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global interdependence

relationship in which the lives of all people are intertwined closely and any ones nations problems are part of larger global problem


the study of human society and social interaction


a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations

sociological imagination

the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society, as defined by C. Wright Mills

personal troubles

private problems that affect individuals and networks of people with which they regularly associate

public issues

problems that affect large numbers of people and require solutions at the societal level


groups of people specified by physical characteristics, such as skin color


culture heritage or identity of a group, based on language or country of origin


relative location of a person or group within the larger society


biological and anatomical differences between men and women


A group of French "radicals" who focused on human reason and making critical changes in society, during the Enlightenment, thought society could be improved through science


open house to stimulate intellectual discussion and debate


societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and relate industries.


movement of people from rural areas to cities

Auguste Comte

French philosopher remembered as the founder of positivism. Saw human history as 3 stages: theological, metaphysical and scientific. Founded "sociology."


Auguste Comte's belief that the world can be best understood through scientific inquiry.

law of three stages

Auguste Comte's theory that societies pass through three states of cognitive development - the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive - which represent fundamentally different attitudes to the explanation of natural events

Harriet Martineau

First female sociologist, her writings emphasized the impact that the economy, law, trade, health, and population could have on social problems. She spoke in favor of the rights of women, the emancipation of slaves, and religious tolerance. Believed society would be better if everyone treated as equals and thought sociology could bring knowledge and understanding.

Herbert Spencer

English philosopher and sociologist who applied the theory of natural selection to human societies, aka social darwinism

Social Darwinism

members of a species constantly compete to survive; those best adapted survive while the others die

Emile Durkheim

French sociologist, believed people were product of social environment and behavior cannot be fully understood in terms of individual biological and psychological traits. Human potential socially, not biologically based. Believed we were built on social facts. Wrote Division of Labor and Suicide. Believed Sociology should be based on observation rather than traits.

social facts

Emile Durkheim's theory of patterned ways of acting, thinking, and feelings that exist outside any one individual but that exert social control over each person


Emile Durkheim's term for the loss of direction felt in a society when social control of individual behavior has become ineffective. Likely to occur during a period of rapid social change.

Karl Marx

German economist/philosopher, believed conflict necessary in order to produce social change, said capitalist economic system responsible for poverty.


Karl Marx's term for capitalists, those who own the means of production


Karl Marx's term for the exploited class, the mass of workers who do not own the means of production


products workers produce

use value

the value of an object based on the use of that object

exchange value

the value of a commodity when it is exchanged in the open market

fetishism of commodities

describes the situation in which workers fail to recognize that their labor gives the commodity its value and instead come to believe that a commodity's value is based on the natural properties of the thing itself

Max Weber

German philosopher and author who founded the field of sociology. He also stressed the importance of the Protestant work ethic in industrial society. Emphasized that Sociology should be value free and practice verstehen. Said rational bureaucracy, rather than class struggle is most important in determining social relations among people in industrial societies

value free

the view that a sociologist's personal values or biases should not influence social research


understanding social behavior by putting yourself in the place of others


the process by which the modern world has come to be increasingly dominated by structures devoted to efficiency, calculability, predictability, and technological control

Georg Simmel

German sociologist who emphasized that society is best seen as a web of patterned interactions among people. He researched the social interactions in groups of two and three. Ultimate concern to protect the autonomy of the individual in society.


social group with two members


social group with three members

formal sociology

Georg Simmel's approach that focuses attention on the universal recurring social forms that underlie the varying content of social interaction.

Robert E. Park

first head of U.S department of sociology was at the University of Chicago. Studied the disintegrating influence of urbanization on social life

George Herbert Mead

the university of Chicago philosophy professor whose teachings were synthesized into the theory called symbolic interactionism and gave insights on how we develop our self-concept

symbolic interaction

the idea that people give meaning to symbols and then those symbols control people's behavior in their presence


our understanding and evaluation of who we are

Jane Addams

the founder of Hull House, which provided English lessons for immigrants, daycares, and child care classes. Prominent social reformer who helped other women join the fight for reform, as well as influencing the creation of other settlement houses.

W. E. B. Du Bois

first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He urged blacks to fight discrimination actively, with other reformers he formed the NAACP worked to gain equal rights for African Americans. Noted that a dual heritage creates conflict for people of color, named double-consciousness.


W.E.B. Du Bois's term for the conflict felt by and about African Americans, who were both American (and hence entitled to rights and freedoms) and African (and hence subject to prejudices and discrimination) at the same time.


a set of logically interrelated statements that attempts to describe, explain, and predict social events


overall approach to or viewpoint on some subject. Three major ones in Sociology are: functionalist, conflict and symbolic interaction.

functionalist perspective

the sociological approach that views society as a stable, orderly system

societal consensus

Whereby the majority of members share common set of values, beliefs, and behavioral expectations

Talcott Parsons

a Harvard University sociologist that was a key figure in the development of the functionalist theory/perspective. He saw any society as a vast network of connected parts, each of which helps to maintain the system as a whole. Saw a division of labor between husbands and wives and believed it was essential for stability and social order.

instrumental tasks

involve acquiring resources for the family and defending it (goal oriented)

expressive tasks

those that pertain to the creation and maintenance of a set of positive, supportive, emotional relationships within the family unit

Robert K. Merton

American Sociologist who expanded our understanding of the concept of social function by pointing out that any social structure probably has many functions. He distinguished between manifest functions and latent functions.

manifest functions

The recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern

latent functions

Unintended functions that are hidden and remain unacknowledged by participants

conflict perspective

groups in society engaging in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources, several branches: neo-Marxist, racial-ethinic, feminist


Max Weber's term for the ability of a person within a social relationship to carry out his or her own will despite resistance from others


Max Weber's term for a positive or negative social estimation of honor

C. Wright Mills

Came up with sociological imagination, said value-free sociology was impossible, believed most important decisions made by power elite

Feminist perspective

a sociological approach that views inequity in gender as central to all behavior and organization, assumes gender is socially created

symbolic interactionist perspective

The sociological approach that views society as the sum of the interactions of individuals and groups.

macrolevel analysis

An approach that examines whole societies, large-scale social structures, and social systems

microlevel analysis

focuses on small groups rather than large scale social structures

Charles H. Cooley

created theory of looking-glass self

looking-glass self

Charles H. Cooley's theory that we develop a self-image from the way others treat us

dramaturgical analysis

Erving Goffman's term for the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance

postmodern perspectives

the sociological approach that attempts to explain social life in modern societies that are characterized by post-industrialization, consumerism, and global communications

global village

a term that compares the world to a small village, where fast, modern communication allows news to travel quickly

Jean Baudrillard

Sociologist associated with death of reality and hyperreality, and that media creates rather than reflects reality, said we focus more on want than reality

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