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A feeling of isolation and powerlessness that may affect workers in a bureaucracy.


A formal organization that is designed to accomplish goals and tasks through the efforts of a large number of people in the most efficient way possible.

Formal Organization

A complex and structured secondary group that was deliberately created to achieve specific goals in an efficient manner.

Glass Ceiling

A collection of attitudinal and organizational biases in the work place that prevent women from advancing to leadership positions.


A tendency of in- group members to conform without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas, that result in a narrow view of an issue.

Ideal Types

General traits that describe a social phenomenon rather than every case.

In- Groups

Sets of people who share a sense of identity and "we-ness" that typically excludes and devalues outsiders.

Iron Law of Oligarchy

The tendency of a bureaucracy to become increasingly dominated by a small group of people.

Out- Groups

People who are treated and viewed negatively because they are seen as having values, beliefs, and other characteristics different from those of an in- group.

Primary Group

A relatively small group of people who engage in intimate face- to- face interaction over an extended period of time.

Reference Group

A collection of people who shape our behavior, values, and attitudes.

Secondary Group

A large, usually formal, impersonal, and temporary collection of people who pursue a specific goal or activity.

Social Group

Two or more people who interact with one another and who share a common identity and a sense of belonging or "we-ness."

Social Institutions

An organized and established social system that meets one or more of societies basic needs.

Social Network

A web of social ties that links individuals to others.

Voluntary Association

A formal organization created by people who share a common set of interests and who are not paid for their participation.


The condition in which people are unsure of how to behave because of absent, conflicting, or confusing social norms.

Corporate Crimes

White- collar crimes committed by executives to benefit themselves and their companies. (AKA Organizational crimes)


A violation of societal norms and rules for which punishment is specified by public law.

Crime Control Model

An approach that holds that crime rates increase when offenders don't fear punishment.

Criminal Justice System

The government agencies- including police, courts, and prisons- that are charged with enforcing laws, passing judgement on offenders, and changing criminal behavior.


Researchers who use scientific methods to study the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behavior.


White- collar crimes that are conducted online.


Behavior that violates expected rules or norms.

Differential Association

People learning deviance through interaction, especially with significant others.

Labeling Theory

A perspective that holds that society's reaction to behavior is a major factor in defining oneself or others as deviant.

Occupational Crime

Crimes committed in the work place by individuals acting solely on their own personal interests.

Organized Crime

Activities of individuals and groups that supply illegal goods and services for profit.

Primary Deviance

The initial violation of a norm or law.


The social control approach that holds that appropriate treatment can change offenders into productive, law- abiding citizens.


Punishments or rewards for obeying or violating a norm.

Secondary Deviance

Rule breaking behavior that people adopt in response to the reaction of others.

Social Control

The techniques and strategies that regulate peoples behavior in society.


A negative label that devalues a person and changed his or her self concept and social identity.

Strain Theory

The idea that people may engage in deviant behavior when they experience a conflict between goals and the means available to obtain those goals.

Victim Survey

A method of gathering data that involves interviewing people about their experiences as crime victims.

Victimless Crimes

Acts that violate laws but involve individuals that don't consider themselves as victims.

White- Collar Crimes

Illegal activities committed by high status individuals in the course of their occupation.

Absolute Poverty

Not having enough money to afford the most basic necessities of life.


Those who own the means of production and can amass wealth and power.

Closed Stratification System

A system in which movement from one social position to another is limited by ascribed statuses such as one's sex, skin color, and family background.

Conspicuous Consumption

Lavish spending on goods and services to display one's social status and enhance one's prestige.

Corporate Welfare

An array of direct subsidies, tax breaks, and assistance that the government has created for businesses.

Davis- Moore Thesis

The functionalist view that social stratification has beneficial consequences for a society's operations.

Feminization of Poverty

The higher likelihood that female heads of households will be poor.

Horizontal Mobility

Moving from one position to another at the same class level.

Intergenerational Mobility

Moving up or down the class hierarchy relative to the position of one's parents.

Intragenerational Mobility

Moving up or down the class hierarchy over a lifetime.

Life Chances

The extent to which people have positive experiences and can secure the good things in life because they have economic resources.


A belief that individuals are rewarded for what they do and how well rather than on the basis of their ascribed status.

Open Stratification System

A system that is based on an individuals achievement and allows movement up or down.

Poverty Line

The minimal level of income that the federal government considers necessary for basic subsistence.


The ability of individuals or groups to achieve goals, control events, and maintain influence over others despite opposition.


Respect, recognition, and regard attached to social positions.


Workers who sell their labor for wages.

Relative Poverty

Not having enough money to maintain an average standard of living.

Social Class

A category of people who have a similar standing or rank in a society based on wealth, education, power, prestige, and other valued resources.

Social Mobility

A persons ability to move up or down the class hierarchy.

Social Stratification

The hierarchical ranking of people in a society who have different access to different resources, such as property, prestige, power, and status.

Socioeconomic Status

An overall ranking of a persons position in the class hierarchy based on income, education, and occupation.


People who are persistently poor and seldom employed, segregated residentially, and relatively isolated from the rest of the population.

Vertical Mobility

Moving up or down the class hierarchy.


The money and other economic assets that a person or family owns, including property and income.

Working Class

People who work at least 27 weeks a year but receive such low wages that they live in or near poverty.


The expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus.


Those who lack any interest in or desire for sex.


Those who are sexually attracted to members of both sexes.


Learned attitudes and behaviors that characterize people of one sex or the other.

Gender Identity

A perception of oneself as either masculine or feminine.

Gender Pay Gap

The overall income difference between women and men in the work place. (AKA the wage gap)

Gender Roles

The characteristics, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that society expects of females and males.

Gender Stereotype

Expectations about how people will look, act, think, and feel based on their sex.

Gender Stratification

People's unequal access to wealth, power, status, prestige, and other valued resources as a result of their sex.


The belief that heterosexuality is superior to and more natural than homosexuality or bisexuality.


Those who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.


The fear and hatred of homosexuality.


Those who are sexually attracted to people of the same sex.


The graphic depiction of images that cause sexual arousal.


The biological characteristics with which we are born.


An attitude or behavior that discriminates against one sex, usually females based on the assumed superiority of the other sex.

Sexual Harassment

Any unwanted sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other conduct of a sexual nature that makes a person uncomfortable and interferes with his or her work.

Sexual Orientation

A preference for sexual partners of the same sex, of the opposite sex, or of both sexes.

Sexual Script

Specifies the formal and informal norms for legitimate or unacceptable sexual activity, which individuals are eligible sexual partners, and the boundaries of sexual behavior.

Transgendered people

Those who are transexuals, intersexuals, or transvestites.


A formal system of racial segregation.


A process of conforming to the culture of the dominant group and intermarrying with that group.

Contact Hypothesis

The idea that the more people get to know members of a minority group personally, the less likely they are to be prejudice against that group.


Any act that treats a person unequally because of their group membership.

Dominant Group

Any physically or culturally distinctive group that has the most economic and political power, the greatest privileges and the highest social class.

Ethnic Group

A set of people who identify with a common national origin or cultural heritage that includes language, geographic routes, food, customs, traditions, and or religion.


The belief that one's own culture, society, or group is inherently superior to others.

Gendered Racism

The combined and cumulative effects of inequality due to racism or sexism.


The systematic effort to kill all members of a particular ethnic, religious, political, racial, or national group.

Individual Discrimination

Harmful action directed intentionally, on a one- to- one basis by a member of a dominant group against a minor of a minority group.

Institutional Discrimination

Unequal treatment and opportunities that members of a minority group experience as a result of the everyday operations of a society's law, rules, policies, practices, and customs.

Internal Colonialism

The unequal treatment and subordinate status of groups within a nation.

Minority Group

A group of people who may be subject to differential and unequal treatment because of their physical, cultural, or other characteristics, such as gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or skin color.


Marriage or sexual relations between a man and a woman of different races.


Minority groups retain their culture but have equal social standing in a society.


An attitude, positive or negative, toward people because of their group membership.


A group of people who share physical characteristics, such as skin color and facial features, that are passed on through reproduction.

Racial- Ethnic Group

A group of people who have both distinctive physical and cultural characteristics.


A set of beliefs that one's own racial group is naturally superior to other groups.


Individuals or groups whom people blame for their own problems or short comings.


The physical and social separation of dominant and minority groups.


An exaggerated generalization about a category of people.


An economic system in which the ownership of the means of production is in private hands.

Conflict Theory

An approach that examines the ways in which groups disagree, struggle over power, and compete for scarce resources.

Division of Labor

An interdependence of different tasks and occupations, characteristic of industrialized societies, that produce social unity and facilitate change.


Social patterns that have a negative impact on a group or society.


Information that is based on observations, experiments, or experiences rather than on ideology, religion, or intuition.

Feminist Theories

Approaches that try to explain the social, economic, and political position of women in a society.


An approach that maintains that society is a complex system of interdependent parts that work together to ensure a societies survival.


Action in which people take each other into account in their own behavior.

Latent Functions

Functions that are unintended and unrecognized; they are present but not immediately obvious.


The study of large- scale patterns and processes that characterize society as a whole.

Manifest Functions

Functions that are intended and recognized; they are present and clearly evident.


The study of small scale patterns of individuals social interaction in specific settings.

Social Facts

Aspects of social life, external to the individual, that can be measured.

Social Solidarity

Social cohesiveness and harmony.

Sociological Imagination

The intersection between individual lives and larger social influences.


The systematic study of social interaction at a variety of levels.

Symbolic Interactionism

A micro- level perspective that looks at individuals everyday behavior through the communication of knowledge, ideas, beliefs, and attitudes.


A set of statements that explains why a phenomenon occurs.

Value Free

Separating one's personal values, opinions, ideology, and beliefs from scientific research.

Content Analysis

Data collection method that systematically examines examples of some form of communication.

Control Group

The group of subjects in an experiment who are not exposed to the independent variable.

Deductive Reasoning

Reasoning that begins with a theory, prediction, or general principle that is then tested through data collection.

Dependent Variable

The outcome, which may be affected by the independent variable.

Evaluation Research

Research that uses all of the standard data collection techniques to assess the effectiveness of social programs in both the public and private sectors.


A carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to manipulate variables and measure the effects.

Exerimental Group

The group of subjects in an experiment who are exposed to the independent variable.

Field Research

Data collection by systematically observing people in their natural surroundings.


A statement of a relationship between two or more variables that researchers want to test.

Independent Variable

A characteristics that determines or has an effect on the dependent variable.

Inductive Reasoning

Reasoning that begins with a specific observation, followed by data collection and the development of a general conclusion or theory.

Nonprobability Sample

A sample for which little or no attempt is made to get a representative cross section of the population.


Any well- defined group of people or things about whom researchers want to know something.

Probability Sample

A sample for which each person has an equal chance of being selected because the selection is random.

Qualitative Research

Research that examines nonnumerical material and interprets it.

Quantitative Research

Research that focuses on a numerical analysis of peoples responses or specific characteristics.


The consistency with which the same measure produces similar results time after time.


A group of people or things that are representative of the population that researchers wish to study.

Scientific Method

The steps in the research process that include careful data collection, exact measurement, accurate recording and analysis of the findings, thoughtful interpretation of the results, and when appropriate, a generalization of the findings to a larger group.

Secondary Analysis

Examination of data that have been collected by someone else.

Social Research

Research that examines human behavior.


A systematic method for collecting data from respondents including questionnaires, face- to- face or telephone interviews, or a combination of these.


The degree to which a measure is accurate and really measures what it claims to measure.


A characteristic that can change in value or magnitude under different conditions.

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