Understanding Social Behavior
* Sociology – the study of human behavior and society – Focuses on groups but not individuals
* Sociologists study a broad range of phenomena
* From small group interactions and the meaning of cultural symbols to large scale economic shifts
* Micro- vs. Macro- Sociology
* Connection between the individual and society
* The “Sociological Imagination”
* C. Wright Mills, “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.”
* To view our individual lives in the context of large, powerful, historically conditioned social forces
* The Individual vs. Social Structures
* How do we usually explain one’s behavior?
* Going to war – prove patriotism, among other reasons
* Divorce – no passion, to develop potential partner
* College students’ suicide – to escape depression
* How should we explain group behavior?
* Going to war – society teaches us to be patriotic
* Divorce – social trend towards sexual equality
* Suicide – pervasive societal expectations of academic performance
* What is a social structure?
* Patterns of social relationships
* Groups/Society Individual Behavior
* Groups and society shape individual behavior
* Individual behavior creates groups and society
* Going to college – your personal decision?
* Joining a gang – a social act providing some young men and women with a sense of security
* Sociologists Focus on…
* The individual or the group?
* Individual behavior or patterns of group behavior?
* Personal motivation or social forces?
* The effect social structures have on people or the effect people have on social structure?
* Sociological Theories
* What does a theory do?
* It explains reality
* Each theory...