Sociology and Sociological Perspective

Topics: Sociology, Social sciences, Psychology Pages: 20 (6416 words) Published: July 4, 2013
Chapter 1 Sociology: Perspective, Theory, and Method ______________________________________________ Detailed Outline
I. 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.

II. 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. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.


Instructor’s Manual for Macionis Society: The Basics, 11/e


Applying the Sociological Perspective Applying the sociological perspective benefits us in many ways: A. Sociology and Public Policy Sociologists have helped shape public policy. B. Sociology and Personal Growth Using sociology benefits us in four distinct ways: 1. The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of “common sense.” 2. The sociological perspective helps us assess both opportunities and constraints in our lives. 3. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in society. 4. The sociological perspective helps us to live in a diverse world. C. Careers: The “Sociology Advantage” The application of sociology is evident in the role that sociology has had in shaping public policy and law in many ways. A background in sociology is also good preparation for the working world. An increasing number of sociologists work in all sorts of applied fields. 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 threestage 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...
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