Like this study set? Create a free account to save it.

Sign up for an account

Already have a Quizlet account? .

Create an account

UNR Sociology 101 Midterm Study Guide

Sociological Perspective

A perspective on any social situation that takes into account the role of social forces in influencing that situation
- How social groups influence people
- How people are influenced by their society, people who share a common culture and a common territory

Sociological Imagination

grasping the connection between history & biography (experiences)

The Origins of Sociology: Tradition vs. Science

Sociology emerged during the 19th century, and grew out of upheavals created by the Industrial and the French Revolutions

Scientific Method

o Sociology emerged as a means of applying the scientific method to studying and attempting to solve serious social problems

August Comte & Positivism

Positivism: proposed idea of applying the scientific method to the social world.
- Comte called this new science "sociology": the study of society.
- Comte believed we must observe society in order to uncover its fundamental laws.
- Once the laws were discovered, they could be used to control social behavior
- His aim for sociology was to reform society and make it a better place to live.

Herbert Spencer & Social Darwinism

- Disagreed w/ Comte that reform should be the goal.
- Believed no one should intervene in the evolution of society.
- He stated that societies evolve from lower (barbaric) to higher (civilized) forms.
- Coined the phrase, "survival of the fittest."
- Fittest members will produce an advanced society.
- Implications (3):
•Some people are more valuable than others
•Societal resources should be unevenly distributed to benefit those of greater merit
•Less intelligent people should be left alone to die out

Karl Marx & Class Conflict:

- Argued there is a strong conflict between the bourgeoisie (those who own property) and the proletariat (those who work for the property owners and are exploited).
- Stated the engine of human history is class conflict
- Believed the struggle between the classes would end only when the proletariat revolted
- The result would be a classless society.

Emile Durkheim & Social Integration:

- One of the 1st sociologists to actually conduct empirical research
- Argued society is greater than the sum of its parts, and is external to the individuals that compose it
- Sociology should study the impact of social forces on individual behavior
- A social fact is an established, not accidental, pattern of behavior
- Durkheim's research was on SUICIDE
- He argued that a seemingly highly individualized act was actually determined in large part by social forces
- The key factor in suicide is social integration: the degree to which people are tied to their social group
- Those w/ weaker ties are more likely to commit suicide.

Max Weber & the Protestant Ethic:

- Verstehen refers to understanding the meaning of action from the actor's P of V. It is essential to the sociological perspective & opens our eyes to much more than meets the eye in many situations
• EXAMPLE: suppose you are heterosexual, and you believe in the idea that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Imagine your perspective if you were homosexual.
- Radical Verstehen: A systematic interpretive process in which an outside observer of a culture (such as an anthropologist or sociologist) relates to an indigenous people or sub-cultural group on their own terms and from their own point-of-view, rather than interpreting them in terms of his or her own concepts.
- Weber did not believe economics was the force of social change.
- Religion was the key.

Protestant Ethic:

- The belief that working hard would please God and ensure a good afterlife.
- Weber argued that Protestant beliefs led to the growth of Capitalism.
- He believed that religion was the central factor in the rise of Capitalism

W.E.B. Du Bois:

- 1st African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard
- Helped found the NAACP
- Author of The Souls of Black Folks
- Despite his prolific scholarship, In his own lifetime, when attending professional meetings of sociologists, he was not allowed to eat or stay in the same hotel!

Jane Addams:

- Combined sociology w/ practicing social reform by co-founding the Hull House in Chicago
- Hull House existed to care for the poor, sick, and aged
- Sociologists from the University of Chicago came to do research there
- Jane Addams is the only sociologist to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1931

Basic vs. Applied Sociology:

- Analyzing & understanding society (basic) OR reforming society (applied)
- Somewhere between we have applied sociology, the use of sociology to solve problems

Symbolic Interactionism:

- How people use symbols to establish meaning, develop views of the world & communicate.
- How our behaviors depend on the way we define ourselves and others
- How we interact face-to-face
- Symbolic-interaction Approach
- A framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals
- Society is nothing more than the reality people construct for themselves as they interact w/ one another

Functional Analysis:

- Society is a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together
- A framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability

Robert K. Merton (1820-1903):

- Expanded understanding of social function
- Pointed out that any social structure probably has many functions
- Distinguished between manifest functions and latent function
- Manifest Functions: the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern
- Latent Functions: the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern
- Social Dysfunction: Any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society

3 functions:

- Manifest Functions: the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern
- Latent Functions: the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern
- Social Dysfunction: Any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society

Conflict Theory:

- Society is composed of groups engaged in fierce competition for scarce resources
- People in positions of authority try to enforce conformity, which, in turn, creates resentment and resistance
- The result is a constant struggle.
- A framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change
- Highlights how the following factors are linked to inequality: Class, race, ethnicity, gender, age
- Social-conflict approach is used to look at ongoing conflict between dominant and disadvantaged categories of people
- Karl Marx

Macro vs. Micro levels of analysis:

- Macro: focuses on large groups and even whole societies; large-scale social structures, such as institutions, organizations, or social systems;
- Micro: focuses on small groups and face-to-face interaction among individuals; looks at how individuals behave in social situations

The 8 steps of research:

1. Selecting a topic
2. Defining the problem: Narrow your focus to a specific problem
3. Reviewing the literature: to find out what is already known and seek direction for your study
4. Formulating a hypothesis
- hypothesis: a statement of what you expect to find
- empirically falsifiable: asking questions in such a way that you may not get the answer you are hoping to find, i.e., questions that are not true by definition
5. Choosing a research method
6. Collecting data:
- Reliability: it someone else did a similar study with similar measures would they get the same results?
- Validity: have you measured what you actually set out to measure?
7. Analyzing the results
8. Sharing the results


Factors that change from one person/situation to another
- Independent and dependent variables
- Positive and negative associations
- Spurious associations: no real correlation

Research Methods (7):

1. Survey Research
2. Participant observation
3. Case studies
4. Secondary analysis of existing data: researchers analyze data others have collected
5. Analysis of documents
6. Experiments
7. Unobtrusive measures: observing behavior of people not aware they are being studied

Research ethics

- Informed consent
- Disclosure
- Understanding
- Voluntary
- Competence
- Consent
- No harm to participants
- Deception
- Justice


is a way of life shared by a particular group of people. It includes shared beliefs, values, technology and other material artifacts, and symbols.

Material culture:

physical objects, including technology and its products.

Symbolic Culture:

- symbols and language of a culture; a means of communication
-Language: Written and spoken language represent the most elaborate set of symbols with which humans communicate
-Values, Norms and Sanctions
-Folkways, Mores & Taboos

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis:

Language is a cultural lens through which we see the world, and it is not possible to experience something without knowing the word for it

Ideal Culture & Real Culture

Ideal Culture: the values we profess
Real Culture: the values we practice.

Dominant culture, subcultures, and countercultures

subculture: a world w/in a larger world of the dominant culture (ex. politicians)

counterculture: some groups whose values & norms place it add odds with the dominant culture

Values in US society:

Value clusters: some values cluster together to form a larger whole

Value contradictions: some values contradict eachother

Emerging values
-Physical fitness
-The environment

Cultural lag:

Changes in material culture outpace changes in non-material culture. Not all parts of a culture change at the same pace
- Most mothers work for pay outside the home, but traditional gender roles haven't changed much;
- Half of all marriages will end in divorce, but the marriage ceremony still presumes a lifelong relationship.

Cultural diffusion:

The spread of cultural characteristics from one culture to another
- Language
- Food/jewelry/style
- Tools

Cultural leveling

The 'sameness' of everything everywhere, the standardization of culture;

High culture and pop culture

High: The culture that typifies a society's elite.
Pop:The culture that is typical of the majority of a given population.


the process by which people learn the characteristics of their group

Deprived Animals

Harry & Margaret Harlow

Cooley & the Looking Glass Self

our sense of self develops from interactions w/ others
1. we imagine how we appear to those around us
2. we interpret others' reactions
3. we develop a self-concept

Mead & the Others:

Mead and taking the role of the other
- Significant others: an individual who significantly influences someone else's life
- The Generalized other: the norms, values, attitudes & expectations of people in general

Mead and the stages of learning the generalized other
- Imitation
- Play
- Team games

Freud: Id, Ego, Superego

Id: inborn basic drives
Ego: balancing force
Superego: the conscience, the internalized norms & values of our social groups

Gender socialization:

the ways in which society sets children on different paths in life because they are male or female

Agents of socialization (7):

Individuals & groups that influence our orientations to life:
-Day care
-The media

Resocialization: Total Institutions

Resocialization: the process of learning new norms, attitudes, values & behaviors
Total Institutions: a place that is almost totally controlled by those who run it, in which people are cut off form the rest of society & the society is mostly cut off from them
- degradation ceremony: a ritual whose goal is to remake someone's self by stripping away that individuals self identity & stamping a new identity in place

social structure:

The social structure is comprised of the patterned relationships between people in a given society that guide people in how to behave

Social status

is a single position in the social structure, such as a man, or a teacher

Status sets

Each member of a society occupies multiple statuses and the total number of statuses occupied by a given individual is his or her status set

Ascribed and achieved statuses

Ascribed status: a position in society that one is born into; it is involuntary, e.g., sex, race, ethnicity, family income;
Achieved status: a position you occupy as a result of what you do, or do not do. Positive achievements launch you into statuses such as an esteemed job, while negative achievement may land you in jail.

Status symbols

When we are proud of a given status we occupy, we may use symbols to inform those who see us of our achievement

Master statuses

Some statuses are so important in the eyes of society that we are always recognized by them, no matter what:
- For example, we are always recognized for our sex and our race
- Certain occupations are deemed so critical to society that they loom above others, such a doctors, political leaders, etc.

Status inconsistency

Sometimes we occupy statuses with widely varying prestige, and this can make us uncomfortable or feel it is unfair
o If you graduate from college, you SHOULD get a decent job
o If you marry your "soul-mate" you should be eternally happy
o If you were born into poverty, but you win the lottery
o If you were born into wealth, but you "fall from grace"
o If you achieve high status (e.g., a lawyer) and then get imprisoned for serious criminal activities
o If you have a female body, but feel like you are a man
o If you have incredible athletic gifts, but you become paralyzed
o •Sometimes people are not accepted because one of their characteristics is inconsistent with their status

Social roles

Role sets: refers to all the roles one plays within a given status

Role conflict: when the expectations of two roles are incompatible

Role strain: when the expectations of a given role are in conflict

Social Institutions:

the standard or usual ways that a society meets its basic needs

• Social institutions are a major component of the social structure
• Each institution has its own underlying social structure including statuses, roles, values, norms, and social organization
• •Family: raise children, next generation
• •Religion: what is the meaning of life?
• •Education: transmit knowledge and skills
• •Economy: produce/distribute goods/services
• •Medicine: heal the sick/care for the dying
• •Politics: allocate power/authority/prevent chaos
• •Law: maintain social order and enforce social norms
• •Science: master the environment
• •Military: protect against enemies, enforce interests
• •Mass Media: report information mold public opinion

Mechanical and organic solidarity

Mechanical Solidarity arises when individuals feel bonded by their similarity (shared values & bonds)

Organic Solidarity arises when individuals are bonded through their division of labor

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

Gemeinschaft: "intimate" community, characterized by a sense of "we", a moderate division of labor, strong personal ties, strong family relationships, and a sense of personal loyalty

Gesellschaft society: are characterized by less prominence of personal ties, a somewhat diminished role of the nuclear family, and a lessened sense of personal loyalty to the total society


social life is like a drama or stage play
- Impression management

- Front-stage: in public, we are role-playing and we often employ props such as a costume, a presentation, etc
- Back-stage: when among peers, we can be our true selves, relax and take stock of our performance

Outside: off-stage, where performers and audience meet (e.g., I run into you on campus)

Borders: restricts movement between front and back stage, (e.g., secretary limits who comes into my office)

Role performance

Team work


study of how people use commonsense understandings to make sense of life.

background assumptions and upsetting experiments
•How we make sense of each other's words and actions
•We rely heavily on our pre-existing norms for social interaction
•When we violate these norms, we don't understand each other and can become very upset

Social Construction of Research

We create rules to guide our behavior to smooth social interaction, from the social groups we belong in, we learn ways of looking at life

Thomas theorem

If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences
o EX in the book: perceptions about cleanliness and germs

Values: Value Free & Objectivity

Value Free: Max Weber stated a sociologist's values should not affect social research
objectivity: value neutrality, should be the hallmark of research


A tendency to use our own group's ways of doing things as a yardstick for judging others

Cultural Relativism:

trying to understand a culture on its own terms

Values, Norms and Sanctions:

value: idea of what is desirable in life
norms: "expectations" concerning the right way to live life (rules of behavior)
sanctions: reactions people recieve for following or breaking a norm
-positive sanction: approval (trophy)
- negative sanction: disapproval (ex. fines)

Folkways, Mores & Taboos:

Folkways: Norms not strictly enforced

Mores: Norms that express a moral obligation:
- Prescriptive norms: what you MUST do, e.g. you must wear clothes in public
- Proscriptive norms: what you MUST NOT do, e.g. you must not desecrate the flag.

Taboos: norms that are so strong that to violate one brings about revulsion:
-Examples: cannibalism, incest.

Culture wars:

the clash in values between traditionalists & those advocating change

Feral & Isolated children

feral: children like animals w/ no sensitivity to pain or cold.

isolated: w/out language there can be no culture, no shared way of life & culture is the key to what people become

Socialization through the life course

stages from birth through death
• childhood (birth-12)
• adolescence (13-17)
• transitional adulthood (18-29)
• middle years (30-65)
• older years (65+)

Social groups:

people who interact w/ one another & who feel that the values, interests, & norms they have in common are important

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again


Reload the page to try again!


Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

Voice Recording