Sociological Studies List

Sociology Notes

A compendium of studies that can be used depending on context.

Overview of sociological theories

For methodology based questions, synthesis can be made out of:

  1. Alan Bryman - triangulation
  2. TK Oommen - contextual objectivity
  3. Weber - value frankness.

Uma Chakravarti - Violence against women

In India violence against women operates with impunity especially in 4 arenas:

  • Home where violence occurs within the family.
  • Streets and fields where class and caste provide impunity to the perps.
  • Villages & regions where targeted violence has been enacted, often with state complicity.
  • Border areas where impunity is sought under special laws put in place by the security state.

She further says that most violence against women is perpetrated by educated men. Control of women's sexuality is the basis of the caste system creating a brahminical patriarchy. Women face violence from the womb to the tomb.

Gunnar Myrdal - Soft State

  1. General indiscipline in legislation and execution of laws leads to development of a soft state.
  2. In contrast to the modern European states.
  3. Caused by the colonial powers' destruction of traditional centers of local power without creating viable alternatives.

Gerome Truc - Appropriation of symbols

  1. I am charlie, once a symbol of unity against terror is now fueling division.
  2. Nationalism is clashing with the idea of secularism.
  3. Secular now corrupted to sickular.

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Colin Crouch - Corporate Government

  1. MNC and international organisations have greater control over government decisions than the people.

Jason Hickel - The Divide

  1. Poverty is not natural but created.
  2. Poor countries are poor because they are integrated into the international system on unequal terms.
  3. Aid only hides the underlying inequities.
  4. Poverty is a political problem and requires a political solution.

Ivan Illich - Medical Harm

  1. Industrial society over-medicalises life, pathologises normal conditions and creates false dependencies.
  2. This society also works to limit other more healthy solution.
  3. Can be related to the capitalistic ethos that promotes planned obsolescence in order to boost revenues.

Ivan Illich - Deschooling Society

  1. Institutionalising education leads to institutionalisation of society.
  2. Good education system:
  3. Provide access to all those who want to learn at any point in their lives.
  4. Empower those who want to share what they know to find those willing to learn from them.
  5. Furnish the opportunity to those wishing to present an issue to the public to make it known.
  6. Creation of learning webs: peer groups that enable people with similar interests to come together and learn.

Michael Sandel - Tyranny of merit

  1. We live in an age of winners and losers, with the odds stacked in the favour of the already fortunate.
  2. Social mobility has stalled and inequality has become entrenched.
  3. Need to rethink attitudes to success and failure and pay attention to role of randomness in human affairs.
  4. Those who make it to the top because of their affluence think that they deserved it and look down on others.
  5. Those who are unable to make it blame themselves and this fuels resentment as there are more people than opportunities.

Allan Bloom - The Closing of the American Mind

  1. Higher education fosters an openness of mindset which undermines the social contract.
  2. Acceptance of all cultures means that there is no consensus towards common social values.
  3. Conservative scholar who questioned liberal values.

Michael Young - The Rise of Meritocracy

  1. Said that society based on meritocracy would eventually mutate into a dystopia.
  2. Those judged to have merit of a certain kind harden into a new social class while excluding others from it.
  3. Ex. from stratification 7 class studies.

Emory Bogardus - Social Distance Theory

  1. Social distance scale indicates how closely people are willing to interact with people from other races/ethnicities.
  2. Social distance is a proxy of "otherness".
  3. Greater social distance increases the probability of people holding biased and stereotypical views about the others.

Theodore Adorno - Problems of capitalism

  1. Rise culture industry makes leisure toxic. Consumer culture distracts us from exploring our true needs.
  2. Distraction thesis. Pop music makes it easier for people to adjust to the consumer culture.
  3. Standardisation of commodities creates a commodified audience which blindly follows the producer's classificatory desires.
  4. Negative outcomes for democracy.
  5. Social Dilemma is a documentary series on the standardisation of the consumer.

Alan Bryman - Triangulation

  1. Mix and match quantitative and qualitative methods.
  2. This allows for both high validity and high reliability in social research.

William Whyte - Street corner studies in the UK

  1. Used participant observation.
  2. Flexibility of participant observation as he learned "answers to questions I wouldn't have had the sense to ask."
  3. Problems - took him 4 years to complete the study.

Aaron Cicourel - Labelling theory

  1. Studied police on how they made arrests.
  2. Found that decision to make arrests were made on the basis of stereotypes about offenders and the context of the arrest.
  3. On a 7 class scale almost 1/3rd delinquents came from class 7.
  4. Ex: Bullingdon club notorious for it's illegal acts is treated lightly due to its members' social status.

Jeffrey Alexander - Neo functionalism

  1. Push functionalism to the left and rejected Parsons' optimism about modernity.
  2. Incorporated a conflict orientation.
  3. Emphasised on uncertainty and interactional creativity.

Michel Foucault - There is no absolute truth

  1. The enlightenment project is a myth and all social reality is a constructed reality.
  2. Those in power define their behaviour as normal and others as criminal or mentally ill.

Jean Baudrillard - Hyperreality

  1. Post modernism has seen an expansion of media technology.
  2. Media creates a hyper reality (simulacra) where what is see is different from and yet more real at the same time.
  3. Example: media view of war is different from the actual war, yet it is the only view that most of us know.

Jean Francis Lyotard - Incredulity to meta narratives

  1. The only credible goal of backers of research is power.
  2. Scientists and technicians are purchased not to find truth but to augment power.
  3. Criticised as being a meta narrative itself. Boom bitches!

Zygmut Bauman - Rise of consumerism

  1. Central feature of post modern society is that we are all consumers.
  2. Rather than basing our identities around work we are much more likely to define ourselves by the products we buy.







Elinor Ostrom

8 Principles for managing a Commons:

  1. Define clear group boundaries.
  2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
  3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
  4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
  5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
  6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
  7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
  8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.

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