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Sociology Lecture Notes 1

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College of Science
University of Santo Tomas


Natural Science vs. Social Science

The human nature of Sociological data is different from those of the natural sciences.
Like the natural scientists, sociologists assume that their discipline deals with a definite
range of empirical data and yet the empirical data they deal with cannot be treated the
way that the subject matter of natural sciences are treated.

The data of social sciences belong to the human world or
to a world constructed by the humans and some of these
data are social structures, norms values, ideas, customs
and other patterns of behavior. Concerning these types
of data, we must make the important point thay they are
socially constructed realities and not natural given

(Maxi Fernando; ASI 2000)

Natural science - object - natural objects

Social science - object - artificial objects (ex. society) social facts such as laws

Facts - both empirical

Non-scientific - facts are not empirical arguments are based on concepts/abstractions
(ex. Philosophy)

The Hierarchy Hypothesis

American Journal of Sociology Volume 89 Number 1 July 1983

200 years ago Auguste Comte set out what he called the "hierarchy of sciences"
maintaining that the sciences progress through ordained stages of development at quite
different rates. Thus, for Comte astronomy the most general of all the sciences,
develops first and is followed successively by physics, chemistry, biology, and finally
sociology. The hierarchy of sciences described not only the complexity of the
phenomena studied by the different sciences but also their stage of intellectual


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

Methods of generating knowledge

Core of knowledge - consist of small set of theories and analytic techniques which
represent the "given" at any particular point in time. The core is characterized by having
a relatively small number of theories and substantial consensus on the importance of
these theories.

Research frontiers - consists of all the work currently done by all active researchers in a
given discipline. This is where all new knowledge is produced. However most new
knowledge turns out to be of little or no lasting significance (Cole and Cole 1972).

Approaches in Social Science
(Ritzer, 1998)

Interpretative Social
Critical Social Science

Reason for Research
To discover natural laws To understand and
To smash myths and

so people can predict
describe meaningful
empower people to change

and control events
social action
society radically

Nature of Social
Stable pre-existing
Fluid definition of a
Conflict-filled and governed
patterns or order that
situation created by
by hidden underlying

can be discovered
human interaction

Nature of Human
Self-interested and
Social forces who
Creative, adaptive people
rational individuals who
create meaning and
with unrealized potential,

are shaped by external
who constantly make
trapped by illusion and

sense of their worlds

Role of Common

Clearly distinct from and
Powerful everyday
False beliefs that hide power

less valid than science
theories used by
and objective conditions

ordinary people

Theory Looks Like
A logical deductive
A descriptions of how
A critique that reveals true

system of
group's meaning
conditions and helps people

system is generated
see the way to a better world

definitions, axioms, and
and sustained


An Explanation that is
Is Logically connected
Resonates or feels right Supplies people with tools
laws and based on facts
to those who are being
needed to change the world


Good Evidence
Is based on precise
Is embedded in the
Is informed by a theory that

observations that others
context of fluid social
unveils illusions

can repeat

Place of Values
Science is value-free,
Values are an integral
All science must begin with a


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

and values have no
part of social life; no
value position; some
place except when
group's values are
positions are right some are
choosing a topic.
wrong only different

Definition of Sociology

The systematic study of human society (Macionis, 1999:2)(scientific study of social
events, group behavior (patterned and deviant) ordinary behavior (trivial/
ethnomethodology), social structures, social conflicts, social change, patterns and
processes of social relations.

Major Theoretical Frameworks in Sociology

1. Structural Functionalism

Major Concepts: system, equilibrium, dysfunction, division of labor

Key Assumptions: Society is a system of interdependent parts that is in equilibrium or balance.
Over time, society has evolved from a simple to a complex type, which has highly specialized
parts. The parts of society fulfill different needs or functions of the social system. A basic
consensus on values or a value system holds society together.

2. Exchange Theory

Major Concepts: opportunities, rewards, approval, balance, credit

Key Assumptions: Human interactions are similar to economic transactions. People give and
receive resources (symbolic, social approval, or material) and try to maximize their rewards
while avoiding pain, expense, and embarrassment. Exchange relationships tend to be balanced.
If they are unbalanced, persons with credit can dominate others.

3. Symbolic Interactionism

Major Concepts: self, reference group, role-playing, perception

Key Assumptions: People transmit and receive symbolic communication when they socially
interact. People create perceptions of each other and social settings. People largely act on
their perceptions. How people think about themselves and others is based on their interactions.

4. Conflict Theory


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

Major Concepts: power, exploitation, struggle, inequality, alienation,

Key Assumptions: Society is made up of groups that have opposing interests. Coercion and
attempts to gain power are ever-present aspects of human relations. Those in power attempt to
hold onto their power by spreading myths or by using violence if necessary.

5. Postmodernism

Postmodernist orientation does not necessarily mean the promotion of a non-repressive
civilization which would involve libidinal and non-alienated labor, play, free and open sexuality
and production of a society and a culture which would further freedom and happiness or the
abolition of "surplus repressions" as argued by Marcuse (Keller, 2001:47). Hebert Marcuse
continued that the individuals must free themselves from aggressive and repressive needs and
aspirations and attitudes of class society... they must transform their present needs, sensibility,
consciousness, values, and behaviour while developing a new radical subjectivity, so as to
create the necessary conditions for social transformation.

Instead, it is more favorable sharing the same sentiment with a Filipino sociologist,
Randy David (1998:81) stressing that postmodern sensibility connotes:
...Plurality, difference, openness, unpredictability, tolerance, play, autonomy,
and inventiveness. It is against metanarratives or grand theories about
society and history. It favors pragmatic construction of operational norms to
high-minded promulgation of first principles. It pushes the frontiers of
knowledge by constantly questioning existing paradigms and inventing new
ones. It tolerates the incommensurable, and promotes the heterogeneity of
language games.
Postmodernism legitimizes the use of several approaches and techniques employed in
research. According to Sean Homer, postmodernism is inherently paradoxical and playful
(Homer,2002:8). Frederic Jameson appearing on the reflections of Homer suggests that:
...The more one tries to define what is characteristically postmodern the less
characteristic it turns out to be. Postmodernism, by definition resist
definition. Theoretically, postmodernism can only theorise its own conditions
of impossibility; with neither a fixed subject nor object there can be no
theory of postmodernism as such (ibid:1).

6. Feminism

Man for the field and woman for the hearth

Man for the sword and for the needle she

Man with head and woman with the heart;

Man to command and woman to obey;

All else confusion.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

A diverse political and intellectual movement chiefly developed by women, but having
increasing influence with both sexes, that seeks to criticize, re-evaluate and transform the place
of women in social organization and in culture. Common to Feminists is the assumption that
social organization and culture have been dominated by men to the exclusion of women. And
that this exclusion has been accompanied by diverse pattern of devaluation and disadvantages
that have marginalized women's status in most known societies. Consequently, a major area of
concern to feminism is the recovery and articulation of women's experience in history and in
contemporary societies and a wholesale reconstruction of the fundamental intellectual
assumptions of social practices and of many areas of study including especially sociology,
psychology, history, and other social and humanistic disciplines.

Image of Society
Core Questions
Macro level
A system of interrelated parts that is
How is society integrated? What are the
relatively stable because of
major parts of society? How are these part
widespread agreement on what is
interrelated? What are the consequences of
morally desirable; each part has a
each part for the overall operation of society?
particular function in the society as a
Social Conflict
Macro level
A system based on social inequality;
How is society divided? What are the major
each part of society benefits some
patterns of social inequality? How do some
categories of people more than
categories of people try to protect their
others; social inequality leads to
privileges? How do other categories of people
conflict which in turn, leads to social
challenge the status quo?
Micro level
An ongoing process of social
How is society experienced? How do human
interaction in specific settings based
beings interact to create, maintain, and
on symbolic communications;
change social patterns?
individual perceptions of reality are
How do individuals try to shape the reality
variable and changing.
that others perceive? How does individual
behavior change from one situation to

(Macionis, 1999)

Benefits of Sociological Perspectives:

1. The sociological perspective helps us assess the truth of commonly held
assumptions. Ex. Individual deciding and shaping their own lives
2. It prompts us to assess both the opportunities and the constraints that
characterize our lives.
3. The sociological perspective empowers us to participate actively in our society.
4. The sociological perspective helps us recognize human variety and confront the
challenges of living in a diverse world.

(Macionis, 1999)


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

Sociology vs. Anthropology

Sociology recent or contemporary while anthropology is historical/evolutionary and
cultural (way of life which has been learned and transmitted from one generation to
another by means of language and symbols.


is the holistic study of humans--our biology and cultures, from our origins to the
present, in all types of societies across the globe.

E. Limitations of scientific sociology.
1. Human behavior is too complex to allow sociologists to predict any
individual's actions precisely.
2. Because humans respond to their surroundings, the mere presence of a
researcher may affect the behavior being studied.
3. Social patterns change constantly; what is true in one time or place may
not hold in another.
4. Because sociologists are part of the social world they study, being value-
free when conducting social research is especially difficult.

Development of Sociology and Anthropology in the Philippines

Anthropology - started as a practical of colonizers in the service of Christianity and the
Spanish Government.

Alfred Marche - led archeological explorations in the 19th century.

Ethnological Survey of the Philippines - replaced the Bureau of Non- Christian tribes.

Otley H. Beyer - elevated anthropology as an academic discipline at the University of
the Philippines.

Fr. Valentin Marin - introduced sociology in the Philippines in 1896 as a course on
criminology at the University of Santo Tomas.

Serafin Macaraig - first Filipino to receive a doctorate degree in sociology in 1939.


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

Introduction to Sociology - became the first text in the University of the Philippines
written by Serafin Macaraig.

Juan Ruiz - offered courses in social work in the University of the Philippines.

Prof. Marcelo Tangco - succeeded Dr. Macaraig

Flora Diaz Catapusan - invited to teach sociology in the Centro Escoloar University in

Dr. Benicio Catapusan - invited to serve as a professional lecturer in sociology at the
University of the Philippines in 1948

Philippine Sociological Society - was organized by a group of Filipino educators
and visiting professors in the different regions whose objectives are:

To increase knowledge about social behavior
To gather data on social problems for their possible solutions
To train teachers and researches in the field of sociology
To develop cooperation and unity among social scientists in the

1960 - the Research Foundation of Philippine Anthropology and Archeology was

Philippine Social Science Council - consolidated the Philippine social science
resources in 1968 whose objectives are:

To promote the quality and relevance of social science researches
To improve teaching skills in social sciences
To finance researches along the social sciences
To encourage social science publications

Factors and Stages in the development of sociology in the Philippines in the words of
Catapusan and Catapusan:
Considerable efforts have been made to define and to determine the
fields of sociology
There are considerable specializations in subject matter and in approach
Sociological principles are being employed in the analysis of an
increasing number of social situations
The study of various problems led to discovering, refining, and perfecting
new methods of sociological investigations.
1960's and 1970's - researches were undertaken along different aspects of social and
cultural life


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

Source: Palispis, Epitacio S., Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology. Manila: Rex
Printing Company, Inc., 1996

1960 Sociology is a colonial implant

Flourished during the American regime but started during the later part
of Spanish rule

Gained significance after WWII aimed for social planning and

Focused on religion, family, ethnic relations norms and values of Filipinos
1970 Polarization, collision between functionalism and Marxism in methods
and approaches

Sociology was branded as ideational (not grounded to realities)

Positivism/generalization was challenged by interpretive and
phenomenological schools of thought (subjective realities) which resulted
to pluralism of methods and approaches in sociology
1980 Participation of sociologist during the Marcos regime in community
planning (known as technocrats - agents of change and reforms)

Government recruited sociologists to "legitimize the structure by


College of Science
University of Santo Tomas

providing scientific aura to the course of state action"

Technocrats versus non partisan sociologists (branded as radicals and
1990 Convergence

After the collapse of Marcos regime the life chances/ economic
opportunities were unavailable which to diaspora, social scientists have
no other course of action but to put together their resources (methods
and techniques) to explain and repair this disenchanting phenomenon

Diverse theoretical and methodological stance allowed Sociology to travel
across boundaries to both natural and social sciences the defect however
is the slow sophistication of theories and methods in the Philippines not
because the environment lacks raw materials but because of poor
documentation (ex. Changes in the family structure, homosexuality)

The challenge of the 1990s is to arm sociologists with theoretical and
methodological skills ready to shift gears to alleviate human condition

Aggressive application of social science researches

Note: Points taken from Reflections of Philippine Sociology in the 1990's by Cynthia Rose Bautista


Sociology Lecture Notes 1



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