What is Sociological Theory? Why do we need it? 1/13

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What is Sociological Theory? Why do we need it? 1/13. Every reputable sociology department requires at least one course in theory, but there is great disagreement about what must go into such a course. Every piece of sociological research needs some kind of theoretical point, - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


<ul><li><p> What is Sociological Theory?Why do we need it? 1/13Every reputable sociology department requires at least one course in theory, but there is great disagreement about what must go into such a course.Every piece of sociological research needs some kind of theoretical point,but there is great variation about what that point or motivation consists of.</p></li><li><p>What is Sociological Theory?There are at least three distinct conceptions of theory:1. The tradition -- Great figures such as Marx.2. Extensions and foundations of methods.3. Findings: the consolidation of what we knowEach of the parts of One World concentrates on one of these three conceptions.They are complementaryCentral idea: Theory ResearchTheory without data is blind.Data without theory is dumb.</p></li><li><p>Why do we need theory?Without theory, what we find in one area has no relevance to what we find in another. I.e.1. No theory, no science2. No theory, no hypotheses to test3. No theory, no cumulation of knowledgeThe interrelation of theory and research can be viewed as a logic of question and answer. </p></li><li><p>The structure of the course:The connection of theory to researchTheory motivates and guides researchResearch answers theoretical questions Every student chooses a substantive research hypothesis at the beginning Every class must be related to that thesisMake a provisional choice by 1/17The final (though revisable choice) is 1/24</p></li><li><p>Course requirementsGrades:Class participation20%Three drafts30%Mid-term exam10%Final exam10%Final Project30%</p></li><li><p>The two exercisesTwo bases of theory researchExercise #1 (1/31) uses an Annual Review of Sociology article to consolidate a stream of theory and research in a Review of the literature.Exercise #2 (3/26) uses a Microcase data analysis to test a portion of the theory.Every student must purchase the current microcase and archive</p></li><li><p>First steps:Look over the work sheet to Discussion #1 (1/24) tonight. The two crucial elements: find an article in the current issues of the journals of record (AJS, ASR, ST) with an idea relevant to your thesis.Get microcase and use General Social Survey data to operationalize an empirical hypothesis relevant to your thesis. Email me the topic, the idea, and the cross-tabulation by Monday 1/20</p></li><li><p>The workbookUse any form of workbook you like with 4 sections for:Applications of 9 theorists to your topic based on each weeks reading.Substantive empirical and library research on your paperNotes from classes and work sheets from the 7 group discussionsThe three drafts and two exercises</p></li><li><p>The DiscussionsEvery student must come to all 7 discussionsIf you believe you will miss one, you must tell me at the beginning so that I do not put you in any group. (I do not advise this.)But if you stand up your group for any reason you will loose a great deal of credit</p></li><li><p>The contractYou may, but you do not have to, contract for C or better by handing in all the work early, coming to all classes and doing what you are told.You agree to:1. Come to class every day.2. Do the reading and workbook writing on time.3. Hand in the exercises to me before entering them.4. Hand in the 3 drafts each early, so that I have time to tell you to fix any problems.5. Ask me if you have any questions.6. Do what I tell you.I agree to:1. Keep track of how you are doing.2. Let you know how you are doing3. Give you extra feedback on your exercises.4. Give you feedback on your drafts and have you redo them when necessary.5. Be at office hours, call x9-4782, or email me at pknapp@email.villanova.edu.6. Tell you what to do.</p></li><li><p>Choosing a paper topicPick a research hypothesis you find interestingabout which there is a stream of theory and research.Besides the journals and the data, other ways that many students have found good topics are on the sheet due 1/24:previous class; an experience; career plans.</p></li><li><p>Other considerations on topics:Use Exercise #1 (Annual Review of Sociology) to find a stream of theory.From a recent issue if possibleIf it is an older issue, use the Social Sciences Citation Index to find current follow-ups.It will take the first month of class to uncover the broader theoretical issues involved.</p></li><li><p>The main idea of One WorldIt is a shrinking world (globalization)And within each society the many worlds of kinship, religion, race, and region are being replaced by:Expansion of democracy and the franchiseFreedom of religion, bill of rights etc.Elimination of race, class and other 2nd class citizenships.Principles of equality before the law, equal educational opportunity, etc.The classic theorists (Marx, Durkheim and Weber) were all concerned to explain this transformation.</p></li><li><p>Universalism ParticularismOne of the approaches from the mid-20th c. is the view that there is a replacement of roles and rules that are particularistic (i.e. depend on group membership) by those that are universalistic (i.e. applicable to everyone).However, there have been regressions (e.g. Nazi Germany)And some people view all universalism as a cover for white, male, Eurocentric, capitalistic domination.</p></li><li><p>The Mid-Atlantic</p><p>On April 22, there will be an undergraduate research colloquium at Messiah.I encourage you to participate.You will have an abstract and a 10 minute presentation well before then.It is also possible to obtain extra credit for a Pro-Seminar to prepare for Mid-Atlantic.Informational meeting Wed. 1/15</p></li><li><p>An Example of Theory Researchand of a GSS battery: We will spend 1/15 getting familiar with techniques of empirical analysis of General Social Survey data.We will discuss the issues of freedom. Patterson argues that it is the core value of the West, the USA and the modern world.But it is a complex value. In the main political battles (e.g. the Civil War) both sides fought under the banner of freedom.We need to see who defines freedom how, with what consequences.</p></li></ul>


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