Chapter 5: Groups & Networks
Chapter 5: Groups & Networks SOC 100
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Chapter 5 Lecture Notes • Social groups ○ Help to define who we are § Groups have their own culture - hence their own social norms § Research shows pressure to conform to group opinions: Asch effect • Networks ○ The 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon ○ Connection someone else with Kevin Bacon ○ What makes a tie weak or strong § Strong: frequent contact, emotional closeness, and history of reciprocal favors ○ Embeddedness: the degree of which ties are reinforced through indirect paths § Relationship with someone gets strong if you have friends in common □ Strong ties make strong communities • Social capital ○ The info and connections that help individuals enter, gain in, or otherwise leverage social networks to access resources § Can trade for emotional or economical capital ○ People and resources to which you have access through your social networks ○ The strength of weak ties § Allows more branching of ties § Get more info for more people (second degree resources) • C.W Mills - The Power Elite ○ Increasing centralization of power into 3 major overlapping groups of elites § Economic elites § Political elites § Military elites • Network analysis ○ Many brands can be traced back to several corporations § Very diverse brands per company • Corporate networks ○ Interlocking directorates: connected nature of today's corporate boards of directors § Same people on multiple boards • Ideal types ○ Weber: great way of studying society ○ Abstract categories § Not everyone completely falls into one category, but gives on an idea of what's whaat • Weber: Rationalities of Action ○ Instrumental rationality § Social actions that's goal oriented § Cost-benefit analysis ○ Value rationality § Action based on some conscience belief in ethical truth § Even if path isn't efficient, we base our actions off of values/morals ○ Affective (emotion-based) rationality § Not always considered rational § Being so angry you throw something ○ Traditional rationality § Action based on habit or tradition § Social norms ○ Actions aren't always based only on one rationality ○ In modern society instrumental rationality is increasing more § Why we think affective rationality isn't rational, but it is ○ Ideal types for comparison • Social institution ○ Complex group of interdependent positions that together form a role and reproduce themselves over time ○ Any in a society that works to shape the behavior of the groups or people within it ○ Isomorphism: constraining process that forces 1 unit in a population to resemble other units that face the same set of environmental conditions § Social institutions look similar • Irrationality ○ Weber's iron cage: caught upon efficiency and speeding up process that one becomes irrational ○ Sometimes as we employ more instrumental rationality, we can become trapped ○ When we focus of improving the process by which we achieve our goal, we lose sight of original goal Textbook pg. 161-180 • No time for face-to-face activities but we do donate and join organizations more than ever ○ Maybe due to our working hours • Old people live a sadder life when alone, but middle-aged people don't • A "teachable moment" happened on 9/11, it was said to have shown us how interconnected we all are • Some say we never lost connections, it just became more informal • Not all social capital is equal ○ Resources linked to you through networks is the important part § Kids in low-income families with mentors were more likely to succeed than those who did not • Abstinence pledge suggested by George W. Bush delayed the onset of sexual intercourse among teens, but increased the likely hood of one getting an STD due to unsafe sex • Organization: any social network that is defined by a common purpose and has a boundary between its membership and the rest of the social world ○ Formal: set of governing structures and rules for internal arrangement ○ Informal: like a fan club, has some rules but not a rule for everything • Organization culture: shared beliefs and behaviors within a social group, often used interchangeably with corporate culture ○ Like working in a slaughter house, there's low pay, workers wear protective gear, etc • Organizational structure: the ways in which power and authority are distributed within an organization ○ Affects organization culture • Interlocking directorates: whereby members of corporate boards often sit on boards of directors for multiple companies ○ Select group of people control decisions made for thousands of companies • Institutional isomorphism: why so many businesses that evolve differently, still end up with similar organizational structures • Isomorphism: constraining process that forces 1 unit in a population to resemble other units that face the same set of environmental conditions “McDonalization of Society” Ritzer • Rationalization has a powerful impact in many parts of the US • Society characterized by rationality, emphasizing efficiency, predictability, calculability, substitution for nonhuman technology, and control over uncertainty ○ Efficiency: in production and distribution systems ○ Predictability: people want to know what to expect ○ Calculability: quantity over quality § Most defining characteristic ○ Substitution of non human technology: robots replace humans ○ Control: same process used to prepare food, but are the same at all fast food restaurants within a chain • Rational systems aren't reasonable systems