Themes in Sociology

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  • Themes in Sociology
    • Sociology is the Study of Society
      • Sociology is the study of human society, including its development, functions and organisation.
      • There are generally considered to be three 'founding fathers' of sociology.
        • KARL MARX (1818 - 1883) believed that capitalism oppresses the working class, and that there needs to be a revolution to make all people equal.
        • EMILE DURKHEIM (1858 - 1917) was a functionalist. He believed that society is made up of different institutions, each with its own function - these institutions work in harmony to create a stable society.
        • MAX WEBER (1864 - 1920) believed that sociologists should study both structures and actions to understand society. He thought that an individuals behaviour is shaped by structural factors (such as the law) and subjective factors (such as emotion)
    • Culture, Socialisation and Identity
      • Culture is a Society's Way of Life
        • The culture of a group of people refers to the way they live - their language, beliefs, norms, values, knowledge and skills. It reinforces the sense of community in a society.
        • Cultures vary from place to place - e.g. British culture is different to Indian culture. It also varies with time.
      • Socialisation is how Culture is Passed On
        • Socialisation is the way in which culture is passed on from generation to generation.
        • It begins in childhood and continues into adult life. Socialisation comes from families, schools, friends, religion, the media and work.
        • A society's values are internalized by socialisation, so that they become part of your way of thinking
      • Identity is quite a Complex Idea in Sociology
        • On a deeper level, your identity is the way you see yourself, and the way you are viewed by others.This is called your social identity. It's influenced by things like class, ethnicity, gender, age and sexuality, and also by your role in society.
        • Identity is hard to define - there are different levels to it. The most basic level of your identity is made up of simple facts - your name, age, appearance etc.
    • Globalisation is a Very Important Idea
      • Improved tech and coms, an increase in transnational corporations and more migration have all meant that national boundaries are breaking down.
    • Social Differentiation Stratification and Power
      • Social Differentiation
        • The Way Society is Divided up
        • The groups can be based on biological features, cultural features or more personal characteristics.
      • Stratification
        • Groups can be based on things like status, income, religion, ethnicity, gender and age, but are usually based on social class.
        • Also splits society into different groups, but the groups are in layers, with a definite hierarchy.
          • Top layer is made of the richest and most powerful people
          • Bottom layer is the poorest people who have the least power
          • In between, there are many different layers, known as strata.
    • Methods and Theories
      • Sociologists do research to try to find explanations for how society works and why is changes
        • They use different research methods
          • Interviews
          • Questionnaires
          • Observations
          • Documents
          • Government statistics
          • Experiments
      • Once the data has been collected, it needs to be analysed and interpreted,
        • Sociologists look for patterns and correlations, and use these to draw conclusions


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