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Background to Sociology. Scientific revolution of 17 th century “Enlightenment” Philosophy of 18 th c. French Revolution (1789--) Industrial Revolution (19 th century). Scientific Revolution. Newton: physical world governed by invariant laws

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Background to sociology
Background to Sociology

  • Scientific revolution of 17th century

  • “Enlightenment” Philosophy of 18th c.

  • French Revolution (1789--)

  • Industrial Revolution (19th century)

Scientific revolution
Scientific Revolution

  • Newton: physical world governed by invariant laws

  • Locke: all ideas from sensations, from the outside

  • Descartes: supremacy of reason, cognition

  • Francis Bacon: empiricism

Church view
Church View

  • Life “here and now” a preparation for the afterlife, entry into the kingdom of God

  • Humanity under curse of original sin

  • Physical universe is “God’s mystery”

  • Active providence

  • Knowledge from authority, tradition

  • Humanity in decline (‘The Fall’)

The enlightenment
The “Enlightenment”

  • Happiness in the “here and now”

  • Freedom from physical and mental coercion

  • Reason: as a human faculty and as a force

  • Nature: nature is reasonable, can reveal Natural Law, affect human conduct

  • Natural Science as method of understanding

  • Progress: human world can get better

Extension of enlightenment principles
Extension of Enlightenment principles

  • Natural law and natural rights the basis of the political community

  • Pursuit of individual interests is good

  • Political freedom is “natural” including freedom to own land

  • Education should be for the development of human faculties

  • Knowledge should be based on empirical analysis

Auguste comte
Auguste Comte

  • Tried to overcome conflicting points of view through science

  • Believed that warfare caused by differing points of view based on substandard knowledge

  • Thought that science and the scientific method could provide a new authoritative belief system

Comte s law of three stages
Comte’s “Law of three stages”

  • Human thought has evolved through these stages:

  • Theological

  • Metaphysical (abstract principles)

  • Positive (scientific)

The sciences have progressed by moving into the positive stage in a sequence
The Sciences have progressed by moving into the positive stage in a sequence

  • Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Phrenology (psychology?), (and finally) SOCIOLOGY

Sociology would provide the new blueprint for a society
Sociology would provide the new blueprint for a society stage in a sequence

  • With a plan based on science, society could be reorganized to achieve peace and prosperity (order and progress)

  • A system of education, industry, and law based on the science of sociology

  • A world government to settle disputes and avoid war

Problems with comte
Problems with Comte: stage in a sequence

  • Phrenology a pseudo-science

  • Premise that we are “born” to fulfill a specialized role is suspect (natural inequality)

  • Replaced dogma of Church with dogma of Sociology

  • Vision of a “managed society”

Emile durkheim
Emile Durkheim stage in a sequence

  • Tried to give respectability to sociology

  • Criticized the assumptions of the liberal society of his time (19th century)

  • Founder of “Functionalism”

  • Worked from the Positivist perspective

Durkheim s positivism
Durkheim’s positivism stage in a sequence

  • There is a unity to nature

  • Social phenomenon are part of the objective world of nature

  • Social phenomenon are subject to their own laws which are “natural”

  • Social causality

Basic concepts durkheim
Basic Concepts (Durkheim) stage in a sequence

  • Social Facts as objective reality

  • Social Facts (1)=Rates

  • Social Facts(2)=institutions (with their rules)

  • Are external to the individual

  • Exercise a constraint

Durkheim more concepts
Durkheim—more concepts stage in a sequence

  • Mechanical Solidarity (the bond based on similarity)

  • Organic Solidarity (the bond based on interdependence and specialization)

Suicide study challenged these
Suicide Study—Challenged these: stage in a sequence

  • Suicide caused by climate/geography

  • Suicide caused by “Race” (genetic factors)

  • Suicide caused by Mental Disease

Suicide rates are social facts

Protestant rates higher than Catholics, higher than Jews stage in a sequence

Single persons rate higher than married

People from small families higher than people from large families

Higher education, higher suicide rate

Society during peacetime higher than wartime

Suicide rates are social facts

One cause higher degree of egoism
One Cause: higher degree of Egoism stage in a sequence

  • Weaker bonds within the group, or weaker social solidarity

  • Or, isolation from a group

  • Egoism=little shared group life or, “weakened social integration”

Opposite of egoism altruism
Opposite of Egoism=Altruism stage in a sequence

  • Group bonds too strong, life of individual unimportant compared to group

Another dimension anomie
Another dimension: Anomie stage in a sequence

  • Changes in relation between the individual and “controlling circumstances”

  • Anomie= being without norms (rules)

  • A-norm

Examples: stage in a sequence

  • Divorce

  • Widowhood

  • Unemployment

  • Losing wealth

  • Rapid wealth gain

Opposite of anomie fatalism
Opposite of Anomie=Fatalism stage in a sequence

  • Excessive regulation

Examples: stage in a sequence

  • Suicide of prisoners

  • Suicide of slaves

  • Suicide by wives in a traditional family system

Karl marx 1818 1883
Karl Marx 1818-1883 stage in a sequence

  • Philosophy Student, Journalism

  • Allied with “Left Hegelians” in 1840s

  • Germany-Belgium-France-England

  • International Workers Movement

  • Best known for Manifesto of the Communist League and Capital

Basics: stage in a sequence

  • Humans must (necessarily) interact with natural environment through human labor

  • Humans produce their “means of subsistence”

  • Humans create their own history (including the institutions of human society)—although they are not always aware of it

Marx stages of human societies
Marx: Stages of Human Societies stage in a sequence

  • 1.Pre-class (tribal)

  • 2. Asiatic

  • 3. Ancient (Greece, Rome)

  • 4. Feudalism

  • 5. Capitalism

History based on class conflict
“History” based on Class Conflict stage in a sequence

  • Class structure different depending on type of society

  • Tribal societies have no social class structure


Capitalism stage in a sequence

Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat

Worker s protest through
Worker’s Protest Through: stage in a sequence

  • Labor Unions

  • Political Parties

  • “Underground” Parties

The sociology of karl marx
The Sociology of Karl Marx Working Class

  • Progress through the development of the “forces of production”

  • Philosophy, religion and the “idea systems” of a society based on the nature of the economic base of a society (the forces and relations of production taken together)

Economic base consists of
Economic base consists of: Working Class

  • Productive forces (labor power, means of production [tools etc], raw materials)

  • Social Relations of Production (the property relations, system of ownership)

Marx major concerns
Marx: major concerns Working Class

  • How social life is structured by the commodity relationship under capitalism (alienation, treating people as a means to an end)

  • Economic crisis of capitalism, monopoly

  • Social change

Marx dialectical and anti positivist

Marx: Dialectical and anti-positivist Working Class

Capitalism has “laws”, but are specific to this mode of production. Society and its institutions are ultimately under the control of the members.

Max weber 1864 1920
Max Weber (1864-1920) Working Class

  • Criticized the materialist side of Marx

  • Was anti-positivist

  • No “general history” of humans (e.g. evolutionary theory)

  • Every choice involves a tradeoff

  • Sociology to deal with specific problems or issues

Max weber s sociology context
Max Weber’s sociology: context Working Class

  • Historical school (study the unique cultural productions of a society)

  • Positivism=look for the general laws that structure societies

Weber s method
Weber’s method: Working Class

  • Rejects Positivism (need to look at the meaning that events, actions have for a group)=Verstehen sociology

  • Rejects historicism. There are a relatively small number of concepts that enable us to comprehend various societies and the historical past.

Limited number of types of social action
Limited number of types of social action: Working Class

  • 1. Rationally purposeful action (Zweckrational) instrumental rationality (varies among individuals)

  • 2. Vertrational=Value-rational goals or ends defined in terms of subjectively meaningful values (noble death)(salvation)

  • 3. Affective action (emotional, impulsive)

  • 4.Traditional

Limited number of types of authority
Limited number of types of authority: Working Class

  • 1. Legal rational

  • 2. Traditional

  • 3. Charismatic

Weber s concerns
Weber’s concerns: Working Class

  • 1. Uniqueness of Western Society=Science and Capitalism

  • 2. Capitalism (bureaucracy) has standardized the experiences of all individuals (iron cage of bureaucracy) loss of “magic”

  • 3. How religion influences personality and behavior

  • 4. Use of sociology to deal with problems of German Society

Weber s sociological method
Weber’s sociological method Working Class

  • Value freedom (separation of analysis from personal values)

  • Sociological inquiry cannot establish values

  • Verstehen (interpretive) method

  • No reconciliation between individual and society (competing demands)

Comparisons: Working Class

  • Marx: sociology for enlightenment, de-mystification of understanding

  • Durkheim: search for General Laws of human society (cannot be changed, only adapted to)

  • Weber: cannot escape from the structured choices that individuals face

Current major approaches
Current major approaches: Working Class

  • 1 functionalism (how do actions, activities maintain the social order?)

  • 2. Symbolic interactionism—in interaction people create rules, meanings

  • 3. Conflict theory

Causality in science metaphor
Causality in science—metaphor? Working Class

  • Positivism: cause-effect model independent variable causing changes in dependent variable

  • Weber: multiple causes (meaning antecedents or limiting factors)

  • Marx: system of capitalism imposes limits on behavior

Sociological research
Sociological Research Working Class

  • 1.experiments

  • 2. Surveys

  • 3. Observation (unobtrusive) and “participant”

  • 4. Comparative and Historical

  • 5. Analysis of existing data (archival)

  • 6. Community, institutional study.

Approach to research
Approach to Research Working Class

  • 1. “Researchable Problem”

  • 2. Review Literature

  • 3. Formulating a Hypothesis --operational definitions

  • 4. Research Design

  • 5. Data Collection

  • 6. Data Analysis 7. conclusions

Major approaches text
Major approaches (Text) Working Class

  • Functionalism

  • Conflict theory

  • Symbolic Interactionist (Interactionist)

Other approaches
Other approaches Working Class

  • Critical Theory (Frankfurt School)

  • (used Marx and Freud)

  • (capitalism and culture)