Sociology – The Comparative Method Essay

Sociologists have embraced what is known as the comparative method as the most efficient manner to expose taken-for-granted ‘truths’ or Torahs that people have adopted. But what is this comparative method and how does it work? Are at that place any advantages/disadvantages to exposing these false ‘truths’ . What forms or fluctuations of the comparative method be? In the pages to follow I will try to give you some insight and apprehension of what the comparative method is.

and how it works. The comparative method. merely set. is the procedure of comparing two things ( in our instance societies. or the people that make up society ) and seeing if the consequence of the comparing shows a difference between the two. The comparative method efforts to dereify ( the procedure of exposing misinterpreted norms.

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Norms that society see natural and inevitable features of human being ) reified ( the homo created norms or ‘truths’ ) beliefs. Obviously there are assorted ways in which a nomi ( a labeled. sometime constructed. norm or truth ) can be exposed.Which signifier of the comparative method should one usage nevertheless? The reply.

whichever one applies to the ‘truth’ in inquiry. For illustration. you surely would non make a cross-gender signifier of comparing if you wished to expose whether or non homosexualism has ever been feared and looked down upon by most people throughout history. No. instead you would execute a historical comparing of two or more different societies to see if these beliefs ever existed. or.

whether or non this is a freshly constructed belief. Let’s expression at little more closely at the above mentioned historical comparing and see how the comparative method works with a specific illustration. There is no inquiry that in today’s western society there is a batch of fright and trepidation towards people who are labeled ‘homosexual’ . The inquiry we will try to reply nevertheless is whether or non it has ever been like this and is this a cosmopolitan truth. In ancient Grecian societies people had a really different sentiment of work forces that slept with work forces.For illustration.

it was considered rather an award for a household with a immature male child under the age of 10. to be given the privilege on an older adult male of high society taking their boy into his house. The immature male child would travel and populate with this older adult male.

The older adult male would hold sex with the immature male child on a regular footing until the male child developed facial hair. It was non until so that the male child was considered a adult male. Society thought that an older adult males.

of great repute. seeds would assist the male child develop into a all right immature adult male. Once the male child developed the facial hair. the sex between the two would halt.

The older man’s occupation was finished. Obviously this would be considered an flagitious and gross outing act these yearss. The older adult male in this instance would surely travel to imprison for the ‘crimes’ that he had committed.However. in Ancient Greece this was non merely considered absolutely normal. but as I already stated. it was an award and a gift that non every male child was ‘lucky’ plenty to be given.

Therefore. we can reason from this comparing that homophobia. as we know it. is non a natural truth. nor is it a cosmopolitan belief. Rather it is a socially constructed belief that many people have taken for granted as an inevitable portion of human being. It is of import at this point to clear up something nevertheless.

It is said that the function of the sociologist is a descriptive 1 as opposed to a normative 1. That is to state that the sociologist should depict the assorted patterns. imposts and constructions that exist in assorted societies instead than propose to people which one is really the right belief or the ‘real’ truth. Cross-gender comparings is another normally used comparing used to uncover socially constructed truths.

In Carol Gilligan’s book ‘In a different voice’ we find a all right illustration of a cross-gender comparing. She states that most people believe that the bulk of people. both work forces and adult females. position morale issues in the same manner.However. through empirical informations aggregation. Carol Gilligan concludes that this is non most frequently the instance.

Rather. she states that work forces tend to near moral issues rather otherwise than adult females. Where as work forces view morale issues with a ‘don’t interfere with my rights’ position. adult females focus more on the ‘responsibility’ terminal of the morale involved. Thus we can reason. thanks to the comparative method. that the constructed truth that all people view morale issues the same is non a right one. Another speedy illustration of a cross-gender comparing would be that of the house-wife.

Still today most work forces view the function of the married adult female as one that involves being a house-wife. in the traditional sense of the term. However. adult females today surely would non see themselves in the same mode.

The informations collected from a comparing such as this could assist to dereify this socially constructed truth. Cross-class comparings is besides a comparing normally used when trying to expose constructed truths between two categories. i.

e. lower-class. upper-class. middle-class.For an illustration I refer to my talk notes.

Our professor gave us a all right illustration of a cross-class comparing affecting his ain life. He was from a middle-class household and attended a public school where he got involved with assorted childs from the center and lower category. He grew up in this type of environment and accepted it as the his life as the manner society was. To him. there was non another life style. This was life. Several events occurred and because of these events our professor was moved.

by his parents. to a private school. This private school and the ‘new’ society that accompanied it resulted in a signifier of civilization daze for him.

All of a sudden he was placed in a new universe. a universe that he ne’er even knew existed. As you can see. our professor socially constructed the position that society was like the 1 that he lived in when he went to his public school. hung around with in-between and low-class friends. and did what middle and low-class childs did.

When he was afforded the opportunity to compare that type of life style to one of the upper-class he dereified his constructed position and his eyes opened to a new world and a new position of the manner society was.Another major comparative signifier is that of the cross-generational. This one is reasonably consecutive frontward. The name fundamentally says it all.

In fact. it’s much like the historical comparing method but on a much smaller graduated table. I believe that in order for it to be termed cross-generational. the coevalss that are being analyzed have to be populating at the same clip. Otherwise it becomes a historical comparing. Karen Anderson gives an illustration of a cross-generational comparing in her book Sociology: A Critical Introduction ( 1996. pg.

12 ) . ‘Canadians pride themselves on their tolerance and deficiency of bias. But we do non necessitate to look really far into our history to happen illustrations of taken-for-granted apprehensions that have led to discriminatory and damaging intervention. Some sections of the population have been classified as unwanted and therefore every bit unwanted or unworthy outsiders…’Anderson is indicating out that the constructed position in Canada is that we pride ourselves on the fact that we have really small bias in Canada.

She goes on to indicate out that this is non at all the instance. She gives the illustration of Canada’s history of in-migration. She discusses the fact that a batch of Chinese people were allowed to immigrate to Canada.

much to the discouragement of current occupants and already established European immigrants. during the clip when the transcontinental railway was being built. Sir John A. Macdonald was the Prime Minister at this clip and defended his repute by stating the people of Canada. who were really disturbed by his actions.

that the Chinese immigrants would populate in Western Canada merely temporarily. To reassure the people further Macdonald said ‘…no fright of a lasting debasement of the state by a bastard race’ . This would be considered hideous these yearss. Most Canadians would non even recognize that their state was really closed to the thought of the in-migration of certain types of people.The societal thought that Canada is. and ever have been.

a really tolerant state is exposed as a false. constructed truth through this cross-generational comparing. Finally we come to the last major comparative signifier. That of the cross-cultural. Cross-cultural comparing consists of comparing two societies or civilizations in an effort to uncover and expose some socially constructed ‘truths’ in order to turn out that they are non cosmopolitan but instead they are comparative to each society. There are literally 1000s of differences between about every civilization that people would be certainly shocked to larn of. For the following illustration I will demo how the cross-cultural comparative method dereifies some of the constructed alleged universal-truths that people in our society may hold.

India differs in it’s imposts well from that of Canada or Northern America. For illustration. in Western Civilization households sit together when they attend church. in India this is non acceptable at all.Work force and adult females must sit on opposite sides of the church. Work force and adult females in India for the most portion will non eat together. whereas in Western civilisation it is a common pattern and is really looked upon as a good clip for a small household adhering.

In India it is considered ill-mannered to eat with both custodies at the tabular array. The right had is entirely used for feeding and the left for imbibing. Obviously we have a wholly different pattern in Western society. Another daze that a Westerner might confront if he/she were to go to India would be the fact that it is still considered a major societal improperness for a adult male to even touch a adult female in public. In North America public shows of fondness can been seen everyplace.

. ( Stott. John. Down To Earth. 1980.

Pg. 12-15 ) These are all premier illustrations of Western cosmopolitan truths that are exposed when compared to another civilization.One of the major benefits for exposing these truths through the comparative method is the fact that dereifying accepted truths leads to a lessening in ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the act of construing all societies through one’s ain cultural lenses and believing that there thought of truths are the lone right 1s. This could take to the imposing of one’s ain beliefs onto other societies. In other words. comparing.

exposing. and dereifying helps educate and extinguish ignorance when it comes to societal ‘truths’ . However. there is a danger to exposing societal concepts.It could take to one taking on the perceptive of a extremist relativist ( all truths are right ) or a nihilistic position ( the belief that all truths are comparative and hence there are no truths ) . Obviously this is a really negative. and perchance a destructive. manner of thought.

As you can see. the comparative method is an indispensable portion of a sociologists pattern. Without it there would be a batch of confusion and misinterpretation between people and societies. Hopefully I have shown by illustration the assorted signifiers of the comparative method and how each of them applies to society and how they attempt to expose falsenesss.