Overview of Sociology


Explain which chapter in the book personally resonated with you the most? Why?
Of the five lessons (see them in blue), which two lessons do you believe are the most important and why? Give two personal and/or other examples (from a movie or book you read) that illustrate or evidence your response
In the future, which lesson will be the most beneficial tool as an observer/analyzer of the society you live in. Explain your answer.

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You have been in this class for a few short weeks. You had a very brief overview of sociology, and how to use it as a tool to observe and explain human behavior, societal changes, and how those two intersect and influence one another.

In these few weeks, you have read and been examined on:

1) The sociological imagination and sociological perspective

2)  Sociological research and how sociologists collect data to answer important questions about society and people

3) Culture – what is culture and how does it influence everything about what we do and become.

4) The social structure – what is the structure, how does it change and how do the changes shape people’s outcomes

5) Socialization – how do we learn culture, why do we learn culture, and what are the consequences of learning the culture we are surrounded by.

6)  Social class and social stratification – how does how much money we have and how much money we don’t have shape almost EVERYTHING about how we interact with the culture we are in? What are the consequences of the social class we are born into and grow up in. Can we change our social class? Does everyone change their social class? How do we change our social class?

7)  Race/ethnicity and gender/sexuality – these are identities that long created the haves and have-nots in society, and sociologists argue it is not because there is something inherently wrong with one race or another, or one gender or another. The inequality was reinforced and caused a sedimentation of privilege and disadvantage because of an oppressive social structure that included attitudes, principles, views, laws, practices and actions that valued some groups over others.

8) Social change and social movements (chapter 21) – social change happens, and it happens every day. Some social change is very positive, and some is very negative. All social change happens because of the actions of people, or the inactions of people. People are needed to make changes in society. So, society does not change us only. We change society, also. We are not rendered helpless by society. We are also empowered to be agents of change to make the society we wish to be part of. In small ways, or big ways, social change, has always been the product of people deciding and acting to change family, religion, schools, their political system, their culture (fashion, beliefs, music, art, etc.), cars, work, pollution, food, racism, immigration, technology, etc.


Five Important Lessons of Sociology

A final list of the five most important sociological lessons [were constructed by students at a college]. They then went back into groups of two and each pair wrote a title and a description of one of the five lessons.

Here is what they came up with (in no particular order and with some minor editing):

1) Ever-Present Hierarchy

Stratification is always present in all aspects of society—from the micro to the macro. For example, in a micro-analysis one can look at the traditional classroom as the students are subject to the will of the teacher; however, in a macro-analysis social class is stratified by wealth and prestige. Society has historically been stratified and there has yet to be a completely un-stratified and equitable community.

2) Think like a Sociologist Using Critical Thinking

If you are thinking like a sociologist then everything you see can be studied with that mindset. Even topics like the environment, sports, education, films, and families, can all be looked at through a sociological lens. Thinking critically with a sociological imagination means asking questions and deconstructing social phenomena.

Thinking through a sociological perspective helps us to understand the situations of others and allows us to better understand the reason people are in the situations they are in. Concepts like oppression (discrimination), inequality (the haves and have nots in society), and intersectionality (a combinations of identities that are considered disadvantaged in a society because of laws, culture, economy, etc. such as being a woman, uneducated, a racial minority, poor, etc.) are realities in society that shape the lives of many. Acknowledging and understanding these concepts helps paint a picture of society and are essential in making a difference.

3) The Value of Theory and Research

Throughout any sociologist’s career, they will encounter many social phenomena (social problems) that have a direct impact on society. Research and theory help individuals have a better understanding of the world around them (i.e. who is more likely to commit suicide and why, and who is more likely to graduate from college and why, and which group is more likely to be racially profiled and why, and who is more likely to vote and why?). Many inequalities that exist in society have theories behind them explaining why things happen the way that they do. Research is essential in this understanding as it ensures that these theories are backed up and understood on a larger scale. Both theory and research share an equal importance in sociology as they go hand in hand.

4) We are Products of Our Environment

Decisions that seem to be products of individuals are largely products of larger social forces (like social class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, laws, culture, media, the economy and education). Individuals like to think they act on their own or because of natural instincts. However, societal influences usually determine our choices and actions. For example, individuals tend to stay in the same status as the households they grew up in. The status quo reinforces itself. The reason for this is because the individual’s life chances are often determined and shaped by the environment in which they live.

5) Social Movements: The Power of the People

In a society full of inequality, it is important for individuals to join together and access their interdependent power in the face of oppression (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, Islamophobia, fat shaming, etc.). Individuals working as a collective have the capacity to create greater social change (for those who are oppressed or marginal). If individuals can take part in some type of small activism every day, they can create long-term improvements to their society. Collective action provides far greater potential for change rather than scattered groups.


For more information on Overview of Sociology read this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-commerce

Overview of Sociology

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