The Sociological Perspective

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 29 September 2016

The Sociological Perspective

1.The sociological perspective mainly shows specific event and surroundings that influences peoples lives. The base the word of sociology is social which deals with how people interact with others and other groups. Sociologists look at social locations that people are involved with because of where they are in society. Some things that are looked at by sociologists include jobs, income, race-ethnicity, education, gender, etc. Biography and history are important in sociology. History was further studied by C. Wright Mills who said that every society is in the middle of a large amount of events that occur. An example would be the roles of women and men. Mills explained biography as the experiences that occur in historical event. This means that this will give humans instincts for what to do after a certain event in their life occurs. There is internal (instincts) and external mechanism (motivation and thinking). Globalization is also important in sociology.

Due to technology with phones and computers, we can easily see how other people across the planet interact with others not only in their communities but with others. Global networking is a great part of finding out who we are and how we portray ourselves. 2.Sociology emerged in the middle 1800s in Europe mainly because of the industrial revolution that was starting to surface and many people were migrating to cities to find work and to better their lives. What they came to realize was that the cities treated the workers with low pay, long hours and dangerous working conditions and the social lives of people had become much different than before the migration to the cities. The scientific method was starting to become important to trying to answer questions of social life. This started the further study of sociology. August Comte was first to suggest that the scientific method should be applied to sociology that produced the positivism process.

He began to study the bases of social order. His main goal was to apply the scientific method to the study of society. Herbert Spencer is called the second founder of sociology and disagreed with Comte. He coined the term the “survival of the fittest”. In summary Spencer’s theory was that the society’s most capable and intelligent members (“the fittest”) survive, and the less capable individuals die out. Although Charles Darwin was more known than Spencer, Darwin got credit for the social Darwinism. Karl Marx thought that human misery was found in class conflict. The exploitation of workers stems from those who are owners of businesses. Marx thought that those individuals needed to be overthrown (he called them capitalists) by the workers being taken advantage of (he called them the proletariat). Marx didn’t view himself as a socialist however; sociologists were intrigued and raised conflicts from his beliefs.

Emile Durkheim attended University of Boreaux where he received the world’s first academic appointment in sociology. His second goal was to show how social forces affect people’s behavior. Durkheim showed a comparison of the suicide rates of several counties that showed that the suicides were resulting from an underlying factor. He showed that people are more likely to commit suicide if they had ties to others in their community that were weak. This discovery played a large role of social integration in social life. This remains relevant to sociology today. Max Weber was labeled as a functionalist. He first discovered the root was where capitalism arises (changes in religion brought about capitalism). Weber used cross-cultural and historical approach to detect how social groups affects ones orientations to life.

3.It is quite clear that women appear to be absent from playing a role in sociology. Women were thought to only play a role of a wife as well as a mother. Women were expected to only focus on church, cooking, children and clothes. If women tried to do anything but the 4 C’s listed, the men would completely disapprove. High education was rarely seen in females, but some were able to complete higher education. Many women who were thought to be early socialists wrote about many topics in great detail and thought sociology was a type of social reform. Women wanted to stop events like lynching, and wanted integration of immigrant workers. Now that women are recognized, many are revisiting the early writings of sociologists. 4.Jane Addams was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. This was under Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. Addams worked on behalf of poor immigrants. With Ellen G. Starr she founded the Hull-House in Chicago.

She was a leader in women’s rights and the peace movement of World War I. Besides sexism, racism made life very difficult for sociologists. W.E.B. Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Doctorate degree at Harvard. He attended lectures by Max Weber. Du Bois spent most of his career studying African Americans their relationship with Caucasians. He mainly studied the role of academic sociology with a social reformer. Another one of his accomplishments was that he was an editor of crisis, which was an influential journal of that time period. Talcott Parsons was important in sociology in this time period for developing abstract models of society that was in influence on many generations of sociologists. He was very controversial in sociology because of his analysis of the role of power elite in the US society.

Many have taken his research for granted. C Wright Mills urged sociologists to look past the studies of Parsons and gear sociologists’ studies back to social reform. He also said that they were missing the point that the power elite of the 1960’s & 1970’s was threatening freedom. This showed a new generation that became intrigued in generations of sociologists to come. 5.Symbolic Interactionism mainly uses symbols that attach meaning to it. These symbols are the main role of communicating with humans all over the world. Each symbol can signal different behaviors and without these symbols coordinate our actions with other people around us. This theory is making sense of life and determining relationships. Functional Analysis is a theory that society is a whole unit that is made up of interrelated parts that all work together.

This theory is related in the root origin of society. Functionalists try to understand society by looking at bother structure (how the parts of a society fit together to make the whole) and function (what each part does and how it contributes to society). If function is lost in a family, then divorced could be inevitable. The conflict theory provides a third perspective on social life. Unlike functionalists, conflict theorists think that society is made up of groups that are competing with one another for scarce resources. Dominance of men over women was once thought to be normal. Once women gained rights, education, and earnings, they have more power they have more independence than once needed. More divorces are surfacing and marriage is not looked at the same as the earlier generations.

6.Macro level is examining large-scale patterns of society where the micro level is showing what people do when they are in one another’s presence. In the symbolic interactionism uses microsociological level that examines small-scale patterns of social interaction. With functionalism uses the macrosociological level that examines large-scale patterns of society. The conflict theory uses the macrosociological level that examines large-scale patterns of society. 7.The eight steps in the research model are as followed.

a.)Selecting a topic
b.)Define the problem
c.)Review the literature
d.)Formulate a hypothesis
e.)Choose a research method: surveys, participant observation, case studies, secondary analysis, documents, experiments
f.)Collect the data
g.)Analyze the results
h.)Share the results

8.Surveys- where you ask individuals a series of questions. The major advantages are that you can narrow down the group whom you are looking to know more about. The sample will pick random people out of your population so that way you will not be able to have any type of bias. The disadvantages to this is that you have to mainly ask closed-end or neutral questions due to the lack of effort some will put into the survey. Fieldwork- the researcher participates in a research setting while observing what is happening in that setting. Advantages include being able to observe not only the individual but also others around them, which depends on the type of example you are looking at. The major disadvantage of this is that you cannot observe or interview every person in an event that they want to study. Case Studies- the researcher focuses on a single event, situation or even individual. The advantages are to understand the dynamics of relationships, power or event the thought process to motivate people.

The major disadvantages are questions that always remains: How much of this detail applies to other situations? The problem of generalizability is why most sociologists do not use this method. Secondary Analysis- researchers analyze that others have collected. The advantage for this is you could uncover something that they could have missed in their research. A disadvantage is that you might not know every detail and you could potentially be misinformed about certain information. Documents- these are written sources that include books, newspapers, bank records, immigration, etc. The disadvantages of documents is that if you want to learn about the social and emotional adjustment of the victims, the documents would not tell you anything.

Also sometimes gaining access to the documents could be near to impossible. The advantage to the documents will be to learn common knowledge and nothing to specific. Experiments- There are variables that are important for determining experiments. Experiments are useful for determining cause and effect and can help ensure that individual characteristics are distributed between the groups (attitudes, race-ethnicity, age, and so on). Unobtrusive Measures- where researchers will observe the behavior of people who are not aware that they are being studied. Disadvantages could be that unobtrusive measures could be considered unethical in some situations like secretly record the behavior of people in public settings. 9.The major ethical issues involved in sociological research must follow the ethics of sociology.

The ethics must require openness, honesty and truth. Mario Brajuha takes their ethical standards seriously. In one specific instance Brajuha refused to hand over his notes even if he grew anxious and had to appear at several court hearings. Brajuha showed loyalty to the company regardless of everything that happened with his work burning down. Sociologists agree on the necessity to protect respondents and they applaud the professional manner in which Brajuha handled himself. Laud Humphreys studied social interaction in “tearooms” with married men.

Humphreys took on the role of watch queen to observe the types of men that came in and were looking for sexual gestures from men. Humphreys was criticized for his studies. He was considered to be a sociological snooper. This shows have ethical and unethical some researchers can be. 10.The relationship between theory and research depend on one another. Sociologists use theory to interpret the data they gather. Theory also generates questions that need to be answered by research, while research helps to generate a theory. Theory without research is not likely to represent real life, while research without theory is merely a collection of unconnected facts.

Chapter Summary

This chapter touched on the surface of what sociology means and who are some of the important individuals that helped contribute to this science. August Comte was one of the first to see his findings as sociology due to the scientific method. The sociological perspective that was one of the main points the chapter. The Sociological perspective stresses people’s social experience, groups they belong to and how they interact with one another. One other topic that was interesting was how women were looked down upon for wanting a higher education. Those who were writing about sociological issues were not taken seriously until much later years.

Lecture 2: Culture

1.Culture is universal and all human groups create a design for living that has both material and nonmaterial culture. Every person views and evaluates the world through their culture. Nonmaterial culture is mainly composed of symbols such as gestures, language, value norms, sanctions, folkways, etc. Material culture used to describe the objects produced by human beings, including buildings, structures, monuments, tools, weapons, utensils, furniture, art, and indeed any physical item created by a society. Material culture is the main source of information about the past from which archaeologists can make inferences. 2.Ethnocentrism is the common people naturally think. They use their own culture as a standard against which to judge other cultures. A positive is that people’s cultures will be followed and the culture/values of one group of individuals will not become extinct.

A negative of ethnocentrism would be that some could become narrow-minded and never be at peace that others have different cultures. Cultural Relativism tries to understand other people within the framework of their own culture. A positive aspect is that this will get people interacting and being social with others within your culture. A negative might be because the moral code of our own society has no special status; it is merely one among many. There is no “universal truth” in ethics; that is, there are no moral truths that hold for all peoples at all times. 3.Symbolic culture is a main component of nonmaterial culture. The categories include gestures, language, values, norms, sanctions, mores and folkways. Language is one of the most important components as this is universal in culture.

Language is the way of communication and how people understand one another. Gestures are using your body in order to communicate with others without using any words. An example would be shaking your head. In the US that depending on the way one moves their head could mean either yes or no to answer someone else’s symbol. Values are the standards in which people define what is right or wrong. These values describe why people do what the things that they do. Norms are expectations or rules of behaviors that develops out of groups’ values. An example would be kissing in public, depending on where you are in the world it could be either acceptable or unacceptable to do around strangers. A folkway is a type of norm that is a general standard of behavior. Mores is also a type of norm and is essential to core values of people. All groups have values and norms and use positive and negative sanctions to show approval/disapproval of those who don’t or do follow norms.

4.Gestures are associated with nonverbal communication and may be comparatively easier to use between nations, some visual communication remains to be understood amongst the diverse populations around the globe. Gestures are defined by anything consisting of eye contact, facial expressions, patterns of touch, gestures, spatial arrangements, tones of voice, expressive movement, and other cultural differences. Gestures change with each culture and can be seen by the type of body language used. When at first exposed to a new environment where attitudes, language and behavior are all unfamiliar, people may often suffer from culture shock. With these varying meanings from country to country it is easy to see how misunderstanding of gestures may occur.

Culture gives meaning to manners, different hand gestures, how close we may stand when conversing, even handshakes and greetings shows that culture influences every aspect of nonverbal communication. 5.In relation to cultural relativism, although many people try to understand people within their culture, there is still some sort of bias to some cultures over other cultures. Some cultures aren’t as well known as other larger populated cultures. Practices of cultures in one place of the world can be more superior to others. 6.Values are the standards in which people define what is right or wrong. Norms are expectations or rules of behaviors that develops out of groups’ values.

A folkway is a type of norm that is a general standard of behavior. Mores is also a type of norm and is essential to core values of people. Sanctions are rewards or punishments that a norm associates with a behavior or appearance. 7.A subculture is a group whose values and behaviors set apart from the general culture. A counterculture is a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to with the prevailing social norm. The counterculture holds values that stand in opposition to the dominant culture.

A dominant culture is a culture that is the most powerful, widespread, or influential within a social or political entity in which multiple cultures are present. 8.Even though the US is made up of pluralistic society (made up of many groups). Each group has its own set of values and certain core values dominate. Some values clump together to form a larger whole. Core values that contradict one another shows places that could have social tension and this could be a large part of social change.

a.Achievement and success as major personal goals
b.Activity and work favored over being lazy
c.Moral orientation
d.Humanitarian motives
e.Efficiency and being practicality to achieve a goal
f.Process and progress shows that technology can solve problems

g.Material comfort is describing the US dream
h.Equality or equal opportunity
i.Freedom for persons right against the state
j.External Conformity
k.Science and rationality
m.Democracy is personal quality and freedom
n.Individualism is emphasizing personal rights and responsibilities
o. Racism that can ultimately lead to prejudice

9.Ideal culture is what society claims they do and believe in, but real culture is what society actually does. Examples of ideal culture versus real culture could be in ideal culture most people talk about how important an education is, and how you must graduate but in real culture most of the people in this country have never graduated and don’t plan on it. Those who do graduate from high school, and want to attend a college can’t afford it. Another example would be in an ideal culture the woman is the housekeeper, and takes care of the babies while the man works. In real culture nowadays some men stay home with the children while their wife is the breadwinner.

The final example I have is in ideal culture no one has sex before marriage or children out of wedlock, but in real culture teenagers are having babies daily as young as 15 years old. 10. Because of the new technology that is being introduced in our world today, people’s individual culture and values are changing. Technology with travel and the way we communicate, shows that cultural change happens more rapidly around the whole world compared to the ways of life in the past. This causes a degree of cultural leveling shows that cultures become similar to one another.

Chapter 2 Summary: The Sociological Imagination

C. Wright Mills correctly describes how history must be understood in order to truly understand individual troubles as well as public issues. This is true for any individual that you study who has committed a crime or had an ulterior motive. People must understand that seeing the underlying issues that arise in ones life could trigger other events to happen and steer people in other ways. During the time of World War II, the US were entering the war and although some people did not understand why they had to go fight for their country, they knew they needed to catch up on the significance. Women were thrown into positions with no knowledge of the history and it became harder to learn, but it was done.

Lecture 3- Socialization

1.Nature versus Nature has constantly been a heated topic in the Psychology and Sociology. Nature is that which is inherited / genetic. Nurture which refers to all environmental influences after conception, i.e. experience.

Those who believe in the nature theory, they know that certain physical characteristics are biologically determined by genetic inheritance. Color of eyes, straight or curly hair, pigmentation of the skin and certain diseases (such as Huntingdon’s chorea) are all a function of the genes we inherit. Other physical characteristics, if not determined, appear to be at least strongly influenced by the genetic make-up of our biological parents. From the nurture point of view psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the result of learning.

It is how you are brought up (nurture) that governs the psychologically significant aspects of child development and the concept of maturation applies only to the biological. So, when an infant forms an attachment it is responding to the love and attention it has received, language comes from imitating the speech of others and cognitive development depends on the degree of stimulation in the environment and, more broadly, on the civilization within which the child is reared.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 29 September 2016

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