You are on page 1of 5

OUR SOCIAL WORLD

SOCIOLOGY: A UNIQUE WAY TO VIEW THE WORLD

WHAT IS SOCIOLOGY?

The scientific study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
Essentiallywhy

and how people and groups interact with one another, are organized, deal with conflict, and influence each other leading to change.

WHAT ARE THE UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS OF SOCIOLOGY?


People are social by nature. People spend most of their lives in social groups. Individuals and the social world mutually influence one another. All groups have certain organizing characteristics. Conflict and change are inevitable.

WHAT IS THE SOCIOLOGICAL WORLD VIEW? Sociological imagination - Personal experiences and problems can be best understood by examining them in the broader social context. We must look at the relationship between personal experiences/private troubles and public issues (C. Wright Mills). Example - unemployment

HOW IS THE SOCIOLOGICAL WORLD VIEW APPLIED?


Sociologists ask questions that can be measured objectively and scientifically. Sociologists do not make moral judgments about social issues. Applied sociologists perform research to help solve social problems. Applied sociologists explore policy implications related to their research.

WHAT IS THE SOCIAL WORLD MODEL?


The social world model helps us picture the levels of analysis in our social surroundings as an interconnected series of small groups, organizations, institutions, and societies. Picture the social world as a linked system of increasingly larger social units.

HOW DO I THINK ABOUT THE SOCIAL WORLD?


Social Structure Social Processes Environment

Physical Technological

Innovations

Levels of Analysis

WHAT IS SOCIAL STRUCTURE?


Social unitsinterconnected parts of the social world; small to large. Social structure holds societies together and brings order to our lives. Social institutionsprovide the rules, roles, and relationships to meet human needs and guide human behavior. National society population of people who share a territory, common ideas, and a particular political authority.

WHAT IS SOCIAL PROCESS?


Social processesthe actions taken by people in social units/structures.


Process

of socializationhow we learn social expectations (all levels). Process of stratification how people are layered into social strata (all levels). Process of changehow social units change either through conflict or consensus (all levels).

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENT?

The environmentthe setting surrounding each social unit and in which social action takes place; composed of:
Physical Technological

surroundings innovations

WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF ANALYSIS?


The social world can be studied from a variety of levels:


Micro-level (individuals and small groups) Importance: micro interactions form the basis of all social organizations Meso-level (intermediate sized units) Importance: helps explain the processes and institutions in a society Macro-level (focus on entire nations, global forces, and international trends) Importance: Helps understand how larger social forces shape everyday life

Each level adds depth to a topic

SUMMARY

Sociologists use research methods to objectively study social interactions and organizations. The sociological perspective and sociological imagination allow us to understand individual experiences in the context of broader social forces. All social units (groups, institutions, nations)are held together by social structure; social action (process) takes place in social structures. Social phenomena can be examined from multiple levels of analysis micro, meso, macro.

LEVELS OF ANALYSIS ~ APPLICATION


The Storm (PBS Frontline series) [recommend selecting


Chaos and Tragedy]

Examines the state of New Orleans 3 months after Hurricane Katrina struck. Highlights the interconnected structure of local and national governments, social institutions, and the interdependence between individuals and government officials. Illustrates the sociological perspective/imagination through a contemporary tragedy. In short, personal problems are linked to public policy.

APPLIED SOCIOLOGY

Follow up online: go to Anne Arundel Community College/Applied Sociology http://www.aacc.edu/socgeo/ Read one short statement in Applied Sociology, Questions and Answers Report on the piece of information that caught your interest; post comment on Discussion Forum Applied Sociology