SOC320 Lecture Notes - Solidarity, Protestant Work Ethic, Cultural Relativism

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7 Feb 2013
Social solidarity: refers to (1) the degree to which a group members share beliefs and values and (2) the intensity
and frequency of their interaction
Social structures: are relatively stable patterns of social relations
Microstructures: are the patterns of relatively intimate social relations formed during face-to-face interaction.
Families, friendship circles, and work associations are all examples of microstructures
Macrostructures: are overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of intimates
and acquaintances. These include classes, bureaucracies, and power systems, such as patriarchy
Patriarchy: is the traditional system of economic and political inequality between women and men
Global structures: are patterns of social relations that lie outside and above the national level. They include
international organizations, patterns of worldwide travel and communication, and the economic relations between
Sociological imagination: is the quality if mind that enables a person to see the connection between personal
troubles and social structures
Scientific Revolution: began about 1150. It encouraged the view that sound conclusions about the workings of
society must be based on solid evidence, not just on speculation
Democratic Revolution: began about 1750. It suggested that people are responsible for organizing society and that
human intervention can therefore solve social problems
Industrial Revolution: often regarded as the most important event in world history since the development of
agriculture and cities, refers to the rapid economic transformation that began in Britain in the 1780s. It involved
the larger-scale application of science and technology to industrial processes, the creation of factories, and the
formation of a working class
Functionalism: stresses that human behaviour is governed by relatively stable social structures. It underlines how
social structures maintain or undermine social stability. It emphasizes that social structures are based mainly on
shared values or preferences. And it suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most social problems
Dysfunctional consequences: are effects of social structures that create social instability
Manifest functions: are visible and intended effects of social structures
Latent functions: are invisible and unintended effects of social structures
Conflict theory: generally focuses on large macrolevel structures and shows how major patterns of inequality in
society produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others
Class conflict: is the struggle b/w classes to resist and overcome the opposition of other classes
The Protestant ethic: is the belief that religious doubts can be reduced, and a state of grace ensured, if people
work diligently and live ascetically. According to Weber, the Protestant work ethic had the unintended effect of
increasing savings and investment and thus stimulating capitalist growth
Symbolistic interactionism: focuses on interaction in microlevel settings and emphasizes that an adequate
explanation of social behaviour requires understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their social
Social constructionsim: argues that apparently natural or innate features of life are often sustained by social
processes that vary historically and culturally
Feminist theory: claims that patriarchy is at least as important as class inequality in determining a person’s
opportunities in life. It holds male domination and female subordination are determined not by biological necessity
but by structures of power and social convention. It examines the operation of patriarchy in both micro and macro
settings. And it contends that existing patterns of gender inequality can and should by changed for the benefit of
all members of society
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