Sunday, December 6, 2020

Peter Berger - Invitation to Sociology - summary part 2

Peter Berger's "sociological problem" is not a description of why things are wrong, but a description of the whole system, what its preconditions are and by what means it maintains its unity. Example problems: not divorce but marriage, not crime but law, not racism but racially defined stratification, not revolution but government. That is, defining a "problem" as a bad situation depends on your point of view, and what is a problem for one social system is a desirable routine for another. The sociologist must be able to observe the state of observation positions of competing value systems.

Extremely, Durkheim (a French sociologist) argued that the desires and intentions of an individual are completely irrelevant, and any action is determined by social logic that every human being in society is under his authority, and that often people act on that logic without knowing it at all.

The sociologist, however, must often ignore the answers given by social actors to his questions and seek hidden explanations from their minds. An approach is called functionalism. The company is analyzed on the basis of its operations as a system, operations that usually disappear or are blocked by the agents within the system.

This is also expressed on a personal level - many people believe in their own ideology (or propaganda), and the sociologist must penetrate through what a person (or society) pretends to be and what he really is - he must stand on the real (sometimes unpleasant) motives for action. The sociologist fights for absolute justice, so this science immediately disappears in totalitarian regimes.

Berger holds that traditional societies ascribe to their members definite and fixed identities, while in modern society the identity is not certain and is in a state of change (and also understanding different identities is easier, due to familiarity with societies and other situations). A situation is created in which a person does not know exactly what to expect, what his status in society is and what his attitude and connections are to other classes / people / officials. To some extent it is the crisis and shock that has spawned the blossoming of sociology today - man today is willing to convert views and ideologies, and is pre-empted into a state of greater transparency to the social core than in the past. There is a growing awareness of the relativity of each point of view and the non-existence of an absolute truth. However, most conceptual systems (such as Communism or Catholicism) provide a comprehensive explanation of a person's existence and world - including the conceptual system he has abandoned. Each conceptual system also provides tools for the struggle against its replacement by another system, and sees itself as an absolute truth. Cosmopolitanism - Urbanization often brings openness to the world, and sociological consciousness here is cosmopolitan.

Next parts of Berger's Invitation to Sociology:

Sociology as an Individual Pastime

the sociologist's motivation

Great books by Peter Berger and other invitations to sociology: