Exam 1 Chapters 1-4
Exam 1 Chapters 1-4 SOCY 210
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Indya Neville on Monday February 8, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOCY 210 at Radford University taught by Steven M McGlamery in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Social Problems in Sociology at Radford University.
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Date Created: 02/08/16
Study Guide, SOCY Problems, 1 Exam Ch. 1 Investigating Social Problems Social institution – any set of person, such as a family, economy, government, or religion, cooperating for the purpose of organizing stable patterns of human activity. Cohort – within a population, a group of individuals of similar age who share a particular experience. Demographics – social characteristics of a population, in particular those of race, age, and gender. Intersectionality – the ways in which several demographic factors—especially social class, race, ethnicity, and gender—combine to affect people’s experiences. Social class – a category of people whose experiences in life are determined by the amount of income and wealth they own and control. Sociology – the study of social behavior and human society. Social problem – a social condition, event, or pattern of behavior that negatively affects the wellbeing of a significant number of people (or a number of significant people) who believe that the condition, event, or pattern needs to be changed or ameliorated. Ameliorated – changed Social constructionism – the social process by which people define a social problem into existence. Social structure – the pattern of interrelated social institutions. Social movements – the collective efforts of people to realize social change in order to solve social problems. Sociological imagination – a form of selfconsciousness that allows us to go beyond our immediate environments of family, neighborhood, and work and understand the major structural transformations that have occurred and are occurring. Theory – a collection of related concepts. Social policy – a more or less clearly articulated and usually written set of strategies for addressing a social problem. Spector and Kituse quote on social construction of social problems: “social problems are what people think they are” Objective aspect of social problems – those empirical conditions or facts that point to the concreteness of social problems “out there.” Subjective aspect of social problems – the process by which people define social problems. Research methods – techniques for obtaining information. o Survey – a research method that asks respondents to answer questions on a written questionnaire. o Participant observation – a research method that includes observing and studying people in their everyday settings. o Interviewing – a method of data collection in which the researcher asks respondents a series of questions. o Mixed methods – combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Major sociological theoretical perspectives: o Structural functionalism – (dominant perspective), the sociological theory that considers how various social phenomena function, or work in a positive way, to maintain unity and order in society. Spencer “survival of the fittest” Parsons, Merton o Conflict theory – the sociological theory that focuses on dissent, coercion, and antagonism in society. One group dominating another through power. Marx, Dahrendorf o Symbolic interaction – the sociological perspective that sees society as the product of symbols (words, gestures, objects) given meaning by people in their interactions with each other. Mead Social self, selffulfilling prophecy, lookingglass self (Charles Horton Cooley) W.I. Thomas quote: “if people define a social situation as real, it will be real in its consequences” Service sociology – a socially responsible and missionoriented sociology of action and alleviation. Ch. 2 Poverty/Social Class Inequality Absolute measure of poverty – a threshold or line (usually based on income) at or below which individuals or groups are identified as living in poverty. Relative measure of poverty – a measure that looks at individuals or groups relative to the rest of their community or society rather than setting an absolute line. Poverty threshold – measures of poverty used by the U.S. Census Bureau that take into account family size, number of children, and their ages. Poverty line Extreme poverty (neighborhoods) – areas (usually based on census tracts) that have poverty rates of 40% or more. Social safety net – (i.e., Great Depression), public programs intended to help those who are most vulnerable in a society. Social class – a person’s social position relative to the economic sector; how Americans selfidentify by class: prestige, status, power, etc. Marx’s views on social class – social position revolved around one important factor: ownership of the means of production; capitalists. Weber’s views on social class – 3 aspects of stratification: class, status, power; socioeconomic status (SES). Income – money that comes into a family or household from a variety of sources, such as earnings, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Social Security, pension or retirement income, interest, and dividends. Wealth – assets (or possessions) or net worth (the difference between the value of assets and the amount of debt for an individual, family, or household). SES continuum – a conceptualization of social class in terms of a continuum or index based on social and economic factors. Social mobility – upward or downward movement in social position by groups or individuals over time. Trends in inequality – increasing throughout the world. Statistics on inequality of wealth in U.S. – top 20% has more than 80% of the distribution of wealth. Measure of degree of inequality (difference between median and mean on income and wealth) – 2001 median income $48,900 but mean $83,300 compared to net worth median $106,100 and mean $487,000; 2010 median income $45,800 but mean $78,500 compared to net worth median $77,300 and mean $498,800. Theoretical perspectives on poverty and policy implications of each approach: o Structural functionalism – the hypothesis that societies are complex systems whose parts work together to maintain cohesion and stability. Welfare reform and austerity programs. o Symbolic interactionism – culture of poverty thesis, labeling theory. Intervene to break the “cycle of dependency” and examine who is applying the labels, for what purpose. o Conflict theory – groups have different interests that come into conflict with one another, and poverty is systematic. Alienation Functionalism and poverty: Davis and Moore’s justification why inequality is necessary – “Some Principles of Stratification,” 1) some positions in a society are more specialized and valuable, 2) only a few have the talent for more important positions, 3) learning those skills require sacrifices, must receive more resources and rewards to compensate, 4) social inequality seen as inevitable and functional. Gans’ “positive functions” of poverty: 1) get “dirty work” done cheaply, 2) ready market for lower quality products, 3) gives higher status to others (someone must be at the bottom); but these functions of poverty come at a cost. Symbolic interactionism and poverty: 1) culture of poverty – Oscar Lewis, the idea that living in poverty leads to the acquisition of certain values and beliefs that perpetuate remaining in poverty; 2) labeling theory individuals seen as deviant or as outsiders become labeled by others who are more advantaged because of their sex, race, ethnicity, class, or age. Conflict theory and poverty: Marx’s alienation of worker idea – the separation of workers from their human nature in the capitalist production process—that is, the separation between the labor to make something and the object itself. Other frameworks: o Social empathy – the insights individuals have about other people’s lives that allow them to understand the circumstances and realities of other people’s living conditions. o Social inclusion – a sense of belonging to or membership in a group or a society. o Distributive justice – relative equality in how social and economic resources are distributed in a society (tax policy). Poverty video: kinds of poverty, characteristics of generational poverty. Ch. 3 Race Race – a socially and politically constructed category of persons that is often created with certain physical traits (ex., skin color, eye color, eye shape, hair texture) in mind but can also incorporate religion, culture, nationality, and social class, depending on the time, place, and political/economic structure of the society. o Race as social construction (traits). Ethnicity – cultural background, often tied to nationality of origin and/or the culture practiced by the individual and his or her family of origin. o Symbolic ethnicity – an ethnicity that is not particularly salient in an individual’s daily life and becomes relevant only at certain symbolic times or events. o Thick to thin continuum – depending on how big a part ethnic practices play in everyday life. Minority group – a group that does not hold a sizable share of power and resources is disproportionately small relative to the group’s numerical presence in the overall population, and the group has a history of being systemically excluded from those resources. Racism – a system that advantages the dominant racial group in a society. Racialization – the process by which a society incorporates and clearly demarcates individuals who fit a certain profile into a particular racial group. Race and immigration o National Origins Act (19241965) – limited the number of immigrants allowed from each region of the world. Restrictions have been lifted since. o DREAM Act – Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, could prevent deportation of the “1.5 generation” (foreignborn but raised in U.S.) Any who entered the U.S. before age 16 given 6 years to either get in the military or a college. Obama’s executive action: reprieve from deportation for some. Race, income, and wealth o Tokenistic fallacy – the common misunderstanding that when a small number of persons from a minority group become successful in a society there must no longer be racism in that society. o Racial disparity explained by: Education levels Individual discrimination – discrimination in which actors carry out their own intentions to exclude based on race, as opposed to being explicitly supported in doing so or directed to do so by an organization. Institutional discrimination – discrimination based in policies often written without overt racial language that nonetheless have disproportionately negative impacts on people of color. o Studies: Audit studies on hiring based on resumes – having a strong resume had a bigger effect for whites (increasing callbacks by 30%) than for blacks (9%). Royster on workingclass blacks and whites – blacks were less likely than whites to be employed in the skilled trade in which they had been trained, blacks also earned less per hour, experienced fewer promotions, held lowerstatus positions, and experienced longer bouts of unemployment than whites. Baltimore Fire Dept. – in 2004, they recruited an entirely white incoming trainee class in a city that is 65% black. o Sedimentation of racial inequality – describes how a history of institutional discrimination has reinforced the wealth gap. Race and criminal justice o Mass incarceration: Alexander’s “new Jim Crow” Race and health o Measure of infant mortality – highest for Blacks, then American Indians, Whites, Mexicans, and Asians o Disparities in life expectancy and health insurance Possible causes? Biology? Nutrition, stress, discrimination/segregation, environmental hazards o Structural functionalism on race: assimilation to maintain social equilibrium – minorities must assimilate into the dominant culture, because poor integration is harmful to social equilibrium. Segmented assimilation – a theory acknowledging different segments of the host society into which an immigrant can assimilate (not just the white middle class). Bumpyline assimilation – a modification of early 20 century assimilation theory that challenges the traditional linear oneway progression; instead, immigrants can become full participating members of the host society while still retaining certain ties to their nationalities of origin (incorporated notion of “thick” vs “thin” ties). [Gans] o Conflict theory on race: Dubois’ veil – a metaphor for the physical and psychic separation between the dominant/majority group and subordinate/minority groups. Double consciousness – African Americans’ ability to see themselves both as active agents with full humanity and as they are seen through the eyes of whites who view them as inferior and problematic. White privilege – the often unseen or unacknowledged benefits that members of the majority group receive in a society unequally structured by race. o Symbolic interaction on race: Allport’s contact theory – the prediction that persons with greater degrees of crossracial contact will have lower levels of racial prejudice than those with less contact. The positive impact of interracial contact is increasingly muted by the dominance of color blindness. Stereotype threat – the tendency of individuals to perform better or worse on standardized tests depending on what they have been told about their group’s abilities. o Other theories: Spatial mismatch (Wilson) – the theory that the movement of jobs away from central cities in the postindustrial era left many African Americans without employment. Colorblind racism (Bonilla Silva) – a type of racism that avoids over arguments of biological superiority/inferiority and instead uses ideologies that do not always mention race specifically. Insists that race is irrelevant and racial discrimination is a thing of the past, therefore, problems that minorities encounter must stem from individual inadequacies. Ch. 4 Gender Gender inequality – the way in which the meanings assigned to sex and gender as social categories create disparities in resources such as income, power, and status. Hegemonic masculinity – the type of gender practice that exists at the top of the hierarchy in any given place and time. Sexual dimorphism – the belief that there are two discrete types of people—male and female—who can be distinguished on the basis of real, objective, biological criteria. Androcentrism – the belief that masculinity and what men do are superior to femininity and what women do. Glass elevator Approximately 54% of college students are female. Is gender a social problem (“ungendering”)? [gender neutral terms] Or is it only gender INEQUALITY that’s a social problem? Gender and intersectionality, examples: o Intersectional approach – a sociological approach that examines how gender as a social category intersects with other social statuses such as race, class, and sexuality. o More Hispanic and African American females will enroll in school than their male counterparts. Gender wage gap – the gap in earnings between women and men, usually expressed as a percentage or proportion of what women are paid relative to their male equivalents. Factors include choice of major, occupation, job experience, the degree of occupational segregation they encounter, the amount of information available to job seekers about highpaying jobs, and men’s and women’s salary expectations. Sexual assault on campus: in a 9month academic year, about 3% of college women will be victims of attempted or completed sexual assault on campus. Radford has 5,683 female students; if average, that means 170 women are sexually assaulted at RU each school year. o Perpetuated by someone the victim knows, “party rape” power dynamics o One factor is the idea that violence against women is a “woman’s problem”. o Rape culture Gender and structural functionalism: o Sex roles theory – the set of expectations attached to a particular sex category— male or female. o Social roles vary by society and culture. o Instrumental role – oriented toward goals and tasks. o Expressive role – oriented toward interactions with other people. o Policy implications – a functional family unit is one that consists of a man who fulfills an instrumental role and a woman who occupies an expressive role. (nuclear family—husband, wife, and children) Gender and symbolic interactionism: o “Doing gender” theory – a theory of gender that claims gender is an accountable performance created and reinforced through individuals’ interactions. o Accountability – the ways in which people gear their actions to specific circumstances so others will correctly recognize the actions for what they are. o Allocation – the way decisions get made about who does what, who gets what and who does not, who gets to make plans, and who gets to give orders to take them. Gender and conflict theory: o Socialist feminism – a version of feminist thought that employs Marxist paradigms to view women as an oppressed social class. o Radical feminism – a version of feminist thought that suggests gender is a fundamental aspect of the way society functions and serves as an integral tool for distributing power and resources among people and groups. o Liberal feminism – a type of feminism that suggests men and women are essentially the same and gender inequality can be eliminated through the reduction of legal barriers to women’s full participation in society. o Consciousnessraising – a radical feminist social movement technique designed to help women make connections between the personal and the political in their lives. Ex., Seeing sexual harassment as a fundamental and inevitable product of the patriarchal way our society is structured, part of the way men maintain control through fear and intimidation. “The personal is political.” Queer theory – draws on 1) the social constructionist aspect of doing gender theory, 2) the societywide approach of radical feminism, 3) postmodernistic distrust of metanarratives (universal explanations). o Distrustful of categories related to gender sexuality, like gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, man, woman, feminine, masculine. 1. Works to get rid of current categories. 2. Identify categories as open and fluid. 3. “Queer” all of society, since gender and sexuality are central organizing features of all of society.
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