Introducing Sociology Chapter Outline Introduction The Sociological Perspective Sociological Theories and Theorists Conducting Research The Main Methods of Sociological Research How Sociology Helps Us Deal with Today’s Challenges Sociology The systematic study of human behavior in social context. Four Sociological Explanations Functionalism Conflict Theory Symbolic Interactionism Feminism Functionalism Social phenomenon persist if they contribute to social stability—and die off if they don’t Conflict Theory Highlights the tensions underlying existing social arrangements Examines the capacity of those tensions to burst into the open and cause social change Symbolic Interactionism Examines how various aspects of social life convey meaning and thereby assist or impede communication Feminism Focused on gender: one’s sense of being masculine or feminine Interrogates patriarchy: the system of male domination of women C. Wright Mills Wrote that the sociologist’s main task is to identify and explain the connection between people’s personal troubles and the social structures in which they are embedded. Coined the term “sociological imagination” Sociological Imagination The quality of mind that enables one to see the connection between personal troubles and social structures. The Four Levels of Social Structure Levels of Social Structure Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations. Mesostructures are patterns of organizational social relations Macrostructures are social relations outside your circle of intimates and acquaintances. Global structures are international organizations, worldwide travel and communication, and economic relations between countries. Origins of the Sociological Imagination The Scientific Revolution suggested that a science of society is possible. 2. The Democratic Revolution suggested people can intervene to improve society. 3. The Industrial Revolution presented social thinkers with social problems in need of a solution. 1. Scientific Revolution Began in Europe about 1550. Encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of society must be based on solid evidence, not just speculation. Democratic Revolution Began about 1750, during which the citizens of the United States, France, and other countries broadened their participation in government. This revolution suggested that people organize society and that human intervention can therefore resolve social problems. Industrial Revolution The rapid economic transformation that began in Britain in the 1780s. Involved the application of science and technology to industrial processes, the creation of factories, and the formation of a working class. Created a host of new and serious social problems that attracted the attention of many social thinkers. Founders of Sociology Durkheim Parsons and Merton Marx Weber DuBois Mead Martineau and Addams Durkheim’s Explanation of Suicide Showed that suicide rates are strongly influenced by social forces. Argued that suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups. Social Solidarity The degree to which group members share beliefs and values and the intensity and frequency of their interaction. Sociological Theory of Suicide Altruistic Suicide Occurs when norms tightly govern behavior, so individual actions are often in the group interest. Example: When soldiers knowingly give up their lives to protect members of their unit. Egoistic Suicide Results from a lack of integration of the individual into society because of weak social ties to others. Example: The rate of egoistic suicide is likely to be high among people who lack friends and are unmarried. Anomic Suicide Occurs when norms governing behavior are vaguely defined. Example: When people live in a society lacking a widely shared code of morality, the rate of anomic suicide is likely to be high. Talcott Parsons Leading proponent of functionalism. Argued that society is integrated and in equilibrium when: the family raises new generations the military defends society schools teach students the skills and values they need to function as adults religions create a shared moral code among people Robert Merton Leading functionalist in the United States Proposed that social structures may have different consequences for different groups. Some of those consequences may be disruptive or dysfunctional. Some functions are manifest (intended), others are latent (unintended). Features of Functionalism Human behavior is governed by social structures. 2. Theories show how social structures maintain or undermine social stability. 3. Theories emphasize that social structures are based on shared values. 4. Suggests that reestablishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems. 1. Karl Marx German social thinker who originated conflict theory. Class conflict, the struggle between classes to resist and overcome the opposition of other classes, lies at the center of his ideas. Max Weber Noted the rapid growth of the service sector of the economy, with nonmanual workers and professionals. Argued that members of these occupational groups stabilize society because they enjoy higher status and income than manual workers in the manufacturing sector. Features of Conflict Theory Macro-level structures: class relations or patterns of domination, submission and struggle 2. Inequality: patterns of inequality produce social stability 3. Conflict: members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantage over subordinate groups 4. Lessening privilege: will lower the level of conflict 1. W.E.B. DuBois The first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard. A founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and of the country’s second Department of Sociology, at Atlanta University. George Herbert Mead The driving force behind the study of how the individual’s sense of self is formed in the course of interaction with other people. Mead and his colleagues developed symbolic interactionism. Features of Symbolic Interactionism Focus on interpersonal and micro-level communication 2. Social life is possible only because people attach subjective meaning to things 3. As active agents people create their social circumstances 4. Increases our tolerance of people who may be different from us 1. Harriet Martineau Often called the first woman sociologist. Martineau translated Comte into English and wrote one of the first books on research methods. She undertook critical studies of slavery, factory laws, and gender inequality and was a leading advocate of voting rights and higher education for women and gender equality in the family. Jane Addams Jane Addams was cofounder of Hull House, a shelter for the destitute in Chicago’s slums. She spent a lifetime fighting for social reform and provided a research platform for sociologists from the University of Chicago. In 1931, Adams received the Nobel Prize. Features of Feminist Theory 1. Focuses on patriarchy. 2. Holds that male domination and female subordination are determined by power and social convention. 3. Examines the operation of patriarchy in micro- and macro-level settings. 4. Patterns of gender inequality should be changed for the benefit of all members of society. Four Theoretical Traditions in Sociology Polling Question Which sociological perspective do you think is generally the strongest in explaining things in our society? a. b. c. d. Structural-functional Conflict Symbolic interactionist Feminist Research The process of carefully observing reality to assess the validity of a theory. Research Cycle Ethical Considerations Researchers must respect their subjects’ rights to: Safety Privacy Confidentiality Informed consent Experiment A carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to isolate hypothesized causes and measure their effects precisely. Steps in a Simple Experiment Variables Dependent variable The presumed effect in a cause-and effect relationship. Independent variable The presumed cause in a cause-and effect relationship. Experimental Groups Experimental Group The group in an experiment that is exposed to the independent variable. Control Group The group in an experiment that is not exposed to the independent variable. Reliability vs. Validity Reliability The degree to which a measurement procedure yields consistent results Validity The degree to which a measure actually measures what it is intended to measure Surveys Asks people questions about their knowledge, attitudes, or behavior, either in a face-to-face interview, telephone interview, or paper-and pencil format. Sample vs. Population Sample Part of the population of research interest that is selected for analysis. Population The entire group about which the researcher wishes to generalize. Closed-ended vs. Open-Ended Questions Close-ended A type of survey question that provides the respondent with a list of permitted answers. Open-ended A type of survey question that allows respondents to answer in their own words Four Dangers of Survey Questions Exclusion of part of population from sampling frame 2. Refusal of some people to participate in the survey 3. Unwillingness of some respondents to answer questions frankly 4. Asking confusing, leading or inflammatory questions 1. Polling Question If a university asks you to complete an anonymous, written survey asking questions about your sexual attitudes, experiences, and behaviors, how likely is it you will agree to complete the survey? a. Very likely b. Somewhat likely c. Unsure d. Somewhat unlikely e. Very unlikely Field Research Research based on the systematic observation of people in their natural settings. Detached Observation A type of field research that involves classifying and counting the behavior of interest according to a predetermined scheme. Two Concerns with Detached Observation 1. Reactivity: the tendency of people who are observed by a researcher to react to the presence of the researcher by concealing certain things or acting artificially 2. The meaning of the behavior may remain obscure to the researcher Participant Observation A type of field research that involves carefully observing people’s face-to-face interactions and actually participating in their lives over a long period, thus achieving a deep and sympathetic understanding of what motivates them to act in the way they do. Analysis of Existing Documents And Official Statistics A nonreactive research method that involves the analysis of diaries, newspapers, published historical works, and statistics produced by government agencies, all of which are created by people other than the researcher for purposes other than sociological research. Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methods Postindustrial Revolution The technology-driven shift from manufacturing to service industries and the consequences of that shift for virtually all human activities. Globalization The process by which formerly separate economies, states, and cultures are being tied together and people are becoming increasingly aware of their growing interdependence. 1. Sociologists call stable patterns of social relations: a. b. c. d. e. microstructures mesostructures macrostructures global structures social structures Answer: e Sociologists call stable patterns of social relations: social structures. 2. According to Durkheim, the more a group's members share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity there is in a group. a. b. True False Answer: True According to Durkheim, the more a group's members share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and intensely they interact, the more social solidarity there is in a group. 3. Durkheim explained variations in the suicide rate by focusing on: a. b. c. d. personal troubles Microstructures Power social solidarity Answer: d Durkheim explained variations in the suicide rate by focusing on social solidarity. 4. The main question of __________ theory is, “how do the institutions of society contribute to social stability and instability?” a. b. c. d. functionalist conflict symbolic interactionist feminist Answer: a The main question of functionalist theory is, how do the institutions of society contribute to social stability and instability? 5. The process by which formerly separate economies, states and cultures are becoming tied together and interdependent is called: a. b. c. d. postindustrialism inequality of opportunity globalization individual freedom Answer: c The process by which formerly separate economies, states and cultures are becoming tied together and interdependent is called: globalization.