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88 terms


The loss of direction felt in a society when social control of individual behavior has become ineffective.
Conflict perspective
A sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups.
Dramaturgical approach
A view of social interaction that examines people as if they were theatrical performers.
An element or a process of society that may disrupt a social system or lead to a decrease in stability.
Functionalist perspective
A sociological approach that emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability.
Ideal type
A construct or model that serves as a measuring rod against which actual cases can be evaluated
Interactionist perspective
A sociological approach that generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction.
Latent functions
Unconscious or unintended functions; hidden purposes
Sociological investigation that concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations
Manifest functions
Open, stated, and conscious functions.
Sociological investigation that stresses study of small groups and often uses laboratory experimental studies.
Nonverbal communication
The sending of messages through the use of posture, facial expressions, and gestures.
The body of knowledge obtained by methods based upon systematic observation.
Social inequality
A condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, or power.
Social science
The study of various aspects of human society.
Sociological imagination
An awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society.
The systematic study of social behavior and human groups.
In sociology, a set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior.
Causal logic
The relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other.
Content analysis
The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.
Control group
Subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher.
Control variable
A factor held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable.
A relationship between two variables whereby a change in one coincides with a change in the other.
Dependent variable
The variable in a causal relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable.
The study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation.
An artificially created situation that allows the researcher to manipulate variables and introduce control variables.
Experimental group
Subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher.
Hawthorne effect
The unintended influence that observers or experiments can have on their subjects.
A speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.
Independent variable
The variable in a casual relationship that, when altered, causes or influences a change in a second variable.
A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information.
A research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct involvement with an observation of a group, tribe, or community.
Operational definition
An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to measure the concept.
Qualitative research
Research that relies on what is seen in field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data.
Quantitative research
Research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form.
A research instrument employed to obtain desired information from a respondent.
Random sample
A sample for which every member of the entire population has the same chance of being selected.
The extent to which a measure provides consistent results.
Representative sample
A selection from a larger population that is statistically typical of that population.
Research design
A detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically.
Scientific method
A systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem.
Secondary analysis
A variety of research techniques that make use of publicly accessible information and data.
A study, generally in the form of interviews or questionnaires, that provides sociologists and other researchers with information concerning how people think and act.
The degree to which a scale or measure truly reflects the phenomenon under study.
A measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions.
Specialized language used by members of a group or subculture.
A subculture that deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture.
Cultural relativism
The viewing of people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture.
Cultural universals
The totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior.
Cultural lag
Refers to a period of maladjustment during which the nonmaterial culture is still adapting to new material conditions.
Culture shock
The feeling of surprise and disorientation that is experienced when people witness cultural practices different from their own.
The process by which a cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society.
The process of making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality.
Dominant ideology
A set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interest.
The tendency to assume that one's own culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others
Norms governing everyday social behavior whose violation raises comparatively little concern.
Formal norms
Norms that generally have been written down and that specify strict rules for punishment of violators.
The worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas.
Informal norms
Norms that generally are understood but are not precisely recorded.
The process of introducing new elements into a culture through either discovery or invention.
The combination of existing cultural items into a form that did not previously exist.
An abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. It also includes gestures and other nonverbal communication.
Governmental social control.
Material culture
The physical or technological aspects of our daily lives.
Norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society
Nonmaterial culture
Cultural adjustments to material conditions, such as customs, beliefs, patterns of communication, and ways of using material objects.
Established standards of behavior maintained by a society.
Penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm
A fairly large number of people who live in the same territory, are relatively independent of people outside it, and participate in a common culture.
A segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society.
Information about how to use the material resources of the environment to satisfy human needs and desires.
Collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper—or bad, undesirable, and improper—in a culture.
The belief that the products, styles, or ideas of one's society are inferior to those that originate elsewhere.
Anticipatory socialization
Processes of socialization in which a person "rehearses" for future positions, occupations, and social relationships.
Degradation ceremony
An aspect of the socialization process within total institutions, in which people are subjected to humiliating rituals.
Dramaturgical approach
A view of social interaction that examines people as if they were theatrical performers.
Gender roles
Expectations regarding the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females.
Impression management
The altering of the presentation of the self in order to create distinctive appearances and satisfy particular audiences.
Looking-glass self
A concept that emphasizes the self as the product of our social interactions with others.
In everyday speech, a person's typical patterns of attitudes, needs, characteristics, and behavior.
The process of discarding former behavior patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one's life.
Role taking
The process of mentally assuming the perspective of another, thereby enabling one to respond from that imagined viewpoint.
A distinct identity that sets us apart from others.
Significant others
Those individuals who are most important in the development of the self, such as parents, friends, and teachers.
The process whereby people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture.
The systematic study of biological bases of social behavior.
The gestures, objects, and language that form the basis of human communication.
Total institutions
Institutions that regulate all aspects of a person's life under a single authority, such as prison, the military, mental hospitals, and convents.