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The term has Greek and Latin origins and
means ‘reasoning about the social’
Auguste Compte (1798-1857) – a French
Philosopher coined the phrase sociology
Relationship between human beings and the
social aspects of the ‘human made’ world
that shape our lives
It is these aspects of the world, the bits that
‘bear the imprint of human beings that would
not exist at all but for the actions of human
beings’ Bauman (1990)
psychology focuses on the internal aspects of
the individual
The attempt to understand and explain how
the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of
individuals are influenced by the actual,
imagined, or implied presence of other
human beings
 Hewstone, E Strobe, W, Jonas, K., (2008),
Introduction to Social psychology A European
perspective fourth edition, Oxford, Blackwell
Aspects of the world that would not exist at
all but the actions of human beings!!
Sociologists are interested in social class,
ethnicity, and gender as fields of social
relations within the ‘human made world’ that
affect people as a collective or a group level
What is sociology
Key themes:
 Discovering and describing the effects of the
dynamics of social change
Identifying and describing social structures
and processes
Explaining the relationship between individual
and ‘collective’ society
Concerned with major social problems such
as unemployment, poverty, homelessness,
substance misuse, racism which affect
people’s lives (assignment?)
However identifying and addressing social
problems and the welfare needs of people
who experience them is typically the focus of
another discipline - social policy
African Proverb - ‘It takes a village to raise a
child’– significance of the wider society in the
course of individual development However
opinions vary about the degree to which it is
a factor- those who take an individualist
perspective may agree with
Margaret Thatcher ‘there’s no such thing as
society’ (Thatcher interviewed by Keays,
Beckett, and Taylor,(2010:162) suggest that
‘the individual is defined by their relationship
to others and the groups and communities that
are formed by these networks of individuals
 Class
 Race and ethnicity
Social construction operates through social
roles – the cluster of expectations which
become attached to a particular position,
status, job
Two Ronnies /John Cleese / class system
MwZY - you tube clip not available
Bronfenbrenner bio-ecological systems
Developed to explain how everything in a
child and the child's environment affects
how a child grows and develops.
Micro system
Micro system – is the small, immediate environment
the child lives in.– home, school.
Children's microsystems will include any immediate
relationships or organisations they interact with,
such as their immediate family or caregivers and
their school or day care.
How these groups or organisations interact
with the child will have an effect on how the
child grows; the more encouraging and
nurturing these relationships and places
are, the better the child will be able to grow
The mesosystem, describes how the different
parts of a child's microsystem work together
for the sake of the child.
For example, if a child's caregivers take an
active role in a child's school, such as going
to parent-teacher meetings and watching
their child's football games, this will help
ensure the child's overall growth.
Exosystem - settings where the individual
is not present but which nonetheless affects
them - employment , government policy,
local council decisions
The exosystem level includes the other
people and places that the child herself may
not interact with often herself but that still
have a large effect on her, such as parents'
workplaces, extended family members, the
For example, if a child's parent gets laid off
from work, that may have negative effects on
the child if her parents are unable to pay rent
or to buy groceries;
however, if her parent receives a promotion
and a raise at work, this may have a positive
effect on the child because her parents will be
better able to give her her physical needs.
Macrosystem – wider cultural context in
which the smaller systems are contained
and through which ideology and values are
relative freedoms permitted by the national
government, cultural values, the economy,
wars, etc
Marxism made simple
‘Religion is the opiate of the masses’
Karl Marx“
For Marxists, the existence of a curative
rather then preventative model of health care
is a consequence of capitalism.
Navarro (1976) argues that the dominance of
the medical profession in health care helps
obscure the social and economic causes of
The social and economic causes of illness
should be resolved by political, not medical,
action and initiatives.
While health care may be free at the point of
delivery(or not) there are also vast profits to
be made:
by companies selling drugs and high tech
equipment to the Health Service.
There are vast profits to be made by
companies selling drugs and high tech
equipment to the Health Service.
Little innovation or research is carried out in
the field of mental illness.......the Cinderella
service. Health care is still about profit and
the relative powerlessness of consumers
Similar points have been made by feminists.
Ann Oakley(1981)finds little evidence to
suggest that technological intervention in
childbirth is beneficial for mother or child.
Doctors have a great deal of control over
women’s fertility by controlling access to
most forms of contraception and abortion
Asamen, J.K., Ellis, M.L.,
Berry, G.L., 2006, Child Development,
Multiculturalism and Media, London, Sage
Beckett,C., Taylor, H., 2010 Human Growth and
Development, London, Sage