SOC101 L5- 10 October 2012
Networks, Groups and Bureaucracies
- Test : bring calculator
o Check class announcements on course website
o Review tests and exams, especially test #1 from last year
o Don’t let em frown on you.
o Go over the movies and errething
o Specific %s, people’s names and things are not v. important. Trends, ideas and
interpretations are more important.
- How could thousands of German soldiers kill millions of unarmed Jews and gypsies?
o Non soc. Explanation- Many Nazis and Germans believed that Jews etc. were a threat to
o Sociology explains:
Norms of solidarity- demand conformity from people in social groups. When in
a group, we often tend to do what the rest of the group is doing than think of
the moral implications of what we are doing.
Often the Germans that slaughtered Polish Jews didn’t hate the Jews; but they
felt that if they didn’t do what was supposed to be done, their friendship ties
with the rest of the group wouldn’t be sustained; few whistleblowers in
corporations, not always because they’re scared of being fired, but because
they don’t want to let down their co-workers.
Heroes in Poland who saved Jews saved Jews only because they were non
conformists; they were poorly socialized in their society and were thus freer to
act in a way they thought would be right without having to worry about any
friends or co-workers.
Structures of authority- tend to render people obedient; most people find it
difficult to fly in the face of authority because they fear being punished,
ridiculed or ostracised. We are inclined to obey people in authority.
Bureaucracies- highly effective structures of authority. In bureaucratic settings,
people are inclined to act in ways that may be immoral. Bureaucracies are
particularly good at getting people to obey authority even if what is expected is
immoral or bad. Many people do not get the full picture of what is going on,
because they are given a very specific task. Eg- getting the Jews onto the trains,
cleaning the concentration camps, etc. Bureaucracy is so efficient that it is
particularly effective in carrying out tasks, even immoral, terrible tasks.
o Most people say emotions or self-interest is a huge motivation, but we also have to look
at groups and society and authority to understand why people do what they do.
- Social group- two or more people who identify with one another, routinely interact, and adhere
to defined norms, roles and statuses. - Social category- two or more people who share similar status but do not routinely interact or
identify with one another.
- Primary group- norms, roles and statues are agreed but are not put down in writing. Social
interaction creates strong emotional ties, extends over