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SOCIOLOGY!. What is it?. What is Sociology. Scientific study of social phenomena Social Science discipline concerned with the systematic study of human society Behaviours and Interactions in households, institutions, communities and wider society

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What is it?

what is sociology
What is Sociology
  • Scientific study of social phenomena
  • Social Science discipline concerned with the systematic study of human society
    • Behaviours and Interactions in households, institutions, communities and wider society
    • In that way, sociology can be helpful to the other disciplines of economics, political science, general and social psychology, management and social work
why is sociology necessary
Why is Sociology Necessary?
  • Allows for investigation of how social forces or phenomena influence/affect behaviour

Macionis and Plummer assert that “Sociology’s basic insight is that where we are placed in a society profoundly affects individual experiences.”

Translated, this means that our geographical location, social class position, culture, for eg., have the potential to affect our life chances as individuals and nations. Sociology helps us to see that and to examine it.

importance of sociology
Importance of Sociology
  • Systematic study of social phenomena (including problems)
  • Understanding problems of social exclusion and marginalization
  • Investigating and understanding social crises
  • Explaining social responses to poverty, exclusion, marginalization, prejudice and discrimination
social problems
Social Problems
  • Crime, violence and anti-social behaviour
  • Poverty
  • Injustice, social exclusion and marginalization
  • Teenage Pregnancy & Adolescent Parenting
  • High Risk Behaviours
  • Unemployment
  • Street and Working Children
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Pedophilia
  • Incest (including buggery of boys)
  • Carnal Abuse
contributions of sociology
Contributions of Sociology
  • Research and Investigation
  • Social Policy Formulation
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Advocacy and Change
important sociological concepts
Important Sociological Concepts
  • Groups
  • Organizations
  • Culture
  • Socialization
  • Values and Norms
  • Status and Roles
social groups
Social Groups
  • Meaning can be imprecise
  • “Two or more people who identify and interact with one another (M&P).
    • Can transcend local borders (not with internet)
    • Interaction means actors orient behaviour towards each other
    • Most interaction is patterned/organized (predictable and stable) leading to reciprocal expectations
  • Building blocks of society – Throughout life we will belong to a variety of groups, each with different degrees of importance, influences, views of ourselves and world views.
group characteristics
Group Characteristics
  • Features include:
    • A distinctive set of social relations among members
    • Mutual awareness of other members
    • Interdependence among various people
    • Feeling that the behaviour of each member is relevant to other members (responsiveness to members)
    • Sense of membership – “we” feeling (shared loyalties, interests, experiences)
other group distinctions
Other Group Distinctions
  • Primary and Secondary Groups
  • Reference Group
    • Social group that serves as point of reference in making evaluations or decisions
  • In-Group (us)
  • Out-Group (them)
    • These latter 2 exist in relation to each other and highlight the fact of group boundaries, important for distinguishing between members and non-members
crowds and categories
Crowds and Categories
  • People at bus stop/beach
    • Temporary grouping of individuals who may or may not interact in close proximity to each other, with the potential to be transformed into a group (could be seen as a loosely formed group).
  • Youth, Single Parents, Rastafarians, Burn Victims, Elderly
    • Persons who have common characteristics. They share at least one socially relevant characteristic (age, marital status, beliefs, trauma) that allow them to be classified together. No implication of interaction or physical proximity among them
social categories
Social Categories
  • Sociologically important because:
    • Persons in the categories may share certain attitudes and characteristics
    • They are often the basis on which social groups are formed
    • Often the basis on which social policy is formulated and targeted