Sociology And Science Flashcards Preview

Sociology Theory - SCLY4 > Sociology And Science > Flashcards

Flashcards in Sociology And Science Deck (31)
Loading flashcards...

What do positivists believe about patterns?

They believe that reality is not random or chaotic but patterned which means we can observe, identify, measure and explain patterns by finding the facts that cause them


Do positivists favour a macro or micro perspective of social phenomena?



What sort of research do positivists favour to uncover and measure patterns of behaviour?

Objective, quantitative data


Which positivist studied suicide to show that sociology could be a science and how did he do it?

Emile Durkheim, used quantitative data from official statistics


What did Durkheim discover from his research into suicide?

He found patterns in suicide rates and he claims to have discovered a 'real law' that integration and regulation affect the rates of suicide


What do interpretivists believe about the subject matter of sociology?

They believe that the subject matter of sociology is meaningful social action and that we can only understand it through understanding meanings


What distinction do interpretivists make between sociology and the natural sciences?

Interactionists believe that natural sciences study matter and can be explained in a straightforward manner, whereas sociology studies people who do have consciousness which means they are not just puppets and cannot have facts made about them


What does verstehen mean according to interpretivists and why do they favour qualitative data?

Interactionists believe that we must put ourselves in the place of the actor so they favour qualitative data because of this


What are the two types of interpretivists?

Interactionists and Phenomonologists and Ethnomethodologists


What do interactionists believe?

They believe that we can have causal explanations


What do phenomenologists and ethnomethodologists believe about society?

They argue that society is not an external force but only exists in consciousness


Why do postmodernists reject sociology as a science?

Because science sees itself as a meta-narrative


Why do feminists reject sociology as a science?

They argue that a quest for one theory excludes many groups of women


What theorist believes in the fallacy of induction, falsificationism?

Karl Popper


What is the Fallacy of induction, according to Karl Popper? What example did he give

Popper rejects the view that science lies in inductive reasoning and uses the example of swans. We cannot prove all swans are white. So we cannot prove a theory is true simply by producing more observations of it


What does Karl popper believe about scientific statements?

That they are capable of being falsified or proved wrong and we must be able to say what evidence would count against it if we put it to the test


According to Popper, which two features makes a good theory?

Can be falsified but stands up to any attempts
If it is bold - explains a great deal and makes big generalisations


What are Karl Poppers beliefs about sociology as a science?

Popper believes that sociology is unscientific. For example, Marxism is unfalsifiable


What theorist believes in the idea of paradigms, normal science and scientific revolutions?

Thomas Kuhn


What is a paradigm?

A basic framework of assumptions, principles, methods and techniques within which members work. It is a world view


What does Kuhn argue about the importance of shared paradigms?

He believes that science cannot exist without a shared paradigm


How does Kuhn describe 'normal science'?

In a 'normal science' Kuhn says that the paradigms go unquestioned and working in it is like working with a jigsaw


According to Kuhn, what is a scientific revolution, and how does it occur?

A scientific revolution occurs when not all the puzzle solving goes right and they find something contrary to the paradigm and science enters a period of crisis. A paradigm eventually wins out and becomes accepted by the scientific community


What are Thomas Kuhn's beliefs about sociology as a science?

Kuhn believes that sociology could only become scientific if basic disagreements were resolved and a single, shared paradigm was established


What do postmodernists believe about paradigms?

Postmodernists argue that a paradigm would not be desirable as it sounds like meta narrative


What does Atkinson argue about social facts?

He rejects the idea that social facts determine behaviour and argues that statistics are socially constructed


What do realists such as Keats and Urry stress the similarities between?

Sociology and the natural sciences such as the degree of control for the researcher


What do Keats and Urry distinguish between?

Closed and open systems


What are closed systems?

Closed systems are where the researcher can control and measure all the relevant variables and can make precise predictions


What are open systems?

Those where the researcher can’t control and measure relevant variables and thus cannot make precise predictions