SOCI 1301: Introduction to Sociology

 Notes/Visuals/Readings/Study Guides

Instructor: Dr. Jon Loessin


SOCI 1301 Unit 1: Theory and Practice
Sociology --  the scientific study of human groups and social interactions
            focusing particularly on the multidisciplinary and interconnected nature of social  elements.
Facts about Sociology:
a) Sociology is a relatively young academic discipline (field of study), having its
         origins in the mid-1800's
b) Sociology ultimately evolved out of the Enlightenment Era, an era of
         European intellectual activism with a philosophical basis (coupled with the advent
         of scientific revolution and invention) which characterized the 18th century
        (the 1700's)
c) "Sociology" as a term was coined by the French intellectual Auguste Comte
         in the 1830's. Comte developed the science of sociology thereafter and became
         known as "the Father of Sociology." He never witnessed the practice of truly
         scientific sociology in his lifetime but set forth the practices of "Positivism" (a
         perspective which exclusively uses science to explain and understand phenomena)
         as central to "a science of society" (i. e. Sociology) for others to follow as is done
Auguste Comte: The Father of Sociology
Auguste Comte (1798-1857) grew up in post revolutionary France. There was
         much political disorder and chaos as well as many other social problems (poverty,
         disease, etc.) throughout France. Comte began to see that what society needed
         was a method toward restoration.  He believed that "order should be
         restored... [to society]... "and the one thing that could help bring that about was
         a "science of society" which he later termed, "Sociology."

Comte believed the world was on the verge of a new era, one that would rely
         heavily on scientific knowledge to explain, understand, and plan.  He
         demonstrated that scientific knowledge was, in his words, "the highest form of
         knowledge" and should be used to explain and understand all things. Comte
         developed The Law of Human Progress, also known as his "stages of knowledge."
         The Law of Human Progress stated that all human knowledge has
         transformed through three distinct stages: the theological, the metaphysical, and
         the scientific.
He went on to explain that these explanations never disappear but at different eras
         of social evolution, on will dominate, then give way to the next. When something
         cannot be explained in the most modern mode of explanation, we can always fall
         back on a prior level of explanation. (Human beings are curious, thus we want
         and desire an explanation for all things.)
1. Theological -- explanations for phenomena are based on supernatural powers.
         or beings. (Ex: God caused it to happen.) This stage of knowledge dominated
         or dominates the ancient worlds, tribal. cultures, early modern culture, and
         religion based peoples.
2. Metaphysical -- the view that rather than supernatural forces being the cause
         of a phenomenon, there are Earthly reasons (rational and logical reasons) why
         something occurs. Even though there is no scientific proof and a phenomenon is
         largely unexplained, metaphysics contends that there ARE logical, rational,
         physical, and non supernatural causes of every phenomenon. (Many of the early
         sociologists were very metaphysical until science began to dominate sociology
         after the turn of the the 20th century.)
3. Scientific -- there are specific and definite reasons for phenomena, proven
         or substantiated by natural laws and/or scientific tests that demonstrate the
         explanation.  (Scientific data includes numbers, statistics, etc. that justify
Comte also recognized a great duality in the nature of all things including society.
         He stated that some elements of society were static while others were dynamic.
         In other words, some elements of society remain relatively constant while others
         tend to change dramatically with time.
This characterization is very similar to that of the later British sociologist
         Herbert Spencer's concepts of homogeneity and heterogeneity, the first
         referring to people who are, for all practical purposes, pretty much identical in
         their lifestyles and cultures, the latter referring to people who are quite different
         in their lifestyles and cultural behavior.
The earliest typology of this sort comes from the Greek philosopher Plato, who
         characterized two types of societies: simple and complex. The following chart
         is an aid to understanding the tool sociologists use call ideal typology, or
         comparing reality to two opposite but ideal polar points.

         Theorist            Ideal type I                     Ideal type 2

         Plato                   simple                              complex
         Comte                 static                               dynamic
         Spencer              homogeneity                    heterogeneity
         Tonnies              Gemeinschaft                Gesellschaft
         Durkheim           mechanical solidarity      organic solidarity
         Nietzsche           Apollonian                       Dionysian
Each typology is ideal and thus, the reality of society falls in between the two
         ideals. However, the method of ideal typology allows social scientists and
         historians to order and compare different societies to each other. This is the
         underlying purpose of this method which has been used throughout history.
The Three Great Waves (or Revolutions) of Society: (compare to Comte's Law of Human Progress):     
         1.   Agricultural (or Agrarian)
         2.   Industrial
         3.   Post-Industrial (Technological)
Prior to the Agricultural Revolution, there were three additional societal (or
         cultural) types in the pre historical eras: (all still exist in remote areas today)
         I.   Hunting-gathering
         2.   Horticultural (primitive gardening)
         3.   Pastoral (herding)

A Picture of Emile Durkheim.gif (25986 bytes) 

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

--French sociologist

--�father of modern sociology�

--first functionalist sociologist, last evolutionary


--introduced research methods into sociology

--the first methods text: The Rules of the Sociological Method (1895)

--quantitative sociology (launched empirical sociology)

--using the scientific method

He conducted the FIRST sociological study: Suicide (1897)

He chose suicide as a topic for several reasons:

  1. little was known

  2. he was interested in the topic

  3. data was readily available (death records)

  4. he wanted to prove the usefulness of sociology in understanding human behavior

Durkheim�s Functions of Deviance (violation of norms�rules of society)

    1. separates right from wrong

    2. clarifies moral boundaries

    3. social unity

        ***4. social change

Durkheim�s Method (still current)�Steps in the Research Process

  1. State/Define the Problem.  (Choose topic)

  2. Review the literature (find out what others have done)

  3. Formulate hypotheses (or research questions)

--educated guesses, statements about what one expects to find in their research

  1. Design the methodology

---who, what, when, where, how many, choose method

  1. Collect data
  2. Data analysis
  3. Draw conclusions�accept or reject hypotheses

4 basic research methods:  survey, ***analysis of existing sources, observation, experimentation   ***document studies (records)

Durkheim�s variables:  Variable�a known or unknown quantity that changes due to or causes changes in another variable

Cause--------------------------------------  Effect

(Independent variable)                                 (Dependent Variable)                                                                                      


Independent variables                                                         

  1. Gender
    1. Male*
    2. Female
  1. Religion
    1. Catholic
    2. Protestant*
  1. Military Status
    1. Military/Ex-military*
    2. Civilians
  1. Economy
    1. good
    2. poor*
  1. National Status
    1. wartime
    2. peacetime*

Four Types of Suicide

  1. Egoistic�due to personal isolation or emotional reasons�detachment
  2. Anomic�due to a lack of clear norms (actions)
  3. Altruistic�due to a �higher cause or purpose�
  4. Fatalistic�due to a lack of hope

***Anomie***  is defined as a condition of normlessness (a lack of clear norms to follow�feeling �lost� as to what to do)


Talcott Parsons (1902-1979)

---American Functionalist sociologist (macro-theorist, Grand theorist)

---Harvard professor

---one of his students was Robert King Merton, another classical functionalist (d. 2004)

---wrote, The Structure of Social Action (1937)

---developed the AGIL Model of functionality

Parsons viewed society (as well as the entire universe) much like a jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece is a smaller part of the whole and provides not only a necessary component in the construction of the entire system but also creates �structure� and solidity/solidarity that integrates each component to the other.

Society fits the same general pattern.  Each component part is a smaller part of something yet larger, and each component itself is comprised of a series of smaller parts, working in functional relationships to create structure and function to the system.  Hence, the perspective earns the title, �Structural Functionalism� 

Parsons derived much of his work from the Italian sociologist/economist Vilfredo Pareto

The AGIL Model is constructed as follows:



Where A= the adaptive function, G= the goal attainment function, I= the integrative function, and L= the latency functions--  ALL elements of a system possess ALL FOUR functions and each of the functions themselves have these four functions.  Therefore, Parsons creates a universal system, broken down by function to the smallest components (negative infinity) and extending to the entire system itself (infinity).  It is his Grand functional model of the universe, of which our society is but one small part.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

--German economist and historian

---edited several publications/was exiled for his political views

---student of the dialectical school of thought earlier professed by Hegel

---was never a �sociologist�

---died in England, buried in London�s Highgate Cemetery

          --12 people attended his funeral

---wrote, Das Kapital, his notable economic treatise, On the Jewish Question, a highly anti-Semitic work, and the Communist Manifesto (along with his friend and contemporary Friederich Engels), his pamphlet on the notions of the communist state and how to achieve it

---contributed many terms, concepts, and ideas to the realm of sociology such as, alienation, exploitation, class consciousness, class conflict, dialectical materialism, Bourgeoisie (the owners of the means of production) and Proletariat (the workers within the means of production) (these are the two social classes Marx identified)

---Marx was an atheist

          --he saw atheism as being necessary for the rise of the Proletariat against the Bourgeois

          --he believed that God and religion in general were the creation of the Bourgeois classes to keep workers in their place

          --�turn the other cheek�, �don�t seek revenge�, �work hard, live a clean life, don�t worry� (and you�ll have great rewards in Heaven)

--�Religion is the opiate of the people,� according to Marx

Marx despised three groups of people and was held both racist and anti-Semitic attitudes:  1.  Blacks  2. Jews  3. Slavs (including the Russians)

Marx�s Theory of Dialectical Materialism



NOTES ON PARETO:  Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923)

While Parsons was optimistic in temperament as a Functionalist (marking the demise of liberal rationalism) Vilfredo Pareto was perhaps the most cynical social thinker of modern times. 

--represented the original attack on liberal rationalism

--provided Parsons with much sophistication on how to build his functionalist system

--Born in Paris--Italian father and French mother

--grew up In Italy

--studied science, physics, and engineering but economics was his best field

-- an inheritance at age 34 allowed him to research and write

-- his efforts landed him a chair at the University of Lausanne in 1892 at 44 Italian democracy was not going well--though Pareto was a believer in democracy, he noticed the dangers of democratic society arising in Italy at the turn of the century. 

-labor unions, socialist agitators, anarchists

--the anarchists appeared from the slums, proclaiming property to be theft and parliamentary democracy to be a sham

--in 1900, an anarchist bomb took the life of King Humbert

--Parliaments went through one deadlock after another

--politicians did what they could for friends by getting them paid government jobs

--poverty was the norm for not only workers but the underpaid lower- middle classes (epitomized by a young schoolteacher named Benito Mussolini) Nearing age 50, the disillusioned Pareto retired to his villa above Lake Lausanne to think.  He became a mysterious figure and the world began to call him "the hermit of Celigny."

--he emerged with a book, but not on economics--the science of rationality had betrayed him and he wrote of sociology now. 

--his first book was an attack on socialism which Pareto declared was a new form of religious superstition

--under the guise of reason, It created utopian worlds without struggle and the socialist leaders and anarchist leaders used it (socialism) to inflame their followers against democracy.  In 1915, Pareto published his great work, General Treatise on Sociology to become famous under the English title, The Mind and Society.  Pareto's conservative pessimism was a new evolutionary model.  Most politics most of the time fits his general description.  Observers who cannot and do not want to see through political ideologies are simply acting with a concern for social belonging.  in 1922, seven years after Pareto's treatise, Mussolini came to power in Italy.  Fascism, an Innovation Inconceivable to the 19th century liberal mind, proved what Durkheim, Freud, Weber, Spengler, and Pareto had already proved in theory: that naive positivistic theory of humankind was inadequate to reality.  Pareto's system is summarized as follows:

1.  Societies have great stability. 

--whenever something happens to upset the old order--revolution, war, crime, natural catastrophe--the reaction is a conservative movement to restore order. 

-society is a system in equilibrium

2.  All action is not rational or logical, thus economics must be superseded as the main science of human behavior and cause of action

-people as "rational decision-makers," choosing among alternatives, seeking the right path to maximize gain and avoid loss, lean toward the irrational and illogical. 

-they act first, then justify what they have done

-they are easily taken in by false reasoning

3.  Constant themes reappear throughout history. 

--Pareto calls them "residues"- they are basic human motives

-the two main residues are: the instinct of combinations (creativity/inventiveness) and group persistence (conservative/security needs)

-there are also changing elements in human beliefs, "derivatives" to Pareto-- ideologies such as Christianity, democracy, and socialism

4.  The basic forces in society are "sentiments"

-they can never be observed since they are instinctual or biological and shifting with the genetic forces of the human race

-one can only infer the residues and derivatives of each

-individual success or failure, crime, mental illness, etc.  can be attributed to racial or family heredity but not in a pure or direct sense)

5.  Not all people have the same mixture of sentiments. 

-in most, the strongest are the conservative and social sentiments

-if strong group-preserving instincts were not predominant, societies could not survive

-this accounts for the stability of societies

6.  Some people are more cleavers, stronger, and more individualistic than others. 

-in society, as in nature, there is a continual struggle for dominance

-the guileful people win out, both by using force and by appealing to the sentiments of the dull, conservative ones. 

-the guileful rise to the top-the "foxes"

-if too many become concentrated at the top, society becomes too original, too rational, has too much cleaver thinking, too many new ideas

-since the social order is based upon conservative instincts and feelings for security, the foxes undermine their own position. 

-society is thrown into chaos--wars, revolutions, parliamentary strife, and a reaction sets in

-the "lions" -the strong individuals who appeal to the conservative instincts of the masses, take over

-eventually the foxes begin to rise to the top again, using their guile against the stupidity of the lions, and the cycle begins again thus, in a sense, the more things change, the more they stay the same!


Society �evolves� in an endless series of cycles.  Pareto, along with Marx, Spengler, Vico, authors James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and others, all professed to the cyclical nature of human society.  We refer to these theorists as �cyclical� thinkers.

 An Excerpt from The Mind and Society on "The Circulation of Elites":



From Vilfredo Pareto, The Mind and Society, ed. Arthur Livingston trans. Andrew Bongiomo (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1935), Vols. III and IV, Sections 2026 - 2029 and Sections 2233 - 2236.

2026. Social elites and their circulation. [1] Suppose we begin by giving a theoretical definition of the thing we are dealing With, making it as exact as possible, and then go on to see what practical consideration we can replace it with to get a first approximation. Let us for the moment completely disregard considerations as to the good or bad, useful or harmful, praiseworthy or reprehensible character of the various traits in individuals, and confine ourselves to degrees--to whether, in other words, the trait in a given case be slight, average, intense, or more exactly, to the index that may be assigned to each individual with reference to the degree, or intensity, in him of the trait in question.

2027. Let us assume that in every branch of human activity each individual is given an index which stands as a sign of his capacity, very much the way grades are given in the various subjects in examinations in school. The highest type of lawyer, for instance, will be given 10. The man who does not get a client will be given 1--reserving zero for the man who is an out-and-out idiot. To the man who has made his millions--honestly or dishonestly as the case may be--we will give 10. To the man who has earned his thousands we will give 6; to such as just manage to keep out of the poor-house, 1, keeping zero for those who get in. To the woman "in politics," such as the Aspasia of Pericles, the Maintenon of Louis XIV, the Pompadour of Louis XV, who has managed to infatuate a man of power and play a part in the man's career, we shall give some higher number, such as 8 or 9; to the strumpet who merely satisfies the senses of such a man and exerts no influence on public affairs, we shall give zero. To a clever rascal who knows how to fool people and still keep clear of the penitentiary, we shall give 8, 9, or 10, according to the number of geese he has plucked and the amount of money he has been able to get out of them. To the sneak-thief who snatches a piece of silver from a restaurant table and runs away into the arms of a policeman, we shall give 1. To a poet like Carducci we shall give 8 or 9 according to our tastes; to a scribbler who puts people to rout with his sonnets we shall give zero. For chess-players we can get very precise indices, noting what matches, and how many, they have won. And so on for all the branches of human activity.

2028. We are speaking, remember, of an actual, not a potential, state. If at an English examination a pupil says: "I could know English very well if I chose to; I do not know any because I have never seen fit to learn," the examiner replies: "I am not interested in your alibi. The grade for what you know is zero." If, similarly, someone says: "So-and-so does not steal, not because he couldn't, but because he is a gentleman," we reply: "Very well, we admire him for his self-control, but his grade as a thief is zero."

2029. There are people who worship Napoleon Bonaparte as a god. There are people who hate him as the lowest of criminals. Which are right? We do not choose to solve that question in connexion with a quite different matter. Whether Napoleon was a good man or a bad man, he was certainly not an idiot, nor a man of little account, as millions of others are. He had exceptional qualities, and that is enough for us to give him a high ranking, though without prejudice of any sort to questions that might be raised as to the ethics of his qualities or their social utility.

2233. The facts just mentioned put us in the way of making a more general classification in which the preceding classification would be included and to which we shall have frequent occasion to refer in explaining social phenomena hereafter (Ss 2313f). [2] Suppose we put in one category, which we may call S, individuals whose incomes are essentially variable and depend upon the person's wide-awakeness in discovering sources of gain. In that group, generally speaking and disregarding exceptions, will be found those promoters of enterprise--those entrepreneurs--whom we were considering some pages back; and with them will be stockholders in industrial and commercial corporations (but not bondholders, who will more fittingly be placed in our group next following). Then will come owners of real estate in cities where building speculation is rife; and also landowners--on a similar condition that there be speculation in the lands about them; and then stock-exchange speculators and bankers who make money on governmental, industrial, and commercial loans. We might further add all persons depending upon such people--lawyers, engineers, politicians, working-people, clerks--and deriving advantage from their operations. In a word, we are putting together all persons who directly or indirectly speculate and in one way or another manage to increase their incomes by ingeniously taking advantage of circumstances.

2234. And let us put into another category, which we may call R, persons who have fixed or virtually fixed incomes not depending to any great extent on ingenious combinations that may be conceived by an active mind. In this category, roughly, will be found persons who have savings and have deposited them in savings-banks or invested them in life-annuities; then people living on incomes from government bonds, certificates of the funded debt, corporation bonds, or other securities with fixed interest-rates; then owners of real estate and lands in places where there is no speculation; then farmers, working-people, clerks, depending upon such persons and in no way depending upon speculators. In a word, we so group together here all persons who neither directly nor indirectly depend on speculation and who have incomes that are fixed, or virtually fixed, or at least are but slightly variable. [3]

2235. Just to be rid of the inconvenience of using mere letters of the alphabet, suppose we use the term "speculators" for members of category S and the French term rentiers for members of category R. [4] Now we can repeat of the two groups of persons more or less what we said above (S 2231) of mere owners of savings and entrepreneurs, and we shall find analogous conflicts, economic and social, between them. In the speculator group Class I residues predominate, in the rentier group, Class II residues. That that should be the case is readily understandable. A person of pronounced capacity for economic combinations is not satisfied with a fixed income, often a very small one. He wants to earn more, and if he finds a favourable opportunity, he moves into the S category. The two groups perform functions of differing utility in society. The S group is primarily responsible for change, for economic and social progress. The R group, instead, is a powerful element in stability, and in many cases counteracts the dangers attending the adventurous capers of the S's. A society in which R's almost exclusively predominate remains stationary and, as it were, crystallized. A society in which S's predominate lacks stability, lives in a state of shaky equilibrium that may be upset by a slight accident from within or from without.

Members of the R group must not be mistaken for "conservatives," nor members of the S group for "progressives," innovators, revolutionaries (Ss 226, 228 - 44). They may have points in common with such, but there is no identity. There are evolutions, revolutions, innovations, that the R's support, especially movements tending to restore to the ruling classes certain residues of group-persistence that had been banished by the S's. A revolution may be made against the S's--a revolution of that type founded the Roman Empire, and such, to some extent, was the revolution known as the Protestant Reformation. Then too, for the very reason that sentiments of group-persistence are dominant in them, the R's may be so blinded by sentiment as to act against their own interests. They readily allow themselves to be duped by anyone who takes them on the side of sentiment, and time and time again they have been the artisans of their own ruin (S 1873). If the old feudal lords, who were endowed with R traits in a very conspicuous degree, had not allowed themselves to be swept off their feet by a sum of sentiments in which religious enthusiasm was only one element, they would have seen at once that the Crusades were to be their ruin. In the eighteenth century, had the French nobility living on income, and that part of the French bourgeoisie which was in the same situation, not succumbed to the lure of humanitarian sentiments, they would not have prepared the ground for the Revolution that was to be their undoing. Not a few among the victims of the guillotine had for long years been continually, patiently, artfully grinding the blade that was to cut off their heads. In our day those among the R's who are known as "intellectuals" are following in the footprints of the French nobles of the eighteenth century and are working with all their might to encompass the ruin of their own class (S 2254).

Nor are the categories R and S to be confused with groupings that might be made according to economic occupation (Ss 1726-27). There again we find points of contact, but not full coincidence. A retail merchant often belongs to the R group, and a wholesale merchant too, but the wholesaler will more likely belong to the S group. Sometimes one same enterprise may change in character. An individual of the S type founds an industry as a result of fortunate speculations. When it yields or seems to be yielding a good return, he changes it into a corporation, retires from business, and passes over into the R group. A large number of stockholders in the new concern are also R's--the ones who bought stock when they thought they were buying a sure thing. If they are not mistaken, the business changes in character, moving over from the S type to the R type. But in many cases the best speculation the founder ever made was in changing his business to a corporation. It is soon in jeopardy, with the R's standing in line to pay for the broken crockery. There is no better business in this world than the business of fleecing the lambs--of exploiting the inexperience, the ingenuousness, the passions, of the R's. In our societies the fortunes of many many wealthy individuals have no other foundations. [5]

2236. The differing relative proportions in which S types and R types are combined in the governing class correspond to differing types of civilization; and such proportions are among the principal traits that have to be considered in social heterogeneity. [6] Going back, for instance, to the protectionist cycle examined above (Ss 2209 f.), we may say that in modern democratic countries industrial protection increases the proportion of S's in the governing class. That increase in turn serves to intensify protection, and the process would go on indefinitely if counter-forces did not come into play to check it (S 2221).


1. Kolabinska, La circulation des elites en France, p.5: "The outstanding idea in the term 'elite' is 'superiority.' That is the only one I keep. I disregard secondary connotations of appreciation or as to the utility of such superiority. I am not interested here in what is desirable. I am making a simple study of what is. In a broad sense I mean by the elite in a society people who possess in marked degree qualities of intelligence, character, skill, capacity, of whatever kind. . . . On the other hand I entirely avoid any sort of judgment on the merits and utility of such classes." [The phrase "circulation of elites" is well established in Continental literature. Pareto himself renders it in Italian as "circulation of the Elite (selected, chosen, ruling, "better") classes." It is a cumbersome phrase and not very exact, and I see no reason for preferring it to the more natural and, in most connexions, the more exact, English phrase, class circulation.--A. L.]

2. The classification in question was first suggested in my "Rentiers et speculateurs," in Independence, May 1, 1911.

3. Monographs along the lines of Le Play's would be of great use in determining the character of the persons belonging in our S group, and those belonging to our R group. Here is one such, contributed by Prezzolini: La Francia e I francesi dew secolo XX osservati da un italrano. I know it as quoted by E. Cesari in the Vita italiana, Oct. 15, 1917, pp. 367 - 70. The person in question is a well-known member of the French parliament--we suppress the proper name: for us here, he is not a person but just a type. The figures given by Prezzolini are those publicly declared by the member himself, Monsieur X. X's fixed income yields a total of 17,500 francs, of which 15,000 are salary as a member of the parliament and 2,500 interest on his wife's dowry. Only the latter sum belongs in category R--the salary belongs rather in category S, because to get such a thing one must have the ability and the good fortune to be elected. X's expense-account shows a total of 64,200 francs, divided as follows: household expenses, 33,800; office expenses 22,550; expenses for his election district (avowable expenses), 7,850. There ought, therefore, to be a deficit of 45,700 francs; but the deficit is not only covered but changes into a surplus in view of the following revenues: contributions to newspapers and other publications, 12,500 francs; honorarium as general agent of the A.B.C. Company, 21,000 francs; commissions on sales, 7,500. In this connexion, Prezzolini notes that X, reporting on the war budget, enters 100,000 francs for supplies delivered to himself, as general agent of the A.B.C. Company: that gives X his "sales commissions." Finally, because of the influence that he enjoys, our member, X, receives a stipend of 18,000 francs from a newspaper. In all, these revenues, which clearly belong in the category S, yield a total of 50,000 francs. Prezzolini adds that the member in question is not the only one, nor the least, of his species. He is just a better-known and an honester type.

4. It might be well to repeat that our use of such terms is not based on their ordinary senses, nor upon their etymologies. We are to use them strictly in the sense defined in Ss 2233-34, and the reader must refer to those definitions whenever he encounters them in the remainder of this volume. [I keep the term "speculator." English ordinarily analyzes the matter embraced under Pareto's term, especially in slang. Pareto's "speculator" is our "hustler," "man of pep," "wide-awake individual," "livewire," and so on.--A. L.]

5. Many people conclude that such facts are enough to condemn our social organization, and hold it responsible for most of the pains from which we suffer. Others think that they can defend our present order only by denying the facts or minimizing their significance. Both are right from the ethical standpoint (Ss 2162, 2262), wrong from the standpoint of social utility experimentally considered (S 2115). Obviously, if it be posited as an axiom that men ought, whatever happens, to observe certain rules, those who do not observe them necessarily stand condemned. Trying to put such a reasoning into logical form, one gets as its premise some proposition of the type mentioned in Ss 1886, 1896-97. If one goes on to say that the organization so condemned is in the main injurious to society, one must logically fall back on some premise that confuses morality and utility (Ss 1495, 1903-98). On the other hand, if premises of those types are granted and one would, notwithstanding, still defend or approve the organization of our societies, there is nothing left but to deny the facts or say they are not significant. The experimental approach is altogether different. Anyone accepting it grants no axioms independent of experience, and therefore finds it necessary to discuss the premises of the reasonings mentioned. On so doing one soon perceives that it is a question of two phenomena that do indeed have points in common, but are in no sense identical (S 2001), and that in every particular case experience has to be called in to decide whether one is dealing with a point of contact or a point of divergence. An instant's reflection is enough to see that if one accepts certain conclusions one adopts by that fact the premises to which they are indissolubly bound. But the power of sentiment and the influence of habitual manners of reasoning are such that people disregard the force of logic entirely and establish conclusions without reference to the premises or, at the very best, accept the premises as axioms not subject to discussion. Another effect of such power and such influence will be that in spite of the warnings we have given and over and over again repeated, there will always be someone to carry the import of the remarks that he is here reading on the R's and S's beyond the limits we have so strictly specified, interpreting all that we have been saying against one of those groups as implying that the influence of the group is, on the whole, harmful to society and the group itself "condemnable"; and all that we have been saying in its favour as a proof that the influence of the group is, in general, beneficial to society and the group itself worthy of praise. We have neither the means nor the least desire to prevent the fabrication of such interpretations. We are satisfied with recognizing them as one variety of our derivations (S 1419, I-b).

6. As usual, one may raise the query: "If this social phenomenon is of such great moment, how comes it that people have not remarked it hitherto?" The answer, again as usual, is that people have indeed noticed it, but have proceeded to cover it over again with a cloak of derivations. The substratum underlying anti-Semitism is a movement against speculators. It is said that the Semite is more of a speculator than the "Aryan" and the Jew is therefore taken as representing the whole class. Consider the case of department-stores and bazaars in Europe. They are the targets, especially in Germany, of the anti-Semites. It is true that many such stores are owned by Jews, but plenty of others are owned by Christians, and in either event are equally harmful to the small retailer, whom the anti-Semites would protect--anti-Semite in this case meaning "anti-speculator" and nothing more. The same may be said of financial syndicates and other characteristic forms of speculations. Socialists pick their quarrel with "capitalists," and theoretically it is a good thing that for once the "capitalist" is not confused with the "speculator"; but practically, the mobs that follow Socialist leadership have never grasped head or tail of Marx's pretty theories as to "surplus value", they are inspired solely by an instinctive impulse to take for themselves at least a part of the money that is going to "speculators." Theorists, too, when dealing with "capitalism" in history, confuse it, to some extent at least, with "speculator" rule. Finally, if anyone is inclined to go farther back in history, he may find ample traces of remarks and doctrines that reflect the conflict between speculators and the rest of the public. In the case of Athens the people in the Piraeus are at outs with the farmers, and Plato (De legibus, IV, 705) would place his republic far from the sea to keep it safe front the influence of speculators. In that he is a predecessor of the anti-Semites of our time. Speculators may be found at work in all periods of history. Various the ways in which their influence manifests itself, various the names that are applied to it, various the derivations that it provokes; but the substance is ever the same.


SOCI 1301:  Introduction to Sociology


Handout:  Types of Societies / Ideal Typology




The five major types of societies found throughout the world are:

1.        Hunting and Gathering --  very primitive, nomadic, homogeneous population who hunt wild game and

                  gather wild foods.  Goal is survival.  Based on family/kinship network.

2a.   Horticultural � small, semi-nomadic groups who cultivate simple crops using hand tools.  Based on the

domestication of plants, develops in fertile, moist regions suitable for growing crops.  Early   trading system develop

2b.   Pastoral  (Herding) � small, nomadic groups who herd animals.  Based on the domestication of 

                  animals and their use as food.  Early concept of �private property� develops.  Found in arid, 

                  semi-arid, or mountainous regions not suitable for growing crops. 

3.        Agrarian � Agricultural civilization.  The Agricultural Revolution made possible by the plow and

later, irrigation.  Development of a reliable food surplus.  Cities develop as do other vocations.  Modern society develops.  Population grows rapidly.  The first great �wave� of civilization.

4.        Industrial � based on mass productivity and the �rationalization of society�.  Distinct class structures


5.        Post-Industrial � the development of a high technology, service-oriented society and culture.  White-

collar labor exceeds blue-collar occupations.  Service provision exceeds production of products. Wider class differentiation.

     As society evolves to more �advanced� stages, the level of inequality and social division increase.  With this transition, other phenomena occur as well.  In Plato�s Republic, written in the 4th Century B.C., he describes the differences between �simple� societies and �complex� societies.  Plato�s work, often called �the first social plan,� was an attempt to find the nature of justice and injustice (inequality) in society.  He pointed to complex societies as being the cause.  To Plato, the �simple� life was the �good� life and conflict increases in all societies and cultures that develop past simplicity.

     This method of analysis, called �ideal typology� is frequently used to describe and analyze societies in sociology and anthropology.  Some related typologies include:

Herbert Spencer:  homogeneity heterogeneity/  Describes the evolution of  �people� making up a society.

Emile Durkheim: mechanical solidarity organic solidarity  /  Describes the �glue�(cohesion) which holds a society together.

All of these typologies taken together are described by German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies who wrote Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft in 1887.  The title translates roughly to �community� and �society�.  The terms, used formally in sociology to describe societies, are characterized as follows:

Gemeinschaft                                        Gesellschaft





Mechanical solidarity

Organic solidarity





This characterization of society can be used as follows:

Ex1: �The United States is predominantly Gesellschaft while Yanomamo (Brazilian/Venezuelan Indian tribe) are very Gemeinschaft by nature.�

Ex2: �Houston is very Gesellschaft by nature but small rural farming communities have many Gemeinschaft elements within them.� 

Q1:  Think of the investions and discoveries made and used by humans through the development and evolution of our society and culture.  Which were the most significant?  Which ones had the greatest influence on the evolution of society?  Why?

Q2: How do the three economic sectors (primary, secondary, and tertiary) apply to the study of social eras?



MAJOR OBJECTIVES (Study Guide for Final Exam)


The following terms, concepts, and personalities are major learning objectives of this course.  Each is EXPECTED to be learned (mastered) by the conclusion of the semester.   The list below serves as a comprehensive review for the departmental exam as these items MAY be incorporated into a standardized examination which tests student retention of the major objectives for this course:


Definition of sociology


Comte: The Father of Sociology

Spencer and evolutionary sociology

Social Darwinism

Macro vs. Micro sociology

Durkheim and Suicide

Analysis of Suicide as a sociological study

Harriet Martineau

Comte�s three stages of knowledge (Law of Human Progress)

Where and when did sociology develop as a science?

Types of variables identified in studies (independent/dependent)

Reliability and validity

General structure of social class in America

Definition of culture

Definition of values

Folkways and mores

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism

Meaning and characteristics of the term homo sapiens

Taboos and laws

Weber and the �power of ideas� driving industrialism/bureaucracy

Types of societies (hunting and gathering, horticultural, etc.)

Alienation and anomie

Cooley and �the looking-glass self�  (The Thomas Theorem)

Agents of socialization (the family, the church, media, etc.)

Status and types of status (ascribed and achieved)

Role strain and role conflict

Definition of a group

Primary and secondary groups

Definition of an oligarchy

Parkinson�s Law and The Peter Principle

Durkheim on deviance

Merton and strain theory

Social mobility

Caste systems (ex:  South Africa�s apartheid)

Generally, the socioeconomic status of the world�s people

Ethnicity and race

Capitalism compared to socialism

Kinship network

Durkheim�s  functions of deviance

Population of the world and of the United States


Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Tonnies)

General population trends worldwide

Social change

W.E.B. DuBois

Weber�s types of authority (traditional, charismatic, rational-legal)

Collective behavior/social movements










Last Updated: 12/18/20