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INTRODUCTION:

WHAT IS SOCIOLOGY?

SEPTEMBER 18, 2012


SOCI 1001(B) , TUES. 10:30-12:20 (RHT)

Dr. Denise Tse-Shang Tang

What do sociologists do?

Trained to find answers to questions about pe


oples behavior.
Understanding the effects that people have o
n one another.
Convinced that much of peoples behaviour is
a result of what other people do.

The Sociology of Coffee

Coffee is a commodity.
Colonialism = trading relationships.
Consumed in rich countries yet grown with few excepti
ons in the poorest parts of the globe.
2nd most valuable item of legal international trade.
Largest food import of the U.S. by value.

Coffee & Slavery

Exploitation of cheap labor.


A days wage for the price of a single cup of coffee in the North Am
erica.
Fair trade coffee = 2.5% of U.S. market
Coffee trade = social inequality, warfare (El Salvador) & global war
ming (destruction of rain forests)

How did you get to where you are now?

Although Hong Kong regularly finishes in the top


five in the world in student high school and colle
ge completion rates and in standardized test ran
kings, there is great dissatisfaction with the publi
c educational system here.
The general public feels that the extreme standa
rdization and the harsh drilling to do well on tho
se tests makes education uninspiring and even p
ainful.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCRSs58L788

Hong Kong Education Statistics

In 2010-2011, the Government of Hong Kong


spent 25 % of its budget on higher education.
In 2010, 18.2% of Hong Kong population aged
15 & over received a post-secondary degree.

Schools are a form of social institutions.


SOCIAL INSTITUTION : the organized, usual, o
r standard ways by which society meets its ba
sic needs. Family, religion, medicine, econom
y, politics, law, mass media
BUREAUCRACY: A type of organization marke
d by a clear hierarchy of authority and the exi
stence of written rules of procedure and staff
ed by full-time, salaried officials. (Max Weber)

The Finnish Miracle~


Ranked No. 1 for Programme for International St
udent Assessment (PISA)

No mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam


at the end of students senior year in high school.
No rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, s
chools or regions.
Finlands schools are publicly funded.
The people in the government agencies running them, from natio
nal officials to local authorities, are educators, not business peopl
e, military leaders or career politicians.
References: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/what-us-can-learn-from-finland-hong-kong-on-tests-equity/20
12/01/11/gIQAlVqttP_blog.html?tid=sm_btn_tw
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html#ixzz1jXdhzGhD

Socialization & Social Order

NORMS: Explain some of the ways in which we are


inside society and, simultaneously, society is inside
us.
The social processes through which children devel
op an awareness of social NORMS AND VALUES a
nd achieve a distinct sense of self.
One of the FUNCTIONS of schools = Maintaining S
ocial Control
A transitional agent of social control, bridging the g
ap between parents & employers in ones life cycle.

So, what is Sociology?

The scientific study of interactions and relatio


ns among human beings.
Each of us lives in the social world.
Influenced by others and hope to influence ot
hers.
Understand how the social world operates an
d what your place is in it.
Act effectively in the social world.

Sociology and Common Sense

Auguste Comte: Invented the term sociology. A system


atic investigation of behaviour.
Focuses on the study of human behaviour.
Rely on common sense to get us through many unfami
liar situations.
Sociologists cannot just accept something as a fact beca
use everyone knows it.
Test and record each piece of information, then analyze
it in relation to other data.

Origins of Modern Sociology

Emile Durkheim: Explores order & stability in t


he modern world
The Division of Labour in Society (1893)
Mechanical solidarity, collective conscience &
organic solidarity
To understand society = to focus on the natur
e of society itself

Origins of Modern Sociology

Ferdinand Tonnies: Social relationships betwe


en people in premodern & modern social wor
lds.
Gemeinschaft: intimate association
Gesellschaft: impersonal association
The type of the relationship determines the r
ules of the relationship.

Origins of Modern Sociology

Max Weber: the growth of rational behaviour.


Rational behaviour: calculating to achieve a cert
ain goal.
Nonrational behaviour: behaviour that was not
geared to achieving some goal but was simply t
o be experienced or appreciated for itself.

People Living in 6ft by 2ft rabbit hutches - in a city with more Louis Vuitton shops than Paris

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Materialist conception of history: Developed


by Marx, according to which material or economi
c factors have a prime role in determining histori
cal change.
Capitalism: An economic system based on the p
rivate ownership of wealth, which is invested an
d reinvested in order to produce profit.
Sociological questions to ask: What is poverty in
Hong Kong? What are the social conditions for th
ese residents? Who is benefiting from them?

What about this course?

Lectures cover major themes whilst tutorials c


oncentrate on specific issues.
Students are expected to attend all lectures.
A variety of multimedia texts will be used, incl
uding films, documentaries, web clips and po
pular psychology.
Log in on Moodle regularly~

Sociology: A Down-To-Earth Approach


Eleventh Edition (2011) by James M. Henslin

This course encourages stu


dents to keep an open min
d and to be respectful of di
verse perspectives. An open
learning environment is crit
ical for all students. If there
are any concerns with cour
se materials or multimedia
texts, students are expecte
d to come and discuss with
the lecturer during office h
ours.

Course Assessment

Coursework (Tutorial outline will include desc


riptions of coursework.)
Tutorial Attendance and Participation 10%
Tutorial Group Presentation & Report 10%
Two Reflective Essays
20%
Examination
60%
Total
100%

Schedule of Tutorials

Introducing Charlotte, Jin, Alison & Anny.


Sign up through Moodle on Thurs (Sep. 20) 5pm
First Week of Tutorials: Oct. 8
Mandatory attendance. Interactive = participate
by asking questions & being good listeners.
Tutorial readings are separate from required re
adings. One article / two book chapters.
Tutorial guidelines will be given out at the first
week of tutorials.

Todays Revision

Definition of sociology
Social institutions, bureaucracy, norms & valu
es.
Auguste Comte
Mechanical & organic solidarity (Durkheim)
Gemeinschaft & gesellschaft (Tonnies)
Rational & nonrational behaviour (Weber)
Proletariat, bourgeoisie & capitalism (Marx)

C. Wright Mills:
The Sociological Imagination

The application of imaginative thought to the


asking and answering of sociological question
s.
Someone using the sociological imagination t
hinks him/herself away from the familiar rou
tines of daily life.