Summary: Sociology | 9781509539239 | Anthony Giddens, et al

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Read the summary and the most important questions on Sociology | 9781509539239 | Anthony Giddens; Philip W. Sutton

  • 1 What is Sociology

  • 1.2 The sociological imagination

  • What do we mean with sociological imagination?

    • Famous phrase by American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1970.
    • Step outside of the immediacy of your own personal circumstances to see (or imagine) things in a wider social context.
  • 1.3 Studying people and societies

  • When sociologists speak of a society, what do they mean?

    A group of people living in a bounded territory who share common cultural features such as language, values and basic norms of behaviour.
  • When we "think sociologically," we think about social life through 3 concepts.Which 3 concepts?

    • Through the concept of society.
    • Through the concept of institutions.
    • Through the concept of social structures. 
  • American sociologist C. Wright Mills distinguishes issues into 'personal trouble' and 'public issues.'What do they mean and what is the difference?

    • Personal trouble is an issue that may be emotionally traumatic for individuals who go through it.
    • A public issue arrises when a problem expresses broad economic and social trends.
    • The difference is that although a problem can be a personal trouble in its core, the repercussions of that problem could affect many people, making it a public issue.
  • "For sociologists there is no such thing as the 'isolated individual.' What is an isolated individual?

    • Someone who makes choices without reference to anyone else.
      • I.e., everyone is influenced by social contexts.
  • "Human societies are always in the process of structuration" (Giddens, 1984).What does this mean?

    • Human societies are reconstructed at every moment by the human beings that compose them. 
    • I.e., Society is shaped by the combined individual choices of every person that lives in that society. 
  • 1.4 The development of sociological thinking

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  • Before the rise of modern sciences, folkways held sway in most communities.What does 'folkways' mean?

    Traditional knowledge and practices passed down through generations.
  • What did the founding sociologists mean with the word modernity?

    • The societies of primarily Europe and North America.
    • I.e., their focus was on this region, what they called the "modern world."
  • What can you tell about postcolonialism, in regards to sociology?

    • A movement of the last 25 years that challenged the accepted account of modernity and the origins of sociology.
    • 2 main elements in this challenge:
      • Sociology has generally not taken enough account of the devastating impact of colonialism on countries in the Global South.
      • Sociology adopted a fundamentally Eurocentric position, primarily focused on the industrialized countries of the Global North, because of the lack of Global South perspectives.
  • 1.4.1 Auguste Comte

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  • Auguste Comte (1798-1857) wanted a positivist approach in sociology.What does this mean?

    • Aiming to produce knowledge about society based on evidence drawn from:
      • Observation.
      • Comparison.
      • Experimentation.

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