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ISU / Sociology / ANT 106 / social institutions often appear monolithic and unchanging. the sociol

social institutions often appear monolithic and unchanging. the sociol

social institutions often appear monolithic and unchanging. the sociol


School: Illinois State University
Department: Sociology
Course: Intro to Sociology
Professor: Richard sullivan
Term: Summer 2015
Tags: sociology, Introduction to Sociology, sociological perspective, sociological theory, and karl marx
Cost: 50
Name: SOC 106, Study Guide for Midterm #1
Description: This study guide covers the terms that may be on the first midterm.
Uploaded: 02/13/2017
8 Pages 254 Views 0 Unlocks

SOC 106: Midterm #1

social institutions often appear monolithic and unchanging. the sociological perspective sees that:

Sociological Imagination 

∙ Sociology: the systematic study of human society and social behavior, from  large-scale institutions and mass culture to small groups and individual  interactions

o Involves scientific inquiry of the social world, collecting and analyzing  systematically gathered empirical data (empirical data: verifiable with  your senses)

∙ Sociological imagination: the ability to see the connections between our  personal experience and the larger forces of history

o Feelings of recognition

o A quality of mind that will help individuals to use information and to  develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going  on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves

social institutions often appear monolithic and unchanging. the sociological perspective is that

o Lesson 1. The individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fat only by locating himself within his period and that he can  know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all  individuals in his circumstances.

o To be aware of the idea of social structure and to use it with sensibility  is to be capable of tracing such linkages among a great variety of  milieu

o C Wright Mills – talks about the intersection of biography and history,  personal troubles of milieu, public issues of social structure (such as  unemployment)

∙ Benefits of the sociological imagination

o Allows us to see social life for what it is and comprehend what is  occurring in our world and the social foundations shifting under our  feet

in government, many social actors such as senators, legislative aides, and voters work together as a complex group of interdependent parts to influence society. seen in this light, government is a:

o Enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of  individuals If you want to learn more check out cofounding variable

o Enables him to take into account how individuals, in the welter of their  daily experience, often become falsely conscious of their social  positions

o Enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between  the two within society

∙ C Wright Mills

o Former professor at Columbia University and one of the best known  and most controversial sociologists

o Critical of the US gov. and other social institutions with unfairly  concentrated power

o Believed academics should be socially responsible and speak out  against social injustive If you want to learn more check out biology 1407 exam 1

o Wrote – The Sociological Imagination (1959), enables the sociologist  and individual to distinguish between “personal troubles” and “public  issues”

 Personal troubles: trouble occur within the character of the  individual and within the range of his immediate relations with  others (private matter)

 Public issues: issues have to do with matters that transcend  these local environments of the individual and the range of his  inner life (public matter) If you want to learn more check out sts 350

∙ Social institution: a complex group of interdependent positions that  together perform a social role and reproduce themselves over time o The sum total of stories makes up the grand narrative of the specific  social institution

o Not monolithic/unchanging

∙ Anomie: “without norms,” sense of aimlessness or despair that arises when  we can no longer reasonably expect life to be more or less meaningful ∙ Double consciousness: sense of always looking at oneself through others’  eyes and conforming to others’ perceptions

o Developed by WEB Du Bois, this is a mechanism by which African  Americans constantly maintain two behavioral scripts: 1. Script that  any American would have for moving through the world, 2. Script that  takes the external opinions of an often racially prejudiced onlooker into consideration

∙ Functionalism vs. Conflict theory (extreme oppositions) o Functionalism: the best way to analyze society is to identify the roles  that different aspects or phenomena play, which may be clear or  hidden

 Functionalist theories are considered macro-theories because  they seek to paint the social world in wide brushstrokes with  generalizable trends, global or national forces, and broad social  structures

 Durkheim and Merton are functionalists

o Conflict theory: “Marxist theory,” idea that conflict between  competing interests is basic, bringing to life force of any society and  driving social change If you want to learn more check out uga stock price

 Feminist theory: similar with the emphasis on conflict and  political reform

∙ Symbolic interactionism: focus on how face-to-face interactions create the  social world

o People act in response to the meaning that signs and social signals  hold for them

∙ Micro sociology: understanding local interactional contexts with a focus on  face-to-face encounters and interactions between individuals o Reality construction is a shared performance and reality is constructed  and reproduced through everyday interaction rituals (greetings) o Data gathered through participant observations

∙ Macro sociology: concerned with social dynamics at a higher level of  analysis across a wide range of society such as institutions (ex. religion,  politics, economy, media), where the given reality is maintained and  perpetuated through institutions, and culture (ex. values, norms, customs,

beliefs), where the given reality is explained, reinforced, and passed on  through culture

o Statistical analysis, historical comparison, and in-depth interviewing ∙ Traffic jam metaphor: 1. When we are sitting in a traffic jam, we don’t think outside the box, and what we don’t think about is just as important as what  we do think about. 2. We have a better perspective the farther up we go. 3.  Good questions are more important than answers.

∙ Peter Berger: wrote – An Invitation to Sociology, making it known that  things are not what they seem, to look behind the façade (fake image), to see strange in the familiar, and stating the great myth de-bunking discipline  If you want to learn more check out o3s guide

o Debunking myths: sociologists often examine the most controversial  topics, looking behind the façade

∙ Obstacles to sociology

o We have a cultural belief in individualism and self-determination o “common sense” knowledge of personal experience, where we assume our own experiences are universal and generalizable

o Critical nature of the discipline, with sociology challenges taken for  granted assumptions about how the world works


∙ Sociology as a discipline is the product of two dramatic social changes o Enlightenment: 18th century, “Age of Reason” We also discuss several other topics like the number of days' sales in inventory measures

 Emergence of the ideal of political liberty

 Political revolutions

 Rise of science and rational thought

o The Industrial Revolution: 19th century

 Shift from Agrarian to Industrial economy

 Urbanization “The Push and Pull”

 Extremes of wealth and poverty

∙ Karl Marx: (1818-1883) understanding how the economic system affects  society and its people

o Analyzed the structure of power in capitalist societies

o Held a comprehensive view of the close interrelationship of economic  class dominance, political power, and ideology

o Believed that, through labor, humankind would be able to realize its  “species-being”, or its potential for creative and purposeful activity  through work

 Envisioned the use of labor for enhancement of human life  

beyond material necessity

 Under capitalism, the worker becomes demoralized,  

dehumanized, and alienated/isolated from their productive  

activity, from the products they produce, and from their fellow  

workers as capitalists promote competition

o Develops his ideas concerning the interrelationship of the economy to  politics and society

o Theory of class structure – The Communist Manifesto

 Bourgeois: (capitalist class) the class that controls the means  of production is also the dominant political and ideological force  in society and the ruling ideas are that of the ruling class where  power is maintained

 Proletariat: (working class) doesn’t possess “true  


∙ False consciousness: material, ideological, and  

institutional processes in capitalist society mislead  

members of the proletariat, these processes are thought  

to hide the true nature of their social or economic  


 History is driven by class struggle (the “motor of history”) ∙ Saw a proletarian revolution that would shatter the  

capitalist order and usher in the new age of socialism

o Private property: means of production, and resources, controlled by  individuals

o Surplus value: controlled by capitalists, basis of exploitation  Exploitation: the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in  order to benefit from their work

∙ Max Weber: (1864-1920) effects of rationality on modern society, response  to Marx’s economic theory

o Rejects the Enlightenment’s view of evolutionary progress and  happiness and instead projects a highly rational and bureaucratically  organized social order, an “iron cage”, in which people are trapped

 Bureaucracy: “rule bound,” depersonalization, routinization,  and mechanical predictability are the characteristics of  

bureaucracies and they survive and expand because they are  the most efficient method for coordinating a large number of  different tasks (hierarchical order), a sign of rationalization

o Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism: (1905) examines  religious roots of modern capitalism

 Argued that 17th century beliefs in predestination and asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence)  flowing from Calvinism shaped the actions of the faithful and  contributed to the rise of capitalism

 Religious “calling” and the “work ethic”

∙ Inconvenient facts:  

∙ Emile Durkheim: (1858-1917) understanding the social forces that produce  order and disorder

o Division of Labor: demonstrates the dramatic increase in the  differentiation and specialization of functions in modern society, two  basic forms of social organization:

 Mechanical solidarity: people are basically similar in their  social roles, with little specialization or division of labor, having a common culture and common morality (ex. Amish)

 Organic solidarity: differentiation in the division of labor in  society increases, and cohesions depend less on the common

culture and morality of its members than on their mutual  

interdependence (ex. contemporary) ~increasing specialization

o Anomie: a social condition in which people are afflicted by a  debilitating sense of purposelessness and normlessness in their lives o Social integration: the degree to which you are integrated into your  social group or community, Durkheim concluded that more social  integration=less suicide rates

∙ Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the  sexes

∙ Postmodernism: everything is interpretable, there is no one version of  history correct, and there are shared meanings

Research Methods 

∙ Research methods: tools social scientists use to describe, explore, and  explain various social phenomena in an ethical fashion

o Quantitative methods: seek to obtain information about the social  world that’s already in or can be converted to numbers (use of  

statistical analysis, surveys, records, etc.)

o Qualitative methods: attempt to collect information about the social  world that can’t be converted to numeric form, information is often  used to document the meanings actions engender in social participants or to describe the mechanisms by which social processes occur (use of  participant observation, interviews, reviewing archives, etc.)

∙ Participant observation: qualitative research method that seeks to  uncover the meanings people give their social actions by observing their  behavior in practice, rather than just asking them about it after the fact

o Eliminates the notion that surveys, interviews, and other approaches  are “managed” by the respondents, who may end up telling the  researcher what they think is the right answer

o Significant time investment

∙ Inductive approach: starts with empirical observations and then works to  form a theory

∙ Deductive approach: starts with a theory, forms a hypothesis, makes  empirical observations, and then analyzes the data to confirm, reject, or  modify the original theory

∙ Correlation: (association) simultaneous variation in two variables ∙ Causality: change in one factor causes a change in another, correlation, time order, and ruling out alternative explanations is needed

∙ Dependent variables: the outcome you’re trying to explain ∙ Independent variables: the measured factors that you believe have a  casual impact on the dependent variable

∙ Hypothesis: proposed relationship between two variables, usually with a  stated direction (same-positive, opposite-negative)

o For each hypothesis, an equal and opposite alternative hypothesis  exists

o Also, you must tell stories before testing

∙ Operationalization: the process of assigning a precise method for  measuring a term being examined for use in a particular study  ∙ Validity: the extent to which something measures what it’s intended to  measure

∙ Reliability: how likely you are to obtain the same result using the same  measure the next time (a clock that is 10 minutes fast in reliable, not valid) ∙ Generalizability: the extent to which we can claim that our findings inform  us about a group larger than the one we studied

∙ Reflexivity: analyzing and critically considering the white coat effects (the  effects researchers have on the processes and relationships they’re studying  by being there) you may be inspiring with your research process ∙ Population: the set of all elements of interest in a study

∙ Sample: the subset of the population

∙ Feminist methodology: set of systems/methods that treat women’s  experiences as legitimate empirical and theoretical resources, that promote  social science for women, and that take into account the researcher as much  as the overt subject matter

∙ Historical methods: research that collects data from written reports,  newspaper articles, journals, transcripts, television programs, diaries,  artwork, and other artifacts that date back to the period under study

o Content analysis: a systematic analysis of the content in written or  recorded material

∙ Comparative research: methodology by which a researcher compares two  or more entities with the intent of learning more about the factors that differ  between them

o General approach is to find cases that match on many potentially  relevant dimensions but vary on one

o Usually refers to cross-sectional studies (sampling of a new group in,  say, each yearly survey wave)

∙ Experimental methods: methods that seek to alter the social landscape in  a very specific way for a given sample of individuals and then track what  results that change yields, these often involve comparisons to a control group that did not experience such as intervention

∙ Public sociology: emphasizes expanding the disciplinary boundaries of  sociology in order to engage with non-academic audiences (style of  sociology)

∙ Sidewalk

o Crucial because the sidewalk is the site where a sense of mutual  support must be felt among strangers

o It has changed because the concentration of poverty in high poverty  zones has produced social problems of a magnitude that cannot be  contained by even the most extreme forms of social control and  exclusion

o It works because the people making lives on the street depend on one  another for social support

 It’s an informal economy where they can advise, mentor, and  encourage one another to strive to live in accordance with  

standards of moral worth

 Social controls from the government have resulted in the  

contemporary idea about deviance and criminality

∙ Ethnography: the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples  and cultures


∙ Culture: the sum of the social categories and concepts we recognize in  addition to our beliefs, behaviors, and practices (everything but nature)/the  social process through which meaning is constructed and disseminated

o Both the technology by which humans have come to dominate nature  and the belief systems, ideologies, and symbolic representations that  constitute human existence

o Relative

o Philosophers begin to define it in contrast to what other peoples do ∙ Norms: culturally defined rules of conduct/how values are put into play ∙ Values: moral beliefs

∙ Ethnocentrism: the belief that one’s own culture or group is superior to  others and the tendency to view all other cultures from the perspective of  ones own

∙ Cultural relativity: taking into account the differences across cultures  without passing judgment or assigning value

∙ Material culture: everything that is a part of our constructed, physical  environment, including technology

o Material objects: objects created by humans to be used  

o Symbols: something used to represent or stand for something else,  powerful

o Language: written or spoken system of symbols that convey meaning, the most powerful symbol through which social reality is constructed  and maintained

∙ Nonmaterial culture: values, beliefs, behaviors, and social norms ∙ Ideology: system of concepts and relationships, an understanding of cause  and effect

∙ Subculture: the distinct cultural values and behavioral patterns of a  particular group in society, a group united by sets of concepts, values,  symbols, and shared meaning specific to the members of that group  distinctive enough to distinguish if from others within the same culture or  society

∙ Mores: the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a  community

∙ Folkways: the traditional behavior or way of life of a particular community or group of people

∙ Sanctions: threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule

∙ Power and culture: power comes from the ability to control or influence the way the situation is defined (or “framed”) and some individuals and groups  have more power to define reality

∙ Significance of culture: important because-humans need culture to  survive, culture guides human behavior, and culture gives meaning to our  lives

∙ E Anderson Code of the Streets:  

o The inclination of violence springs from the circumstances of life  among the ghetto poor-lack of jobs that pay a living wage, the stigma  of race, the fallout from rampant drug use and drug trafficking, and the resulting alienation and lack of hope for the future.

o Street culture has evolved what can be called the code of the streets:  set of informal rules governing interpersonal public behavior, including  violence.

 Respect is at the heart of it

 This is a cultural adaptation to a profound lack of faith in the  police and the judicial system

 Personal responsibility for one’s safety begins here  

o There’s “decent” and there’s “street”

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