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Sociology Exam (Test 1)
Unit 1-The Sociological Perspective, Major Theorists and Theories; Unit 2-Culture; Unit-3 Social Organization and Groups (Chapters 1, 2, 4, & 5)
Terms in this set (108)
What is sociology?
the scientific study of human behavior, social groups, and society.
The Sociological Imagination
a quality of mind that allows us to understand the influence of history and biography on our interactive processes (C. Wright Mills, 1959).
What do various sociological approaches have in common? (When comparing sociologists practicing in different fields).
all of these jobs suggest that sociology is concerned with every aspect of the self in relationships with others; and every aspect of the social world that affects a person's thoughts or actions.
Define: social life
encompasses all interpersonal relationships, all groups or collections of persons, and all types of social organizations.
this definition reflects the belief that people can be understood only in the context of their contacts, associations, and communications with other people.
Sociology may consider a wide range of general questions such as the following:
1. How do group influence individual human behavior?
2. What are the causes and consequences of a particular system of social order?
3. What social factors contribute to a particular social change?
4. What purpose is served by a particular social organization?
5. What are the causes and consequences of a particular social system?
Describe the Sociological Imagination in your own words
in other words, our experiences guide our perceptions.
What is the sociological perspective?
It is a conscious effort to question the obvious and to remove us from familiar experiences and examine them critically and objectively.
The sociological perspective operates at two levels:
Macrosociology & Microsociology
dealing with large-scale structures and processes: broad social categories, institutions, and social systems
is concerned with how individuals behave in social situations.
Sociology and other social sciences:
1. Economics - the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.
2. Political Science - the branch of knowledge that deals with systems of government; the analysis of political activity and behavior.
3. Anthropology - the comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development.
4. Psychology (social science) - the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context.
5. History (social science or humanities)
6. Geography (natural science)
Applied Sciences vs. Pure Sciences
Applied sciences - those that directly use these principles.
Pure Sciences - those that seek knowledge for its own sake.
Science divided into two categories: the social sciences and the natural sciences
(a) the biological sciences: biology, eugenics, botany.. etc.
(b) the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology.. etc.
( c)the social sciences: sociology, psychology.. etc.
What are social variables?
the facts and experiences that influence individuals' personality, attitudes, and lifestyle, commonly used in the science of Sociology.
the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture.
a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
Sociology aims to...
document and explain the basic regularities of social life; assumes these regularities are the product of social forces rather than biological or psychological ones. → groups, organizations, societies; and analyze the study of the structure of societies and of groups.
The Sociological Perspective (cont'd)
Sociology carefully and systematically collects and analyzes empirical evidence, which is data derived directly from observation or experience.
An example of a sociological perspective:
--Why do people commit suicide?
due to acombination of emotions and outside forces (sanction)
Emile Durkheim → Suicide (1897)
--Durkheim uses scientific methods in Suicide study to develop a sociological explanation for the variations in suicide rates across different regions.
--Durkheim concluded that many suicides result from a lack of social integration caused by larger social forces.
Durkheim's Three Explanations of Suicide:
1. Altruistic suicide: overly integrated into a group; group is more important than individuals wants and needs.
2. Egoistic suicide: lack of interaction into a group; feeling of being alone.
3. Anomic suicide: goals suddenly lose meaning; feeling of meaninglessness and disorientation.
4. Fatalistic suicide: hopelessness; fatalistic suicide occurring in social conditions where the individual experiences pervasive oppression. Durkheim has defined fatalistic suicide as resulting "from excessive regulation." Suicide by individuals whose passions are choked by oppressive discipline.
normlessness; lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group).
example of a*****: a person wins the lottery, and suddenly has no commitments or responsibilities.
Major Topics of Sociological Interest:
Socialization, norms, normality, structured Social Inequality, social institutions, social change
The European Origins of Sociology: (theorists)
August Comte (1798-1857), Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) → A "Social Darwinist", Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), Karl Marx... (list continues... refer to notes)
distinguished between social statics and social dynamics; aim to create a science of society (positivistic approach → using scientific method).
A "Social Darwinist"; originated the phrase "the survival of the fittest"
--believed that explaining "social order" is the key to understanding society. Like Spencer, he used the analogy of societies as biological organisms, introduced the idea of STRUCTURES and FUNCTIONS.
--also claimed two types of solidarity: MECHANICAL and ORGANIC → mechanical = were held together by automatic factors, commonality, values, traditions, socialization.
organic = our differences hold us together, interdependency
--a major figure in political philosophy; he emphasized the formative influence of economics on social life. → Unlike Durkheim, believed that the key to understanding society is to understand conflict.
--conflict theory: The basic social condition is one of conflict between the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS.
--Marx's goal: class consciousness
the belief that something is true, even though it may not be true.
The European Origins of Sociology (Cont'd)
--Max Weber (1864-1920); Concerned with the increased rationalization of modern Western society... Interested in how behavior had come to be increasingly goal-oriented (purposeful) rather than value-oriented (emotional).
--Harriet Martineau; early feminist, perfected research methods, etc.
Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology:
--Sociology relies on paradigms or perspectives of thought.
1. Functionalism - macro perspective
2. Conflict Theory - macro perspective
3. Symbolic Interaction Theory - micro perspective
Functionalism or Structural Functional Theory
Social systems made up of interdependent parts of "structures"; Each structure serves a purpose or function.
-- It has its origins in the works of Emile Durkheim, who was especially interested in how social order is possible or how society remains relatively stable.
Structural Functional Theory (cont'd)
Social systems held together because the structures are functionally interdependent. (3) functions:
--Manifest function: obvious, intended purpose. (example - education- to learn, to teach).
--Latent function: unintended, non-obvious purpose. (example - education- lower unemployment rates)
--Dysfunction: a result (function) that keeps the system from working properly. (example - education- bullying, alcohol and drug addiction, extreme debt).
Symbolic Interaction Theory
Social life consists of people interacting with one another through symbols, gestures and the meanings we attribute to people's actions; We learn what these symbols, gestures, and meanings are through socialization.
Assumes that competition and conflict are the root of all social relationships; Most social arrangements are structured to benefit the power folders, the dominant group, or those who control the resources.
--This perspective is derived from the works of Karl Marx, who saw society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources.
Define Middle-range theory
a set of propositions designed to link abstract theory with empirical testing.
a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
Define social system
the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships; "the social organization of England and America is very different"; "sociologists have studied the changing structure of the family"
This model interprets society as a series of interactions that are based on estimates of rewards and punishments. According to this view, our interactions are determined by the rewards or punishments that we receive from others and all human relationships are formed by the use of a subjective cost-benefit analysis.
Evolutionary theories are based on the assumption that societies gradually change from simple beginnings into even more complex forms. Early sociologists beginning with Auguste Comte believed that human societies evolve in a unilinear way- that is in one line of development. According to them social change meant progress toward something better. They saw change as positive and beneficial.
the shared reality of people within a given region.
a concept that refers to the fact that what is regarded as true, valued, or expected in one social system may not be so in another. (opposite of ethnocentrism).
Features of Culture:
-Culture is adaptive
-Culture is a complex whole -- all of its elements and institutions are interrelated.
-We learn culture and are socialized into it.
-Culture is shared: (1) it channels and limits human choices, (2) variation is patterned
-Culture is behavior -- how we act and what we make
The Elements of Culture
>symbols: -- shared agreements about what objects represent.
language is our most important symbol because that is our primary mode of communication.
>values: -- shared agreements about what is good/bad, right/wrong.
>beliefs: -- shared agreements about what is true/real.
The non-material elements of culture
>Norms: -- shared agreements about the rules that define how people are supposed to behave under certain circumstances.
>Emotions: -- shared agreements about the subjective and physical states that people should experience in reaction to events (example: funeral, people are expected to cry, feel sadness, etc).
Material elements of culture
>Artifacts: -- the material products of a past society.
>Technology: -- shared knowledge on how to get things done. (example: how to create a website, communicate using technology, etc).
is organized around the concept of capital (the ownership and control of the means of production by those who employ workers to produce goods and services in exchange for wages).
a social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.
Linguistic: Determinism and Relativity
>Determinism: language shapes our process of thought, the development of ideas, and our experience of the social world.
--the ways in which human conduct becomes socially organized (arranged);
--the observed regularities in the behavior of people that are due to the social conditions in which they find themselves rather than to physiological or psychological characteristics.
What do sociologists mean when they use the term social structure?
They are referring to the relatively stable patterns of social interaction that characterize human and social life.
Social structure can we understood on three levels:
1. The individual level → statuses and roles
2. The group level → primary and secondary groups (classroom, clubs, organizations).
3. The societal level → formal organizations and institutions
(three levels progressing from micro-level focus to macro-level).
Basic Concepts of Social Organization & Social Groups:
Norms: rules, formal or informal, that regulate social behavior; Norms define how people should behave in particular social situations.
Types of Norms:
>Prescriptive - norms that tell us what to do; they "prescribe"
>Proscriptive - norm that tell us what not to do; they "prohibit"
>Folkways - Norms that govern everyday behavior. (example: waving hello to people, symbols that you have, language etc).
>Mores - norms that are essential to the welfare of a group. → fundamental to the survival of said group.
Social Sanctions as a Result of Violating Norms:
>Negative sanction - the penalty or consequence that is given when someone violates a norm. Consequences may range from slight to severe.
>Positive sanction - a reward that is given when someone follows a norm.
Norms and Conformity:
Solomon Asch Line Study: In Asch's experiments, students were told that they were participating in a 'vision test.' Unbeknownst to the subject, the other participants in the experiment were all confederates, or assistants of the experimenter. At first, the confederates answered the questions correctly, but eventually began providing incorrect answers. (A norm developed in the room influencing participants to provide false responses in an effort to be accepted by peers).
Norms and Perception:
The "autokinetic effect" - pinpoint of light appears to move the same distance that others say when, in fact, the light doesn't move at all. -Muzafer Sherif
True or False: Our perception of things are affected by norms?
--example: our image of beauty... society tells us what is acceptable, ideal, and unsatisfactory.
Status and Role:
Status is defined as: the social position an individual occupies → individuals occupy many statuses.
--examples: student, child, daughter, sister... my roles in society
Types of Statuses: Achieved vs. Ascribed Status
>Achieved Status: a position gained through an individual's own efforts or skills (educational status)
>Ascribed Status: assigned at birth or based on factors outside of an individuals control (racial or ethnic status)
Types of Statuses: (Cont'd)
Master Status: A social position that is exceptionally powerful in determining an individual's identity, often to the point where other statuses are virtually ignored. --(examples: obama is african american, a father, a son → but is most commonly recognized as the president, which would be his master status).
Role: the norms associated with a particular status.
--Roles → the expectations of the individual who occupies a particular status.
Tri-part Division of Roles:
1. Socially prescribed role -- what you should do
2. Perceived role -- what you think you should do
3. Performed role -- what you actually do
Status Sets and Role Sets:
>Status Set - all of the statuses that an individual occupies; my status set → student, african american, daughter, sister, etc.
>Role Sets - all of the roles associated with a particular status → student relationship with professors, student relationship with advisors, student relationship with my peers/other students; daughter - mother, daughter - father... cont'd.
Role conflict, value conflict, role strain, role ambiguity.
Define role conflict:
time and energy - the demands of different roles require you to do different things at the same time.
--examples: a parent missing work because child is sick and cannot attend school; missing class because of athletic competitions and obligations.
Define value conflict:
the values of different roles are contradictory.
--examples: a friend asks you to help her cheat on a test → your role as a friend and your role as a student are conflicting; friend asks you to lie to your parents and attend a party you are not allowed to go to → your role as a friend conflicts with your role as a child.
Define role strain:
when the demands of a role are overwhelming.
--example: I have a sports game yet have too much homework and studying to do that I am stressed and unsure of what to do.
Define role ambiguity:
when it is unclear as to how you should act in a role.
--example: gender roles and expectations; you are a guest in a friends home and the family happens to be of a different faith than you → how do you act? how are you expected to behave in regards to cultural differences?
Identify the (5) types of Pattern Variables
1. Universalism VS. Particularism (Talcott Parson)
2. Affectivity VS. Affective Neutrality
3. Diffuseness VS. Specificity
4. Collective orientation VS. Self orientation
5. Ascribed VS. Achieved
What is Universalism VS. Particularism (Talcott Parson)?
Deals with whether we are expected to treat people equally (universalism) or give them special consideration (particularism).
What is Affectivity VS. Affective Neutrality?
Deals with whether we are expected to express ourselves openly (affectivity) or to conceal our emotions (affective neutrality).
What is Diffuseness VS. Specificity?
Deals with whether we are expected to deal with people for many different reasons (diffuseness) or only for specific reasons (specificity).
--Social life has boundaries
What is Collective orientation VS. Self orientation?
Deals with whether we are expected to act primarily in the interests of the group (collectively oriented) or in our own interests (self orientation).
What is Ascribed VS. Achieved?
Deals with whether we are expected to judge and treat people based upon ascribed statuses (ascription) or their achieved statuses (achievement).
--Example: Professor - student; achieved VS. Father - daughter; ascribed
A social group consists of:
--Two or more persons
--A common identity; sense of solidarity
--Types of groups that sociologists are particularly interested in studying are:
--Reference Groups(2) Types - Normative & Comparative
Charles Horton Cooley; primary indicating that we get our values (beliefs, morals, religion, ethnicity) from this group -- (example: family)
They are large groups whose relationships are impersonal and goal-oriented.
Normative Reference Groups
groups in our lives that we refer to for a particular reason → n******** reference groups provide us with behavioral guidelines and tell us how to act.
Comparative Reference Groups
the groups that we compare ourselves to as a source of evaluation.
this occurs as a result of comparison to a reference group; Reference groups often become the source of this due to the feeling of being deprived of something "relative" to one's expectations.
Relative Deprivation as an explanation for social movements:
1. Karl Marx - as an explanation for dissatisfaction between "proletariat" and "bourgeoisie." Result of "class consciousness."
2. Thomas Pettigrew - as an explanation of dissatisfaction of African Americans after WWII.
Characteristics of Primary Groups:
a small, typically permanent group, characterized by personal relationships that are emotionally bonded.
Characteristics of Secondary Groups:
are large groups whose relationships are impersonal and goal oriented; often short-term.
--Response is to the whole person rather than to segments of one's personality.
--Communication is deep and extensive.
--Very goal oriented.
--Communication may be shallow and remain on the surface.
Ferdinand Tonnies (& The Evolution of Society: Primary and Secondary Relationships)
Examines the consequences of societal change; Worried about social change and what holds people together. (community & society)
a spontaneously arising organic social relationship characterized by strong reciprocal bonds of sentiment and kinship within a common tradition; also : a community or society characterized by this relationship —
a rationally developed mechanistic type of social relationship characterized by impersonally contracted associations between persons; also : a community or society characterized by this relationship —
Characteristics of Mechanical Solidarity
--Most societies throughout history
--Small in scale
--Economic roles involve multitasking
--Cohesion maintained similarity of experiences.
Characteristics of Organic Solidarity
--more complex society
--results from growth in societal size and economic competition
--division of labor -- increased specialization
they are groups within a society that share the common culture but have their own distinctive set of cultural complexes.
a type of subculture adhering to a set of norms and values that sharply contradict dominant norms and values of the society of which the group is a part.
this hypothesis suggests that the use of different languages by different societies causes them to perceive the word very differently.
is the combination of all the statuses any individual holds at a given time.
Define prescribed role
the expectations associated with a given status that are based on what society suggests or dictates.
Define role perception
the way expectations for behavior are perceived or defined, which may differ considerably from what is prescribed or actually done.
Define role performance
the actual behavior of a person in a particular role, in contrast to the way that person is expected to behave.
What are the two types of non-social groups?
(1) Statistical groups: a group formed by sociologists or statisticians in which members are unaware of belonging and have no social interaction or social organization.
(2) Categorical group: a group of people who share a common characteristic but do not interact or have any social organization.
What are the two types of limited social groups?
(1) Aggregate: any collection of people together in one place that interact briefly and sporadically.
(2) Associational organizational group: a group of people who join together to pursue a common interest in a organized, structured fashion.
What must a social group entail?
(1) some type of interaction, (2) a sense of belonging or membership, (3) shared interests, agreements, values, norms (4) a structure that is definable & recognizable.
What is a peer group?
it is an informal primary group of people who interact in a personal, direct, and intimate way.
What are the two types of leaders?
(1) Instrumental leader- a type of leader that focuses on goals, directing activities, and helping to make group decisions.
(2) Expressive leader- type of leader that focuses on resolving conflicts and creating group harmony and social cohesion.
What is a bureaucracy?
It is a hierarchical, formally organized structural arrangement of an organization based on the division of labor and authority.
List and identify the characteristics of a bureaucracy.
1. Division of Labor and Specialization
2. Hierarchy of Authority
5. Career Pattern
6. Written Rules
(refer to pages 150 and 151 for greater detail).
What are some dysfunctions of bureaucracies?
1. Iron law of oligarchy - the perspective that a formal organization would be dominated by a small self-serving group of people who achieve power and promote their own interests.
2. Trained incapacity - the situation that exists when the demands of discipline, conformity, and adherence to rules render people unable to perceive the end for which the rules were developed.
Identify the 5 types of social interaction in which people engage:
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