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SOC 160 Lecture Notes Introduction to Sociological Thinking 1) Foundational Terminologya) Sociology: Systematic study of human societyb) Society: Individuals sharing geographic area and culturei) Social problems are unique to different societiesii) Societies have different perceptions of what problems arec) Culture: Knowledge, values, customs, material objects passed from one generation to the nexti) Shared ideas in the culture that transfer to one another in society ii) Examples: SEC Football= Culture of drinkingd) Social Problem: i) Social conditionii) Behavioral pattern iii) Behaving in a way that is harmful to societyiv) Social Problem harms:(1) Certain individuals(2) All people in a societyv) Social Problem causes:(1) Public concern(2) Collective action for changevi) Examples: War, Poverty, Substance abuse, Global Warming, Crime, and Racial inequality (1) Example: Unemployment, living with parents, not getting married, fewer children vii) Top Hat activity to see what are social problems are viii) What constitutes a social problem (1) Based on the time period and the events occurring during that timeix) Social problems change overtime, with different cultures and time periodse) Sociological Imaginationi) Awareness of the relationship between individual experience and the wider society ii) How does my individual experience relate to that of a wider societyiii) The ability to connect personal troubles to public issues –C. Wright Mills (1959)iv) Allows us to:(1) Change perspectives from one to another (a) Example: Why do college students drink?(b) Need to think about their perspective- look at the culture(2) Think yourself away from familiar routines of daily life(a) Why would someone think something is okay that maybe you don’t (3) Shift focus to a larger social context (a) Example: Obesity- over half the US population are overweight or obese (b) Personal problem, but it is also a bigger problem(c) Not exercising, eating badly ( wider social implications) (i) Economic issues, geographic issues f) Sociology a science or common sensei) Earnings of US women have just about caught up with US men- falseii) It is more dangerous to walk near strip clubs than fast food restaurants- false (1) No drinking at McDonalds, but there are security guards at strip clubs iii) Compared with women, men make more eye contact in face to face conversations- falseiv) Students in Japan have suicides rates that are double that of US students- false(1) We think Japan students are under a lot of pressure, but they also don’t have gunsv) Adolescents are the age group most likely to kill themselves- false(1) Older age groups have higher suicide rates (2) Chronic disability, higher levels of social isolation, access to guns vi) More US students are killed in school shootings now than 20 years ago- false2) Is Sociology a Science?a) What is common sense?- different members of different groups have different meanings of what common sense isb) Sociology: systematic methods of investigation i) Theoretical thinkingii) Data analysis- collect good informationiii) Logical assessment of arguments(1) Objective or Subjective (facts or based on individual) iv) A body of knowledge about a particular subject matter3) Review a) Objective conditions related to subjective concerns i) Motor vehicle deaths, look bad but are actually going down over time- relative to costsii) Changing conditions- social problems are relative to time (1) Food security, communism iii) Common sense(1) Based on stereotypes(2) Based on morals and how you were raised 4) Methods/Theory, Social Class, Economic Inequality a) Measure objective conditions i) Suicide rates, income levels, amount of deaths on school busesb) Measure Subjective concernsi) As an individual how do you feel about Medicare c) Apply sociological imagination i) How are this public issues impacting my public lifed) Identify possible social policiesi) Most challenging parte) Likely consequences of social policiesi) Work for only a short time or for only some peoplef) Research Methodsi) Strategies or techniques to collect data about society ii) Uses systematic approach- scientific method (social science) iii) Produces results that are:(1) Quantitative: explanations using numbers (2) Qualitative: explanations using interpretive descriptions (words) (3) Good social research integrates the use of both quantitative and qualitative dataiv) Field Research- observing behavior in a natural setting (human rights campaign) v) Survey Research- giving out surveys(1) Most frequently used in sociology(2) Respondent asked a series of questions, data collected (3) Take small groups of people to make generalizations about the larger population vi) Secondary analysis- using data that preexists, someone has already collected it g) Sociological Theoriesi) Guiding principles that help us evaluate social problems ii) Allows us to predict and explain things iii) Functional perspective (1) Macro level analysis (a) Broad patterns in society (2) Views society as stable and productive(3) Society is made up of smaller interrelated parts (social institutions) (a) Legal, Gov, Family, Education, Mediaiv) Societal functions(1) Things that work in society, function is when society is working (2) Manifest functions (a) Intended and recognized activity of a social process(b) Overtly recognized as the purpose of the process (c) Examples: Schools- to educate kids(3) Latent function :(a) Unintended, beneficial consequences of a social process(b) Not usually overtly recognized by society or institution (c) Education provides education but also a latent function is a babysitter for adults(d) Examples: Schools- Childcare (4) Social problem exist because:(a) Institutions fail to fulfill functions(b) When dysfunction occur(5) Dysfunction(a) Undesirable consequences of a social process(b) Can lead to social disorganization (6) Learning Check(a) The idea that poverty can continue to create jobs for the middle class (social workers, police officers(i) Poverty is a latent function- provides jobs for the middle classv) Conflict Perspective(1) Macro level analysis(2) Assumes inherent power struggle(3) Different groups working to control scare resources(4) Being denied a sense of control results in(a) Powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, self-isolation vi) Symbolic interaction perspective(1) Micro level(2) People become human through interactions (3) Society is sum of interactions between groups and

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KU SOC 104 - Lecture Notes

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