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SOC 160 Lecture Notes Introduction to Sociological Thinking 1 Foundational Terminology a Sociology Systematic study of human society b Society Individuals sharing geographic area and culture Social problems are unique to different societies i ii Societies have different perceptions of what problems are c Culture Knowledge values customs material objects passed from one generation to the next Shared ideas in the culture that transfer to one another in society i ii Examples SEC Football Culture of drinking d Social Problem i Social condition ii Behavioral pattern iii Behaving in a way that is harmful to society iv Social Problem harms 1 Certain individuals 2 All people in a society v Social Problem causes 1 Public concern 2 Collective action for change vi 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 time ix Social problems change overtime with different cultures and time periods e Sociological Imagination i Awareness of the relationship between individual experience and the wider society ii How does my individual experience relate to that of a wider society iii 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 sense i Earnings of US women have just about caught up with US men false ii 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 false iv 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 guns v 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 false 2 Is Sociology a Science a What is common sense different members of different groups have different meanings of i Motor vehicle deaths look bad but are actually going down over time relative to costs ii Changing conditions social problems are relative to time what common sense is b Sociology systematic methods of investigation Theoretical thinking i ii Data analysis collect good information iii Logical assessment of arguments 1 Objective or Subjective facts or based on individual iv A body of knowledge about a particular subject matter 3 Review a Objective conditions related to subjective concerns 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 buses b Measure Subjective concerns i As an individual how do you feel about Medicare c Apply sociological imagination d i How are this public issues impacting my public life Identify possible social policies i Most challenging part e Likely consequences of social policies i Work for only a short time or for only some people f Research Methods Strategies or techniques to collect data about society i 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 data iv 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 Theories i 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 Media iv 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 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 3 Latent function 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 class v 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 individuals 4 Must have shared set of symbols for interaction to be meaningful a Sarcasm in emails doesn t carry 5 Behaviors are learned 6 Social problems are socially constructed i h Sociological Explanations of Violence Functionalist

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KU SOC 104 - Lecture Notes

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