You May Ask Yourself

Caitlin Walker
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Caitlin Walker
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Sociology 200 notes

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Chapter One: The Sociological Imagination: An Introduction

Sociology is the study of human society, and there is the sociology of sports, of religion, of music, of medicine, & sociology of sociologists. "Thinking like a sociologist" means applying analytical tools to something you have always done without much conscious thought - Making the familiar strange. Xenophobia - feelings that result from the discomfort of facing a different reality

The Sociological Imagination:The Sociological Imagination - C. Wright Mills (1959)- The Sociological Imagination is the ability to see connections between our personal experience and the larger force of history. "Individuals.. often become falsely conscious of their social positions."Ask ourselves- What we take to be natural that actually isn't.

How To Be a Sociologist According To Quentin Tarantino: A Scene From Pulp Fiction- By shifting your social environment enough to be in a position where you cannot take everything for granted, you are forced to see the connections between particular historical paths taken (and not taken) and how you live your daily life.

What Are the True Costs and Returns of College?College, outright, is certainly more expensive than getting a job out of high school, however when looked at in the grand scheme, college educated students make more money overall. However: College students are innately smarter Know how to work the system Come from wealthier families* can delay gratification are more efficient at managing their time Money in the future is worth less than expenses today because: Inflation we can invest money today to make more tomorrow

Getting That "Piece of Paper"Credential Society: A historical sociology of Education and Stratification - Randall Collins (1979) - Argues that the expansion of higher education has merely resulted in a ratcheting up of credentialism and expenditures on formal education rather than reflecting any true societal need for more formal education or opening up opportunity to more peopleIf credentials matter, you could technically illegally purchase them online. However colleges have ways to prevent this: Copyright law local police force However most employers don't check on this- unless through informal mechanisms:Alumni network - potential employers generally want you to talk about your college experience. Slip up, and your cover is blown.

What is a Social Institution?A college is an institution that acts as a gatekeeper to what are considered legitimate forms of educational advantage by certifying what is legitimate knowledge. It segregates great swaths of our population by age. Social Institution - A complex group of interdependent positions that, together, perform a social role and reproduce themselves over time. *A way to think about these positions is as a set of stories we tell ourselves; social relations are a network of ties; and the social role is a grand narrative that unifies these stories within the network. - Think about them as institutions constructed within a dense network of other social institutions and meanings.*To change a college's identity: The legal system enforces copyright law, making fake diplomas illegitimate The primary and secondary education system (k-12) prepares students both academically and culturally for college as well as acting as an extended screening and sorting mechanism to help determine who goes to college and to which one The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is a private company that has a virtual monopoly on the standardized tests that screen for college admission The wage labor market encompasses the entire economy that allows your teacher to be paid, as well as others who maintain the intellectual, fiscal, and physical infrastructure of the school you attend English is the language in which instruction takes place at the majority of U.S. colleges. Language itself is a social phenomenon; the basis for all of social life. A given language is a particular outcome of political boundaries and historical struggles among various populations in the world. *It is often said the only difference between a language and a dialect is that a language has an army to back it up.* Deciding whether a spoken tongue is a language or merely a dialect is a question of power and legitimacy

The Sociology of Sociology The sociological imagination is a technology that could have developed only during a certain time. Arguably, the 19th century, when French Scholar Auguste Comte (1798-1857) invented "social physics" or "positivism"Comte: Positivism arose out of a need to make moral sense of the social order in a time of declining religious authority A secular basis for morality did exist- we could determine right and wrong without reference to higher powers or other religious concepts Human society had gone through three historical, epistemological stages Theological stage: Society seemed to be the result of divine will. If you wanted to understand why kings ruled, why Europe used a feudal and guild system of labor, or why colonialism took root, the answer was that it was gods plan Metaphysical stage: Enlightenment thinkers (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hobbes) saw humankind's behavior as governed by natural, biological instincts. To understand the nature of society- Why things were the way they were- we needed to strip away the layers of society to better comprehend how our basic drives and natural instincts governed and established the foundation for the surrounding world. Scientific stage: We would develop a social physics of sorts in order to identify the scientific laws that govern human behavior Comte's analogy was physics. He was convinced that we could understand how social institutions worked, how we relate to one another, and the overall structure of societies if we merely ascertained their "equations" or underlying logic. Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) The first to translate Comte into English Wrote Theory and Practice of Society in America (1837) - Describes our nation's physical and social aspects. This book addressed: The way we educate children (affords parents too much control and doesn't ensure quality) Relationship between the Federal and state governments Wrote the first methods book in the area of sociology, How to Observe Morals and Manners (1838), in which she took on the institution of marriage, claiming that it was based on an assumption of the inferiority of women.

Classical Sociological TheoryKarl Marx (1818-1883)Marxism - an ideological alternative to capitalism When he was young, he edited a newspaper that was suppressed by the Prussian gov. for its radicalism Settled in london Believed that it was primarily the conflicts between classes that drove social change throughout history Saw history as an account of man's struggle to gain control of and later dominate his natural environment Instead of using technology to master the natural world, people became slaves to industrial technology in order to make a living Each economic system had its own fault lines of conflict - it divided society into a small number of capitalists and a large number of workers (the proletariat) whose interests were opposed. He believed that this would produce social change through a communist revolution. Max Weber (1864-1920) Believed Marx went too far in seeing culture, ideas, religion, and the like as merely an effect and not a cause of how societies evolve. Economy and Society (1922) Provided the theories of authority, rationality, the state, and status "The protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" (1904/2003)Argued that religious transformation that occurred during the protestant reformation in the 16th and early 17th centuries laid the groundwork for modern capitalism by upending the medieval ethic of virtuous poverty and replacing it with an ideology that saw riches as a sign of divine providence.

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