Connecting Sociology and YOU!

Chapter 1: Introduction – Understanding Sociology

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Notes: Sociology helps me understand the social forces that shape individuals and societies so that I can use this knowledge to become a better me and promote the greater good!

1.1.5: Summarize the feminist, queer, and postmodern theories

Feminist Theory: a view on anti-oppression, gender relations and gender inequality that was evolved from the conflict theory. 

Queer Theory: a critical view that rejects the traditional categories of sex, gender, and sexuality in a contemporary society. This theory addresses both macro and micro level issues that address sexuality. 

Postmodern Social Theory: a critical view rejecting the historical, scientific and structured means of investigating and interpreting the social world. 


1.2.1: Explain characteristics of social structures. 

Social Structures are the distinctive and stable arrangements of social patterns that form the society as a whole. 

Rationalization of Society is the replacement of traditional values and personal connections with bureaucracy, efficiency and a means-end approach. 

Common Characteristics of Social Structures include: 

-organizes behaviors of large groups of people

– capable of coercing individual and groups 

– provides norms, rules, practices

– assigns roles and powers to individuals and groups 

– encompasses large geographical areas

1.2.2 : Describe how Martineau, Addams, Du Bois, and Merton recognized social structures in their research, writings or practice of sociology.  

Martineau provided an “outsiders” view on several social structures such as the US economy, religion, political system and government. They were all focused on americas value system which emphasized all aspects of the social institutions. She later published “Society in America” which detailed all of these social structures. She focused on gender, race, and class tensions with the goal of helping subordinate groups such as Jane Addams did. 

In 1889, Jane Addams founded the Hull House, a house that provided social services to immigrants of chicago which included the government, education and health care. The Hull House originally offered services for the poor immigrant such as as a gym, library, coffee house and clubs for older children but unfortunately closed due to financial crisis in 2012. Addams was also a charter member of the American Sociological Society in 1905 which led her to be the first American woman to receive the Noble Peace Price in 1931. 

Du Bois served as a Civil Rights Activists to encourage the top 10% of African American males to pursue higher education, become writers about race relations and be directly involved in the social reformation of equality. He gained his Ph.D from Harvard University which later lead him to co-found the National Association from the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. Du Bois’s main goal was to challenge the social structures within the American Society that perpetuated racism and discrimination in social institutions. 

Robert Merton focused on utilizing the functionalist theory in his writings, Social Theory and Social Structure, to define and categorize bureaucratic structures. He defined bureaucracies as a formal, rationally organized social structure consisting of a hierarchy of offices, authority, and formal relationships. He also stated that this can lead to a bureaucratic red tape, better known as a adherence to excessive regulations and conformity that prevents decision making and change. 

1.2.3: Identify social structures within a contemporary social issue

College campus’s are a prime example of how a social structure might enable a social issue, such as binge drinking. If you think of the many ways that a social institution such as a university can conform students to binge drinking. 

1.3.1: Identify the role of sociology in understanding social problem

Social Problems: the societal conditions that harm segments of society. 

You can better understand social problems with sociology by: 

– measuring objective conditions (the scope of a problem) 

– measuring subjective concerns (people’s feelings about a problem) 

– evaluating the context within which the problem exists

– identifying potential policy solutions to the problem

Human Trafficking: a situation in which a person is smuggled, abused, and forced to work against their will for the economic gain of another individual. 

Fair Trade: an organizational movement and certification process to help produces in developing countries receive a fair price for their products with the goals of reducing poverty, providing for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers and promoting environmentally sustainable practices. 

Sustainability: the idea that current and future generations should have or greater access to social, economic and environmental resources. 

Sustainable development: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

1.3.2: Describe the social problems associated with a social inequality

Social Inequality: the unequal distribution of power, property, or prestige in society. 

Examples of Social Problems that contribute to Social Inequality

1. The quality of someone’s overall health can be affected by their financial standpoint. The more money someone has, the greater access they have to better healthcare. 

2. Economic inequality can result in someone becoming homeless. 

3. Economic inequality plays a role in the raising rates of teen pregnancy, especially in poor countries but also the ability to care for them after being born. 

4. The quality of education is dictated by the educational resources available in their community. 

5. Economic inequality in a society and the lack of financial support can affect a person’s life expectancy. 

Theories of Sociology

Functionalist Theory: theoretical perspective that is concerned with how the parts of a social system work to maintain stability in society. 

Conflict Theory: Looks at the issue of competition and change and who benefits from structural inequalities. 

Symbolic Interactionism: The understanding of everyday social behavior is based on our lived experiences. 

1.4.1: Explain the relationship between the sociological imagination and Durkheim’s anomie

1.5.1: Evaluate the consequence of globalization in the context of social change. 

Social Change: the forces that change the organization and the social structures of society. 

Globalization: the worldwide integration of our cultural, economic, and political lives that results from ever-increasing levels of business, trade, and technology. 

Pro’s of globalization 

– increase in job opportunities and global economic development. 

– Development of technology 

– Societies sharing culture and developments in innovation and technology including knowledge sharing. 

Cons of Globalization: 

– the moving of jobs from developed countries to developing countries means more unemployment. 

– economic inequality and poor working conditions

– the relocation of skilled labor force increases the spread of deadly diseases due to international travel and illegal trade. 

1.5.2: Explain how sociology can be applied to social change. 

Applied Sociology can be used to further understand the changing of the world around us. Applied sociology is better known as the use of sociological theory, research, and methodologies to find solutions to problems in society.