Sociology lecture notes

sociology notes as level research methods and also sociology notes on social stratification
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Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Introduction to Sociology SOC101 Table of Contents Page no. Lesson 1 The Origins of Sociology………………………………………. 1 Lesson 2 Sociological Perspective……………………………. 4 Lesson 3 Theoretical Paradigms………………………………………….. 7 Lesson 4 Sociology as Science……………………………………………. 10 Lesson 5 Steps in Sociological Investigation……………………………… 12 Lesson 6 Social Interaction………………………………………………. 14 Lesson 7 Social Groups………………………………………………….. 17 Lesson 8 Formal Organizations……………………………………… 20 Lesson 9 Culture………………………………………………………….. 23 Lesson 10 Culture (continued)…………………………………………….. 25 Lesson 11 Culture (continued)………………………………........................ 27 Lesson 12 Socialization: Human Development……………………………. 30 Lesson 13 Understanding the Socialization Process……………………… 33 Lesson 14 Agents of Socialization…………………………………............ 36 Lesson 15 Socialization and the Life Course …………………………….. 38 Lesson 16 Social Control and Deviance ………………………………… 41 Lesson 17 The Social Foundations of Deviance…………………………. 43 Lesson 18 Explanations of Crime………………………………………… 45 Lesson 19 Explanations of Crime (continued)…………………………….. 47 Lesson 20 Social Distribution of Crime: Explanations…………………….. 51 Lesson 21 Social Stratification: Introduction and Significance……………... 55 Lesson 22 Theories of Class and Stratification-I…………………………… 57 Lesson 23 Theories of Class and Stratification-II…………………………. 59 Lesson 24 Theories of Class and Stratification-III…………………….. 61 Lesson 25 Social Class As Subculture……………………………………… 62 Lesson 26 Social Mobility………………………………… ……………… 64 Lesson 27 The Family: Global Variety …………………….……………… 67 Lesson 28 Functions of Family………………………….. ……………… 69 Lesson 29 Family and Marriage in Transition………….…………………... 71 Lesson 30 Gender: A Social Construction…………………............................ 74 Lesson 31 Gender Socialization…………………………………................... 76 Lesson 32 Explanations of Gender Inequality……………………………... 79 Lesson 33 Functions of Schooling…………………………………………. 82 Lesson 34 Issues in Education…………………….………………………. 84 Lesson 35 Population Study and its Significance…………………………… 86 Lesson 36 Theory of Population Growth…………………………………. 89 Lesson 37 Population Profile of Pakistan………………………………….. 92 Lesson 38 Population Profile of Pakistan (continued)…………………….. 96 Lesson 39 Implication of Population Growth……………………………. 102 Lesson 40 Population Policy……………………………………………… 109 Lesson 41 Environment and Society……………………………………….. 112 Lesson 42 Environmental Issues…………………………………………. 114 Lesson 43 Social Change…………………………………………………. 117 Lesson 44 Causes of Social Change……………………………………….. 119 Lesson 45 Modernity and Post Modernity………………………………… 122 © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 1 THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY Lesson Overview:  Auguste Comte  Herbert Spenser  Karl Marx  Emile Durkheim  Max Weber  The Fields of Sociology Sociology is the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies. th There was no sociology as a distinct discipline before the advent of 19 century. As a distinct discipline it th emerged about the middle of the 19 century when European social observers began to use scientific methods to test their ideas. It looks that three factors led to the development of sociology. The first was the Industrial revolution. th  By the mid 19 century Europe was changing from agriculture to factory production. There was the emergence of new occupations as well as new avenues of employment away from the land.  Masses of people migrated to cities in search of jobs. Pull and push factors were instrumental in such migrations. In the countryside, due to the nature of agricultural society, there were no occupations that could be alternatives to agriculture. Hence people got pushed to look for new places whereas the urban/industrial places with new job opportunities provided a pull to the same population.  At the new places there was anonymity, crowding, filth, and poverty. Ties to the land, to the generations that had lived there before them, and to the ways of their life were abruptly broken. Eventually the urban life brought radical changes in the lives of people.  The city greeted them with horrible working conditions: low pay; long and exhausting working hours; dangerous work; foul smoke; and much noise. To survive the vagaries of life, families had to permit their children to work in these uncongenial conditions.  People in these industrial cities developed new ideas about democracy and political rights. They did not want to remain tied to their rulers. Therefore the ideas about individual liberty, individual rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness emerged, which actually laid the foundation to future political revolution. The second factor that stimulated the development of sociology was imperialism. Europeans successfully conquered many parts of the world. They were exposed to radically different cultures. Startled by these contrasting ways of life, they began to ask why cultures differed. The third impetus for the development of sociology was the success of the natural sciences. People moved to question fundamental aspects of their social world. They started using the scientific method (systematic observation, objectivity) to the study of human behaviour. Auguste Comte The idea of applying the scientific method to the social world, known as positivism, was apparently first proposed by Auguste Comte (1798-1857). He was French. He migrated from a small town to Paris. The changes he himself experienced, combined with those France underwent in the revolution, led Comte to become interested in the two interrelated issues: social order (social static) and social change (social dynamics). What holds the society together (Why is there a social order)? And once the society is set then what causes it to change? Why its directions change? Comte concluded that the right way to answer such questions was to apply the scientific method to social life. There must be laws that underlie the society. Therefore we should discover these principles by applying © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 1 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU scientific method to social world. Once these principles discovered then we could apply these for social reform. He advocated for building new societies on twin foundations of science and industry rather than on religion and landowner-serf relationship. This will be a new science and Comte named it as Sociology (1838) – the study of society. Comte is credited with being the founder of sociology. Other early pioneer names are: Herbert Spenser (1820-1903) He was an Englishman and is sometimes called second founder of sociology. He too believed that society operates under some fixed laws. He was evolutionary and considered that societies evolve from lower to higher forms. In this way he applied the ideas of Darwin to the development of human society, and hence this approach may be called as Social Darwinism. By following the basic principle of Social Darwinism Spenser advocated that ‘let the fittest survive’. There should be no reform because it will help in the survival of lower order individuals. (Charity and helping the poor were considered to be wrong). Spenser was a social philosopher rather than a social researcher. Karl Marx (1818-1883) Karl Marx was a German. According to him the key to human history is Class Conflict. Not really a sociologist but wrote widely about history, philosophy, economics, political science. Because of his insights into the relationship between the social classes, he is claimed to be an early sociologist. He introduced one of the major perspectives in sociology – conflict perspective. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) He was French. His primary goal was of getting sociology recognized as a separate academic discipline. His systematic study comparing suicide rates among several countries revealed an underlying social factor: People were more likely to commit suicide if their ties to others in their communities were weak. He identified the key role of social integration in social life. Max Weber (1864-1920) Max Weber was a German. He used cross-cultural and historical materials in order to determine how extensively social groups affect people’s orientations to life. The Fields of Sociology There is a big diversity in fields of interest in Sociology. There is long list of fields that have been provided by the American Sociological Association as a Guide to Graduate Departments which is given below: Biosociology Occupations/Professions Collective Behaviour/Socioal Movements Penology/Corrections Community Political Sociology Comparative Sociology/Macro sociology Race/Ethnic/Minority Relations Criminal Justice Religion Criminology/Delinquency Rural Sociology Cultural Sociology Small Groups Demography Social Change Development/Modernization Social Control Deviant Behaviour/Social Disorganization Social Networks Economy and Society Social Organizations/formal/complex Education Social Psychology Environmental Sociology Socialization Ethno methodology Sociological Practice/Social Policy History of Sociology/ Social Thought Sociology of Aging/Social Gerontology Human Ecology Sociology of Art/Literature Industrial Sociology Sociology of Knowledge © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU International development/Third World Sociology of Language/Social Linguistics Law and Society Sociology of Markets Leisure/Sports/Recreation Sociology of Mental Health Marriage and the Family Sociology of Science Mass Communication/Public Opinion Sociology of Sex and Gender Mathematical sociology Sociology of Work Medical Sociology Sociology of World Conflict Methodology: Qualitative Approaches Stratification/Mobility Methodology: Quantitative Approaches Theory Micro computing/Computer Applications Urban Sociology Military Sociology Source: American Sociological Association Guide to Graduate departments, 1992: 290-308. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 2 THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Lesson Overview:  Seeing the general in the particular  Gender is also a social construction  Society affects what we do  Applying the sociological perspective  Benefits of Sociological Perspective Sociology is a reasoned and rigorous study of human social life, social groups, and societies. At the heart of sociology is a distinctive point of view called “the sociological perspective”. Thus sociology offers a perspective, a view of the world. For example: why do human lives seem to follow certain predictable pattern? The truth is that:  Our lives do not unfold according to sheer chance,  Nor do we decide for ourselves how to live, acting on what is called ‘free will’. We make many important decisions everyday, of course, but always within the larger arena called “society”. The essential wisdom of sociology is that: Our social world guides our actions and life choices just as the seasons influence our activities and clothing. This is sociological perspective. Perspective means a view or an outlook or an approach or an imagination (of the world). Hence sociological perspective means an approach to understanding human behavior by placing it within its broader social context. People live in a society. Society is a group of people who share a culture and a territory. People’s behavior is influenced by their society. To find out why people do what they do, sociologists look at social location, where people are located in a particular society. For human beings the existence of society is essential. It is essential:  For the survival of human child at birth; and also  For social experience – for purposes of ‘nurturance’. The human child is so helpless at the time of birth that without the help of other members of society (family for example) the mere survival is at stake. Then the other important aspect is to ‘nurture’ this human being into a ‘social being’ i.e. a participating member of the society. For developing the child into a regular participating ‘social being’ the role of society is crucial. The cases of isolated children (Anna, Isabelle, and Genie) provide evidence to the fact that without the interaction with members of society the natural potentials are lost and the child may not become a normal ‘social being’. Each society nurtures the child into a ‘social being’ within its own societal perspective. Seeing the general in the particular: Peter Burger (1963) described the sociological perspective as seeing the general in the particular. It means identifying general patterns in the behavior of particular people. Although every individual is unique, a society shapes the lives of its members. People in the USA are much more likely to expect love to figure in marriage than, say, people living in a traditional village in rural Pakistan. Nevertheless, every society acts differently on various categories of people (children compared to adults; women compared to men, rich compared to poor). General categories to which we belong shape our experiences. Children are different from adults, more than just biological maturity. Society attaches meaning to age, so that we experience distinct stages in our lives i.e. childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, late adulthood, and old age. In fact all these stages with respect to the lines of demarcation (years as cutting points) are determined by society. What is the position © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 4 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU of a particular age category in the society and what are the roles and responsibilities assigned to members of that age group are all determined by that society. Therefore age is social construction. Children are often considered as dependent, whereas adults as responsible. What about the old? What is the cutting age point for this group and what are the society’s expectations about this group in Pakistani rural society? Are these expectations in Pakistani rural society different from Pakistani urban society? Give some thought to this issue. Although societies define the stages of life differently, yet there are differences by social class within the same society. Here a particular social class may be considered as a sub-society in itself and may have their own distinct definition of stages of life. For example concept of ‘childhood’ may be different in the lower class than what one finds in the middle class of Pakistani society. In the lower class, child shoulders the adult responsibilities much earlier (starts at around age 10 years) than a child from the middle or upper class. In the lower class there is a “hurried childhood” and that is how we come across the concept of “child labor”. This concept of “child labor” is not only associated with the lower class within the national boundaries but also internationally with the low-income countries compared with the high-income countries. Gender is also a social construction Male and female is a biological distinction but there are different role expectations attached to these two categories of human beings in different societies. Societies give them different work and different family responsibilities. The advantages and opportunities available to us differ by gender. Not going into the rationale of such differences, for the present one could simply say that it is the society that determines the image of a gender. Further to the societal variations in gender outlooks, one could see gender differences by social class in the same society. Society affects what we do To see the power of society to shape individual choices, consider the number of children women have. In the US the average woman has slightly fewer than two children during her lifetime. In Pakistan it is four, in India about three, in South Africa about four, in Saudi Arabia about six, and in Niger about seven. Why these striking differences? Society has much to do with decisions women and men make about childbearing. Another illustration of power of society to shape even our most private choices comes from the study of suicide. What could be a more personal choice than taking one’s own life? Emile Durkheim showed that social forces are at work even in the apparently isolated case of self-destruction. One has to look into such individual decisions in social context. You may look at the social forces that are at work for the suicide cases in Pakistan. Applying the sociological perspective People should develop the ability to understand their own lives in terms of larger social forces. This is called sociological imagination, a concept given by C. Wright Mills. Sociological imagination is the strategies that can help you sort out the multiple circumstances that could be responsible for your social experiences, your life choices, and your life chances. Therefore, think sociologically, which implies to cultivating the sociological imagination. It is easy to apply sociological perspective when we encounter people who differ from us because they remind us that society shapes individual lives. Also an introduction to sociology is an invitation to learn a new way of looking at familiar patterns of social life. Benefits of Sociological Perspective Applying the sociological perspectives to our daily lives benefits us in four ways: 1. The sociological perspective helps us to assess the truth of community held assumptions (call it “common sense”). We all take many things for granted, but that does not make them true. A sociological approach encourages us to ask whether commonly held beliefs are actually true and, to the extent they are © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 5 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU not, why they are so widely held. Consider for yourself: gender differences; ethnic differences; racial differences; and social class differences. Where do these differences come from? 2. The sociological perspective prompts us to assess both the opportunities and the constraints that characterize our lives. What we are likely and unlikely to accomplish for ourselves and how can we pursue our goals effectively? 3. The sociological perspective empowers us to participate actively in our society. If we do not know how the society operates, we are likely to accept the status quo. But the greater our understanding, the more we can take an active hand in shaping our social life. Evaluating any aspect of social life – whatever your goal – requires identifying social forces at work and assessing their consequences. 4. The sociological perspective helps us recognize human variety and confront the challenges of living in a diverse world. There is a diversity of people’s life styles, still we may consider our way of life as superior, right, and natural. All others are no good. The sociological perspective encourages us to think critically about the relative strengths and weaknesses of all ways of life, including our own. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 6 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 3 THEORETICAL PARADIGMS Lesson Overview: Salient Paradigms  The Structural-Functional Paradigm  The Social-Conflict Paradigm  The Symbolic-Interaction Paradigm Theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related. The job of sociological theory is to explain social behavior in the real world. For example why some groups of people have higher suicide rates than others? In building theory, sociologists face two basic facts: What issues should we study? How should we connect the facts? How sociologists answer these questions depends on their theoretical “road map” or paradigm. (It is pronounced as para-daia-um.) Paradigm is a basic image of society. A theoretical paradigm provides a basic image of society that guides thinking and research. For example: Do societies remain static? Do they continuously keep changing? What keeps them stable? What makes societies ever changing? Salient Paradigms Sociology has three major paradigms reflecting different images of society: 1. The Structural-Functional 2. The Social-Conflict 3. The Symbolic-Interaction 1. The Structural-Functional Paradigm: It is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. The paradigm is based on the idea that: 1. Our lives are guided by social structure i.e. relatively stable patterns of social behavior. Social structure gives our lives shape, whether it be in families, the workplace, or the classroom. 2. Social structures can be understood in terms of their social functions, or consequences for the operation of society as a whole. All social structures – from simple handshake to complex religious rituals – function to keep society going. All social structures contribute to the operation of society. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) compared society to the human body. The structural parts of human body. the skeleton, muscles, and various internal organs – show interdependence, each contributing to the survival of the entire organism. Similarly various social structures, such as the family, educational system, and the economy are interdependent, working in concert to preserve the society. Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) saw society as a system, and sought to identify the basic tasks that any and all societies must perform to survive and the way they accomplish these tasks. Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) looked at functions in a different way: 1. The consequences of any social pattern are likely to differ for various categories of people. For example conventional family pattern provides for the support and development of children, but it also confers privileges on men while limiting the opportunities for women. 2. People rarely perceive all the functions of a social structure. He therefore distinguishes the recognized and intended consequences of a social pattern between manifest functions – - and latent functions – the largely unrecognized and unintended consequences. Manifest functions of © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 7 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU educational institution – imparting knowledge, preparing young people for job market – Latent function could be keeping so many young people out of the labor market. 3. Not all the effects of any social system benefit everyone in society. There could be social dysfunctions i.e. undesirable consequences for the operation of society. Not everyone agrees on what is beneficial and what is harmful. Is women empowerment functional? Critical Evaluation The chief characteristic of structural-functional paradigm is its vision of society as orderly, stable, and comprehensible. Goal is to figure out ‘What makes the society tick.’ How can we assume that society has a “natural” order? If that is natural then there should be no variation in the social pattern of people at different places, and there should be no change over time. How about the inequalities in society that generate tension and conflict? Approach appears to be conservative. 2. The Social-Conflict Paradigm The social conflict framework sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change. Unlike structural-functional paradigm, which emphasizes solidarity, this approach highlights division based on inequality. Factors like gender, ethnicity, social class, and age are linked to the unequal distribution of money, power, education, and social prestige. A conflict analysis suggests that, rather than promoting the operation of society as a whole, social structure typically benefits some people while depriving the others There is an on-going conflict between dominant and disadvantaged categories of people – rich and poor, white and the colored, men in relation to women. People on top strive to protect their privileges, while the disadvantaged try to gain more resources for themselves. Schooling perpetuates inequality by reproducing the class structure in every new generation. Who goes to school, to college, to university, to vocational training institution? How do the structural-functionalists look at the above analysis? Structural- Functionalists assert that such tracking benefits all of society because students receive training that is appropriate to their academic abilities. Conflict sociologists counter the argument saying that ‘tracking’ often has less to do with talent than with a student’s social background, so that the well to do are placed in higher tracks and the poor children end up in lower tracks. Young people from privileged families gain the best schooling, and, when they leave college, they pursue prestigious, higher income careers. That is not the case for children from poor families. In both cases the social standing of one generation is passed on to another, with the schools justifying the practice in terms of individual merit. Conflict sociologists not only try to understand the inequality in society but also try to influence to reduce inequality in society. They want to change the system. Critical Evaluation This school of thought has a large following. This paradigm highlights inequality and division in society, but it largely ignores how shared values and interdependence can generate unity among members of a society. To a great extent, this paradigm has political goals, therefore it cannot claim objectivity. Conflict theorists counter that all approaches have political consequences. 3. The Symbolic-Interaction Paradigm The structural-functionalists and social-conflict paradigms share a macro-level orientation, meaning a focus on broad social structures that shape society as a whole. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 8 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU The symbolic interaction paradigm provides a micro-level orientation, meaning a focus on social interaction in specific situations. The symbolic-interaction paradigm sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. “Society” amounts to the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another. Human beings are the creatures who live in the world of symbols, attaching meaning to virtually everything. Symbols attached to reality (material or non material). Meanings attached to symbols. Symbols are the means of communication. Therefore: Symbols as the basis of social life  Without symbols we would have no mechanism of perceiving others in terms of relationships (aunts and uncles, employers and teachers). Only because we have these symbols like aunts and uncles that define for us what such relationships entail. Compare these symbols with symbols like boyfriend or girlfriend; you will see that the relationships change quite differently.  Without symbols we cannot coordinate our actions with others; we would be unable to plan for a future date, time, and place. Without symbols there will be no books, movies, no schools, no hospitals, and no governments. Symbols make social life possible.  Even self is symbol, for it consists of the ideas that we have about who we are. May be changing. As we interact with others we may constantly adjust our views of the self, based on how we interpret the reactions of others. We define our realities. The definitions could vary. The definitions could be subjective. For example who is a homeless? Who is a police officer – a provider of security or creator of anxiety. It has a subjective meaning. Max Weber is an exponent of this paradigm. He emphasized the need to understand any social setting from the point of view of the people in it. A person is the product of his experiences with others Critical Evaluation Without denying the usefulness of abstract social structures like the family, and social class this paradigm reminds us that society basically amounts to people interacting. How individuals experience society. This approach ignores the widespread effects of culture as well as factors like social class, gender, and race. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 9 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 4 SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE Lesson Overview:  Goals of Science  Characteristics of Scientific Method Science is knowledge but every kind of knowledge is not science. Science is a method for the discovery of uniformities in this universe through the process of observation and re-observation; the results are organized, systematized, and made part of the body of knowledge. In this way science is a logical system that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation. Following this method creates scientific knowledge, which rests on empirical evidence, that is, information that we can verify with our senses. Goals of Science The goals of science can be:  To explain why something happens.  To make generalizations. Discovery of uniformities/principles/laws.  Look for patterns in the phenomenon under observation, or recurring characteristics.  To predict. To specify what will happen in the future in the light of current knowledge. For the attainment of the stipulated goals the procedure followed is to collect information through sensory experiences. Hence we call it observations and there is repetition of observations. Researcher would like to be positive about his findings. Therefore he would like to be definite, factual, and positively sure. Hence the researcher would develop clear observational criteria i.e. measuring indicators for adequate explanations. This approach is called Positivism. Auguste Comte coined the term ‘positivism’, which means knowledge based on sensory experience. Characteristics of Scientific Method 1. Empirical The focus of attention is that phenomenon which is observable by using five senses by the human beings. If one person has observed others can also make that observation which implies that it is repeatable as well as testable. 2. Verifiable Observations made by any one researcher could be open to confirmation or refutation by other observers. Others could also use their sensory experiences for the verification of the previous findings. The replicability of the phenomenon is essential for repeating the observation. In this way the intuitions and revelations are out of this process because these are having been the privileges of special individuals. 3. Cumulative The knowledge created by this method keeps on growing. The researchers try to develop linkages between their findings and the findings of previous researchers. The new findings may support the previous researches, refute them, or may modify but certainly there is an addition to the existing body of knowledge. The new researchers need not start from scratch, rather they have a rich reservoir of knowledge at their disposal and they try to further build on it. 4. Self-Correcting Possibility of error is always there but the good thing is its identification and correction. The research findings are shared with other professionals in seminars, conferences, and by printing these in professional journals. The comments are received and errors, if any, are corrected. Even the scientists are not categorical in their statements. They would usually make a statement as is supported by the evidence available at the time. Hence the statement is open to challenge by the availability of new evidence. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 10 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU 5. Deterministic Through scientific method the scientists try to explain why things happen? There could be number of factors producing a particular effect but the researchers try to find out the contribution of each factor as well as of different combinations of the same factors. In this way he tries to identify the factor or combination of factors that produce the maximum effect. In this way he tries to locate the minimum number of causal factors that explain the variation in the effect. This is the principle of parsimony. Such an exercise is an effort to determine cause-and- effect relationship. 6. Ethical and ideological neutrality Researchers are human beings who have values, beliefs, ideologies, and norms. Effort is made that the personal values, beliefs, and ideologies do not contaminate the research findings. If these influence then the purity of the information is adulterated and the predictions made by the scientists will not hold true. Hence the scientific work should objective and unbiased. Since the human beings are studying the human beings to what extent they can be unbiased? 7. Statistical Generalization Statistics is a device for comparing what is observed and what is logically expected. They are subjecting information to statistical analysis. 8. Rationalism The collected facts have to be interpreted with arguments. Therefore the scientists try to employ rigorous rule of logic in their research work. Any knowledge that is created by applying scientific method is to be called as science. Sociology uses scientific method for the understanding, identifying the patterns, and predicting the human behavior. Therefore, sociology is science of human social life. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 11 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 5 STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION Lesson Overview: Steps in sociological investigation  Broad Area of Interest Identified  Exploration/Consultation  Problem Definition  Theoretical Framework  Hypothesis (es)/ Research Question  Research Design  Data Collection  Testing the Hypothesis  Report Writing The research process requires a sequence of steps. By and large, the following steps are undertaken in a sociological investigation. 1. Broad Area of Interest Identified: Broad problem area refers to the entire situation where one sees a possible need for research and problem solving. The specific issues that need to be researched within this situation may not be identified at this stage. For example the broad area of interest may be the entire field of education, or within education could be the examination system, student teacher relations, the extra-curricula activities, course contents, and so on. Within the broad area of education, look at one observation about the mass failure of students in their graduate examination of different universities. Such identification may be based on ones experiences and or on general observations in which one may have sensed that certain changes are occurring or certain changes need to take place for the improvement of the situation. When the observed phenomena are seen to have potentially important consequences, then one could proceed to the next step. 2. Exploration/Consultation: This step involves preliminary information gathering on the issue that has been observed. In our example of students’ mass failure at graduate level, this could be done by having informal consultations with several people in the education department (teachers, examiners, administrators), students, as well as with their parents exploring the perceived reasons for the existing situation. Additionally one could go to Internet and see if some previous studies relevant to the issue have been conducted nationally or internationally. Professional journals, research reports, students research work in the library could be a big help in clearly identification of the research problem. 3. Problem Definition: Problem definition or problem statement, as it is often referred to, is a clear, precise, and succinct statement of the question or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of finding an answer or solution. In our example, problem definition could pertain to finding the reasons for such a mass failure of students at the graduate level. 4. Theoretical Framework: Theoretical framework is an attempt to integrate all information in a logical manner, so that the factors responsible for the problem can be conceptualized and tested. In this step the critical factors are examined as to their contribution or influence in explaining why the problem occurs and how it can be solved. The network of associations identified among different factors (variables) would then be theoretically woven together with justification as to why they might influence the problem under study. This will give us a theoretical model of the study. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 12 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU 5. Hypothesis (es)/ Research Question (s): The formulation of hypothesis (which is a testable statement) or a number of hypotheses is the next logical step. From the theorized network of associations among the factors (variables), certain testable hypothesis or hypotheses can be generated. In place of hypothesis one could also go for the formulation a question or questions to be researched. For example is students’ mass failure due the existing examination system? Is mass failure due to the existing study patterns of the students? One could go for many more questions. 6. Research Design: At this stage the researcher spells out the procedure for data collection with the help of which the formulated hypothesis could be tested or the answers to the questions could be found. The researcher clearly tells whether he will set up an experiment, or conduct a survey, or follow some other technique of data collection. He will also tell what tools of data collection will be used and how the data shall be analyzed. 7. Data Collection: Once the technique of data collection has been finalized then the next step is the actual data collection in the field. 8. Testing the Hypothesis (es) / Answering question (s): Once the data have been collected then it has to be processed, analyzed, and hypothesis (es) tested. The same data is to be used to see the extent to which it is possible to find answers to the research questions. In our example the data are likely help in identifying the factors for the mass failure of students. 9. Report Writing: Report writing is the last step, which is expected to contain information on each one of the steps that was taken for carrying out this research process. On the basis of the results of the study one could diagnose the forces operating in the students’ mass failure in our example. This diagnosis will be utilized for making recommendations for the solution of the problem that was in focus. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 13 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 6 SOCIAL INTERACTION Lesson Overview: Components of Social Interaction  Social Status  Role  The Social Construction of Reality  Communication Social act is the goal directed (oriented) activity of human beings. Social interaction is the reciprocal influencing of the acts of persons and groups. Reciprocal social relationship is that situation in which the actual or expected behavior of one person affects the behavior of others. As a result there is an exchange of acts between or among individuals. In this way social interaction is the process by which people act and react in relation to each other. Through interaction we create the reality. Understanding what reciprocal social relationships are is vital to understanding human society and what it means to be a participant in it. Awareness of the people with whom you interact is a necessary component of any social relationship. People interact in some expected way and try to follow it in their day-to-day activities. In this way the styles of interaction get established, hence we social interaction gets patterned. People tend to behave and act toward one another in pretty much the same way most of the time. Therefore social behavior tends to be repetitious, and to this extent is predictable. For example greetings among people tend to follow a pattern. Assalam o alaakum. Wa Aalaookum u Salam. How are you? Alhamdoo-lilla. And how are you? At some other place greetings may be more elaborate as inquiring about the health of all family members. Components of Social Interaction 1. Social Status Social status is a recognized social position that an individual occupies in a social situation. In common usage status might indicate the power, prestige and privileges associated with one’s position. Sociological meaning of social status is different from every day meanings that are usually associated with ‘prestige’. STATUS IS WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE ARE IN RELATION TO OTHERS. Status is also a key component of one’s identity and thereby of interaction. Occupation is such a major part of most people’s self-concept that is often part of a social introduction as well as interaction. Even long after retirement people continue to introduce themselves in terms of their life’s work. There are some other concepts related with social status. These are: a. Status Set: Status set refers to all the statuses a person holds at a given time. You might be a son/daughter of your parents, a brother/sister to your siblings, a friend to your social circle, a player in a team. Then in life you occupy other status sets by virtue of your occupation, marital status (husband/wife), and a parent. Over lifetime, individuals gain and lose dozens of statuses. How do we attain our status? Broadly two ways and thereby these are called two types of statuses. b. Ascribed and Achieved Status A social position that someone receives at birth or someone assumes involuntarily later in life is an ascribed status. These are those statuses about which one has little or no choice. Examples can be a son, a Pakistani, a teenager. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 14 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Achieved status refers to a social position that someone assumes voluntarily and that reflects personal ability and effort. Examples include being a student, a player, a spouse, and a singer. Many statuses are a combination of both an ascription and achievement. People’s ascribed statuses influence the statuses they achieve. A person’s social class influences his/her occupational achievements. C. Master Status A master status is a status that has an exceptional importance for social identity, often shaping a person’s entire life. One’s occupation is an example. 3. ROLE Role is a behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status. Role is the dynamic aspect of one’s status: an individual holds a status and performs a role. There are a number of other aspects of role like: a. Role Set Since we occupy many statuses simultaneously therefore we perform multiple roles. The performance of such multiple roles related to a status is referred to as role set. Role set refers to a number of roles attached to a single status. You have a status of student, think of how many roles do you have to perform. b. Role Conflict and Role Strain Role conflict is incompatibility among roles corresponding to two or more statuses. Roles of a woman being a mother and an employee in an office may conflict with each other. Roles connected with a single status may make competing demands on an individual, therefore may create strain in the performance of those roles simultaneously. Hence role strain refers to incompatibility among roles corresponding to a single status. A teacher being friendly with the students as well as the maintainer of discipline in the class could be an example. c. Role Exit A person begins the process of role exit by reflecting on his life and coming to doubt his ability to continue in a certain role. He may imagine alternative role and may go for it. It may be linked status exit, which may be voluntary or involuntary. A person decides to leave a job voluntarily and has a role exit. A person retires and again has a role exit. “Process of becoming ex”, an ex- chairman, an ex-director are the examples. 3. The Social Construction of Reality Reality of one’s self. We construct our reality. Let me explain. I enter this room and immediately I become what I have to become, what I can become. I construct my self. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me. The whole of this process of construction of one’s self/reality is based on learning through social interaction. Social construction of reality is the process by which people creatively shape reality through interaction. Through social interaction we negotiate the reality i.e. some agreement about what is going on, though people may have different perceptions of the event. Social construction of the life span of people into childhood, adulthood, and old age can be the examples. Situations that we define as real become real in their consequences or in their being functional. Reality as perceived by the people as they have constructed. What is the reality of a commonly used phrase: How are you? Do we mean physically? Mentally? Spiritually? Financially? 4. Communication Communication is another important component of interaction for which we need to have a language – verbal as well as non-verbal. Human beings develop symbols, signs, and codes that they associate with the realities of life. These signs, symbols, and codes stand for the reality or phenomenon (material/non © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 15 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU material), they are not the phenomenon itself. Meanings are attached to the symbols and there is some agreement on the meanings. Meanings can be situation specific and may vary by different cultures. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 16 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU Lesson 7 SOCIAL GROUPS Lesson Overview:  Different meanings of group  Two essentials of social group  Types of social groups  Group Size  A New Group: Emergence of Electronic Communities Different meanings of group: Any physical collection of people. Group shares nothing but physical closeness. It is just an aggregation, a collectivity. 1. Number of people who share some common characteristic – which is often called as category. 2. Number of people who share some organized pattern of recurrent interaction. It can be an educational institution where people come and work, study, play. 3. Number of people who share consciousness of membership together and of interaction. Two essentials of social group  social interaction and consciousness of membership. A social group is two or more people who identify and interact with each other. Human beings come together in couples, families, circles of friends, neighborhoods, and in work organizations. Whatever it form, a group is made up of people with shared experiences (through social interaction), loyalties, and interests. Not every collection of individuals can be called a social group. Let us look at some other concepts that are often mixed up with social group. For example: Category: People with a status in common, such as women, Muslims, Pakistanis, students, teachers, and workers. They may know others who hold the same status; the vast majority may be strangers to each other. So there is no interaction on the whole. Nevertheless, there are always pockets of small groups within any broad category who interact with each other and are conscious of membership. Crowd: A temporary cluster of individuals who may or may not interact at all. They are too transitory, and are too impersonal. It might be students sitting together in a class, or people waiting for a train on the railway platform. Change in circumstances may turn the crowd into a social group. TYPES OF SOCIAL GROUPS Primary and Secondary Groups Primary group is a small social group whose members share personal and enduring relationships. They are bound together by primary relationships. The relationships are informal, intimate, personal and total. These groups are among the first we experience. The examples can be: Family, play group, friends. They provide sense of security to the members. People usually have an emotional attachment, they are loyal, and the relationships are end in itself. Secondary group is a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific interest or activity. Just the opposite of primary groups their relationships are secondary. Such relationships involve weak emotional ties and little personal knowledge of one another. Most secondary groups are formal, impersonal, segmental, and utilitarian. These groups are goal oriented. The interaction may be impersonal though pleasant. Example can be students taking sociology course in the present semester. They might be together only for the semester and may never see each other. Co-workers at a place of work, members of a political party could be other examples. In-Groups and Out-Groups © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 17 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU In-group is social group commanding a member’s esteem and loyalty. My pronouns: I feel I belong to them. Others: I am outside them. In-group exists in relation to an out-group. Out-group is a social group toward which one feels in competition or opposition. In modern societies the membership may overlap. In the National Assembly members are elected on the tickets of different political parties. They have competed against each other (out-group to each other) but after the election they are members of the one group i.e. National Assembly. Exclusion from in-group may be brutal in simple society—Social boycott. In-group expects loyalty, recognition, and helpful to its members. These groups are important because they affect our behavior. Group Size Size of the group plays an important role in how group members interact. In small size groups the members can have highly intense relationships but such groups are less stable. Look at the group of two persons having a highly emotional interaction, but if one of them leaves, the group comes to an end. The Dyad is social group with two members. The Triad is a social group with three members. It is more stable than the dyad. As groups grow beyond three people, they become more stable and capable of withstanding the loss of even several members. At the same time, increase in-group size reduces the intense personal interaction, which is possible only in the smaller groups. Reference Group How do we assess our own attitudes and behavior? Frequently, we use a reference group, a social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions. A young person might assess the rewards for his work by comparing the rewards given to other coworkers for similar work. Reference groups can be models, which could be ideals for individuals. Parents can be reference groups for their children. Individuals can also be models and we can call them as reference individuals. A teacher can be a reference individual for students. Reference groups and reference individuals can be living or non-living persons; they can also be from the fiction. Quaid –I-Azam can be a reference individual for Pakistanis. Children pick up many of their reference individuals from the cartoons they watch on television. Reference groups or individuals can also be negative models whereby some individuals don’t want to adopt the behavior patterns of such individuals. Stereotypes It is a group-shared image of another group or category of people. It is an exaggerated description applied to every person in some category. Such images could be about a minority group, about youth, about Muslims, about Christians, about Pakistanis, about laborers. Stereotypes could become the basis of prejudice, which is a rigid and unfair generalization about an entire category of people. Social Distance One measure of prejudice is social distance, that is, how closely people are willing to interact with members of some category. It is the degree of closeness or acceptance we feel about other groups. Networks A network is a web of weak social ties. Think of a network as “fuzzy” group containing people who come into occasional contact but who lack a sense of boundaries and belonging. Network is “social web” expanding outward, often reaching great distances and including large numbers of people. Some networks are close to being groups, as is the case with college fellows who stay in touch after graduation by e-mail and telephone. Usually a network includes people we know of – or who know of us – but with whom we interact rarely. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 18 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU A New Group: Emergence of Electronic Communities In the 1990s, due to technology, an entirely new type of human group made its appearance through Internet. These are the people who have a relationship with one another and who think of themselves as belonging together. Internet is a series of thousands of computers hooked together worldwide. On the Internet, thousands of newsgroups, called use nets, people who communicate on almost any conceivable topic. This new way of communicating has developed out of new technology. New forms of electronic communication, sometimes called the information superhighway or cyberspace, have made our homes “less bounded environment”. While remaining within the walls of our homes, we can instantly “travel” electronically to previously remote settings around the world. There, we can share information with people who have never met, or seen, and even develop friendship with them. The result is a new type of group known as an electronic community. In some cases, the term “electronic primary group” seems more appropriate to refer to this new type of group, for people regularly interact with one another, share personal information, identify with one another, and develop a sense of intimacy – even though they have “met” only electronically. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 19

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