Practicing Sociology

Views:
 
Category: Education
     
 

Presentation Description

Chapter Two

Comments

Presentation Transcript

Practicing Sociology:

Practicing Sociology Chapter 2

Practicing Sociology:

Practicing Sociology According to the American Sociological Association, applied sociology can range from clinical sociology to activism, starts with a problem in the community, and the application of sociological knowledge is used to create changes for the benefit of people in that community

What It Means to Practice Sociology:

What It Means to Practice Sociology Praxis Step One begins with action First you must understand what makes a problem problematic So how do you define what is a social problem? First you start with the premise that all social problems are socially constructed – They are created and sustained by some groups in society Therefore, you must take into account the social context in which phenomena are situated

What It Means to Practice Sociology:

What It Means to Practice Sociology Step Two involves reflection Reflection is a process of examining experiences in the community or an organization and applying your classroom knowledge to gain a new understanding of social conditions This is your opportunity to link community-based learning activities with classroom experiences Step Three is a return to action in the form of advocacy, aimed at changing oppressive and dominant structures If you decide to be an activist, you are going against the norms of an organization, community or society Not all of you will be advocates for change challenging the status quo; however, many will decide to make improvements in people’s lives when you are faced with injustices

What It Means to Practice Sociology:

What It Means to Practice Sociology Practicing sociology, then, is a particular way of thinking and doing that allows you to understand how individuals and groups are active participants in shaping their social world. However, these actions are constrained and enhanced by the social structures in which individuals and groups participate.

What It Means to Practice Sociology:

What It Means to Practice Sociology Practicing sociology is also a means for uncovering the interconnections of people lives, a complex process in which you evaluate events that are greater than the people you observe. We use the concept of practicing sociology because it draws attention to the concepts of learning and process. In certain types of community-based programs, you are learning sociology and applying it through a process that focuses on structural explanation, systemic examination and critical thinking.

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations Exploring structural relations in society means that you must acknowledge the limitations of thinking in terms of individuals when practicing sociology You use the sociological imagination Your ability to see how social conditions affect lives Practicing sociology allows you to explore social life as it occurs in communities, organizations and other field sites as you analyze the ever-changing connections of people and the social structures in which they participate

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations How are you linked to the social structure? Status – is the social position that you occupy in society Along with that status comes rights, entitlements, and powers. You confront social structures, for example, at school, in many different types of community-based learning programs, and within your families, based on your status. You participate in the status of student at the university and the status of an advocate in a service-learning program. Status is relational, for example. You cannot describe your status as a student without referring to “teacher.”

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations If you are participating in a community-based learning program with a focus on criminal justice, our are likely to see a hierarchy of statuses in the criminal justice system, ranging from those in power who make the laws governing which acts and processes are considered criminal to those who make the laws governing which acts and processes are considered criminal, to those people in prison who are labeled criminals.

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations In social work type settings, you are likely to confront the status of women and children in society. How poverty affects women and children more than it does men for example. How political and economic relations create greater problems for these women and children

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations Sociologists assume that understanding society requires more than understanding the motivation and behavior of individuals. Most of you who read this have grown up in a society rooted in individualistic thinking and behaving. Thus, it may be difficult to grasp the idea that understanding social life, including your experiences in a community, involves more than the personalities and behavior of the people you will interact with for the duration of your program

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations Sociologists look at social groups, “a collective of persons differentiated from at least one other group by cultural forms, practice or way of life (Young 1990, 43). The social groups to which you belong which exist only in relation to other groups shape your identity. Through social processes, social groups exhibit division of labors, for example between men and women, young and old, to name a few.

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations Practicing sociology means looking to structural explanations for understanding the injustices some groups experience in every day life. Injustices are a part of the structure of society, often reinforced by people of privilege. Understanding that various groups in society live with oppression and domination because injustices are systemic in society, not because they are unwilling to do something about it, is an important aspect of practicing sociology

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations C. Wright Mills examined the differences between personal troubles and public issues: “Each of us can understand our own experiences and our own sense of meaning only by first locating ourselves within society and then by becoming aware of other individuals in the same societal and/or historical circumstance. What is essential here is the realization that knowledge about “self” depends upon knowledge about others and about external societal realities (Mills, 1959 as cited in Goodwin, 1997, 26).”

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations:

Practicing Sociology and Structural Relations Mills spoke to the difficulty of people gaining awareness of social conditions influencing personal lives. He stated that students of sociology, through research, can identify, can identify the structural issues regarding social relationships and can use this information to inform those who are most affected and have limited power to create change.

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach We assume that practicing sociology in the community is most valuable when you come prepared with a systematic approach that transcends your immediate observations. Paradigms and theories that you apply shape the questions you ask and the design of your research.

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach Your text states that “If you decide to do an internship, your topic will generally come from course material and library research.” “If you are participating in service-learning advocacy, the questions are likely to come from the community.” However, in this class, you will be doing a bit of both

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach Sociologically, it is important to move beyond your own personal experiences. Paradigms help you to explore social life, which consists of activities and behaviors that people engage in to build their social world, by providing you with a framework to move beyond your own experiences. Social life is too complex and its phenomena too diverse to be explained by a single point of view

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach Five aspects of a systematic approach to understanding the social world: Multiple Factors Shaping the Social World One factor is unlikely to cause an event. Sociologists look at multiple forces such as socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity and gender – all of the intersections Social Life Occurs on Different Levels Sociological analysis does not stay at the level of the individual – one must look at the broader structures in society (societal institutions – political, economic, etc.) At the highest level, sociologists look at entire societies At the face-to-face level, they look to statuses, roles, norms, symbols, etc.

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach Social Life is Relational Social life consists of many parts, linked in complex ways that we call patterns These links make up the social structure People Make Choices Reacting to Their Social World People impose their own meanings on events

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach:

Practicing Sociology Using a Systematic Approach Measurement Error When studying phenomena, we sometimes assign numbers in order to study events systematically. However, one’s own biases and assumptions, based on one’s own personal experiences can distort interpretations and analysis – we have to be aware of that and try to not let them cloud our views. At the same time, practicing sociology means accommodating the fact that you are a part of the society you are studying. Applying critical thinking is one method for considering all possibilities and not being blinded by your own assumptions and experiences

Micro- Level Social Relations:

Micro- Level Social Relations Micro-level Social Relations refers to social relations that involve face-to-face interactions such as those found in families, among workers, and friends Language, which refers to a collection of symbols and rules for their usage, is one of the tools to construct micro-level interactions It is language that allows us to give meaning to objects or events.

Micro- Level Social Relations:

Micro- Level Social Relations Micro-level consists of the following: Attitudes refer to positive or negative evaluations of people, objects or situations that predispose you to feel and behave negatively or positively toward them. Beliefs refer to statements about what we term to be real Self refers to feelings and beliefs about ourselves Symbols are characteristics of objects, words, or gestures that mean more than themselves Social interactions refer to a process by which people act in relation to one another Social construction of reality refers to the process that people use to create or construct reality

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Macro-level social structures refers to large-scale structures and social processes, for example, the economy, government, institutions, and other cultural forces that shape people’s lives. The macro-level seems external to us as individuals for we are born into a society that already has structure That is, the macro-level already exists prior to us

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures The macro-level consists of the following: Institution refers to patterns of social interaction with relatively stable structures that persist over time. Institutions have structural properties They are organized They are shaped by cultural values Although there is not full agreement about the number of institutions, generally family, economy, politics, education, health care, government and media are identified

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Society refers to interacting people in a relatively defined territory who share a distinctive culture and distinctive institutions, although some sociologists question the relevance of this definition in a “globalizing world.”

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Social system refers to interrelated arrangements of institutions, in which social action is sometimes seen as performing social functions Although some early sociologists viewed systems as being like biological systems, today sociologists recognize systems as variable and not maintaining the level of integration likely in biological systems.

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Organization refers to two or more social systems related to each other through shared goals and expectations Nation refers to people who have a common symbolic identity that is based on a shared culture, as reflected in the same history, language, ethnicity and/or religion Culture refers to the shared knowledge, beliefs, and values of members of a particular group. It is conveyed by one generation to another through the process of socialization

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Sociologists are interested in the interplay between micro and macro-levels of society. Links between these various aspects of social life create social structure and are a primary focus of sociologists. It is likely that you will need to integrate both micro and macro levels of analysis Not only will this help you understand social life, but it will also make it easier for you to participate in your community-based learning program and gain skills for future employment

Macro-Level Social Structures:

Macro-Level Social Structures Because social life is complex, you will need some kind of framework as a guide to make your experiences and observations in a community or organization manageable. We will now look at four paradigms commonly used in sociology. We will look at creating and using a conceptual framework Selecting a paradigm and creating and using a conceptual framework will help you take a more systematic approach to practicing sociology.

Paradigms:

Paradigms Paradigms are broad perspectives that you can use for thinking about and organizing your understanding of social phenomena and their complexities. Paradigms are sometimes called world views Controversies arise in sociology, in part, because of the various paradigms that are used, all of which have different underlying assumptions about the world we live in and whose assumptions are not tested in research

Paradigms:

Paradigms To follow is a brief discussion of four paradigms: Functionalism Conflict Symbolic Interactionism Feminism This is an overview These are covered in greater detail in Sociological Theory

Functionalism:

Functionalism Functionalism assumes that society is an adaptive social structure that functions in ways to contribute to the maintenance of social systems One assumption is that all systems in society are interrelated, making the analogy that society is al living organism Functionalists reason that a healthy society is one that is based on consensus and stability, thus de-emphasizing change and focusing on the status quo or equilibrium – focus is on the social order

Functionalism:

Functionalism If a system is not functioning properly, it disturbs social stability and must be fixed. However, this is not always easy to determine if a system is not working properly as it depends upon perspective

Functionalism:

Functionalism Sociologists who reason as functionalists argue that the social structures that meet the social needs of societies are called institutions . Each institution meets some of the needs or goals of society These functions, easily observed consequences that create adaptation are called manifest functions Unintended and often hidden consequences produced by institutions are called latent functions

Functionalism:

Functionalism The functionalist paradigm focuses on various institutions in society (health, work, family, government, school and so on) and the achievement of a stable society when thee institutions work together. They might ask: “What are the functions of various institutions in society and how do they help to maintain stability?”

Conflict Paradigm:

Conflict Paradigm Conflict Paradigm Focuses on the social organization and conflict that are built into social relations and reasons that conflict and change are central to social organization and social life. While sociologists who use the conflict paradigm may speak of systems, they usually do not do so in the manner of functionalists. Rather, using the conflict paradigm means viewing systems as producers of conflict and inequality In general, those who use the conflict paradigm view social conflict as paramount to structuring social life

Conflict Paradigm:

Conflict Paradigm Conflict paradigm is rooted in the theories of Karl Marx Karl Marx viewed class conflict as paramount because he argued that capitalism ultimately divided people into two classes, with the capitalists exploiting the workers, thus generating conflict. Conflict paradigm assumes that society is structure so that some groups enjoy privileges and resources that give them the ability to exercise power and influence the implementation of strategies for change A conflict paradigm views the distribution of power , the ability to control the actions of others regardless of their wishes as fundamental to exploring social life. They might ask: “Which groups gain from current social arrangements and which ones lose?”

Symbolic Interactionism:

Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism Focuses on face-to-face interactions and argues that people and society are the result of social interactions based on language and other symbols such as gestures or objects Interaction refers to actors taking into account others when they act. Unlike those who use functionalism or conflict paradigms, those who apply symbolic interactionism paradigm view interactions rather than relationships as primary

Symbolic Interactionism:

Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism assumes that people have power to define society through their ability to create their own sets of meanings The world is continually changing, according to symbolic interactionists, because meanings change over time. In general, symbolic interactionism assumes individual interactions and interpretations are the most fundamental in understanding and explaining social life. They might ask: “What meanings do people attribute to objects of events?” “How does language shape social interaction?”

Feminist Paradigm:

Feminist Paradigm Feminist paradigm Contends that the dominance of mean over women is of fundamental importance to understanding and explaining social life They might focus on how masculine values, beliefs, and shaping of language place women in the untenable position of defining themselves from the point of view of men Gender is a core concept in how social life is organized in this paradigm

Feminist Paradigm:

Feminist Paradigm Feminism assumes that the organization of society and culture have been dominated by men to the exclusion of women Feminist paradigm believe that women have been marginalized; that they are outside the mainstream system of labor and labor does not or will not use them in most societies

Feminist Paradigm:

Feminist Paradigm Feminist research today focuses on the oppression of women and their empowerment It does this in a way that differs from many other paradigms in sociology Perspectives in feminism ranges from liberal, Marxist, multicultural feminism, etc. Therefore, feminists might ask questions regarding women’s access to way sin which resources are distributed in society, while others might ask questions regarding the economic structure in society and how they oppress women, while others might focus on patriarchical systems that oppress women, particularly through violence.

Paradigms:

Paradigms Sociologists tend to frame their research within the context of paradigms During your community-based learning, use these paradigms to help formulate your questions. You should consider which paradigms are more likely to lend themselves to social change, advocacy, and the pursuit of social justice.

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework In general, a conception framework is a formulation of what you think is going on with the phenomena you are studying – a tentative theory of what is happening and why. It is important to note that you build your conceptual framework, but you do so with the help of theories that others have already developed

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Your conceptual framework is also informed by your working in a community. This is your experiential knowledge. Exploring existing theory and developing theory are part of practicing sociology and creating a conceptual framework

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Theory A set of interrelated statements used to explain a phenomenon. Some sociologists arrive at explanations and understandings by applying theories. You may find that relating sociological theory to events in the field is difficult It takes practice to “do” sociology Carefully chosen community-based learning program sites can help to bring together the tools of sociology you learn in the classroom with life experiences

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Not only can you apply theories but you can also develop your own theory This is usually done through qualitative research methods utilizing grounded theory You will be asked to do some qualitative theory at your placement The paradigm form which you view your social world also shapes this puzzle solving Community-based learning programs are a practical and effective way to begin transition from theory to application – from classroom to the community – in the pursuit of social justice

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Concepts Basic language of sociology and its theories Community-based learning programs provide you with the experience to apply concepts to help analyze events, objects and relationships in the community Sociological concepts extend “everyday language” and commonsense understanding of social reality

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Examples of concepts: Deviance is a core concept in understanding crime Social Class is a core concept in understanding location of people in economic structure Oppression is a core concept for explaining why some groups such as the poor are marginalized in a society and are unable to participate in the system of work Socialization, the process of learning the values, norms and roles of a culture as well as developing a sense of self, is an important concept for understanding how individuals acquire culture.

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework Concepts, however, may mean different things to different people Used as a sociological concept, norms refer to standards that define expected behaviors Social class has a different meanings even among sociologists Weber defines social class based on levels of income, wealth, education, occupational prestige and power Marx defines social class as a category of people who occupied similar positions in relation to the means of production

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework:

Creating and Using a Conceptual Framework When you create and use a conceptual framework, you will have written a story about what is happening in your community or organization. This will help you link your experiential knowledge and your knowledge gained in the classroom

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Critical thinking has a variety of definitions Critical thinking is more than an academic exercise; it is way of life. More important, this way of life can be learned. As part of critical thinking, we have identified some mental habits that you need to possess as you practice sociology in the community.

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking These habits are also essential for developing useful knowledge for you in your persona life: Listening Questioning Reading Observing Analyzing Writing

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Listening There are three types: Active – focusing on the person you are talking to and saying nothing – just listening, which lets that person know that you have their complete attention, and it allows you to mentally record what is being said to you Reflective – A process of restating what the person has already said which gives the person the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings immediately Clarifying – the process where you get clarifications for answers the person has given

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Good listening can help you practice your sociology and develop critical thinking that requires you to “question, examine, challenge and propose alternatives for the taken-for-granted social world” as you have been taught or told about

Filters to Listening :

Filters to Listening What keeps us from listening? There are a variety of filters that happen that prevent us from effective listening Eliminating these filters is almost impossible, but you need to be aware of them and how they shape your listening It is also key to developing critical thinking because to do so you must be aware of your biases

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Belief in a Fixed Reality When you filter listening through this believe, you close your mind to all the possibilities in the world With this filter, thinking shuts your mind to other possible explanations Practicing sociology means developing a critical approach that questions existing relations and is sometimes a threat to people who believe they know the truth It also means doing something to change the social arrangements that help perpetuate myths and stereotypes

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Scripts for How Life Should Go This filter refers to placing value judgments on social life You will need to reconsider your values or open up your listening to alternative views Seeking Confirmation and Approval We often find ourselves thinking about what you are going to say next while someone else is speaking to you Through this process we are often seeking approval

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Taking Everything Personally Taking everything personally requires a lot of energy and makes you feel miserable. You must be careful not to construct a world in which you believe you are the focus of everyone else’s actions Sociologically, it reduces your interpretations of social life to the individual level, rather than exploring structural arrangements in society

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Already Thinking We Know That Already thinking we know something closes our minds to the myriad of information out there You will be challenged throughout your community-based learning program to broaden your knowledge base.

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Questioning Thinking and learning are not only enhanced by the answers but also by the questions you ask Critical thinking is based on critical questioning To clarify by questioning you may want to have illustrations or examples to help you decide if a statement is accurate Critical questioning also means examining the evidence Critical questioning also means questioning the implications and consequences of actions Explore why the question being asked is relevant

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Questioning Another important aspect of critical questioning is being able to identify when evidence is missing The more you know about a particular issue, the better you are able to do this All evidence has various interpretations You will have to look to see if broad generalizations are made based only on isolated events

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Reading Critical reading is like any other process involve din critical thinking Its purpose is to involve you with your experiences and observations in such a way that you are able to evaluate them Read for literal meaning Analyze and describe Interpret an overall meaning

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Observing Critical observation refers to the ability to Recognize the limits and types of claims one can make about observation Identify links between individual actions and structural constrains

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Developing the following abilities can enhance critical observations The ability to recognize the difference between observed behaviors and the meanings we assign to them The ability to identify the assumptions and stereotypes we bring to our interpretations of behaviors Identifying the context in which observations are embedded

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Analyzing Closely linked with critical observation is the process of analyzing your observations and experiences Your interpretations are based on many things, including your own history, our use of language, and the discipline from which you draw your paradigm and conceptual framework When practicing sociology in the community, try to be systematic in your approach, beginning with some theoretical insights or at least some basic facts

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking What is a fact? One definition is an object or event Another is that facts are not independent of their social context and thus there are various “truths” to any given event depending on one’s perspective What you think about facts, how you make sense of your data is a matter of analysis and interpretation. It takes reflection to determine if you are talking about facts or your interpretations

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Interpretation is closely linked with reflection in the process of analysis. Here are a few reasons why reflection is important in learning outside the classroom Your own experiences are not enough to understand the complexities of social life in the community Reflection transforms our experiences in the community along with your experiences in the classroom into learning You benefit from guided reflection Becoming aware of your own learning through reflection, you also become aware of your own biases. Reflection helps you challenge stereotypes Reflection becomes an important tool for self-development as well as for later professional development

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Reflection is the link that ties your experiences in the community to academic learning. This means being able to step back and be thoughtful about experience, including monitoring your own reactions and thinking processes. Reflection involves participation. You must fight the urge to use personal opinion over critical analysis This is a time for integrating community experiences with your educational experiences

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Writing To express, record and explain – is an integral part of the thinking and learning process in any discipline There are three types of writing Transactional Expressive Poetic

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Transactional writing has the goals of informing, analyzing or persuading the reader Examples are research papers and critiques Expressive writing is reflexive writing and tends to be more informal A journal is an example of expressive writing Poetic writing Such as creative writing This is not something that you would use in this course

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking:

Practicing Sociology Using Critical Thinking Thus, you will be using more of a transactional writing in this course Your first step in this will be to do your literature review You will also benefit from using expressive writing in keeping a journal More on this to come

authorStream Live Help