128 terms


Durkheim's term for a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals
Applied sociology
The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of yielding practical applications for human behavior and organizations.
Basic (or Pure) sociology
Sociologial inquiry conducted with the objective of gaining a more profound knowledge of the fundamental aspects of social phenomena
Clinical sociology
The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of altering social relationships or restructuring social institutions.
Conflict perspective
A sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of tension between groups over power or the allocation of resources, including housing, money, access to services, and political representation.
Cultural capital
Noneconomic goods, such as family background and education, which are reflected in a knowledge of language and the arts.
Double consciousness
The division of an individual's identity into two or more social realities.
Dramaturgical approach
A view of social interaction, popularized by Erving Goffman, in which people are seen as theatrical performers.
an element or process of a society that may disrupt the social system or reduce its stability
Feminist view
A sociological approach that views inequity in gender as central to all behavior and organization.
Functionalist perspective
A sociological approach that emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability.
The worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas
Ideal type
A construct or model for evaluating specific cases.
Interactionist perspective
A sociological approach that generalizes about everyday forms of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole.
Latent function
an unconcious or unintended function that may reflect hidden purposes
Sociological investigation that concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations.
Manifest function
An open, stated, and conscious function.
sociological investigation that stresses the study of small groups, often through experimental means
Natural science
The study of the physical features of nature and the ways in which they interact and change
Systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation (p. 3)
Social capital
collective benefits of durable social networks and their patterns of reciprocal trust
Social inequality
a condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, or power.
Social science
The study of the social features of humans and the ways in which they interact and change.
Sociological imagination
an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society, both today and in the past
the scientific study of society and human behavior
A set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, and behavior
a German word used by Weber that is perhaps best understood as "to have insight into someone's situation"
Causal logic
the relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other
Code of ethics
the standards of acceptable behavior developed by and for members of a profession
Content analysis
the systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale
Control group
The group of subjects in an experiment that does not receive the independent variable.
Control variable
A factor that is held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable
a relationship in which two or more variables change together
A table or matrix that shows the relationship between two or more variables.
Dependent variable
the measured variable that depends on the value of the independent variable
the study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation
An artificially created situation that allows a researcher to manipulate variables
Experimental group
subjects in an experiment who are subjected to the independent variable
Hawthorne effect
The unintended influence that observers of experiments can have on their subjects.
A speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables
Independent variable
In an experiment, the variable that the experimenter plans to change.
A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information.
A number calculated by adding a series of values into two groups of equal numbers of values
The middle value of a list when it is arranged in increasing order
the most frequent value of a random variable
A research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct participation and/or by closely watching a group or community
Operational definition
An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to assess 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 printed or written form used to obtain information from a respondent.
Random sample
A sample in which each individual or object in the entire population has an equal chance of being selected
the extent to which a measure produces consistent results
Research design
a detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically
a selection from a larger population that is statistically representative of that population
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 previously collected and publicly accessible information and data.
a study, generally in the form of an interview or questionnaire, that provides researchers with information about how people think and act.
The degree to which a measure or scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study.
Value neutrality
Max Weber's term for objectivity of sociologists in the interpretation of data
A measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions
specialized language used by members of a group or subculture
The use of two or more languages in a particular setting, such as the workplace or schoolroom, treating each language as equally legitimate.
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 universal
A common practice or belief found in every culture.
The totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and behavior
Culture industry
The worldwide media industry that standardizes the goods and services demanded by consumers.
Culture lag
a period of maladjustment when the nonmaterial culture is still struggling to adapt to new material conditions
Culture war
The polarization of society over controversial cultural elements.
Culture shock
the feeling of surprise and disorientation that people experience when they encounter cultural practices that are different from their own
the spread of certain ideas, customs, or practices from one culture to another
The process of making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality.
Dominant ideology
A set of cultural belief and practices that help maintain powerful economic, political, and social interest
The tendency to assume that one's own culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others
A Norm governing everyday behavior whose violation raises comparatively little concern.
The worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas.
the process of introducing a new idea or object to a culture through discovery or invention
The combination of existing cultural items into a form that did not exist before.
Abstract system of word meaning and symbols for all aspects of culture; 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
Ways of using material objects, as well as customs, ideas, expressions, beliefs, knowledge, philosophies, governments, and patterns of communication.
An established standard of behavior maintained by a society.
a penalty or reward for conduct concerning a social norm
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
a hypothesis concerning the role of langugae in shaping our interpretation of reality. It holds that language is culturally determined
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.
The systematic study of how biology affects human social behavior.
A segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society.
A gesture, object, or word that forms the basis of human communication
cultural information about how to use the material resources of the environment to satisfy human needs and desires
A collective conception of what is considered good, desirable, and proper - or bad, undesirable, and improper - in a culture
Anticipatory socialization
processes of socialization in which a person "rehearses" for future positions, occupations, and social relationships
Cognitive theory of development
Jean Piaget's theory that children's thought progresses through for stages of development
Degradation ceremony
an aspect of the socialization process within some total institutions, in which people are subjected to humiliating rituals.
Dramaturgical approach
A view of social interaction, popularized by Erving Goffman, in which people are seen as theatrical performers.
A term used by Erving Goffman to refer to the efforts people make to maintain the proper image and avoid public embarrassment
Gender role
expectations regarding the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females
Generalized other
A term used by George Herbert Mead to refer to the attitudes, viewpoints, and expectations of society as a whole that a child takes into account in his or her behavior.
Impression management
A term used by Erving Goffman to refer to the altering of the presentation of the self in order to create distinctive appearances and satisfy particular audiences
Life course approach
a research orientation in which sociologists and other social scientists look closely at the social factors that influence people throughout their lives, from birth to death
Looking-glass self
A concept used by Charles Horton Cooley that emphasizes the self as the product of our social interactions
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
Rite of passage
a ritual marking the symbolic transition from one social position to another
Role taking
the process of mentally assuming the perspective of another and responding from that imagined viewpoint
According to George Herbert Mead, a distinct identity that sets us apart from others
Significant other
A term used by George Herbert Mead to refer to an individual who is most important in the development of the self, such as a parent, friend, or teacher.
The lifelong process in which people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors appropriate for members of a particular culture
Total institution
Erving Goffman's term used to refer to institutions, such as prison, the military, mental hospitals, and convents that regulate all aspects of a person's life under a single authority.
Ascribed status
a social position assigned to a person by society without regard for the person's unique talents or characteristics
A term used by Ferdinand Tonnies to describe a close knit community, often found in rural areas, in which strong personal bonds unite members
A term used by Ferdinand Tonnies to describe a community, ofter urban, that is large and impersonal, with little commitment to the group or consensus on values
Any number of people with similar norms, values, and expectations who interact with one another on a regular basis
Master status
a status that dominates others and thereby determines a person's general position in society
Mechanical solidarity
A collective consciousness that emphasizes group solidarity, characteristic of societies with minimal division of labor.
Net neutrality
Internet providers treat all traffic and content similarly and not charge more money for or blocking access to faster services
Organic solidarity
a collective consciousness that rests on mutual interdependence, characteristic of societies with a complex division of labor
Role conflict
the situation that occurs when incompatible expectations arise from two or more social positions held by the same person
Role exit
the process of disengagement from a role that is central to one's self-identity in order to establish a new role and identity
Role strain
the difficulty that arises when the same social position imposes conflicting demands and expectations
Social institution
an organized pattern of beliefs and behavior centered on basic social needs
Social interaction
the ways in which people respond to one another
Social network
a series of social relationships that links individuals directly to others, and through them indirectly to still more people
Social role
a set of expectations for people who occupy a given social position or status
Social structure
the way in which a society is organized into predictable relationships
a term used by sociologists to refer to any of the full range of socially defined positions within a large group or society.
Achieved Status
a social position that a person attains largely through his or her own efforts