Sociology and Sociological Perspective

Sociology and Sociological Perspective

The Sociological Perspective Sociology is the systematic study of human society. At the heart of the discipline is a distinctive point of view called the “sociological perspective,” which involves a special kind of “vision”: A. Seeing the general in the particular The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behavior of particular individuals. B. Seeing the strange in the familiar This perspective also encode rages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds. C.

Seeing society in our everyday hoicks Mile Deuterium’s research showed that the suicide rate was strongly influenced by the extent to which people Were socially integrated with Others. D. Seeing sociologically: marginality and crisis The greater people’s social marginality, the better able they are to use the sociological perspective. Just as social change encourages sociological thinking, sociological thinking can bring about social change. II. The Importance of a Global Perspective A. Sociologists also strive to see issues in global perspective, defined as the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it.

B. There are three different types of nations in the world: 1 . The world’s high-income countries are industrialized nations in which most people have relatively high incomes. 2. The world’s middle-income countries have limited industrialization and moderate personal income. 3. The world’s low-income countries have little industrialization and most people are poor. 4. Global thinking is an important component of the sociological perspective for four reasons: a. Where we live makes a great difference in shaping our lives. B.

Societies the world over are increasingly interconnected, making rotational distinctions between “us” and “them” less and less valid. C. Many human problems faced in the united States are far more serious elsewhere. D. Thinking globally is a good way to learn more about ourselves. Copyright @ 201 1 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Instructor’s Manual for Macaroni Society: The Basics, 1 1/e Applying the Sociological Perspective Applying the sociological perspective benefits us in many ways: A. Sociology and Public policy Sociologists have helped shape public policy.

B. Sociology and Personal Growth Using sociology benefits us in four distinct ways: 1. The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of “common sense. ” 2. The sociological perspective helps us assess both opportunities and constraints in our lives. 3. The sociological perspective empowers us to be active participants in society. 4. The sociological perspective helps us to live in a diverse world. C. Careers: The “Sociology Advantage’ The application of sociology is evident in the role that sociology has had in shaping public policy and law in many ways.

A background in sociology is also good preparation for the working world. An increasing number of sociologists work in all sorts of applied fields. The Origins of Sociology The birth of sociology resulted from powerful and complex social forces: A. Social Change And Sociology Three major social changes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are important to the development of sociology: 1 . The rise of industrial tech oenology 2. The growth of cities 3. Political change, including a rising concern with individual liberty and rights (e. G. , the French revolution) B.

Science and Sociology Augusta Comet believed that the major goal of sociology was to understand society as it actually operates. Comet saw sociology as the product of a hermitage historical development: 1 . The theological stage, in which thought was guided by religion 2. The metaphysical stage, a transitional phase 3. The scientific stage The scientific stage would be guided by positivism: a scientific approach to knowledge based on “positive” facts as opposed to mere speculation. Sociological Theory A theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related.

The goal of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world. Theories are based on theoretical approaches, or basic images of society that guides thinking and research. Sociologists ask two basic questions: “What issues should we study? “, and “How should we connect the facts? ” There are three major sociological approaches: Copyright @ 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. 2 Chapter 1 Sociology. Perspective, Theory, and Method A. B. C. D. The structural-functional approach is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.

It asserts that our lives are guided by social structures (relatively stable patterns of social behavior). Each social structure has social unction, or consequences, for the operation of society as a whole. Key figures in the development of this approach include Augusta Comet, Mile Druthers, Herbert Spencer, and Tailcoat Parsons. Robert Morton introduced three concepts related to social function: 1 . Manifest functions, or the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern 2. Latent functions, or largely unrecognized and unintended consequences 3. Social dysfunctions, or undesirable consequences of a social pattern for the operation of society 4. Critical Review: The influence of this approach has declined in recent decades. It focuses on stability, ignoring inequalities of social class, race, and gender. The social-conflict approach is a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of nines laity, generating conflict and change. Most sociologists who favor this approach attempt not only to understand society, but also to reduce social inequality. Karl Marx is always associated with this approach. Feminism and the gender-conflict approach.

One important type of conflict analysis is the gender-conflict approach: a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between men and women. The gender-conflict approach is closely linked to feminism, the advocacy of social equality for women and men. The race-conflict approach. Another important type of social-conflict analysis is the race-conflict approach, a point Of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories. 1 . Critical Review: The various social conflict approaches have developed rapidly in recent years. They share several weaknesses: a.

They ignore social unity based on mutual interdependence and shared values. B. Because they are explicitly political, hey cannot claim scientific objectivity. C. Like the structural-functional approach, the social-conflict approaches envision society in terms of broad abstractions. The symbolic-interaction approach is a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. The stratospherically and the social-conflict approaches share a macro-level orientation, meaning that they focus on broad social structures that shape society as a whole.

In contrast, symbolic-interactions has a micro-level orientation; it focuses on patterns of social interaction in specific tenting. Key figures in the development Of this approach include Max Weber, George Herbert Mead, Irving Coffman, George Humans, and Peter Blab. Critical Review: Symbolic interactions attempts to explain more clearly how individuals actually experience society. However, it has two weaknesses: 1 . Its micro-orientation sometimes results in the error of ignoring the influence of Copyright 0 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Instructors Manual for Macaroni Society: The Basics, 1 1/e larger social structures. 2. By emphasizing what is unique, it risks overlooking he effects of culture, class, gender, and race. VI. Three Wap to Do Sociology A. Scientific Sociology One popular way to do sociological research is positivist sociology, which is the study of society based on scientific observation of social behavior. 1. Science Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence, meaning facts we verify with our senses. Sociological research often challenges what we accept as “common sense. For example: a. It is often believed that the differences in the social behavior of women and men reflect “human nature. ” In fact, much of what we call “human nature” is constructed y the society in which we live. B. It is often thought that the United States IS a middle-class society in which most people are more or less equal. In fact, the richest 5 percent of U. S. Families control half of the country’s wealth. C. Many believe that people marry for love. Sociological research indicates that marriages in most societies have little to do with love. 2.

Concepts, variables, and measurement A basic element of science is the concept, which is a mental construct that represents some part of the world, inevitably in a simplified form. Variables are concepts whose value changes from case to ease. Measurement is the process of determining the value of a variable in a specific case. Statistical measures are frequently used to describe populations as a whole, and this requires that researchers operational variables, which means specifying exactly what one is to measure in assigning a value to a variable. 3.

Statistics Sociologists use descriptive statistics to state what is “average” for a large population. Included in this category are mean, median, and mode. 4. Reliability and Validity a. Useful measurement must have reliability, which refers to consistency in measurement. B. Useful measurement must have validity, which refers to precision in measuring exactly what one intends to measure. 5. Correlation and Cause The real payoff in sociological research is determining how variables are related. Correlation can be defined as a relationship by which two (or more) variables change together.

The scientific ideal is mapping out cause and effect, which means a relationship in which we know that change in one variable causes a change in another. Just because two variables change together does not necessarily mean that they have a cause-and-effect relationship. When two rabbles change together but neither one causes the other, sociologists describe the relationship Copyright 0 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 as a spurious correlation. To be sure of a real cause-and-effect relationship, we must show that: a. The two variables are correlated. B. He independent (or causal) variable precedes the dependent variable in time. C. There is no evidence that the correlation is spurious because of some third variable. 6. The Ideal of Objectivity A guiding principle of scientific study is objectivity, or personal neutrality in conducting research. Whenever possible, sociologists follow Max Webber model of value-free research. That is, we must be dedicated to finding truth as it is rather than as we think it should be. Interpretative Sociology Some sociologists suggest that science, as it is used to study the natural world, misses a vital part of the social world: meaning.

Human beings do not simply sac we engage in meaningful action. Max Weber, who pioneered this framework, argued that the focus of sociology is interpretation. Interpretative sociology is the study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world. The interpretative sociologist’s job is notes to observe what people do but to share in their world Of meaning and come to appreciate why they act as they do. Critical Sociology 1 . The Importance of Change Karl Marx founded this framework, rejecting the idea that society exists as a “natural” system with a fixed order.

Critical sociology is the study of society that focuses on the need for social change. The point is not merely to study the world as it is, but to change it. 2. Sociology as Politics Scientific sociologists object to taking sides, charging that critical sociology is political and gives up any claim to objectivity. Methods and Theory In general, each of the three ways to do sociology is related to one of the theoretical approaches presented earlier in the chapter. Research Orientations and Theory Links between research orientations and theory A.

Positivist orientation is linked to the structural-functional approach – both are concerned with the scientific goal of understanding society as it is B. Interpretive orientation is linked to the symbolic-interaction approach – both focus on the meanings people attach to their social world Critical orientation is linked to the social-conflict approach – both seek to reduce C. Social inequality VIII. Gender and Research Research is affected by gender, the personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female and male, in five ways: Copyright 0 201 1 Pearson Education, Inc.

All rights 5 Anthropocentric, or approaching an issue from the male perspective. Parallelizing, or using data drawn from studying only one sex to support conclusions about human behavior in general. Gender blindness, or not considering the variable of gender at all. Double standards, or using different standards to judge men and women. Interference, because a subject reacts to he sex of the researcher. Research Ethics The American Sociological Association-?the professional organization of U. S. Sociologists-?has established formal guidelines for conducting research.

Sociologists must strive to be technically competent and fair-minded in their work; ensure the safety of subjects taking part in a research project; include in their published findings any sources of financial support; and observe the global dimensions to research ethics. Research Methods A research method is a systematic plan for conducting research. Researchers choose a particular method according to those they wish to duty and what they wish to learn. A. Testing a Hypothesis: The Experiment The experiment is a research method for investigating cause-and-effect under highly controlled conditions.

Experiments test a specific hypothesis, that is, a statement of a possible relationship between two (or more) variables. Hypotheses are unverified statements of a relationship between variables. Experimenters gather the evidence needed to accept or reject the research hypothesis in three steps: ; measuring the dependent variable (the “effect’). ; exposing the dependent variable to the independent variable (the “cause” or retirement”). ; measuring the dependent variable again to see if the predicted change took place. 1.

Illustration of an Experiment: The “Stanford County prison” Phillip Zanzibar devised a fascinating experiment in which he tested the hypothesis that once inside a prison; even emotionally healthy people are prone to violence. The results supported Sombrero’s hypothesis, but the experiment also revealed the potential of research to threaten the physical and mental well-being of subjects. B. Asking Questions: Survey Research A survey is a research method in which subjects respond to a series of tenements or questions in a questionnaire or an interview. Survey research is usually descriptive rather than explanatory.

Surveys are directed at populations, the people who are the focus of research. Usually we study a sample, a part of the population that represents the whole. Random sampling is commonly used to be sure that the sample is actually representative. Surveys may involve questionnaires, a series of written questions a researcher presents to subjects. Questionnaires may be closed-ended or open-ended. Most surveys are sulfanilamide and must be carefully protested. Surveys may also take the form of interviews, a series of questions administered in person by a researcher to Copyright @ 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.

All rights reserved. X. 6 respondents. 1 . Illustration of Survey Research: Studying the African American Elite Sociologist Lois Benjamin used survey research to investigate the effects Of racism on talented African American men and women. What surprised Benjamin the most was how eagerly many subjects responded to her request for an interview. Benjamin concluded that despite the improving social standing of African Americans, black people in the United States still suffer he effects of racial hostility.

In the Field: Participant Observation Participant observation is a method by which researchers systematically observe people while joining in their routine activities. Participant observation research is descriptive and often exploratory. 1 . Illustration of Participant Observation: “Street Corner Society’ William Foote White studied social life in a rundown section of Boston he called “Cornerstone. ” White entered the Cornerstone world as a participant observer and actually married a local woman with whom he would spend the rest of his life in the process.

He learned that the spinsterhood was not the stereotypical slum. His work shows that participant observation is a method based on tensions and contrasts. Using Available Data: Existing Sources Not all research requires collecting new data. In many cases sociologists save time and money by using existing sources, analyzing data collected by others. 1 . Illustration of the use of existing sources: A Tale of Two Cities Dig Ballet’s study of Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia illustrates the clever use of existing data.

Please follow and like us:
Haven’t found the essay you want?