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Sociology Unit 1 Categorizations of why students avoid or delay school work

1. Person-based excuses: need to eat (physical/biological barriers); using past accomplishments to avoid work; 2. Social relations-based excuses: group discussion (Commiserating); social comparison; group work (combines commiserating and social comparison); 3. Value-based excuses: higher good (that which is more valuable and more worthy of attention); experience broadens (taking more time than necessary to get the task done); existential (personal difference it would make to get work done); 4. Task-based excuses or the handling of time and allocation of work resources: this is includes: time-related excuses (starting times such as on the hour, during the weekend, free time, inappropriate times such as evenings/mornings, scheduling conflicts, and deadline change to postpone work); preparation related excuses (culminating whatever resources needed to do the work); creativity excuses or getting started (the first-step-is-thehardest, readiness; needing something else before one starts their work); task-involved excuses (devices used to slow or end work quickly such as rate of work, need for breaks or shifting to another task) 5. Recovery task-based excuses: extensions for various emergency situations Social Theory

Theory--A statement of how and why specific facts are related.

The Origins of Social Theory Reason, Scientific Investigation and Individualism Macro-Level Economic, cultural and political changes A need to explain the changes that were occurring

Why is Theory Important? Theories provide a systematic framework to understand the world indicating the why and how something occurs and uses that framework to isolate what is most relevant to study.

What does theory accomplish? 1. Theories provide generalizations and classifications of the social world 2. Theories are grounded in real, measurable, and empirical data (e.g. interviews, observations, surveys) 3. Theories explain phenomena, causality, and processes by their effect The Three Main Theoretical Paradigms in Sociology 1. Functionalism

Most associated with Emile Durkheim, structural functionalists ask why does society exist the way it does? What purpose do various institutions play in carrying out this particular society? And how do people help to sustain and maintain these social structures. A symbiotic and causal relationship exists between human action and consequence, social institutions and social environment Institutions of education, religion, politics, etc. help to create and maintain social order

Strengths: Allows sociologists to examine macro-level and micro-level social processes in that the theory locates individual as well as institutional purposes in and impact on societal formation. A highly rational explanation. Weaknesses: Fails to explain conflict or instability (making it difficult to explain for social inequalities). Can be too deterministic, certain action breeds these consequences, these institutions carry out these functions. 2. Conflict Theory

Direct opponents of structural functionalist especially in the 1960s. Drew on work by Max Weber and Karl Marx Conflict theorists emphasized the importance of interest over norms and values and the ways in which the pursuit of interests generated various types of conflict as normal aspects of social life rather than abnormal or dysfunctional occurrences. Conflict over class issues and power issues, particularly conflict ensues from those who are excluded from realms of power and experience various forms of inequalities (racial, gender, sexual and/or class). These groups have politically organized within this paradigm to change social structures that have created inequalities.

Power than is not equally distributed and equally accessed, but rather operates to protect a set of social, political or economic interests. This does create a sense of order, but it also creates conflicting interests.

Strengths Problematizes social solidarity and stability to explain and bring forth social change and conflict. Organizes social structures in a way that inequalities can be explicitly viewed. Weaknesses

Since it is explicitly political, it cannot claim scientific objectivity. Questions social integration to the point where ideal social stability is unachievable.

3. Interactionism

Originated at the U. of Chicago Views society as the Product of everyday interaction of individual Pays attentions to the action, interaction and meaning between people Meanings emerge through varying types of interaction Symbols are social objects, universally interacted with that make up groups and society Meaning is always emergent, fluid, ambiguous and contextually bound Symbolic interactionists are interested in human action, the dynamics between human action, and the process of human interaction. They are interested in human connectedness. Symbolic interactionists are looking to see how symbols, interactional process and interaction form social patterns and forms of social life.

Strengths micro-level analysis, methodologically important for studying smaller subsets of society. Weaknesses misses out on making generalizations and big picture types of analysis. Does not necessarily engage the theoretical issues presented in the functional and conflict theories. Research Methodology

Sociological Investigation requires two key requirements -A Sociological Perspective -Be curious and ask questions

1. Scientific Sociology To be able to systematically study society and to be able to replicate what you find. Typically quantitative research. Methodology: Experiment-investigates cause and effect under highly controlled conditions. Tries to understand how and why certain behavior occurs. Survey-Directed at populations using questionnaires or interviews. Subjects respond to a series of statements or questions. Survey research is usually descriptive rather than explanatory. 2. Interpretive Sociology To be able to take part in the social world that one studies. Typically qualitative research Methodology: Participant-Observation-researchers systematically observe people while joining in their routine activities. It is descriptive and often explanatory. 3. Critical Sociology To be able to move beyond studying the world towards changing it. Typically results in forms of activism. Methodology: Action research- research from the ground up and policy-based research. Any research that creates/stimulates change on a community and/or policy level. A combination of both quantitative and qualitative research.

Lesson Based Assignment #2B

Formulate a research plan for studying student excuses. Use the "Steps in Conducting Research" below to do this assignment. (5 points)

Steps in Conducting Research 1. Problem formulation 2. Develop a research design


Observations Surveys Experiments

3. 4. 5. 6.

Data collection Data analysis Draw conclusions Public dissemination of findings Does America have a culture? Why or why not? If so what is American culture?

Defining Culture As people interact over time, they come to:


Develop a shared reality A perspective a working consensus A common definition of what they believe is true, moral, and worthwhile.

This consensus, to most sociologists, is the meaning of culture.

The cultural process, then, consists of people doing something in line with their understanding of what one might best do under the given circumstances:

What is appropriate What is right What will result in a certain response The ability to all of this in concert with others

Society is a dialect between human production of meaning and the impact of the product back on the human Three Stages of the Social Construction of Reality Stage 1: Externalization:

Human beings unlike other species are born unfinished into the world. The process of being finished is known as socialization. Humans enter a world already made for him and he spends the rest of his life negotiating the world. The process of socialization is about this ongoing relationship to the world. More precisely, he produces himself in the world. So that he is both acted upon and acting in the world.

Stage 2: Objectivation:

In the production of human-making, the humanly produced world becomes something out there. Once formed, it is not reabsorbed into human consciousness, but rather remains external to the human. For example, language, once established to make sense of the world, remains external with its own sense of logic and available to all who encounter it. Society confronts man as an external, subjectively opaque and coercive facticity.

Stage 3: Internalization:

The re-appropriation of the external world back again into the structures of subjective consciousness. In this last stage, man becomes a product of society. Structures of this world come to determine the subjective structures of consciousness itself. This completes the dialectic of self and society. Meaning systems exists so that people can make sense of the world. Erving Goffman: Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959)

Goffman was a student of George Herbert Mead Goffman was concerned with what people do: the Presentation of Self in

Everyday Life o grounded what his theory in the empirical world to get what it is like o the everyday life is about the moment, the unbracketed interaction with others 1. Impression Management:

The things we do to manage our impressions we make on others, especially to reduce tension.

The way people communicate is to pretend not to notice. Give off symbols and meaning without being direct. We are always consciously trying to make ourselves look good and maximize returns, to impress others, to reap the benefits of the interaction.

He found that people try to present themselves in an idealized image of themselves, in the best possible light, while concealing things that are not ideal.

Depending on their desired impression they interact closely or distantly from others

2. Role Distance:

Often people tend to try to separate themselves from the negative roles they are in.

If a role is demeaning you distance yourself.

This behavior is not your natural state, rather you show your awareness that what is happening is odd, and do so by taking the position of the other.

This is a self-conscious act. 3. Stigma:

Gap between what people ought to be and what they are actually like.

Discredited stigma: Obvious to the audience.

Discreditable stigma: what is not obvious.

We will attempt to change/alter or pass in order to relieve forms of stigma

Related back to symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology (micro/macro)

Social reality created through interaction, the study of and the theorizing of everyday interactions.

These are often behaviors and assumptions that are taken for granted.

One way we know they are taken for granted is just by breaking social rules, we can recognize the importance of said rules.

Everdayness is intuited and helps us understand not only the social interconnections on a micro level, but also on a comparative and macrolevel. Collective Effervescence

The idea that the identity to the group is greater than each individual, a consciousness experienced as greater than the parts and the whole put together. The spirit of society and community Builds cohesion between people, rooted in emotions, and in the experience of the group Produces a collective identity that persists over time (community) The idea that participants experience a force external to them, which seems to be moving them, and by which their very nature is transformed. They experience themselves as grander than at ordinary things; they do things they would not do at other times; the feel, and at that moment really are, joined with each other and with the totemic being Charisma and Routinization in Groups and Leaders (Weber)

Group beginnings depend on a level of charisma Charisma: an individual who holds qualities of innovation and change (values, ideas, understanding). Charisma is inherently social because it must be recognized by the collective. (community, counter-culture, utopias) Group endure over time depends on routinization Routinization: the process that allows structures to remain intact through formalization processes. Set up formal rules about how the groups authority will continue beyond the earlier charismatic beginnings and roles (who is going to do what and how). Also there will be rules for how group activities should be carried out. Reason: a logic that we use to make decisions.

Cost/benefit: rewards and barriers/detriments to getting what we want and how we want it. Value-based logic: humanistic, idealistically based.