Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

How do Sociologists View and Think about society?

How do Sociologists View and Think about society?

All sociologists are interested in how individuals’ experiences are shaped by social interactions and society at large. Sociologists believe that personal decisions do not exist in a vacuum. People are pressured by cultural patterns and social forces to choose one option over another. By analyzing the behavior of large groups of people living in the same society and experiencing the same societal pressures, sociologists attempt to identify these general patterns.

A sociologist might examine social patterns through the recent turmoil in the U.S. housing market and high foreclosure rates. American Dreams have long included the dream of owning a home. Savings for a down payment on the largest investment of a person’s life often take years. One of the biggest budget items for most people is their mortgage. There can be serious consequences if you miss one or more mortgage payments.

If the lender forecloses on the mortgage, the property may be repossessed. It is possible for people to lose their homes and to be unable to borrow money in the future. Choosing to walk away from debt isn’t an easy choice for most people. Approximately three million homes were repossessed in the United States between 2006 and 2011. It is predicted that the number will double by 2013 (Levy and Gop 2011). The rate is much higher than the historical average.

  • What social factors contribute to this situation, and where might sociologists find patterns?
  • Has American perception of debt, including mortgages, changed over time?
  • How do unemployment rates affect the economy?
  • Is there a possibility that a change in class structure could have an impact?
  • How do major economic players operate?

The goal of sociologists is to answer these questions by looking at national trends beyond individual foreclosures. It will be evident to them that unemployment has reached record levels in recent years. Subprime mortgages with adjustable rates began low and ballooned as a result of many lenders approving them. Social class, race, and gender differences in unemployment and lending practices may be investigated. Sociologists can better explain why people make the choices they do by analyzing the external conditions that influence their choices.


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