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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gidden’s Sociology Chapter 1 Notes

The first question we have to answer:


What is sociology? Sociology may be generally defined as the study of the social relationships. Sociologists explore different forms of social institutions, the relationships between them and how individuals experience them. SG, pg 19


Comte: He was credited with coining the term "Sociology."

  1. He believed society conforms to invariable laws the same way the physical world does.
  2. Positivism: Holds that science should be concerned only with observable entities that are known directly to experience.
  3. Comte's Law of Three Stages:
    1. Theological: Guided by religious ideas & belief that society was an expression of God's will.
    2. Metaphysical: Society seen in natural not supernatural means.
    3. Positive: Encouragement of scientific techniques to the social world.


Durkheim: Came after Comte, thought Comte's work was too vague and speculative.

  1. Believed social life must be studied with the same objectivity as natural sciences in an empirical matter.
  2. His three main themes of sociology:
    1. The importance of sociology as an empirical science.


  1. The formation of a new social order: The concept of solidarity (moral & social) was born from this concept. He believed solidarity is maintained when individuals are successfully integrated into social groups and are regulated by a set of shared values and customs.


  1. Character of moral authority in society.


  1. Division of Labor in Society: The growth of distinctions between different occupations.
    1. Mechanical solidarity: He believed traditional cultures with a low division of labor are united this way. This is a bonding of society by common occupation experience and shared beliefs (by sharing the same occupation). In other words, they are bound together by common experience and shared beliefs.
    2. Organic Solidarity: Society being held together by economic interdependence, and their recognition of the importance of other's contributions.
    3. Anomie: Durkheim linked anomie to the new organic solidarity, it provoked feelings of aimlessness, worthlessness to individuals in changing societies.
    4. Suicide – should we discuss???



  1. Couldn't read his section from Google Books, they left out page 15, 16



  1. In a nutshell, he believed ideas, values and beliefs shaped a society.
  2. Father of the "Rationalization" concept – the organization of social and economic life according to the principles of efficiency and on the basis of technical knowledge (perhaps this is the precursor to economic principles???)


Weber seemed pretty straightforward, for those of you that read the Secret, the book seems to echo a lot of his teachings :)


Modern Approaches:


  1. Functional: Emphasizes the importance of the MORAL CONSENSUS in maintaining order and stability in society. Durkheim believed religion contributes to the sharing of the same core values contributing to the maintenance of social cohesion.


    Merton: Created a new version of functionalism

    1. Manifest Functions: Basically activities where the participants willingly and knowingly participate (textbook def. too smart for its own good)
    2. Latent Functions: Unknown consequences to the participants.
    3. Dysfunctions: Things or conflicts that rock the societal boat.

    Limits of Functionalism: Divisions or inequalities of society based on class, race and gender are minimized.

  2. The Conflict Approach: Highlight the importance of division in society. Focus on power, inequality and struggle. Fight for power amongst various groups ala Marxism or ala Weber (strange because I thought Hegel was the conflict/resolution sociologist, let me know what you guys think?)
  3. Symoblic Interactionism: Mead argued that people's selves are social products, but that these selves are also purposive and creative.

1 comment:

  1. Hegel 1770 -1831 Inpired
    \l/ l
    Marx 1818-1889 l
    Weber 1864 -1920 - Meade 1863 -1931
    Symbolic Interactionism