Lecture notes Sociology

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F.Y.B.A. SOCIOLOGY PAPER - I FOUNDATION OF SOCIOLOGY2 1 SOCIOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE Contents : Perspectives in sociology: - Functionalist, Conflict, Interpretive, Critical. Sociology Imagination: - Developing a sociological outlook Significance of sociology Unit Structure : 1.0 Objectives 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Definition 1.3 Subject matter of sociology 1.4 Is Sociology a science ? 1.5 Nature of sociology 1.6 Scope of sociology 1.7 Early thinkers 1.8 Perspectives in sociology 1.8.1 Fuctionalist perspective 1.8.2 Conflict perspective 1.8.3 Interactionist perspective 1.8.4 Critical perspective 1.0 OBJECTIVES:-  To give a basic understanding of sociology.  To know the meaning and subject matter of sociology  To understand the nature of scientific study  To know the nature and scope of sociology  To study the contribution of early thinkers towards the development of sociology3  To familiarize the students with various sociological perspectives 1.1. INTRODUCTION: In the family of social sciences, Sociology is comparatively a new entrant. But because of its dealing with social problems, social relationships and social interactions the importance of the study of this subject has considerably increased. It has considerably developed in methodology, scope and approach. Attempts are now being made to study every social problem scientifically and objectively, eliminating subjectivity to the extent possible a distinctive way of examining human interactions. Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. It focuses primarily on the influence of social relationships upon people’s attitudes and behavior and on how societies are established and change. As a field of study sociology has a very broad scope. It deals with families, gangs, business firms, computer networks, political parties, schools, religions, and labor unions. It is concerned with love, poverty, conformity, technology, discrimination, illness, alienation, overpopulation and community. 1.2. DEFINITION: Sociology is being defined differently by our sociologists and other’s each one of course, has its own news about the nature and scope of the subject, as he conceives it. According to Ward “Sociology is science of society”. George Simmel opines that it is a subject which studies human inter-relationship. Giddins is of the view that “Sociology is scientific study of society”. Max Weber has viewed sociology as “Science which attempts imperative understanding of social actions”. Sorokin is of the opinion that sociology is a study first of all the relationship and correlations between various classes... second between the social and non social aspects of life and third it studies general characteristics common to all classes of society. Ogburn has said that, “Sociology is concerned with the study of social life and its relations to the factors of culture, natural environment, heredity and group.”4 Durkheim while defining sociology has said that, “It is the science of collective representation.” We may thus conclude these definitions with the definition of E.S. Bogardus when he says that, “Sociology may be defined as the study of the ways in which social experiences function in developing, maturing and repressing human beings through inter-personal stimulations.” From all these definitions it becomes clear that sociology is concerned with social relationships and studies society, human interactions, inter-personal and intra-personal relations. It tries to study scientifically social institutions, organizations and systems. These definitions also make it amply clear that sociologists view the subject differently and that there is no unanimity in this regard. 1.3. SUBJECT MATTER OF SOCIOLOGY: while discussing its subject matter of sociologist, Sorokin said that, “It seems to be a study, first of the relationship and correlation between various classes of social phenomena” (correlation between economic and religious, family and moral, judicial and economic, mobility and political phenomena and so on); second that between social and non social (geographical, biological) phenomena; third the study of general characteristics common to all classes of phenomena. Thus according to his view point sociology studies social events, relationships between social and non social phenomena and generalized study of facts common to all aspects of social life. In his book ‘Society, Culture and Personality’ he has said that sociology is more or less concerned with the working of human beings. In this study he covers the study of human behavior, social organizations, social phenomena and social values. He is thus altogether opposed to formal school of thought. Check Your Progress 1. Define Sociology. 2. Discuss its subject matter.5 1.4. IS SOCIOLOGY A SCIENCE? There is a continuing controversy about the nature of sociology. According to some sociologists it is a science, while others strongly refute this claim. What is a scientific study? For a scientific study it is essential that the whole study should be systematic and without any subjectivity. A scientist is supposed to have a clear vision and a pointed approach. He should have capacity to record unbiased decisions and properly classify data’s. He should also have vision to collect only such data as is useful for his study. He should conclude his findings after verification of data’s and not on morality or certain pre-supposed philosophies, nations and ideas. The most important element of a scientific study is that a scientist should deal with bear facts and not with ideal situations. Thus this study should be both factual and systematic. Then another element is that its results should have universal application. Then in a scientific study there should be cause effect relationship and it should also be capable of making certain safe predictions. Is Sociology A Science? Now a question arises as to whether sociology is science or not. Those who support the cause of sociology as science plead that a present day sociologists must be methodological. He must base his conclusions on impartially collected, analyzed and interpreted data. He should also be willing to get his data tested anywhere to established its validity. They also argue that like natural scientists, Sociologists are concerned with hard facts and not with ideal situations. They try to analyses facts of social life as these are. They also believe that there are many social facts and theories which the sociologists have developed after hard labor and these are universally applicable, under similar circumstances. They also point out that like natural scientists, the sociologists are very much concerned with cause effect relationship e.g. social stratification and social disorganizations are the outcome of certain causes, which have their effects as well. As with the natural scientists, so with the sociologists, it is equal true that like the former the latter can make some safe predictions. They thus argue that “sociology is a science which attempts the interpretative under-standing of social action in order to arrive at a casual explanation of its causes and effects.” Sociology- Not a Science: there is other side of the picture as well. Many believe that society is not a perfect science. Like the results of natural sciences, the results obtained by social scientists cannot be generalized and these also cannot be same under all circumstances and at all places. The conditions always differ from6 society to society and social changes are unavoidable. These are also very complex. Then it is said that each human beings has his own limitations and he provides information keeping those limitations into consideration. He is not prepared to disclose secrets and thus the information provided is not factual. It is also said that the many situations are not within the control of sociologists and repeat experimentation is almost impossible. Each sociologist has subjective approach to the problem under investigation. There is no stage of investigation in which there is no subjectivity. Each one has some secrets which he is not prepared to disclose to the investigators. Unlike natural scientist, a sociologist has no laboratory facilities and also has no control over material to be experimented i.e. human beings. Not only this, but it is not possible to repeat experiments. It is more or less not possible to make the safe predictions because nature of social problems with which the sociologists are not the same all over the world. Check Your Progress 1. Is sociology a science? Discuss it through the difference between natural and social sciences 1.5. NATURE OF SOCIOLOGY: What is real nature of sociology about this controversy is likely to continue. According to Robert Stead Sociology is a social science and not a natural science, because it deals with human beings and social phenomena. It is positive and not normative science because it studies social phenomena as it is and not as it ought to be. It is pure and not applied science because it studies underlying factors of a social phenomenon. Sociology is an abstract and not a concrete science because it studies society in general. It deals with society, which in itself is abstract and as such the subject cannot be concrete. It is a science of generalization and not that of particularization because it studies a social problem in general and not in particular way. It does not study a social phenomenon from a particular angle. It is an empirical or rational science because it tries to follow logical method of data collection.7 1.6 SCOPE OF THE SOCIOLOGY Sociologist and others differ what should be the scope of sociology. August Comte makes us believe that sociology should try to study social phenomena on scientific lines. He has thus laid stress on scientific approach. Emile Durkheim has tried to separate sociology from other social science subjects and also tried to give an independent status to this subject. In his own way Pareto has tried to give it scientific orientation. According to him in sociology there should be no place for inferences. He is sure that there is basic unity among various social phenomena. He is of the view that sociology is much of science and social problems should and can be scientifically studied. Max Weber has however said that sociology should merely be interpretative understanding of social actions and nothing beyond that. Former or Specialist School of Thought: There are two main schools of thought about the scope of sociology. Formal school of thought believes that scope of sociology should not be generalized but confined to the study of some specific aspects of society. The exponents of this school wish to keep the subject pure and independent. According to them it should deal with social relationships, social activities and processes of socialization. Max Weber, who is the chief exponent of this school of thought, has said that sociology should deal with interpretations of social behaviors only. Vier Kandt, , who is another exponent of this school of thought, is of the view that sociology should confine itself to the study of formal and not the actual behavior of the people in the society. Simmel has given an abstract concept of sociology, in which stress has been laid on social relationship and social inter-actions. For him, every society is the mix of this two. Social relations are nothing but social interactions between two individuals. He has said that society is not collections of individuals but it is essentially a psychic inter-action between the individuals. It is sum total of social relations between the individuals living in it. According to Simmel sociology should not be made a general science devoted to the study of social relations in general. It should be confined to the study of specific social relations because now these are being studied in the context of social production and social heritage.8 Vone Wiese is another exponent of this school of thought. He believes that subject matter of sociology is different from other social sciences. He does not agree with the idea that sociology is combination of social sciences but it is a subject which combines different social science subjects. For him sociology as a special science has more importance than general sociology. It should separate its subject matter from other social sciences. Synthetic School of Thought: The school of thought believes that sociology should study society as a whole and not confine itself to the study of only limited social problems. Auguste comte believes that the scope of sociology should be considerably widened. According to him the study of one aspect of society can lead to misleading results because all aspects of society, like parts of human body, are inter-linked. Hobb-House and Sorokin also contribute to this view point. They too believe that Sociology should study society as a whole. The supporters of this school of thought agree that in our modern times no social science subject can remain isolated altogether ignoring other subjects of study. The scope of sociology, they argue should be general and not narrow. Durkheim has gone to the extent of saying that “Sociology is science of collective representation.” Sorokin is the main exponent of this school of thought. He is not satisfied with the traditional views about sociology and thus wants to give it a new approach. According to him sociology is a systematic science and it has manifold inter-actions. It is concerned with general facts of social life. He is keen to give systematic interpretation of society. Check Your Progress Examine the nature and scope of sociology in detail9 1.7. EARLY THINKERS:- August Comte : th In France, the 19 Century was an unsettling time for the nation’s intellectuals. French monarchy had been deposed in the revolution of 1789 and Napoleon had suffered defeat in his effort to conquer Europe. Philosophers and intellectuals were finding the ways out to improve the society. August Comte is considered as the most influential philosopher of the early 1800s. He believed that in order to improve society the theoretical science of society should be developed and a systematic investigation of behavior should be carried. He Coined the term sociology to apply to the science of human behaviors. The term Sociology has been derived from Latin word ‘socious’ means ‘society’ and Greek word ‘logus’ means ‘science’. Comte hoped that the systematic study of social behavior would eventually lead to more rational human interactions. In Comte’s hierarchy of the Sciences, Sociology was at the top. He called it the “queen”, and its practioners “scientist-priests.” Emile Derkheim : Durkheim is considered as one of the founding fathers of sociology. He made many pioneering contributions to Sociology including his most important theoretical work on Suicide. Durkheim (1858-1917) was son of a rabbi he was educated in both France and Germany. He has an impressive academic record and was appointed as one of the first professors of the Sociology in France. Durkheim asserted that behavior must be understood in the larger social context, rather an individual action. Though intensive study of Arunta tribe, he focused on the important functions of religion in reinforcing group Solidarity. According to Durkheim the growing division of labor in industrial society and increasing specialization leads to what he called as Anomie. In the state on anomie the confusion and the inability to cope with the circumstances also results in cases of suicide. Max Weber: Max Weber was born in Germany (1864-1920). He studied legal and economic history, but gradually developed an interest in sociology. Later he became professor and taught at various German universities. He taught the “Verstehen”, to his students. He said that in order to fully comprehend behavior, we must learn the subjective meanings people attach to their actions- how they10 themselves view and explain their behavior. He is also credited for his key conceptual tool: the Ideal type. The concept of ideal type can be used to study the family, religion, authority, and economic systems, as well as the analyze bureaucracy. Karl Marx: Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a critique of existing institutions that a conventional academic career was impossible. He was a revolutionary and spent most of his life in exile from his native Germany. He was very much influenced by the ideas of Friedich Engles (1820-1895) with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. Marx lived in extreme poverty in England. He pawned most of his possessions, and several of his children died of malnutrition and disease. In Marx’s analysis, society was fundamentally divided between two classes i.e. Bourgoise and Plorotariate who have opposite interests. In his examination of industrial society, he saw the factory as the center of conflict between the exploiters (the owners of the means of production and the exploited (the workers). Mar’x influence on contemporary thinking has been dramatic. His writings inspired those who led the communist revolutions in Russia, Vhina, Cuba, Victnam, and elsewhere. Check Your Progress Briefly analyze the contribution of early thinkers to the development of sociology. 1.8. PERSPECTIVES IN SOCIOLOGY:- Sociologists view society in different ways. Some see the world basically as a stable and ongoing entity. They are impressed with the endurance of the family, organized religion, and other social institutions. Some sociologists see society as composed of11 many groups in conflict, competing for scarce resources. To other sociologists, the most fascinating aspects of the social world are the everyday, routine interactions among individuals that we sometimes take for granted. The four perspectives that are most widely used by sociologists will provide an introductory look at the discipline. These are the functionalist, conflict, interactionist and critical perspectives. 1.8.1. Functionalist Perspective:- Also known as functionalism and structural functionalism, functionalist perspective is based on the assumption that society is stable, orderly system. This stable system is characterized by societal consensus, whereby the majority of members show a common set of values, belief and behavioral expectation. According to this perspective a society is composed of interrelated parts, each of which serves a function and contributes to the overall stability of the society. Societies develop social structure or institutions that persist bcoz they play a part in helping society survive. These institutions include the family, education, govt., religion, and the economy. If anything adverse happens to one of these institutions or part are affected and the system no longer functions properly. Talcott Parsons (1902-1979). a Harvard university sociologist was a key figure in the development of functionalist theory. Parson had been greatly influenced by the works of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and other European sociologists. Under the functionalist approach, if an aspect of social life does not contribute to a society stability or survival- if it does not serve some identifiably useful function or promote value consensus among member of a society- it will not be passed on from one generation to the next. As an example of the functionalist perspective, let us examine prostitution. Why is it that a practice so widely condemned continues to display such persistence and vitality? Functionalists suggest that prostitution satisfies needs of patrons that may not be readily met through more socially acceptable forms such as courtship or marriage. The “buyer” receives sex without any responsibility for procreation or sentimental attachment; at the same time, the “seller” gains a livelihood through this exchange. Through such an examination, we can conclude that prostitution does perform certain functions that society that seems to need. However, this is not to suggest that prostitution is a desirable or legitimate form of social behavior.12 Manifest and Latent Functions:- Manifest function are intended or overly recognized by the participants in a social unit. In contrast, latent function is unintended function that is hidden and remains unacknowledged by participants. For example, a manifest function of education is the transmission of knowledge and skills from 1 generation to the next, a latent function is the establishment of social relations and networks. Merton noted that all features of a social system may not be functional at all times, dysfunctions are the un-desirable consequences of any element of a society. A dysfunction of education in United States is the perpetuation of gender, racial and clam inequalities. Such dysfunction may threaten the capacity of a society to adopt and survive. 1.8.2.Conflict Perspective:- According to conflict perspectives, group in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scare resources. Conflict may take the form of politics, litigation, negotiations or family discussions about financial matter. Simmel, Marx and Weber contributed significantly to this perspective by focusing on the inevitability of clashes between social groups. Today, advocates of the conflict perspective view social continuous power struggle among competing social group. Karl Marx viewed struggle between social classes as inevitable, given the exploitation of workers under capitalism. Expanding on Marx’s work, sociologists and other social scientist have come to see conflict not merely as a class phenomenon but as a part of everyday life in all societies. Thus, in studying any culture, organization, or social group, sociologists want to know who benefits, who suffers and who dominates at the expense of other. They are concerned with the conflict between women and men, parents and children, cities and suburbs and whites and African Americans, to name only few. In studying such questions, conflict theorists are interested in how society’s institutions- including the family, govt., religion, education and the media- may help to maintain the privileges of some groups and keep others in a subservient position. Like functionalist, conflict sociologists tend to use the Marco-level approach. Obviously, through, there is a striking difference between these two sociological perspectives. Conflict theorists are primarily concerned with the kinds of changes that can bring about, whereas functionalists look for stability and consensus. The conflict model is viewed as more “radial” and “activist” because of its emphasis on social change and the need for13 redistribution of resources to eliminate existing social inequality. On the other hand, the functionalist perspective, because of its focus on stability, is generally seen as more “conservation” (Dahrendorf,1958) Currently, conflict theory is accepted within the discipline of sociology as one valid way to gain insight into a society. One important contribution of conflict theory is that it has encouraged sociologists to view society through the eyes of those segments of the population that rarely influence decision making. Feminist theory builds in important way on the conflict perspective. Like other conflict theorists, feminist scholars see gender differences as a reflection of the subjugation of one group (women) by another group (men). Drawing on the work of Marx Engels, contemporary feminist theorists often view women’s subordination as inherent in capitalist societies. Some radical feminist theorists, however, view the oppression of women as inevitable in all male-dominated societies, including those labeled as capitalist, socialist and communist (Tuchman,1992). 1.8.3.Interactionist or Interpretive:- The functionalist and conflict perspectives both analyze behavior in terms of society wide patterns. However, many contemporary sociologists are more interested in understanding society as a whole through an examination of social interactions such as small groups conducting meetings, two friends talking casually with each other, a family celebrating a birthday and so forth. The interactionist perspective generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction. Interactionism is a sociological framework for viewing human beings as living in a world of meaningful objects. These “objects” may include material things, actions, other people, relationships and even symbols. Focusing on everyday behavior permits interactions to better understand the larger society. George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) is widely regarded as the founder of the interactionist perspective. Mead was interested in observing the minutest forms of communication-smiles, frowns, nods of the head- and in understanding how such individual behavior was influenced by the larger context of a group or society. Interactionists see symbols as an especially important part of human communication. In fact, the interactionist perspective is sometime referred to as the symbolic interactionist perspective. Such researchers note that both a clenched fist and a salute have social meaning which are shared and understood by the members14 of a society. In the U.S, a salute symbolizes respect, while a clenched fist signifies defiance. However in another culture diff gestures might be used to convey a feeling of respect or defiance. Let us examine how various societies portray suicide without the use of words. People in the U.S point a finger at the head (shooting); urban Japanese bring a fist against the stomach (stabbing); and the south fore of Papua , New Guinea , clench a hand at the throat (hanging). These types of symbolic interaction are classified as forms of nonverbal communication, which can include many other gestures, facial expressions, and postures. Erving Goffman (1922-1982) made a distinctive contribution by popularizing a particular type of interactionist method known as the dramaturgical approach. The dramaturgist compares everyday life to the setting of the theater and stage. Just as actors present certain images, all of us seek to present particular features of our personalities while we hide other qualities. Thus, in a class, we may feel the need to project a serious image; at a party, it may seem important to look like a relaxed and entertaining person. 1.8.4.Critical Perspective:- This perspective says that we live in a society dominated capitalist society, based on exchange principles of value and profit. Capitalist society is not a peaceful society but based on unequal exchanges of power and privileges. Critical theory is a social theory whose aim is critiquing and changing society and culture, unlike traditional theory whose aim is only understanding or explaining it. For eg. Instead of seeing the behavior of homeless youth as of criminal behaviour, the critical perspective would ask why did the youth become homeless and why are they connected to criminal behaviour? Critical theorists like Horkheimer criticized science calling it harmful and destructive as it is controlled by the elite and powerful. They also critique the role of media in society, as it diverts the attention of people and only makes them consumers. Check Your Progress 1. Critically analyse various perspectives in sociology.15 Summary : In the family of social sciences, sociology is a new entrant. Sociologists are not unanimous about definition of sociology. Wide variety of definition of the subject shows that there are differences of opinion about the scope of the subject. These definitions however make clear that sociology is concerned with human relations and social institutions. There is a continuing controversy about the nature of sociology. Some claim sociology to be a science where as some refute this claim. Viewes also differ about the scope of sociology. The formal school of thought believe that scope of sociology should not be generalized wheras synthetic school believes that sociology should study society as a whole. August Comte is considered as the most influencial philosopher of 1800s. He is called as the father of sociology.He hoped that systemstic study of social behavior will eventually lead to more rational interaction. Durkiem made pioneering contribution to sociology and is remembered as one of the founding fathers of sociology. Weber is known for “Verstehen”.He said inorder to fully comprehend behavior we must iearn the subjective meaning people attach to their action. Marx’s theory of class struggle is an incredible contribution to sociology in analyzing the conflict.His influence on contemporary thinking has been dramatic. Sociologists view society in different way.The four perspectives i.e functionalist,conflict,interactionalist and critical are most widely used by sociologists to give an ntroductory look at the discipline.Functionalist perspective is based on the assumption that society is stable ,orderly system .Society is composed of interrelated parts,each of which serves a function and contribute to the overall stability of the society. According to conflict perspective,groups in society are engage in a continuous power struggle for control of scare resources. Many sociologists are more interested in understanding society through social interactions.The interactionist perspective16 generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction. Critical perspective says that we live in a society,based on exchange principles of value and profit. Questions: 1. “Sociology is a systematic study of social behavior and human group”.discuss the statement with reference to various definition and subject matt er of sociology. 2. What is meant by scientific study?Illustrate with examples to support the argument whether sociology in a science or not. 3. Critically anlyse the nature and scope of sociologu.Elaborate on Former and synthetic school of thoughts. 4. Briefly highlight the contribution of ealy thinkers towards the development of sociology. 5. Discuss the various perspectives in sociology.Which one do u think is important and why? Reference and readings:  Abraham Francis (2010); Contemporary Sociology: An Introduction to Concepts and Theories. New Delhi: Oxford University press.  Giddens, Anthony (2001); Sociology; 4th edition; Polity Press.  Ferrante Joan (2006); Sociology-A Global Perspective; 6th edition; Thomson Wadsworth; USA.  Kendall Diana (2007); Sociology in Our Times; The Essentials. th 6 edition; Thomson Wadsworth; USA.  Schaeffer and Lamm (1988); Sociology; 6th edition; McGraw Hill 17 2 SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION Unit structure: 2.0 Objectives 2.1 Sociological imagination. 2.2 Developing a sociological outlook. 2.3 Importance /significance and practical utility of sociology. 2.3.1 Importance of study of sociology. 2.3.2 Significance of sociology. 2.3.3 Careers and specialization in sociology. 2.0 OBJECTIVES:  To develop a sociological outlook by enhancing the sociological imagination.  To Know the importance of the study of sociology.  To understand the significance of sociology.  To make students aware of the practical utility of sociology in day –to-day life.  To explore the various specialization and career opportunities in sociology. 2.1. THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: Sociologist C. Wright (1959 b) described sociological reasoning as the “Sociological imagination- the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society. This awareness enables us to understand the link between our personal experiences and the social context in which they occur. The sociological imagination helps us distinguish between personal trouble and social (or public) issues. ( Kendall ; 2007). A key element in the sociological imagination is the ability to view one’s own Society as an outsider would, rather than from the limited perspective of personal experiences and cultural biases. Sociological imagination allow us to go beyond personal experience and in attempting to understand social behavior,18 sociologists rely on an unusual type of creating thinking. C. Wright Mills (1959) described such thinking as the sociological imagination- an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society. This awareness allows people (not simply sociologists) to comprehend the links between their immediate, personal social settings and the remote, impersonal social world that surrounds them and helps to shape them. A key element in the sociological imagination is the ability to view one’s own society as an outsider would, rather than from the limited perspective of personal experiences and cultural biases. Sociological imagination allows us to go beyond personal experiences and observations to understand broader public issues. Unemployment, for example, is unquestionably a personal hardship for a man or woman without a job. However, C. Wright Mills pointed out that when unemployment is a social problem shared by millions of people, it is appropriate to question the way that a society is structured or organized. Similarly, Mills advocated use of the sociological imagination to view divorce not simply as the personal problem of a particular man and woman, but rather as a structural problem, since it is the outcome of many marriages. And he was writing this in the 1950s, when the divorce rate was but a fraction of what it is today ( I . Horowitz, 1983:87-108) Sociological imagination can bring new understanding to daily life around us. 2.2.DEVELOPING A SOCIOLOGICAL OUTLOOK The sociological imagination require us, above all, to ‘think ourselves away from the familiar routines of our daily life in order to look at them a new. Consider the simple act of drinking Coffee. What could we find to say, from a sociological point of view about such an apparently uninteresting piece of behavior An enormous amount. We could point out first of all that coffee is not just refreshment. It possesses Symbolic value as part of our day-to-day Social activities, Often the ritual associated with coffee drinking is much more important than the act of consuming the drink itself. For many westerners the morning cup of coffee stands at the centre of a personal routine. It is an essential first step to starting the day. Morning coffee is often followed later in the day by coffee with others-the basis of a social ritual. Two people who arrange to meet for coffee are probably more interested in getting together & chatting than in what they actually drink. Drinking and eating in all societies, in fact, provide occasions for social interaction and the enactment of rituals- and these offer a rich subject matter for sociological study.19 Second, coffee is a drug, containing caffeine, which has a Stimulating effect on the brain. Many people drink coffee for the extra lift it provides. Long days at the office and late nights studying are made more tolerable by coffee breaks. Coffee is a habit – forming substance, but coffee addicts are not regarded by most people in Western culture as drug users. Third the individual who drinks cup of coffee is caught up in a complicated set of social & economic relationships stretching across the world. Coffee is a product which links people in some of the wealthiest & most impoverished parts of the planet, it is consumed in great quantities in wealthy Countries, but is grown primarily in poor ones, and it provides many countries, with their largest source of foreign exchange. The production & transportation of coffee require continuous transactions between people thousands of miles away from the coffee drinker. Studying such global transactions is an important task of sociology since many aspects of our lives are now affected by worldwide social influences and communications. Fourth, the act of sipping a coffee presumes a whole process of past social & economic development. Along with other now familiar items of western diets – like teas, bananas, potatoes & white sugar – coffee became widely consumed only from the late 1800s. Although the drink originated in the Middle East , its mass consumption dates, from the period of Western expansion about a century & a half ago. Virtually all the coffee we drink today comes from areas (South America & Africa) that were colonized by Europeans, it is in no sense a ‘natural’ part of the Western diet. The colonial legacy has had an enormous impact of the development of the global coffee trade. Fifth coffee is a product that stands at the heart of contemporary debates, about globalization, international trade, human rights & environmental destruction. As coffee has grown in popularity, it has become ‘branded’ & politicized; the decisions that consumers make about what kind of coffee to drink & where to purchase it have become life style choices. Individuals may choose to drink only organic coffee, natural decaffeinated coffee or coffee that has been ‘fairly traded’ through schemes, that pay full market prices, to small coffee producers in developing countries. They may opt to patronize ‘independent’ coffee houses, rather than corporate coffee chains such as starbuch which is a brand in UK . Coffee drinkers might decide to boycott coffee from certain, with poor human rights & environmental records. Sociologist are interested to understand how globalization heightens people awareness of issues accruing in distant corners of the planet & prompts them to act on new knowledge in their own life.20 Check Your Progress 1. What is meant by sociological imagination .Discuss the significance of sociological outlook in understanding and analysis of individuals existence in day to day society 2. Critically examine the usage of mobile phone in contemporary society through your sociological imagination 2.3 IMPORTANCE/ SIGNIFICANCE & PRACTICAL UTILITY OF SOCIOLOGY: Sociology as a subject of study is a new comer in the family of social sciences but today it has occupied very important position, which signifies its utility. It has become very important because it is concerned with human beings who act and react in the Society. Sociology studies human resources and determines their social strength. It is a body of knowledge which studies social relationships in a systematic way. Needless to say that these relationships are very important for proper conduct of human life. 2.3.1.Importance of Study of Sociology: Sociology is becoming quite popular subject of study because it has some obvious advantages. These may briefly be discussed as under:- 1. It is a subject which helps us in assessing available human resources and extent of human resources needed for solving our social problems. In this way sociology helps in human planning process which contributes significantly in economic problem. 2. It provides us basic and fundamental knowledge about human society, which includes strong and weak points of society, including human relationships. In this way it saves us from duping in the dark. 3. Each society is faced with social problems, which in turn create economic and political problems. Some of the social evils

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