is Sociological Theory?
references, and bibliography
- Everyone creates theories to help
them make sense of what they experience.
- Common-sense theories
- Tend to be less systematic
- Sociological theories: specifically
and systematically developed
- Typically built on the theories
and ideas of previous sociologists.
- Built on scientific research
(desire to share--publish-ongoing dialogue)
- Focused on structural relationships
(individual in society, human being as
social being), rather than "personal experiences."
- Personal concerns directed
toward understanding social issues.
- Quiz 1
theory is defined...as a set of interrelated ideas that allow for the systematization
of knowledge of the social world. This knowledge is then used to explain
the social world and make predictions about the future of the social world."(2)
- Not all theories necessarily conform
to this definition.
- Knowledge versus prediction
- Not only sociologists create sociological
- Test of time and applicability
Individualism and Rationality
Rousseau, Voltaire (natural rights, progress)
- Anti-Enlightenment: de Bonald,
de Maistre--stability and longevity of the "old order" ordained
by God. Relevance of the irrational: tradition, religion, emotion.
- Rise of Science: Empiricism, Prediction-
Power and Control (yet anti-scientific currents).
Revolution (visit wikipedia).
Rise of the bureaucracy.
change--revolutions and socialism (pro and con).
- Religious Change (see
also: wikipedia). Reform,
religious backgrounds, and morality.
- Urbanization and the question
of Community: emergence of social (urban) problems.
- Evolutionary theories and the
idea of Progress
- The question of "social order."
(patterns and predictability) (Domain Assumptions)
- What is "society?"
An organic whole or the sum of individual parts.
- What is the individual--and
how does the group affect behavior (belief, attitudes, and values).
- What is the relationship between
the individual and the group? How is social life possible?
- The question of "action."
(source of motivation)
- Rational: self-interest. Maximize
rewards and minimize cost. Calculation.
- Non-Rational: values, morals,
tradition and norms. Meaning. Unconscious desires and/or emotions.
Sociological Tradition: Sociological
Theoretical Orientations: Grand Theories and Theories of Everyday Life
Grand theories (for
example: the work of Karl Marx and Max
Weber) are attempts to deal with society as a whole--to explain the
structure of the system and the processes of change that produce what we call,
Theories of everyday
life focus on, sometimes mundane, human behavior in an attempt to explain individual
action and interaction between individuals; as well as beliefs, attitudes, and
values within the context of groups and the broader social system.
a More Realistic Sociological Theory
- Many contemporary
(and not so contemporary) sociologists critique the "classic" sociological
theories of old (and often dead) while males.
- There is a concern
with the political factors that influence and the emergence, development,
and hegemony of particular theoretical orientations.
- For example:
the politically conservative structural functionalist theory has dominated
sociology (as compared to critical or Marxist theory).
- Who decides what
type or style of theory is appropriate or acceptable?
- A focus on diversity:
feminism, queer theory, Afrocentric theory, and Native-American theory.
- A historical example,
DuBois (1868-1963) (see below).
social theory rejects universalism, supports the struggle of impoverished
and disenfranchised populations. It is also self-critical and appreciates
the importance of context: temporal, spatial, and social.
post-modernism, and critical theory (chart).
from the text/instructor's manual (see below)
WWW Virtual Library:
Sociological Theory: http://www.mcmaster.ca/socscidocs/w3virtsoclib/theories.htm
(This virtual library contains links to introductory articles and other resources
on sociological theory from classical to postmodern)
Theories and Perspectives: http://www.pscw.uva.nl/sociosite/TOPICS/theory.html
(This site provides many links to resources on every imaginable theoretical
perspective in sociology.)
Biographical Sketch of W.E.B. Du Bois: http://www.duboislc.org/dp/DuBois.html
(This is a somewhat lengthy biographical sketch of Du Bois. It provides insight
into his life and intellectual work, as well as a bibliography of primary and
secondary sources.) See also: DuBois,
The Dead Sociologist
Index, and the online version of: The
Souls of Black Folks, 1903.
Read the biographical sketch of
W.E.B. Du Bois and answer the following questions.
The Feminist Theory
Website: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/enin.html (The Feminist Theory Website provides research materials and information
for students, activists, and scholars interested in women's conditions and struggles
around the world. It contains information on different fields of feminist theory,
different ethnic/national feminisms, and many individual feminists).
- Where and when was Du Bois born?
- What is the title of Du Bois's
- Why did Du Bois oppose Booker
- Where did Du Bois die?
Much of this page comes from the
to accompany Contemporary Sociological Theory
and Its Classical Roots: The Basics, Second Edition, George Ritzer,
Mcgraw-Hill, 2007. The Instructor's Manual was prepared by James Murphy, University
of Maryland, College Park and Todd Stillman, Fayetteville State University.
2. Ritzer, George. 2007/2010/2013. Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics. 2nd/3rd/4th editions. St. Louis: McGraw-Hill Page 5.
Owner: Robert O. Keel: email@example.com
Thursday, November 21, 2013 9:11 AM
Unless otherwise noted,
all pages within the web site http://www.umsl.edu/~keelr/ ©2013 by
Robert O. Keel.
Click here to Report Copyright