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Sociology Notes

By rockmedic Feb 03, 2012 1332 Words
Sociology Chapter 1 notes

Define –
Sociology: is the systematic study of human society and social interaction.

Society: is a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

Sociological imagination: the ability to see the relationship between the individual experiences and the larger society.

Industrialization: the process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries.

Urbanization: the process by which an increasing portion of the population lives in cities rather than areas.

High income country: nations with highly industrialized economies; technologically advanced industrial, administrative, and service occupations; and relatively high levels of national and personal income.

Middle: nations with industrializing economies, particularly in urban areas, and moderate levels of national and personal income.

Low: primarily agrarian nations with little industrialization and low levels of national and personal income.

Suicide – as a personal issue, many consider it a personal failure. This is seen as a problem must be solved by individuals within their immediate social setting.

As a public issue – not viewed as an isolated act and may be a inherited tendency. When viewed as a public issue suicide is possibly a result of large spread issues.

Importance of the global sociological imagination.
-your future is intertwined with the future of other nations and it's people.

-understanding diversity and developing tolerance is important for social, personal and economic well being.

Race -physical characteristics
Ethnicity – Country of origin.
Class – based on wealth, power and prestige.

Sex and gender

Sex – refers to the biological and anatomical differences.

Gender – sex that you identify with.


The process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture to dependence on manufactured goods.

First occurred in Britain in 1760- 1850.

Resulted in massive economic, tech and social changes.

People were force to leave the rural areas and move to metro areas.


the process by which a population moves to cities rather than rural area.

Factory system lead to rapid increase in city size.

People from diverse backgrounds began working together and living together.

Led to development of new social problems: inadequate housing, crowding, poor sanitation, poverty, pollution and crime.


August Comte

Considered the founder of sociology

Positivism – a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry.

Comte believed that objective, bias free knowledge was attainable only through the use of science rather than religion.

Two dimensions of positivism

Methodological: the application of scientific knowledge to both physical and social phenomena.

Social and political: The use of such knowledge to predict the likely results of different policies so the best one can be chosen.

Harriet Martineau

Believed that society would improve when:

Women and men were treated equally.
Enlightened reform occurred
Cooperation existed among all social classes.

Herbert Spencer

He contributed to an evolutionary perspective on social order and social change.

Social Darwinism – the belief that those species of animals, including human beings, best adapted to their environment survive and prosper, whereas those poorly adapted die out.

Emile Durkheim

He believed in stressed the people were the product of their social environment and behavior could not be understood fully in terms of individual biological and physiological traits.

He believed that the limits of human potential are socially based, not biologically based.

One of the most important contributions was the concept of social facts.

Socials facts are the patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one person but exert social control over each person.

Karl Marx

He stressed that history is a continuous clash between conflict and ideas and forces.

Believed class conflict produced social change and a better society.

He also believed the most important changes are economic. He concluded that the capitalistic economic system was responsible for the overwhelming poverty that he observed in London at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

His definition of the working class is composed of those who must sell their labor because they have no other means of livelihood.

Status quo: the existing state of society.

He combined ideas from philosophy, history and social science into a new theory.

Max Weber

Believed sociological research should exclude personal values and economic interests. Weber made significant contributions to modern sociology by emphasizing the goal of value free inquiry and the necessity of understanding how others see the world.

Provided insights on rationalization, bureaucracy and religion.

George Simmel

Theorized about society as a web of patterned interactions among people.

He analyzed how social interactions vary depending on the size of the social group.

He developed formal sociology, an approach that focuses attention on the universal reoccurring forms that underlie the varying content of social interaction. Simmel referred to these forms as “ geometry of social life."

Jane Addams

She founded Hull House, one of the most famous settlement houses in Chicago.

She was the author of a textbook used for the next forty years. This text was named Hull- House maps and papers

She was awarded the Nobel Prize for her assistance to the underprivileged.

W E B Du Bois

“Double Consciousness” he was one of the first scholars to note that a dual heritage creates conflict for people of color. He researched the conflict of being both a black and an American.

Pointed out that people in the US espouse values of democracy, freedom and equality while they accept racism and group discrimination. African-Americans are the victims of these conflicting values and the actions that result from them.

Theoretical perspectives

Theory: a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and occasionally predict social event.

Based on how social life is organized.

The major perspectives in US sociology are:

Functionalist perspective: Composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability. Based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly system. The majority of members share a common set of values, beliefs, and behavioral expectations.

Conflict perspective: Society is characterized by social inequality, social life is a struggle for scarce resources.

Symbolic Intereactionalists perspective: Behavior is learned in interaction with other people. The sociological approach that views society as the sum of the interactions of individuals and groups.

Postmodernist perspective: the sociological approach that attempts to explain social life in modern societies that are characterized by post industrialization, consumerism, and global communications.

Research is the process of systematically collecting information for the purpose of testing an existing theory or generating a new one.

Research and theory are a constant cycle.

Quantitative v. Qualitative research and the methods of each.

Quantitative research: is sociological research methods that are based on the goal of scientific objectivity and that focus on data that can be measured numerically.

Qualitative research: is when interpretative descriptions rather than statistics are used to analyze underlying meanings and patterns of social relationships.

Hypothesis: a statement of the expected relationship between two or more variables.

Variable: is any concept with measurable traits or characteristics that can change or vary from one person, time, situation, or society to another.

Independent variable: is the presumed to be the cause of the relationship.

Dependent variable: is assumed to be caused by the independent variable.

Validity: the extent to which a study or research instruments accurately measures what is supposed to measure.

Reliability: the extent to which a study or research instrument yields consistent results when applied to different individuals at one time or the same individuals over time.

In a causal relationship increased depression equals increased suicide rate. With the inverse causal relationship decreased social integration equals increased suicide rate.

ASA code of ethics include that researchers must endeavor to maintain objectivity and integrity in their research by disclosing the research findings and full. This includes data that do not support their own viewpoint. Researchers must safeguard the adjustments right privacy. Researchers must protect confidential information provided by the participants. Researchers must acknowledge research collaboration and assistance they receive from others and disclose all sources of financial support.

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