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Sociology 1101 (Dr. Lopez) Midterm Study Guide
Highlight = Important People Highlight = Important Concept Highlight = Key Term
Chapter 1—The Sociological Imagination: An Introduction The Basics
--Sociology: the study of human society… literally “making the familiar strange.” --Sociological imagination: The ability to see the connections between our personal experience and the larger forces of history. Asks ourselves to take what we think to be natural and see that it isn’t. (e.g. Why do we go to college?”
--Social Institution: The larger narrative that connects the students, professors, alumnae, and all other participants and goers through the experience of being present.
--Auguste Comte (1798-1875): “Social physics” and “positivism”
--positivism: a philosophical system that holds that every rationally justifiable assertion can be scientifically verified or is capable of logical or mathematical proof, and that therefore rejects the need for a religious system.
--Secular morality: we can decide right and wrong without reference to higher powers or other religious concepts. Comte believed it was the job of every sociologist to develop this kind of morality.
--3 Epistemological stages… how human knowledge develops
1. Theological stage: relied on religious references such as the Bible to explain why things were the way they were.
2. Metaphysical stage: Enlightenment thinkers believed people were governed by natural and biological instincts.
3. Scientific stage: we would develop a social physics in order to identify the scientific laws that govern human behavior. Not theology or biology—but PHYSICS. Basically we will create mathematical and statistical equations and theorems to explain behavior.
--Harriet Martineau (1802—1876): “one of the earliest feminist social scientists” --touched on parenting, relationship between state and federal gov, and marriage (how it is based on the assumption of the inferiority of women.)
--“Founding fathers of the sociological discipline”: Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, (and Georg Simmel) Don't forget about the age old question of What companies signed the harkin engel protocol?
Don't forget about the age old question of What do these illustrations tell us about the relationship between knowledge and observation in sixteenth and seventeenthcentury science? What kinds of knowledge were necessary to produce these images?
If you want to learn more check out 19th century term by scholars whose coarse and heavy style attributed to the Goths is what?
--Bill Chambliss (1973)—“The Saints and the Roughnecks”— Observational study of two groups of white teens, one upper-middle class (Saints) and one working class (Roughnecks). Question: Self-image related to delinquency? Answer: Both equally delinquent through field observation. Saints= drink more, not arrested as much, and they committed crimes for “fun.” Rough necks = fight more, committed crimes for money, arrested more often. Why one viewed as good and other as bad by the community?
--Conclusion: Saints could hide their crime because they were less visible, could drive cars and be out of sight. Roughnecks were much more visible. Saints had much more “cultural capital” (exposure to know how to interact with police, apologetic… they had more connections to the
community). Saints had more “class power”—their parents were upstanding members of the community… people who you don’t want to cause problems with because they could cause problems for you.
--How are rules applied across the board to everyone? Institutional data… At this school, the saints had elaborate schemes to always be counted present—makes them look like saints! Chambliss recreated the data and made it much more accurate. Moral: It’s important to understand HOW the data is collected—always be skeptical.
--Another myth to recognize: The wealthiest members of our society are better than the rest of us (or worst of us). Reason: Just because they’re successful, it doesn’t mean anything in regard to moral practices or personality. We also discuss several other topics like The empirical rule states that for a normal distribution.
--In this experiment, the thing to recognize also is that the crimes were different, it was how the authority treated them that was different.
Sociology as Science
--A set of METHODS and data sources allowing systematic observations of the (social) world. Types:
1. Field observation, including participant observation—have to be sure to not make generalizations by repeating them
2. In-depth interviews
3. Archives of historical documents and public records
5. Content analyses (e.g. of media reports)—recognizing different patterns and other things to distinguish and interpret what kind of messages/biases it may contain 6. Experiments—slightly more rare, but possible.
--Aims to uncover the meanings people give to their own social actions (and the actions of others) by observing their behavior in practice, in contrast to just asking them. If you want to learn more check out What is the definition of sharecropping?
--Gentrification: the movement of higher-income individuals into once-distressed inner-city neighborhoods.
--This method helps the researcher to observe what a participant is actually
thinking/feeling/doing rather than what they would like to think they think/feel/do. --Costs lots of TIME and MONEY…
--One common form to gather qualitative data… Just ask the participants. Allow an open-ended interview to allow participants to go off into tangents, and gain true insight and observations. --Cross-sectional study--- quick, easy survey given to a small subgroup
--Panel Survey (aka longitudinal study)—tracks the same individuals over time.
--Historical Methods—collect data from written reports, newspaper articles, journals, transcripts, television programs, diaries, artwork, etc.
--Comparative research—a researcher compares two or more entities with the intent of learning more about the factors that differ between them.
--Content Analysis—systematic analysis of written or recorded material.
Hypothesis (in sociology)
--Hypothesis: a proposed relationship between two variables, usually with a stated direction --operationalization: the process of assigning a precise method for measuring a term that’s being studied
--With each hypothesis, there is an equal and opposite alternative hypothesis.
Ex./ Hypothesis: The lower the educational level of the parents, the greater the chance that their children will be poor as adults.
Alternative hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between parental education and children’s likelihood of living in poverty as adults. If you want to learn more check out How is DNA replicated?
--Validity: procedure measures what you intend it to.
--Reliability: how likely you are to obtain the same result using the same measure. --Generalizability: the extent to which we can claim our findings inform us about a larger group.
Research methods—the tools we use to describe, explore, and explain various social phenomena. --danah boyd (yes, it’s all lowercase on purpose)… sociologist that connected social media with face-to face methods in order to determine relationships and biases that her subjects had. Combined the qualitative and quantitative.
--Quantitative: seek to obtain info that is already in or can be converted to numeric form. Uses statistical analysis to describe the social world that the data represent (e.g. surveys) --Qualitative: can’t be readily converted to numbers… used to document meanings behind actions or to describe the mechanisms by which a social process occurs (e.g. interviews)
--Deductive approach: starts with theory, forms hypothesis, observes, analyze, concludes. --Inductive approach: starts with observation then works to form a theory.
--Midrange theory: attempts to predict how certain social institutions tend to function, not explaining ALL of society nor explaining a micro-culture. Just how general social institutions work. Most sociologists tend to use this type of viewpoint in their work.
Role of Researcher
--Reflexivity: analyzing and critically considering the “white coat effects” you may be inspiring within your research process. Meaning, how you are influencing your research subjects to behave (usually they will behave in ways “better” to their normal behavior simply because they know they are being observed by you).
--Show respect to your subjects… but remain as objective as possible… try not to interfere with the subjects’ lives and behaviors, but merely remain as an observer and reporter. Put aside personal bias, and strive for neutrality.
--Not necessarily different in method, but seek to recognize patterns in historical data considering the following three things:
1. Treat women’s experiences as legitimate empirical and theoretical resources 2. Engage in in sociology that may in turn bring about policy change to improve women’s lives. 3. Take into account the researcher as much as the overt subject matter… aka take all subjects seriously.
Correlation v. Causality
--Correlation (aka association): “tend to”… two things vary together
--Causality: “causes”… change in one thing causes another to change
To establish you much have…
2. Time order— consistent forever or just for now?
3. Ruling out alternative explanations
--Reverse causality—“b” is actually causing “a.” You have to watch out for this in explaining things, because oftentimes it can seem that “a” is causing “b,” but the opposite is actually occurring. --Variable Types:
--Dependent variable: the outcome you are trying to explain
--Independent variable: the measured factors believed to have a causal impact on the dependent variable.
Related to Research
--Concepts and theories—our stock of knowledge about the social world.
1. Theories are unified explanations using scientific concepts to make sense of a variety of observed facts. Not the same as hypothesis (a falsifiable, testable guess to explain something).
2. The purpose of systematic observation in science is to BUILD CONCEPTS, and to REFUTE or SUPPORT theories. Not categorize them as “correct,” only support them.
--A set of VALUES that guide scientific activity
1. Universalism: Claims are evaluated on the basis of impersonal criteria—agreed-upon words of evidence. It’s subjective.
2. Communalism: Share findings with everyone. Benefits available to everyone—it’s not (supposed to be) a commercial enterprise. Should be fueled by curiosity, not by whether or not you can make profit.
3. Disinterestedness (Value Neutrality): Science should not be pursued to support a pre existing ideology… Open to being surprised and challenged by new evidence… Not cherry picking examples to support your beliefs.
4. Organized Skepticism: Science produces knowledge but not “Truth.” There’s never a final judgment or an absolute certainty, no matter how well established. Nothing is too sacred to be questioned. Be your own most demanding critic. Always trying to find flaws in the evidence presented keeps everyone honest.
--Ethics of social research
1. Do no harm.
2. Informed consent… participants must know what the research being conducted entails and the requirements/expectations that must be met by them
3. Voluntary participation… participants can’t be coerced into participating!
Paradigms in Science
--Paradigm: “a broad unit of consensus,” it unites a lot of fields. A set of guiding assumptions about the world that tells scientists what to study (and what not), where to look (and where not) for problems of interest, and what to expect (e.g. General relativity and quantum mechanics in physics, plate tectonics in geology). They’re broadly accepted theories.
--Sociology has competing paradigms in which coherent research programs focus on different – sometimes immeasurable—aspects of social reality. There is no single paradigm that crushed all other opposition. Each paradigms has its own active and competitive research.
--THREE MAJOR THEORIES OF SOCIOLOGY
--How is social order possible, given the tremendous tensions of modern life? Where do all of these rules come from? Why not anarchy? Why variability in cultures? Three partial answers: 1. Functionalism (Emile Durkheim)
--Societies are a lot like organisms… they are coherent wholes made up of many individual parts. In healthy societies, social structures function together harmoniously (e.g. family ???? school???? economy). BUT in societies, order and harmony require social solidarity—a feeling of belonging to something larger than yourself. A non-rational attachment. KEY CONCEPT… main reason why people follow rules. Main reason why people pass up the opportunity to self-advance at the expense of others, even when you can get away with it unnoticed.
--Complex modern societies rely on two kinds of solidarity (cooperation):
a. Mechanical: an old type rooted in our perceived similarities with other
members of society. (Tribal societies, we all belong to the same neighborhood, all buckeyes, nationalism, etc.)
b. Organic: a new kind based on the specialized roles we play in a complex
division of labor. (Project group—everyone contributes to see group success,
team sports, families, etc.)
--Manifest vs Latent functions of a society (added later after Durkheim)
a. Manifest—stated outright, more official (e.g. universities provide an
education to students that will give them legitimate knowledge so they can
contribute to society, provide a place for research and discovery, etc.).
b. Latent—not the official purposes, more hidden (e.g. universities provide
students a social outlet to practice being adults, reduces competition of jobs in the labor force (reduces unemployment), finding life-partners, etc.)
--Dysfunctions: conflict arises as societies don’t work harmoniously… sociologists should find the conflicts and recommend how to improve. Durkheim argued that we still needed regulatory structures to deal with dysfunctions and to prevent them.
2. Conflict Perspective (Karl Marx is a big proponent of this theory)
--Rejects the idea that societies are basically harmonious—emphasizes the role of power struggles among/between important social groups (e.g. men and women, religious, racial/ethical groups, contending social classes, etc.)
-- Which groups benefit from a given structure? (Functional = people apart of the group/society/the whole, conflict theory = whichever social group has the power) --Industrialism in the conflict theory is CENTRAL to the society… the conflict is what fuels the society and is a necessary dynamic. It’s not always bad to have conflict—it drives social change… an inherent part of social progress.
--Functionalism doesn’t acknowledge the huge social movements in relation to why they occur and what they lead to, but conflict theory justifies it as necessary and makes the social movements central.
3. Symbolic Interactionism (Max Weber is a big proponent of this theory)
--If a “social structure” = “parts” and their relationships to each other, the “parts” aren’t just things, like bricks, they are social roles that people play. There are micro-level interactions between individuals that affect society as a whole.
--Directs our attention to this interactive role-playing that makes up everyday life… how people’s individual decisions and personalities create those social institutions
mentioned in the other views above. People play MANY different roles that can be brought out in different situations.
--Social institutions (like the state) do not exist “outside” us, but rather are created and recreated in the daily, micro-level enactment of social rules. They exist because we think they do! We enforce the roles given through interaction with each other—signals of approval, interest, disinterest, etc. They don’t exist without us.
--States, corporations, armies, etc. –these “structures” have to be ENACTED. They are ideas that have to be lived out and practiced over and over by individuals with
communication and help and approval from other individuals.
Chapter 3 – Culture and Media
Social Behavior in Human Society: (the subject matter for sociology)
--Society: “A group of interacting individuals sharing the same territory and participating in a common social structure.” Individuals are not isolated… we live in a web of rules, formal or informal, they are real and matter. Much of sociology is finding what rules are unofficial and how they differ from formal and how they differ culture to culture.
--Violation of rules = ostracism, shunning, loss of respect, jail, loss of friends, etc. --Adherence of rules = results in good grades, friends, respect, money, love, houses, etc. --Basic insight—“Human behavior is shaped by social rules and structures. To think sociologically is to be aware of relationship between our individual lives and the wider society.”
--Culture: a set of beliefs, traditions, and practices; the sum of social categories and concepts we embrace in addition to beliefs, learned behaviors, and practices; everything but the natural environment around us. It influences the way people live and behave.
--Ethnocentrism: the sense of taken-for-granted superiority in the context of cultural practices and attitudes. Basically believing one culture is better/superior to another. It’s important that sociologists AVOID this when studying cultures and societies.
--Nonmaterial Culture: includes values, beliefs, behaviors, and social norms.
--Ideology: most abstract form of nonmaterial culture… it’s a system of concepts and relationship, indicates an understanding of cause and effect
--Ex. Why not use first-class toilets if you have coach tickets? There are expectations that come with buying the coach ticket, and if these “rules” aren’t followed or
expectations not met, the whole system/stratification of the system would break down. 4 Elements of nonmaterial culture:
1. Social Norms: shared rules that prescribe behavior that is appropriate in a given situation for specific people. People follow rules, not mainly because of fear, but because of socialization and the desire to achieve social acceptance.
a. Folkways: ordinary convention of everyday life (nonconsequential, may just be odd) (ex. talking too close, types of clothes you wear, etc.)
b. Mores: stronger norms w/ moral significance (ex. swearing, cheating, etc.)
c. Laws: formally enforced norms that hold strong moral significance (ex. don’t murder, steal, etc. or you will have “x” as a consequence)
2. Values: shared ideas about what is right, desirable, good.
a. They are abstract, general concepts rather than specific behavioral norms.
b. Values integrate a number of norms into a coherent idea.
c. Expressed in symbols (flags, buttons), stories/fables, legends, codes of
d. Vary person to person or within a person—so, they may conflict. (ex.
freedom and security… we want freedom to do whatever we want, but we
also want the security of formal laws, protections, and rights.)
a. Each language describes the cultural activities of a society
b. Helps us “see” or understand our cultural practices… If it has many words
for one thing—it’s probably important.
c. Language can also distort and inhibit (ex. used to marginalize others).
d. Same words mean different things according to the culture present in that
population (ex. In the US, we refer to the material that covers our legs,
pants, but in Britain, pants are called “trousers” and women’s underwear
are called “pants,” so the word means something else).
a. Reenact basic values of society… help recall collective meanings and values. b. Highlight the key events of life (ex. marriage, birth, religious events, etc)
--Postmodernism… the notion that the shared meanings of nonmaterial have eroded. (ex. red lights don’t always mean stop)
--Material culture: everything that is part of our constructed, physical environment, including technology. (Ex. tools, wheels, clothing, schools, factories, buildings, cities, art, etc.) --Culture Lag/Drag: material and nonmaterial culture that is out of sync (ex. privacy norms… with the internet we really don’t have privacy, but we still continue to believe in privacy) --Cultural universals: material culture, art/play/recreation, language and nonverbal communication, social and economic organization, social control/norms, conflict/war, education, belief systems/religious ritual (not necessarily supernatural, just held sacred ex. catholic mass vs football game) --Subculture: groups united by a set of concepts, values, symbols, and shared meaning specific to member of that group. Can be difficult to identify… often marginalizing.
--Counter-cultures: oppositional to the main culture (ex. goths) because they reject some of values of the larger culture.
--Franz Boas founded the first PhD program in anthropology at Columbia University (~1930s). Coined the term cultural relativism: taking into account the differences across cultures without passing judgement or assigning value. Where do we draw the line though of not passing judgement?
--Margaret Mead (1928)—Samoan women and casual sex study… found that it’s more acceptable for Samoan women to have casual sex before marriage. Fueled feminist movements in the US. She introduced the idea of cultural scripts, modes of behavior and understanding that are not universal or natural, in mentioning how we shape our notions of gender.
--Clifford Geertz… Focused on understanding the significance of events and pastimes for local people can give us a better understanding of their lives. The pastimes show us what’s important to the culture????they can be representative of culture (cock fights represent Bhali and baseball represents US).
--“Culture is a projection of social structures and relationships into the public sphere, a screen onto which the film of underlying reality or social structures of our society is shown.
--Culture is transmitted/reinforced with socialization among other processes.
--Rejected largely because it’s unidirectional—basically claims that culture has no impact on society, that it’s merely a reflection. But through deeper insight and study we realize that society and culture are like two mirrors facing each other in that they both reflect and make up one another.
--Any formats or vehicles that carry, present, or communicate information including newspapers, books, magazines, sky writing, web pages, etc.
--History of the media
--Beginning with town crier and word of mouth… to print press… to books and newspapers…to moving picture/silent film…to radio…to tv and movies…to the internet!
--Antonio Gramsci (Italian political theorist/activist, 1900s, and a marxist)… “Prison notebooks” because he wrote about society and his findings while in prison. Coined the term hegemony which “refers to a historical process in which a dominant group exercises ‘moral and intellectual leadership’ throughout society by winning the voluntary ‘consent’ of popular masses.” Basically getting people to go along with what you want because it seems like the best course of action. Takes place in private institutions.
--During the 1960s and 70s they focused on how people read and interpreted texts such as soap operas, newspapers, etc. We are NOT just passive receptors of media.
--Power and influence and bias have a huge effect on what even is considered “news” --Political economy… using politics to gain money or economic advantages
--The media is very monopolized here in the US, we currently have 6 companies that control more than 90% of the media. Does this leave the media censored? Or is it keeping us safe? --Consumerism: the steady acquisition of material possessions, often with the belief that happiness and fulfillment can thus be achieved. Shopping has become ‘the American duty.’ --Culture Jamming: the act of turning media against themselves.
Perspectives in Regard to Media
--Manifest (open) functions… entertainment, keeping the public informed, conferring status (celebrating and making someone known), and selling products/services,
--Latent (less obvious) functions… creates a unified culture, used as an agent of socialization, and enforces social norms,
--Competition for ratings (entertainment appeals to the lowest common denominator? Giving them what they want to see, not just educational).
--Media concentration on non-educational things, and the pressure on TV news channels and divisions to make money (attract advertisers).
--Internet has disrupted the business model of print journalism
--Audience fragmentation = lack of shared experience/narrative as a culture. Separation of networks, and we can’t agree on basic facts of a story.
--But, note that it’s not all bad… more high quality niche programming than ever (more targeted). Rise of the blogs—good information from real experts is more available than ever before. Puts a premium on the ability of an educated public to be able to tell what information is real, though.
--Mass media reflects basic divisions, conflicts, and power struggles in society.
--Media is an arena through which social groups vie for power, and it’s a vehicle for powerful groups to impose their views upon viewers.
--Agenda-setting: what are we talking about today? What are we focusing on? Groups with power control what we see and hear through media and direct our focuses.
--Gatekeeping: Which voices and viewpoints are heard? What are the boundaries of respectable opinion? The media attempts to shape perspectives.
-- See Spheres of Legitimacy by Daniel C Hallin (google)… Hallin’s spheres say media defines what the “general consensus is,” “legitimate controversy,” and what is “deviant” to the consensus without a “why” explanation. Reflects the interests of opposing powerful groups.
--Ex. If Democrats are in power, something that Republicans do can be portrayed as “legitimate controversy” if it’s within “reasonable limits” of conflict as defined by the Democrats. But if the Republicans do/want something that seems to “conflict with our very morals as a society”, it can be made to look “deviant” by the media.
--Ideological Hegemony… “Hegemony” = presenting the interests of powerful groups as the interests of all or as natural, the way the world is (ex. subtle messages about the world in ads and programming)
--Ex. Honda Motors—“hate something, change something”. Identifying a specific problem (pollution), then give them a solution (buy our new, better diesel engines). --Media Bias… both views/sides in the media have some biases against liberals AND conservatives because the mass media wants to sell stuff, they will do whatever it takes while avoiding offending parent corporations, advertisers, and powerful organized interest groups. --Symbolic Interactionism
--Focuses on interactions, face-to-face encounters, symbols and meanings, and interpretations of social situations.
--Applicable to traditional mass media, especially applicable to analyses of new social media. --Treat media as “cultural artifacts” not just viewed as a way to get information/ideological messages spread. So they represent the society.
--Frames, metaphors, myths, symbols, and images can be analyzed to understand this cultural system. We can learn more about our culture and our inner struggles/conflictions with how we present topics from many different perspectives.
Chapter 4—Socialization and the Construction of Reality Socialization
--Socialization: “the process through which individuals internalize the values, beliefs, and norms of a society and learn to function as its member.” Achieves two things--- 1. Producing an Identity/personality 2. Reproduce a particular culture and society.
--You know all of the things you should and shouldn’t do because you were socialized --Alan Turing… developed a way to test if a computer can act as a human. If the subject can’t tell the difference in conversation with a human from the computer, the computer passes---but most don’t pass for long. Adding in facial expressions, body language, and other nonverbal communication cues in addition to verbal communication causes the artificial intelligence to fail. --Limits
--Nature or nurture? Both and neither. Just help us understand our social world. We’re not a blank slate at birth, and we have innate qualities, BUT experience also can shape our social skills. (Ex. body tells you that you need to pee, but socialization tells you when and where to do so) --Theories
--Charles Horton Cooley… the looking glass self… aka developing the “self” as our ability to assume the point of view of others and thereby imagine how they see us develops. --George Herbert Mead (1930)… Stages of Self… helps us understand HOW we learn to see ourselves as others see us. Infant’s only know the I… then learn the me… then eventually develop a sense of other (someone outside themselves)… socialization gets us up to this point. The other half, aka generalized other (which represents an internalized sense of the total expectations of others in a variety of settings), develops as we live and gather new information as an individual.
--Stages of Self (Mead)
1. Preparatory Stage—imitation, usually copying parents and play by themselves 2. Play Stage—role taking, understanding that each person has their own role
that they have to play that is different from their own.
3. Game Stage—can cope with the existence of multiple roles in the same
setting, changing into different roles to work in a group to accomplish a goal.
--Full socialization: “The generalized other” has fully developed meaning that
children are able to imagine what they look like to other people.
--Erving Goffman … Presentation of Self … Dramaturgical approach—we’re all actors on the stage of our life. Impression management in different role contexts is manipulating how others see us. The more complex the society, the more complex our lives/roles can be. The roles ARE who we are, there’s nothing underneath. You have to pretend to know what you’re doing in the role. “Face work” refers to the work of having to recover from a slip up in your role… so how do you recover? Using comedy? Apologies?
--Summary: Cooley, self as a reflection of other’s behavior. Mean, self-achieved in stages by active role taking. Goffman, we work on ourselves constantly by engaging in impression management.
Agents of Socialization
--Families… children gain experience and socialization through their families. Ebonya Washington (2008) showed that members of Congress who had daughters were more likely to vote for feminist measures. Previously, the children were taught almost everything by their parents, but now in the school they are taught more about technology and advancements more than their parents could show them. Two-way street of socialism.
--“natural growth” vs. overscheduled children… middle-class makes their children become more structured with higher aspirations, more work (less free time), while lower-class parents rely on natural growth as the child fills the free time with whatever they please. So, the lower-class children tend to not be able to reach goals they desire because they don’t have the developed skills or connections from their parents.
--School…children’s new locus of socialization becomes peers and teachers (the new reference group). Prep-schools at private institutions allow for social networks with wealthier people and may give access and benefit for the rest of their lives.
--Peers… many adolescents spend a great deal of their time with others… these others reinforce taught rules from home and conformity is generally expected (peer pressure). Look to peers for advice rather than parents but know that it may not be as nearly as reliable.
--Media…How does it impact us? Affecting us negatively or positively (ex. Sesame Street)? Still up for debate on how it influences socialization
--Total institutions… ex. College, army, prison. An institution that controls all the basics of day-to-day life such as eating, sleeping, bathing, etc.
--Adult Socialization… the things we learn as adults during activities such as jobs. --Resocialization… can be critical if you go through major changes such as moving to a new country, suffering huge memory loss, and/or changing schools.
--Anticipatory socialization: preparing to re-socialize in order to prepare for a new change.
--Robert Merton… developed Midrange theory (chapter 1) the Strain Theory: We revert to deviance in order to achieve cultural goals because our status set is too complex/difficult to get us to the goal. --Need-to-know vocabulary…
--status… a recognizable social position that an individual occupies.
--ascribed status… what you were born with
--achieved status… what you become/obtain
--role… the duties and behaviors associated with a particular status.
--role strain… the incompatibility among roles corresponding to a single status.
--role conflict… the tensions felt by an individual who is filling two or more roles that conflict. --status set… refers to all the statuses you have given at any time.
--master status… the one status that stands out and/or overrides all the others (the reason people interact with you mainly).
--Groups and Networks
--Every social group has a network structure. People within the group can be represented as “nodes” and the connections between them as “ties.” As you add nodes, the complexity of the group increases. Weak ties can bring two social networks together by the “social entrepreneur” = the persons connecting the groups. See Chapter 5 for more info.
--Gender roles… sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as male or female --Some sociologists argue that gender roles don’t effectively capture the entire status of a person even though the extreme confidence that sex is seen as a master status in our society (treat babies differently from the moment they leave the womb based on their sex). -- CJ Pascoe… studied how teens in high school reinforce gender roles. Found that many students used “Fag discourse” to insult other males to curtail improper behavior.
Studying Social Interactions
--Ethnomethodology… Harold Garfinkel. Involves acting critically towards the interactions we have every day. Garfinkel sent students to breach social norms to see what happened to determine the values and norms of society. Ex. Facing backwards in an elevator.
--Dramaturgical theory… has its roots in Shakespeare but generally credited to Goffman that life is essentially a play—a play with a moral, of sorts. Morals are based on “impression management.” We’re struggling to impress our audience who also happens to be actors in our play. Also it’s important for us to distinguish between front-stage and back-stage arenas.
--“Face” is the esteem in which an individual is held by others… hence ‘saving face’ in an embarrassing situation.
--We use “opening” to signal the start of an encounter.
--“Civil inattention” means refraining from directly with someone (even if you know them) until an opening bracket has been issued.
-- “Given gestures” signal a closing, such as putting on your coat and putting your books away near the end of lecture.
--“Given off gestures” are unconscious signals of our true feelings, such as grimacing after each bite of food even though we say it’s delicious.
The Social Construct of Reality
--Something is real, meaningful, or valuable when society tells us it is.
--Symbolic Interactionism… we interact with others using words and behaviors that have symbolic meanings according to the individual culture.
Three basic tenets:
1. Human beings act toward ideas, concepts, and values based on those meanings. 2. These meanings are a product of social interaction
3. These meanings are modified and filtered through an interpretive process that each individual uses in dealing with outward signs.
Chapter 5—Groups and Networks
--Georg Simmel (1950)… Without knowing anything about the group members’ individual psychology or the cultural or social context in which they are embedded, aka we can make predictions about the ways people behave based on the number of people are in the group.
--Dyad… a relationship of two.
--most intimate form of social life, mutual dependence. No secrets, no mediator, and you know who did what. Inherent symmetry. Pure dyad = both voluntarily stay. --Triad… a relationship between three. Holds supra-individual power meaning the group will go on if one member leaves. Three basic forms of political relations that may evolve: 1. Mediator… person who tries to solve the conflict. (Ex. a good friend)
2. tertius gaudens… person who encourages more conflict on top of what already existed b/c they benefit from it. Also known as the “entrepreneur.” (Ex. a marriage counselor who wants to keep the couple coming back for therapy for money)
3. divide et impera… person who creates a wedge intentionally between the other parties. (Ex. a child who dislikes their step-parent and wants to create a wedge between that step-parent and their biological parent)
--“iron law”… if one tie between two members is weaker, it is unlikely to fade away because it is so well-reinforced by the remaining two ties. (see “embeddedness” below)
--NOTE: Most interactions aren’t this pure relationship between two or three, there are usually other parties and people involved.
--As groups get larger, their complexity grows exponentially.
--According to Simmel, groups larger than 3 can be classifies into 3 types:
1. Small group… all the members of the group at any given time are present and interact with one another (face-to-face interaction). There’s one center of attention at any given time (unifocal). Lack of formal arrangement or roles. Equality.
2. Party… face-to-face interactions, but has more than one center of attention (multifocal). 3. Large group… Has everything same as a party, but with the presence of formal structure (who is in charge, and who belongs to each group) that mediates interaction and leads to status differentiation (who is who and why).
--Charles Horton Cooley (1909) emphasized a distinction in groups.
--Primary groups… limited in the number of members, making it an end unto itself. Also they are key agents of socialization (ex. family). Members are noninterchangeable and enduring. --Secondary groups… these groups are impersonal and instrumental (exists as a means to an end). It’s also contingent, meaning you may or may not remain in the group based on your position and loyalty. Roles more important than the actual individual.
--Group conformity… Solomon Asch did “vision experiments” in which a group (one subject among a group of actors) was shown a series of lines and told to decide which were longer than others and which were equal in length—when most of the group gave incorrect answer at least 1/3 of the subjects expressed serious discomfort. They were most confused when the whole acting group agreed upon the incorrect answer.
--In-group… has more power and tend to be larger in number (but not always)
--Out-group… become stigmatized and have less power.
--Reference Groups…help us understand or make sense of our position in society relative to others.
--Dyads, triads, and groups make up social networks that are held together by ties. A tie is the content of a particular relationship aka the story of the relationship. Ties can be uniplex (one layer), or multiplex (having many layers). A narrative is the sum of stories contained in a set of ties. --Embeddedness… the degree to which ties are reinforced through indirect paths within a social network. The more indirect paths you make to somebody, the stronger the relationship. The more friends of friend A you know, the stronger the relationship with the friend A will be. --Mark Ganovetter (1973) contradicts embeddedness with the strength of weak ties, referring to the relatively weak ties that turn out to be quite valuable b/c they bring information. Usually very helpful in job searches. Weak ties can bridge the structural hole (the gap between two disconnected social groups) between two network clusters.
--Six Degrees of Separation… Stanley Milgrim (1960s) sent a chain letter from Nebraska to a guy in Boston. People would send the letter to someone they thought might now the man in Boston. 20% of the letters made it to the guy, and there were no more than five people between any set of strangers.
--Duncan Watts set up a similar experiment but using an email and statistics to estimate global connectedness. Found that Milgram was not quite right. Not everyone is connected to everyone else, but at least half the people in the world are connected to each other through six steps. Superconnectors played almost no role in determining how someone might now someone else (the people who seem to know everyone).
--Social Capital = the information, knowledge of people or things, and connections that help individuals enter preexisting networks or gain power within them. More interconnecting ties = deeper connections = more thriving community and economy in that area. Social capital is VERY important! It’s the reason or the explanation as to why someone with a lot of connections can use those connections to make themselves successful in terms of finding employment, recommendations, etc.
Network Analysis in Practice
--Teenage Sex… about 50% of American teenagers over 15 have admitted to having sex. Over 1/3 of those who hadn’t were still sexually active in other way. Lots of partners = huge amounts of STI’s in this generation. The sociologists were trying to see how to best prevent the spread of STI’s by determining who is in the core network, so they could be targeted for prevention and awareness. Four Models for the spread of STI’s
1. Core Infection model… the core group is the infected group who have contact with each other and with people outside of the group. Solution = persuade the core to practice safe sex when coming into contact with non-core members.
2. Bridge between Disjointed Populations… one person fills the structural hole between the infected and unaffected population. Solution = try to cut the ties of the one person or persuade them to practice safe sex.
3. Inverse Core model… the infected population does not have contact with one another, but the core members have contact with different members of the disconnected infected population and in turn affect one another within the core group. Solution = none given.
4. Spanning Tree… there is a main line of transmission, with a few branches off the main line. Solution = initiate some breaks in the tree, but there will be no focal point to target. --Peter Bearman… romantic “left-overs” rule… don’t date your ex’s new flame’s ex. So if Sally and Ben were dating and Amanda and Kyle were dating, but then the couples break up. If Ben starts dating Amanda, Sally and Kyle wouldn’t date because it’s an unofficial rule.
--Organization: an all-purpose term to describe any social network that is defined by a common purpose and that has a boundary between its membership and the rest of the social world. --Formal organizations… have a set of governing structures and rules for their internal arrangements (ex. US Army)
--Informal organizations… don’t have the governing rules (ex. local fan club).
--But this is a continuum… many organizations aren’t distinctly formal or informal, but have a range of qualities that fit into both categories.
--Organizational culture… refers to the shared beliefs and behaviors within a social group. Also interchangeable with corporate culture.
--Organizational structure… refers to how power and authority are distributed within an organization. Usually affects the culture. Ex. Whether you’re a boss or an employee, will affect how you act at work, and will influence the culture of the workplace.
--The growth of large multinational corporations has affected organizational structure. Now the members of corporate boards often sit on the board of directors for multiple companies, this phenomenon is known as interlocking directorates. This is bad because it may lead to the biased decisions based on preferences and weak ties with other people to get benefits for themselves or the other companies they work for, and cause a loss of competition.
--Isomorphism… a constraining process that forces one unit in a population to resemble other units that face the same set of environmental conditions” meaning everything ends up similar. --Institutionalism… tries to develop a sociological view of institutions (opposed to, say, economic view) and sees the network of connections among institutions as the key to how they look and behave… the governing rules and decisions follow symmetry, peer pressure, social signaling (how people socialize with one another), and network laws (can be official or unofficial.
Chapter 15—Authority and the State
What is power?
--Power (as empowerment) is the ability to act even in the face of opposition… emphasizes the order for people to enact collective goals. People follow because of the collective goal. Must have: 1. Knowledge… a certain, definitive, attractive goal
2. Resources… money, connections, and time to make it work
3. Organization… needed to successfully apply resources to problems and overcome collective action problems
--Power (as domination) is “power over” rather than “power to”… A has power over B to the extent that he/she can get B to do something he or she would not otherwise do.
--Domination… the probability that a command with a given specific content will be obeyed by a given group of persons. Two types:
1. Economic power… control by virtue of a position of monopoly
2. Authority… the willing obedience of the ruled to the commands of legitimate authority. People let themselves be ruled because the ruler’s will is also their own. --Politics… power relations among people and other social actors.
Three Strategies of Domination… getting people to follow your will
1. Force (coercion, punishment)
--Advantages: fear can be very effective, you can get compliance no matter how badly they want to do something else, and it has been popular throughout history
--Disadvantages: Inefficient, compliance vs commitment, hard to get high-quality work, makes people resentful (creates resistance), hard to apply fairly, and the paradox of coercion (loses legitimacy as soon as you use it).
--It’s a fine line to use fear… ex. mob bosses (too much fear = executed)
2. Money (incentive, reward)
--Advantage: can be effective, people often will do things for money (put in an effort) --Disadvantage: Hard to calibrate (what’s a good reward?), and the risk of perverse incentives creeping in (How much can I do to just get the reward?)
--Risk learning to do something for the right reasons rather than the reward… ex. kids 3. Solidarity
--Draws on people’s attachments to the group. If people are attached, they are more likely to act on its behalf without needing rewards or punishments—they WANT to do it because they believe in the group. Collective rituals that help people identify with their roles and other people in the group/organization as important, too.
--Can be most effective if they DESIRE TO BELONG to the group.
--Advantages: it can be a deeper, stronger form of power and control. Punishment and reward have a shallower hold on people’s identities.
--Disadvantages: Rituals take time and effort, and authorities have to give real
responsibility and control to subordinates.
Types of Legitimate Authority
--Legitimacy (Weber) = a belief that an authority has the RIGHT to give orders and have those orders obeyed. Legitimate power is much stronger than illegitimate power.
1. Traditional = sanctity of age-old traditions (divine rights of kings etc.), the ruled are subjects over the ruler (personal loyalty and obedience), and rulers have traditional, long-preacticed obligations to their subjects.
2. Legal-Rational = authority carefully spelled out by formal rules (no one is above the law), the ruled are citizens with specific legal rights (obedience to rules and office, not to a person), and loyalty is impersonal (delegated to officials with technical qualifications).
--Break the rules = loss of legitimacy.
3. Charismatic = obedience owed to the charismatic leader because of transcendent abilities (followers are those who answer the call), can create powerful personal loyalty, most
unstable form of legitimacy, and it must be ROUTINIZED to survive beyond the original charismatic figure.
--Routinized… somehow the characteristics have to be preserved in the next leader. Ex. Dali Llama… each of them are the “reincarnation” of the original.
--Can become more bureaucratic kind of like Catholicism choosing the Pope.
State and Its Power
--State: a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. The state is a threat of violence, basically. It’s implicit that there will be consequences (physical punishment) if the rules/orders are not followed.
--Paradox of Authority… even though the state’s authority derives from the implicit threat of physical force, as soon as the state resorts to physical coercion, all its legitimate authority is lost. So having to resort to violence is proof that people are not listening to the state.
--Some states cannot use their threat of punishment because the people within it fight back or against the power. Sometimes happens to lead to a “state within a state”
--International state system: each state is recognized as territorially sovereign by fellow states. Follow the principle of noninterference. In affect in Europe and Africa. States must be not only recognized by their subjects, but ALSO by other surrounding states.
--Welfare State: The state is responsible for the welfare of its citizens. Organizations that extract resources through taxation and attempt to extend coercive control and political authority over particular territories and the people within them.
--Neo-Marxist theory… concerned with explaining the contradictions between formal legal equality and social class inequality. The welfare state is a “class mediator” and gives benefits for all society to keep the peace.
--Focus is on, what is a citizen’s relationship to the state?
--Citizenship rights… rights guaranteed to each law-abiding citizen in a nation-state. 1. Civil rights… guarantee personal freedom from interference (e.g. speech and travel) 2. Political rights… guarantee a person’s right to participate in politics (e.g. vote and hold office)
3. Social rights… guarantee protection from the state in the areas of housing,
employment, health and education.
a. Rights to contributory programs (e.g. Social Security)
b. Rights to means-tested programs (e.g. unemployment benefits)
Radical Power and Persuasion
--Steven Lukes suggests that power may be “at its most effective when least observable” because it may not generate any resistance/opposition.
--Dimensions of Power (Lukes)… the three ways power can work.
1. Power is visible when agendas clash, conflict results, and one side prevails.
2. Power is so formidable that no conflict results from competing interests because one side is convinced it’s a losing battle.
3. Power has manipulated the resistance, so that there is no resistance because the overall preference and wills of the ruled, match the will and preferences of the one with the power.
--One way to wield invisible power is by shaping the choice set… breaking down the choice into very specific choices, rather than one big decision. Also offering yes-or-no, or left-or-right type choices. --Kenneth Arrow.... “Impossibility theorem” which states that there is no system of voting that will consistently yield the top choice of the most voters when there are more than two alternatives. So if you give the crowd more than two options, the true top choice won’t be revealed because people may intentionally vote for something in order to “make sure” another option isn’t picked.
Ex. group of friends go to movies, and you have to pick between 3 movies, A, B, and C. You know the movie, movie A, you want to see isn’t going to win, and you absolutely don’t want to see movie C. So instead you vote for movie B. It isn’t your actual first choice, you just picked it because you don’t want the other option.
Power and International Relations
--Usually scholars highlight the importance of “hard power” aka use of military or economic influence when it comes to international policies.
--But, today, because of globalization, using hard power is very costly and the risk of losing valuable import and export is too risky. Alternate is using “soft power” aka co-operative power of attraction… making your culture and ideals so appealing people (or nations) can’t resist.
--Democracy vs Dictatorship
--Thomas Hobbes… wrote The Leviathan… says we agree to enter into a “social contract” with the sovereign authority, who is charged with ensuring peace by threatening death for deviant behavior, in order to avoid a chaotic and violent existence. EMPHASIZE STRONG GOV. --John Locke… says that we are naturally peacefully existing people who serve as our own executive powers and punishers, but we agree to submit to an authority to help settle discords over conflicts like personal property. It’s not so much life or death, as a matter of money. EMPHASIZE HANDS-OFF GOV.
--Democracy… power theoretically lies in the hands of the people. Citizens vote in elections, speak freely, and participate as equals. The emergence of modern capitalism is the driver in this government type, needs the working middle-class to rise and establish this government. --Dictatorship… rights only to a small group or even a single individual, may have limited suffrage, often sensor information to public, and arrange the “disappearances” of non submissive subordinates.
--Game theory… the study of the decisions actors make in situations where there is usually uncertainty and where the success depends on the strategy of others. So people try and think of how they can benefit based on the actions of others.
--In order to make transitions to democracy, the ordinary people must overcome a “collective action problem” which asserts that it is more difficult to collaborate in larger groups than smaller ones.
--The people can overcome this by looking at the effort they make from the “altruistic” angle… their small contribution is good to the collective group, so you have to give up what you want. NOTE: It’s hard to make people be altruistic. A lot of times they will be more altruistic if it boosts their ego, if there is no public eye, they will tend to make the more selfish decision.
--“The iron law of oligarchy”… Direct deliberative democracy is very hard to pull off when the numbers get above a few hundred. The coordination fails, so ultimately an elected oligarchy will have to be chosen to rule.
--Who Rules the US?
1. Executive. Lead by president (aka head of state). Enforce the rules of the state. Has the authority over the military and other useful power tools.
2. Legislative. House of Reps and Senate = Congress. Create legislation that coincides with the desires of the population that is being ruled over.
3. Judicial. Supreme Court and lower federal courts. Interpret the rules and the Constitution (the governing document of the US) in order to explain the laws.
--According to the Constitution, the States should hold the most power, and the federal government, in theory, is pretty decentralized.
--Political party: an organization that seeks to gain power in a government, generally by backing candidates who subscribe (as close as possible) to their ideals. In US, two major parties are Democrats and Republicans.
--Interest group: an organization that seeks to gain power without campaigning for direct election or being appointed to office—but rather using influence to make policies through the elected officials.
--Political Participation in Modern Democracies
--Political participation: any “activity that has the intent or effect of influencing government action” (e.g. voting, marching in the streets, working on a campaign, etc).
--Important because the people inform their government their needs and preferences by political participation. So no participation = no voice.
--The irony in modern democracies, like the US? The poor and less educated participate LESS even though they have the most to lose.
--Civic Voluntarism Model: political orientation (the strength of the person’s political commitments), resources (include money to donate and civic skills), and mobilization efforts (made by the political or nonpartisan parties to get people to vote or get involved) explain why people do (or do not) participate politically.
--If people have strong political desires, they are more likely to participate in voting. --If people have the money and skills, they are more likely to donate to and help out in campaigns for candidates that reflect their ideals.
--If the parties (political and nonpartisan) reach out and organize and recruit the population, they are more likely to participate in the ways listed above and others. --Because of the criteria listed above, usually upper-middle class people are the most politically involved.
Socio Ch. 14 9/22/15 Capitalism and the Economy
--Capitalism… an economic system in which property and goods are primarily privately owned, investments are determined by private decisions, and prices, production, and the distribution of goods are determined primarily by competition in an unfettered marketplace.
--Modes of Production: the way people in a society are organized to produce their means of subsistence. Each includes the most important economic activities and the property relations in which they take place.
History of Capitalism
--Primarily, societies relied on hunting and gathering in order to provide sustenance for their societies. --The productive property = the communal hunting ground/territory.
--Modes of production passed down with little to no change
--Next began with the development of the agricultural empires in Europe.
--The productive property = slaves
--Slaves were given minimal food, clothing, and shelter
--The slave/land owners lived off the labor of the slaves, who worked their lands. --Then, Feudalism… the presence of lords, serfs, and fiefs.
-- The lord ruled over his fief (land), and had serfs to work the land that were tied to the land (serfs could own land and weren’t sold, so they’re not slaves).
--The productive property = the feudal estate (land + peasants/serfs)
--Agricultural revolution… around 1700 new farming technologies invented that directly increased food output. Ex. seed drilling, selective breeding, and crop rotation. Lead to increase in population, adding more people to the labor pool. Fueled the “enclosure movement” ???? making farms private. --Finally, capitalism… more migration to the city encouraged the development of factory jobs for unskilled laborers ???? legal monetary system rose ???? wage labor and formation of new social institutions (ex. corporations)
--Corporation… a legal entity unto itself that has a legal personhood distinct of its members— namely, its owners and shareholders. Emerged to limit the liability of investors ???? more investors willing to invest ???? more money!
Theorizing the Transition to Capitalism
--Adam Smith (1770)… the father of liberal economics… “Individual self-interest in an environment of others acting similarly will lead to a situation of competition, as long as basic laws and contracts are honored.” Separation of work ???? greater efficiency! Two reasons: each part done more quickly, and specialization of a person doing the task leads to better innovation.
--Monetization: the use of monetary exchange as payment. It is better than trading b/c there are set values and standards. And money allows us to get change back… only pay what it is worth. Also, money allows the ability to save efficiently. And it’s inherently social in that we expect/hope that our money will be accepted wherever else we go. Trading isn’t always fair, and you tend to lose more than you wanted per trade and can be a long process.
--Georg Simmel (1900)… saw monetary payment system as the depersonalization of exchange. --By having money paired with the job, not with the person, true friendship is possible. Keeping business and pleasure separate usually leads to better social experiences.
--Increasing levels/types of payment…
--In-kind payments = payments for survival needs, very personal.
--Piecework payments = only paid when task/item is complete, in exchange for money, kind of personal.
--Wage labor = get paid based on the hours you work under the system, not dependent on the quality or production process.
--Salary = paid a set amount of money for an average day and hours over the year, vacation and sick days paid.
--Civil Service Salary = appropriate standard of living based on a particular grade level and amount of experience.
--Honorarium = extra bonus based on services performed outside of the job (e.g. giving a speech or presentation for the company).
--Karl Marx… saw capitalism as fundamentally flawed and doomed.
--Alienation = a condition in which people are dominated by forces of their own creation that then confront them as alien powers. Basically, people’s jobs/search for success ends up ruling their lives, destroys social interaction, and leads to lack of appreciation for the product, the process of work, other people, and themselves... Marx considered this a basic state of being in a capitalistic society.
--Eventually, once competition is so stiff that it no longer exists, the crisis will ultimately destroy capitalism.
--Marx believe the working class world rise against the capitalist (working) class and would usher in socialism, in which most or all of the needs are met through nonmarket methods of distribution (basically provided by the governing state). Quick to follow would be communism = a classless society in which the means of production are shared through state ownership and in which rewards are not tied to productivity, but to need.
--Max Weber…believed technology and ideas generate social change
--For example, the Protestant Reformation (only a select few go to Heaven) ???? people see monetary wealth as a sign of being chosen to go???? social movement towards capitalism and free markets to gain wealth.
--Weber viewed capitalism as negative because it creates an “iron cage” we can’t escape—we can’t enjoy life because of the obsession with money, expansion, and lack of satisfaction with our current state.
--Societies obtain commodities (anything for sale) from the open market—a place ruled by private producers, who meet the demands of the buyers.
--Societies get the money/means to buy these commodities through “jobs”
--Job: a voluntary agreement to sell our “labor power” in exchange for money.
--Free wage labor: no one forces you directly to sell your labor to them. You can choose who you work for. It’s voluntary. There is an EQUALITY of rights between you and the bosses… freedom to pick where/who you work.
--There is a relationship of propertylessness—wage workers don’t own productive property… so even though we don’t have to sell our labor, economic coercion pushes us into the labor market to avoid the consequences of not working (poverty, homelessness, etc.)
--Changes the world because now people aren’t born with defined roles and lives, but can make choices and learn skills to choose where their lives go!
--Dominant form of productive property = capital (land, materials, money, etc., when used to employ wage labor)
--Capital isn’t a “thing” but is a social relationship between those who buy labor power and those who sell it
--Wage worker—less powerful, property less, must work to live
--Only power is the power to withhold work (e.g. strikes)
--“associational power” = a form of multilateral power… if many wage labors associate, they have more power united.
--Seeks: higher wages, a degree of control over work tasks, pace, hours, etc.
--Capitalists—more powerful, relies on workers to live
--BUT can live off their accumulated wealth for a longer time than laborers, if necessary --Have more power because they can last longer against refusing laborers.
--Seeks: lower labor costs and control over the work process. These conditions drive the need for inventing new production methods.
--The Logic of Capitalist Competition
--Capitalists compete with one another for markets
--Competition always threatens to erode profits and drive down prices to the cost of production --Innovation can lead a capitalist to gain temporary advantage (until competitors follow suit) *Incentive to expand and reinvent!*
--With each cycle of innovation, capital must find ever-greater markets for its products. --Consequences
--A relentless drive for technological innovation
--An incredible growth of productivity and therefore of wealth.
--A rapid and unending social upheaval (e.g. communities and companies rise and fall so quickly now with the ever-changing market)
--Industrial conflict… workers defend their ways of life against the leaders attempting to change and take advantage of workers.
--Recurring crises of “overproduction”… it’s not a stable economic condition. There is a huge overturn of what is important and what’s not. “Boom and Bust”
--The concentration of capital into larger and larger units (large, multi-unit corporations) b/c when there is a crisis, the smaller units become absorbed by larger, more successful units. --The dream of self-regulating market economy
-- The “Invisible Hand”… free market acts as a guide for people’s decisions to meet their needs. --The claim: if everyone pursues his/her own interests within competitive markets, the general good will result (Adam Smith, 1776)
--“the general good” is defined as “an efficient allocation of resources”
--Pareto efficiency = an allocation of resources in which no one can be made
better off without making someone worse off.
--Self-regulating markets must have…
--Competitive markets… there have to be tons of producers and consumers in the market so that price isn’t rules by only one group/individual.
--Perfect information… Must have a fully informed market on the basis of price and quality so that consumers are in control.
--Low or nonexistent transaction costs… meaning it should be costless to change suppliers or employers.
--In this view, market regulation is not just unnecessary but also harmful.
--Unfortunately, we don’t live in this world because we fail to meet these standards. --The regulatory state… makes these regulations for the market, because it can’t self-regulate
∙ Building safety regulations
∙ Food and drug safety regulations ∙ Consumer product safety
∙ Labor laws
Recent changes in Capitalism
∙ Social legislation (unemployment insurance, Social Security)
∙ Environmental regulation ∙ Financial regulation
--In the US, our economy is dominated mainly by the selling of services, not products. --Income effect: the more one earns, the more one can afford leisure; however, the more one earns, the more it costs to not work in terms of forgone wages… leads to choosing to work over enjoying leisure. --Wages…
--Family wage: a wage paid to male workers sufficient to support a dependent family. Implemented by Henry Ford… he paid workers $5 every day they worked (~$117, today). --Developed to keep women and children out of the workforce. Feeds on gender roles and lead to the “traditional family model” ???? male bread winner + female
dependent/homemaker. Working women, in past ~ 45% pay of men, today ~81%. --Having women as a cheaper workforce gave employers the advantage over male workers, because the men can’t effectively strike if women will take their jobs. However, women make up nearly 45% of the unionized workforce.
--Most other industrialized give their workers at least 10 federally-mandated paid days off and huge amounts of PTO (paid time off) for maternity leave—some places even paternity leave! --The US does NOT have any federally-mandated paid days NOR paid maternity/paternity leave. --Even when offered leave, people in the US usually don’t take it… why?
--Work viewed as a safe haven from stress at home? Post-feminist feelings?—the accomplished feelings that come along with working AND raising a family? The fear of job loss if they miss out on promotions?
--The Service Sector
--Service sector: the section of the economy that provides intangible services. (Ex. restaurant work, health care provision, etc).
--Globalization: a set of multidimensional social processes that create, multiply, stretch and intensify worldwide social exchanges and interdependencies.
--New markets allow participation for everyone
--New means of exchange (e.g. computers, cellphones, etc.) allow for almost
--Lead to the development of third-party players to monitory and regulate trade and exchange, and also to provide nongovernmental organizations a global expansion. --Also had clearly exposed the global divide between the haves and the have-nots.
The Reign of the Corporation
--Corporation: legally recognized as an individual and has formalized rights, duties, and responsibilities for each person that make up the body of the institution.
--The stigma…they show no disregard for others, can’t maintain long-term relationships, frequently lie, and are solely driven by self-interest = making money.
--However, it is designed “to use their resources and engage in activities designed to increase profits as long as it engages in free and open competition without deception or fraud” (Milton Friedman, 1970). --Can lead to people forgetting the lines between right and wrong b/c they become so power driven and profit-driven.
--Monopoly: occurs when one seller of a good/service dominates the market, potentially leading to zero competition in the market. Lack of free and open trade.
--Oligopoly: a few handful of sellers work together to set prices through collusion (aka coordination) and affect free and open market exchanges.
--How to compete as a corporation
--Keep up with the market, change your products and ways of production frequently --Influence policy… gain political access and information in order to change policy and gain profit --Lower costs of product… such as…
--Bypass environmental concerns b/c it’s expensive to maintain low levels of pollution, properly dispose of waste, and/or buying eco-friendly technology.
--Lowering labor costs… offshoring: moving all or part of a company’s operations abroad to a nation with lower pay scales and more lenient labor laws. Union busting: refusing to negotiate or renew a contract of workers that band together to try and
promote/protect their collective interests as workers.
--Union: a band of employees who bargain on behalf of the workers to gain
more rights, change something, etc.