Social Science Study Guide

Study Guide: Intro to Social Sciences Anthropology: * How culture contributes to the make-up of humanity * Science of people (origin, classification, distribution, races, physical character, culture) * Emphasis on cultural relativity, in-depth examination of context and cross-cultural comparisons * Anthropologists: Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead * Both quantitative and qualitative methods of research * Fields: Biological/physical anthropology, Sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics Sociology: Studies the actions of members within a specific society * How people organize themselves in groups, institutions and associations * Fields: Demography, criminology, gender studies, social stratification * Sociologists: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, George H. Mead * Both quantitative and qualitative research methods Psychology: * Science of mental processes of a group/individual * Used in counselling to business * Fields: Developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, social psychology, organization psychology, cognitive psychology, personality, neuroscience. Psychologists: Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov, B. F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, John B Watson Sociology * One area of society affects another directly or indirectly * Ideology of society influences marriage, economics, love, freedom, politics * Sociologists seek to make sense of the beliefs and values of the personalities interacting within the complex society that is continually being recreated. KARL MARX (1818-1883) * Study society using a scientific method to try to predict social outcomes (Marxist theory) * Production is essential for the advancement of society A few individuals will control the majority of the resources and production * Conflict in his theory: division of social class one person’s status is elevated while other workers are forced to make money. * Labour Theory of Value: human productive power will be exploited in order to maximize profits for the bourgeois. * Proletariat produces goods valued at more than they are being paid rich getting richer. * Money is the driving force in our society * Businesses are exploiters, cannot see positive nature of the bourgeois TALCOTT PARSONS (Structural Functionalism) * As much as things change they stay the same Believed society will create structures within itself that will help with its basic functioning requirements * Our society will work to achieve a homeostasis where equilibrium is achieved * Every aspect of society contributes to the successful function of another aspect. (Relies on each other) * When a system breaks down, it is necessary for other components in society to take over or assist the malfunctioning social structure. * Ex: Legal system * Structural functionalism: Does NOT look at social change; deals with the maintenance of a society (seeks normality, equilibrium).
GEORGE H. MEAD (Symbolic Interactionism) * Symbolic interactionism: Focuses on how humans interpret (define) each other’s actions. Their response is based on the meaning which they attach to such actions (not the actions directly). * Individuals learn and react from interactions within a society. * People influence their surroundings and shape the development of a society. * Society shapes the individual as he/she is shaping the society. * Analyses from the “standpoint of communication as essential to the social order”, not individual psychology. FEMINISM Liberal Feminists: Examine social institutions, equal access to increase women’s influence on society. * Radical Feminists: Focus on the exploitation of women. Seek to change the patriarchal social structure through complete structural changes. * Marxist Feminists: Focus on women’s labour being underpaid. * Social Feminists: Focus on the overthrow of the capitalism; believe it is the root problem of inequality of sexes. Fields Demography * Demography is the scientific study of human populations-their size, composition and distribution across an area. * Fertility, mortality, and migration.
These three processes influence how people inhabit the earth, form nations and societies, and how they develop culture. Criminology * Criminology is the study of the criminal justice system and the law enforcement from a social and individual perspective. * Focuses on the behaviour which may have caused the criminal to violate a law, and seeks its influences, whether it is psychological, social or cultural. Gender Studies * Gender studies seeks to analyse gender identity and gendered representation in the fields of psychology, political science, sociology, media studies, human development etc. Gender studies investigates the physical and biological gender differences between sexes, nationality etc. Psychology * Study of human behaviour. * Examines actions, responses, how someone reacts under specific conditions, how this individual affects society. SIGMUND FREUD * Creator of psychoanalysis * Human behaviour is driven by desires and the suppression of these desires. * Mind has three areas: Conscious, Preconscious, Unconscious * Personality is motived by drives= Id (part of the unconscious mind) * Superego= socially conscious of all decisions Ego= mediator between Id and Superego * Too much Id= not worry about social responsibilities; engage in dangers, breaking social rules. * Too much Superego= too uptight, too worried about social expectations and rules * Freud view human development as progressing through stages of development where the main conflict deals with an erogenous zone of the body. * Human development is understood in terms of changing focuses of sexual desire. B. F SKINNER (Operant Conditioning) * Interested in outward behaviour; believed that our personality develops because of external events. He used a rat experiment to show the idea of positive reinforcement; praise for good behaviour has the highest chance for producing long-term behaviour change. * Humans develop their behaviours due to a set of rewards that promote activities being repeated and reinforced. * Skinner believes that Operant Conditioning is good tool to promote an individual to make changes in their behaviour. IVAN PAVLOV (Classical Conditioning) * He wanted to see how the mind could be conditioned to make the body respond to the possibility of an event occurring. * Ex: Salivation reaction of a dog to a meat powder ERIK ERIKSON (development stages table) Believed that at a certain stage of someone’s life there are tasks (milestones) to achieve in order to have a healthy development. * Unlike Freud, he believed that a person can pass through a stage and not get “stuck” at a certain level of psychological development. Fields Developmental psychology: Developmental psychology is the science of studying developmental growth in humans over the course of their life p-from conception until death. Neuroscience: Neuroscience psychology is an interdisciplinary field which applies the knowledge and study of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and networks of sensory nerve cells.

Abnormal psychology (deviance): Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that studies deviant (unusual) behaviour, emotion and thought. Personality psychology: Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that strives to determine how different personality traits and tendencies influence our thoughts, behaviour and actions and makes each human unique. Clinical psychology: Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology which applies scientific, theoretic and clinical knowledge in order to assess, prevent, predict and to treat abnormal behaviour, ysfunction or mental disorders in order to improve the individual’s well-being and personal growth. Social psychology: Social psychology is the study of individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behaviour and how they perceive and influence others. Organizational psychology: Organizational psychology is the scientific study of employees, workplaces and businesses. Cognitive psychology: Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology which studies the mental processes including how people learn, remember, think, perceive and solve problems. Anthropology * Science of studying people and their culture. Anthropologists pose important questions concerning the continuation of poverty, racism, violence, and social inequality around the world. FUNCTIONALISM (Margaret Mead) * Understanding how social institutions fill social needs. * Every custom or practice in society provides a form of stability for the entire system. * All aspects of a society—institutions, roles, norms, etc. —serve a purpose and that all are indispensable for the long-term survival of the society. * Having established laws, customs, and agreed upon practices provides a sense of predictability and stability within a society. In order to understand a society, researchers must understand the function of social institutions and their respective contributions to the stability to their society. * A critique of functionalism is that all institutions are considered to provide stability, when this is not the case. * Ex: The presence of family violence produces instability in the culture with a difference in power among the different sexes. STRUCTURALISM * Reinforcement of a norm or a value increases the acceptance of the practice within a given society. * Cultures, viewed as systems, are analyzed in terms of the structural relations among their elements. Structuralists believe that meaning is produced and reproduced within a culture through activities and various practices that show their significance. * For example, North American society values the concept of romantic love and close friendship. This social idea is reinforced through media and national celebrations. Ex Valentine’s Day. * Different societies’ institutions reinforce different values. Fields Biological/physical anthropology: Biological anthropologists seek to understand how humans have evolved and what affect that has had on our behaviour.
Sociocultural anthropology: Sociocultural anthropology examines social patterns and practices by studying and comparing human societies across the world. Archaeology: Archaeology is the study of past people, cultures, and civilizations through the analysis of material remain, ranging from artefacts and evidence of past environments to architecture. Linguistic Anthropology: Linguistics is the study of languages; how they are formed, evolved, and how it has interacted and contributed to a culture.

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