Me and Myself

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PART I. AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

1. What is sociology?
2. The sociological perspective
3. History of sociology as a science and its forerunners 4. How sociology started in the Philippines
5. How is Sociology similar and different from the other social and behavioral sciences?

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1. What is sociology?

- It is the study of the science of society, social institutions and social relationships - It is the systematic study of the development, structure, interactionism and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings. - It is the scientific study of human society

- It is interested in describing and explaining human behavior, especially as it occurs within a social context; less interested in the individual than in the group of withc they are a part, social influences affect our individual lives. - Social forces [social factors] influence the behavior of individuals

Sociology is the systematic study of how human societies shape the lives of people who live in them. People make lots of decisions in the course of living every day. But we make these decisions within the context of "society;" our family, school, nation and the larger world. The essential wisdom of sociology is; the social world guides our life choices just as the seasons influence our selection of activities and clothing.

2. The sociological perspective

- The point of view that each one of us take as we witness and observe social events

Two (2) aspects of the sociological perspective (by Peter Berger)

a. Sociology enables us to see the general in the particular – This means finding general patterns in particular events.

Example: Emile Durkheim’s pioneering study on suicide revealed that there are categories of people who are more likely to commit suicide. The suicide rate was higher for the males, Protestants, wealthy and the unmarried compared to the females, Catholics and Jews, the poor and the married. In general the more socially integrated people (formed by ties of affection and obligation) are less likely to end their lives. His study examined the recorded instances of suicide in France and Central Europe in the late 19th century.

b. Sociology enables us to see the strange in the familiar – This means detaching ourselves from common explanations by taking a new look at society. Human behavior is not simply a matter of what people decide to do; society shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Example: In the Philippines, a fresh graduate from college most likely will find it hard to find a job, especially one that fits his qualification/college degree. Should he be blamed for not finding employment when in the Philippines, the unemployment rate (13.7 %) and underemployment rate (18.5%) as of April 2004 are so high?

3. History of sociology as a science and its forerunners
Auguste Comte: the Father of Sociology
What sort of person would “invent” sociology?
Comte (1798-1857) grew up in the wake of the French Revolution, which brought a sweeping transformation to his country. And if that was not sufficient, another revolution was under way as factories were sprouting up across continental Europe, transforming the lives of the entire population. The establishment of industrial economy, the growth of cities, and emergence of different political ideas transformed social life. Problems such as unemployment, increasing crime rate, malnutrition etc. emerged. Comte proposed that to understand society, it should be analyzed as it really was unlike the early philosophers and theologians who looked at society in its ideal state. Comte further favored positivism, an approach to understanding the world based on science. He believed that society operates according to certain laws, just as the physical world operates according to gravity and other laws of nature.

2. Karl Marx – forerunner of the...
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