Lecture Notes No. 1



INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

Etymological definition of sociology: Greek terms socius (companion, associate) and logos (study)

Sociology is the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies.

Three (3) factors led to the development of sociology:
  1. Industrial revolution – shift from agricultural economy to industrial economy in Europe; migration from rural areas to urban areas; ideas of individual liberty, rights to life and property developed
  2. Imperialism – expansion of kingdoms, conquering lands
  3. Advancement of science – use of scientific method in studying human behavior and societies

Early sociological theorists:
  1. Auguste Comte (1798-1857, French) – coined the term “sociology”; father of sociology; positivism – applying the scientific method to the social world, building societies on foundations of science and industry rather than on religion; social order (social static) and social change (social dynamic)
  2. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903, English) – Social Darwinism – societies evolve from lower to higher forms; survival of the fittest
  3. Karl Marx (1818-1883, German) – class conflict; bourgeois-proletariat relationship
  4. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917, French) – social integration in social life
  5. Max Weber (1864-1920, German) – studied cross-cultural and historical materials in order to determine how extensively social groups affect people’s orientations to life
Sociological methods

  1. Common Sense - the unreflective opinions of ordinary people "or" sound and prudent but often unsophisticated judgment
Illustration: An example of sociology providing a basis for common sense is the research of William Chambliss (1973) on social status and deviance. Chambliss observed two groups of young men to see how their presented selves matched their actual behaviors. The two groups were dubbed The Saints and The Roughnecks. The  Saints  came  from  the middle-class  and,  in  the  eyes  of their parents,  teachers, and even  law enforcement, were  like saints  -  they could do no wrong. The  Roughnecks,  on  the  other  hand,  came  from  lower-class  families  and  were  consistently accused  of wrong-doing. What Chambliss  found  in  observing  the  two  groups  was  that  The Saints were actually far more deviant than The Roughnecks, but they got away with it because they  were  able  to  commit  their  deviant  acts  outside  of  their  home  town  and  compellingly portray  themselves  as  upstanding  young  citizens.  The Roughnecks,  because  of  their  lack  of mobility  and  funds,  were  more  likely  to  commit  their  deviant  acts  in  public  and  in  their hometown,  leading  local people  to see  them as extreme deviants. Chambliss's  findings, while not pervasively  seen as common  sense, are  increasingly  so. People  are  coming  to  realize  that the public portrayal of one's self may not actually represent one's private activities. This is often the case with serial killers and was even portrayed in the movie Murder by Numbers.

  1. The Scientific Method - a method for the discovery of uniformities in this universe through the process of observation and re-observation; the results are organized, systematized, and made part of the body of knowledge
Essential elements of a scientific method:
1.  Characterization (operationalization or quantification, observation and measurement)
2.  Hypothesis (a theoretical, hypothetical explanation of the observations and measurements)
3.  Prediction (logical deduction from the hypothesis)
4.  Experiment (test of all of the above)

Characteristics of scientific method:
1. Empirical
2. Verifiable
3. Cumulative
4. Self-Correcting
5. Deterministic
6. Ethical and ideological neutrality
7. Statistical Generalization
8. Rationalism

Fields of Sociology

Biosociology, Occupations/Professions, Collective Behaviour/Socioal Movements, Penology/Corrections, Community, Political Sociology, Comparative Sociology/Macro-sociology, Race/Ethnic/Minority Relations, Criminal Justice, Religion, Criminology/Delinquency, Rural Sociology, Cultural Sociology, Small Groups, Demography, Social Change, Development/Modernization, Social Control, Deviant Behaviour/Social Disorganization, Social Networks, Economy and Society, Social Organizations/formal/complex, Education, Social Psychology, Environmental Sociology    Socialization, Ethno methodology, Sociological Practice/Social Policy, History of Sociology/ Social Thought, Sociology of Aging/Social Gerontology, Human Ecology  Sociology of Art/Literature, Industrial Sociology, Sociology of Knowledge, International development/Third World, Sociology of Language/Social Linguistics, Law and Society     , Sociology of Markets, Leisure/Sports/Recreation, Sociology of Mental Health, Marriage and the Family, Sociology of Science, Mass Communication/Public Opinion, Sociology of Sex and Gender, Mathematical sociology, Sociology of Work, Medical Sociology, Sociology of World Conflict, Methodology: Qualitative Approaches, Stratification/Mobility, Methodology: Quantitative Approaches Theory, Micro computing/Computer Applications, Urban Sociology, Military Sociology, Visual  Sociology



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