The Sociological Perspective
Sociology is the systematic study of human society. At the heart of the discipline is a distinctive point of view called the “sociological perspective,” which involves a special kind of “vision”: A. Seeing the general in the particular
The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behavior of particular individuals. B. Seeing the strange in the familiar
This perspective also encourages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds. C. Seeing society in our everyday choices
Emile Durkheim’s research showed that the suicide rate was strongly influenced by the extent to which people were socially integrated with others. D. Seeing sociologically: marginality and crisis
The greater people’s social marginality, the better able they are to use the sociological perspective. Just as social change encourages sociological thinking, sociological thinking can bring about social change.
Emile Durkheim – one of sociology’s pioneers, showed social forces are at work even in such intensely personal action as suicide, providing strong evidence of how social forces affect individual behavior. Social diversity – being set apart as a outsiders.
Benefits of the Sociological perspective
1. The sociological perspective helps us critically assess “commonsense” ideas. 2. The sociological perspective helps us to see the opportunities and constraints in our lives. 3. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in our society 4. The sociological perspective helps us live in a diverse world
The Importance of a Global Perspective
A. Sociologists also strive to see issues in global perspective, defined as the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it. B. There are three different types of nations in the world: 1. The world’s high-income countries are industrialized nations in which most people have relatively high incomes. 2. The world’s middle-income countries have limited industrialization and moderate personal income. 3. The world’s low-income countries have little industrialization and most people are poor. 4. Global thinking is an important component of the sociological perspective for four reasons: a. Where we live makes a great difference in shaping our lives. b. Societies the world over are increasingly interconnected, making traditional distinctions between “us” and “them” less and less valid. c. Many human problems faced in the United States are far more serious elsewhere. d. Thinking globally is a good way to learn more about ourselves.
The Origins of Sociology
The birth of sociology resulted from powerful and complex social forces: A. Social Change and Sociology
Three major social changes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are important to the development of sociology: 1. The rise of industrial technology
2. The growth of cities
3. Political change, including a rising concern with individual liberty and rights (e.g., the French revolution)
B. Science and Sociology Auguste Comte believed that the major goal of sociology was to understand society as it actually operates. Comte saw sociology as the product of a three-stage historical development: 1. The theological stage, in which thought was guided by religion 2. The metaphysical stage, a transitional phase
3. The scientific stage
The scientific stage would be guided by positivism: a scientific approach to knowledge based on “positive” facts as opposed to mere speculation.
A theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related. The goal of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world. Theories are based on theoretical approaches, or basic images of society that guides thinking and research. Sociologists ask two basic questions: “What issues should we study?”, and “How should we connect the facts?” There are three major sociological approaches: A. The structural-functional approach...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document