Chapter 1: What Is Sociology?

CHAPTER 1: What Is Sociology?
I. Practical Matters
II. The Sociological Perspective
III. The Development of Sociology
IV. Theoretical Concepts in Sociology
V. Conclusion
I. Practical Matters
A. Syllabus
B. Textbook
II. The Sociological Perspective
A. ___________________________: the scientific study of society and human behavior
1. Key insight: ____________________________________ is shaped by the groups to which we belong
and social interaction within these groups
B. _________________________________: the group memberships that people have because of their
location in history and society
1. our social location shapes our _______________________________
B.2. What are your most important concerns as college students and young adults in the U.S. today?
3. What were your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ most important concerns in 1950?
B.4. Other Examples:
a. growing up in a ______________________________________________
b. College Graduates and _______________ in 1970, 1987 and 2014
C. _______________________: the patterns of behavior that characterize a social group
1. the ___________________________ rate
2. the majority of the world’s __________________________ lives in cities and not in rural areas
3. ______________________________ technology has transformed our everyday lives
4. wearing brown and gold to show ________________________________
III. The Development of Sociology
A. Why develop a science of the social world?
1. explain social upheaval in Europe in the 1800s resulting from the _________________
2. _____________________________ brought Europe into contact with very different societies
3. success of ______________________________ created a desire for knowledge about society
B. Karl Marx
1. ___________________________: economic system based on the private ownership of wealth,
which is invested and reinvested in order to produce profit
2. ___________________________________ between workers and capitalists (business owners) was
the driving force of human history
3. ___________________________________ shape human behavior: capitalists’ social position means
they are wealthy, live in large houses, have servants, etc., while workers do not
C. Emile Durkheim
1. _______________________________________: the forces that bind people together in groups
a. ______________________ solidarity: social ties based on shared beliefs, values and customs in
small communities
b. ______________________________ solidarity: social cohesion that results from the various parts of
a society functioning as an integrated whole; interdependence of people in cities in industrial society
ties them together
C.2. ____________________________: specialization of work by means of which different occupations
are combined within a production system
a. today, this is ____________________________________
3. Why do people commit suicide?
a. _____________________: situation in which social norms lose their hold over individual behavior; a
lack of social integration into a group; not feeling bound by the rules of society (normlessness)
4. another consequence of anomie: _________________________________
“Nebraska”: Bruce Springsteen
I saw her standin’ on her front lawn
Just twirlin’ her baton
Me and her went for a ride sir
And ten innocent people died
From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska
With a sawed off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming
I killed everything in my path
I can’t say that I’m sorry
For the things that we done
At least for a little while sir
Me and her we had us some fun
The jury brought in a guilty verdict
And the judge he sentenced me to death
Midnight in a prison storeroom
With leather straps across my chest
Sheriff when the man pulls that switch sir
And snaps my poor head back
You make sure my pretty baby
Is sittin’ right there on my lap
They declared me unfit to live
Said into that great void my soul’d be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
Well sir I guess there’s just a meanness in this world
C.5. Charlie Starkweather had no ties to other people or concern with society’s rules: ______________
6. _____________________________________ and anomie
7. Anomie can result from leaving one social group and joining a new group: What does WMU do about
8. Does our society promote anomie?
D. Max Weber
1. ______________________________: the increasing tendency to organize social life, create
bureaucracies to manage large organizations, and write out formal rules of behavior
a. ____________________________________ and how we eat
b. __________________________ and how we shop
E. George Herbert Mead
1. _______________________________________________: emphasizes the role of symbols and
language as core elements of social interaction
2. human behavior is determined by
a. the _________________________________ of a situation and
b. by how people ___________________________________________
2. How did you know I was the instructor on the first day of class?
F. _______________________________: social events can be explained in terms of the functions they
perform and how they contribute to the continuity of a society
1. the _________________: function is to reproduce and socialize new members
2. _______________________ functions: functions of a type of social activity that are known to and
intended by the individuals involved in the activity
a. _______________________: function is to teach skills and knowledge
F.3. ___________________________ functions: functional consequences that are not intended or
recognized by the members of a social system in which they occur
a. universities as ______________________________________
G. ______________________________ theory: emphasizes the centrality of gender to analyzing the
social world and particularly the uniqueness of the experience of women
1. why do women earn less than men?
2. why does sexual violence against women occur?
IV. Theoretical Concepts in Sociology
A. What is a theory?
1. a ______________________ about how some parts of the world fit together and how they work
2. in other words, a way to ______________________ how and why something happens
3. Why did some people stand up to introduce themselves and others did not?
A.4. ____________________________ theories about why people do what they do
5. sociology is __________________________________________ to explain social life via theory
B. Major Concepts:
1. _____________________________________: the underlying regularities or patterns in how people
behave and in their relationships with one another
a. e.g. division of society into _______________________________, with wealthy people in mansions
and homeless people living in cardboard boxes
B.2. ______________________________: the ways in which individuals and groups try to make social
life turn out the way they want it to be
a. students study hard to get into _________________________
b. job seekers wear nice clothes to _______________________________
B.3. ______________________________________: an idea or practice that a group of people agree
exists that is maintained over time by people taking its existence for granted
a. wearing brown and gold together is __________________________
b. racial and ethnic __________________________ are defined differently in different societies
B.4. __________________________________: interdependence among the parts of a social system
a. the ____________________________________ coordinates the actions of students and professors
B.5. __________________: the ability of individuals or the members of a group to achieve aims or
further the interests they hold, even over the resistance of others
a. I have power over ________________ in this class, but my department head has power over me
B.6. ______________________________: the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors and material
objects that are passed from one generation to another
a. __________________________________: wearing brown and gold and cheering for sports teams
B.7. ____________________________: the social processes through which children develop an
awareness of social norms and values and achieve a distinct sense of self
a. dressing babies in _____________________ to identify them as female or male
V. Conclusion
A. What we did today: basic theories and concepts in sociology
B. Extra credit for next Thursday: 1. Do something you have not done before
2. Write a 1-page paper about: a. how this activity helped make you feel like a part of WMU
b. how being part of this group affected what people did