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AU / OTHER / SOCY / What is the definition of cultural anthropology?

What is the definition of cultural anthropology?

What is the definition of cultural anthropology?

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School: Auburn University
Department: OTHER
Course: SOCIOLOGY: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Term: Fall 2018
Tags: sociology
Cost: 50
Name: Sociology 1000
Description: Class notes and books notes that will be on test 1.
Uploaded: 09/07/2018
26 Pages 7 Views 6 Unlocks
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Sociology First Test­ Notes and Book Notes 


What is the definition of cultural anthropology?



• Practical vs. Scientific (chapter 1 page 9)  

• we go through our day using practical knowledge shaped by experiences • “bad side” of town, local area knowledge, certain traffic laws not enforced or  followed 

• this can hurt our ability to be unbiased 

• practical use of a cell phone vs. scientific knowledge of how the apps in the  phone are coded 

• The Thomas Theorem (chapter 3 page 103) 

• “if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” • how you perceive a situation influences how you react to it, even if your  perception is based on false assumptions 


What is mesosociology?



• important to identitfy your own bias and examine facts that you assume are  correct 

• if you have never questioned something you believe then do you truly believe  it? 

• What is sociology? chapter 1 page 9 

• sociology is one of the social sciences­ disciplines that examine the human, or  social, world 

• the study of society and residues of social behavior 

• the systematic study of human society and social behavior We also discuss several other topics like uga math major

• text book definition 

• “the study of people doing things together” 

• Society chaoter 1 page 9 

• a group of people who shape their lives in aggregated and patterned ways that  distinguish their groups from other groups 


What are the sociological theories?



• society can be classified from something as small as an individual village of  people to entire continents 

• Social Behvaior 

• interaction between tow or more organisms typically of the same species • humans are not the only animals that exhibit social behavior, however  generally human social behavior is the most complex 

• every time you interact with another person, or system a person built, that is  social behavior 

• Social Sciences 

• disciplines that use the scientific method to examine the social world • natural sciences examine the physical worldWe also discuss several other topics like What is the waste isolation pilot plant?

• Political Science 

• the science that studies the distribution and use of power 

• politcal scientists are not as interested in person to person power as in large  scale power, particularly governments We also discuss several other topics like this is a disorder in which a person develops two or more distinct personalities.

• Economics 

• the science that studies the distribution of scarce resources Don't forget about the age old question of utd ele

• onlu seems to be the study of money 

• money is fabulous invention now pre­eminient in how we distribute resources • money also easy to do arithmetics and fairer math with 

• Politcal Economy  

• politcal science and economics overlap somewhat 

• for instance attempts by politcians and government office holders to develop  programs to affect the economy 

• area of overlap is called political economy 

• Psychology 

• the science of the mind 

• the science of human behavior 

• Anthropology 

• science of humankind 

• concerned with all human behavior 

• large scale social behavior 

• Branches of Anthropoolgy 

• biological anthropology (physical)­ study of structure and evolution • cultural (social)­ study of human societies 

• linguistcs  

• archeology  

• culural anthropolgy and sociology 

• anthropoligist tend to stay smaller groups 

• anthropologust less likely to generalize from N of 1 (one observation of  somethign) 

• N of 1 and critical thinking Don't forget about the age old question of entrepreneurial finance lecture notes

• “N” or sometimes “n” refers to the number of observation a scientist made • drawing conclusions from an N of 1 is over­generalization, bad logic • if 1 observation if not enough for a reliable generalization, how many  observations do you need? 

• if we are talking about societies, there is a great deal of variability • What is sociology”

• according to Howard Becker, sociology is the study of people doing things  together because neither the individual nor society exist independently of one  another 

• The Sociological Perspective 

• a way of looking at the world through a sociology lens 

• you may have to reexamine and revalidate facts you already knew • Beginners mind: approaching the world wihtou preconceptions in order to see  things in a new way 

• a way to try and remove bias, borrowed from the Zen buddhist tradition  • shoshin­ beginners mind 

• Stadium Example 

• doing nothing observation:how does going into a group and observing the  group change your perspective? 

• The Beginners Mind If you want to learn more check out underextension speech

• the opposite of the experts mind 

• McGrane says that to explore the social world, it is important that we clear our  minds of stereotypes, expectations, and opinions so that we are more receptive  to our experiences 

• Culture Shock 

• sense of disorientation that occurs when you enter a new social or cultural  environment 

• college culture shock  

• military culture shock 

• the sense of disorientaion 

• behaviors that are typical in one society or culture may seem very strange in  another context 

• The Sociological Imagination 

• C. WRight Mills 

• a quilaity of mind that allows us to understand the relationship between our  individual circumstnace and larger social forces 

• the intersection of biography and history  

• “we normally think of our own problems as being private matter of character,  chance, or circumstance, and we overlook the fact that these may be used in  part by, or atleast occurring within a specific cultural and historical context” • Examples: 2008 Housing Crisis 

• Meritocracy­ advance by merit alone 

• advantages of chance­ demography benefits or hampers your opportunity and if you have the means to take advantage of opportunities presented to you 

• situation in life and what is happening at a social level 

• Levels of Analysis 

• sociologists can use different levels of analysis to explore social relationships: • microsociology­ examines small group interaction to see how they impact  larger institutions 

• macrosociology­ examines large scale group interaction to see how they affect  small groups 

• Microsociology 

• bottom up approach 

• Interaction: The work Women do 

• men interrupt more, women ask more questions 

• women are noticed more when they interrupt 

• knowledge of these facts can change interactions 

• focus on the development of self and self image 

• The looking glass self 

• charlse horton cooley 

• a persons idea of themselves grows out of their interactions with others • you define yourself based on how others react to you  

• Mesosociology 

• concernec with organizational behavior 

• behavior by an organization 

• behavior by individuals and groups within that organization 

• how is Auburn tuition price set? 

• who choose what course to offer,,etc? 

• Macrosociolgy 

• approaches the study of society by looking at the large scale social structure  in order to determine how it affects the lives of groups and indviduals • top­down approach 

• glass ceiling vs. glass elevator 

• Social Theories: 

• abstract propostions that explain the social worlds 

• how things are and how they should be according to a specific line of thought • social theories are guiding principles or abstract models that attempt to  explain and predict the social world 

• Sociological Theories 

• theories in sociology are propositions that seek to explain the social world  and hep to make predictions about future events

• theories are also sometimes referred to as approaches, schools of thought,  paradigms, or perspective 

• Sociology Roots 

• Auguste Comte stated that sociology needed to be treated like any other  scientific discipline 

• he laid the groundwork for future sociologists and helped… 

• Auguste Comte 

• positivism­ theory that sense perceptions are the only valid source of  knowledge(what you see must be true, since your eyes and ears are valid  instruments for obersvation) 

• positivism seeks to identify laws to explain the social world. heavy emphasis  on scientific method applied to the study of society 

• sociolofy­ a scientific discipline that would descrive the laws of social  phenomena and help control social life 

• The Scientific Method 

• must have a hypothesis that can can be tested 

• must be based on empirical or measurable date 

• experimental setup is designed to test the hypothesis 

• the most important past is the experiment, to have valid experimedn you have valid data, ad more importantly…. 

• Harriet Martinau 

• a social activist who traveled the united states and wrote about social changes  that were radical for this time period 

• Martuneau translated comte’s work into english, making his ideas accessibly  to england and america  

• english journalist and political economist 

• labor unions 

• abolotion of slvaery  

• wommen’s suffrage 

• preffered to be called Mrs. Martineau for respect as a status 

• traveled to america to judge the american experiment in democracy and found it “flawed and hypocritical” because of slavery and denying citizenship to  women and minorities  

• Herbert Spencer 

• the first great english speaking sociologist 

• spencer believed in evolution and coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” • he believed that societies evolve through time by adapting to their changing  environment. his philosophy is often referred to social darwinism 

• societies like biological organism, evolve though time by adapting to  changing conditions 

• biologist tent to avoid this phrase as usually is it “survival of the most well  adapted or those who can adopt change, not the fittest” 

• Social Darwinism­ application of the theory of evolution and survival of the  fittest to the study of society  

• social darwinism usually has the negative connotations as it has been used as  a justification for everythign…. 

• Emily Durkheim 

• worked to establish sociology as an important academic discipline • Durkheim studied the that bond and hold people together 

• In Suicide he studied the relationship between social isolation and suicide at  the macro level 

• social solidarity­ what hold society tougher 

• mechanical solidarity­ social bonds in simple agricultural society, society  bound together by shared traditions and beliefs create a strong sense of  community 

• organic solidarity­ social bonds in industrial socieryt, society bound taught by the task expel perform, interdepence, and individual rights 

• believed even the most indvidualistic actions had socialoica explanations • Suicide­ attempted to relate individual cases to larger social movements ad  lack of social connections. the more connected a person was to family,  religion, work, etc the less anomie that person would experience • anomie­ alienation and loss of purpose  

• Religion(Durkheim) 

• religion is a powerful source of solidarity because of a shared sense of  reinforced bonds and shared moral values 

• solidarity­ the extent to which an individuals feel connected to other members of their group 

• religion­ group unified in its definition of what if considers sacred and  profance, and sharing rituals or ceremonies to….. 

• sacred­holy, divine 

• profane­ ordinary, mudane 

• Durkheim 

• collective conscience­ shared morals and beliefs that are common to a group  which foster social solidarity. you all know the same basic principles • american collective conscience 

• auburn collective conscience

• religious collective conscience 

• Karl Marx 

• german philosper and political activist who contributed to sociology conflict  theory 

• marx theorized that capitalism created social inequality between bourgeoisie,  who owned the means of production(money, factories, natural resources, and  land) and the proletariat who were the works

• marx predicted that inequality leads to class conflict  

• Max Weber 

• studied how society was becoming industrialized 

• he was concurrence with the process of rationalization applying economic  logic to all human activity

• he believed that contemporary life was filled with dischenchatment the result  of dehumanizing features of modern societies

• disenchantment= “iron cage” 

• Erving Goffman 

• studied how the self is developed through interaction with others in society  • Goffman used the term dramaturgy to describe the way people strategically  present themselves to others

• Robert Merton 

• manifest functions­ obvious intended functions of social structure for the  social system

• latent fucntions­ the less obvious unintended functions of social structure • education and public school system 

• manifest function ­ teaching students how to read, write, and teaching society  norms and laws

• latent function­ keeps kids busy and out of trouble for most of the day on  weekdays, and act as childcare which we don't have to pay extra for • School of Thought 

• paradigms 

• structural functionalism: 

• society is viewed as an ordered system of interrelated parts or structures  which are the social institutions that make up society(family, education,  politics, the economy)

• each of these different structures meets the needs of society by performing  specfic functions for the whole system

• Structural Functionalism 

• macro level theory 

• primary assumption: society is a unified whole that functions because of the  contributions of its separate structures

• Functionalism 

• universal social theory  

• preoccupied with stability of an existing system 

• problems: 

• social inequality in functionalism­ if they exist they must serve a function and are inevitable

• circular reasoning­ the persistence of an institution… 

• Structual Functionalism 

• any dysfunction in a structure leads to a new equilibrium, if one structure  change all others must adjust

• Functionalism 

• the functional purpose of the poor 

• dirty work 

• medial low wage jobs 

• provide market for used and off price goods 

• help the rich feel good 

• keep the rich in dead of the poor 

• caste system 

• no mobility 

• no way to change castes 

• seen as deserving of the caste you were born into  

• Schools of Thought 

• conflict theory­ sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change • symbolic interactionism­ sees interaction and meaning as central to society  and assumes that meanigns are not inherent but rather are created through  interaction

• Feminist Theory­ looks at both gender inequalities in society and the way  that gender structures the social world and considers remedies to these  inequalities

• Queer Thoery­ proposed that categories of sexual identity are social  constructs and that no sexual category is fundamentally either deviant or  normal­ inspired by gay and lesbian movements

• Postmidernist Theory­ truth is in the eyes of the beholder 

- What is Sociology? 

• the study of society

• Howard Becker= the study of people “doing things together”; neither the individual nor society exist independently of one another

- Sociology’s Roots 

• Auguste comte: 

• state that sociology needed to be treated like nay other scientific  discipline

• laid the ground work for future sociologists and helped build the  discipline

- Levels of Analysis 

• micro= smaller group interactions to see how they impact larger  institutions in society

• macro= large scale social structures to determine how they impact small  groups and individuals

- THEORY! 

• sociological theories are paradigms 

• ways of thinking meant to provide a broad explanation for the way things work

• theory has “genres” 

- movies: rom coms, action, historical drama, etc 

• you know what is coming 

- theory: Durkheimian, Marxist, Weberian, Functionalist, Feminists, Post  modern

- Structural Functionalism 

- society has an ordered system 

- Emile Durkheim 

• worked to establish sociology as an important academic discipline  • interest: social factors that bond and hold people 

- studied the correction between social isolation and suicide - Durkheim’s Theories Applied 

• Thomas Friedman 

• The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention (The Mcdonalds  Doctrine)

- “no two countries that both had Mcdonalds had fought a war with each  other since each got its Mcdonalds”

- econmic independence as a deterreent for conflict  

- example of organic solidarity  

• Dell Theory of conflict prevention 

- no two countries that are both part of the same global supply chain will fight a war as long as they are each part of that supply chain - Emile Durkheim 

• Collective Effervescence 

- “the kick six” 

- collectively shared feelings of excitement  

- perks of good and bad 

- Modern Schools of Thought 

• Conflict Theory:

- sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change - Academic vs Applied Sociology 

• Ivory Tower: an environment of intellectual pursuit disconnected from the practical concerns of a situation

- current genocide going on but not doing anything about it • Applied Sociology: used to produce positive social change, also known as activism by some circles

- Karl Marx 

• non ivory tower= trying to change things 

• German philosopher and political activism 

• Class conflict: Proletariat vs. Bourgeoisie 

• Materialism 

- the economy  

- Conflict Theory Continued 

• Dialectical model- two extreme view points that clash and bring about a  new compromise

• Thesis and Antithesis- existing social arrangement and opposite of the  existing

• Synthesis- new social system created out of the conflict 

- Communist Manifesto 

• Communist Manifesto one of the most influential political pamphlets of  all time

• by Marx and Engels 

• explains the emergence of capitalism 

• predicts future of capitalism 

- Owner controlled system will be replaced by a worker controlled  system

• still widely read, probably mostly assigned by professors - Progressive Income Tax 

• tax rate is higher on higher incomes 

• first 9,000 — 10 % , etc, etc 

• based on single family households 

- Progressive Income Tax: 1958 vs. 2015 

• top tax rate in US in 1958 :91% 

• top tac rate in US in 2015: 40% 

• 1958 progressive income tax much “heavier” than 2015 taxes - Where did Marxist Revolutions Happen? 

• Marx’s Theory predicted revolution in the most advanced capitalist  societies

- less capitalistic society would have to go through development of  capitalism before they would have revolution

• Actually, revolution happen in backward nations 

- Russia (1917), China (1930s-1949) 

- Cuba (1959) (not so backwards) 

- Karl Marx on Stratificaiton 

• “All history is the history of class conflict”

• classes are defined in terms of relationships with the means of  production

• ruling class is class that controls means of production 

• economic system is foundation of the society 

• superstructure is rest of the society;s institutions 

• there superstructure support the position of the ruling class. When the  ruling class changes, the superstructure changes

- Social Stratification Definition 

• structured inequality of entire categories of people who have different  access to social rewards as a result of their category’s position in a social hierarchy  

- Conflict Theory about Inequality  

- stratification is about how things are distributed 

• conflict theory is all about people trying to get things that benefit them • not surprising that conflict approach has much to say about stratification  - Rational Choice Proposition 

• within the limits of their information and available choices, guided by  their preferences and tastes, humans will tend to maximize • that is, make the choices that get them the most of what they like • this is a more careful states of the Conflict Principle 

- Bounded Rationality Principle 

• people do not have perfect information to use in making decisions - one form of power is ability to control information 

- rejects one basic assumption in much classical economics, that actors  have perfect information

- e.g., what prices are available from other sellers, what other workers  make

- Stratification Principle 

• social rewards tend to be distributed to individuals on the basis of the  social categories assigned to the individual

- this is the key sociological insight into stratification  

- tells about outcomes 

- makes suggestions about mechanisms 

- Plumber’s Law 

• socially undesirable things are found disproportionately among people at the bottom of the social ladder

- Power Principle 

• actors with power will tend to use it to benefit themselves • one of the chief ways they will do this is by trying to hold onto or expand  their power

- Mosca: Inevitability of Stratification 

• Gaetano Mosca (1858-1941) offered a ‘proof’ that all societies must be  stratified  

• 1. Socieites require a hierarchy of authority  

- someone numbest be able to force at least some people not to be free  riders

- free rider- someone who obtained benefits without making  contricbuton

• 2. People higher in authority hierarchy have more power • 3. People with power will use it to benefit themselves personally [power  principle]

- Exploitation Principle 

• actors often obtain outcomes that benefit themselves by engaging in  exchanges that are disadvantageous to others

- for example: there may be a large gap between what you would be  wiling to accept and what you are able to extract from your exchange  partners

- Incorporation Principle 

• actors become accustomed to advantages 

- that is, social advantages tend to quickly to become incorporated into  a person or groups way of life, including norms and internalized views  of how the world ought to operate

- Fair and Share Principle 

• actors don't give up advantages freely 

- “we stole it fair and square, and we aint giving it back” 

- Creaming Principle 

• actors with greatest appropriate resources are best able to take  advantage of opportunities  

• what constitutes a resource or an appropriate resource depends on the  situation or the opportunity structure

- money is usually a valuable resource 

- race, gender, knowledge, training, religion, etc could be resources  - Matthew Effect 

• the rich get richer the poor get poorer 

• named after Matthew 25:29 

- Catch 22 Principle 

• a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape  because of the mutually conflicting or dependent conditions • “they” can do anything to yu that you cant keep them from doing - if you cant make them follow rules, its doesn't matter what rules are - WWII bomber pilot psych exams= example 

- Working the System Principle 

• actors learn how to take advantage of systems that enmesh them • this is a version of uncertainty reduction 

• people are often resistant to give up even a lousy system once they have figured it out  

- Offshoots of Conflict Theory  

• Critical Theory- Frankfurt school- critics individual systems that cause  oppression and inequality  

- payday loans and how they cause depression for the poor

• Feminist Theory- applied the assumptions about gender inequality to  social institutions, argued that gender and roles and power are  intertwined in our society

• Queer Theory- sexual indignities are social constructs and nothing is  normal or deviant

• Praxis- practical action based on a theory (opposite of Ivory Tower) - Weber 

• weber was concerned with rationalization, applying economic logic to all  human activity  

• also concerned with Bureaucracies— secondary groups designed to  perform takes efficiently

- specialization 

- technical competence 

- hierarchy 

- written rules 

- impersonality  

- formal written communication 

- Most Important Types of Social Rewards, According to Weber • 1. Economic/ property- success in the market  

• 2. social/ prestige- social honor, respect 

• 3. political / power- power  

- Max Weber 

• promising career in Academia 

• fought with his father, Max threw father out 

• father died a month later with out them reconciling 

• max suffered a nervous breakdown and was unable to work for several  years

• the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 

• work as a duty which benefits both the individual and society as a whole • the vilification of idleness 

• the rise of Europe as an economic powerhouse (investing) • Disenchantment/ “The Iron Cage” 

- dehumanizing element of modern life and bureaucracies - efficiency at the expense of big questions 

• Versthen (empathetic understanding)- the way social scientist should  study human actors, with empathy towards the subjects of study - Eurocentric 

• bias to emphasize European social theorists 

• american sociology bias 

• both of these are examples of Ethnocentrism 

• Ethnocentrism= use of your own culture as a standard to evaluate  another culture as abnormal or inferior

• reading assignment page 28  

- Symbolic Interactionism 

• sees interaction and meaning as central to society and assumes that  meanings are not inherent but rather are created through interaction

• they ask, “what actions matter to who, why?’ 

• based on the work of Mead, Goffman, and others 

- The Chicago School 

• social theory for the 1920s and 1930s that focused on urban sociology  and field research methods

• Chicago has gone through rapid industrialization and urbanization and  was used as the laboratory to observe and test social models different  from previous european models  

- George Herbert Mead 

• Interest— the connection between thought and action, the individual and society  

• meaning is an outcome of social process and interaction • we develop a “generalized other” who we “react” to 

• the generalized other can be based on false assumptions, which is an  underlying part of bias

- Goffman 

• Goffman used the term dramaturgy to describe the way people  strategically present themselves to other

• life is a series of performances with an actor and an audience • Erving Goffman was interest in how the “self” is developed through  interactions with others in society  

- W.E.B DuBois 

• the souls of black soul 

• double conscious  

• founding member of NAACP 

• “it is often said that all subsequent studies of race and racial inequality  in America depend on some degree to his work”

- Jane Addams 

• adjunct at univeristy of chicago— never joined because it may affect her  political activism

• proponent of applied sociology (praxis) 

• founder of social work 

• Hull House— chicago community care center 

• founding member of ACLU and NAACP 

• first woment to win noble peace prize 

- Theory continued to develop 

• classical: Marx, Durkhein, and Weber 

• 20th century: Structural-Functionalist, conflict, symbolic interactionist • Newer Approaches (conflict examples) 

- feminism- conflict theory with a concern regarding gendered power  relations

- postmodernism- deep suspicion of ‘objective’ truth, focus on how ever  changing humanity it

- Postmodern Theory 

• no universal truths 

• critical univeral theories or “grand narrative”

• examples: 

- history is written by the victor 

• “factual” account of history must take bias of the author into  account, may not be completely true

- organ failure in obituaries in the south 

• hunting accident, gun cleaning accident  

• single car accident  

- Whats Most Important 

• 1. Creation and Maintenance of social integration  

- functionalist perspective  

- structural functionalist  

• 2. Individuals and groups trying to maximize interests 

- conflict perspective 

• 3. Active individual trying to make sense of a situation and give it  meaning  

- symbolic interactionism  

- Conflict Perspective 

• conflict 

- social life is a constant battle between individuals or groups, each  seeking to maximize their interests

• interest- outcomes that benefit the actor 

• one form of conflict: zero sum game 

- Conflict Perspective: Zero Sum Game 

• zero sum game- situation in which total amount of some resource is  fixed. Only way one actor can get more is for one or more others to get  less

- to extent many actors desire the resource, conflict is likely - Symbolic Interactionism: Interaction and Symbols 

• Symbolic interactionism- because individual makes sense of situation  largely through interactions with other people

- interactions at the same time and in the past 

• Symbolic interactionism- because interactions and meanings depend on  symbols

- Symbolic Interactionism: Thomas Theorem 

- if men define situation as real, they are real in their consequences - W.J. Thomas and D.S. Thomaas 

- one of our big ideas for SCY 1000 

- People decide what to do next on the basis of what they think is going on  now

- this is a version i usually use on exams 

- The Two Questions Constantly Facing Each Actor 

• 1. Whats going on? 

• 2. What do I do now? 

- answer to “whats going on?” is the definition the situation • example of subjective reality  

- the answer to “what do i do now?” is actors actual behavior

• example of objective reality  

- Two Questions II 

• Subjective reality- what an actor thinks is real 

• objective reality- what is really real 

• The thomas theorem states that answer to “what do i do now?” depends  on answer to “whats going on?”

- Verstehen and the Thomas Theorem 

• Verstehen: to understand situation from actors point of view • Practical uses of the Thomas Theorem: to understand or predict behavior of others

• to use Thomas Theorem, need to know how actor sees situation • one way to find out is to use Verstehen  

- Ethnocentrism 

• the belief that your cultures way of doing things are the best and  that other cultures and cultural features are inferior to the extent  they differ from yours

- Cultural Relativism  

• the belief that cultures should not be compared with each other  and that cultural features should be evaluated on the basis of how  they contribute to the success of the society  

- Compare Ethnocentrism and Culture Relativism (not on test but final • 1. define ethnocentrism 

• 2. define cultural relativims 

• 3. alike because both are approaches to the evaliiotn of cultures  and cultural features

• 4. differ because cultural relativism rejects comparions with all  other cultures, while ethnocentrism is all about comparisons and  even offers one standard for comparison, the avaluators own  culture  

- Theme 1: The Thomas Theorem 

• people decide what to do next basis of what they think is going on  now

• if men define situation as real they are real in their consequences - Theme II: The Uncertainty Principle 

• uncertainty is a powerful factor in social behavior and social  structure

• much of what we do is an attempt to reduce uncertainty  • much of what we do generates uncertainty  

• institutions and structures reduce and generate uncertainty  - Theme III: Rules 

• most of the time there are rules guiding behavior 

• most of the time, most people do what they are supposed to do

• WHY??? part of the answer has to do with uncertainty  - Rules and Sociology  

• “The central task of sociology is to understand: how rules generate  their effects, how people respond to the rules under which they  live, and how the rules change over time.”

• according to Erik Olin Wright, 2012 Presidents of the American  Sociological Association

Role Theory  

- Role Theory Concepts  

• Status= a postion in a social system 

- also a posotn in a small collective 

• role= a pattern of behavior associated with a status 

- Digression on the Sociological Imagination 

• recall the sociological imagination, in part, the ability to make  connections between micro sociology and macrosociolgy  • statuses and roles provide a great deal of structures to our  behavior

- much of the repertoire of possible statuses is part of the content  of our culture

- much of the repertoire is created by specific individuals as they  develop relationships  

- Statics vs. Dynamics 

• also know as structure vs. function 

• statics= concerned with shape and inner construction of things • dynamics= concerned with motion and activity with processes by  which things do whatever it its they do  

- Statics vs. Dynamics II 

• examples 

• medicine: anatomy vs. physiology 

• engineering: statics vs. aero-thermo- hydro- elctro- dynamics - Role Theory Concepts II 

• role expectations- expectation shared by members of a group that  specifics behavior considered appropriate in a given situation by  occupants of a given status

• role enactment- actual behavior in a status 

- Role Players 

- role incumbent- occupant of a particular status 

- role partner- position role incumbent must interact with to fulfill role  expectations

- often successful role enactment requires coordination between  incumber and partners

- More Role Theory Concepts 

• role set- collection of all roles associated with status • status set- collection of all positions occupied by an individual  • we all have enormous status sets 

• between status sets and the role sets of each status, worl • humans are not confused by this, most of the time 

- Common error!! 

• you do not have role- you have lots of roles and statuses - Ascribed and Achieved Statuses 

• ascribed status- a postion the occupant has no control over; an  inborn status

- age, gender, race, ethnicity  

- in some societies , occupation, religion 

• achieved status- a position occupied on the basis of individual  effort or that is imposed by others

• larger modern societies ten tot have more achieved statues than  smaller

- Master Status 

• status that is virtually always relevant to expectation and behavior - influences many of our other statuses and our role enactment - e.g., age, gender, perhaps occupation 

- police officer or soldier are examples 

- Factors Affecting Role Enactment 

• 1. role expectations- norms specifying appropraite role behavior • 2. situational demands 

• 3. individual characteristcs 

- skills and repertoire 

• 4. intruding roles 

• 5. role negotiation  

- Role Strain 

• role strain- difficulties encountered in enacting a role - sometimes role strain is used to refer to all difficulties  encountered in all an actors roles

• ameliorate- to make better, improve. especially make better  something that was bad

- Role Strain… SO WHAT 

• consequences of role strain at the individual level 

• 1. you suffer distress when unable to meet your own expectations  of proper performance

• 2. you suffer distress from sanctions received for not performing as expected

• 3. you may be frustrated when your role partners do not perform  as expected

- Role Strain II.. so what? 

• consequences of role strain for the social system 

- 1. important tasks may not be performed properly 

- 2. high level of individual distress and interpersonal frustration  may threaten social integration

- Two Sources of Amelioration for Role Strain 

• 1. psychic rewards of connectedness- having people we have to  rely on or to interact with, as we'll as having people relying on us,  creates opportunities for role strain and tis bad consequences for  the individual. However, most of the time the psychological  rewards of having connections with other people are great than the costs of the occasional problem in those relationships

• 2. Redundancy- ordinarily there are several ways of meeting  functional prerequisites. This redundancy means that difficulties in  one way we do not have to mean that the needed outcome will not  be obtained  

- Sources of Role Strain 

• 1. lack of clarity in expectations 

- also called role ambiguity 

• 2. disagreement on expectations 

• 3. status passage 

- short term  

- long term 

- Sources of Role Strain II 

• 4. role overload/ competition 

• 5. role conflict/ sociological ambivalence 

- Ameliorations for Lack of Clarity and Disagreement on Expectations • lack of clarity in expectations  

• new rules 

• disagreemtn on expectations 

• making expectations explicit 

• our understandings of normal are often unspoken 

• results of negotiations often unspoken  

- Role Strain Due to Short Term status passage 

• short term status passage- the transition from one situation to  another

• may create strain when actor has not updated his or her definition  of the situation and is therefor responding to the wrong situation.  result may be socially inappropriate behavior

- Amerlioratiokns:

- Tact: ignoring someones social error 

- barriers- wayst ot delay interaction to give an actor the chance to prepare

- internships, job fairs, college 

- back stage- opportunity to escape from interactions and relax.  Especially useful for stressful statuses

- break room, flight attendant lounge, smoking breaks - Three Reasons to Engage in Tact 

• since we all make mistakes, my ignoring your mistake may lead  you to ignore mine for the future

- this is based on the norm of reciprocity  

• following up on the mistake leads us away from my purpose in the  interaction in the first place

• interactiosn involving disagreements about propreity are risk and  we like to minimize risk in interactions

- Norm of Reciprocity  

• if someone does you a favor you owe a favor in return • a cultural universal 

• what constitutes a favor and what you have to do to repay ti vary  from culture to culture

- Backstage with Erving Goffman  

• backstage is where the role incumbent can relax from the rigors of  enacting a role nd impression management

• impression managment- attempts to control others perceptions of  ourselves

• term introduced by Eriving Goffman in his Dramaturgical Approach  to /metaphor for social life

- Role Strain due to long term status passage 

• long term status passage- acquisition or loss of a major status • creates strain because the expectations of the status are complex  and because some of the expected behaviors are difficult to master - Sociological Ambivalence II 

• “Incompatible normative expections of attitudes, beliefs, and  behaviors assigned to a status or to set of statuses in society” - ex. that is, being pulled in incompatible direction due to role  expectations

- also called role conflict 

- Six Types of Role Conflict 

• 1. conflict within the status set 

- friend and sociology student; doing friend well may interfere with  studying

• 2. conflict within the role set

- teaching vs. research for professor status 

• 3. conflict between cultures/ subcultures 

• 4. culture within a culture 

• 5. conflict between aspirations and opportunity 

• 6. conflict built into role itself 

- Reference Group 

• reference group- group an actor uses as a standard for self  evaluation

• membership group- group an actor is a member of  

• when your reference group and your membership group are the  same, conflicting expectations are reduced

• to the extent that we have multiple reference groups and multiple  membership groups, conflict between expectations will be greater - Merton’s Strucutural Strain Theory of Crimogensis 

• 1. culture defines a series of desirable outcomes (goals) • 2. the social system provides mechanisms for obtaining those goals (legitimate means)

• 3. ??? 

• 4. without legitimate means for obtaining socially approved goals,  the actor may respond in one of five ways:  

- conformism: accept both the goals and means 

- innovation: accept the goals, but find other (often criminal)  means

- ritualism: ignore the goals, follow the usual means 

- retreatism: reject both the usual goals and the usual means - rebellion: reject both the usual goals and the usuals means (like  reatreatism) but try to replace them

- Social Hierarchy of Obligations 

• widely sharing understanding of which role expectations have  higher priority than which others.  

• typically used in making excuses 

• there is also a personal hierarchy of obligations, the individuals  own priority list of obligations. usually the personal and social  hierarchies are similar  

- Protection from Sanctions 

• often we want people to do things that might get them in trouble,  so we have patterns to protect them

• 1. insulation from being observed 

• 2. tolerance for those with obvious role overload or conflict • 3. protection from reprisal  

• 4. protect of group embers from outside sanctions

Culture (chapter 4) 

- Thomas Theorem 

• people decide what to do next on the basis of what they think is  going on now

- Culture  

• how do people know what is going on? 

• to large extent, culture tells them 

• culture provides context of meaning and provides tools for divining  meaning

• how do people know what to do? 

• to a large extent, culture tells them what to do  

• when does not specify what to do, tells how to figure out what to  do  

- Culture Definitions 

• class: the established ways of thinking, believing, feeling, and  acting that are widely understood and followed by members of  society

• book: the totality of learned , socially transmitted customs,  knowledge, material objects, and behavior. It includes the ideas,  values, customs, and artifacts of groups of people  

- Culture 

• Key charactierstics of culture: 

- it is shared 

- it is learned and taught (not biologically determined) - it changes over time 

- usually it is not monolithic 

- Dimensions of Culture 

• Culture has three dimensions 

- matrerl  

- normative  

- symbolic 

- Material Dimension of Culture 

• physical residues of behavior in a culture 

• especially physical things that have recognized special meaning in  a culture

• especailly imporatan are objects used for subsistnece (making a  living)

- Normative Dimension of Culture I 

• concerned with the rules of society uses to evaluate behavior and  other things

• two components

- Normative Dimension of Culture II 

• cultural values 

- beliefs or feeling that are widely shared by members of a society  about what is important to the societies identity or well being • norms 

- expectations shared by members of a group that specify behavior that is considered appropriates for a given situation  

- Selected US Cultural Values  

• activism- it is desirable to shape your work through intense effort • egalitarianism- everyone should have an equal chance to succeed • achievement- it is desirable to have and accomplish personal goals • materialism- it is good to have stuff 

• humanitarianism- it is desirable to help people who are having  troubles  

• others: progress, morality, freedom, individualism 

- Selected Japanese Cultural Values 

• belonging 

- many layers: nation, family, company, school 

• harmony 

- do not cause trouble for others 

• loyalty 

• duty  

• sacrifice  

- Social Integration and Japanese Cultural Values 

• social integration- bringing individual groups together; also,  keeping them together

• note how Japanese cultural values reinforce social integration - Value Conflict 

• complex value systems routinely have apparent conflict t between  values  

- humanitarianism and materialism 

- egalitarianism and achievement  

- achievement vs. group loyalty in Japan 

- I'm always impress with humans ability to hold dear opposed  ideas

- Morality as an American Cultural Value 

• morality: it is desirable to evaluate each behavior for whether is it  moral or not and to choose only moral behaviors

• often leads to ends vs means consults  

- aka goals vs. means 

- Ends vs. Means 

• ends- desired outcomes, often culturally valued

• means- behavior directed toward achieving ends 

• often apparently effective means to valued ends violate cultural  value of morality  

- Personal Values 

• individuals feeling aboutt what is important to his or her identity or  well being  

• do not have to be congruent with cultural values, but often are • deciding what to do … 

- Norms and The Thomas Theorem I 

• thomas theren says definition of situation is somehow turned into  behavior

• norms tell actors how the culture feels a parcel situation should be  turned into behavior  

- that is, normal tel actor what he she they it should do in this  situation  

- may be a range of acceptable behaviors 

- Two Fundamental Questions 

• what is going on? 

• what do i do next? 

• answer to the first is the actors definition of situation • answer to second if behavior 

- Behavior Depends on the Definition of the Situation 

• thomas theorem says that answer to question 2 depends on the  answer to question 1

• that is, behavior depends on the definition of the situation  - Norms and the Two Fundamental Questions 

• norms link the two Qs 

• gives socially correct answes.. 

- Norms and the Thomas Theorem II 

• simplifies deciding what to do but… 

• 1. actor must be able to define situations 

• 2. actor must remember what is approporatie behavior in situation 

- Norms and The Thomas Theorem III 

• often behavior is so automatic it would seem that no ‘remembering norms’ is necessary

• there is some debate about how ‘hard wired’ into the brain some  sequences are  

- Social Sanctions I 

• social sanctions are responses to behavior, responses that enforce  social norms

- may be positive or negative 

- used by itself, the term usually implies negative  

- Social Sanctions II 

• sanctions may be formal or informal 

• formal sanctions 

• based on written rules 

• administered by persons recognized to have authority • informal sanctions- sanctions that are not formal 

- most of the sanctions we receive are informal 

- Social Sanctions and Norm Rule Following 

• possibility of negative sanctions if one reason we follow norms - we would like to avoid negative sanctions 

• possibility of positive sanction is another 

- we lief to get them 

• emotionally rewarding 

• facilitate continuing to do what we have been doing  - Symbolic Dimension of Culture 

• the symbolic dimension of culuture is the system of meanings a  group has for interpreting and making sense of the world around  them and for communicating meaning

• most important element: language 

• others: body language, cultural icons, collective memories  - Language I 

• importance of language 

• language is the most important medium for learning culture • language expands the possibilites of various learning - learning through the experience of others 

- with language, you don't have to be there 

- Language II 

• we think in language 

• everyone talks to him or herself 

• difficult to think about things for which we have no words - Language III: Whorf- Sapir  

• Whorf- Sapir Hypothesis: categoreis our minds use to process  information are given by our language  

- in effect, language control how our senses operate - called “lingustic relativity hypotheseis” by some 

• at level of vioson, hypothesis is false 

• for vicarious learning through language, it might as well be true • for thinking, largely true 

- Languge IV: Social Boundaries 

- Other Symbols

- Societies, Organizations, Groups, and Culture I - Cultural Values and Norms 

- Technical Norms 

- Ideal vs. Real Culture I 

- Ideal vs. Real Culture II 

- Secularization and Revival  

- Culture and Uncertainty  

- Predictability and Norms 

- Functional Prerequisite 

- Five Functional Prerequisites  

- Cultural and Functional Prerequisites - Social Institutions 

- Social Institutions II 

- Major Social Institutions 

­ More Cultural Terms

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