Chapter 1
The Sociological
Seeing the Broader Social Context
• How Groups Influence People
• How People are Influenced by Their
– People Who Share a Culture
– People Who Share a Territory
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Social Location - Corners in Life
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Origins of Sociology
• Tradition vs. Science
– The Industrial Revolution
• Masses of people moved to cities in search of work
– Grew Out of Social Upheaval
– Imperialism of the Time
– Rise of the Scientific Method
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Auguste Comte and Positivism
• Applying the Scientific Method to Social
• Comte began to wonder what holds
society together
• Coined the Term “Sociology”
• “Armchair Philosophy”
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Herbert Spencer - Social Darwinism
• Second Founder of Sociology
• Disagreed sharply with Comte’s idea that
sociologists should guide social reform
• Lower and Higher Forms of Society
• Coined Phrase “Survival of the Fittest”
• Spencer’s idea that it was wrong to help
the poor offended many
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Karl Marx and Class Conflict
Engine of Human History is Class Conflict
The Bourgeoisie vs. The Proletariat
Marxism Not the Same as Communism
Marx thought that people should try to
change society
• Marx did not think of himself as a
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Durkheim and Social Integration
• Got Sociology Recognized as Separate
• Studied How Social Forces Affect
• Identified “Social Integration” - Degree to
Which People are Tied to Social Group
• Applying Durkheim
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Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic
• Religion and the Origin of Capitalism
– Disagreed with Marx’s claim that economics
is the central force in social change
– Said that role belongs to religion
• Religion is Central Force in Social Change
• Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism
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How Americans Commit Suicide
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Sexism in Early Sociology
• Attitudes of the Time
– 1800s Sex Roles Rigidly Defined
– Few People Educated Beyond Basics
• Harriet Martineau
– Published Society in America Before
Durkheim and Weber Were Born
– Her work was Ignored
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Racism at the Time: W.E.B Du Bois
• B.A. from Fisk University
• First Harvard Ph.D. for African American
• It is difficult to grasp how racist society
was at this time
• Published a Book Each Year from 18961914
• Neglected by Sociologist Until Recently
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Jane Addams: Sociologist and
Social Reformer
• Member of American Sociological Society
from Start
• Came from Background of Wealth and
• Co-Founded Hull House
• Co-Founded American Civil Liberties
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Talcott Parsons and C. Wright Mills
• Many early North American sociologists
saw society as corrupt & in need of reform
• Parsons Developed Objective Analysis
and Models of Society
• Mills Deplored Theoretical Abstractions in
Favor of Social Reform
• Continuing Tension in Sociology
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Theoretical Perspectives
• Basic Sociology
– Analyzing an aspect of society and publishing
their findings in books and sociology journals
• Applied Sociology
– Using sociology to solve problems
• Public Sociology
– A middle ground between research & reform
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Comparing Basic and Applied Sociology
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• A framework for building theory that sees society
as a complex system whose parts work together
to promote solidarity and stability
• Social Structure
– Any relatively stable pattern of social behavior
• Social Functions
– The consequences of a social pattern for the
operation of society as a whole
• Contributed an evolutionary perspective on
social order and social change.
• Social Darwinism
– The belief that the human beings best
adapted to their environment survive and
prosper, whereas those poorly adapted die
• Coined the term “survival of the fittest.”
EMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917)
• Believed the limits of human potential are
socially based.
• One of his most important contributions
was the concept of social facts.
– Social facts are patterned ways of acting,
thinking, and feeling that exist outside any
one individual but exert social control over
each person.
• Material facts are represented by society itself,
social structures, population density, geographic
location, etc.
• Nonmaterial facts are social norms and values,
collective representations, and the collective
conscious, etc.
• Social currents are great movements of
enthusiasm, indignation, pity, etc.
ROBERT K. MERTON (1910–2003)
• Manifest Functions
– The recognized and intended consequences
of any social pattern
• Latent Functions
– The unrecognized and unintended
consequences of any social pattern
• Social Dysfunction
– Any social pattern that might disrupt the
operation of society
Module 3
Emphasizes the way parts of a society are
structured to maintain its stability
– Viewed society as vast network of
connected parts
– Each helps maintain the system as a whole
• Societies are like
organisms whose
parts are
• Social life depends on
consensus and
cooperation. Conflict
is socially destructive.
• Changes tend to
disrupt social life,
setting things off
Conflict Theory
• A framework for building theory that sees society
as an arena of inequality that generates conflict
and change
• Highlights how the following factors are linked to
– Class, race, ethnicity, gender, age
• Social-conflict approach is used to look at
ongoing conflict between dominant and
disadvantaged categories of people
KARL MARX (1818-1883)
• Viewed history as a clash between
conflicting ideas and forces.
• Believed class conflict produced social
change and a better society.
• Combined ideas from philosophy, history,
and social science into a new theory.
• Marx perceived a fundamental division
between those who owned capital and those
who did not.
• The proletariat did not own capital and were
forced to sell their labor to those who did, the
• The eventual conflict between the proletariat
and the bourgeoisie would create social
MAX WEBER (1864-1920)
• The concept of power was added to the list of
resources that provoke conflict among groups in
a society.
– Power is the ability to make people do what
you want even if against their will.
• The concepts of class, status, and parties are
expressions of social power.
• Provided insights on rationalization, bureaucracy
and religion.
GEORG SIMMEL (1858-1918)
• Theorized about society as a web of patterned
interactions among people.
• Analyzed how social interactions vary
depending on the size of the social group.
• Developed formal sociology, an approach that
focuses attention on the universal recurring
social forms that underlie the varying content of
social interaction.
JANE ADAMS (1860-1935)
• Founded Hull House, one of the most famous
settlement houses, in Chicago.
• One of the authors of a methodology text used
by sociologists for the next forty years.
• Awarded Nobel Prize for assistance to the
W. E. B. DU BOIS (1868-1963)
• One of the first to note the identity conflict
of being both a black and an American.
• Pointed out that people in the U.S.
espouse values of democracy, freedom,
and equality while they accept racism and
group discrimination.
• Societies are like
sports arenas where
groups with different
interests compete for
• Social life inevitably
generates divided
interests, opposing
goals, and conflict.
• Change is inevitable
and even desirable.
Working Class
View of Society
Composed of interrelated
parts that work together to
maintain stability.
Society is characterized by
social inequality; social life
is a struggle for scarce
Symbolic Interaction
(A Micro Theory)
Module 3
Interactionist Perspective
Generalizes about everyday forms of
social interaction to explain society as
a whole
– Humans viewed as living in
a world of meaningful objects
Nonverbal communication: Includes
gestures, facial expressions, and postures
• Society is the sum of the interactions of
individuals and groups
• Interaction is the communication
between two or more individuals
• Symbols are instrumental in helping
people derive meaning from social
• Preparatory Stage (0 to 3 years)
– Children largely imitate the people around
– The interactions lack any significant meaning
• Play Stage (3 to 5 years)
– Children learn the use of language and other
– Children begin to take the roles of other
specific persons (e.g. mom, dad, etc.)
– Learning the nature of roles begins here
• Game Stage (early school years)
– Children develop an understanding of their
personal role as it relates to the role(s) of
– This allows for the child to begin to
understand of the demands and expectations
of the larger society
• Generalized Other Stage
– The child becomes aware of the demands and
expectation of society as a whole
– Social norms, expected and accepted
behaviors in the process of social interaction
are internalized
Module 2
Used micro sociological perspective to
examine face-to-face group interaction
Developed a sociological approach that
explains how individual self concept is a
product of group interaction
Module 3
ERVING GOFFMAN (1922–1982)
Dramaturgical approach: People seen as
theatrical performers
– Every individual has multiple roles and
change scripts as social setting call for it
• Symbolic meaning and
social roles are
learned through
interaction with others.
• Societies consist of
many small theaters
where people act out
various social roles.
• Change occurs when
actors improvise on
the basic script.
Module 5
What is the
Scientific Method?
Systematic, organized series of steps that
ensures maximum objectivity and
consistency in researching a problem
Quantitative and Qualitative
• Quantitative research focuses on data
that can be measured numerically.
– Example: comparing rates of suicide
• Qualitative research focuses on
interpretive description rather than
statistics to analyze underlying meanings
and patterns of social relationships.
Conventional Research Model
1. Select and define the research problem.
2. Review previous research.
3. Formulate the hypothesis.
4. Develop the research design.
5. Collect and analyze the data.
6. Draw conclusions and report the findings.
Module 5
Scientific Method
Defining the Problem
– Operational definition: Explanation of an
abstract concept that is specific enough
to allow researchers to assess the concept
Reviewing the Literature
– Identify previous research: This avoids
unwanted replication and provides insight for
current research approach
Module 5
Scientific Method
Formulating the Hypothesis
– Hypothesis: Speculative statement
about the relationship between two
or more factors known as variables
– Variable: Measurable trait or characteristic
subject to change under different conditions
• Independent variable: Variable hypothesized to
cause or influence another
• Dependent variable: Action depends
on the influence of the independent variable
Module 5
Scientific Method
Formulating the Hypothesis
– Causal logic: Involves relationships
between a condition or variable and a
particular consequence, with one event
leading to the other
– Correlation: Exists when change in one
variable coincides with change in another
Correlation does not
necessarily indicate causation
Module 5
Collecting and Analyzing Data
Selecting the Sample
– Sample: Selection from a larger population
that is statistically typical of that population
– Random sample: When every member
of a population has the same chance
of being selected
– Snowball samples – participants
recruited through word of mouth or
by posting notices on the Internet
Module 5
Collecting and Analyzing Data
Ensuring Validity and Reliability
– Validity: Degree to which the measure
reflects the phenomenon being studied
– Reliability: Extent to which the measure
provides consistent results
Module 5
Developing the Conclusion
Supporting the Hypothesis
– Sociological studies do not always generate
data that support original hypothesis
– Controlling for other factors
Control variable:
Factor held constant to test the
impact of the independent variable
Module 6
Major Research Designs
Research design: Detailed plan or
method for obtaining data scientifically
Existing sources
Module 6
Study that provides sociologists with
information about how people act or think
–Interview: Researcher obtains information
through face-to-face or telephone questioning
–Questionnaire: Researcher uses printed or
written form to obtain information from
Module 6
Research Today
Surveying Cell Phone Users
– Are you a cell phone-only user?
If so, do you generally accept calls from
unknown numbers?
– Which of the problems that arise during
telephone surveys might also arise during
Internet surveys? Might Internet surveys
involve some unique problems?
Module 6
Collecting information through
direct participation and/or by closely
watching a group or community
– Observation: Sociologist joins group to get
accurate sense of how it operates
– Ethnography: Efforts to describe an entire
social setting through extended systematic
Module 6
Artificially created situation that allows
researcher to manipulate variables
– Experimental group: Exposed to
independent variable
– Control group: Not exposed to independent
– Hawthorne Effect: Unintended influence
of observers or experiments on subjects
• Scientific Cause to Effect
– Total control
• Non-Scientific Cause to Effect
– Less control
• Non-Scientific Effect to Cause
– Lowest level of control
Module 6
Use of Existing Sources
Secondary analysis: Research
techniques that make use of previously
collected and publicly accessible
information and data
Durkheim’s Use of Existing Sources
and Suicide
• Literature review:
– Literature, contemporary to Durkheim,
suggested several causes of suicide:
• Individual psychopathology
• Alcoholism
• Race/Ethnicity
• Heredity
• Climate
• Imitation
Durkheim’s Stating the Problem
• If the more individualistic explanations
for suicide were viable then the rate of
suicide should be fairly random within
– However, they were not. Suicide rates varied from
one social group to another
– As an example: Protestants have a higher suicide
rate than Catholics; wealthy have a higher suicide
rate than the poor; etc.
Durkheim’s Analysis of Data
• Durkheim linked the propensity for suicide to
the degree of integration into, or regulation by,
the larger social group or society in general.
– Integration refers to the degree to which
the collective sentiments (or conscience)
are shared by the individual.
– Regulation refers to the degree of external
constraint on people (or the individual)
exerted by the group
Low Social Integration
• Egoistic Suicide
– Egoistic suicide occurs when social integration is
low or too weak.
– This lack of integration leads to a sense of
meaninglessness among individuals.
– Societies (or social groups) with a strong collective
conscience and the protective, enveloping social
currents that flows from it, are likely to prevent
widespread occurrence of egoistic suicide.
High Social Integration
• Altruistic Suicide
– Altruistic suicide occurs when social integration is
high or too strong.
– This overwhelming degree of collective conscience
may lead an individual to commit suicide because
they believe it is their duty to do so.
– One notorious example of altruistic suicide was the
mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Another more
recent example would be the mass suicide of the
Heaven's Gate cult in the San Diego area.
Low Social Regulation
• Anomic Suicide
– Anomic suicide is more likely to occur when the
regulative powers of society are disrupted or
become too low.
– Disruptions may come from either too much of a
good thing or too much of a bad thing. They render
the collective conscience incapable of exercising
authority over the individual.
Low Social Integration
• Anomic Suicide (continued)
– A sense of rootlessness or normlessness leaves
the individual feeling as if he or she was cut adrift
from the social regulations that once provided
structure to their life.
– An example may be seen in the fact that sudden
great wealth or sudden poverty can both lead to
High Social Regulation
• Fatalistic Suicide
– Fatalistic suicide is more likely to occur when the
regulative powers of society are oppressive or
too strong.
– Oppressive regulations leave an individual without
hope for a future governed by their own choices. It
entails a total loss of, or lack of, freedom.

Slide 1