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COMPONENTS OF SOCIOLOGY (SUMMARIZED)

Sociology - systematic study of the relationship between the individual and society and the
consequence of difference
C. Wright Mills - Creator of the concept of the Sociological Imagination
The Sociological Imagination - An awareness of relationship between who we are as individuals
and social forces that shape our lives
private troubles - obstacles that individuals face as individuals rather than as a consequence of
their social position ie: depression
Public Issues - Obstacles that individuals in similar positions face; also referred to by sociologists
as "social problems" ie: abortion, poverty
The Hamburger as Miracle - W/o interdependence we would have to rely on our own skill alone
for survival ie: it takes many resources to make get a hamburger
The Key Components of Sociology - Systematic study, The individual and free will aka "agency' in
this class context, and society
Systematic study - Empirical data gathered through systematic research
The Individual - Individuals can reject behavioral guidelines because of agency: the freedom to
choose and to act
Society - The study of the social environment is core of sociology
The Consequences of Difference - Sociology looks at how economic, social and cultural
resources are distributed, implications of these patterns in terms of the opportunities and
obstacles they create for individuals and groups
Social Inequality - Condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth,
prestige, power
Science - Body of knowledge obtained by methods based on systematic observation
Natural Science - Study of physical features of nature and ways in which they interact and
change
Social Science - Study of social features of humans and ways in which they interact and change
Common sense and sociology - Sociologists do not accept something as fact because everyone
knows it, findings are tested by researchers and analyzed in relation to other data, and
evaluated with sociologial theory

Theory - set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions or behavior * effective
theories have explanatory and predictive power
What sociologists spoke on how social order is maintained? - Auguste Comte (1798-1857) and
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
Auguste Comte (1798-1857) - Auguste sought to establish science of society that would reveal
basic "laws of society" and he coined the term "SOCIOLOGY"
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) - She wrote the 1st book on sociological theory and introduced
the significance of inequalilty and power into the discipline
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) - He emphasized significance of social order, he also introduced
concept of "ANOMIE" -the loss of direction felt in a society when social control of individual
behavior has become ineffective
Karl Marx and Max Weber what did they speak to in sociology? - They spoke to how power and
inequality shape outcomes
Karl Marx (1818-1920) - Emphasized significance of power and control over resources. ALSO
defined ALIENATION- loss of control over creative human capacity to produce, seperation from
products we make, and isolation from fellow workers
Max Weber (1864-1920) - Analyzed who had power determined by social classes and ownership
of material resources and by social status and organizational resources
How does interaction shape our worlds?
1.) Macrosociology
2.) Microsociology
Macrosociology - Concentrated on large scale phenomena or entire civilizations
Microsociology - Stresses study of small groups and the analysis of everyday experiences and
interactions
Erving Goffman (1922-1982) - Popularized dramaturgical approach-people seen as theatrical
performers
What sociologists studied how group membership influences opprunity? - W.E.B DuBois and Ida
Wells Barnett
W.E.B DuBois (William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) (1868-1963) - Combined emphasis on analysis
of everyday life experiences with commitment to investigating power and inequality based on
race

Ida Wells Barnett (1862-1931) - Early feminist, argued that societies can be judged on whether
the principles they claim to believe in match their actions and used analysis of society to resist
oppression
How should sociologists respond? - Sociological theory and research should contribute to
positive social change as an on going theme
Jane Addams (1860-1935) , cofounded the... - an early member of the American Sociological
Society , she cofounded Hull House
Emile Durkheim helped shape.... - The French educational process... and considered educated
citizenry essential to democratic success
DuBois cofounded the... - NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
3 approaches to sociological insights - Functionalist, Conflict and Interactionist Perspective
Functionalist Perspective - Emphasizes the way parts of a society structured to maintain its
stability. Society viewed as vast network of connected parts, each of which helps maintain the
system as a whole.
Conflict Perspective - Assumes social behavior best understood in terms of tension between
groups over power or allocation of resources. Considers how status quo is established and
maintained, and who benefits and who suffers from existing system.
Interactionist Perspective - Generalizes about everyday forms of social interaction in order to
explain society as a whole
Personal Sociology - The process of recognizing the impact our individual position has on who
we are and how we think and act, and of taking responsibility for the impacts our actions have
on others
Academic Sociology - students cultivate a variety of skills such as developing evidence based
arguments evaluating research methods, writing research reports, and using computer
resources to organize and analyze data, and identify ethical issues in research
Applied Sociology - Use of discipline of sociology with specific intent of yielding practical
applications for human behavior and organizations
Clinical Sociology - Use of discipline of sociology with specific intent of altering social
relationships or restructuring social institutions
Globalization - Worldwide integration of government policies, cultures and social movements, &
financial markets through trade and exchange of ideas

Karl Marx
Best Known For: Major figure in the founding of sociology
Socio-political theory of Marxism
The Communist Manifesto
Birth: May 5, 1818.
Death: He died of cancer on March 14, 1883.
Early Life And Education:
Karl Marx was born in Trier, Prussia (present-day Germany). While he attended a Lutheran elementary
school growing up, he later became an atheist and a materialist. In 1835, Marx enrolled in Bonn
University in Germany where he took courses in law, however, he was much more interested in
philosophy and literature.
One year later, he enrolled him at the University of Berlin. Marx soon felt at home when he joined a
circle of brilliant and extreme thinkers who were challenging existing institutions and ideas, including
religion, philosophy, ethics, and politics. Marx graduated with his doctoral degree in 1841.
Career and Later Life:
After school, Marx turned to writing and journalism to support himself. In 1842 he became the editor of
the liberal Cologne newspaper Rheinische Zeitung, but the Berlin government prohibited it from
publication the following year. He then moved to Brussels, Belgium, where he founded the German
Workers Party and was active in the Communist League. Here he wrote his most famous work
Communist Manifesto. After being exiled from Belgium and France, Marx finally settled in London where
he lived as a stateless exile for the rest of his life.
In London, Marx worked in journalism and wrote for both German and English language publications.
From 1852 to 1862 he was also a correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune, writing a total of 355
articles.
He also continued writing and formulating his theories about the nature of society and how he believed
it could be improved, as well as actively campaigning for socialism.
Marx's theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Marxism, argue
that all society progresses through the dialectic of class struggle.
He was heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, which he called the
"dictatorship of the bourgeoisie," believing it to be run by the wealthy middle and upper classes purely
for their own benefit, and predicted that it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead
to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. Under socialism, he argued that
society would be governed by the working class in what he called the "dictatorship of the proletariat."
He believed that socialism would eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called pure
communism.

While Marx remained a relatively unknown figure in his own lifetime, his ideas and the ideology of
Marxism began to exert a major influence on socialist movements shortly after his death. Marx has been
described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and in a 1999 BBC poll was voted the
"thinker of the millennium" by people from around the world.
Other Major Publications
The German Ideology (1845)
Wage-Labor and Capital (1847)
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)
Capital (Das Kapital) (1867)

Herbert Spencer
Best Known For: Developing and applying evolutionary theory to philosophy, psychology and the study
of society.
Helping to develop the functionalist perspective, one of the major theoretical frameworks in sociology.
His political thoughts, primarily his defense of natural rights and for criticisms of utilitarian positivism.
Birth: April 27, 1820.
Death: He died December 8, 1903.
Early Life and Education:
Herbert Spencer was born in Derby, England. He was the eldest of nine children, but the only one to
survive infancy. Spencer's father was a school teacher, however he was very unconventional and
Herbert therefore received a largely informal and undisciplined education. Spencer had many eclectic
interests and eventually trained as a civil engineer for railways.
In his early 20s, however, he turned to journalism and political writing.
Career and Later Life:
From 1848 to 1853, Spencer worked as a writer and subeditor for The Economist financial weekly. In his
early writings, Spencer defended a number of radical causes, particularly on land nationalization, the
extent to which economics should reflect a policy of laissez-faire, and the place and role of women in
society. He eventually came to abandon most of these causes later in his life.
In 1851 Spencer wrote his first book, Social Statics: The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness. 'Social
statics' is a term that Spencer borrowed from Auguste Comte, which deals with the conditions of social
order. In Social Statics, Spencer predicted that humanity would eventually become completely adapted
to the requirements of living in society with the consequential withering away of the state.
Spencer's uncle died in 1853, leaving him a small inheritance which allowed him to devote himself to
writing without depending on regular employment. In 1855, Spencer published his second book, The
Principles of Psychology, which was much less successful than his first book. It was about this time that
Spencer also began experiencing serious mental health problems, which would affect him for the
remainder of his life.

Because of this, he sought privacy and rarely went out in public. He was also limited in terms of how
much work he could do and was only able to write for a few hours each day. He thus embarked on a
lengthy project, which was the nine-volume A System of Synthetic Philosophy, which he wrote between
1862 and 1893. In it, he provided a systematic account of his views in biology, sociology, ethics and
politics and presented his idea that societies are organisms that progress through a process of evolution
similar to that experienced by living species, a concept known to as social darwinism.
Among many of the honors he was given, Spencer was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in
1902. He declined most of the honors he was given.
Major Publications
Social Statics: The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness (1850)
Education (1854)
The Principles of Psychology (1855)
The Principles of Sociology (1876-1896)
The Data of Ethics (1884)
The Man Versus the State (1884)

Emile Durkheim
Best Known For: A founding figure in the field of sociology
"Father of sociology"
Credited with making sociology a science
Birth: April 15, 1858.
Death: He died November 15, 1917.
Early Life and Education:
Durkheim was born in Epinal, France. He came from a long line of devout French Jews; his father,
grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been rabbis. He began his education in a rabbinical school,
but at an early age, decided not to follow in his family's footsteps and switched schools, realizing that he
preferred to study religion from an agnostic standpoint as opposed to being indoctrinated.
Durkheim entered the cole Normale Suprieure (ENS) in 1879.
Career and Later Life:
Durkheim became interested in a scientific approach to society very early on in his career, which meant
the first of many conflicts with the French academic system, which had no social science curriculum at
the time. Durkheim found humanistic studies uninteresting, turning his attention from psychology and
philosophy to ethics and eventually, sociology.
He graduated with a degree in philosophy in 1882. Durkheim's views could not get him a major
academic appointment in Paris, so from 1882 to 1887 he taught philosophy at several provincial schools.
In 1885 he left for Germany, where he studied sociology for two years. Durkheim's period in Germany

resulted in the publication of numerous articles on German social science and philosophy, which gained
recognition in France, earning him a teaching appointment at the University of Bordeaux in 1887. This
was an important sign of the change of times, and the growing importance and recognition of the social
sciences. From this position, Durkheim helped reform the French school system and introduced the
study of social science in its curriculum.
Also in 1887, Durkheim married Louise Dreyfus, with whom he later had two children.
In 1893, Durkheim published his first major work, The Division of Labor in Society, in which he
introduced the concept of "anomie", or the breakdown of the influence of social norms on individuals
within a society. In 1895, he published The Rules of Sociological Method, his second major work, which
was a manifesto stating what sociology is and how it ought to be done.
In 1897, he published his third major work, Suicide: A Study in Sociology, a case study exploring the
differing suicide rates among Protestants and Catholics and arguing that stronger social control among
Catholics results in lower suicide rates.
By 1902, Durkheim had finally achieved his goal of attaining a prominent position in Paris when he
became the chair of education at the Sorbonne. Durkheim also served as an advisor to the Ministry of
Education. In 1912, he published his last major work, The Elementary Forms of The Religious Life, a book
that analyzes religion as a social phenomenon.

-xel