Chapter 1 Developing a Sociological Perspective
Chapter Outline • What is Sociology? • The Sociological Imagination • The Significance of Diversity • The Development of Sociology • Theoretical Frameworks in Sociology
What Is Sociology? • The study of human behavior in society. • A scientific way to think about society and its influence on humans. • Includes the study of social behavior and social change.
Question • What do the following people have in common? • Dan Akroyd (actor; comedian) • Debra Winger (actress) • Saul Bellow (novelist; Nobel Prize recipient) • Joe Theissman (NFL quarterback) • Rev. Jesse Jackson • Robin Williams (comedian; actor) • Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. • Ronald Reagan
Answer • They were all sociology majors.
Disciplines of Sociology • Psychology analyzes human behavior. • Anthropology is the study of human cultures. • Political Science is the study of politics.
Disciplines of Sociology • Economics studies the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. • Social Work uses the social sciences to serve people in need.
The Sociological Imagination • Ability to see societal patterns that influence life. • C. Wright Mills wrote about sociological perspective in The Sociological Imagination. • Sociology can reveal how society shapes our lives.
Troubles and Issues • Troubles are private problems in an individual’s life. • Issues affect large numbers of people • Issues shape the context within which troubles arise.
Debunking • Studying the patterns and processes that shape behavior. • Questioning actions and ideas that are usually taken for granted. • Acting as “an outsider within.”
Understanding Diversity • Understanding diversity is critical to understanding society because patterns of social change and social structure are influenced by diverse group experiences. • Diversity includes: • the shaping of social institutions by different social factors • the formation of group and individual identity • the process of social change
Sociology and the Enlightenment • Faith in the ability of human reason to solve society’s problems. • Belief that natural laws and processes in society are used for the general good.
Influence of the Enlightenment • Positivists - society could be studied using the natural sciences. • Humanitarianism - human reason can direct social change for the betterment of society.
Sociology in Europe: Comte • French philosopher • Coined the term sociology • Believed sociology could discover laws of human social behavior and help solve society’s problems
Sociology in Europe: Tocqueville • French citizen who traveled to the United States 1831 • Wrote an analysis of U.S. democratic culture and society. • In the United States the tyranny of kings was replaced by the “tyranny of the majority.”
Sociology in Europe: Martineau • British citizen who toured the United States in 1834. • Wrote Society in America, an analysis of social customs she observed. • Wrote first sociological methods book on participant observation.
Classical SociologicalTheory: Durkheim • Viewed society as an entity larger than the sum of its parts. • Conceptualized social facts as social patterns external to individuals. • Discovered the social basis of human behavior.
Classical SociologicalTheory: Marx • Work was devoted to explaining how capitalism shaped society. • Profit is produced through the exploitation of the working class. • Considered the economic organization of society the most important influence on what humans think and how they behave.
Classical SociologicalTheory: Weber • Theorized that society had three dimensions: political, economic,and cultural. • Believed that to understand social behavior one had to understand the meaning that a behavior had for social actors.
Sociology in America • American sociologists believed sociology could help solve social problems. • The Chicago School - concerned with the relationship of individual to society and society as a human laboratory.
Key Sociological Concepts • Social structureOrganized pattern of social relationships and institutions that together constitute society • Social institutionsEstablished and organized systems of social behavior with a recognized purpose.
Key Sociological Concepts • Social changeThe alteration of society over time. • Social interactionA behavior between two or more people that is given meaning.
Polling Question • Which sociological perspective do you think is generally the weakest in explaining things in our society? A.) Functionalist B.) Conflict Theory C.) Symbolic interaction
Polling Question • Which sociological perspective do you think explains the concept of inequality in our society the most accurately? A.) Functionalist B.) Conflict Theory C.) Symbolic interaction
1. Sociology is the study of: a. personality types b. political philosophy c. human behavior d. the distribution of goods and services
Answer: c • Sociology is the study of human behavior.
2. The ability to see the societal patterns that influence individual and group life is referred to as: a. commonsense b. social speedup c. Wright's Theorem d. the sociological imagination
Answer: d • The ability to see the societal patterns that influence individual and group life is referred to as the sociological imagination.
3. The sociologist that first coined the term sociology is: a. Auguste Comte b. Emile Durkheim c. Karl Marx d. Harriet Martineau
Answer: a • The sociologist that first coined the term sociology is Auguste Comte.
4. According to Karl Marx, the most important influence on what humans think and how they behave is: a. the socio-emotional organization of society b. the economic organization of society c. the political organization of society d. the religious organization of society
Answer : b • According to Karl Marx, the most important influence on what humans think and how they behave is the economic organization of society.
5. Symbolic interactionism emphasizes: a. the role of coercion and power b. class struggles c. face-to-face contact d. the interdependent parts of society
Answer: c • Symbolic interactionism emphasizes face-to-face contact.