I. Reread the text and answer the following questions.
1) What does sociology focus on as a field of study? 2) What and who does it deal with? 3) What differs the work of a journalist from that of a sociologist? 4) What are the main goals of the sociological perspective? 5) Why is the sociological imagination very important in doing sociological research? 6) What types are the sciences commonly divided into? 7) What differs natural science from social science? 8) What social sciences do you know and what do they study? 9) What differs sociology from other social sciences? 10) Why should a social scientist view social phenomena from different perspectives? 11) What is common sense? 12) How should common sense be used by social scientists?
II. Define the following key terms and memorize the definitions:
1) sociology, 2) sociological perspective, 3) sociological imagination, 4) science, 5) natural science, 6) social science, 7) common sense.
III. Speak on sociology and its aspects in brief and illustrate your report with situations or examples of your own.
IV. Comment on the following topics, viewing them from the sociological perspective:
2) Passionate desire of fans to see their stars in person.
3) Why aren't we interested in outstanding scientists as passionately as we are in movie and rock stars?
Text II. WHAT IS SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY? ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY
(1) Why do people commit suicide? One traditional commonsense answer is that people inherit the desire to kill themselves. Another view is that sunspots drive people to take their own lives.
(2) Sociologists are not particularly interested in why any one individual commits suicide; they are more concerned with why people in general take their own lives. In order to undertake such research, sociologists develop theories that offer a general explanation of some type of behavior.
(3) In sociology a theory is a statement or a series of statements that uses concepts to explain problems, actions or behavior. An effective theory will have both explanatory and predictive power. That is, it will help us to develop a broad and integrated view of seemingly isolated phenomena and to understand how one type of change in an environment leads to others.
(4) An essential task in building a sociological theory is to examine the relationship between bits of data, gathered through research, that may seem completely unrelated. For example, in researching the problem of suicide sociologists are primarily concerned not with the personalities of individual suicide victims, but rather with suicide rates and how they vary from country to country. And their research suggests that suicide, while a solitary act, is related to group life. They have developed a theory to explain how individual behavior can be understood within a social context. Their theory has predictive power, since it suggests that suicide rates will rise or fall in conjunction with certain social and economic changes.
(5) It is important to understand that a theory — even the best of theories — is not a final statement about human behavior. This theory of suicide is not an exception. Sociologists continue to examine factors which contribute to a society's rate of suicide. The sociological research shows that the incidence of suicide increases following nationally televised stories about suicide, and the impact is the greatest after the publicized suicide of an entertainer or politician, and is somewhat less after the suicide of an artist, a criminal or a member of the economic elite.
(6) One means of classifying sociological theories is by the subject under study. Thus, there are theories concerning the causes of criminal behavior or the universal nature of religion. Yet, theories can also be distinguished by levels of analysis. There are two of them.
(7) Macrosociology concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilization. Thus, the above described cross-cultural study of suicide rates is an example of macrosociology.
(8) By contrast, microsociology stresses study of small groups and often uses experimental studies in laboratories. Sociologists find it useful to employ both of these approaches. In fact, we can learn a great deal by using macro-level and micro-level analysis to study the same problem. For example, we might try to understand criminal behavior at the macroscopic level by analyzing crime rates in various countries and at the microscopic level by examining the social forces that influence individuals to become criminals or delinquents.
(9) Origins of Sociology. Philosophers and thinkers of ancient and medieval societies made countless observations about human behavior and predicted that a systematic study of human behavior was needed to improve society.
(10) The first founder of sociology as a science was the French theorist Auguste Comte (1798–1857). He gave sociology its name. The second founder of sociology was Herbert Spencer (1820—1903). He greatly dominated scholarly thinking in his times by suggesting that societies are bound to change.
(11) Few sociologists have had such a dramatic impact on many different areas within the discipline as Emile Durkheim (1858—1917) did. Above all, he will be remembered for his insistence that behavior cannot be fully understood in individualistic terms, that it must be understood within a larger social context. He developed a fundamental thesis to help understand all forms of society through intensive study of group behavior.
(12) Another important theorist who contributed to the scientific study of society was the German philosopher Max Weber. He pointed out that much of our social behavior cannot reanalyzed without studying the subjective meanings people attach to their actions — how they themselves view and explain their behavior. He suggested that sociologists should thoroughly consider thoughts and feelings of the people under study.
(13) Contemporary sociology reflects the diverse contributions of earlier theorists and gains new insights which help to better understand the workings of modern human society.
I. Read and translate the text using a dictionary if necessary.
II. Find in the text the English equivalents of the following:
III. Supply the missing words and word combinations choosing among those given below.
1) One traditional ... answer why people commit suicide is that people ... the desire to kill themselves. 2) Sociologists are ... interested in this problem. 3) They are ... with why people ... take their own lives. 4) ... to undertake such research sociologists ... theories. 5) An ... theory will have both ... and ... power. 6) An ... task in building any theory is to examine data that seem .... 7) Suicide, while a ... act, is related to ... .
8) The ... of suicide increases following ... televised stories about suicide.
9) There are theories ... the causes of criminal behavior. 10) Sociologists find it useful ... both of these. 11) They examine the social forces that individuals to become criminals or ... 12) Philosophers of the past made ... about human behavior. 13) A ... study of human behavior is needed to.... 14) The first... of sociology was Auguste Comte. 15) Societies are ... to change. 16) Herbert Spencer had a ... on sociology. 17) Behavior cannot be understood in ..., it must be understood within ... . 18) Contemporary sociology reflects the ... of earlier theorists.
1.diverse contributions, 2.individualistic terms, 3.a larger social context, 4. dramatic, 5.impact, 6.bound, 7.founder, 8.systematic, 9.improve society, 10. countless observations, 11.influence, 12. delinquents, 13. to employ, 14. approaches, 15.concerning, 16.incidence, 17. nationally, 18.solitary, 19.group behavior, 20. essential, 21.completely unrelated, 22.effective, 23.explanatory, 24.predictive, 25. in order to, 26. concerned, 27.inherit, 28.particularly, 29.commonsense, 30.in general, 31.develop.
IV. Study the following words and word combinations and use them in sentences of your own:
1)to drive smb to do smth, 2)to develop a broad and integrated view, 3)to lead to smth, 4)to examine the relationships between, 5)to gather through research, 6)to research a problem, 7)to be primarily concerned with, 8)to vary from country to country, 9)in conjunction with, 10)a final statement, 11)a means to classify, 12)causes of, 13)to concentrate on, 14)by contrast, 15)to find it useful, 16)to be bound to do smth, 17)to develop a fundamental thesis, 18)intensive study, 19)to point out, 20)to attach smth to smth, 21)reflect smth, 22)the workings of human society.