Handout in Sociology

Handout in Sociology

It is a social science which studies the processes and patterns of human individual and group interaction, the forms of organization of social groups, he relationship among them, and group influences On individual behavior, and vice versa, and the interaction between one social group and the other Sociology is the scientific study of society, which is interested in the study of social relationship between people in group context.

Sociology is interested in how we as human beings interact with each other (the pattern of social interaction); the laws and principles that govern social relationship and interactions; the influence of the social world on the individuals, and vice versa.

It deals with a factually observable subject matter, depends upon empirical research, and involves attempts to formulate theories and generalizations that will make sense of facts Sociology may be generally defined as a social science that studies such kinds of phenomena as: ; The structure and function of society as a system; ; The nature, complexity and contents of human social behavior; ; The fundamentals of human social life; ; Interaction of human beings with their external environment; ; The indispensability of social interactions for human development; ; How the social world affects us, etc.

Note that the concepts “society and “culture” are central in sociology. Society: a group of people who live within some type of bounded territory and who share a common way of life Culture: is common way of life shared by a society or a group. Sociology and Other Social Sciences The social sciences comprise the application of scientific methods to the study Of the human aspects of the world. Psychology studies the human mind and micro-level (or individual) behavior; sociology examines human society; political science studies the governing of groups and countries; communication studies the flow of discourse via various media; economics concerns itself with the production and allocation of wealth in society; and social work is the application of social scientific knowledge in society. What do we study in Sociology? In the past, sociological research focused on the organization of complex, industrial societies and their influence on individuals. Today, sociologists study a broad range of topics.

For instance, some sociologists research macro-structures that organize society, such as race or ethnicity, social class, gender roles, and institutions such as the family. Other sociologists study social processes that represent the breakdown of macro-structures, including deviance, crime, and divorce. Additionally, some sociologists study micro- processes such as interpersonal interactions and the colonization of individuals. It focuses on social interaction. It analyzes interpersonal relationships, and on what people do and how they behave when they interact.

There are generally two levels of analysis in sociology, which may also be regarded as branches of sociology: micro-sociology and macro- sociology. Micro-sociology is interested in small-scale level of the structure and functioning of human social groups; whereas macro-sociology studies the large-scale aspects of society. Macro-sociology focuses on the broad features f society. The goal of macro-sociology is to examine the large-scale social phenomena that determine how social groups are organized and positioned within the social structure.

Micro-sociological level of analysis focuses on social interaction. It analyzes interpersonal relationships, and on what people do and how they behave when they interact. Some writers also add a third level of analysis called mess;level analysis, which analyzes human social phenomena in between the micro- and macro- levels. Brief Historical Overview Sociology as an academic science was thus born in 1 9th century (its formal establishment year being 1 837) in Great Britain and Western Europe, especially in France and Germany, and it greatly advanced throughout 19th and 20th centuries.

The major conditions, societal changes, upheavals and social ferments that gave rise to the emergence and development of sociology as an academic science include the Industrial Revolution which began in Great Britain, the French Political Revolution of 1789, the Enlightenment and advances in natural sciences and technology. Foe enders or the pioneering sociologists are: Augusta Comet, French Social Philosopher (1798- 1857) Comet was the first social philosopher to coin and use the term sociology.

He was also the first to regard himself as a sociologist. He defined sociology as the scientific study of social dynamics and social static. He argued that sociology can and should study society and social phenomena following the pattern and procedures of the natural science. Comet believed that a theoretical science of society and the systematic investigation of human behavior were needed to improve society. He argued that the new science of society could and should make a critical contribution towards a new and improved human society.

Karl Marx, German social Philosopher, (1818-1883) Marx was a world-renowned social philosopher, sociologist and economic historian. He made remarkable contributions to the development of various social sciences including sociology. He contributed greatly to sociological ideas. He introduced key concepts in sociology like social class, social class conflict, social oppression, alienation, etc. Marx like Comet, argued that people should make active efforts to bring about societal reforms. According to Marx, economic forces are the keys to underestimating society and social change.

He believed that the history of human society has been that of class conflict. He dreamed of, and worked hard towards realizing a classless society, one in which there will be no exploitation and oppression Of one class by another, and wherein all individuals will work according to their abilities and receive according to their needs. Marx introduced one of the major perspectives in sociology, called social conflict theory. Herbert Spencer, British Social Philosopher, (1820-1903) Spencer was a prominent social philosopher of the 1 9th century.

He was famous for the organic analogy of human society. He viewed society as an organic system, having its own structure and functioning in ways analogous to the biological system. Spence’s ideas of the evolution of human society from the lowest (“barbarism”) to highest form (“civilized”) according to fixed laws were famous. It was called “Social Darwinism”, which is analogous to the biological evolutionary model. Social Darwinism is the attempt to apply by analogy the evolutionary theories Of plant and animal development to the explanation of human society and social phenomena.

Max Weber, German sociologist, (1864-1920) According to him, sociology is the scientific study of human social action. Social action refers to any “action oriented to influence or influenced by another person or persons. It is not necessary for more than one person to be physically present for action to be regarded as social action… ” It is concerned with the interpretive understanding of human social action and the meaning people attach to their own actions and behaviors and those of others. Every activity and behavior of people needs to be interpreted.

He argued that a sociologist must aim at what are called subjective meanings, the ways in which people interpret their own behavior or the meanings people attach their own behavior. Understanding Suicide Suicide (Latin suicide, from SSI cadre, “to kill oneself”) is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Http://en. Wisped. Org/wick/Fie:Suicide_circumstances. GIF In a study made by Druthers in 1 897, he defined suicide as the term applicable to all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result.

He also distinguished between four subtypes of suicide: Altruistic suicide: is characterized by a sense of being overwhelmed by a group’s goals and beliefs. It occurs in societies with high integration, where individual needs are seen as less important than the society’s needs as a whole. Egoistic suicide reflects a prolonged sense Of not belonging Of not being integrated in a community, an experience, of not having a tether, an absence that can give rise to meaninglessness, apathy, melancholy, and depression.

It is the result of a weakening of the bonds that normally integrate individuals into the collectivity: in other words a breakdown or decrease of social integration. Anomic suicide: reflects an individual’s moral confusion and lack of social direction, which is related to dramatic social and economic upheaval. It is the product of moral deregulation and a lack of definition of legitimate aspirations through a restraining social ethic, which could impose meaning and order on the individual conscience. People do not know where they fit in within their societies.

Druthers explains that this is a state of moral disorder where man does not know the limits on his desires, and is constantly in a state of disappointment. This can occur when man goes through extreme changes in wealth; while this includes economic ruin, it can also include windfall gains – in both cases, previous expectations from life are rushed aside and new expectations are needed before he can judge his new situation in relation to the new limits. Fatalistic suicide: the opposite of anomic suicide, when a person is excessively regulated, when their futures are pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline.

It occurs in overly oppressive societies, causing people to prefer to die than to carry on living within their society. This is an extremely rare reason for people to take their own lives, but a good example would be within a prison; some people might prefer to die than live in a prison with constant abuse and excessive regulation that prohibits them from pursuing their desires. Is Sociology a science? Does it want to be classified as one? So what is science? Science can be seen as a specific body of knowledge different from other forms such as magic, religion, philosophy etc. Cause it has 5 key components: 1 . Empirical -? basically this means that we can count and measure information. 2. Testable – scientific experiments can be repeated and retested and hence scientific knowledge is seen as more reliable than less testable forms. 3. Theoretical – science seeks causal relationships and isn’t rely simply on describing but seeks to explain 4. Cumulative – It builds On previous knowledge and moves forward out understanding of the world. 5. Objective – personal feelings, prejudices etc have no place in science. It has to be unbiased.

In the past Sociology has often pursued the kudos of being seen as a science – particularly by positivists. Druthers was keen to have sociology seen as the science of society when he was made the first professor of the subject over 100 years ago. More recent movements in sociology have been less keen to follow the science route -? interactions, postmodernists and feminists live that a scientific approach is not suitable for studying social behavior and that the pursuit of scientific status has been more about funding, prestige and StatUS. Http://learn. Dido n. Dude/courses/sociology-211 ;fall-201 0/tag/druthers/ Sociological methods The Scientific Method Sociologists make use of tried and true methods of research, such as experiments, surveys, and field research. The scientific method involves developing and testing theories about the world based on empirical evidence. It is defined by its commitment to systematic observation of the empirical roll and strives to be objective, critical, skeptical, and logical. It involves a series of prescribed steps that have been established over centuries of scholarship.

From Introduction to Sociology Opencast College Ask a Question The first step of the scientific method is to ask a question, describe a problem, and identify the specific area of interest. Research Existing Sources The next step researchers undertake is to conduct background research through a literature review, which is a review of any existing similar or related studies. Formulate a Hypothesis A hypothesis is an assumption about how two or more variables are related; t makes a conjectural statement about the relationship between those variables.

In sociology, the hypothesis will often predict how one form of human behavior influences another. In research, independent variables are the cause of the change. The dependent variable is the effect, or thing that is changed. For example, in a basic study, the researcher would establish one form of human behavior as the independent variable and observe the influence it has on a dependent variable. How does gender (the independent variable) affect rate of income (the dependent variable)? How does one’s religion (the independent variable) affect family size (the dependent variable)?

How is social class (the dependent variable) affected by level of education (the independent variable)? Design and Conduct a Study Some Research Methods usually used are: Us reeve As a research method, a survey collects data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviors and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire. A survey targets a specific population, people who are the focus of a study, such as college athletes, international students, or teenagers living with type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes.

Most researchers choose to survey a small sector of the population, or a sample: that is, a manageable number of subjects who represent a larger population. The success of a study depends on how well a population is represented by the sample. In a random sample, every person in a population has the same chance of being chosen for the study. Http://www. Infinite. Com/survey/ Field Research Field research refers to gathering primary data from a natural environment without doing a lab experiment or a survey. It is a research method suited to an interpretive framework rather than to the scientific method.

To conduct lied research, the sociologist must be willing to step into new environments and observe, participate, or experience those worlds. In field work, the sociologists, rather than the subjects, are the ones out of their element. Http://whom. Asia. Youth-leader. Org/? P=5552 Participant Observation This requires researchers join people and participate in a group’s routine activities for the purpose of observing them within that context. This method lets researchers experience a specific aspect of social life. A researcher might go to great lengths to get a firsthand look into a trend, institution, or behavior.

Researchers temporarily put themselves into roles and record their observations. In 2000, a comic writer named Rodney Earthman wanted an insider’s view of white-collar work. He slipped into the sterile, high-rise offices of a New York “dot com” agency. Every day for two weeks, he pretended to work there. His main purpose was simply to see if anyone would notice him or challenge his presence. No one did. The receptionist greeted him. The employees smiled and said good morning. Earthman was accepted as part of the team. He even went so far as to claim a desk, inform the receptionist of his whereabouts, and attend a meeting.

He published an article about his experience in The New Yorker called “My Fake Job” (2000). Social Experiments Sociological topics are not reduced to right or wrong facts. In this field, results of studies tend to provide people with access to knowledge they did not have before-?knowledge of other cultures, knowledge of rituals and beliefs, knowledge of trends and attitudes. Why do we need to study Sociology Sociology can be exciting because it teaches people ways to recognize how they fit into the world and how others perceive them.

Looking at themselves and society from a sociological perspective helps people see where they once to different groups based on the many different ways they classify themselves and how society classifies them in turn. Sociology teaches people not to accept easy explanations. It teaches them a way to organize their thinking so that they can ask better questions and formulate better answers. It makes people more aware that there are many different kinds of people in the world who do not necessarily think the way they do.

It increases their willingness and ability to try to see the world from other people’s perspectives. This prepares them to live and work in an increasingly diverse and integrated world. Sociology in the Real World Please “Friend” Me: Students and Social Networking The phenomenon known as Faceable was designed specifically for students. Whereas earlier generations wrote notes in each others printed yearbooks at the end of the academic year, modern technology and the internet ushered in dynamic new ways for people to interact socially.

Instead of having to meet up on campus, students can call, text, and Keep from their dorm rooms. Instead of a study group gathering weekly in the library, online forums and chat rooms help learners connect. The availability and immediacy of computer technology has forever changed the ways students engage with ACH other. Now, after several social networks have vied for primacy, a few have established their place in the market and some have attracted niche audience.

While Faceable launched the social networking trend geared toward teens and young adults, now people of all ages are actively “befriending’ each other. Linked distinguished itself by focusing on professional connections, serving as a virtual world for workplace networking. Newer offshoots like Foursquare help people connect based on the real-world places they frequent, while Twitter has cornered the market on brevity. These newer modes of social interaction have also spawned harmful uniqueness, such as spellbinding and what some call FAD, or Faceable Addiction Disorder.

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