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What is Sociology?. SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology Paul Prew. This Week. Today Revolution? What is Sociology? Syllabus and Course Content Next Class Pandora’s Box The relationship between social issues and social movements The Sociological Imagination

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what is sociology

What is Sociology?

SOC 101

Introduction to Sociology

Paul Prew

this week
This Week
  • Today
    • Revolution?
    • What is Sociology?
    • Syllabus and Course Content
  • Next Class
    • Pandora’s Box
      • The relationship between social issues and social movements
    • The Sociological Imagination
      • How do we understand the world we live in?
period of revolution
Period of Revolution?
  • While many generations believe they are in the middle of a turning point in history, you are in the middle of some of the most dramatic changes on Earth since the extinction of the dinosaurs.
climate change
Climate Change
  • Earth Faces 'Catastrophic Loss of Species’
    • http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0720-08.htm
  • 'Dead zone' startles scientists
    • http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1155178563281860.xml&coll=7&thispage=1
  • First Half of 2006 Is Warmest on Record
    • http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13860976/
local connections
Local Connections
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Fire Summer - 2006
    • http://www.startribune.com/462/story/555509.html
  • "The pines will start to come back, but that's a very slow process," said researcher Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Hardwood Ecology at the University of Minnesota.
  • "If global warming doesn't change the pattern, we could see a pine forest again by the year 2150 or 2200.”
    • http://www.startribune.com/462/story/610328.html
sociology is
Sociology is:
  • The Short Definition:
    • “The scientific study of societies and human social behavior” (pg 6).
  • Another Short Definition:
    • The study of how people organize themselves as they interact with nature to meet their needs.
slide7
Sociology is the study of how people organize themselves as they interact with nature to meet their needs.
  • How People Organize Themselves
    • People are not “people” outside of a social context!
    • The organization of a society is important to understand the culture and behavior of people.
  • Interact With Nature
    • People cannot survive without nature.
    • How people obtain their needs from nature shapes the society where a person lives.
sociology is8
Sociology is:
  • The Long Definition:
    • Social interaction of people in groups
    • Gender, racial and sexual relations
    • Historical development of civilizations
    • Political, economic and social institutions
    • People’s interaction with nature
    • And much more …
syllabus
Syllabus
  • One Book
    • Sullivan, Thomas J. 2007. Sociology: Concepts and Applications in a Diverse World.
  • Four Exams
    • Multiple Choice
    • No Make-ups !!!!
      • Final (fifth exam) is Optional
more syllabus info
More Syllabus Info
  • I will provide scantrons for exams.
  • Let me know if you have concerns or needs that you would like addressed.
  • Fine Print
    • Do not disturb your neighbors.
    • Do not cheat.
next class
Next Class
  • Pandora’s Box
    • The relationship between social issues and social movements
  • The Sociological Imagination
    • How do we understand the world we live in?
pandora s box14
Pandora’s Box
  • Pandora was sent to punish people for Prometheus’ gift of fire.
  • She was given a box and told not to open it.
  • It released all the ills of the world.
  • She opened it one last time and released “hope.”
answer the following questions
Answer the following questions:
  • What do you think is the most pressing problem that you will be facing in the next ten years?
  • What do you think is necessary to solve this problem?
  • How can people like you help in the process of solving the problem?
pandora s box and sociology
Pandora’s Box and Sociology
  • Sociology exposes the issues and problems that face us.
  • Social movements provide the hope to solve them.
ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is Bliss
  • If we do not attempt to understand the society around us, we tend not to trouble ourselves with the problems.
  • In this class, we will look at how the media and education makes it difficult to understand the world.
  • We will also look at issues like racism, climate change and the health care system to better understand them and also see what people are doing about these issues.
the sociological imagination
The Sociological Imagination
  • Understanding society by situating yourself in historical context.
  • Understanding society by moving from the large-scale to small-scale and back again.
    • What are the relationships between the large-scale and small-scale?
how do my problems fit in the bigger picture
How do my problems fit in the bigger picture?
  • Why are you paying so much for gas?
  • How am I going to afford tuition?
  • Why can't I get married if I'm gay?
  • What kind of job can I expect when I graduate?
situate yourself in history
Situate Yourself in History
  • Your life and the lives of others are part of a larger picture.
  • People have agency but there ability to determine their lives is constrained by other social forces.
    • What if the degree you chose has a glut of graduates?
larger picture
Cuba 2004

A Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds hit Cuba

1.5 million people evacuated

No deaths

US 2005

Hurricane with winds between 125-140mph (Cat 3-4)

Stranded victims and delayed response

Nearly 1,500 deaths

Larger Picture
large scale and small scale
Large-Scale and Small-Scale
  • On the small scale, we can talk about the personal failures of specific politicians.
  • On the large scale, we can look at the poverty in the region and the structure of agencies responsible for the levees and evacuation.
no easy answers
No Easy Answers
  • Because issues are a combination of large and small-scale forces, there are no simple answers.
  • Pointing fingers at immigrants or saying “they hate us for our freedom” does more to obscure an issue than understand it.
troubles vs issues
Troubles vs Issues
  • Troubles are specific to an individual
    • A person is depressed because of a death in the family.
  • Issues affect the broader society
    • Redefinition of depression by pharmaceutical companies means more people on anti-depressants.
next week
Next Week
  • Issues of Bias
  • Ethnocentrism
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