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One of the first presidents of the American Sociological Society, Albion Small, made this goal explicit. This first phase of sociology lasted until the s. During the second phase, from the s until World War II, the emphasis switched from making the world a better place to making sociology a respected field of knowledge. Sociologists emphasized basic or pure sociology, that is, research and theory aimed at making discoveries about life in human groups, but not directing that knowledge toward making changes in those groups.

They achieved this goal within a generation, and almost every college and university in the United States added sociology to its course offerings. It is because of these efforts that you are able to take this introductory course in sociology. We are now in a third phase, which began around the end of World War II.

In , the U. Supreme Court made a major ruling partially based on sociological research. The Court was deciding whether racially segregated public schools were constitutional. The schools, as many observers noted, were separate, but certainly not equal. In this landmark ruling Brown v. This fundamental change in law had a direct impact on education across the country.

It also made sociologists more aware of their potential to bring about social change. Just as sociologists switched from their initial concern with improving society to developing abstract knowledge, today they are seeking ways to apply their research findings. With the development of applied sociology, these efforts have gained momentum. Many sociology departments offer courses in applied sociology; some offer internships in applied sociology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

By this term, the ASA refers to the public—especially politicians and policy makers—becoming more aware of the sociological perspective. The ASA wants politicians and policy makers to use data produced by sociologists, and to apply the sociological understanding of how society works American Sociological Association This understanding can guide politicians as they make social policy. In the Cultural Diversity box below, you can see an example of public sociology—how data from basic sociological research can stimulate social policy.

Diversity of Orientations I want to stress that sociology is filled with diverse opinions. Sociologists do not move in lock-step toward a single goal.

Doubt and About

To divide sociology into three separate phases overlooks as much as it reveals. Even during the first phase, Durkheim and Weber did research for the purpose of gaining academic respectability for sociology. Similarly, during the second phase, many sociologists who wanted to reform society chafed at the emphasis on understanding. And today, many sociologists want the emphasis to remain on basic sociology. They say that it is actually social work or psychology masquerading as sociology.

Each particular period, however, does have basic emphases, and this division of sociology into three phases pinpoints major trends. The tension that has run through sociology—between gaining knowledge and applying knowledge—will continue. During this current phase, the pendulum is swinging toward applying sociological knowledge. Globalization A second major trend, globalization, is also leaving its mark on sociology.

Globalization is the breaking down of national boundaries because of advances in communication, trade, and travel. Currently, the United States dominates sociology. We even base most of our findings on U. Globalization is destined to broaden our horizons, directing us to a greater consideration of global issues.

This, in turn, is likely to motivate us to try more vigorously to identify universal principles. Application of Globalization to This Text With each passing year, the world becomes smaller as we become more connected to the global village. What occurs elsewhere has a direct impact on our lives, and, increasingly, our welfare is tied to that of people in other nations. To help broaden our horizons, in this book we will visit many cultures around the world, examining what life is like for the people who live in those cultures.

Seeing how their society affects their behavior and orientations to life helps us to understand how our society influences what we do and how we feel about life. Globalization is one of the most significant events in world history, and you and I are living through its development. Throughout this text, I will stress the impact of globalization on your life, especially how it is likely to shape your future.

We will also examine the globalization of capitalism, focusing on implications of the triumph of this economic system. From time to time in the following pages, you will also confront the developing new world order, which appears destined to play a significant role in your future. The Sociological Perspective What is the sociological perspective? Wright Mills referred to this as the intersection of biography the individual and history social factors that influence the individual. Sociology and the Other Sciences What is science, and where does sociology fit in?

Science is the application of systematic methods to obtain knowledge and the knowledge obtained by those methods. The sciences are divided into the natural sciences, which seek to explain and predict events in the natural environment; and the social sciences, which seek to understand the social world objectively by means of controlled and repeated observations.

Sociology is the scientific study of society and human behavior. Origins of Sociology When did sociology first appear as a separate discipline? Sociology emerged as a separate discipline in the mids in western Europe, during the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Industrialization affected all aspects of human existence—where people lived, the nature of their work, how they viewed life, and their interpersonal relationships.

Values in Sociological Research Should the purpose of social research be only to advance human understanding or also to reform society? But sociologists do not agree on the uses and purposes of social research. Some believe its purpose should be only to advance understanding of human behavior; others, that its goal should be to reform harmful social arrangements. Verstehen and Social Facts How do sociologists use Verstehen and social facts to study human behavior?

According to Weber, to understand why people act as they do, sociologists must try to put themselves in their shoes. Although not denying the importance of Verstehen, Emile Durkheim emphasized the importance of uncovering social facts, objective social conditions that influence how people behave. Contemporary sociology uses both approaches to understand human behavior. Sexism in Early Sociology What was the position of women in early sociology? Sociology appeared during a historical period of deep sexism. Consequently, the few women who received the education required to become sociologists, such as Harriet Martineau, were ignored.

Sociology in North America When were the first academic departments of sociology established in the United States? The earliest departments of sociology were established in the late s at the universities of Kansas, Chicago, and Atlanta. During the s, the University of Chicago dominated sociology. Today, no single university or theoretical perspective dominates. What is the difference between basic or pure and applied sociology? Basic or pure sociology is sociological research whose purpose is to make discoveries. In contrast, applied sociology is the use of sociology to solve problems.

Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology What is a theory? A theory is a general statement about how facts are related to one another. A theory provides a conceptual framework for interpreting facts. Sociologists use three primary theoretical frameworks to interpret social life. Symbolic interactionists examine how people use symbols to develop and share their views of the world. Symbolic interactionists usually focus on the micro level—on small-scale, face-to-face interaction. Functional analysts, in contrast, focus on the macro level—on large-scale patterns of society.

Functional theorists stress that a social system is made up of interrelated parts. Conflict theorists also focus on large-scale patterns of society. They stress that society is composed of competing groups that struggle for scarce resources. With each perspective focusing on select features of social life and each providing a unique interpretation, no single theory is adequate.

The combined insights of all three perspectives yield a more comprehensive picture of social life. Trends Shaping the Future of Sociology What trends are likely to have an impact on sociology? Sociology has gone through three phases: The first was an emphasis on reforming society; the second, an emphasis on basic sociology. Applied sociology is likely to continue its influence. A second major trend, globalization, is likely to broaden sociological horizons, refocusing research and theory away from its concentration on U.

Do you think that sociologists should try to reform society, or to study it dispassionately? Of the three theoretical perspectives, which one would you like to use if you were a sociologist? Considering the macro- and micro-level approaches in sociology, which one do you think better explains social life? How has your behavior been influenced by your groups?

I feel very comfortable here. What goes in here is distributed throughout the body. Concentrate your research on how it is distributed. What goes in here controls the entire beast. Concentrate your studies here.


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All feeling and thinking take place inside here. Each is but part of the whole. The trunk and tusks, the mouth, the ears, the head—all are important. We must remove our blindfolds so we can see the larger picture. We have to see how everything works together to form the entire animal.

How does its life in groups influence its behavior? But, alas and alack!

The Sociological Perspective

On hearing this sage advice, the specialists stubbornly bound their blindfolds even tighter so they could concentrate all the more on their particular part. Can you tell the difference? To enjoy this quiz, complete all the questions before turning the page to check your answers.

They could work if they wanted to. More students were shot to death at U. Over the years, the wage gap has narrowed, but only slightly. On average, full-time working women earn less than 70 percent of what full-time working men earn. This low figure is actually an improvement over earlier years.

Following natural disasters, people develop greater cooperation and social organization to deal with the catastrophe. For an example, see the photo essay on pages — Sociologists compared the psychological profiles of prisoners convicted of rape and prisoners convicted of other crimes. Their profiles were similar.

Like robbery, rape is a learned behavior. Most people on welfare are children, the old, the sick, the mentally and physically handicapped, or young mothers with few skills. Less than 2 percent meet the stereotype of an able-bodied man. Women make considerably more eye contact Henley et al. The opposite is true. Researchers suggest that many couples who cohabit before marriage are less committed to marriage in the first place—and a key to marital success is a strong commitment to one another Larson ; Dushl, Cohan, and Amato Most husbands of working wives who get laid off from work reduce the amount of housework they do.

See page for an explanation. Bicyclists today are more likely to wear helmets, but their rate of head injuries is higher. Apparently, they take more risks because the helmets make them feel safer Barnes Unanticipated consequences of human action are studied by functionalists. The suicide rate of U.

Auguste Comte — , who is credited as the founder of sociology, began to analyze the bases of the social order. Although he stressed that the scientific method should be applied to the study of society, he did not apply it himself. This extensive change removed the past as a sure guide to the present. The events of this period stimulated Auguste Comte to analyze how societies change.

His writings are often taken as the origin of sociology. This painting by an unknown master of the Danish school shows the execution of Marie—Antoinette, queen of France. Karl Marx — believed that the roots of human misery lay in class conflict, the exploitation of workers by those who own the means of production.

Although Marx did not consider himself a sociologist, his ideas have influenced many sociologists, particularly conflict theorists. His comparison of the suicide rates of several counties revealed an underlying social factor: People are more likely to commit suicide if their ties to others in their communities are weak. Durkheim believed that modern societies produce feelings of isolation, much of which comes from the division of labor.

In contrast, members of traditional societies, who work alongside family and neighbors and participate in similar activities, experience a high degree of social integration. The photo on the right shows Inuit in Alaska ready to launch their whaling boat. The source lists no separate totals for Latinos. Based on Centers for Disease Control Max Weber — was another early sociologist who left a profound impression on sociology.

This scene at the homeless shelter at the Atlanta Union Mission in Atlanta, Georgia is typical, reminiscent of the many meals I ate in soup kitchens with men like this. Today, these deliveries have become routine in the United States. To understand this change, both social facts and Verstehen are useful. She became an advocate for the abolition of slavery, traveled widely, and wrote extensively analysis of social life.

Traveling by stagecoach, she interviewed people living in poverty, as well as James Madison, the former President of the United States. She spoke with both slaveholders and abolitionists. She also visited prisons and attended sessions of the U. Her observations on the status of U. Concerning women not being allowed to vote: One of the fundamental principles announced in the Declaration of Independence is that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. How can the political condition of women be reconciled with this? Governments in the United States have power to tax women who hold property.

Whence do these governments derive their powers? The democratic principle condemns all this as wrong; and requires the equal political representation of all rational beings. Children, idiots, and criminals. Concerning sex, slavery, and relations between white women and men in the South: I have seen, with heart-sorrow, the kind politeness, the gallantry, so insufficient to the loving heart, with which the wives of the south are treated by their husbands.

I know the tone of conversation which is adopted towards women; different in its topics and its style from that which any man would dream of offering to any other man. The intellect of woman is confined by an unjustifiable restriction. As women have none of the objects in life for which an enlarged education is considered requisite, the education is not given.

Highgate Mums: Overheard Wisdom from the Ladies Who Brunch by Dan Hall

There is rarely or never a. Accordingly marriage is the only object left open to woman. Starr, she founded Hull-House, a center to help immigrants in Chicago. Like many early North American sociologists, Du Bois combined the role of academic sociologist with that of social reformer. He was also the editor of Crisis, an influential journal of the time. In the s, when this photo was taken, racial segregation was a taken-for-granted fact of life.

Although many changes have occurred since then—and since W. Du Bois analyzed race relations—race—ethnicity remains a significant factor in the lives of Americans. Du Bois, who expressed sociological thought more like an accomplished novelist than a sociologist, have been neglected in sociology. To help remedy this omission, I reprint the following excerpts from pages 66—68 of The Souls of Black Folk In this book, Du Bois analyzes changes that occurred in the social and economic conditions of African Americans during the thirty years following the Civil War.

The following excerpts help us understand conditions at that time. It was a hot morning late in July when the school opened. I trembled when I heard the patter of little feet down the dusty road, and saw the growing row of dark solemn faces and bright eager eyes facing me. I loved my school, and the fine faith the children had in the wisdom of their teacher was truly marvelous. We read and spelled together, wrote a little, picked flowers, sang, and listened to stories of the world beyond the hill.

They lived in a one-and-a-half-room cabin in the hollow of the farm near the spring. For two summers I lived in this little world. All this caused us to think some thoughts together; but these, when ripe for speech, were spoken in various languages. The mass of those to whom slavery was a dim recollection of childhood found the world a puzzling thing: Such a paradox they could not understand, and therefore sank into listless indifference, or shiftlessness, or reckless bravado. In the s, poverty was widespread in the United States. Most people were so poor that they expended their life energies on just getting enough food, fuel, and clothing to survive.

Formal education beyond the first several grades was a luxury. This photo depicts the conditions of the people Du Bois worked with. Wright Mills was a controversial figure in sociology because of his analysis of the role of the power elite in U. Today, his analysis is taken for granted by many sociologists and members of the public. Based on DeMartini Applied sociologists, in contrast, work in a wide variety of areas—from counseling children to studying how diseases are transmitted. She helps to develop strategies to get doctors to prescribe particular drugs.

She sets up the meetings, locates moderators for the discussion groups, and arranges payments to the physicians who participate in the research. He spots problems and suggests solutions. One of his assignments was to find out why it was taking so long to get children adopted, even though there was a long list of eager adoptive parents. Capela pinpointed how the paperwork got bogged down as it was routed through the system and suggested ways to improve the flow of paperwork. As she examined death certificates, she noticed that a Polish neighborhood had a high rate of stomach cancer.

She alerted the Centers for Disease Control, which conducted interviews in the neighborhood. They traced the cause to eating large amounts of sausage. In another case, Banks compared birth certificates with school records. She found that problems at birth—low birth weight, lack of prenatal care, and birth complications—were linked to low reading skills and behavior problems in school. She is also a past president of the Society for Applied Sociology.

Iutcovich does research and consulting, primarily for government agencies. In one of her projects, she designed a training program for child care providers. She also did research on how well the caregivers did. Her research and program improved the quality of care given to children by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

Her organization also administers the Pennsylvania Substance Abuse and Health Information Clearinghouse, which distributes over , pieces of literature a month. From just these few examples, you can catch a glimpse of the variety of work that applied sociologists do. Some work for corporations, some are employed by government and private agencies, and others run their own businesses. His capture became a pressing goal with two purposes. The second was practical: But Hussein was nowhere to be found. Rumors placed him all over the map, from neighboring countries to safe houses in Baghdad.

To find him, U.

The photos placed closest to Hussein on this map of social relationships represented an intimate and loyal group. These people were the most likely to know where Hussein was, but because of their close ties to him, they also were the least likely to reveal this information. Using software programs to sift through vast amounts of information gained from informants and electronic intercepts, the analysts drew an extensive people map that pictured these social relationships.

Identifying and focusing on the weaker links led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. As I write this, analysts are using applied sociology in a similar way to hunt down Osama bin Laden. He taught at the University of Chicago, where his lectures were popular. Although he wrote little, after his death students compiled his lectures into an influential book, Mind, Self, and Society. Based on Statistical Abstract Before industrialization, members of the family worked together as an economic unit, as in this painting by Leopoldo Romanach — of Havana, Cuba.

As production moved away from the home, it took with it first the father and, more recently, the mother. One consequence is a major dysfunction, the weakening of family ties. Divorce Rate Industrialization and urbanization changed marital roles and led to a redefinition of love, marriage, children, and divorce. As social change erodes the traditional functions of the family, family ties weaken, and the divorce rate increases.

When men control economic life, the divorce rate is low because women find few alternatives to a bad marriage; the high divorce rate reflects a shift in the balance of power between men and women. Devah Pager was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. When she was doing volunteer work, homeless men told her how hard it was to find work if they had had been in prison. Pager decided to find out just what difference a prison record made in getting a job.

She sent pairs of college men to apply for entry-level jobs in Milwaukee. One team was African American, and one was white. On each team, one of the men said he had served 18 months in prison for possession of cocaine. Men without a prison record were two or three times as likely to be called back.

But Pager came up with another significant finding. Look at the difference that race-ethnicity made. White men with a prison record were more likely to be offered a job than African American men who had a clean record! The application of this research? As you can see, the distinction between basic sociology and applied sociology can be artificial. In some instances, as in this one, research and reform fit together well.

See a Problem?

At this point, the prison part of the research has been applied. So far, the raceethnicity findings have yet to be addressed by social policy. Courtesy of Devah Pager. Suggested readings for this chapter are listed at the back of this book. Society An Overview of U. No matter where I went, they stared. I had never felt heat like this before. This was northern Africa, and I wondered what it must be like closer to the equator. Sweat poured off me as the temperature climbed past degrees Fahrenheit. As we were herded into the building—which had no air conditioning—hundreds of people lunged toward the counter at the rear of the structure.

With body crushed against body, we waited as the uniformed officials behind the windows leisurely examined each passport. At times like this, I wondered what I was doing in Africa. When I first arrived in Morocco, I found the sights that greeted me exotic—not far removed from my memories of Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and other movies that over the years had become part of my collective memory.

The men, women, and even the children really did wear those white robes that reached down to their feet. What was especially striking was that the women were almost totally covered. Despite the heat, they wore not only full-length gowns but also head coverings that reached down over their foreheads and veils that covered their faces from the nose down. All you could make out were their eyes—and every eye the same shade of brown. And how short everyone was!

The Arab women looked to be, on average, 5 feet, and the men only about three or four inches taller. As the only blue-eyed, blonde, 6-foot-plus person around, and the only one who was wearing jeans and a pullover shirt, in a world of whiterobed short people I stood out like a creature from another planet.

Wherever I looked, I found brown eyes watching me intently. Even staring back at those many dark brown eyes had no effect. It was so different from home, where, if you caught someone staring at you, that person would immediately look embarrassed and glance away. Buying a ticket for a bus or train meant pushing and shoving toward the ticket man always a man—no women were visible in any public position , who took the money from whichever outstretched hand he decided on. Flies swarmed over the food in the restaurants and the unwrapped loaves of bread in the stores.

Shopkeepers would considerately shoo off the flies before handing me a loaf. They also offered home delivery. I still remember watching a bread vendor deliver a loaf to a woman who stood on a secondfloor balcony. She first threw her money to the bread vendor, and he then threw the unwrapped bread up to her. Only, his throw was off. The bread bounced off the wrought-iron balcony railing and landed in the street, which was filled with people, wandering dogs, and the ever-present, defecating burros.

The vendor simply picked up the unwrapped loaf and threw it again. But he made it on his third attempt. The woman smiled as she turned back into her apartment, apparently to prepare the noon meal for her family. Now, standing in the oppressive heat on the Moroccan-Algerian border, the crowd once again became unruly. Another fight had broken out. And once again, the little man in uniform appeared, shouting and knocking people aside as he forced his way to a little wooden box nailed to the floor.

Climbing onto this makeshift platform, he shouted at the crowd, his arms flailing about him. The people fell silent. But just as soon as the man left, the shouting and shoving began again. The situation had become unbearable. His body pressed against mine, the man behind me decided that this was a good time to take a nap. Determining that I made a good support, he placed his arm against my back and leaned his head against his arm. Sweat streamed down my back at the point where his arm and head touched me.

Finally, I realized that I had to abandon U. So I pushed my way forward, forcing my frame into every square inch of vacant space that I could create. At the counter, I shouted in English. The official looked up at the sound of this strange tongue, and I thrust my long arms over the heads of three people, shoving my passport into his hand. The concept is sometimes easier to grasp by description than by definition.

For example, suppose you meet a young woman who has just arrived in the United States from India. That her culture is different from yours is immediately evident. You first see it in her clothing, jewelry, makeup, and hairstyle. Next you hear it in her speech. It then becomes apparent by her gestures. Later, you might hear her express unfamiliar beliefs about relationships or about what is valuable in life.

All these characteristics are indicative of culture—the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. In northern Africa, I was surrounded by a culture quite alien to my own. It was evident in everything I saw and heard. The material culture—such things as jewelry, art, buildings, weapons, machines, and even eating utensils, hairstyles, and clothing— provided a sharp contrast to what I was used to seeing. That is, it is no more natural or unnatural to wear gowns on the street than it is to wear jeans.

North African assumptions about pushing others aside to buy a ticket and staring in public are examples of nonmaterial culture. Attaining the same level of awareness regarding our own culture, however, is quite another matter. Our speech, our gestures, our beliefs, and our customs are usually taken for granted. Except in unusual circumstances, our own culture remains imperceptible to us. We came into this life without a language; without values and morality; with no ideas about religion, war, money, love, use of space, and so on.

We possessed none of these fundamental orientations that we take for granted and that are so essential in determining the type of people we become. Yet by this point in our lives, we all have acquired them. Sociologists call this culture within us. These learned and shared ways of believing and of doing another definition of culture penetrate our beings at an early age and quickly become part of our taken-for-granted assumptions about what normal behavior is. Culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us.

Seldom do we question these assumptions, for, like water to a fish, the lens through which we view life remains largely beyond our perception. The rare instances in which these assumptions are challenged, however, can be upsetting. My upbringing in Western society had given me strong assumptions about aspects of social life that had become deeply rooted in my being—staring, hygiene, and the use of space.

But in this part of Africa these assumptions were useless in helping me navigate everyday life. No longer could I count on people to stare only surreptitiously, to take precautions against invisible microbes, or to stand in line in an orderly fashion, one behind the other. When my nonmaterial culture failed me—when it no longer enabled me to make sense out of the world—I experienced a disorientation known as culture shock. In the case of buying tickets, the fact that I was several inches taller than most Moroccans and thus able to outreach others helped me to adjust partially to their different ways of doing things.

All of us learn that the ways of our own group are good, right, proper, and even superior to other ways of life. On the positive side, it creates in-group loyalties. On the negative side, ethnocentrism can lead to discrimination against people whose ways differ from ours. The many ways in which culture affects our lives fascinate sociologists. This will serve as a basis from which you can start to analyze your own assumptions of reality. I should give you a warning at this point: This can result in a changed perspective on social life and your role in it.

If so, life will never look the same. Arabs wear gowns on the street and feel that it is natural to do so. Based on the popular Twitter account Highgatemums, this hilarious collection brings together the most outrageous snippets of conversation that have. Based on the popular Twitter account Highgatemums, this hilarious collection brings together the most outrageous snippets of conversation that have been overheard in the shops and cafes of this gentrified North London suburb.

Highgate Mums also includes confessions from mothers dismayed by their own upper-middle-class offspring and submissions from fathers making fun of themselves with the hashtag lattedads, revealing day-to-day life among Britain's chattering classes as never before. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem.


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