How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

1. What is Sociology?

STUDY
PLAY
Sociology
is the scientific study of human social life, groups, and societies
sociological imagination
C.Wright Mills, the social imagination requires us, above all, to "think ourselves away" from our daily routines to look at them anew.
social structure
refers to the fact that out lives, social contexts are not random events but have distinct patterns
structuration
they are reconstructed at every moment by the very "building blocks" that compose them- human beings like you and me
globalization
the growth of world interdependence. Globalization not only involves worldwide networks but reflects local phenomena, too.
theory
involves abstract interpretations that can explain a wide variety of situations
theoretical approach
A perspective on social life derived from a particular theoretical tradition.
August Comte
(1798-1857) French author who invented the word Sociology and thought with it you could use science to understand, predict and then even control human behavior
Emile Durkheim
(1858-1917) drew on a lot of Comte's work, but thought his predecessor was too vague. He emphasized the use of social facts, organic solidarity, social constraint, division of labor, and anomie.
social facts
aspects of social life that shape our actions as individuals, such as the state of the economy or the influence of religion
organic solidarity
for a society to have a continuing existence over time, its specialized institutions (such as political system, the religion, the family, and the educational system) must function as in integrated whole.
social constraint
society is far more than the sum of individual acts, when we analyze social structures we study characteristics that have a "firmness" or "solidarity" comparable to those of structures in the physical world.
division of labor
as division of labor expands, people become more dependent on each other because each person needs goods and services that those in other occupations supply
anomie
a feeling of aimlessness or despair provoked by modern social life
Karl Marx
ideas contrast sharply with those of Comte and Durkheim; however, Marx also sought to explain social changes arising from the industrial revolution. Emphasized materialist conception of history, and Capitalism.
materialist conception of history
according to this view, it is not the ideas or values human beings hold that are the main sources of social change, as Durkheim claimed. Rather, social change is prompted primarily by economic influences
Capitalism
is this a class system in which conflict is inevitable because it is in the interests of the ruling class to exploit the working class and in the interests of the workers to seek to overcome that exploitation
Max Weber
(1864-1920) German, emphasized Bureaucracy
bureaucracy
is a large organization that is divided into jobs based on specific functions and staffed by officials ranked according to a hierarchy
Harriet Martineau
said: 1) when studying societies you have to look at ALL institutions 2) analysis of society must include womens lives 3) cared about previously ignored topics like marriage and religion. She also thought sociologists should research and then also help society
W.E.B. Du Bois
(1868-1963) was the first African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. Emphasized "double consciousness"
"double consciousness"
that one's sense of self and one's identity are greatly influenced by historical experiences and social circumstances
Who had the greatest influence on the theoretical approach known as symbolic interactionism?
George Herbert Mead
Which early theorist saw class conflict as the main source of social change?
Marx
When and where did the perspective calling itself sociology emerge?
early 1800s, Europe
Which theoretical approach uses the analogy of the human body in assessing the role of each part of society in the continuation of society as a whole?
functionalism
The economic system that is directed at earning a profit for a few people, selling products to many people, and keeping workers'wages low is called:
capitalism
What should the knowledge of society be based on, according to Auguste Comte?
scientific evidence
According to Émile Durkheim, society is:
inconceivable as a whole
The idea of a sociological imagination originated with:
C. Wright Millls
What would a symbolic interactionist say is involved in nearly all social interactions?
an exchange of symbols
What do Marxism and feminism have in common?
Both focus on inequalities and conflict as central features of modern societies.
What is the main source of meaning in the postmodern world, according to Baudrillard?
images in the media
Who said about American society, "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line"?
W. E. B. Du Bois
Émile Durkheim analyzed the social changes transforming society in his lifetime in terms of:
division of labor
Approaching marriage as a way to maximize self interest is an example of analysis that uses what type of theoretical understanding?
rational choice approach
What is it called when we "think ourselves away" from the familiar routine to see things in a different, more sociological perspective?
sociological imagination
According to Karl Marx, the modern era is shaped primarily by:
capitalism
Our lives today are increasingly interdependent, even with people who are thousands of miles away. This rapid process of social change that creates connections between the local community and the rest of the world is known as:
globalization
Robert Merton advocated that sociologists should develop more modest theories that would not attempt to encompass all of society. He termed these types of theories:
middle-range theories
People who are shaped by social structure are constantly reconstructing those same social structures. What word does the text use to refer to this process?
structuration
Behavior that is oriented toward self-interest is often called:
instrumental or rational action
Which theoretical approach uses the analogy of the human body in assessing the role of each part of society in the continuation of society as a whole?
functionalism
What did Émile Durkheim call aspects of social life that influence and shape our individual actions?
social facts
Which theoretical approach places gender, class, and race at the core of the theory?
feminist theory
Sociology is the scientific study of
human social life, groups, and societies
The study of everyday life and face-to-face interaction is called:
microsociology
W. E. B. Du Bois referred to the particular experience of African Americans as they were forced to see themselves through the eyes of others. Du Bois labeled this experience:
double consciousness
Which sociologist showed that social factors exert a fundamental influence on suicidal behavior?
Emile Durkheim
________ shows how things occur; ________ considers why things happen.
factual research, theory
Analysis of large-scale systems and long-term processes is known as:
macrosociology
Which theoretical perspective holds that the grand narratives that gave meaning to history in the past no longer make any sense?
postmodernism
According to Max Weber, developments in modern science, technology, and bureaucracy are examples of the general social process that focuses on social, economic, and cultural life according to the principles of efficiency and technical knowledge. He terms this approach:
bureaucracy
focus of Max Weber's research?
the distinctiveness of Western society as contrasted with other civilizations
the influence of cultural ideas and values on social change and individual behavior
bureaucracy
If a person or group is able to make their own concerns or interests count, even if others resist, that individual or group has:
power
Which theoretical perspective perceives consensus within society as imperative for social integration?
Functionalism
How would rational choice theorists define the behavior of corporate executives who outsource many jobs to countries where the cost of labor is substantially less than in the United States?
instrumental behavior
Symbolic Interactionism
work of George Herbert Mead, language allows us to become self conscious beings- aware of our own individuality, the key element in this process is the symbol. For example, the word tree is a symbol by which we represent the object of a tree.
functionalism
to study the function of a social activity is to analyze its contribution to the continuation of the society as a whole, Functionalism emphasizes the importance of moral consensus in maintaining order and stability in society
Manifest function
are those known to, and intended by, the participants in a social activity
Latent functions
are consequences of that activity of which participants are unaware
Marxism
The concept of POWER and that of IDEOLOGY is of great importance to Marxist sociologists and to sociology in general. Power implies the capability of individuals or groups to make their own interests count, even when others resist. Power sometimes involves the direct use of force but it almost always accompanied by the development of ideas "ideologies" which are used to justify the actions of the powerful
Feminist theory
Today, feminist sociology focuses on the intersection of gender, race, and class. A feminist approach to the study of inequality has influenced new fields of study, like men's studies, sexuality studies and gay and lesbian studies.
Rational Choice Approach
posits that if you have only a single variable to explain society, self-interest would be the best one
post modernism
claims that the classic social thinkers' idea that history has a shape-it "goes somewhere" and leads to progress- has collapsed. No longer do any "grand narratives" or metanarratives- overall conceptions of history or society- make any sense (Lyotard 1985) In fact, there is no such thing as history
Science
is the use of systematic methods of empirical investigation, the analysis of data, theoretical thinking and the logical assessment or arguments to develop a body of knowledge about matters