Defamiliarising the Familiar

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AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY: ITS PROMISE AND POWER. By the end of UNIT ONE you should be able to: 4 explain the differences between common sense and sociology 4 identify and describe the four dimensions of the sociological imagination 4 describe some key features of the three course themes 4 identify and outline the two main processes involved in sociological enquiry 4 discuss how the various elements of sociology introduced in this unit can contribute to your understanding of food and fashion. Unit One – Part A Sociology – Defamiliarising the Familiar Theories are ideas that attempt to explain in a general way why things happen as they do. Sociology and Common Sense American Sociologist – C. Wright Mills – The Sociological Imagination (1959) Sociology promises to explain the private life of the individual by looking at the public context of history and society. Social Structures include: Family The State Economic arrangements. Sociology is often in agreement with common sense but differs in some basic ways. Common sense is the set a commonly shared ideas that we use in everyday life – and are often partial and misleading. When something happens we often ask ‘Why?’ We look for an explanation. By applying common sense to find an explanation, we risk making generalisations and not looking at the big picture. Sociology looks at the social structures and processes that have an impact on a situation. It looks at the connections between individuals and the larger social structure to give alternative explanations to a given situation. Glossary Common sense – is the set of commonly shared ideas that are drawn on in everyday life to explain events in the world. It tends to rely on forms of explanation that are individualised and naturalising. Sociology – The systematic critical study of the

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