Sociology and External Links

?Introduction to Sociology Edition 1. 0 6th March 2006 From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection Note: current version of this book can be found at http://en. wikibooks. org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology 2 Contents INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY………………………………………………………………. 1 AUTHORS………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6 INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………. What is Sociology?………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7 History…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8 Sociology and Other Social Sciences ………………………………………………………….. 11 Sociology Today………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3 Technology and the Social Sciences…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13 External links ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14 SOCIOLOGICAL METHODS ………………………………………………………………………. 15 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5 The Development of Social Science ……………………………………………………………. 16 The Scientific Method……………………………………………………………………………….. 17 Correlation and Causation ………………………………………………………………………… 21 Quantitative and Qualitative……………………………………………………………………… 23 Objective vs. Critical…………………………………………………………………………………. 4 Ethics………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24 What Can Sociology Tell Us? …………………………………………………………………….. 25 Notes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 26 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………… 6 GENERAL SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY………………………………………………………….. 27 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………. 27 Structural-Functionalism………………………………………………………………………….. 28 Conflict Theory ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 30 Symbolic Interactionism…………………………………………………………………………… 1 Role Theory……………………………………………………………………………………………… 32 Social Constructionism …………………………………………………………………………….. 34 Integration Theory …………………………………………………………………………………… 34 Notes ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35 References ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5 External Links …………………………………………………………………………………………. 36 SOCIETY …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 38 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………. 38 Societal Development………………………………………………………………………………. 38 Classical Views on Social Change………………………………………………………………. 4 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 47 References …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 47 External Links ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 48 CULTURE ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 50 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………….. 0 Subcultures & Countercultures………………………………………………………………… 53 Ethnocentrism & Cultural Relativism……………………………………………………….. 54 Theories of Culture ………………………………………………………………………………… 55 Cultural Change……………………………………………………………………………………… 56 Cultural Sociology: Researching Culture ………………………………………………….. 7 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 58 References …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 58 External links ………………………………………………………………………………………… 59 3 SOCIALIZATION ……………………………………………………………………………………. 60 What is Socialization?…………………………………………………………………………………………. 0 Elements of Socialization ……………………………………………………………………….. 60 Theoretical Understandings of Socialization…………………………………………….. 64 Research Examples ………………………………………………………………………………… 65 Notes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 67 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 7 History………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 68 GROUPS ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69 Social Identity Theory ……………………………………………………………………………. 71 Primary and Secondary Groups……………………………………………………………….. 4 Leadership…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 75 Conformity ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 75 Reference Groups…………………………………………………………….. ……………………. 75 Ingroups and Outgroups ………………………………………………………………………… 75 Group Size……………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 Networks ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 80 Notes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 84 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 84 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………. 85 DEMOGRAPHY …………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………. 87 Why study demography? ……………………………………………………………………….. 87 History…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 87 Data and Methods………………………………………………………………………………… 87 The Demographic Transition ………………………………………………………………… 2 Population Growth and Overpopulation………………………………………………… 94 Notes ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 99 References ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 99 External Links …………………………………………………………………………………….. 100 HUMAN SEXUALITY…………………………………………………………………………….. 02 DEVIANCE AND NORMS………………………………………………………………………. 102 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….. 102 Theories of Deviance …………………………………………………………………………… 103 Crime Statistics …………………………………………………………………………………… 107 Social Control …………………………………………………………………………………….. 16 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 117 References ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 117 History………………………………………………………………………………………………… 117 External Links ……………………………………………………………………………………… 117 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY ………………………………………………………………………….. 18 Subfields………………………………………………………………………………………………. 118 SP’s three angles of research ………………………………………………………………….. 118 The concerns of social psychology…………………………………………………………… 119 Empirical methods ………………………………………………………………………………… 120 Relation to other fields ………………………………………………………………………….. 21 Major perspectives in social psychology ………………………………………………….. 125 Well-known cases, studies, and related works …………………………………………. 130 History………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 131 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 131 Related topics………………………………………………………………………………………… 31 AGEING…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 132 RACE AND ETHNICITY……………………………………………………………………………. 133 4 Race and Ethnicity ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3. ………. nc1vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvb n .a33 The Changing Definitions of Race ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33 Social Construct or Biological Lineage? …………………………………………………………………………………………… 135 Prejudice, Bias, and Discrimination …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 140 Racism…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 141 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 45 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 145 External links ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 146 GENDER……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 148 Gender vs.

Sex………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 148 Biological Differences……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 150 Social and Psychological D……………. ferences……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 151 Sexism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 52 Gender Theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 153 Research Examples ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 156 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 56 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 156 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 157 STRATIFICATION………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 159 Introduction……………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. 159 Objective vs. Subjective Poverty ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 159 Socioeconomic Status…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 160 Global Inequality ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 60 U. S. Inequality ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 162 Theories of Stratification………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 162 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 66 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 167 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 167 ORGANIZATIONS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 68 FAMILY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 168 Family cross-culturally ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 168 Family in the West…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 169 Economic role of the family ………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………….. 170 Kinship terminology………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 170 Western kinship terminology…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 171 See also ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 73 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 174 External links ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 174 THE ECONOMY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 75 RELIGION………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 176 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 176 Definitions of Religion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 76 The Church-Sect Typology……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 178 Theories of Religion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 181 World Religions and Religious History……………………………………………………………………………………………… 185 Religion and Other Social Factors……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 86 The Future of Religion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 188 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 191 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 91 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 193 POLITICS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 193 GOVERNMENT …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 93 MEDIA……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 193 EDUCATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 194 5 Overview ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 94 Origins of the Word “Education” ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 194 Formal Education …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 194 Technology and Education……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 195 History of education………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 195

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Challenges in education…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 195 Parental involvement …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 197 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 197 HEALTH AND MEDICINE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 98 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 198 The Evolution of Health Care and Medicine………………………………………………………………………………………. 199 Health Disparities …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 203 Paying for Medical Care………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 06 Behavior and Environmental Influences on Health …………………………………………………………………………….. 214 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 221 External links ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 222 COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 24 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 224 Crowds ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 224 Theories of Crowd Behavior ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25 Diffuse Crowds……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 226 Research Examples ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 227 Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 227 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 228 SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 29 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 229 Types of Social Movements ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 229 Stages in Social Movements …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 230 Social Movement Theories ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 31 Examples of Social Movements……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 235 Notes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …. 235 References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35 External Links ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 236 HUMAN ECOLOGY………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 237 LICENSE……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 38 GNU Free Documentation License …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 238 0. PREAMBLE ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 238 1. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 238 2. VERBATIM COPYING……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 39 3. COPYING IN QUANTITY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 239 4. MODIFICATIONS …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 239 5. COMBINING DOCUMENTS………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 240 6. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 40 7. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS …………………………………………………………………………. 241 8. TRANSLATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 241 9. TERMINATION………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………. 241 10. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE…………………………………………………………………………………… 41 External links ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 241 6 Authors · Exmoron Ryan T. Cragun, PhD student at the University of Cincinnati · Contribution: Initial book layout and the development of most of the first 15 chapters · Deborahcragun Deborah Cragun, MS Human Genetics; employed as a genetic counselor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center · Contribution: Developed the chapters on health care and medicine and race and ethnicity. 7 Introduction Introduction

Sociology is the study of human social life. Because human social life is so expansive, sociology has many sub-sections of study, ranging from the analysis of conversations to the development of theories to try to understand how the entire world works. This chapter will introduce you to sociology and explain why it is important, how it can change your perspective of the world around you, and give a brief history of the discipline. What is Sociology? The social world is changing. Some argue it is growing; others say it is shrinking. The important point to grasp is: society does not remain unchanged over time.

As will be discussed in more detail below, sociology has its roots in significant societal changes (e. g. , the industrial revolution, the creation of empires, and the enlightenment of scientific reasoning). Early practitioners developed the discipline as an attempt to understand societal changes. Some early sociological theorists (e. g. , Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) were disturbed by the social processes they believed to be driving the change, such as the quest for solidarity, the attainment of social goals, and the rise and fall of classes, to name a few examples.

While details of the theories that these individuals developed are discussed later in this book, it is important to note at this point that the founders of sociology were some of the earliest individuals to employ what C. Wright Mills (1959) labeled the sociological imagination: the ability to situate personal troubles within an informed framework of social issues. Mills proposed that “[w]hat the [people] need… is a quality of mind that will help them to use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves.

The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals” (Mills 1959). As Mills saw it, the sociological imagination could help individuals cope with the social world by helping them to step outside of their personal worldview and thus seeing the events and social structure that influence their behavior, attitudes, and culture. The sociological imagination goes beyond armchair sociology or common sense. Most people believe they understand the world and the events taking place within it.

Humans like to attribute causes to events and attempt to understand what is taking place around them. This is why individuals have been using religious ceremonies for centuries to invoke the will of the gods – because they believed the gods controlled certain elements of the natural world (e. g. , the weather). Just as the rain dance is an attempt to understand how the weather works without using empirical analysis, armchair sociology is an attempt to understand how the social world works without employing scientific methods. It would be dishonest to say sociologists never sit around (even sometimes in comfy armchairs) 8 rying to figure out how the world works. But in order to test their theories, sociologists get up from their armchairs and enter the social world. They gather data and evaluate their theories in light of the data they collect. Sociologists do not just propose theories about how the social world works. Sociologists test their theories about how the world works using the scientific method. ##Who are some famous sociologists who use statistical methods to test theories? ## Sociologists, like all humans, have values, beliefs, and even pre-conceived notions of what they might find in doing their research.

But, as Peter Berger (1963) argued, what distinguishes the sociologist from non-scientific researchers is that “[the] sociologist tries to see what is there. He may have hopes or fears concerning what he may find. But he will try to see, regardless of his hopes or fears. It is thus an act of pure perception… ” (Berger 1963). Sociology, then, is an attempt to understand the social world by situating social events in their corresponding environment (i. e. , social structure, culture, history) and trying to understand social phenomena by collecting and analyzing empirical data. History

Sociology is a relatively new academic discipline. It emerged in the early 19th century in response to the challenges of modernity. Increasing mobility and technological advances resulted in the increasing exposure of people to cultures and societies different from their own. The impact of this exposure was varied, but for some people included the breakdown of traditional norms and customs and warranted a revised understanding of how the world works. Sociologists responded to these changes by trying to understand what holds social groups together and also explore possible solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity.

Auguste Comte and Other Founders Auguste Comte, who coined the term sociology The term sociology was coined by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) in 1838 from the Latin term 9 socius (companion, associate) and the Greek term logia (study of, speech). Comte hoped to unify all the sciences under sociology; he believed sociology held the potential to improve society and direct human activity, including the other sciences. While it is no longer a theory employed in Sociology, Comte argued for an understanding of society he labeled The Law of Three Stages.

Comte, not unlike other enlightenment thinkers, believed society developed in stages. · The first was the theological stage where people took a religious view of society. · The second was the metaphysical stage where people understood society as natural (not supernatural). Comte’s final stage was the scientific or positivist stage, which he believed to be the pinnacle of social development. In the scientific stage, society would be governed by reliable knowledge and would be understood in light of the knowledge produced by science, primarily sociology.

While vague connections between Comte’s Law and human history can be seen, it is generally understood in Sociology today that Comte’s approach is a highly simplified and ill-founded approach to understand social development (see instead demographic transition theory and Ecological-Evolutionary Theory). Other classical theorists of sociology from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Karl Marx, Ferdinand Toennies, Emile Durkheim, Vilfredo Pareto, and Max Weber. As pioneers in Sociology, most of the early sociological thinkers were trained in other academic disciplines, including history, philosophy, and economics.

The diversity of their trainings is reflected in the topics they researched, including religion, education, economics, psychology, ethics, philosophy, and theology. Perhaps with the exception of Marx, their most enduring influence has been on sociology, and it is in this field that their theories are still considered most applicable. 10 The Development of the Discipline Max Weber The first book with the term sociology in its title was written in the mid-19th century by the English philosopher Herbert Spencer.

In the United States, the first Sociology course was taught at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in 1890 under the title Elements of Sociology (the oldest continuing sociology course in America). The first full fledged university department of sociology in the United States was established in 1892 at the University of Chicago by Albion W. Small, who in 1895 founded the American Journal of Sociology. The first European department of sociology was founded in 1895 at the University of Bordeaux by Emile Durkheim, founder of L’AnnA(c)e Sociologique (1896).

In 1919 a sociology department was established in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich by Max Weber and in 1920 in Poland by Florian Znaniecki. The first sociology departments in the United Kingdom were founded after the Second World War. International cooperation in sociology began in 1893 when Rene Worms founded the small Institut International de Sociologie that was eclipsed by the much larger International Sociologist Association starting in 1949. In 1905 the American Sociological Association, the world’s largest association of professional sociologists, was founded. 1 Karl Marx Early Sociological Studies Early sociological studies considered the field to be similar to the natural sciences like physics or biology. As a result, many researchers argued that the methodology used in the natural sciences were perfectly suited for use in the social sciences, including Sociology. The effect of employing the scientific method and stressing empiricism was the distinction of sociology from theology, philosophy, and metaphysics. This also resulted in sociology being recognized as an empirical science.

This early sociological approach, supported by August Comte, led to positivism, a methodological approach based on sociological naturalism. However, as early as the 19th century, positivist and naturalist approaches to studying social life were questioned by scientists like Wilhelm Dilthey and Heinrich Rickert, who argued that the natural world differs from the social world, as human society has culture, unlike the societies of other animals (e. g. , ants, dolphins, etc. operate from nature or ecology as opposed to that of civilisation). This view was further developed by Max Weber, who introduced the concept of verstehen.

Verstehen is a research approach in which outside observers of a culture relate to an indigenous people on the observer’s own terms. The positivist and verstehen approaches have modern counterparts in sociological methodologies: quantitative and qualitative sociology. Quantitative sociology focuses on measuring social phenomena using numbers and quantities while qualitative sociology focuses on understanding social phenomena. It is disingenuous to claim these two approaches must be or are generally distinct; many sociologists employ both methods in trying to understand the social world.

Sociology and Other Social Sciences The social sciences comprise the application of scientific methods to the study of the human aspects of the world. Psychology studies the human mind and micro-level (or individual) behavior; sociology examines human society; political science studies the governing of groups and countries; communication studies the flow of discourse via various media; economics concerns itself with the production and allocation of wealth in society; and social work is the 12 application of social scientific knowledge in society.

Social sciences diverge from the humanities in that many in the social sciences emphasize the scientific method or other rigorous standards of evidence in the study of humanity. The Development of Social Science In ancient philosophy, there was no difference between the liberal arts of mathematics and the study of history, poetry or politics – only with the development of mathematical proof did there gradually arise a perceived difference between scientific disciplines and the humanities or liberal arts.

Thus, Aristotle studied planetary motion and poetry with the same methods, and Plato mixed geometrical proofs with his demonstration on the state of intrinsic knowledge. This unity of science as descriptive remained, for example, in the time of Thomas Hobbes who argued that deductive reasoning from axioms created a scientific framework; his book, Leviathan, was a scientific description of a political commonwealth. Within decades of Hobbes’ work a revolution took place in what constituted science, particularly with the work of Isaac Newton in physics.

Newton, by revolutionizing what was then called natural philosophy, changed the basic framework by which individuals understood what was scientific. While Newton was merely the archetype of an accelerating trend, the important distinction is that for Newton the mathematical flowed from a presumed reality independent of the observer and it worked by its own rules. For philosophers of the same period, mathematical expression of philosophical ideals were taken to be symbolic of natural human relationships as well: the same laws moved physical and spiritual reality.

For examples see Blaise Pascal, Gottfried Leibniz and Johannes Kepler, each of whom took mathematical examples as models for human behavior directly. In Pascal’s case, the famous wager; for Leibniz, the invention of binary computation; and for Kepler, the intervention of angels to guide the planets. In the realm of other disciplines, this created a pressure to express ideas in the form of mathematical relationships. Such relationships, called Laws after the usage of the time (see philosophy of science) became the model that other disciplines would emulate.

In the late 19th century, attempts to apply equations to statements about human behavior became increasingly common. Among the first were the Laws of philology, which attempted to map the change overtime of sounds in a language. In the early 20th century, a wave of change came to science that saw statistical study sufficiently mathematical to be science. The first thinkers to attempt to combine scientific inquiry with the exploration of human relationships were Sigmund Freud in Austria and William James in the United States.

Freud’s theory of the functioning of the mind and James’ work on experimental psychology had an enormous impact on those who followed. One of the most persuasive advocates for the view of scientific treatment of philosophy is John Dewey (1859-1952). He began, as Marx did, in an attempt to weld Hegelian idealism and logic to experimental science, for example in his Psychology of 1887. However, it is when he abandoned Hegelian constructs and joined the movement in America called Pragmatism that he began to formulate his basic doctrine on the three phases of the process of inquiry: 13 1. roblematic Situation, where the typical response is inadequate 2. isolation of Data or subject matter 3. reflective, which is tested empirically With the rise of the idea of quantitative measurement in the physical sciences (see, for example Lord Rutherford’s famous maxim that any knowledge that one cannot measure numerically “is a poor sort of knowledge”), the stage was set for the conception of the humanities as being precursors to social science. Sociology Today Although sociology emerged in Comte’s vision of sociology eventually subsuming all other areas of scientific inquiry, sociology did not replace the other sciences.

Instead, sociology has developed a particular niche in the study of social life. In the past, sociological research focused on the organization of complex, industrial societies and their influence on individuals. Today, sociologists study a broad range of topics. For instance, some sociologists research macro-structures that organize society, such as race or ethnicity, social class, gender roles, and institutions such as the family. Other sociologists study social processes that represent the breakdown of macro-structures, including deviance, crime, and divorce.

Additionally, some sociologists study micro-processes such as interpersonal interactions and the socialization of individuals. It should also be noted that recent sociologists, taking cues from anthropologists, have realized the Western emphasis of the discipline. In response, many sociology departments around the world are now encouraging multi-cultural research. The next two chapters in this book will introduce the reader to more extensive discussions of the methods and theory employed in sociology. The remaining chapters are examinations of current areas of research in the discipline Technology and the Social Sciences

The Social Sciences are also known pejoratively as the soft sciences (in contrast to the hard sciences like physics, chemistry, and biology). However, there is a recent move to integrate and include considerations from the social sciences to the development of technology derived from the hard sciences. On the other hand, a sub-topic of organisational behaviour, business process, may now be patented in some countries. References · John J. Macionis, Sociology (10th Edition), Prentice Hall, 2004, ISBN 0131849182 · C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, Oxford University Press, 1961, ISBN 0195133730 4 · Peter L. Berger, Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective, Anchor, 1963, ISBN 0385065299 This page also draws heavily upon the following wikipedia resources: · sociology · social science External links · American Sociological Association · Analysing and Overcoming the Sociological Fragmentation in Europe: European Virtual Library of Sociology · A Century of Sociology at University of Kansas, by Alan Sica (Adobe Acrobat PDF file) · International Sociological Association · The Sociolog. Comprehensive Guide to Sociology · Social Science Virtual Library 15

Sociological methods Introduction The goal of this chapter is to introduce the methods employed by sociologists in their study of social life. This is not a chapter on statistics nor does it detail specific methods in sociological investigation. The primary aim is to illustrate how sociologists go beyond common sense understandings in trying to explain or understand social phenomena. Sociology vs. Common Sense Common sense, in everyday language, is understood as “the unreflective opinions of ordinary people” or “sound and prudent but often unsophisticated judgment” (Merriam-Webster).

Sociology and other social sciences have been accused of being nothing more than the sciences of common sense. While there is certainly some basis for the accusation – some of the findings of sociology do confirm common sense understandings of how society seems to work – sociology goes well beyond common sense in its pursuit of knowledge. Sociology does this by applying scientific methodology and empiricism to social phenomena. It is also interesting to note that common sense understandings can develop from sociological investigations. Past indings in sociological studies can make their way into everyday culture, resulting in a common sense understanding that is actually the result of sociological investigation. Examples of sociological investigation refuting and serving as the foundation for common sense are provided below. The workings behind common sense is that people usually do not have a word for their thoughts about society that can be summed into one word. Sociology helps provide the words to alter multiple thoughts into a defined word. In the 1970s and early 1980s a New Religious Movement was gaining notoriety for its rapid expansion.

This movement, The Unification Church or The Moonies, was heavily criticized because it encouraged members to give up all of their ties to non-members of the religion and to move in to movement centers to realize the movement’s vision of a better world. Accusations of brainwashing were common; it was believed The Moonies were forcing people to join the movement and give up their previous lives against their will. In order to determine if the common sense accusations were accurate, Eileen Barker (1984) undertook a lengthy sociological investigation to explore how people came to affiliate with The Moonies.

She found that converts to The Unification Church were not being forced into the religion against their will but instead were making a reasoned decision to join the movement. While there was pressure for people to join the movement, the pressure was not such that it attracted more than a small fraction of the people who were introduced to the movement. In other words, the movement did not brainwash its followers; it provided a new and alternative worldview, but did not force anyone to adopt it. Of course, the social ties people developed once they joined the movement made it difficult for members to leave.

But this isn’t anything particularly new: members of many religions and denominations that have been around much longer than The 16 Moonies find it difficult to leave because of their social attachments. What Barker’s research uncovers is that The Moonies were only being accused of brainwashing because (1) they were a New Religious Movement and (2) they encouraged a distinct separation from the outside world. This is a common accusation leveled at New Religious Movements, especially those that demand significant commitments from their members. This example illustrates how sociology can test common sense understandings of social processes.

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. The Development of Social Science In ancient philosophy, there was no difference between the liberal arts of mathematics and the study of history, poetry or politics – only with the development of mathematical proof did there gradually arise a perceived difference between scientific disciplines and the humanities or liberal arts.

Thus, Aristotle studied planetary motion and poetry with the same methods, and Plato mixed geometrical proofs with his demonstration on the state of intrinsic knowledge. This unity of science as descriptive remained, for example, in the time of Thomas Hobbes who argued that deductive reasoning from axioms created a scientific framework; his book, Leviathan, was a scientific description of a political commonwealth. Within decades of Hobbes’ work a revolution took place in what constituted science, particularly with the work of Isaac Newton in physics. Newton, by evolutionizing what was then called natural philosophy, changed the basic framework by which individuals understood what was scientific. While Newton was merely the archetype of an accelerating trend, the important distinction is that for Newton the mathematical flowed from a presumed reality independent of the observer and it worked by its own rules. For philosophers of the same period, mathematical expression of philosophical ideals were taken to be symbolic of natural human relationships as well: the same laws moved physical and spiritual reality.

For examples see Blaise Pascal, Gottfried Leibniz and Johannes Kepler, each of whom took mathematical examples as models for human behavior directly. In Pascal’s case, the famous wager; for Leibniz, the invention of binary computation; and for Kepler, the intervention of angels to guide the planets. 17 In the realm of other disciplines, this created a pressure to express ideas in the form of mathematical relationships. Such relationships, called Laws after the usage of the time (see philosophy of science) became the model that other disciplines would emulate.

In the late 19th century, attempts to apply equations to statements about human behavior became increasingly common. Among the first were the Laws of philology, which attempted to map the change over time of sounds in a language. In the early 20th century, a wave of change came to science that saw statistical study sufficiently mathematical to be science. The first thinkers to attempt to combine scientific inquiry with the exploration of human relationships were Sigmund Freud in Austria and William James in the United States.

Freud’s theory of the functioning of the mind and James’ work on experimental psychology had an enormous impact on those who followed. With the rise of the idea of quantitative measurement in the physical sciences (see, for example Lord Rutherford’s famous maxim that any knowledge that one cannot measure numerically “is a poor sort of knowledge”), the stage was set for the conception of the humanities as being precursors to social science. The Scientific Method A scientific method or process is considered fundamental to the scientific nvestigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon verifiable evidence. In addition to employing the scientific method in their research, sociologists explore the social world with several different purposes in mind. Like the physical sciences (i. e. , chemistry, physics, etc. ), sociologists can be and often are interested in predicting outcomes given knowledge of the variables and relationships involved. This approach to doing science is often termed positivism. The positivist approach to social science seeks to explain and predict social phenomena, often employing a quantitative approach.

But unlike the physical sciences, sociology (and other social sciences, specifically anthropology) also often seek for understanding social phenomena. Max Weber labeled this approach Verstehen, which is German for understanding. In this approach, which is similar to ethnography, the goal is to understand a culture or phenemon on its own terms rather than trying to predict it. Both approaches employ a scientific method as they make observations and gather data, propose hypotheses, and test their hypotheses in the formulation of theories. These steps are outlined in more detail below.

Sociologists use observations, hypotheses and deductions to propose explanations for social phenomena in the form of theories. Predictions from these theories are tested. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. The method is commonly taken as the underlying logic of scientific practice. A scientific method is essentially an extremely cautious means of building a supportable, evidenced understanding of our natural world. 18 The essential elements of a scientific method are iterations and recursions of the following four steps: . 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; in the social sciences, true experiments are often replaced with a different form of data analysis that will be discussed in more detail below) Characterization A scientific method depends upon a careful characterization of the subject of the investigation.

While seeking the pertinent properties of the subject, this careful thought may also entail some definitions and observations; the observation often demands careful measurement and/or counting. The systematic, careful collection of measurements or counts of relevant quantities is often the critical difference between pseudo-sciences, such as alchemy, and a science, such as chemistry. Scientific measurements taken are usually tabulated, graphed, or mapped, and statistical manipulations, such as correlation and regression, performed on them.

The measurements might be made in a controlled setting, such as a laboratory, or made on more or less inaccessible or unmanipulatable objects such as human populations. The measurements often require specialized scientific instruments such as thermometers, spectroscopes, or voltmeters, and the progress of a scientific field is usually intimately tied to their invention and development. Measurements demand the use of operational definitions of relevant quantities (a. k. a. operationalization). That is, a scientific quantity is described or defined by how it is measured, as opposed to some more vague, inexact or idealized definition.

The operational definition of a thing often relies on comparisons with standards: the operational definition of mass ultimately relies on the use of an artifact, such as a certain kilogram of platinum kept in a laboratory in France. The scientific definition of a term sometimes differs substantially from its natural language usage. For example, sex and gender are often used interchangeably in common discourse, but have distinct meanings in sociology. Scientific quantities are often characterized by their units of measure which can later be described in terms of conventional physical units when communicating the work.

Measurements in scientific work are also usually accompanied by estimates of their uncertainty. The uncertainty is often estimated by making repeated measurements of the desired quantity. Uncertainties may also be calculated by consideration of the uncertainties of the individual underlying quantities that are used. Counts of things, such as the number of 19 people in a nation at a particular time, may also have an uncertainty due to limitations of the method used. Counts may only represent a sample of desired quantities, with an uncertainty that depends upon the sampling method used and the number of samples taken.

Hypothesis Development A hypothesis includes a suggested explanation of the subject. It will generally provide a causal explanation or propose some correlation between two variables. If the hypothesis is a causal explanation, it will involve at least one dependent variable and one independent variable. Variables are measurable phenomena whose values can change (e. g. , class status can range from lower- to upper-class). A dependent variable is a variable whose values are presumed to change as a result of the independent variable.

In other words, the value of a dependent variable depends on the value of the independent variable. Of course, this assumes that there is an actual relationship between the two variables. If there is no relationship, then the value of the dependent variable does not depend on the value of the independent variable. An independent variable is a variable whose value is manipulated by the experimenter (or, in the case of nonexperimental analysis, changes in the society and is measured). Perhaps an example will help clarify. In a study of the influence of gender on promotion, the independent variable would be gender/sex.

Promotion would be the dependent variable. Change in promotion is hypothesized to be dependent on gender. Scientists use whatever they can a€” their own creativity, ideas from other fields, induction, systematic guessing, etc. a€” to imagine possible explanations for a phenomenon under study. There are no definitive guidelines for the production of new hypotheses. The history of science is filled with stories of scientists claiming a flash of inspiration, or a hunch, which then motivated them to look for evidence to support or refute their idea. Prediction

A useful hypothesis will enable predictions, by deductive reasoning, that can be experimentally assessed. If results contradict the predictions, then the hypothesis under examination is incorrect or incomplete and requires either revision or abandonment. If results confirm the predictions, then the hypothesis might be correct but is still subject to further testing. Predictions refer to experimental designs with a currently unknown outcome. A prediction (of an unknown) differs from a consequence (which can already be known). Experiment Once a prediction is made, an experiment is designed to test it.

The experiment may seek either confirmation or falsification of the hypothesis. Scientists assume an attitude of openness and accountability on the part of those conducting an experiment. Detailed record keeping is essential, to aid in recording and reporting on the experimental results, and providing evidence of the effectiveness and integrity of the procedure. They will also assist in reproducing the experimental results. 20 The experiment’s integrity should be ascertained by the introduction of a control. Two virtually identical experiments are run, in only one of which the factor being tested is varied.

This serves to further isolate any causal phenomena. For example in testing a drug it is important to carefully test that the supposed effect of the drug is produced only by the drug. Doctors may do this with a double-blind study: two virtually identical groups of patients are compared, one of which receives the drug and one of which receives a placebo. Neither the patients nor the doctor know who is getting the real drug, isolating its effects. This type of experiment is often referred to as a true experiment because of its design.

It is contrasted with alternative forms below. Once an experiment is complete, a researcher determines whether the results (or data) gathered are what was predicted. If the experimental conclusions fail to match the predictions/hypothesis, then one returns to the failed hypothesis and re-iterates the process. If the experiment appears successful – i. e. fits the hypothesis – the experimenter often will attempt to publish the results so that others (in theory) may reproduce the same experimental results, verifying the findings in the process.

An experiment is not an absolute requirement. In observation based fields of science actual experiments must be designed differently than for the classical laboratory based sciences. Due to ethical concerns and the sheer cost of manipulating large segments of society, sociologists often turn to other methods for testing hypotheses. In lieu of holding variables constant in laboratory settings, sociologists employ statistical techniques (e. g. , regression) that allow them to control the variables in the analysis rather than in the data collection.

For instance, in examining the effects of gender on promotions, sociologists may control for the effects of social class as this variable will likely influence the relationship. Unlike a true experiment where these variables are held constant in a laboratory setting, sociologists use statistical methods to hold constant social class (or, better stated, partial out the variance accounted for by social class) so they can see the relationship between gender and promotions without the interference of social class.

Thus, while the true experiment is ideally suited for the performance of science, especially because it is the best method for deriving causal relationships, other methods of hypothesis testing are commonly employed in the social sciences. Evaluation and Iteration The scientific process is iterative. At any stage it is possible that some consideration will lead the scientist to repeat an earlier part of the process. For instance, failure of a hypothesis to produce interesting and testable predictions may lead to reconsideration of the hypothesis or of the definition of the subject.

It is also important to note that science is a social enterprise, and scientific work will become accepted by the community only if it can be verified. Crucially, experimental and theoretic

Source: https://smfmnewsroom.org/flash-cards/lab-9-e2-reaction-formation-of-cyclohexane-from-bromocyclohexane-2/

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