Social Structure And Social Interaction What is Sociology? Systematic, scientific study of human society Relies on scientific evidence—helps straighten out myths vs. realities We learn more about ourselves by studying others BUT learn more from social marginality – being excluded from main-stream society (“outsiders”) Social Class: A system of ranking people into abstract categories of social positions Scientific Method Observations Hypothesis Testing Theory Sociological Imagination Sociology studies “from the outside” versus “from the inside” (Psych.) to explain social forces – forces that arise from society in which we are a part we see it through behavior Example: People in wide-open areas more likely to commit suicide. Why? We have to use our sociological imagination can’t look at individual personalities, but at the social forces. Social Integration The degree to which people are tied to a social group – social integration Therefore, inadequate levels of integration = high suicide rate (different in other cultures, though) We are each other’s sociological backbone! History of Sociology 19th century, because of Industrial Revolution – brought new ways of living together Then French Revolution – people questioning legitimacy of monarchies; wanted more freedoms Grew because of social unrest of this time AUGUSTE COMTE •Father of Sociology •3 stages • Religious • Metaphysical • Scientific Auguste Comte, Part II Said a science of society has 2 branches: 1. Statics – study of organization that allows societies to endure 2. Dynamics – study of processes by which societies change Herbert Spencer Thought society can be compared to a living organism Each part of animal has own function, but all parts are interdependent Also says if society is left alone, it fixes its own problems KARL MARX •Says main feature of sociology is class conflict – struggle between capitalists and proletariats •Did not believe in natural selection – urged people to change society, not let it evolve Emile Durkheim Pioneered scientific method application to Sociology Really studied suicide and the “social facts” MAX WEBER •Thought one must go beyond observations & find out how people feel about their own behavior Verstehen Fundamentals Theoretical perspectives – sets of general assumptions about nature of society Functionalist perspective – focuses on social order; each part of society performs as the whole, interdependently If something happens to this social order, a social consensus must be made for this new change Functions of Behavior Manifest – intended & obvious behaviors Latent – unintended & unrecognized behaviors The Good and the Bad Society does change, but only for a reason conflicts When status quo is criticized, everyone starts to focus on differences & emphasizes their group is better than others – conflict perspective Society is always changing because of this competition SPORTS!!! BENEFICIAL HARMFUL Conducive to success in Sports act as an opiate, other areas of life Develops skill, ability, selfdiscipline, mental alertness, physical fitness Enhances health & happiness Contributes to social order & stability through unification numbing the masses sense of dissatisfaction w/capitalist society Reinforces social, gender, & racial inequalities Big business – elitist system “Man’s world” – glorifies masculinity Wrap-Up Sociology can help enrich our lives intellectual exercise, general guide, pursue careers, & just obtain a better understanding of the world through our own interpretations The world around us affects our lives more than what the world does to us.