1.Sociology developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries but properly during the enlightenment period in 18th century in which sociological thinkers tried to provide explanations of the social world. It was in reaction of the mass change in Social, political and economic structures.
The main social changes that were concerned were industrialisation and modernisation. Industrialisation was the process in which an agrarian society transforms into an industrial one. The purpose of this is manufacturing.
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It leads to lots of supplies being made at a a low cost. The changes in family structure are easily notable, as pre industrial society consisted of families spanning many generations and remaining in the same location. Now in industrial societies it mainly consists of the nuclear family – parents and their children living together. Modernisation is the process of urbanisation and industrialisation together. Urbanisation is the concentration of labour into factories due to the rise of large towns to serve and house the workers. During the process of modernisation religion and other cultural traits become less important over time. Consumerism also plays into this as industrial workers get a higher pay, markets and services will expand making it so people feel the need to buy more. The founder of sociology is Auguste Comte, a French philosopher.
He wanted to find solutions to the chaos of the French Revolution therefore this is the reason he founded sociology. He believed sociologists should be concerned about order and change and try and explain why societies remain stable.2.There are different ways of thinking in sociology. Some of the classic ways include Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels way which involves looking at how the emergence of modern society above all through the development of capitalism. Emile Durkheim’s way which looks at industrialisation and the social division of labour it brought.
While Max Weber thought it had to do with the emergence of a distinctive way of thinking that he associated with the Protestant ethic.Then Bauman and May felt the way of thinking sociologically is to consider our individual actions as part of webs of interdependency between people. They say sociology is about actions which are social.C Wright Mills (1959) coined the term sociological imagination. This is the practice of being able to “think ourselves away” from the familiar routines of our daily life to look at them in a new way. It is used to show the relationship between an individual’s personal life and the forces that affect them. The sociological imagination can be applied to many behaviours for example drinking coffee. Not only is it a drug that can be used to boost energy and is a socially acceptable, it also may be used as an excuse to meet someone.
The act of drinking coffee is not the importance rather the meeting of people is. Mills felt it was important to include many methods and theories when speaking about sociology and he advised social scientist to broaden their field of social sciences too.3.Macro view or structural approach involves looking at how society shapes individuals. Society is seen as being more powerful and influential than its individuals therefore society controls, influences, creates and decides what individuals do and act. We are socialised by family, and other factors like media and peers, this may suggest people have little free will as they are coerced by the upper powers in society. Macro view tends to use quantitative methods of research to find information, this includes statistical and numerical data as well as structured interviews and experiments. Macro view includes consensus theory which looks at functionalism and also includes conflict theory which looks at Marxism and feminism.
Micro view or social action involves looking at how people create society and how they make sense of everyday social life by looking at how people interpret and react to each other. It sees individuals as being the ones who control society. We have free will and the ability to choose what we do. People make society what it is in the modern day.
If there was no individualism then perhaps there wouldn’t be a proper society as its the different people that define it. It also looks at how we can be perceived differently by people in our life due to how we act around them. This approach uses qualitative methods which includes more observational approaches of research and unstructured interviews to investigate meaning and interactions. Micro view includes Weberianism which includes concepts like labelling theory.4.The relationship between the individual and society can be perceived in many ways. Some ways include sociological concepts or the theories of conflict, social action or consensus.
All of which have differing views and reasons for how the individual relates to society. The theory of conflict believes that the society creates the individual. Marxism sees class conflict as the means for social change. Society controls people’s behaviour and influences them on how to act “properly”.
Inequality in society is caused due to differences in power between groups, those who own the production chain can exploit those who don’t. Workers are exploited as they don’t get their true worth. Thus creating differences in social class. The two classes proposed by Marxism are the proletariat who are working class and oppressed and the bourgeoisie who are upper class and dominate society. Feminism sees gender as the main reason for conflict. There are many types of feminisms. Some being – liberal which wants gender equality, Marxist which wants equal pay and working conditions for women and radical which has extreme views, seen as “men haters” and is usually what many people falsely associate as what feminism is through media coverage. They hide the true side feminism and ruin its reputation of being considered by many as a proper concept.
Feminists argue that gender bias is initiated from birth as masculinity and femininity are socialised through language, how they at dressed and whats expected of them.The theory of social action believes that the individual creates society. People have more of a sense of free will and reason to control themselves however still have some external cause of influence. Society is therefore made by individuals. labelling theory is a concept in which depending on how people treat and speak about you may make you act accordingly. If they see you as good and helpful you will tend to follow theses traits as you have been described as such. But if you’re seen as being bad and naughty then you will follow these traits and perhaps adhere even more than you initially were to these.
The theory of consensus which is the agreement amongst people and groups in society about how to live. This plays into social order which is the social harmony between everything, things work together for the better of people. Consensus theory sees society as controlling its individuals. Many functionalists state that most of people are in agreement with values and rules and that most of us are socialised into conforming. However if people do not conform they are seen as acting inappropriately and wrongly which is dysfunctional for society.
Those who do so will be labelled as deviants and be given education, rehab or will be removed from society. Sanctions are ways in which people are kept in check about how they behave. They can be positive like rewards for following the societal norms or negative like prison. These will thus influence how people behave. Socialisation is the way in which we learn how to properly behave in society.
If we do not follow the rules we have been taught then we will not be accepted in society. They are usually gained through growing up in life by specific agents. The main one being family and secondary ones being peers, media, work, education and religion. Norms, values and roles are taught at a young age and they make us behave in particular ways. Norms are rules that groups define as acceptable behaviour.
Values are beliefs about what’s right and wrong. Roles are positions a person holds in society that has certain traits associated with it. All of these aspects form how individuals act in society.Social stratification is structural inequality through the ranking of social groups. It involves open and closed systems of society. Open systems being people can move about the social scale as things like diversity are accepted and closed being they can’t through things like slavery.
It looks at social mobility which is how individuals can be moved between classes based on their class of origin. They can only ever move up or down a few social classes throughout their lifetime. So if they were born in the lowest class they can never reach the top. If they were born in the middle they may be able to get just below the top but never the elite. It shows how life chances can be affected on something the individual had no control over.