Decreasing importance of social ties and community and the corresponding increase in impersonal associations and instrumental logic; also, according to Marx, the sense of dissatisfaction the modern worker feels as a result of producing goods that are owned and controlled by someone else.
"Normlessness"; term used to describe the alienation and loss of purpose that result from weaker social bonds and an increased pace of change.
A type of secondary group designed to perform tasks efficiently, characterized by specialization, technical competence, hierarchy, written rules, impersonality, and formal written communication.
An economic system based on the laws of free market competition, privatization of the means of production, and production for profit, with an emphasis on competition and supply and demand as a means to set prices.
Awareness of one's own social status and that of others; also, the recognition of social inequality on the part of the oppressed, leading to revolutionary action.
A system of government that eliminates private property; the most extreme form of socialism, because all citizens work for the government and there are no class distinctions.
Generated by the competition between different class groups for scarce resources and the source of all social change, according to Karl Marx.
A paradigm that sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change and emphasizes a materialist view of society, a critical view of the status quo, and a dynamic model of historical change.
A sociological approach that looks at how we create meaning in naturally occurring conversation, often by taping conversations and examining them.
A contemporary form of conflict theory that criticizes many different systems and ideologies of domination and oppression.
Marx's model of historical change, whereby two extreme positions come into conflict and create some new third position between them.
W.E.B. DuBois's term for the conflict felt by and about African Americans, who were both American (and hence entitled to rights and freedoms) and African (and hence subject to prejudices and discrimination) at the same time.
A theoretical paradigm pioneered by Erving Goffman in which social life is analyzed in terms of its similarities to theatrical performance to understand how individuals present themselves to others.
Those elements of identity that are generated through others' perceptions of our physical traits.
The study of "folk methods," or everyday interactions, that must be uncovered rather than studied directly.
The tendency to favor European or Western history, culture, and values over other cultures.
A denial of the truth on the part of the oppressed when they fail to recognize the interests of the ruling class in their ideology.
A theoretical approach that looks at gender inequities in society and the way that gender structures the social world.
A system of beliefs, attitudes, and values that directs a society and reproduces the status quo of the bourgeoisie.
Max Weber's pessimistic description of modern life, in which the "technical and economic conditions of machine production" control our lives through rigid rules and rationalization.
means of production
Anything that can create wealth: money, property, factories, and other types of businesses, and the infrastructure necessary to run them.
Term developed by Emile Durkheim to describe the type of social bonds present in premodern, agrarian societies, in which shared tradition and beliefs created a sense of social cohesion.
A paradigm that places trust in the power of science and technology to create progress, solve problems, and improve life.
Term developed by Emile Durkheim to describe the type of social bonds present in modern societies, based on difference, interdependence, and individual rights.
A set of assumptions, theories, and perspectives that make up a way of understanding social reality.
The theory, developed by Auguste Comte, that sense perceptions are the only valid source of knowledge.
A paradigm that suggests that social reality is diverse, pluralistic, and constantly in flux.
A theoretical perspective that assumes organisms (including humans) make practical adaptations to their environments. Humans do this through cognition, interpretation, and interaction.
Workers; those who have no means of production of their own and so are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.
The therapeutic branch of psychology founded by Sigmund Freud in which free association and dream interpretation are used to explore the unconscious mind.
A paradigm that proposes that categories of sexual identity are social constructs and that no sexual category is fundamentally either deviant or normal; this paradigm emphasizes the importance of difference and rejects as restrictive the idea of innate sexual identity.
The application of economic logic to human activity; the use of formal rules and regulations in order to maximize efficiency without consideration of subjective or individual concerns.
The process that causes unwanted or taboo desires to return via tics, dreams, slips of the tongue, and neuroses, according to Freud.
A procedure for acquiring knowledge that emphasizes collecting concrete data through observation and experiment.
The unequal distribution of wealth, power, or prestige among members of a society.
An economic system based on the collective ownership of the means of production, collective distribution of goods and services, and government regulation of the economy.
The degree of integration or unity within a particular society; the extent to which individuals feel connected to other members of their group.
A paradigm that begins with the assumption that society is a unified whole that functions because of the contributions of its separate structures.
A social institution that is relatively stable over time and that meets the needs of society by performing functions necessary to maintain social order and stability.
The process in which socially unacceptable desires are healthily channeled into socially acceptable expressions, according to Freud.
A paradigm that sees interaction and meaning as central to society and assumes that meanings are not inherent but are created through interaction.
The new social system created out of the conflict between thesis and antithesis in a dialectical model.
In sociology, abstract propositions that explain the social world and make predictions about future events.