Essay 3 notes
Classical Theorists and Their Ideas
The problem of social Order (key idea of Emile Durkheim)
▪ Our society manages to function in the face of much potential disorder and division.
▪ Why is that so?
▪ What holds society together?
o What united us?
o What divides us?
Durkheim was a unique scholar , who was very committed to legitimizing the field of sociology.
Durkheim's study of suicide is a considered a classic of sociological science.
▪ Being religious, how does that affect suicide
▪ Having a baby, how does that affect suicide
Why study suicide sociologically?
▪ Because it is the opposite extreme of social solidarity.
▪ Suicide has a social act origin.
▪ The forces that holds society together are often time invisible with naked eyes. We know it is real
when we broke it.
o When the lecture was given by professor, the room should be quite. No background music.
o No one should run up to the front of the classroom during the lecture.
▪ For Durkheim, the solution to suicide and other problems of modernization would come from
better integrating individuals into a complex and differentiated society.
o Everybody should face sadness, sorrow…
▪ Want to be happy?
o Eliminate selfish pleasures and do something for the good of others.
Durkheim's sociology emphasizes the importance of the group
▪ In other words: the whole is greater then the sum of its parts.
o The merging of individual.
▪ Society acts as an external constraint on the behavior of individuals
o Society impose moral obligation
o If we want to understand human behavior, we should look to the social forces that are
external to individuals.
▪ Sociology is the study of social facts
▪ Helping to define the intellectual space of sociology
▪ "Before beginning the search for the method appropriate tot the study of social facts it is
important to know what are the facts termed 'social' "
o The question is all the more necessary because the term "social" is used without much
"However, in reality there is in every society a clearly determined group of phenomena separable,
because of their distinct characteristics, from those that form the subject matter of other sciences
o Biology can have its own subject of matter, just as other s
o Society is so closer to us, it can be hard for us to study subjectively.
Yet under this heading there is, so to speak, no human occurrence that cannot be called social.
"If purely moral rules are at stake, the public conscience restricts any act which infringes them by
the surveillance it exercises over the conduct of citizens and by the special punishments it has at
"If I do not conform to ordinary conventions, if in my mode of dress I pay no need to what is
customary in my country and in my social class, the laughter I provoke, the social distance at
which I am kept, produce, although in a more mitigated form, the same results as any real
"Although it may be indirect, constraint is no less effective. I am not forced to speak French with
my compatriots, nor to use the legal currency, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise. If I tried
to escape the necessity, my attempt would fail miserably."
"When I perform my duties as a brother, a husband or a citizen and carry out the commitments I
have entered into, I fulfill obligations which are defined in law and custom and which are…"
"Even when in fact I can struggle free from these rules and successfully break them, it is never
without being forced to fight against them."
"Even in the end they are overcome, they make their constraining power sufficiently felt in the
resistance that they afford."
"There is no innovator, even a fortunate one, whose ventures do not encounter opposition of this
"Here then is a category of facts which present very special chara…"
"Thus they constitute a new species and to them must be…"
★ Durkheim, in Review
○ Social order depends on the bonds between individuals and social groups
○ Durkheim was a strong advocate for the scientific legitimacy of sociology
○ We need to study “the social” as an object, rather than just the individuals that
○ For durkheim, sociology would be the study of Social Facts, which are collectively
shared values, beliefs, and actions
★ Marx, in Review
○ Marx was interested in explaining inequalities in social and economic life
○ Under capitalistic system, there are two main classes: Workers and Owners
○ Marx saw class struggle as flowing quite naturally from flaws and contradictions
that are rooted in capitalism
○ Marx attributed the sources of human misery - poverty, inequality, in justice - to
the unequal class relations in capitalism
Simplest form of a group
Lacks structure independent of its two members
High rate of dependence
Most intime form of social exchange
Without close interaction, the group dissipates
If one person leaves, group can survive
The group can achieve domination over the individual
Possible to form coalitions
Introduction of third member changes the kind of interactions that occur among
★ Groups of 4+
○ Group size exerts influence on the interaction of its members.
○ Up to certain point, there is domination of group over individual and potential
for coalitions to develop
○ Ties between people are less intimate and more superficial
○ Lager groups create greater sense of freedom among members than in small
★ The Blase Attitude of Urban Dwellers
○ City residents must screen out or distance themselves from their own sensory
○ They ignore a lot of surrounding activity
○ Often do not know names of those who live nearby or work in same building
○ Do not involve themselves in the problems of others
○ Only pay partial attention to others in social interaction
○ City residents often seem unconcerned or unsurprised when confronted by
something new or unexpected
○ City residents make quick judgments about people, based on how they look/act;
don’t have time to understand the Other
○ This behavior is consequence of social density
★ How money shapes social life
○ Money increases individual freedom
○ Money makes interaction more impersonal
○ Money emphasizes intellect over emotion
○ Money speeds up tempo of life
○ Money allow specialization
★ Summarizing Simmel
○ Summel studied the social interactions in everyday life
○ Simmel focused on the basic elements of social life because he believed they
provided clues toward understanding the whole of society
○ In complexity of social life, there are common patterns that exist and can be
○ Sociology could and should offer innovative ways of looking at the world
○ The number of persons in a group produces predictable patterns of behavior
○ City residents mentally and emotionally distance themselves from what goes on
○ Money facilitates many of our social exchanges with one another, but makes
interactions more impersonal
➢ The centrality of social interaction
o The importance of studying social interaction and everyday life
▪ The consequences of group size
o Simplest form of a group (people)
o Lacks structure independent of its two members
o High rate of dependent
o Most intimate form of social exchange
o Without close interaction, the group dissipates
o If one person leaves, group survive
o The group can achieve domination over the individual
o Possible to form coalitions
o Introduction of third member changes the kinds of
interaction that occur among all members
• Groups of 4+
o Group size exerts influence on the interaction of its
o Up to certain point, there is domination of group over
individual and potential for coalitions to develop
o Ties between people are less intimate and more superficial
o City life and social interaction
• The Blasé attitude of urban dwellers
o City residents must screen out or distance themselves
from their own sensory experience
o They ignore a lot of surrounding activity
o Often do not know names of those who live nearby or
work in same building
o Do not involve themselves in the problem of others
o Only pay partial attention to others in social interaction
o City residents often seem unconcerned or unsurprised
when confronted by something new or expected
o The philosophy of money
• How money shapes social life
o Money increases individual freedom
o Money makes interaction more impersonal
o Money emphasizes intellect over emotion
o Money speeds up tempo of life
➢ Life-span development
➢ Timing of decision
➢ Linked lives
o -Shaped by society<…>Shaping society
➢ How much agency do you really have? (control what you do)
▪ Children’s experience(elder)
▪ Age differences
▪ Gender differences
▪ Class differences
▪ Role of WW2
o Great depression vs Great recession
▪ Different gender role
▪ Fewer 2 parent households
▪ No war to end it
➢ Life span development
o Childhood (0-12)
o Adolescent (12-18)
o Adulthood (18-65)
o Older age (65 above)
➢ Let’s define adulthood
o Are you an adult?
o How do you know if you are an adult?
o Time of interest socialization
o Sensitive/critical periods
o Few expectations, responsibilities (the US)
o Fairly new category (G. Stanley Hall 1904)
▪ Delaying and preparing for adulthood
o A stressful period (moodiness, risk-taking behavior, conflict with adults)
▪ “time of storm and stress”
o shifts between family, school, and work.
o Maturation occurs at varying rates
➢ Time of decision
o Duration of events
o Ordering of events
o Precocious knowledge (you know things adults know)
o Mentored-dulcification (tech your adult things cooking)
o Peeriification / spousification
➢ Linked lives
o People in salient relationships with each other occupy mutually influential,
➢ -William Edward Burghardt Du noise
o The souls of black folk
o The souls of white folk
o About the author W.E.B Du Boise
o Du Boise work in content
o Durkheim:Social order, social fact, and social
o Marx: inequality, class struggle, socialism
o Simmel: everyday life and social interactions
o Life course: agency, context, licked lives
➢ The Souls of Black folk
o 14 essays published in 1903
o exposed the material causes of racism
o explained the impact of racism on black identity
o rejected dominant academic knowledge
o showed racism was created to advance white wealth
➢ The color line
o The metaphor for the overt racism of their time
o The racism was evident in politics, law. Economics, education, the labor…in other
➢ Double consciousness
➢ Rest on the pictures…
Purchase answer to see full