The Way We Live is a comprehensive introduction to Sociology on 22 half-hour videos. Real-world examples in each video, called Slice of Life. focus on real people and issues and foster a better understanding of the key sociological concepts. Let your students explore the rich tapestry, diversity, and commonality of the human experience; learn to think critically about the challenging issues of our time; and develop a solid understanding of the groups, organizations, and societies which form the contexts for “ the way we live.”
Topics Covered in The Way We Live
1. Connections: The Sociological Perspective
What is Sociology? Various perspectives are offered by leading sociologists for understanding the complex interplay of individuals, groups and relationships in society, and how they provide a context for living and a roadmap for understanding life’s limitations … and possibilities. The development of Sociology as a discipline is the focus of this lesson.
2. Truth Be Told: Sociological Investigation
Sociological research and methodology is often the subject of fierce debate among sociologists. The pursuit of objectivity in sociological research, Critical Sociology, and the idea of Sociology as a science…each has transformed the way sociologists approach sociological research. This lesson also includes discussion of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and how these approaches are utilized in sociological research.
3. Common Ground: Culture
Values, beliefs, traditions, language, and material goods form the subject of this lesson about the components of culture. The video lesson begins with a Slice of Life look at the Amish - a group whose members in Southeastern Pennsylvania maintain language and other cultural traditions unique to early Germanic settlers to the region. The American values of individual rights and consumerism are also discussed.
4. Fitting In: Socialization
Humans are born without culture. For virtually anyone, culture begins with the family and continues through other social agents such as school, peer groups and mass media. This lesson follows the general process by which people develop their personalities and learn about the world around them – a process referred to as “socialization.”
5. Face to Face: Social Interaction
This lesson looks at how such aspects of social interaction as language, humor and emotion can shape and change the way we view the world around us. Nowhere is this interaction more visible than in the fusion of language and emotion which characterize the world of politics. But social interaction in the more mundane world of everyday life can be just as significant.
6. All Together: Groups and Organizations
Whether a small group or a multinational corporation, every organization has its own culture. This lesson looks at organizational behavior and includes discussion around the ideas of Frederick Taylor and “scientific management,” corporate culture and the pitfalls of bureaucracy.
7. Against the Grain: Deviance
Conventional wisdom suggests that behavior “outside the norm” can be considered deviant. But can we really define deviant behavior? Differing views on sexuality and violent crime are explored in the lesson, as are some of the moral, religious and psychological factors that play a role in understanding deviant behavior.
8. Matters of the Flesh: Sexuality
Conflicting views about sexuality permeate American culture. These conflicts play out in a variety of ways, from how we perceive sexually explicit materials to how we legislate on the issue of abortion. This lesson looks at the concept of sexuality and explores different attitudes towards sexuality education, abortion and sexual orientation.
9. Ups and Downs: Social Stratification
Since the 1950s when opportunity reached its peak, the gap between the “haves and have nots” has grown. This lesson looks at social stratification and the dimensions of social inequality that exist in the United States. Factors that contribute to stratification are discussed, including race, gender, education, income level, and changes in the workplace.
10. Worlds Apart: Global Stratification
Why can one continent be relatively affluent and another mired in poverty? This lesson looks at stratification on a global scale. The ideas of globalization and neo-liberalism are introduced. The lesson features Doctors Without Borders – an organization whose stated aim is to serve populations in need anywhere in the world irrespective of religious, political or social barriers that may exist.
11. Venus and Mars: Gender Stratification
Are men and women really that different? Society tends to emphasize differences more than similarities. This often leads to competition and, in some cases, inequality. This episode looks at gender issues and stratification. The gender divide in the workplace, the impact of Title Seven, and the women’s movement are explored.
12. Colors: Race and Ethnicity
For racial and ethnic minorities, the struggle for recognition and equality is nothing new. Perhaps nowhere is this more visible than in the United States. The polarizing effects of stereotyping, racial prejudice and discrimination, and its impact on generations of Black Americans, are discussed. Learners will also meet the Bazzy family – an Arab-American family in Michigan who must cope with local misconceptions and generalizations about Arab culture in the wake of 9/11.
13. Golden Years: Aging and the Elderly
The Longevity Revolution, cross-cultural differences, stereotypes – all present challenges to meeting the needs of America’s growing population of elderly adults. This lesson explores issues surrounding aging, death and dying, and features a nursing home that provides a rich array of programs for its residents.
14. Working World: The Economy and Work
It used to be that you could count on a steady job to provide a good salary, benefits and a pension. Today, we live in a rapidly changing economic and social climate that emphasizes the bottom line. What is the impact on society? What role does globalization play? This lesson looks at the economy and work, and includes a discussion about the impact one retail giant is having on workers, the economy and the world - Wal-Mart.
15. Balance of Power: Politics and Government
There are numerous ways to make your views known in a democracy, so why is it some people don’t have equal voice? Too often government only hears from those with access to money and education. The result can be inequality in housing, jobs, education and health care. This lesson looks at social stratification and its impact on politics.
16. Family Matters: Family
The traditional or nuclear family of the 1950s and 1960s is what most of us think of when asked to define ‘family’. But the idea that there is a typical family is perhaps little more than a myth. This lesson considers the diversity of family forms that exist today and cultural shifts that are changing the way we look at families. You will meet the Scott-Chung family – a lesbian couple who discuss their decision to have a family.
17. In God We Trust: Religion
Most religions define themselves by their respective rituals and traditions. What is remarkably consistent, however, is the role that virtually all religions play in the lives of their followers. Religion in the United States and its effect on the tapestry of American society – and politics - are the focus of this lesson.
18. Learning Curves: Education
What kind of education a child can expect to receive may have less to do with the teacher and more to do socioeconomic status, race and culture. These and other factors make the question of how best to educate American children a complicated one. In this episode you will meet families with different approaches to educating their children. The growth in home schooling as an alternative to conventional education is explored.
19. Taking the Pulse: Health and Medicine
Health care in the United States has reached a crisis point, despite advances in medicine and technology. Yet this is not necessarily the case in other parts of the world. This lesson looks at health and society, and explores such issues as inequities in health care coverage; the economics of providing care; alternative medical treatments; and ethical questions revolving around right-to-die and the obligation to provide medical treatment.
20. Rise and Fall: Population and Urbanization
This lesson reviews population, urbanization and the environment from a sociological point of view. While each of these is often analyzed separately, it is the dynamic, constantly shifting interplay among all three that is perhaps most significant. Topics covered include: fertility, mortality, migration, population growth, the earth and its resources, global climate change, and sustainability.
21. Mass Appeal: Social Movements
Social movements are not a new phenomenon. Fundamental to all social movements is the idea of collective identity. But other factors are often at play – politics, values, emotion, tactics – which often determine whether a social movement will be a success or a failure.
22. Waves of Change: Social Change
What is social change and what are its causes? This lesson provides a deeper understanding of the main theories and concepts of social change, modernity and post-modernity. Particular emphasis on the four dimension of modernization: the loss of community (Ferdinand Tonnies), the division of labor (Emile Durkheim), rationalization (Max Weber), and capitalism (Karl Marx).
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