Chapter 1 Study Questions & Exercises

Introduction to Sociology

Study Questions

  1. Where and why did sociology as an academic discipline first emerge?
  1. What is the “sociological imagination” and why do sociologists strive to achieve it? Outline its origins and give an example.
  1. What is social location and how does it impact one’s perspective on his/her standing in society?
  1. What is intersectionality and what is its role in discrimination especially for minorities?
  1. Compare and contrast structural functionalism and conflict theory.
  1. Distinguish between macro- and microsociology. Name one macro-sociologist and one micro-sociologist.
  1. According to Michel Foucault, what is a “totalitarian discourse”? Give an example of how this term is used in sociology.
  1. What was Carl Addington Dawson’s most significant contribution to sociology in Canada?
  1. How does the work of C. Wright Mills help us to understand the events 9/11, according to Henry Giroux?
  1. Who developed standpoint theory? What it is? Why is it significant for sociological research?

Exploration and Discussion Exercises

  1. Have you ever sat in a coffee shop and spent the time just watching people there? Try this exercise after class one day. Take some paper and a pen and write down the interactions that you see as sociologically meaningful.
    • Why are these interactions particularly interesting?
    • What symbols do you notice (e.g., a handshake, a bow, a wink)?
    • Do they reflect any of the fundamental sociological theories learned in Chapter 1?
    • How do these patterns of interactions impact society?
      Use one of the theories explored in Chapter 1 to explain this sociology of everyday life. In addition, outline why you think different theories have formed, why some are more accepted than others, and what you would change.
  2. How do you think theories help us understand our social world? Detail the ways in which they are significant to your life.
  3. According to a Police news release in August the number of red-light camera traffic infractions has doubled since 2018. Apply the concepts/theories in chapter 1 to explain why this spike in traffic infractions has occurred. Try to observe the drivers’ interactions in Toronto.