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Introduction Sociological vs common sense
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Sociology H Social Sciences

Sociology H Social Sciences

(Sociological versus common sense

explanations)

Todays class outline

Sociological thinking

Examples & origins of common sense/naturalistic thinking

Private troubles/public issues

Slide 2

Suggested texts

Suggested texts

Sociology Alive (2nd edition)

Stephen Moore

Stanley Thornes Publishers Ltd

Sociology a new approach (3rd edition)

Haralambos, Smith, OGorman, Heald

Causeway Press

Slide 3

What is distinctive about sociological thinking?

What is distinctive about sociological thinking?

The study of human behaviour

is not unique to sociology

What makes sociology

distinctive is not what is studied

but how it is studied

Most of us will be familiar with

common sense answers to

social questions and may rely on a number of non-sociological ways of thinking

Slide 4

Common Sense' Explanations

Common Sense' Explanations

Common sense is not something rigid and stationary. It creates the folklore of the futureof popular knowledge in a given time and place. Antonio Gramsci

Or, as Gary Young (2008) puts it, Common sense represents the received wisdom of years and the widespread opinion of the day. It may be rooted in fact, fiction, rumour or reality. On one level it doesnt matter. So long as it is commonly held, then, in essence, common sense becomes a fact of life.

Slide 5

Examples of typical ways of thinking

Examples of typical ways of thinking

Biological arguments

gender

Psychological arguments

suicide

Moralistic arguments

poverty

Slide 6

Origins of these ways of thinking

Origins of these ways of thinking

These viewpoints derive from:

Individualistic assumptions

that dont recognise the

importance of wider social

forces

Naturalistic assumptions

that dont recognise that

behaviour is primarily

social (learned)

Slide 7

Origins of these ways of thinking

Origins of these ways of thinking

The essential points are:

One persons common sense is often another persons nonsense

That there is probably no such thing as a human nature except in a very restricted sense that would not include most forms of what we would call behaviour

Slide 8

Examples of sociological explanation

Examples of sociological explanation

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