INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY
FACILITATING INSTRUCTOR GUIDE
Society is marked by power struggles over scarce resources; inequities result in conflict; social change is inevitable; natural state of society—imbalance (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 1997, p. 18).
Views society as marked by conflicts due to inequalities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and other divisions that produce conflicting values. Defines social problems as conditions that do not conform to society's values (Kornblum, Julian, & Smith, 1998, p. 8).
People are inherently good but are corrupted by society and its economic structure; institutions are controlled by groups with power; “order” is part of the illusion (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 1997, p. 18).
Chapter 2: Sociology as a Perspective: How Sociologists Think
Important questions to consider.
How do sociologists think?
What are the questions they ask?
What are the qualities of the human being that are important to sociologists?
Humans Are Social Beings
From the time we are born, we rely on others for survival.
We learn how to survive from others.
We end up spending all of our lives in social organizations.
Every human being is born into a society, and rarely do we leave that society. We live our whole lives there. We live in an organized community; we work and play in many formal organizations and groups. Each has rules for us to follow; each socializes us; in many of them, it is where our lives take on meaning. Nature probably commands that we live our lives in social organization or perish, but if nature does not command it, we learn it very early.
Note: Even “rebellious, anti-social groups have structure, rules, status, and roles. For example, “gangs” socialize members into the structure and goals of the group. There are norms and sanctions related to the socialization process.
Many human qualities depend on our social life.
Most religions define us as human because of a God-given soul. Governments recognize our humanity through laws that declare the individual as human at conception, at three months, at birth, or at another point in time. However, if we recognize central human qualities such as language, self, conscience, and mind as the basis for all human action, at what point do we take these on? Whatever our potential for these qualities at birth, it clearly takes society to develop them. In a very basic sense, we become fully human through society.
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