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chapter 1 sociology


the systematic study of human society, social groups, and social interactions.

empirical research

is based on systematic, unbiased examination of evidence

sociological imagination

is the ability to see the realities of our lives in the context of common social structures, or social issues, other than as personal problems

karl marx

left 2 legacies, economic determination and the dialectic and viewed poverty and inequiality as human made conditions fostered by private property and capitalis

economic determinism

means that economic relationships provide the foundation on which all other social and political arrangements are built


is the process through which thesis and antithesis the produces a new idea (synthesis), is called

emile durkheim

one if major concerns was the balance btwn social regulation and personal freedom. he argued that community standards of morality, which he called the collective conscience, not only confine our behavior but also give u a sense of belonging and integration.

max weber

declaration that sociology must be value free

values free sociology

argued that sociology should be concerned with what IS and not what OUGHT TO BE

structural functionalism

addresses the question of social organization (structure) and how its maintained (function)

conflict theory

addresses the points of stress and conflict in society and the ways in which they contribute to social change. *compteting interests, each seeking to secure its own ends*

symbolic interactionism

addresses the subjective meanings of human acts and processes by which people come to develop and communicate shared meanings. *interacting individuals and groups*


is a set of norms specifying the rights and obligations associated with a position or status

social structure

is a recurrent pattern of relationships among groups of ppl, ex: marriage, religion

structural functional assumptions

stability, harmony and evolution

structural functional theory

functions, dysfunctions


positive effects on the stability of society


negative effects on the stability of society

conflict theory assumptions

competition, strucural inequality and social change


over scarce resources is at the heart of all social relationships

structural inequality

is built into all social structures

social change

occurs as a result of conflict rather than through adaptation

symbolic interactionism assumptions

symbolic meanings are important to understand behaviors we must learn what it means to the participants.

researching society

2 research goals: accurate description and accurate explanation

the research process

STEP 1: stating the problem
STEP 2: setting the stage by selection of variables
STEP 3: gathering data
STEP 4: finding patterns
STEP 5: generating theories

step one stating the problem

a problem may be stated in the form of a hypothesis

step two setting the stage

before gathering data, we have to select variables, define terms, and decide exactly which people to study


are measurable characteristics that vary from one individual or group to the next

independent variable

is the "cause" in the cause and effect relationship.

dependent variable

is the "effect" in the cause and effect relationship


refers to the process of deciding exactly how to measure a given variable

operational definition

describes the exact procedure by which a variable is measured

step 3 gathering data

experiment, survey research, participation observation, sampling, random samples


variables are manipulated to test theories; experimental group, control group


is a systematic selection of representative cases from the larger population

random samples

are chosen through a procedure that ensures that every individual in a population has an equal chance of being selected

step four finding patterns

analyzing data, look for patterns in data, and a correlation occurs where there is an empirical relationships btwn 2 variables

step 5 generating theories

explanations re usually embodied in a theory.


is an interrelated set of assumptions that explains observed patterns

experimental group

is the group in an experiement that experiences the independent variable

control group

is the group in an experiment that does not receive the independent variable

survey research

survey research involves asking a relatively large number of people the same set of standardized questions

existing data sets

Federal, local, and state
governments provide a wealth of information
to researchers in the form of already
compiled data sets.

participant observation

is conducting research
by participating,
interviewing, and
observing "in the field."
Strategies include:
• Participating
• Interviewing
• Observing

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