Social Structures

Social Structures

How do we usually explain one’s behavior? Going to war – prove patriotism, among other reasons Divorce – no passion, to develop potential partner College students’ suicide – to escape depression How should we explain group behavior? Going to war – society teaches us to be patriotic Divorce – social trend towards sexual equality Suicide – pervasive societal expectations of academic performance What is a social structure? Patterns of social relationships Groups/Society ;c] Individual Behavior Groups and society shape individual behavior Individual behavior creates groups and society Going to college -your personal decision?

Joining a gang – a social act providing some young men and women with a sense of security Sociologists FOCUS on… The individual or the group? Individual behavior or patterns of group behavior? Personal motivation or social forces? The effect social structures have on people or the effect people have on social structure? Sociological Theories What does a theory do? It explains reality Each theory provides a framework for interpreting sociological observations The three dominant sociological theories Symbolic Interactions (e. G. George Simmer, George Herbert Mead) Functionalism (e. . Mile Druthers) Conflict Theory (e. G. Karl Marx) 1.

Symbolic Interactions Symbol refers to the meanings associated with people, objects and events How we construct meanings; use symbols to communicate with each other; the foundation of our social world 1. 1. Everyone has a self that allows us to discuss and reflect on our actions 1 . 2. We construct meanings, based on which we act 13. We understand and anticipate others’ reactions to our behavior We have to understand the symbolic world to understand people’s behavior 2. Functionalism The society is made up of many parts, each fulfilling a certain function; interrelated When a part does not work, it becomes dysfunctional Change? 3.

Conflict Theory Every group in society competes for a larger share of limited resources E. G. Racial/ethnic; gender; class conflicts Striving for changes Other Social Science Fields Anthropology – culture; most closely related to sociology Psychology – development and function of mental – emotional processors in human beings (social psychology) Economics – the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services (economic sociology) Political Science – organization, administration, history and theory of overspent (political sociology) How Sociologists Do Research Types of Empirical Studies in Sociology Quantitative vs..

Qualitative Difference in the methodologies of research A Research Model (some steps may be skipped or combined) Research Topic (broad) Research Problem (specific) Literature review (what other sociologists have found) and theory (in explaining findings) Hypothesis (based on literature; what you’d like to prove) Research method (how do you measure what you plan to study) Data(need to be representative) Rest Its Discussion (explain your findings) Examples Types of Sociological Methods

Survey – interviews and questionnaires Use of existing sources/secondary analysis Documents (e. G. Police documents) Experiment Unobtrusive measures (can be unethical) Field research (e. G. Artificial observation) Ethics of Sociological Research plagiarism – using others’ ideas without citing The Humphreys research – misleading the subjects The Amalgam Experiment – subjects were placed in stressful situations Norms, Statuses, and Roles: Behavior and Identity Norm – a standard or a rule that tells people how to act in situations Norms are moral rules concerning what we ought to do – descriptions of what we normally’ do People do not often consciously recognize norms until they meet a situation that challenges their unspoken expectations Norms of Eating Survivors of Flight 227 -? How can we overcome these feelings due to violating norms? Had to break eating norms to survive New Rules – e. G. Ho to eat, how much to eat, what parts to eat, hop to prepare the food, division of labor New Rules [1 New Meanings – The bodies were no longer defined as “people” but as “meat’ – Eating other people became “wrong” only if the rules were not followed Status – a social position – where we “fit” in society -? determines our relationships to others – often terrified, or arranged hierarchically Ascribed – “assigned” to the individual at birth [race, gender, order of the children in the family, age] Achieved – the status that we earn or choose [college student, employee, friend, manager, scientist, engineer, entrepreneur] Related concepts – status symbol – status set – master status – status inconsistency Roles -? behavior expected Of a particular status Rights and obligations attached to a status “Script” for a person playing a “part” Status – Role Distinction -you occupy a status, and play a role The same status may have different roles in different cultures The same role maybe associated with different statuses in different environment Role Strain and Role Conflict Yet we want the parts that society assigns to us Because roles determines what we do and who we are 1. Role Behavior has two dimensions Action – What should I do? -? Roles create personal organization [pattern/ structure lives] Identity – Who am l? – We take on the identity of a role in ;o ways 1.

Behaving in the Role By behaving in the role, we take on the emotions and attitudes of the role By actively engaging in the role, we become the role The Saints and the Roughnecks? 2. The Reactions of Others Identity is socially bestowed In acts of social recognition -? We become what we are addressed as Identity is socially sustained – We continue to be addressed as so Reflection on the Readings? How do the status and roles play out in eating human bodies? What methodology did Chemicals, the author of The Saints and the roughnecks, use in the article? Why would the two groups of delinquent boys end up in different careers, consistent with the expectations of the community?

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