Soc 102 midterm study guide
Soc 102 midterm study guide SOC 102
Popular in Contemporary Sociological Theory
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Freddie816 on Tuesday April 26, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOC 102 at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Jepson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 123 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Sociological Theory in Sociology at University of California - Los Angeles.
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Date Created: 04/26/16
Structural FunctionalismParsons “How is it that social order is maintained within society/why does everyone cooperate? Hobbes: society is held together through coercion and force imposed by a dominant authority (ruler). Parsons rejected this idea because coercion is shortlived, this cannot sustain society. Rather, society is held together through shared values, ideas and beliefs. Each member agrees to live by these moral valuesthese values become internalized and routinized (the social contract), and thus, people obey at will [not through force]. Hence, Structural functionalism. According to Structural Functionalism, society functions as an organism in which each member of society/institution (organ) works in harmony to maintain the [health] of the larger social structure [body]. Hierarchy o f the social structure: 1. The economy 2. Corporations (Institutions) 3. Business (organizations) 4. Workers (members of society) Here the economy is at the top of the hierarchy of the social structure and according to functionalism, each subsystem functions to maintain it. In other words, each subsystem, be it negative or positive such as slavery (institution) or law enforcement (institution), plays the larger role of benefitting the economy ( functions to benefit the system) . For instance, the impression is that slavery allowed the South to develop by hiring/forcing others to maintain their land. Law enforcement serves the role of protecting the people. Both of these systems function to directly benefit the economy. Furthermore, Structural Functionalism asks the question: how are people motivated to do what they do [engage in repetitive tasks that benefits the economy]? Moore and Kingsley argue that although equality is valued, it must be limited in order to benefit the larger social structure ieinequality must persist. Inequality is maintained through rewards as people compete in order to gain money, power and prestige (MPP). For instance, students go to medical school to become doctors for the ending goal of achieving more MPP. These students/doctors are motivated t o do their work because of the large sum of r ewards ( MPP) that they earn [and others don’t]. For the social structure to exist (this applies to every social structure), four fundamental requirements must be met . (functional imperativesAGIL) ● Adaptation the necessity for society to effectively adapt to its physical and social environment, this includes the ability for a system to exist and thrive in coordination with the surrounding biological environment (nature/weather/soil). For example, Saudi Arabia, which is located in a desert environment, has evolved to meet this requirement through trade: Saudi Arabia trades oil for other necessities that help sustain life in its climatic conditions ● Goal attainment societies must give people an ultimate shared objective/goal. This shared goal, argues Parsons, is what enables people to work together, (usually set out by the political system). For instance, the Criminal Justice systemthe ultimate goal is to protect the people, The more we value the goal, the more we value those who carry it out, and since people want to be protected, they support the army, police officers etc. ● Integration every social system must be able to successfully integrate individuals into the larger social structure (maintain solidarity). Integration allows people to work in harmony and is usually carried out by the legal system, religion, the family etc. ● Latent pattern maintenance every social system must have the capacity to renew values among its members . This can be exemplified through work related breaks, offering paid vacation, paid maternity/paternity leave, in order to rejuvenate and increase productivity as a result. Ex: 95 job, after 9 hours, the individual is allowed to go home in order to relieve work related stress and return the next day with increased productivity. (Allowing time for the individual to relieve stress and rejuvenate increases productivity/will to work) Parsons argues that there are four primary functions of action: M odel of Action Systems ● Cultural system enforces latent pattern maintenance through shared values and beliefs (reward and punish the individual through shared social values) ● Social system enforce integration among individuals such as by increasing tolerance in an increasingly diverse society ● Personality system the primary agency of action processes, hence, the implementation of cultural principles and requirements/shared goal ● Behavioral Organism “the adaptive subsystem” ie regulates behavior by channeling biological impulses into socially acceptable ways; a good society allows for some flow of release into socially acceptable ways. For instance: marriage regulates people’s sex drive and allows for the release of sexual tension within a monogamous relationship. Structural Functionalism continuedRobert Merton According to Merton, society is not as functional as Parsons proposes. Merton argued that n ot every social pattern (cultural values, beliefs and customs) functions to benefit society such as marriagemarriage was viewed by Parsons as a controlling mechanism that regulates human impulses i.esex drive. Merton argued that this is not the purpose of marriage and therefore does not serve as functional to society. ie as we see today, it is becoming more socially acceptable to remain unmarried well into old age and more and more children are born out of wedlock. Thus society does not need marriage in order to survive/marriage is not necessary for maintaining the larger social structure . Additionally, slavery and industrialisation are also not necessary to maintaining the social structure. Both are dysfunctional and only benefit the few (slavery only benefitted the South, not society as a whole, this was manifested in the civil war) . Furthermore, Merton argues that social patterns are not always functional because t he needs of the social system and the needs of the individual are not the same. F or instance, society needs individuals to procreate in order to survive, but individuals do not simply engage in sex for the purpose of benefitting society. Rather, people engage in sex because they like it [not to meet the interests of society]. This can also be exemplified through Religion. Religion is a social pattern with the important function of creating and maintaining solidarity bw individuals, but individuals do not engage in religious ceremonies in order to benefit society, they do so for a belief in god/ their own interests. Merton further analyzes that every larger function has its consequences. ● Latentunintended consequences ● Manifestconsequences that are i ntentional For instance, globalization. Manifest consequence: to reduce the cost of manufacturing and selling goods by going overseas. Latent consequence: elimination of jobs in the U.S. Furthermore, Anomie results when there is a disjuncture between cultural values and structural opportunities (society's definition of a good life is too high for individuals to achieve). The bigger the gap bw social values and one's ability to achieve those values, the greater the anomie. Ex US society ● Our culture places a huge emphasis on the achievement of money and material goods ● We are taught that in order to be happy, we must accumulate enormous amounts of wealth Anomie results when members of society cannot obtain these social values. Furthermore, depending on who we look up to (role model), will result in varying levels of anomie. ie Reference groups . Merton believed that reference groups are important to understanding anomie bc people's goals and values are determined by who people look up to/ppl set standards of living based on who their role model is. How do people respond to anomie? 5 models of adaptation: ● Ritualism: Ritualism occurs, usually within the poor, when people become accustomed to their way of life (not having a lot) and permanently lower their standards “Poverty is ritualized.” Motto: happiness is found within simple pleasures ● Conformity Conformity is associated with the middle class when standards are temporarily lowered with the expectation that “it will get better” (social values will eventually be reached). ie “if we make small sacrifices now, we will receive larger rewards in the future” or “if we work hard enough now and do not indulge in unnecessary material goods, we will receive greater rewards in the future” (as a result of our hard work) ● Innovation violent actions that result when the social standards of living/values cannot be obtained. iePeople revert to illegal activity such as crime (the poor may choose to steal, CEO’s steal billions of dollars), in order to reach “the American dream” ● Retreatism Individuals withdraw from society (reject the expectations and the means of the social order). Iehigh school dropouts, the homeless etc ● Rebellion People rebel, form groups and engage in civil right activism in order to demand equality. Conflict theoryLewis Coser Coser argues that not every social pattern is dysfunctional. Rather, c onflict can also serve to benefit society [the larger social structure]. There are two types of conflict that Coser focuses on: ● Intergroup conflict this type of conflict occurs between two [external] groups. According to Coser, intergroup conflict increases solidarity and cohesiveness b etween individuals of the same group, as members work in harmony to resolve the external conflict (people unite to fight for a common cause). The key is that external conflict gives individuals the shared goal of overcoming an external conflict . Ieduring times of war, society organizes to defend the larger social structure. ○ The problem though is that as conflict increases, the need for every individual to participate within the group increases, and thus, the tolerance for individual freedom weakens. F urthermore, the larger and the more diverse the group is, the harder it will be to organize everyone. This issue can be resolved by introducing a more severe type of conflict the more intense the conflict, the more likely it will be to organize a large and diverse society such as LA. ( Freedom is supposedly restored after the threat passes). ○ ExampleJonestown. Jones manipulated conflict in order to get members to organize and eventually was able to get members to drink poison voluntarily ● Intragroup conflictt his type of conflict occurs within a group, usually for scarce resources, MPP, or out of jealousy. This type of conflict has little effect if individuals are not that close, but can pose a threat if individuals are. For example, friends and family. Friends and family are usually close in relationship, and when conflict arise, friends and family tend to ignore and repress conflict for the sake of the health of the relationship. Through repression, conflict becomes worse and may flow into other relationships (any relationship with a heavy emotional relationship and high level of ego involvement is vulnerable to intragroup conflict) ○ The more intimate the relationship, the more likely that conflict will develop and be repressed ○ Prolonged repression of conflict allows conflict to slip into other relationships, allowing for a dysfunctional relationships to develop and results in the entire breakdown of the relationship Summary: The difference between conflict theory and functionalism is that whereas functionalism has a more optimistic view of society, conflict theory to an extent, has a pessimistic view of society. For example, according to functionalism, every element of society: member, institution, organization etc. serves the larger purpose of working in harmony with everyone else in order to maintain society as a whole (society works as an organ system in which each organ functions to maintain the health of the system). Conflict theory however, rejects the notion of society working as an organ system. According to conflict theory, not every element of society serves a function and not everyone works together in harmony. Furthermore, every society is subject to change, every society exhibits some form of conflict and will always be at risk of falling apart. Furthermore, every society is based on coercion of the majority (based on exploitation), that isevery society is ruled and governed by a higher power (the rich govern the poor). The one in power, not only makes the major decisions but gets everyone to conform through the use of threat and force. Conflict theory continuedC. Wright Mills C. Wright Mills analyzes this argument through his analysis on the power elite. According to Mills, society is governed by a small number of unelected officials who make all the major decisions in our society: he refers to this small group of individual as the triangle of power. The triangle of power is made up of 3 segments: ● Military segment (made up of 5 star generals) ● Economic segment (made up of corporate CEOs from the largest corporations) ● Political segment (president and highest ranking officials in the executive branch) Note that Congress is not in the triangle of powers because unlike the triangle of power, congress is made up of elected officials [the power elite is not elected] Mills argues that the unity of the power elite is reinforced through social and cultural ties, such as through intermarriage (elites marry elites), kin, religion (evangelical christianity), and a similar educational background. Additionally, the elite is sustained through an Exchange of members: interlocking directorates:( revolving door), members frequently trade places or serve in more than one sphere at a time. Furthermore, Mills argues that the power elite is a h istorical creation that gained power through a series of political events i.ewar. For instance, before the war: ● The federal government was small and irrelevant to the people ● The military was weak ● No one individual occupied too much power After the war: ● Government began intervening more and more into people’s lives ● The military expanded ● US became a “lone superpower” Thus, as a historical construction, the power elite can be challenged and resisted by the forces of democracy (the people); ie there is still hope for society. (which was the purpose of writing his bookto warn society) Overview: ● Mills rejected Parsons theory of structural functionalism, not every structure in society serves a larger purpose of helping the economy/not everyone works in harmony (structures are not all functional) ● Not all structures in society are necessary and legitimate ● Emphasis on conflict, exploitation and inequality ● Power is held by a few (elite)/triangle of power whose interests are: who governs society not the values of the people. ie the power elite does not care about greater social issues such as gay marriage. ● Sociologists should apply their research and fight for a greater cause (engage in activism) Conflict theory continuedRalf Dahrendorf Dahrendorf was interested in analyzing why conflict exists between differing social groups. Dahrendorf argued that whenever there is a dominating power that forces others to comply, there will be conflict. Dahrendorf observed that societies are built upon a hierarchy of power which distinguishes between the “haves and the have nots”. Dahrendorf finds two types of power: ● Authority: the power or right to give orders, obtained by the voluntary will of individuals/individuals willfully consent to authority ○ I.e individuals willfully consent to obey orders, follow a plan such as through signing a labor contract ○ This can also be seen as traditional authority in which children willfully obey their parents because “this is the way it is and it has always been like that” ● [Hard ]power: the capacity to direct others through the use of threat and force ○ Ie governmental control enforced by political institutions such as the criminal justice system This hence results in a binary: 2 groups with differing interests s vs them . Whenever one is in a position with no authority, conflict will prevail. According to Dahrendorf, when people of the same [subordinate] group discover that they have common interests, Structural embedded interests/objective interests , they go from quasi groups (uninformed of shared feelings), to interest groups (groups with same objective). Dahrendorf defines these interests as: ● Manifest interestspeople are aware of common interests ● Latent interestspeople are not aware of common interests Ex all students at UCLA share similar objective interests but we are q uasi groups because we do not know of these common interests (incomplete groups) However, there is historical evidence when this quasi group discovers common interests such as disliking tuition hikes (interest group), join forces and fight for common causes (conflict group).Ex ASUCLA, Student unions. According to Dahrendorf, three types of social conditions must be met in order for latent interests to become manifest interests, resulting in the formation of conflict groups (interest groups fighting for a common cause: 1. Technical conditions i ncluding leadership and ideology. The need for a good leader to persuade others and bring awareness to current problems. Allowing others to realize that they are not the only people suffering from [so and so] and need to organize and fight back 2. Political conditions: The political system must tolerate some level of conflict in order for unions to organize and fight for equal justice. It is hard to organize people when they fear suffering from consequences if they do. This can be demonstrated by looking at Mexico where protests are illegal and people may be killed if they engage in activism. Therefore, people do not do so (freedom of speech is not tolerated and thus conflict groups do not form) 3. Social conditions: refers to the level of communication and interaction between quasi groups. In order for quasi groups to become interest groups and hence mobilize in the fight for equal justice, individuals must have the ability to communicate and interact effectively. This is hard to accomplish at big institutions such as UCLA. UCLA is a commuter campus→ students only go to campus in order to attend class, they rarely interact meaningfully outside of the classroom. Thus, it is unlikely that conflict groups will form at UCLA. Mobilizing students at much smaller campuses is easier however, because since these campuses are smaller, students have more opportunities to interact and communicate with others. (think of how dynamic and busy UCLA is; no one really listens to any of the groups on Bruin walk because everyone's too busy and “concentrated in their own world)
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