Who is considered the "father of sociology?" What prompted his study of society? What procedure did he follow to understand society? What philosophical theory did he originate?
Auguste Comte (1798-1857).
His studies were prompted by the French and Industrials Revolutions.
His procedure was the Scientific Method
Positivism:the application of the scientific method to the analysis of society.
In the United States, where was sociology first taught as an academic discipline?
University of Kansas (1890), University of Chicago (1892), Atlanta University (1897).
Describe Qualitative sociology. What University, led by Albion Small (1854-1926) practiced this type of sociology?
Qualitative sociology is concerned mainly with trying to obtain an accurate picture of a group and how it operates in the world. It emphasizes understanding an individuals experiences.
The University of Chicago.
Describe Quantitative sociology. What University pioneered this type of sociology?
Quantitative sociology relies on statistical analysis to understand experiences and trends.
Sociology is a multidisciplinary field. What other social sciences does it draw from? What is a social science?
Social sciences concern people's relationships and interactions with one another.
Social science includes: anthropology, political science, psychology, and economics.
What is the difference between sociology and social work?
Social work is an applied science. Social works takes the principles found in sociology and applies them to a particular issue.
Where does the word "society" come from?
What is a society?
From the latin root socius, meaning "companion" or "being with others."
A society is a group of people with common territory, interaction, and culture.
What does a sociologist study?
A sociologist studies the way people learn about their own society's cultures and how they discover their place within those cultures. They also examine the ways in which people from differing cultures interact and sometimes clash- and how mutual understanding and respect might be reached.
What is a social group?
A social group consits of two or more people who interact and identify with one another.
What is culture?
Culture refers to the languages, values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that constitute a people's way of life.
Why do sociologists consider the United States a pluralistic society?
Because it is built of many groups from all over the world.
What is assimilation?
When a group gives up certain characteristic in order to fit into another group.
In sociology, What is a melting pot? What term do some sociologists prefer?
A melting pot is a society in which people from different societies blend together into a single mass.
Multiculturalism. Melting pot seems to imply that a group loses it distinctive cultural heritage when it assimilates into an larger group.This is not always the case.
What are some types of societies?
Hunting and Gathering
What are five basic characteristics of hunting and gathering socieites?
1. The primary institution is the family, which decides how food is to be shared and how children are to be socialized, and which provides for the protection of its members.
2.They tend to be small, with fewer than fifty members.
3.They tend to be nomadic, moving to new areas when the current food supply in a given area has been exhausted.
4.Members display a high level of interdependence.
5.Labor division is based on sex: men hunt, and women gather.
What was the first social revolution and what were its results
the first social revolution was the domestication of plants and animals. It led to the birth of horticultural ('hortus' is the Latin for garden) and pastoral societies, which then led to job specialization
What is a pastoral society?
A pastora society relies on the domestication and breeding of animals for food.
What was the second social revolution and what were its results?
the invention of the plow. led to the establishment of agricultural societies.
What was the third social revolution and what as its effects?
the invention of the steam engine. it took humans from agricultural to industrial society.
What is an industrial society?
An industrial society uses advanced sources of energy, rather than humans and animals, to run large machinery.
When did industrialization begin?
Industrialization began in the mid-1700s, when the steam engine was first used in Great Britain as a means of running other machines.
What does it mean for a society to become urbanized?
means the majority of the population lived within commuting distance of a major city.
Sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies divided societies into what two large categories? Describe each category.
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft
Gemeinschaft societies consist primarily of villages in which everyone knows everyone else. Relationships are lifelong and based on kinship.
A Gesellschaft society is modernized. People have little in common with one another, and relationships are short term and based on self-interest, with little concern for the well-being of others.
What is a postindustrial society? What are its three main characteristics?
the type of society that has developed over the past few decades, features an economy based on services and technology, not production
1.Focus on ideas: Tangible goods no longer drive the economy.
2.Need for higher education: Factory work does not require advanced training, and the new focus on information and technology means that people must pursue greater education.
3.Shift in workplace from cities to homes: New communications technology allows work to be performed from a variety of locations.
What are the characteristics of a mass society?
individual achievement is valued over kinship ties, and people often feel isolated from one another. Personal incomes are generally high, and there is great diversity among people.
What is a norm?
a guideline or an expectation for behavior that is set by society and that changes constantly.
List and describe the four categories of norms
Folkway: A folkway is a norm for everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of convenience or tradition. People practice folkways simply because they have done things that way for a long time. Violating a folkway does not usually have serious consequences.
Example: Holding the door open for a person right behind you is a folkway.
Mores: A more (pronounced MORE-ay) is a norm based on morality, or definitions of right and wrong. Since mores have moral significance, people feel strongly about them, and violating a more usually results in disapproval.
Example: Parents who believe in the more that only married people should live together will disapprove of their son living with his girlfriend. They may consider their son's action a violation of the moral guidelines for behavior.
Laws: A law is a norm that is written down and enforced by an official agency. Violating a law results in a specific punishment.
Taboos: A taboo is a norm that society holds so strongly that violating it results in extreme disgust. The violator is often considered unfit to live in that society.
What is social control? What is the most common method of maintaining social control?
methods that societies devise to encourage people to observe norms.
Sanctions: socially constructed expressions of approval or disapproval. Can be positive or negative.
Describe positive and negative sanctions
A positive sanction rewards someone for following a norm and serves to encourage the continuance of a certain type of behavior.
A negative sanction is a way of communicating that a society, or some group in that society, does not approve of a particular behavior. The optimal effect of a negative sanction is to discourage the continuation of a certain type of behavior.
the set of norms, values, behaviors, and personality characteristics attached to a status
explain role conflict
results from the competing demands of two or more roles that vie for our time and energy.
What is culture?
everything made, learned, or shared by the members of a society, including values, belief, behaviors, and material objects.
What is material culture?
consists of the concrete , visible parts of a culture, such as food, clothing, cars, weapons, and buildings.
What is nonmaterial culture?
consists of the intangible aspects of a culture, such as values and beliefs. It consists of concepts and ideas that shape who we are and make us different from members of other societies.
What is value?
A culturally approved concept about what is right or wrong, desirable or undesirable.
what is a dominant culture?
is the group in a society whose members are in the majority or who wield more power than other groups.
What is a subculture?
a group that lives differenly from, but not opossed to, the dominant culture. It is a culture within a culture.
African American subculture theorist who was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University
W.E.B. Du Bois
the tendency to judge another culture by the standards of one's own culture. It usually entails the notion that one's own culture is superior to everyone else's
What is cultural relativism?
the examination of a cultural trait within the context of that culture. Cultural relativists try to understand unfamiliar values and norms without judging them and without applying the standards of their own culture.
define culture shock
Culture shock is the surprise, disorientation, and fear people can experience when they encounter a new culture.
what is culture lag?
the tendency for changes in material and nonmaterial culture to occur at different rates. Ogburn proposed that, in general, changes in nonmaterial culture tend to lag behind changes in material culture, including technological advances.
Technology progresses at a rapid rate, but our feelings and beliefs about it, part of our nonmaterial culture, lag behind our knowledge of how to enact technological change.
define cultural diffusion
the process whereby an aspect of culture spreads throughout a culture or from one culture to another.
Name 5 theories that deal with the developmental stages that children experience.
Freud's Theory of Personality Development,
Mead's Theory of Social Behaviorism,
Cooley's Theory of the Looking-Glass Self,
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development,
Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development.
According to Austrian physician and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, what two factors shaped personality?
biological instincts and societal factors.
According to Freud, what three parts of the mind have to interact properly if a person is to function well in society? Describe all three parts.
Id: According to Freud, the id develops first. A newborn's mind consists only of the id, which is responsible for the satisfaction of physical desires. The id represents a human being's most primitive desires, and a person ruled only by the id would do everything strictly for his or her own pleasure, breaking societal norms in the process and risking punishment.
Superego: As children move from infancy into childhood, their minds develop a superego, or conscience, which encourages conformity to societal norms and values. Someone with a hyperactive superego would be confined within a too-rigid system of rules, which would inhibit his or her ability to live normally.
Ego: A healthy mind also consists of the ego, or the part of the mind that resolves the conflicts between the id and the superego. Normally, the ego balances the desires of the id and superego, but when it fails, a person may have difficulty making decisions, which can lead to behavioral problems.
According to George Herbert Mead, how do people develop self-images?
through interactions with other people.
What was Mead's idea of self and what was it a product of? How does it develop?
self is the part of a person's personality consisting of self-awareness and self-image. It is a product of social experience.
The self develops solely through social experience. Mead rejected Freud's notion that personality is determined partly by biological drives.
Social experience consists of the exchange of symbols. Mead emphasized the particularly human use of language and other symbols to convey meaning.
Knowing others' intentions requires imagining the situation from their perspectives. Mead believed that social experience depends on our seeing ourselves as others do, or, as he coined it, "taking the role of the other."
Understanding the role of the other results in self-awareness. Mead posited that there is an active "I" self and an objective "me" self. The "I" self is active and initiates action. The "me" self continues, interrupts, or changes action depending on how others respond.
Like Mead, sociologist Charles Horton Cooley believed that we form our self-images through interaction with other people. He was particularly interested in how significant others shape us as individuals. What is a significant other?
someone whose opinions matter to us and who is in a position to influence our thinking, especially about ourselves.
According to Cooley of socialization, what it the notion of the looking glass self?
The looking-glass self refers to a self-image that is based on how we think others see us
What was Cooley's three step process in developing the looking glass self?
We imagine that a significant other perceives us in a certain way.
We imagine that he or she makes a judgment about us based on that perception.
We form a self-image based on how we think our significant other sees us.
what were Piagets four periods of development
sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, formal operational
List and describe Piagets four period of development
Stage 1: Sensorimotor Period
(birth to roughly age two): During this stage, children learn by using their senses and moving around. The main achievement of this stage is object permanence, which is the ability to recognize that an object can exist even when it's no longer perceived or in one's sight.
Stage 2: Preoperational Period
(age two to seven): During this period, children keep getting better at symbolic thought, but they can't yet reason. According to Piaget, children aren't capable of conservation during this stage. Conservation is the ability to recognize that measurable physical features of objects, such as length, area, and volume, can be the same even when objects appear different.
Stage 3: Concrete Operational Period
(age seven to eleven): During this period, children start to become capable of performing mental operations or working problems and ideas through in their minds. However, they can perform operations only on tangible objects and real events.
Stage 4: Formal Operational Period
(age eleven through adulthood): During this period, children become capable of applying mental operations to abstract concepts. They can imagine and reason about hypothetical situations. From this point on, they start to think in abstract, systematic, and logical ways.
List and describe Kohlberg's three levels of moral development
The preconventional level: Children ascribe great importance to the authority of adults.
The conventional level: Children want to follow rules in order to get approval.
The postconventional level: People are more flexible and think in terms of what's personally important to them. Only a small proportion of people reach this last stage of moral reasoning.
What are agents of socialization?
People, groups, and experiences that influence our behavior and self-image are agents of socialization.
the learning of new norms and values that occurs when they join a new group or when life circumstances change dramatically.
What is a total institution?
an organization or setting that has the following characteristics:
Residents are not free to leave.
All actions are determined and monitored by authority figures.
Contact with outsiders is carefully controlled.
The environment is highly standardized.
Rules dictate when, where, and how members do things.
Individuality is discouraged.
Describe Erving Goffman's concept of dramaturgy
the idea that life is like a never-ending play in which people are actors.Goffman believed that when we are born, we are thrust onto a stage called everyday life, and that our socialization consists of learning how to play our assigned roles from other people. We enact our roles in the company of others, who are in turn enacting their roles in interaction with us. He believed that whatever we do, we are playing out a role on the stage of life.
occurs when we start learning new norms and values in anticipation of a role we'll occupy in the future.
a set of behaviors, attitudes, and personality characteristics expected and encouraged of a person based on his or her sex.
To sociologists, however, an institution isn't a building; an institution is what goes on inside the building. An institution is a set of norms surrounding the carrying out of a function necessary for the survival of a society.
list and describe the two approaches sociologists use to study society.
In macrosociology, sociologists analyze large-scale social forces, such as institutions. They identify and analyze the structure of societies.
The second approach sociologists use is microsociology, the study of social interaction. These sociologists focus on face-to-face interaction, how people act around others. This method is focused more on individuals than groups.
What are the two dominant economic systems in the world
capitalism and socialism.
Most societies have varying blends of the two systems. Common hybrids of capitalism and socialism are welfare capitalism and state capitalism.
a system under which resources and means of production are privately owned, citizens are encouraged to seek profit for themselves, and success or failure of an enterprise is determined by free-market competition.
system under which resources and means of production are owned by the society as a whole, rights to private property are limited, the good of the whole society is stressed more than individual profit, and the government maintains control of the economy.
is a system that features a market-based economy coupled with an extensive social welfare system that includes free health care and education for all citizens.
a system under which resources and means of production are privately owned but closely monitored and regulated by the government.
Describe Marx's economic theory
Philosopher and historian Karl Marx believed that the economy was the basic institution of society and that all other institutions, such as family and education, served to fuel the economy. As societies became more industrialized, he theorized, they also became more capitalistic. Marx disliked the fact that capitalism created a two-tiered system consisting of factory owners and factory workers, in which the groups were constantly in conflict with each other. Factory owners wanted to pay their workers as little as possible to maximize profits. Factory workers, on the other hand, wanted to make as much money as possible. The advantage was always with the owners, who could choose to fire workers who wanted too much and hire workers who would work for less.
in any capitalist society there will always be conflict between the owners of the means of production and the workers. The only way to resolve the conflict is for workers to unite, mount a revolution, and overthrow their oppressors.
all the means of production would be owned by everyone and all profits would be shared equally by everyone.
Current Economic Trends
Globalization: The expansion of economic activity across many borders characterizes the global economy. Poorer, developing nations now produce the raw materials for the world's multinational corporations. These multinational companies control most of the world's economy.
Demand for educated professionals: The postindustrial economy is driven by trained professionals such as lawyers, communications professionals, doctors, and teachers.
Self-employment: New, affordable communications technology has allowed more people to go into business for themselves.
Diversity in the workplace: Once the bastion of white males, professional offices are heavily populated by women and minorities in today's society.
n institution entrusted with making and enforcing the rules of a society as well as with regulating relations with other societies. In order to be considered a government, a ruling body must be recognized as such by the people it purports to govern. A person or group that considers itself the leading body of a society has no power if the members of the society do not recognize the person or group as such.
What are the four major categories of government?
monarchy, democracy, authoritarianism, or totalitarianism.
a political system in which a representative from one family controls the government and power is passed on through that family from generation to generation.
the reigning member of the royal family is the symbolic head of state but elected officials actually do the governing
a political system in which citizens periodically choose officials to run their government.
a political system under which the government maintains tight control over nearly all aspects of citizens' lives.
a type of government in which the state provides for and promotes the social and economic well-being of its citizens. The government provides some sort of social insurance, or benefits, for families or individuals in dire need. The welfare state also includes provisions for government funding of education, health services, and housing.
government should play an active role in promoting the general welfare of the country and takes a liberal stand on social issues.
government should take a limited role in providing social services and takes a conservative stand on social issues.
Max Weber's idea of power
the ability to achieve ends even in the face of resistance—as the foundation of government.
Weber's three kind of authority
traditional authority, which rests on well-established cultural patterns; rational-legal authority, which rests on rules and laws; and charismatic authority, which depends on the personal magnetism of one person.
Three forms of government in conflict
Revolution: A violent overthrow of the government by its citizens. Often, a group of charismatic philosophers and intellectuals sparks the movement.
War: Armed conflict between nations or societies. Societies have always waged war over rights to land and resources or because of conflicting moral, political, or religious objectives. In the twentieth century, the nature of war changed dramatically with the development of nuclear weapons. Massive stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction has made the threat of global annihilation a strong deterrent to war among industrialized nations.
Terrorism: A politically motivated violent attack on civilians by an individual or group. Since few nations have the military strength to attack the United States directly, terrorism by extremist groups within and outside the country has become an increasingly potent threat.
The three important functions of family
To provide for the rearing of children
To provide a sense of identity or belonging among its members
To transmit culture between generations
Variations of marriage
Endogamy: Marriage between members of the same category, class, or group
Exogamy: Marriage between members of different categories, classes, or groups
Monogamy: Marriage between one man and one woman
Polygamy: Marriage between one man and more than one woman
Polyandry: Marriage between one woman and more than one man
Factors contributing to increase in divorce rate
Women have become less economically dependent on men
Legal standards have also relaxed,
current status of the family in the US
the number of children in the households of industrialized countries has been dwindling for generations. Economic pressures have led the average U.S. family to have only one or two children. Because both parents must often work outside the home to support the family, parents and children spend less and less time together.
List alternative family types
Cohabitating, unmarried couples
Gay and lesbian couples
a social institution that answers questions and explains the seemingly inexplicable. Religion provides explanations for why things happen and demystifies the ideas of birth and death.
A cult is a religious group that is outside standard cultural norms, typically centered around a charismatic leader.
religion in america
In the United States, the degree to which people are religious is related to their social class, race, and ethnicity. The most affluent people in the United States tend to be Protestant, although Jews also enjoy a higher-than-average standard of living. Northern Europe, which is mostly Protestant, was the area of origin for most of the early settlers in America, so people of Northern European descent tend to come from the most established families and encounter the least amount of prejudice. People who emigrated from predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Southern and Eastern Europe and, later, Latin America encountered more prejudice and tend to be less affluent than the Protestants. However, there is wide variation among the groups.
In the United States, the degree to which people are religious is related to their social class, race, and ethnicity. The most affluent people in the United States tend to be Protestant, although Jews also enjoy a higher-than-average standard of living. Northern Europe, which is mostly Protestant, was the area of origin for most of the early settlers in America, so people of Northern European descent tend to come from the most established families and encounter the least amount of prejudice. People who emigrated from predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Southern and Eastern Europe and, later, Latin America encountered more prejudice and tend to be less affluent than the Protestants. However, there is wide variation among the groups.
responsible for defining and treating physical and mental illnesses among members of a society.
a medical approach that involves learning about a patient's physical environment and mental status,
onsists of two or more people who are distinct in the following three ways:
Interact over time.
Have a sense of identity or belonging.
Have norms that nonmembers don't have.
e.g. a class
a collection of people who happen to be at the same place at the same time but who have no other connection to one another.
e.g.: people at a restaurant
collection of people who share a particular characteristic. They do not necessarily interact with one another and have nothing else in common.
e.g. people with green eyes
offers a great deal of intimacy. Members of a primary group meet the following criteria:
Meet frequently on a face-to-face basis.
Have a sense of identity or belonging that lasts a long time.
Share little task orientation.
Have emotional intimacy.
more formal and less personal. Members of a secondary group meet the following criteria:
Do not meet frequently, or they meet only for short periods of time.
Share a sense of identity or belonging only until the group ends.
Feel little emotional intimacy.
e.g.: job at a fast food joint.
the degree to which an individual feels connected to the other people in his or her group or community.
According to Durkheim, what three factors increased the risk of suicide
Gender (male) In most societies, men have more freedom and are more independent than women. While this might sound like a good thing, it can lead some men to feel that they have few significant relationships with other people and that it would be an admission of weakness to seek advice or comfort from others. This can lead to feelings of being cut off from a group or community.
Religion (Protestant) Durkheim felt that Protestants were more likely to commit suicide than Catholics or Jews because the religious practices of the latter two religions emphasize the development of closer ties among their members. People who do not develop close ties with others are more likely to commit suicide.
Marital Status (Single) people who were not married had fewer connections to other people and were less likely to feel part of the larger community.
implies that our thoughts and behaviors are influenced by the groups to which we belong and that, in turn, we influence how the group as a whole thinks and behaves.
one of the first sociologists to look at how the size of a group affects interactions among its members.
dyad and Simmels understanding of it
a group of two people,
interactions are intense and very personal. He also believed that a dyad was the least stable category of groups. e.g. marriage
triad and Simmel's understanding of it
a group of three people,
much more stable because conflicts between two of its members could be mediated by the third person. In general, Simmel believed that larger groups were more stable than smaller groups, but that in smaller groups the interactions between members were more intense and more intimate.
groupthink: who coined this term and what does it mean
Irving Janis; the tendency of people in positions of power to follow the opinions of the group to the point that there is a narrow view of the issue at hand. When groupthink operates, the emerging viewpoint is that there is only one correct course of action and anyone who disagrees is labeled as disloyal.
power elite: who cointed this term and what does it refer to?
C. Wright Mills
the tendency of people in positions of power to follow the opinions of the group to the point that there is a narrow view of the issue at hand. When groupthink operates, the emerging viewpoint is that there is only one correct course of action and anyone who disagrees is labeled as disloyal.
a group that people choose to join, in which members are united by the pursuit of a common goal.
secondary group organized to achieve specific goals. Formal organizations tend to be larger and more impersonal than voluntary associations.
Max Weber's concept of bureaucracy
a type of formal organization in which a rational approach is used to handle large tasks. Weber believed that as societies modernize, they become more rational, resulting in the creation of bureaucracies. As they industrialize, they grow larger, which means that the tasks to be accomplished become more numerous and complex.
e.g. : phone company
rationalization of society.
Max Webers process by which bureaucracies would gain increasing power over modern life. Before long, almost every aspect of society would be governed by bureaucratic rules and regulations
characteristics of a bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is characterized by a division of labor. In a bureaucracy, people specialize in the performance of one type of work. Using the phone company as an example, there are people who handle customers' bills, others who provide directory information, and others who climb the poles and repair the wires. The people who repair the wires do not handle customers' bills and vice versa.
In a bureaucracy, there are written rules for how jobs are to be performed. All jobs in a certain category must be performed exactly the same way, regardless of who is doing the work. All of the people who perform a specific job receive similar training, and the same standards for job performance are applied equally to everyone.
Jobs are arranged in a hierarchy. If the workplace were a pyramid, the top levels would represent upper management and the bottom levels would represent the rank-and-file workers. The top spot is usually occupied by a single person, while the bottom levels are occupied by an increasing number of jobs. Each level assigns tasks to the level below it, and each level reports to the level above it.
Official communication is written down to minimize confusion and to facilitate the organization and maintenance of records. Keeping written or electronic records documents the performance of individuals, departments, and the corporation as a whole. Communication is also written because it is more reliable and not susceptible to an individual's memory lapses or inaccurate interpretation of information.
Employees have an impersonal relationship with the organization. The most important factors of a bureaucracy are the office and the job, not the individual doing the job. Each employee's loyalty should be to the organization, and not to the individual to whom they report.
a description of how an organization should ideally be run and is often very different from how it operates in reality
occurs when an organization displaces one goal with another in order to continue to exist.
a series of social ties that can be important sources of information, contacts, and assistance for its members.
eelings that they are being treated as objects rather than people.
rules and regulations in a bureaucracy grow rigid to the point of inefficiency.
ral and figurative distance exists between the highest and the lowest ranks that the bureaucracy is rendered ineffective.
Iron Law of Oligarchy: who coined this term and what does it refer to
bureaucracies tend to be run by a small group of people at the top, who he believed acted primarily out of self-interest, and who carefully controlled outsiders' access to power and resources. He called this the Iron Law of Oligarchy.
social construction of reality
the theory that the way we present ourselves to other people is shaped partly by our interactions with others, as well as by our life experiences. How we were raised and what we were raised to believe affect how we present ourselves, how we perceive others, and how others perceive us. In short, our perceptions of reality are colored by our beliefs and backgrounds.
"if a person perceives a situation as real, it is real in its consequences."our behavior depends not on the objective reality of a situation but on our subjective interpretation of reality. The consequences and results of behavior make it real.
Founder of Ethnomethodology? What is it?
theory that looks at how we make sense of everyday situations. Ethnomethodology studies what those background assumptions are, how we arrive at them, and how they influence our perceptions of reality.
Dramaturgy? Who developed it?
dea that life is like a never-ending play in which people are actors. socialization consists of learning how to play our assigned roles from other people. We enact our roles in the company of others, who are in turn enacting their roles in interaction with us. He believed that whatever we do, we are playing out some role on the stage of life.
mechanisms we use to present ourselves to others. e.g. Social setting
Manner of interacting
tendency to assume that a physically attractive person also possesses other good qualities
n assumption we make about a person or group that is usually based on incomplete or inaccurate information
esults when a person occupies one or more statuses that do not ordinarily coincide in the same person. A seventy-five-year-old grandmother who is a college freshman and a cab driver who is a classically trained Shakespearean actor both exhibit status inconsistency.
overrides all other statuses and becomes the one by which we are first known to others.
example of spoiled identity
Example: Convicted felons have a spoiled identity. Not only is their status as felons their master status, but it is a stigma so negative that it is likely that society will always think of them as convicted felons. Being a convicted felon is so stigmatizing that individuals will always be thought of as criminals even if they've served time and have been rehabilitated.
a ritual designed to expel a person from a group and to strip this person of his or her identity as a group member.
elements of a successful degradation ceremony
The individual's stigma or transgression must be made known to the entire group.
An authority figure must make the individual's stigma known to the group. Group members cannot denounce one another.
The group must believe that the authority figure is acting out of concern for the whole group. If the group believes that the leader is denouncing an individual because of a personal feud or vendetta, the degradation ceremony will not be successful.
The transgressor must be criticized in public, before the entire group. This serves to further humiliate the guilty party and reinforce the boundaries of behavior to the rest of the group. By publicly denouncing a group member, the leader is also telling everyone what kinds of behavior will and will not be tolerated.
The offending individual must be evicted from the group. If the group leader allows the transgressor to remain in the group, he or she is communicating to the other members that bearing a stigma, or breaking the rules, will be tolerated.
dd or unacceptable behavior, but in the sociological sense of the word, deviance is simply any violation of society's norms.
symbolic interactionist perspective
views society as a product of everyday social interactions of individuals. Symbolic interactionists also study how people use symbols to create meaning.
studied deviance from the symbolic interactionist perspective. formed theory of differential association
theory of differential association
deviance is a learned behavior—people learn it from the different groups with which they associate. His theory counters arguments that deviant behavior is biological or due to personality. According to Sutherland, people commit deviant acts because they associate with individuals who act in a deviant manne
a way of living that differs from the dominant culture and is based on that shared deviance. Within the deviant subculture, individuals adopt new norms and values and sometimes feel alienated from the larger society. They end up relying more on the group to which they feel they most belong. When an individual becomes a member of a deviant subculture, the members of his immediate group often become his primary source of social interaction. The deviant feels comfortable among others who have also been rejected from the dominant society.
Walter Reckless developed the ________ theory to explain how some people resist the pressure to become deviants.
According to control theory, people have two control systems that work against their desire to deviate. what are those control systems
Inner controls are internalized thought processes such as a sense of morality, conscience, or religious beliefs. People may also refrain from doing acts of deviance because they fear punishment or couldn't live with the guilt that would come from acting outside of society's norms. Inner controls represent a sort of internalized morality.
Outer controls consist of the people in our lives who encourage us not to stray. They could be family members, police officers, clergy, or teachers. Whoever they are, they influence us to conform to society's expectations. A person who is tempted to engage in a deviant act can resist the temptation by imagining how others would react to his or her behavior.
Sociologist Travis Hirschi elaborated on the control theory. He identified four elements that would render an individual more or less likely to commit deviance. what were those 4 elements
Attachment: People who feel a strong attachment to other people, such as family or close friends, are less likely to be deviant. If people have weak relationships, they feel less need to conform to the other person's or group's norms. They are more likely to commit a deviant act.
Commitment: Individuals who have a sincere commitment to legitimate goals are more likely to conform to society's norms. Those goals could be a legitimate job, higher education, financial stability, or a long-term relationship. When people have little confidence in the future, they are more likely to engage in deviance.
Involvement: The more involved people are with legitimate activities, the less likely they are to deviate from appropriate behavior. A person with a job, a family, and membership in several clubs or organizations is less likely to commit deviance. Not only does he not have time to waste in potentially harmful activities, but he has a lot to lose if he does.
Belief: An individual who shares the same values as the dominant society, such as respect for authority, the importance of hard work, or the primacy of the family, is less likely to commit deviance. Individuals whose personal belief systems differ from those of the dominant society are more likely to commit deviance. A person raised to believe that it is acceptable to cheat, lie, and steal will probably not integrate into mainstream society as well as someone whose beliefs conform to the values of the larger society.
First proposed by sociologist Howard Becker in the 1960s, labeling theory posits ...
that deviance is that which is so labeled. No status or behavior is inherently deviant until other people have judged it and labeled it deviant.
Sociologist Edwin Lemert differentiated between primary deviance and secondary deviance. The difference between primary deviance and secondary deviance is in...
the reactions other people have to the original act of deviance.
Primary deviance is a deviant act that provokes little reaction and has limited effect on a person's self-esteem. The deviant does not change his or her behavior as a result of this act.
Secondary deviance includes repeated deviant behavior that is brought on by other people's negative reactions to the original act of primary deviance.
structural functional theory
Its central idea is that society is a complex unit, made up of interrelated parts.
according to durkheim what are the four functions of deviance
Affirmation of cultural norms and values: Seeing a person punished for a deviant act reinforces what a society sees as acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Sentencing a thief to prison affirms our culturally held value that stealing is wrong. Just as some people believe that the concept of God could not exist without the concept of the devil, deviance helps us affirm and define our own norms.
Clarification of right and wrong: Responses to deviant behavior help individuals distinguish between right and wrong. When a student cheats on a test and receives a failing grade for the course, the rest of the class learns that cheating is wrong and will not be tolerated.
Unification of others in society: Responses to deviance can bring people closer together. In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, people across the United States, and even the world, were united in their shock and grief. There was a surge in patriotic feeling and a sense of social unity among the citizens of the United States.
Promoting social change: Deviance can also encourage the dominant society to consider alternative norms and values. Rosa Parks's act of deviance in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 led to the U.S. Supreme Court's declaration that segregation on public transportation was unconstitutional.
Strain theory, developed by sociologist Robert Merton, posits that
when people are prevented from achieving culturally approved goals through institutional means, they experience strain or frustration that can lead to deviance. He said that they also experience anomie,
feelings of being disconnected from society, which can occur when people do not have access to the institutionalized means to achieve their goals.
Institutionalized Means to Success
n the 1960s, sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin theorized that the most difficult task facing industrialized societies is finding and training people to take over the most intellectually demanding jobs from the previous generation. To progress, society needs a literate, highly trained work force. Society's job is to motivate its citizens to excel in the workplace, and the best way to do that is to foment discontent with the status quo. Cloward and Ohlin argued that if people were dissatisfied with what they had, what they earned, or where they lived, they would be motivated to work harder to improve their circumstances.
In order to compete in the world marketplace, a society must offer institutionalized means of succeeding. For example, societies that value higher education as a way to advance in the workplace must make educational opportunity available to everyone.
Illegitimate Opportunity Structures
Cloward and Ohlin further elaborated on Merton's strain theory. Deviant behavior—crime in particular—was not just a response to limited institutionalized means of success. Rather, crime also resulted from increased access to illegitimate opportunity structures, or various illegal means to achieve success. These structures, such as crime, are often more available to poor people living in urban slums. In the inner city, a poor person can become involved in prostitution, robbery, drug dealing, or loan sharking to make money. While these activities are clearly illegal, they often provide opportunities to make large amounts of money, as well as gain status among one's peers.
Reactions to Cultural Goals and Institutionalized Means
Conformists: Most people are conformists. They accept the goals their society sets for them, as well as the institution-alized means of achieving them. Most people want to achieve that vague status called a "good life" and accept that an education and hard work are the best ways to get there.
Innovators: These people accept society's goals but reject the usual ways of achieving them. Members of organized crime, who have money but achieve their wealth via deviant means, could be considered innovators.
Ritualists: A ritualist rejects cultural goals but still accepts the institutionalized means of achieving them. If a person who has held the same job for years has no desire for more money, responsibility, power, or status, he or she is a ritualist. This person engages in the same rituals every day but has given up hope that the efforts will yield the desired results.
Retreatists: Retreatists reject cultural goals as well as the institutionalized means of achieving them. They are not interested in making money or advancing in a particular career, and they tend not to care about hard work or about getting an education.
Rebels: Rebels not only reject culturally approved goals and the means of achieving them, but they replace them with their own goals. Revolutionaries are rebels in that they reject the status quo. If a revolutionary rejects capitalism or democracy, for example, he or she may attempt to replace it with his or her own form of government.
interprets society as a struggle for power between groups engaging in conflict for limited resources.
Conflict theorists like Marx posit that there are two general categories of people in industrialized societies:?
the capitalist class and the working class.
elite, consists of those in positions of wealth and power who own the means of production or control access to the means of production.
consists of relatively powerless individuals who sell their labor to the capitalist class. It is advantageous to the elite to keep the working class in a relatively disadvantaged position so that they can maintain the status quo and their own privileged positions.
Conflict Theory and Crime
Conflict theorists believe that the broad division of people into these two categories is inherently unequal. They cite the criminal justice system to support their claim. The capitalist class passes laws designed to benefit themselves. These same laws are detrimental to the working class. Both groups commit acts of deviance, but the system the capitalists created defines deviance differently for each group. The criminal justice system judges and punishes each group differently.
In addition, the elite can often afford expensive lawyers and are sometimes on a first-name basis with the individuals in charge of making and enforcing laws. Members of the working class generally do not have these advantages.
nonviolent crime committed by the capitalist class during the course of their occupations.
two reasons why white collar criminals are difficult to catch and prosecute
White-collar crime is difficult to identify. It leaves little physical evidence and no easily identifiable victim. In order to detect white-collar crime, authorities must have knowledge of high finance to discover that embezzlement, for example, has taken place.
White-collar criminals are sometimes able to use their power and influence to avoid prosecution. Because of their social and economic clout, white-collar criminals rarely face criminal prosecution. When prosecuted, they are much less likely than members of the working class to receive a prison sentence. They are more likely to pay a fine as punishment for their crime.
Conflict theorist Alexander Liazos points out that the people we commonly label as deviant are also
relatively powerless. According to Liazos, a homeless person living in the street is more likely to be labeled deviant than an executive who embezzles funds from the company he or she runs.
Because the people in positions of power make the laws of any given society, they create laws to benefit themselves. According to the conflict view of deviance, when rich and powerful people are accused of wrongdoing, they have the means to hire lawyers, accountants, and other people who can help them avoid being labeled as deviant. Lastly, members of a society generally believe that laws are inherently fair, which can draw attention away from the possibility that these laws might be unfairly applied or that a law itself might not be good or just.
three general categories of crime:
Crimes against the person: These are crimes in which an act of violence is either threatened or perpetrated against a person. A mugging is an example of a crime against the person.
Crimes against property: These are crimes that involve the theft of property or certain forms of damage against the property of another. Arson is an example of a property crime.
Victimless crimes: These are crimes in which laws are violated, but there is no identifiable victim. Prostitution is often classified as a victimless crime.
A stratified society
one in which there is an unequal distribution of society's rewards and in which people are arranged hierarchically into layers according to how much of society's rewards they possess.
literate and has experience and expertise in specific areas of production, or on specific kinds of machines.
a system of stratification in which one person owns another, as he or she would own property, and exploits the slave's labor for economic gain. Slaves are one of the lowest categories in any stratification system, as they possess virtually no power or wealth of their own.
The Causes of Slavery
Debt: Individuals who could not pay their way out of debt sometimes had to literally sell themselves. If a slave's debt was not paid off before his or her death, the debt was often passed down to his or her children, enslaving several generations of the same family.
Crime: Families against whom a crime had been committed might enslave members of the perpetrator's family as compensation.
Prisoners of war: Slaves were often taken during wartime, or when a new territory was being invaded. When Rome was colonizing much of the known world approximately 2,000 years ago, it routinely took slaves from the lands it conquered.
Beliefs of inherent superiority: Some people believe that they have a right to enslave those who they believe are inherently inferior to them.
slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was unique for several reasons. First, it had a fairly equal male-to-female ratio. Slaves also lived longer than in other regions. They often reproduced, and their children were born into slavery. In other countries, slavery was not permanent or hereditary. Once slaves paid off their debts, they were set free. In the United States, slaves were rarely freed before the Civil War.
three-tiered system composed of the nobility, the clergy, and the commoners. During the Middle Ages, much of Europe was organized under this system.
nobility in the middle ages
had great inherited wealth and did little or no discernible work. They occupied themselves in what we would term leisure pursuits, such as hunting or riding. Others cultivated interests in cultural pursuits, such as art and music.
law of primogeniture (middle ages)
comes from Latin and means "first born." The nobility's law of primogeniture stipulated that only a first-born son could inherit his father's wealth.
divine right of kings
osited that the authority of the king comes directly from God. The king delegated authority to the nobles. Because the king and the nobles were God's representatives, they had to be obeyed.
clergy (middle ages)
clergy was very powerful in European society in the Middle Ages, and membership offered long-term job security and a comfortable living. The higher up the ladder a priest went, the more power he had over the masses.
in which one individual agrees to sell his or her body or labor to another for a specified period of time. Once the time period is over, the individual may leave. Indentured servitude differs from slavery in that the individual chooses to enter into the agreement, while slaves have no say in deciding the course of their lives.
In today's world, three main systems of stratification remain:
slavery, a caste system, and a class system.
social system based on ascribed statuses, which are traits or characteristics that people possess as a result of their birth. Ascribed statuses can include race, gender, nationality, body type, and age. A caste system ranks people rigidly. No matter what a person does, he or she cannot change castes.
People often try to compensate for ascribed statuses by changing their nationality, lying about their age, or undergoing plastic surgery to alter their body type. In some societies, this strategy works; in others, it does not.
India's caste system
Indian government officially outlawed the caste system in 1949,The system originated with the Hindu religion, which subscribes to the concept of reincarnation, the belief that while the physical body dies, the soul of a person is immortal and goes on to be reborn into another body. People who are good in their current life will come back to improved circumstances in the next life, but if they are evil, they will be punished in the next one. Therefore, those who are poor or ill are suffering punishment for having done something wrong in a past life. One should not interfere in the life of another person because that individual's circumstances are the result of what he or she has done in a previous incarnation.
The Brahman caste usually consisted of priests or scholars and enjoyed a great deal of prestige and wealth.
The Kshatriya caste, or warrior caste, was composed of those who distinguished themselves in military service.
The Vaishva caste comprised two sets of people—business-people and skilled craftspeople.
The Shudra caste consisted of those who made their living doing manual labor.
The Harijan, Dalit, or Untouchable caste was thought to comprise only inferior people who were so repulsive that an individual who accidentally touched one would have to engage in extensive ritual ablutions to rid himself or herself of the contamination.
South Africa's apartheid system
White Europeans colonized South Africa starting in the seventeenth century, and the area remained part of the British Empire until its independence in 1961. The policy of apartheid, introduced in 1948, relegated black people to a caste far below that of whites. Black people could not vote, receive an education, or mix with whites in any way. The work of Nelson Mandela and others who fought for black equality have made apartheid illegal in South Africa, but, like the caste system in India, some prejudice and discrimination remain.
In a class system, an individual's place in the social system is based on achieved statuses, which are...
statuses that we either earn or choose and that are not subject to where or to whom we were born. Those born within a class system can choose their educational level, careers, and spouses.
movement up or down the social hierarchy, is a major characteristic of the class system.
reflects what we see as the kind of equality of opportunity that can exist only in a class system. Americans believe that all people, regardless of the conditions into which they were born, have an equal chance to achieve success.
Karl Marx based his conflict theory on the idea that
modern society has only two classes of people: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. According to Marx, the bourgeoisie in capitalist societies exploit workers. The owners pay them enough to afford food and a place to live, and the workers, who do not realize they are being exploited, have a false consciousness, or a mistaken sense, that they are well off. They think they can count on their capitalist bosses to do what was best for them.
Marx foresaw a workers' revolution. As the rich grew richer, Marx hypothesized that workers would develop a true class consciousness, or a sense of shared identity based on their common experience of exploitation by the bourgeoisie. The workers would unite and rise up in a global revolution. Once the dust settled after the revolution, the workers would then own the means of production, and the world would become communist. No one stratum would control the access to wealth. Everything would be owned equally by everyone.
Marx's vision did not come true. As societies modernized and grew larger, the working classes became more educated, acquiring specific job skills and achieving the kind of financial well-being that Marx never thought possible. Instead of increased exploitation, they came under the protection of unions and labor laws. Skilled factory workers and tradespeople eventually began to earn salaries that were similar to, or in some instances greater than, their middle-class counterparts.
he owners of the means of production: the factories, businesses, and equipment needed to produce wealth.
Social class for Weber included
power and prestige, Weber argued that property can bring prestige, since people tend to hold rich people in high regard. Prestige can also come from other sources, such as athletic or intellectual ability. In those instances, prestige can lead to property, if people are willing to pay for access to prestige. For Weber, wealth and prestige are intertwined.
Davis and Moore: The Functionalist Perspective
Davis and Moore: The Functionalist Perspective
Sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore believed that stratification serves an important function in society. In any society, a number of tasks must be accomplished. Some tasks, such as cleaning streets or serving coffee in a restaurant, are relatively simple. Other tasks, such as performing brain surgery or designing skyscrapers, are complicated and require more intelligence and training than the simple tasks. Those who perform the difficult tasks are therefore entitled to more power, prestige, and money. Davis and Moore believed that an unequal distribution of society's rewards is necessary to encourage people to take on the more complicated and important work that required many years of training. They believed that the rewards attached to a particular job reflect its importance to society.
Like all societies, the United States is stratified, and this stratification is often based on a person's socioeconomic status (SES). This complex formula takes into account three factors:
in the US, what determines a persons social class
The number of years a person spends in school, plus the prestige of his or her occupation, plus the amount of money he or she makes, determine one's social class.
The United States has roughly six social classes:
The Upper Class or Old Money
makes up about one percent of the U.S. population, generally consists of those with vast inherited wealth (sometimes called "old money"). Members of the upper class may also have a recognizable family name, such as Rockefeller, DuPont, or Kennedy. Some members of the upper class work, but their salaries are not their primary sources of income. Most members of this strata have attended college, most likely at some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the country.
relatively new rung on the social ladder and makes up about 15 percent of the population. New money includes people whose wealth has been around only for a generation or two. Also referred to as the nouveaux riches (French for "newly rich"), they have earned their money rather than inheriting it. Unlike the members of the upper class, they do not have a family associated with old money.
bout 34 percent of the population. The members of the middle class earn their money by working at what could be called professional jobs. They probably have college educations, or at least have attended college. These people are managers, doctors, lawyers, professors, and teachers. They rarely wear uniforms, although some might wear distinctive clothing, such as a physician's white coat. They are often referred to as the white-collar class, referring to the tendency of many middle-class men to wear suits with a white shirt to work.
30 percent of the population. Its members may have gone to college, but more have had vocational or technical training. The members of the working class have a variety of jobs, including the following:
This category is also called the blue-collar class in recognition of the likelihood that many of these individuals wear uniforms to work rather than suits. People in the working class are more likely to be members of unions than are people in the middle class. While there are differences between the working class and the middle class in terms of their values, behaviors, and even their voting records, their standards of living are often similar, but not identical.
Estimates say that approximately 20 percent of the population could be classified in either the working-poor or poverty-level categories.
People in the working-poor category have a low educational level, are not highly skilled, and work at minimum-wage jobs. They often work two or more part-time jobs and receive no health insurance or other benefits. These individuals are vulnerable to falling below the poverty line. They have very little or no job security, and their jobs are easily outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper.
Every economy needs a group of workers that it can hire during an economic upswing and lay off when the economy weakens. The members of the working poor are such people; they are the "last hired, first fired."
Who are the poor people in america?
About 66 percent of poor people are white, reflecting the fact that white people outnumber people of other races and ethnic groups in the United States. About 25 percent of the people living in poverty are black. The term feminization of poverty refers to the increasing number of female-headed households living at or below the poverty level. In the 1960s, approximately 25 percent of all female-headed households were in poverty; that figure is about 50 percent today. An increasing number of children are affected by this trend. As of 2005, about 16 percent of children under age 18 live in poverty; about 80 percent of them live in households headed by a single female.
where are the pool people in america
poor people are concentrated in the inner cities and in the rural South. Social economist William Julius Wilson believes that the relatively high level of poverty in inner cities is due to the lack of jobs. He says that many companies have relocated to suburban areas or have downsized their urban operations. Still others have moved their manufacturing facilities to other countries to take advantage of cheaper labor costs and laws favoring the development of new businesses.
The rural South has a high rate of poverty for several reasons:
Manufacturing concerns have preferred to operate in suburban areas, which are closer to interstate highways, railroads, and airports that enable manufacturers to transport their products.
Educational levels in the South tend to be lower. About 12 percent of the general U.S. population drops out of high school; in the South the dropout rate is about 15 percent.
The increasing demands of technology require employees who are flexible, skilled, and able to learn rapidly. A workforce composed of people with relatively low levels of education and few job skills is simply not attractive to potential employers.
consequences of poverty
Poor people are often not well educated about diet and exercise. They are more likely than people in higher social strata to be overweight and suffer from nutritional deficits.
They are less likely to have health insurance, so they put off going to the doctor until a problem seems like a matter of life and death. At that time they must find a public health facility that accepts patients with little or no insurance.
Living in poverty brings chronic stress. Poor people live every day with the uncertainty of whether they can afford to eat, pay the electric bill, or make the rent payment. Members of the middle class also have stress but have more options for addressing it.
Poor people usually do not have jobs that offer them vacation time to let them relax.
High levels of unresolved stress, financial problems, and poor health can wreak havoc within a relationship. Poor people report more relationship problems than do people in other classes and have higher rates of divorce and desertion. The children of such families are more likely than their middle-class counterparts to grow up in broken homes or in single-parent, female-headed households.
The Culture of Poverty
Anthropologist Oscar Lewis coined the term culture of poverty, which means that poor people do not learn the norms and values that can help them improve their circumstances; hence, they become trapped in a repeated pattern of poverty. Because many poor people live in a narrow world in which all they see is poverty and desperation, they never acquire the skills or the ambition that could help them rise above the poverty level. Since culture is passed down from one generation to the next, parents teach their children to accept their circumstances rather than to work to change them. The cycle of poverty then becomes self-perpetuating.
three broad categories to denote global stratification:
most industrialized nations, industrializing nations, and least industrialized nations.
most industrialized nations
United States, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, France, and the other industrialized countries of Western Europe, all of which are capitalistic.
account for about half of the land on Earth and include almost 70 percent of the world's people. These countries are primarily agricultural and tend to be characterized by extreme poverty. The majority of the residents of the least industrialized nations do not own the land they farm, and many lack running water, indoor plumbing, and access to medical care. Their life expectancy is low when compared to residents of richer countries, and their rates of illness are higher.
exists when a powerful country invades a weaker country in order to exploit its resources, thereby making it a colony. Those countries that were among the first to industrialize, such as Great Britain, were able to make colonies out of a number of foreign countries. At one time, the British Empire included India, Australia, South Africa, and countries in the Caribbean, among others. France likewise colonized many countries in Africa, which is why in countries such as Algeria, Morocco, and Mali French is spoken in addition to the countries' indigenous languages.
World System Theory
Immanuel Wallerstein's world system theory posited that as societies industrialized, capitalism became the dominant economic system, leading to the globalization of capitalism. The globalization of capitalism refers to the adoption of capitalism by countries around the world. Wallerstein said that as capitalism spread, countries around the world became closely interconnected. For example, seemingly remote events that occur on the other side of the world can have a profound impact on daily life in the United States. If a terrorist attack on a Middle Eastern oil pipeline interrupts production, American drivers wind up paying more for fuel because the cost of oil has risen.
Sociologist Michael Harrington used the term neocolonialism to describe the tendency of the most industrialized nations to exploit less-developed countries politically and economically. Powerful countries sell goods to less-developed countries, allowing them to run up enormous debts that take years to pay off. In so doing, the most developed nations gain a political and economic advantage over the countries that owe them money.
large corporations that do business in a number of different countries, can exploit weak or poor countries by scouring the globe for inexpensive labor and cheap raw materials. These corporations often pay a fraction of what they would pay for the same goods and employees in their home countries. Though they do contribute to the economies of other countries, the real beneficiaries of their profits are their home countries. Multinational corporations help to keep the global stratification system in place.
The Origins of Social Stratification
All modern societies are stratified, arranged hierarchically into layers due to an unequal distribution of society's rewards.
Hunting and gathering societies had no social stratification because all members had to produce food and share it.
Stratification arose with job specialization that began in pastoral and horticulture societies. Not everyone in the society needed to be involved in food production.
Rise of industrialized societies led to increased stratification as the difference between the haves and the have-nots grew.
Some improvement in working conditions created a middle class.
New technologies created a new social group, skilled workers.
The new technology used in postindustrial societies contributed to increased worldwide stratification.
Historical Stratification Categories
Historical stratification systems include slavery, the estate system, and indentured servitude.
Slavery is a system of stratification in which one person owns another.
The estate system, prevalent in the Middle Ages, was a three-tiered system composed of the nobility, clergy, and commoners.
Some commoners sought new opportunities in the New World and agreed to indentured servitude to get there. Unlike slavery, in which the enslaved have no choice, indentured servants agree to sell their bodies or labor to someone for a specified period of time.
Modern Stratification Systems
Slavery still exists as a stratification system.
The caste system is based on ascribed status, which is a condition of birth, and allows little or no possibility for mobility.
India's caste system is based on a belief in reincarnation, the belief that while the physical body dies, the soul of a person is immortal and goes on to be reborn into another body.
People in castes must marry within their own caste. This practice is known as endogamy.
Social mobility is an important characteristic of the class system, which is based on achieved status.
The United States has a class system of stratification.
Theories of Stratification
Karl Marx argued that there were only two classes of people in any capitalist society: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. He believed that the proletariat would eventually realize they were being exploited by the bourgeoisie and would rise up in revolution.
Max Weber argued that owning property was only part of determining a person's social class. Power and prestige were equally important.
Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore believed that stratification served an important function for society. It provided greater rewards to people willing to take more complex jobs.
Melvin Tumin disagreed, arguing that all societies are not meritocracies, systems of stratification in which positions are given according to individual merit. Gender and a family's wealth contribute to social class.
The Stratification System of the United States
A person's socioeconomic status (SES) is based on education, occupation, and income.
These categories are not always reliable predictors of social class.
Social Classes in the United States
Sociologists have identified six social classes in the United States.
The upper class, which makes up about one percent of the U.S. population, generally consists of those with vast inherited wealth (sometimes called "old money").
The category called new money includes rich people whose wealth is relatively new. This class makes up about 15 percent of the population.
The middle class, about 34 percent of the population, includes people who work at professional or white-collar jobs.
Members of the working class, about 30 percent of the population, often work at blue-collar jobs.
The working poor are people who have little to no job security and who, despite working two or more jobs, barely earn enough money to survive.
People at the poverty level lack the means to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Poverty in America
A staggering number of Americans currently live below the poverty level.
Many people living in poverty are women. The feminization of poverty refers to the increasing number of female-headed households living at or below the poverty level.
William Julius Wilson found that poverty is concentrated in inner cities and the rural South.
Poverty exacts a high emotional and physical toll on individuals.
According to Oscar Lewis, poor people do not learn the norms and values that can help them improve their circumstances, hence they get trapped in a culture of poverty.
Societies are stratified in relation to one another.
The three broad categories of global stratification are most-industrialized nations, industrializing nations, and least-industrialized nations.
Each category differs in wealth, power, and prestige.
Theories of global stratification include colonialism, world system theory, neocolonialism, and multinational corporations.
Colonialism occurs when a powerful country invades a weaker country in order to exploit its resources.
According to Wallerstein's world system theory, as societies industrialized, capitalism became the dominant economic system, which led to the globalization of capitalism.
Harrington's theory of neocolonialism argues that most industrialized nations tend to politically and economically exploit less developed countries.
Multinational corporations help maintain the global stratification system.
Asch, Solomon - (1907-1996)
A psychologist who investigated social conformity by studying how people reacted when their perceptions of events were challenged by others. Asch found that most individuals changed their own opinions in order to agree with the group, even when the majority was clearly wrong.
Becker, Howard - (1899-1960)
he sociologist who developed the labeling theory of deviance. Becker concluded that the labels a person is assigned in society dictate his or her behavior.
Chambliss, William - (1933- )
The sociologist who performed the "Saints and Roughnecks" study. Chambliss discovered the extent to which the labels attached to two groups of individuals during high school affected their success later in life.
Cloward, Richard - (1926-2001)
Sociologists who theorized that the greatest responsibility of industrialized societies was to prepare the next generation of workers. Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin also developed the concept of "illegitimate opportunity structure," or access to various illegal means for achieving success.
Cooley, Charles Horton - (1864-1929)
A sociologist whose theory of socialization was called the "looking-glass self." Cooley said that we develop our self-images through our interactions with significant others. He referred to "significant others" as those people in our lives whose opinions matter to us and who are in a position to influence the way we think about things, especially about ourselves.
Davis, Kingsley - (1908-1997)
Sociologist who believed that stratification served an important function in society. Davis and Wilbert Moore theorized that an unequal distribution of society's rewards was necessary to encourage people to take on complicated work that required many years of training.
Du Bois, W. E. B. - (1868-1963)
A pioneering theorist on African-American subculture, a civil rights activist, and author of the groundbreaking 1903 masterpiece of sociology and literature The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois examined in detail the economic and social conditions of African Americans in the three decades that followed the Civil War.
Durkheim, Émile - (1858-1917)
A French sociologist who explored links between social integration and suicide rates. Durkheim hypothesized that members of groups that lacked a high degree of social integration were more likely to commit suicide. He also believed that deviance is a natural and necessary part of any society and listed four ways in which deviants serve society.
Freud, Sigmund - (1856-1939)
The father of psychoanalysis, or the analysis of the mind. Freud was interested in how the mind developed and said that the healthy adult mind consists of three parts: the id, superego, and ego.
Garfinkel, Harold - (1917- )
The sociologist responsible for the theory of ethnomethodology (1967). Garfinkel also coined the term degradation ceremony to describe how an individual's identity can be negatively affected when his or her deviance becomes known to others.
Gilligan, Carol - (1933- )
An educational psychologist who analyzes the link between gender and social behavior. Her early work focused on exposing the gender biases in Lawrence Kohlberg's studies of moral development. Boys focus on rules and justice, whereas girls are more likely to consider relationships and feelings.
Goffman, Erving - (1922-1982)
The developer of the theory of dramaturgy and the concepts of stigma, spoiled identity, and impression management, among others. Goffman believed that we are all actors playing roles on the stage of everyday life. He also developed the concept of a total institution, which is a restrictive setting, such as a prison, of which we are members twenty-four hours a day. Goffman said that our appearance can change the way people think about us.
Harlow, Henry - (1905-1981)
A psychologist who studied the effects of social isolation on rhesus monkeys. Harlow found that monkeys raised in isolation for short periods were able to overcome the effects of their isolation, whereas those isolated more than six months were permanently impaired. Harlow also found mother-child love in monkeys was due to cuddling, not feeding.
Harrington, Michael - (1928-1989
A sociologist who argued that colonialism was replaced by neocolonialism. Harrington believed that most industrialized nations tend to exploit less developed countries politically and economically.
Hirschi, Travis - (1935- )
) A sociologist who elaborated on the control theory of deviance and identified four elements that he believed would render an individual more or less likely to commit acts of deviance.
Janis, Irving - (1918-1990)
The sociologist who coined the term groupthink. Janis used groupthink to describe a phenomenon wherein individuals in positions of power cave in to pressure to agree with the rest of their group until there is only one possible course of action to take.
Lemert, Edwin - (1912-1996)
The sociologist who differentiated between primary deviance and secondary deviance. Lemert contended that the difference between primary deviance and secondary deviance is in the reactions that other people have to the original act of deviance.
Lewis, Oscar - (1914-1970)
A social economist who coined the term culture of poverty. Lewis maintained that poor people do not learn the norms and values that can help them improve their circumstances and become locked in a cycle of poverty.
Liazos, Alexander - (1941- )
A sociologist who analyzed the relationship between deviance and power. Liazos concluded that the people most likely to be labeled as deviant were those who were relatively powerless.
Marx, Karl - (1818-1883)
A German philosopher and social scientist who saw the economy as the key institution in society. Marx felt that workers in a capitalist society are exploited by their employers, and that the capitalist class passes laws to benefit themselves. His books The Communist Manifesto and Capital spurred the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Mead, George Herbert - (1863-1931)
A sociologist who believed that people develop their self-images through their interactions with other people. Mead said that the self consists of two parts: the "I" and the "Me." The "I" initiates action. The "Me" continues, interrupts, or changes action depending on others' reactions.
Merton, Robert K. - (1910-2003)
The sociologist who developed the strain theory of deviance. Merton identified the five ways in which people relate to their cultural goals and the institutionalized means they are given to reach them.
Michels, Robert - (1876-1936)
A sociologist who developed the theory that bureaucracies are run by a small group of very powerful people who act primarily out of self-interest and actively keep outsiders out. Michels coined the phrase the iron law of oligarchy.
Mills, C. Wright - (1916-1962)
The sociologist who coined the term power elite. Mills used power elite to describe a situation in which a nation is run by a few people with the most money and power, rather than by the mass of people.
Moore, Wilbert - (1914-1988)
Sociologist who believed that stratification served an important function in society. Moore and Kingsley Davis theorized that an unequal distribution of society's rewards was necessary to encourage people to take on complicated work that required many years of training.
Ogburn, William - (1886-1959)
A sociologist who coined the popular term culture lag, which refers to the tendency of changes in nonmaterial culture to happen more slowly than those in material culture. In other words, changes in technology eventually bring about later changes in culture.
Ohlin, Lloyd - (1918- )
Sociologist who theorized that the greatest responsibility of industrialized societies was to prepare the next generation of workers. Ohlin and Richard Cloward also developed the concept of "illegitimate opportunity structure," or access to various illegal means for achieving success.
(1896-1980) A pioneer in the field of child psychology. Piaget argued that children develop their thinking capacity in stages and that the progression through these stages depends on a genetically determined timetable. His research changed the way people viewed education, inspiring educators to see that children explore the world actively and come up with their own hypotheses about what they observe.
Reckless, Walter - (1898-1988)
The sociologist who developed the control theory of deviance. Reckless explored how inner and outer controls could prevent a person from committing deviant acts.
Simmel, Georg - (1858-1918)
A sociologist who explored the ways in which the size of a group affects its stability and the relationships among its members. Simmel hypothesized that as a group grows larger, its stability increases but its intimacy decreases.
Sutherland, Edwin -
The sociologist who developed the theory of differential association. Sutherland asserted that people learn deviance from other people, rather than being biologically predisposed to it.
Thomas, W. I. - (1863-1947)
A sociologist who analyzed how people use their backgrounds and beliefs about the world to construct their own versions of reality. His Thomas Theorem posits that when a situation is considered real, then its consequences are real.
Tönnies, Ferdinand - (1855-1937)
A sociologist who developed the theories of Gemeinschaft, in which societies are small and intimate and based on close kinship, and Gesellschaft, which refers to societies that are large and impersonal and based mainly on self-interest.
Tumin, Melvin - (1919-1994)
A sociologist who believed that factors other than merit alone determined the type of jobs that people were likely to hold. Tumin believed that social stratification benefits some more than others.
Wallerstein, Immanuel - (1930- )
The creator of the world system theory, which explains how the globalization of capitalism led to changing relations between countries. Wallerstein said that as capitalism spread, countries around the world became connected to one another in ways they had not been before.
Weber, Max - (1864-1920)
An economist and sociologist who theorized that religion, not economics, was the central force in social change. He argued that Protestants seeking outward affirmation of their godliness brought about the birth of capitalism. Weber also identified power, the ability to achieve ends even in the face of resistance, as the foundation of government. He named rationality as the key differentiator between nonindustrialized and industrialized societies.
Wilson, William Julius - (1935- )
A social economist who believes that the high level of poverty in the inner cities is due to the lack of jobs. He argues that companies and factories are moving to suburban areas or are outsourcing their labor to foreign countries, decreasing work opportunities available to those in the inner cities and contributing to poverty in those areas.