describe this perspective and the assumptions this perspective is based on.
The sociological perspective puts emphasis on the social context in which people live in and how these contexts influence their lives. At the center of this perspective is the question of how groups influence people, especially how people are influence by their society. Sociologists will look at how income, jobs, education, gender. age. and race affect people’s ideas and behavior. Summarize the main points of Karl Marx’s theory of class conflict.

Karl Marx’s class conflict theory states that the bourgeoisie (or the capitalists) are locked in conflict with the proletariat (the exploited workers). Marx believed that this conflict could only end when the working class united and violently broke free of the “bondage”. Once this happens, society will be classless and people will work according to their abilities, while receiving goods and services according to their needs. Although Marxism does propose revolution, it should not be confused with communism. Summarize Max Weber’s ideas about religion, rather than economics, being the central force in social change.

Max Weber disagreed with Marx’s claim that economics is the central force in social change.Weber believed that religion was the central force of social change. His conclusion came from him contrasting the Roman Catholic and Protestant belief systems. “Roman Catholics, he said, were taught that because they were members of the only true church, they were on the road to heaven. This made them comfortable with traditional ways of life.” (Henslin, pg. 8). While Roman Catholics followed their system, protestants undermined the spiritual security of its followers and motivated them to embrace change. Protestants that were under the Calvinist tradition didn’t even know if they were saved until Judgement Day, and so began to look for “signs” that they were in Gods favor. This concluded in the assumption that financial success was a divine blessing and that God did not want them to waste this blessing. So with their financial success, they became frugal and saved and invested their money. Weber believed this was the change in the way money was viewed that produced the capital that brought about the birth of capitalism. He called it, the Protestant ethic.

Chapter Two
Culture

Explain the significance of language to human life.
Language is the primary way in which people communicate with one another. Language allows human experience to be cumulative, meaning we pass ideas, knowledge and even attitudes on to the next generation. Language also provides a social or shared past. Without language, our memories would be limited because we could not associate experiences with words and could not use the words to recall the experience. Language also provides a social or shared future. Because language allows us to agree on times, dates and places it allows us to plan events or activities with one another. Without the use of language, there could be no way to communicate goals or plans with other people. Language allows us to share perspectives, goal-directed behavior and much more. All in all, language allows culture to exist. Without it, there would be no way of communication or culture. Explain the difference between a subculture and a counterculture and give an example of each.

A subculture is a group whose values and related behaviors distinguish its members from the general culture. A counterculture holds some values that stand in opposition to those of the dominant culture. Subcultures form around many different interests and activities. For example, people who decorate themselves to the extreme for sports games are a part of the basketball subculture, and are showing their solidarity to it. The cabbies subculture centers on their occupational...
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