1. The Real World
An Introduction to Sociology
Sociology and the Real World
3. • Sociology is the systematic or scientific study of human
society and social behavior, from large-scale institutions
and mass culture to small groups and individual
– Howard Becker (1986) defined sociology as the
study of people “doing things together.”
– We must remember that humans are essentially
social beings…our survival is contingent up on the
fact we living in various groups and ultimately, our
sense of self derives from our membership in
4. • What does the definition mean by “society” and
– Society – a group of people who shape their lives in
aggregated and pattered ways that distinguish their
group from other groups.
– Social Behavior - behavior influenced or controlled
by other persons or by organized society. In other
words, behavior as influenced by the group or
5. • To understand this concept of society,
sociologists must first develop the
– One of the classic statements about the
sociological perspective comes from C. Wright
Mills who coined the term Sociological
– Mills says, “To understand social life, we
must understand the intersection between
biography and history.”
6. The Girl and the Sailor
Character Group Ranking
7. • Sociological imagination is quality of the
mind that allows us to understand the
relationship between our particular situation
in life and what is happening at a social level.
• For example, think about people who are
unemployed and are having trouble finding a
job. What is the most common explanation
for their problem?
• Now…lets think like a sociologist…
8. • What are some other aspects of the
characters that you might not have
• What information are you lacking that
would change some of your ideas about
9. • Unit 1: The Basics
– Sociological Theory
– Sociological Research
– Socialization and Social Interaction
10. • Unit 2: Inequality
11. • Unit 3: Social Institutions
– Marriage and Family
12. • You may have experienced this yourself—if you’ve ever
watched a program on television where they’re showing you
some remote tribe of people and their way of life seems very
different you might say something like,
– “Oh, that is so gross, I can’t believe those people eat
• You’re assuming that your way of life is better than their way
of life. Interestingly, if that tribe watched your daily life, they
would question some of the things that you consider
• Ethnocentrism occurs when a person uses their own culture
as a standard to evaluate another group or individual, leading
to the view that cultures other than one’s own are abnormal.
13. • Like it sounds, the “beginner’s mind” is
the opposite of an expert’s mind.
• Bernard McGrane says that to explore the
social world, it is important that we clear
our minds of stereotypes, expectations,
and opinions so that we are more
receptive to our experiences.
• We must unlearn what we already know.
How can we do this? Is it difficult?
14. • We can also clear our view of society by;
• Cultural relativism is the process of
understanding other cultures on their own
terms, rather than judging according to one’s
• When studying any group, it is important to try
to employ cultural relativism because it helps
sociologists see others more objectively.
15. • It is important to remember that when
sociologists use the term “deviant,” they
are making a social judgment, never a
16. • If a particular behavior is considered
deviant, it means that it violates the values
and norms or a particular group, not that it
is inherently wrong.
• Much of the literature on deviance focuses
on crime, and how different cultures define
very different behaviors as criminal or not
and the vast differences seen in how
crimes are punished.
17. • Objectivity: (not subjectivity) Most
sociologists believe that they should not
allow their personal beliefs to influence
their research. (Leave out your biases)
– Max Weber wrote the classic sociological
statement on this issue. He coined the phrase
value-free sociology, an ideal whereby
researchers identify facts without allowing their
own personal beliefs or biases to interfere.
18. • The “Everyday Actor” vs. the “Social Analyst.”
– The “Social Analyst” takes all of these everyday,
common, and taken-for-granted behaviors and places
them into question.
– Imagine how an alien might view some of these very
common behaviors. Would he/she/it really understand
them? Would it make sense to them as it does to you?
– It is difficult to study behavior when you’re surrounded
by it. It’s almost like we’re in a bubble and we can’t
see on the other side of it.
– This is the role of a sociologist to move beyond the
19. • Socialization is the process by which
children and adults learn from others.
We begin learning from others during
the early days of life; and most people
continue their social learning all through
– Culture, Family, Gender, Race, Social
Class, Religion, etc.
20. • Material culture includes the objects associated with
a cultural group, such as tools, machines, utensils,
buildings, and artwork; basically, any physical object
to which we give social meaning.
• Symbolic culture are the ideas associated with a
cultural group including ways of thinking (beliefs,
values, and assumptions) and ways of behaving
(norms, interactions, and communication)
21. • The subject matter of sociology is human behavior in society. All
social behavior is guided by values. Thus the study of social
behavior can never truly be value-free.
• Moreover, social research is often guided by the search for “true
knowledge,” …which, is a social value shared by academics.
• So, what is meant by Max Weber’s “value-free” sociology is that
the sociologist must be aware of their values and biases and
• Sociologists should observe “value neutrality” while
conducting social research. They should exclude ideological or
non-scientific assumption from research.
• Value Neutrality: They should not make evaluative judgment
about empirical evidence. Value judgment should be restricted
to sociologists' area of technical competence. They should make
their own values open and clear and refrain from advocating
22. • Most sociological research uses the
scientific method, which is the standard
for acquiring and verifying empirical
– Definition: The scientific method is a
procedure for acquiring knowledge that
emphasizes collecting data through
observation and experiment.
• It provides researchers with a series of
steps to follow.
23. • Macrosociology approaches the study of society from
the opposite direction, by looking at large-scale social
structures in order to determine how it affects the lives
of groups and individuals.
• So, to recap, a microsociological analysis might look at
the relationship between a couple or the interactions of
a sports team to develop theories about large scale
• A macrosociological analysis might look at the economy
and how it impacts consumer behavior or how a
presidential election influences American morale.
24. • Sociologists can use different levels of analysis to
explore social relationships:
– Microsociology vs. Macrosociology
• Microsociology concentrates on the interactions
between individuals and the ways in which those
interactions construct the larger patterns, processes,
and institutions of society.
• It looks at the smallest building blocks of society in
order to understand its large-scale structure.
25. • 2 Broad types of research:
– Quantitative research: translates the social world into
numbers that can be studied mathematically
• Example: United States Census
– Qualitative research: uses non-numerical data like
texts, interviews, photos, and recordings to help
understand social life
• Example: Anne Frank’s Diary
• This applies to pretty much ALL social sciences including
a variety of other fields such as education, criminal justice,
business/marketing research, etc.