Introducing Sociology?

Discussion (Think-Pair-Share Activity)

  • What do you think about society? or
  • What do you think what a society looks like?

Why studying Sociology?

To gain a greater and critical understanding about

  • The social world (social practices, attitudes, behaviours) in which we live
  • Oneself (yourself) (how can define your social positions, what are the institutional barriers, what system affects your life etc.)
  • Others (the homeless people in your neighbor, the immigrants, those coming from other culture, multicultural Canada etc.)

Key Sociological Figures &  Their Ideas

Distinguish Sociology from Other Fields


Anthropology: The comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development

Economics: The production and consumption of wealth, including the distribution of goods and services among individuals and groups

Philosophy: Major thinkers and turns of thoughts in particular societies

Political Science: Systems of government and how they serve citizens

Psychology: The human mind, the social and biological influences on it, and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour

Social Work: The application of our understanding of society and individuals to improve peoples' well-being

Sociology: The development, structure, and functioning of human society, especially as seen in group interaction, social relations, social institutions, and social structures

Key Sociological Figures & Their Ideas

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

One of the founders of sociology, famous for his ideas about social solidarity, social fact, suicide

Mechanical solidarity refers to the state of community bonding in traditional societies in which people share beliefs and values and perform common activities.

Organic solidarity refers to the societies that are more developed with diverse division of labor, and such division forces people to depend on one another for survival

Social fact is the social characteristics that determine our behaviours in a predictable ways (gender, age, religion, ethnicity etc.)

Key Sociological Figures & Their Ideas

Max Weber (Vay-ber; 1864-1920)

German counterpart of Emile Durkheim! Famous for many ideas (bureaucracy, leadership, authority, protestant ethics etc.)

Argued that social class and wealth are important, but political power and social positions/standing are also important

Bureaucracy are formal organizations that are organized into a hierarchy of smaller departments, power, and authority; under such type of organizations workers can specialize with clearly define rules and regulations (this help smooth function of complex societies)

In his book, Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, he clearly linked religious values to the societal creation of capitalist economy. Capitalism arose in Western world because, according to him, a religious value system (Calvinist; a sect within Protestant led by John Calvin) that he called "protestant ethic" emphasizes the accumulation of wealth as a marker of God's favour on a person/salvation (cannot explain colonialism) 

Key Sociological Figures & Their Ideas

Peter Berger (born 1929)

An Austrian-born American sociologist known for his idea about seeing the general in the particular and seeing the strange in the familiar

Seeing the general in the particular: Its a sociological perspective that enables us to look at seemingly unique events or circumstances and then recognize the larger or general features involved (example: this morning you see a street person asking people for spare change; there could be many more like him/her, and it could be related to larger social system). Sociologist see for general category (our individual behaviours shaped by our age, gender, economic status etc.)

Seeing the strange in the familiar

According to Berger, what is familiar can be strange if we employ our sociological perspective

Why do you choose to study at this college (for example)?

Answers: close to my home, my boy/girlfriend study there, the program matches, job placement is higher etc.

If you apply seeing the strange in the familiar, the answer could be different (not all students have the opportunity to study, 50 years ago studying in the college was not popular etc.)

Key Sociological Figures & Their Ideas

John Porter (1921-79)

Canadian sociologist known for his book on The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada (1965)

Porter asked several questions: is Canada a classless society? or does Canada have a class structure? who holds power in Canada? Who are elites?

-approximately 3% Canadians had sufficient income and wealth

-Over 75% made less than half the necessary amount

-Elites are few, mainly coming from White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP), who control, own, and manage dominant business corporations

Exercise & Practice

Exercise & Practice

1. Make group as instructed by your instructor

2. Discuss with your members about the following topics:

Drinking Coffee in a Coffee Shop; drop out of college; volunteering; traveling; going out to eat

(or any other idea)

3. connect the above idea with either

-Sociological Imagination or

-Seeing the general in the particular or

-Seeing the strange in the familiar

4. Explain your group's idea in the class

Review & Conclusion


1. Course materials & Blackboard

2. What learned (what sociology does? what is sociology? why should we study sociology? key sociological figures, concepts, ideas)

3. How sociology helps us understand family (marriage is the result of love? what factors affect us mate selection etc.)


1. Read the attached materials in this presentation (pdf version of the class lecture will be available in Blackboard every week after the class)

2. Read the chapter-1 of the textbook what is a Family?

Next week:

What is a family; discussion about family from different sociological perspectives.

Create a presentation like this one
Share it on social medias
Share it on your own
Share it on social medias
Share it on your own

How to export your presentation

Please use Google Chrome to obtain the best export results.

How to export your presentation

Sociology of the Family (Week-1)

by kabirjp


Public - 1/12/17, 3:32 AM