Chapter 1: What is sociology?

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1 Chapter 1: What is sociology? Theorists/People Who Influenced Sociology Emile Durkheim ( ): French Sociologist Investigated suicide, looked at social influences/factors instead if individual reasons (named them social facts ) Egoistic suicides: suicides due to lack of social ties = high suicide rate Altruistic suicides: due to excessive social ties = high suicide rate Anomic suicides: extensive or rapid social change (unpredictability/no limits) =high suicide rate Fatalistic suicides: societies with too many rules and too few options = high suicide rate Believed that society is base on consensus and cooperation Believed society was like a human body; a collection of organs each performing their necessary functions, that segments of society were the organs, and the society as a whole was the body. Meaning that society could be fixed with the appropriate medicines and repairs Auguste Comte ( ): founder of Sociology Saw sociology as both science and religion Thought of sociologists as the priests to guide society Karl Marx ( ): Created the conflict theory Marxism Believe society was made up of individuals (the weak and the powerful) and that it was held together by the strongest who could use their power to coerce the weaker Meaning that social ills were chronic and serious and were built into society-cures can only come from radical social change in which the powerful were forcibly overthrown to establish more cooperation George Herbert Mead (1934): founded the earliest and still influential school of Microsociology and Symbolic Interactionism-Symbolic Interactionism theorist Everett Hughes: came to be known as one of the great sociologists of his time First affiliated with McGill then later Laval

2 Wrote French Canada in Transition (1943)-remains an international classic Leonard Marsh: from London School of Economics researched at McGill and researched Canadians during Great Depression (had a lasting impact on Canadian Society) helped found the League for Social Reconstruction-laid foundation for Canadian social security system John Porter: came to Carleton College/Uni from London School of economics produced the Vertical Mosaic textbook-another Canadian classic argued that even though Canada is ethnic and cultural, its unequal or vertically stratified (where he got the title for the book)-also thought by Marsh Harold Innis: a historical and institutional economist trained at Uni of Chicago in economics, influenced by Chicago style Soc argued that changes in basic staples (needs) (i.e fur, fish, timber) shaped political and social changed his studies from transportation of goods to communication of information his work influenced of an English prof from Uni of Toronto called Marshall McLuhan Marshall McLuhan: Canada s most internationally celebrated scholar his thesis: that media shapes the economic, political, social and cultural environment, but also the very nature of human consciousness that media is an extension of whatever humans seek or sense- and that it is a dominant medium of communication the medium is the message Samuel D.Clark: student of Innis Led a small group of sociologists out of political economics at Uni of Toronto to establish the first Soc department in Canada outside of Quebec Educated at Uni of Saskatchewan, then London school of Economics, then McGill History of Soc.: The French and Industrial Revolutions (18 th century) brought sociologies modern development

3 Both ^ caused upheavals; French Revolution expanded democracy, Industrial Revolutioncreated new economy, growth of trade, cities and new work Around the same time of the above ^, the enlightenment brought science...which replaced religion and theological explanations...affected sociology-upheavals were caused and cooperation was an end result of this The reign of terror and mass executions from the same time period in the French and Industrial Revolution, made a need for new discipline...thus was born the modern science of sociology British influence was brought over by Leonard Marsh from London School of Economics Functionalism: a theory that explains how elements contribute to social stability and functionality, aka female prostitution is beneficial to males, families, economy etc and that s why it is kept around otherwise it would disappear Durkheim s theory- cooperation and consensus Equilibrium: state of balance and consensus, that a change in one part of society will be felt in others, is the natural state of society (part of functionalism theory) Dysfunction: minor problems and upset in society. Society returns to equilibrium after dysfunction (part of functionalism theory) Development: new social forms and functional integration gradually. Society adapts to its problems and is improved in process (part of functionalism theory) Conflict Theory: suggests that power holds society together, that conflict is society s natural state and that revolutions and radical upheavals is the fuel for social change and improvement Believes that a major source of social conflict is inequality and that it needs to be eradicated Believes that existing social arrangements benefit the powerful Agrees to some degree in cooperation and consensus but that it results from coercion and dominance Marxism theory (that society is held together by Capitalist domination) Symbolic Interactionism and the Micro Perspective: The view that individual actions can and do affect the larger group

4 Micro-sociologists begin their analyses with individuals and their interactions as opposed to the large group and view them as active agents. Claim that humans think and interact on the basis of information encoded in strings Blumer (1969-theorist) viewed humans act toward things on the basis of the meanings that the things have for them-sumbolic interactionism theorist Homans (1950) determined that the nature of individual-level processes and interaction from the psychology of learning Coleman (1990) determined the nature of social interaction from microeconomists Max Weber: believed that sociologists must be able to empathize and understand symbolic interactionism theorist Learning theory: individuals learn in a variety of ways, this can be explained by their social life as the people they interact with mutually shape each other s behaviour based on their past history, rewards, punishments and interactions Rational Choice theory: the idea that individuals make choices based on careful costbenefit considerations, with intention of maximizing benefits while minimizing costs Feminist Theories: Is broadly defined as one of women from their standpoint and for women in the political sense of change Variations of inequality and oppression based on race, social class, age and sexual orientation Does not treat gender as one variable among many, instead the main focus is directly on gender because gender crosscuts all aspects of social life Four areas of consensus in feminist sociology: activist type (public awareness), as gender is important in all fields of study, as feminist sociology is more accepting of a broader range of approaches to research (bringing forth a non-objective point of view) and feminist approaches often mix different sociological perspectives (except from functionalism) Sociology in Canada: In Early phase of sociology in English/French Canada, it hardly existed as a discipline Was influenced by the human ecology approach of Robert Park and his student Roderick Mackenzie at the Uni of Chicago in 1920s and eventually Uni of Michigan (1987) therefore Canada was influenced from American Uni s as they did it first under a Protestant-based social gospel movement for social reform

5 Human ecology approach: studies the geographical zones and natural history w/ succession and change of communities Chicago approach: mixes conflict and functional approaches First sociology department in Canada- McGill Uni in 1925 under Charles A. Dawson (trained at Uni of Chicago and co-author of first Canadian soc. Textbook) French-Canada established ethics and sociology at Universite Laval with the leader Jean- Charles Falardeau the first prof trained in sociology francophone in Canada (1943- become soc. department in 1951). Therefore the first classics of Canadian sociology emerged from McGill and Laval By 1960-sociology was established in Canada, still limited to Quebec and Toronto, inherited Chicago style of 1920 s and combined historical approach 1960 was also babyboom period, needing new universities, therefore new Soc departments arose, creating a demand for Soc teachers (mostly foreign, immigrated) By % of Soc profs were not Canadian Citizens...conflicts arose-different teaching styles, on Canadians territory, racism, conflict with students Due to conflicts, The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada established (1975)-which led to attempts to place limits on hiring of foreigners in Soc In Quebec- led to Quiet Revolution (the state took over education from Catholic church), more Soc departments were added, conflict arose from more departments and diff. views To this day there s still a difference in Quebec and English Canada sociology-quebec focuses on social policy and applied studies rather than pure sociology Future Challenges The gap between rich and poor countries and accelerating globalization The weakening of existing nation-states The high immigration rate and Canada s federation The discrimination based on race, gender, age and sexual orientation The fate of human societies and species based on resources depletion rate and environment degradation (global warming etc) Terms from Chapter 1: Sociology: study of human patterned behaviour and social relationships, and the outside/social influences that effect ones behaviour and interactions

6 Macro Focus: theorists that have a view that concerns more with groups or societies and their interrelationships and downplay the influence of individual actors Marginal Value Theorem: from micro perspective; most important principle; describes a rational actor that will allocate energy, time or other resources in action to receive satisfaction from the last. High gain, low energy used. (margin amount used) Game Theory: from micro perspective; is required to predict behaviour; a theory of social interaction, which attempts to explain the interaction people have with one another. As the name of the theory suggests, game theory sees human interaction as just that: a game. Game theory takes into account relative marginal utility and costs

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