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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

STUDENT GUIDE

15

Order is developed through the social patterns we establish, through the rules, truths, and structure we create

Order is maintained through families, media, schools, political leaders, and religion

Traditional sociology states that the five major social patterns that maintain order are religion, politics, education, economics, and family

Order is aided by

Rituals

Rules

Punishment

Continuous interaction

3.

Why is there inequality in society and what are its consequences? (Is it inherent in the nature of organization? How does it arise? How is it perpetuated? What are the problems it brings, and how does it affect the individual?)

Karl Marx saw inequality inherent in all class societies

Max Weber saw inequality inherent in the nature of lasting organization

Some sociologists see inequality as contributing to order

All sociologists see inequality as a source of social change

Sociology focuses on five topics

Some sociologists focus on society. Sociology to them is the “science of society.” Society is that very large and abstract entity in which humans exist. Those who focus on society are sometimes called “macro sociologists.”

A second focus or topic area is social organization. Sociology is the study of all social organization, from the largest unit—society—to the smallest—a pair of interacting individuals (a dyad).

American sociology has typically become more specialized, tending to look at institutions or institutional systems. Some sociologists specialize in the family, some in schools, others in government. There are, for example, sociologists of law, criminal justice, health, religion, and military. Specialization has created experts who understand a certain part of society as well as its relationship to the whole of society.

Many sociologists are interested in the micro world of face-to-face interaction, how individuals act in relation to one another in everyday life. There is interest here in how individuals in social interaction shape organization, share a view of the world, influence one another, and are socialized.

Finally, there is an emphasis among some sociologists on social problems, a concern about understanding poverty, family disorganization, child abuse, sexism, and racism, and careless misuse of the environment among other things.

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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