Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials Diana Kendall 6th Edition Chapter 1 The Sociological Perspective and Research Methods Chapter Outline Putting Social Life into Perspective The Importance of a Global Sociological Imagination The Origins of Sociological Thinking The Development of Modern Sociology Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives Comparing Sociology with other Social Sciences Putting Social Life Into Perspective Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction. Sociologists study societies and social interactions to develop theories of : How human behavior is shaped by group life. How group life is affected by individuals. Why Study Sociology? Helps us gain a better understanding of ourselves and our social world. Helps us see how behavior is shaped by the groups to which we belong and our society. Promotes understanding and tolerance by helping us look beyond personal experiences and gain insight into the larger world order. Society A society is a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations, such as the United States, Mexico, or Nigeria. Fields That Use Social Science Research The Sociological Imagination The ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society. Distinguishes between personal troubles and social issues. Personal Troubles Personal troubles are private problems that affect individuals and the networks of people with which they associate regularly. Example: One person being unemployed or running up a high credit card debt could be identified as a personal trouble. Public Issues Public issues are problems that affect large numbers of people and require solutions at the societal level. Widespread unemployment and massive, nationwide consumer debt are examples of public issues. Overspending as a Personal Trouble People credit cards and spend more than they can afford, affecting all aspects of their lives, including health, family relationships, and employment stability. Sociologist George Ritzer suggests that people may overspend through a gradual process. Credit cards lure people into consumption by easy credit and entice them into further consumption by offers of ‘payment holidays,’ new cards, and increased credit limits. Overspending as a Public Issue Between 1990 and 2000, credit card debt tripled in the United States. As corporations “write off ” bad debt from those who declare bankruptcy or do not pay their bills, all consumers pay either directly or indirectly for that debt. Overspending as a Public Issue Poverty is forgotten as a social issue when more affluent people are having a spending holiday and consuming all they can afford to purchase. Sociologist Robert D. Manning found that students are aggressively targeted by credit card companies even though it is accepted that some of the students will ruin their credit while still in college. Importance of a Global Sociological Imagination Although existing sociological theory and research provide a foundation for sociological thinking, we must develop a more global approach for the future. In the 21st century, we face important challenges in a rapidly changing nation and world. High Income Countries Nations with highly industrialized economies; technologically advanced industrial, administrative, and service occupations. Examples: United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Western Europe. Have a high standard of living and a lower death rate due to advances in nutrition and medical technology. Personal debt may threaten economic even among middle- and upper income people. Middle Income Countries Nations with industrializing economies, particularly in urban areas, and moderate levels of national and personal income Example: The nations of Eastern Europe and many Latin American countries. Low Income Countries Primarily agrarian nations with little industrialization and low levels of national and personal income. Examples: Many of the nations of Africa and Asia, particularly the People’s Republic of China and India, where people typically work the land and are among the poorest in the world. Definitions Race is used to specify groups of people distinguished by physical characteristics such as skin color. There are no “pure” racial types, and race is considered by most sociologists to be a social construction people use to justify social inequalities. Ethnicity refers to the cultural heritage or identity of a group and is based on factors such as language or country of origin. Definitions Class is the relative location of a person or group within the larger society, based on wealth, power, prestige, or other valued resources. Sex refers to the biological and anatomical differences between females and males. Gender refers to the meanings, beliefs, and practices associated with sex differences, referred to as femininity and masculinity. Question Femininity and masculinity are _____related terms. a. sex b. gender c. biology d. anatomically Answer: b Femininity and masculinity are genderrelated terms. Sociology and the Age of Enlightenment The origins of sociological thinking can be traced to the scientific revolution in the late 17th and mid-18th centuries and the Age of Enlightenment. A basic assumption of the Enlightenment was that scientific laws had been designed with a view to human happiness. Sociology and the Age of Enlightenment In France, the Enlightenment was dominated by the philosophers, including Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Turgot. They believed human society could be improved through scientific discoveries. If people were free from the ignorance of the past, they could create new forms of political and economic organization, which would produce wealth and destroy the aristocracy. Sociology and the Age of Revolution, Industrialization, and Urbanization The Enlightenment produced an intellectual revolution in how people thought about social change, progress, and critical thinking. Views of the philosophers regarding equal opportunity stirred political and economic revolutions in America and France. The Industrial Revolution occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, when economic, technological, and social changes occurred as technology shifted from agriculture to manufacturing. Sociology and the Age of Revolution, Industrialization, and Urbanization Industrialization is the process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries. Urbanization is the process by which an increasing proportion of a population lives in cities rather than in rural areas. August Comte Considered the “founder of sociology.” Comte’s philosophy became known as positivism— a belief that the world can best be understood through scientific inquiry. Comte believed objective, bias-free knowledge was attainable only through the use of science rather than religion. Two Dimensions Of Comte’s Positivism Methodological - the application of scientific knowledge to physical and social phenomena. Social and political - the use of such knowledge to predict the likely results of different policies so that the best one could be chosen. Harriet Martineau Believed society would improve when: Women and men were treated equally. Enlightened reform occurred. Cooperation existed among all social classes. Herbert Spencer Spencer’s major contribution to sociology was an evolutionary perspective on social order and social change. Social Darwinism - the belief that those human beings, best adapted to their environment survive and prosper, whereas those poorly adapted die out. Emile Durkheim Believed the limits of human potential are socially, not biologically based. One of his most important contributions to sociology was the idea that societies are built on social facts. Social facts are patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feeling that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control over each person. Karl Marx Viewed history as a clash between conflicting ideas and forces. Believed class conflict produced social change and a better society. Combined ideas from philosophy, history, and social science into a new theory. Max Weber Believed sociological research should exclude personal values and economic interests. Provided insights on rationalization, bureaucracy and religion. Georg Simmel Theorized about society as a web of patterned interactions among people. Analyzed how social interactions vary depending on the size of the social group. Developed formal sociology, an approach that focuses attention on the universal recurring social forms that underlie the varying content of social interaction. Jane Adams Founded Hull House, one of the most famous settlement houses, in Chicago. One of the authors of a methodology text used by sociologists for the next forty years. Awarded Nobel Prize for assistance to the underprivileged. W. E. B. Du Bois One of the first to note the identity conflict of being both a black and an American. Pointed out that people in the U.S. espouse values of democracy, freedom, and equality while they accept racism and group discrimination. Question ____________examined religion, politics, child rearing, slavery, and immigration. a. Auguste Comte b. Harriet Martineau c. Herbert Spencer d. Emile Durkheim e. Karl Marx Answer: b Harriet Martineau examined religion, politics, child rearing, slavery, and immigration. Question _____________stressed that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas and forces. a. Auguste Comte b. Harriet Martineau c. Herbert Spencer d. Emile Durkheim e. Karl Marx Answer: e • Karl Marx stressed that history is a continuous clash between conflicting ideas and forces. Sociological Research Theory - a set of logically interrelated statements that attempt to describe, explain, and predict social events. Research is the process of collecting information for the purpose of testing an existing theory or generating a new one. The relationship between theory and research has been referred to as a continuous cycle. Theoretical Perspectives Theory Functionalist Conflict View of Society Composed of interrelated parts that work together to maintain stability. Society is characterized by social inequality; social life is a struggle for scarce resources. Theoretical Perspectives Theory View of Society Symbolic Behavior is learned in interaction Interactionist with other people. Postindustrialization, consumerism, and global Postmodernist communications bring into question assumptions about social life and the nature of reality. Question Which sociological perspective do you think explains the concept of inequality in our society the most accurately? a. Structural-functional b. Conflict c. Symbolic Interactionist d. Feminist Question ____ perspectives are based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly system. a. Functionalist b. Interactionist c. Conflict d. Feminist Answer: a Functionalist perspectives are based on the assumption that society is a stable, orderly system. Question _____ perspectives are based on the assumption that groups are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources. a. Functionalist b. Interactionist c. Conflict d. Feminist Answer: c Conflict perspectives are based on the assumption that groups are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources. Sociology and Anthropology Anthropology seeks to understand human existence over geographic space and evolutionary time. Sociology seeks to understand contemporary social organization, relations, and change. Sociology and Psychology Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes - what occurs in the mind. Sociological research examines the effects of groups, organizations, and institutions on social life. Sociology and Economics Economists attempt to explain how the limited resources of a society are allocated among competing demands. Economists focus on economic systems such as monetary policy, inflation, and the national debt. Sociologists focus on a number of social institutions, one of which is the economy. Sociology and Political Science Political scientists concentrate on political institutions. Sociologists study political institutions within the context of other social institutions, such as families. Quick Quiz 1. Sociology is the systematic study of: a. intuition and commonsense knowledge. b. human society and social interaction. c. the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in a society. d. personality and human development. Answer: b Sociology is the systematic study of human society and social interaction. 2. The ability to provide theory and research beyond one's own country enveloping countries all over the world is known as a _____ approach. a. global b. developed nation c. developing nation d. personal awareness Answer: a The ability to provide theory and research beyond one's own country enveloping countries all over the world is known as a global approach. 3. ______________ is the process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries. a. Urbanization b. Globalization c. Industrialization d. Gentrification e. none of these choices Answer: c Industrialization is the process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries. 4. The idea that research should be conducted in a scientific manner and would exclude the researcher’s personal values and economic interests was emphasized by: a. Jane Addams. b. Karl Marx. c. Georg Simmel. d. Max Weber. Answer: d The idea that research should be conducted in a scientific manner and would exclude the researcher’s personal values and economic interests was emphasized by Max Weber. 5. Who believed that the limits of human potential are socially based, not biologically based? a. Auguste Comte b. Harriet Martineau c. Herbert Spencer d. Emile Durkheim e. Karl Marx Answer: d Karl Marx believed that the limits of human potential are socially based, not biologically based. 6. Where was the first department of sociology established? a. Ohio b. Michigan c. Chicago d. Texas e. California Answer: c The first department of sociology was established in Chicago. 7. Emphasis was placed on the individual’s possession of critical reasoning and experience during: a. the industrial revolution. b. the Enlightenment. c. urbanization. d. the Middle Ages. Answer: b Emphasis was placed on the individual’s possession of critical reasoning and experience during the Enlightenment. 8. The early social thinker who coined the term Sociology and his or her philosophy became known as positivism is: a. Karl Marx. b. Emile Durkheim. c. Auguste Comte. d. Harriet Martineau. Answers: c The early social thinker who coined the term Sociology and his or her philosophy became known as positivism is Auguste Comte.