The Nature of Studying Society Society and Culture with Family Planning Meaning of Sociology Sociology Latin word “socious” meaning companion or associate and the Greek word “LOGOS” meaning study. Combining two words will mean study of associates or companions Sociology is the study of society, groups, and social behavior. (Broom, Bonjean, Broom 1990) Sociology is the scientific study of human society. This means that sociologist are interested in describing and explaining human behavior, especially as it occurs within in a social context. Why study Sociology? 1. 2. 3. 4. To understand the world we live in and the intricate realties of group interaction and social processes/ To explain and understand human behavior in a society To determine the existence of groups, their functions, nature and characteristics To understand “how” and “why” human beings act the way they do. The Emergence of Sociology August Comte (1789-1857) 1. French Mathematician and Philosopher who proposed a separate new science of society (social physics). In 1839, he changed it to “Sociology”, a word he invented. He divided Sociology into two areas: a. Social Static – concerned with the various parts of society and how these parts of society are held together (now called social structure) b. Social Dynamics – concerned with the analysis of change within and among the various parts of society (now called social process) He is the founder of sociology and is best known for his 6 volume “Positive Philosophy. Based on the philosophy of “Positivism”, he identified three stages in understanding society: a. b. c. Theological Stage – society is an expression of God’s will. Metaphysical Stage – people are less likely to see society as the work of supernatural forces and placed more emphasis on the forces Scientific Stage – the final stage in understanding. This approach is called positivism, which he defined as a path to understanding the world based on science. a. The philosophy emphasizes the techniques of observation, comparison and experimentation in the development of knowledge regarding the nature of society and human action. 2. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) British Philsopher-scientist Advanced the thesis that evolution accounts for the social and natural life. He stressed the society is similar to a living organism with part working together in order to survive. Guiding principle: Society must adapt to its environment to effect natural change, which will inevitably bring progress and perfection. Societies developed through a process of “struggle” (for existence) and “fitness” (for survival), which he referred to as the “survival of the fittest.” Spencer equated this process of natural selection with progress because only the fittest members of society would succeed. Karl Marx (1818-1883) 3. A philosopher, economist and social activist Stressed that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas and forces. He believe that conflict, especially class conflict, is necessary in order to produce social change and better society/ Marx regarded private property and capitalism as the root causes of poverty. Two of the most enduring legacies of Karl Marx are the theories of “Economic Determinism” and the “Dialiectic” Economic Determinism Economic relationship provide the foundation of which all other social and political arrangement are built. He believe that family structure, law, and religion would be developed after adapting to the economic structure. The Dialectic Marx view change as a products of contradictions and conflicts between parts of society. He predicted that the conflict between “haves” and the “havenots” or the ruling class and the working class respectively, would lead to a new economic system. Conflict is the only factor that can bring change to a society. Emile Durkheim 4. A French intellectual who viewed society as a total entity, as something more than the sum of its parts. The combination of the parts, according to Durkheim’s major concern was the balance between regulation and freedom. Based on his classic studies entitled “Suicide”, when society over-regulates and there is less freedom, “fatalistic suicide occurs and less regulation, we have “anomic suicide”. Example The suicide method became one of the most prevalent tactics of Palestinian Terrorism in Israel. Who are these people willing to sacrifice their lives and what drives them to do such things? We answer these questions, while relying on the concepts of altruistic and fatalistic suicide from Durkheim's typology of suicide behavior. Palestinian suicide terrorists from 1993 until the beginning of 2002, fit the "altruistic" type as well as some elements from the "fatalistic" and represent a combination of both types; thus they can be labeled under a new category of "fatalistic altruistic" suicide. This kind of suicide is related to too low of a degree of regulation. This type of suicide is committed during times of great stress or change. Without regulation, a person cannot set reachable goals and in turn people get extremely frustrated. Life is too much for them to handle and it becomes meaningless to them. An example of this is when the market crashes or spikes. Max Weber (1864-1920) 5. A German economist, historian and philosopher To understand the behavior of the individual attributes to that behavior, we have to understand the meaning of the individual attributes to that behavior. Weber’s work was the basis for “Verstehen Sociology,” which emphasizes the subjective meaning of human actions. Verstehen- German word meaning “understanding. Weber was more interested in analyzing the meaning of a social pattern than in looking for universal laws of human behavior. In sociology, we analyze the importance of social rituals and social bonds. Symbols and rituals tie us together and reinforce our bonds as we celebrate or mourn together. Weddings are a public social ritual, tying together two (or more) families into a new kinship network. People are now related who were previously not, and those present at the wedding participate in acknowledging and celebrating these ties. Close relatives and friends participate in forging the new family. Old friends and new friends also participate as do co-workers and neighbors. Thus a diverse group of people, many of whom might never have met, participate in the event. We now have double the relatives that we had before! Most of these new relatives live far away from where we are, the technology of the day helps reinforce these ties. Our Facebook pages have been quite busy as people post photos, tag each other, and friend many of the people they met at the wedding. So, while marriage exists historically as an institution that organizes property and inheritance relationships and regulates sexual behavior, it has always also served the function of tying kinship networks together. Marriage seems like one of the most personal choices individuals can make. As Weber’s concept of verstehen reminds us, understanding the meaning of marriage from the perspective of those involved, as well as the broader legal and social meanings help us comprehend the broader social importance of marriage and family.