The Sociological Perspective

Know the assumptions of structural-functional, conflict, and symbolic interaction theories. Review the contributions of Augusta Comet, Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, 6. Mile Drummers, Max Weber, Harriet Martinets, Jane Addams, and W. E. B. Dubos. Review the development of sociology in the United States. 8. Review the process of the three types of research discussed in the textbook. 9. Outline the steps in the scientific method of research. 10. Differentiate between the following concepts: variable, independent and dependent variables, and control variables. 11. 12. 13.
Explain the importance of operational De Discuss what a sample is in survey research. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of controlled experiments, survey research, and participant observation. Do you every wonder why people in the Midwest drive pick-ups and the people in China want a bicycle? Do you ever think about why people were glued to their televisions when the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed by terrorists? Do you ever watch people at a ballgame or at a shopping mall? Have you ever wondered why these people behave as they do? Do you ask yourself why you make some of the decisions that you do?
If you see influences from family, friends, co-workers, and the kind of economy hat we live in, then you are practicing sociology. Sociology is concerned with the groups, large and small, that we are a part of and how they influence our behavior. Sociology is one part of the social sciences. The social sciences are a related group of disciplines that study some aspect of human behavior. The differences are in the focuses. As examples, psychology focuses on such areas as the personality, the brain, and how we learn. History and political science study past events, government structures, and current affairs to understand our behavior.

Economics includes areas such as supply and emend, government policies, and occupational trends. Anthropology focuses on cultures and how they determine certain behaviors. Sociology can be explained by the updated version of an old story titled: The Elephant Story. It goes as follows: It is said that in the recent past five wise men and women, all blindfolded, were led to an elephant. Each was asked to explain what they “saw”. The first, a psychologist, feeling the top of the head, said, “This is the only thing that counts. All feeling and thinking takes place inside here.
To understand this beast, we need study only this. The second, an anthropologist, tenderly touching the trunk and the tusks, said, “This is really primitive. I feel very comfortable here. Concentrate on these. ” The third, a political scientist, feeling the gigantic ears, said, “This is the power center. What goes in here controls the entire beast. Concentrate your studies here. ” The fourth, an economist, feeling the mouth, said, this is what counts. What goes in here is distributed throughout the body. Concentrate your studies on this. Then came the sociologist (OF course! , who, feeling the entire body, said, You can’t understand the beast by concentrating only one part. Each is but part of the whole. The head, the trunk and tusks, the ears, the mouth – all are important. And so are the parts of the beast that you haven’t even mentioned. We must remove our blindfolds so we can see the larger picture. We have to see the larger picture. We have to see how everything works together to form the entire animal. Pausing for emphasis, the sociologist added, “And we also need to understand how this creature interacts with similar creatures, HOW does their life in groups influence their behaviors? I wish I could conclude this fable by saying that the psychologist, the anthropologist, the political scientist, and the economist, dazzled upon hearing the wisdom of the sociologist, amidst gasps of wonderment threw away their blindfolds, and joining together, began to examine the larger picture. But, alas, and alack! Upon hearing this sage advice, each stubbornly bound their blindfolds even tighter to concentrate all the more on the single part. And if you listened very, very carefully you could even hear them saying, “Don’t touch the tusks. ” ‘take your hand off the ears. “Stay away room the mouth – that’s my area. ” Sociology, however, includes all of these areas of study and is probably the broadest of all of the social sciences. The main difference is that sociology focuses on the effects of groups on our actions and decisions. Sociology views behavior as resulting from all of the various influences that these disciplines specifically study. Certainly living in an industrial/technological society affects our motivations and our occupational choices. World War II affected how we view women in the labor force today. Telecommunications have influenced our current work patterns.
These are a few examples that demonstrate the effects of our society on behavior. Sociology is defined as the systematic study of human social interaction. This means how we interact with persons in any group setting. Most of us follow patterns in our behaviors (think about your morning routines, are they usually the same? ) and this allows sociologists to learn something about our behavior. Sociologists try to describe and to explain behavior. They are people watchers – looking for patterns of behavior which allows sociologists to predict trends in behavior to help determine better social policies.
However, sociologists realize that people change which requires that our predictions be tenuous. Never the less, sociologists want to develop a body Of reliable knowledge that can be applied to make our lives more understandable. Sociologists explain behavior through the concepts of structure and roles. Structure is much like a framework or script that guides our behavior. Roles, on the other hand, fit into a structure and deal with how we should perform. In a basketball game, rules serve to give the game structure. Everyone who plays knows or should know the rules of the game. This allows everyone to now how to behave and what to expect.

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