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Examining the Social World

In: Social Issues

Submitted By staceyrussell
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Chapter 2 – Examining the Social
World: How Do We Know?
Ballantine, Roberts, and Korgen. Our Social World: Condensed, Fourth Edition. © 2015 SAGE Publications

The Development of Sociology
• Social thought before sociology: strongly influenced by religion and philosophy
• Modern sociology arose in 19th century Europe, influenced by several conditions:
– Colonialism: exposure to other cultures
– Industrial Revolution & French Revolution: desire to know how dramatic change could be systematically explained
– Advances in the natural sciences: desire to apply scientific method to the social world

Ballantine, Roberts, and Korgen. Our Social World: Condensed, Fourth Edition. © 2015 SAGE Publications

The Development of Sociology
August Comte & the science of society
• Coined the term “sociology” in 1838
• Thought society’s problems could not be understood by philosophical or religious speculation; scientific knowledge was needed
• Two main concerns
– What holds society together?
(social statics or structure)
– Why is there change in society?
(social dynamics or process)

Ballantine, Roberts, and Korgen. Our Social World: Condensed, Fourth Edition. © 2015 SAGE Publications

The Development of Sociology
Early sociology after Comte
• Focus on massive social and economic change brought by Industrial Revolution
• Focus on relationship between micro-, meso-, and macro-level processes
• Early sociological theorists: Emile Durkheim, Karl
Marx, Harriet Martineau, Max Weber, W.E.B. DuBois
• Use of scientific method to test ideas

Ballantine, Roberts, and Korgen. Our Social World: Condensed, Fourth Edition. © 2015 SAGE Publications

Three Sociological Traditions
• Scientific sociology focuses on pure, objective analysis, modeled on natural science
• Humanistic sociology focuses on the human capacity to create meaning, which can’t be...

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