S(p) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIZING 07/01/2014

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1 S(p) SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIZING 07/01/2014 Dr. Francis Adu-Febiri 2014

2 THE AGENDA OF SOC 220 SHOW: What is explained and Concepts used SHOW: The Explanation and the Paradigm Shift proposed UNDERSTAND & ARTICULATE: Main Theories of Sociology CONNECT: Theory to Public Policy, Human Behavior, Human Condition, Everyday Life SHOW: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Explanation

3 UTILITY OF THEORY 1. An excellent guide to the conduct of everyday social life (Sydie 2007: 119). 2. A basis of wisdom, and therefore of human morality and peace (Harriet Martineau, 1869: 3350). 3. Intended to improve human society (Durkheim 1893: xxvi). 4. Helps the individual to achieve freedom and self-fulfillment (Dahrendorf 1973: 58). 07/01/2014 3

4 ROOTS OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIZING European Enlightenment. Sociological theorizing emerged as a response to the everyday social problems of modernity ushered in by European Enlightenment and the manner by which these problems could be alleviated or overcome (Sydie 2007: 119). It is not far from the historical truth to propose that the classical tradition began with the Enlightenment thinkers. For it was they who pioneered in studying the human condition in a methodical way, by employing scientific principles in the analysis of society (Zeitlin 07/01/ :xiii)

5 THEORIZING DEFINED Theorizing is a mental activity revolving around the process of developing ideas that explain how and why events occur (Turner 2003: 5) 07/01/2014 5

6 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES DEFINED Covering laws of human society that explain (and predict if needed) human condition and behavior. 07/01/2014 6

7 CHARACTERISTICS OF THEORIES Theories: 1. Focus on underlying forces that govern particulars of specific cases. 2. Always seek to transcend the particular and the time bound, and in so doing, concern the fundamental, the timeless, and the universal. 07/01/2014 7

8 THE NATURE OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIZING Sociological Theorizing = EXPLANATIONS and/or INTERPRETATIONS Science Ideology Logic WHY Collapse Social Forces = Paradigm or Grand Theory or Covering Laws Split Social Forces = Multiple Theories HOW Events in the Social World Occur 07/01/2014 8

9 Is knowledge to be evaluative? TYPOLOGIES OF THEORY ES Is knowledge to be empirical? YES IDEOLOGIES beliefs that state the way the world Should be. NO RELIGIONS beliefs that state the dictates of supernatural forces O SCIENCE the belief that all knowledge is to reflect the actual operation of the empirical world LOGICS the various systems of reasoning that employ rules of calculation Source: Turner 2003: 3 & 14 07/01/2014 9

10 IDEOLOGY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY Many sociologists believe that theory must contain an ideological component; it must criticize undesirable conditions and advocate alternatives (Turner 2003: 3). This is the stance taken by Irving Zeitlin s textbook for Sociology /01/

11 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES AS IDEOLOGY THE GOOD SOCIETY

12 WHAT IS THE GOOD SOCIETY? Postmodernism DIVERSITY & EQUITY Functionalism HOMEOSTASIS Poststructuralism STRUCTURELESS Interactionism FREE WILL Criticalism VIOLENCE-FREE THE GOOD SOCIETY EGALITARIAN Evolutionism MODERNITY Social Conflict COMPETITION-FREE

13 THEORIES: the GOOD, the BAD and the BEST The key to judging any theory is to see how well it stands up to the facts of reality as we actually observe them. That is, good theories either can pass empirical testing or can be deduced from the facts of reality, while bad theories cannot (Brooks and Miljan 2003, p. 23). The best theory is always the one that explains the most about a phenomenon accurately and consistently in the simplest way explains a lot with a little (Brooks and Miljan 2003, p. 23). S(p)

14 THE FRAMEWORKS OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES 1. Sociological Imagination Framework: Explaining the social world, human condition, and human behaviour with macro social forces: cultural and/or structural factors 2. Social Construction of Reality Framework: Explaining the social world, human condition and human behaviour with a micro social force: Self-indication, a moving communicative process in which the individual or group notes things, assesses them, gives them a meaning, and decides to act on the basis of the meaning. 3. Structuration Framework Explaining the social world, human condition and human behaviour with integrated macro and micro social forces

15 THE FRAMEWORKS OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES Sociological Imagination: A) Classical Social Theory (Auguste Comte s Theory of Three Stages, Karl Marx s Theory of Class and Capitalism, Emile Durkheim s Theory of Integration and Solidarity, and Georg Simmel s Theory of Conflict and Cohesion) B) Contemporary Social Theory (Functionalism, Neofunctionalism, Evolutionism, Conflict, Feminism, Criticalism, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, and Postmodernism. Proponent of Concept: C. WRIGHT MILLS

16 THE FRAMEWORKS OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES Social Construction of Reality: A) Classical Social Theory (Max Weber s Theory of Rationalization/beraucratizatio and Social Action, Charles Cooley s Theory of the Looking-glass Self, Herbert Blumer & Peter Blau s Theory of Self-indication) Contemporary Social Theory (Interactionism, Exchange Theory, Rational Choice Theory, Phenomenology, and Ethnomethodology). Proponent of Concept: PETER BERGER

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