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Anomie

The loss of direction felt in a society when social control of individual behavior has become ineffective.

Conflict perspective

A sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups.

Dramaturgical approach

A view of social interaction that examines people as if they were theatrical performers.

Dysfunction

An element or a process of society that may disrupt a social system or lead to a decrease in stability.

Functionalist perspective

A sociological approach that emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability.

Ideal type

A construct or model that serves as a measuring rod against which actual cases can be evaluated

Interactionist perspective

A sociological approach that generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction.

Latent functions

Unconscious or unintended functions; hidden purposes

Macrosociology

Sociological investigation that concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations

Manifest functions

Open, stated, and conscious functions.

Microsociology

Sociological investigation that stresses study of small groups and often uses laboratory experimental studies.

Nonverbal communication

The sending of messages through the use of posture, facial expressions, and gestures.

Science

The body of knowledge obtained by methods based upon systematic observation.

Social inequality

A condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, or power.

Social science

The study of various aspects of human society.

Sociological imagination

An awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society.

Sociology

The systematic study of social behavior and human groups.

Theory

In sociology, a set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior.

Causal logic

The relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other.

Content analysis

The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.

Control group

Subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher.

Control variable

A factor held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable.

Correlation

A relationship between two variables whereby a change in one coincides with a change in the other.

Dependent variable

The variable in a causal relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable.

Ethnography

The study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation.

Experiment

An artificially created situation that allows the researcher to manipulate variables and introduce control variables.

Experimental group

Subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher.

Hawthorne effect

The unintended influence that observers or experiments can have on their subjects.

Hypothesis

A speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.

Independent variable

The variable in a casual relationship that, when altered, causes or influences a change in a second variable.

Interview

A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information.

Observation

A research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct involvement with an observation of a group, tribe, or community.

Operational definition

An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to measure the concept.

Qualitative research

Research that relies on what is seen in field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data.

Quantitative research

Research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form.

Questionnaire

A research instrument employed to obtain desired information from a respondent.

Random sample

A sample for which every member of the entire population has the same chance of being selected.

Reliability

The extent to which a measure provides consistent results.

Representative sample

A selection from a larger population that is statistically typical of that population.

Research design

A detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically.

Scientific method

A systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem.

Secondary analysis

A variety of research techniques that make use of publicly accessible information and data.

Survey

A study, generally in the form of interviews or questionnaires, that provides sociologists and other researchers with information concerning how people think and act.

Validity

The degree to which a scale or measure truly reflects the phenomenon under study.

Variable

A measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions.

Argot

Specialized language used by members of a group or subculture.

Counterculture

A subculture that deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture.

Cultural relativism

The viewing of people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture.

Cultural universals

The totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior.

Cultural lag

Refers to a period of maladjustment during which the nonmaterial culture is still adapting to new material conditions.

Culture shock

The feeling of surprise and disorientation that is experienced when people witness cultural practices different from their own.

Diffusion

The process by which a cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society.

Discovery

The process of making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality.

Dominant ideology

A set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interest.

Ethnocentrism

The tendency to assume that one's own culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others

Folkways

Norms governing everyday social behavior whose violation raises comparatively little concern.

Formal norms

Norms that generally have been written down and that specify strict rules for punishment of violators.

Globalization

The worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas.

Informal norms

Norms that generally are understood but are not precisely recorded.

Innovation

The process of introducing new elements into a culture through either discovery or invention.

Invention

The combination of existing cultural items into a form that did not previously exist.

Language

An abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. It also includes gestures and other nonverbal communication.

Law

Governmental social control.

Material culture

The physical or technological aspects of our daily lives.

Mores

Norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society

Nonmaterial culture

Cultural adjustments to material conditions, such as customs, beliefs, patterns of communication, and ways of using material objects.

Norms

Established standards of behavior maintained by a society.

Sanctions

Penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm

Society

A fairly large number of people who live in the same territory, are relatively independent of people outside it, and participate in a common culture.

Subculture

A segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society.

Technology

Information about how to use the material resources of the environment to satisfy human needs and desires.

Values

Collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper—or bad, undesirable, and improper—in a culture.

Xenocentrism

The belief that the products, styles, or ideas of one's society are inferior to those that originate elsewhere.

Anticipatory socialization

Processes of socialization in which a person "rehearses" for future positions, occupations, and social relationships.

Degradation ceremony

An aspect of the socialization process within total institutions, in which people are subjected to humiliating rituals.

Dramaturgical approach

A view of social interaction that examines people as if they were theatrical performers.

Gender roles

Expectations regarding the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females.

Impression management

The altering of the presentation of the self in order to create distinctive appearances and satisfy particular audiences.

Looking-glass self

A concept that emphasizes the self as the product of our social interactions with others.

Personality

In everyday speech, a person's typical patterns of attitudes, needs, characteristics, and behavior.

Resocialization

The process of discarding former behavior patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one's life.

Role taking

The process of mentally assuming the perspective of another, thereby enabling one to respond from that imagined viewpoint.

Self

A distinct identity that sets us apart from others.

Significant others

Those individuals who are most important in the development of the self, such as parents, friends, and teachers.

Socialization

The process whereby people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture.

Sociobiology

The systematic study of biological bases of social behavior.

Symbols

The gestures, objects, and language that form the basis of human communication.

Total institutions

Institutions that regulate all aspects of a person's life under a single authority, such as prison, the military, mental hospitals, and convents.

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