Antonio Gramsci: Conflict Theory – The media is a set of technology involved in social
struggle, Gramsci wanted to know how subordinate groups incorporate into a class
system that exploits them. There is a subtle notion going on where something is working
behind the scene to portray this class struggle as “common sense” therefore hegemonic.
The ideas portrayed as common sense are the ideas of the ruling class, and these ideas are
not forced upon individuals. This is achieved when the dominant class ideas become
‘common sense’ only possible and reasonable way to understand the world. Institutions
inculcate these ideas: education, religion, and mass media. Class Struggle also involves
subordinate classes spreading alternate worldviews. This is because the subordinate class
does not just stupidly follow dominant ideas. Gramsci understands that any class struggle
involves both one side attempting to set standards of common sense and the other side
creating alternate views.
Sociological Imagination: Seeing the world through the eyes of another. Also translated
as seeing individual problems as societal problems. Individual challenges are shaped by
social forces; personal troubles rooted in social forces. Formulated by C. Wright Mills.
Having sociological imagination gives you quality of mind, which is the ability to look
beyond personal circumstance into social context (think beyond our individual lives)
Ageism: inequality resulting from age stratification. Using age to define an individual’s
capabilities and social worth, and to determine access to resources, opportunities.
Age Stratification: social ranking by age: a hierarchy of value; differential access to
resources, rewards, opportunities based on age (ex: the elderly are highly respected in
First Nations communities, young must learn from them; reverse in Western society,
where youth are most valued, and the elderly are viewed as useless. However, despite
this, it is the middle aged people who are the most privileged).
Elder Abuse: Age is a power relation; in Canada there are 4.2 million elders of which 4%
are victims of abuse. There are many forms of abuse such as psychological, neglect,
maltreatment, financial, physical, and sexual. In families, a child usually initiates it.
Aging is both social and physical, social value of age varies depending on where you are
in the world and what culture you residing in. Causes of elder abuse include, caregiver
stress in sense of finances and privacy, dependence on a caregiver making them
vulnerable, and being socially isolated by not having anywhere to go and no one to talk
Proletariat and Bourgeoisie: The proletariat is the working class who is usually led by a
false conscious that the system they are working under (capitalism) benefits them. When
in reality there is profit created out of exploiting the proletariat. These individuals are
alienated with the final product. They are only a part of the product making process, they
don’t own the product when its done, their skills are not valued. The Bourgeoisie on the
other hand is the individuals that own the means of production. Usually the bourgeoisie is
making the heavy profits. Anthropocentrism: The belief than humans are at the center of the eco system and
anything nonhuman is less.
Binary (dualism): mutually exclusive (one is what the other isn’t) categories that are
defined in relation to each other (ex: mind/body, woman/man, human/animal, etc.)
Hierarchy of Worth: mind valued, body devalued. The mind was viewed as superior than
the body so the body was usually ignored
• Mind/body binary: social entity as a social construction site
• Consequences of this binary thinking: body ignored because mind was valued-
fixed natural entity unrelated to social life.
Economy: a social institution that organizes the production, distribution, consumption of
goods the way we produce material things for survival the type impacts social inequality
very material has to do with how we feed and shelter ourselves many types of economies.
Types of Economies:
1. Hunting and Gathering: small nomadic groups that moved around place to place
to get what they could eat and immediately consumed it without any present
surplus. – Social equality
2. Horticulturism: plants and animals were domesticated resulting in a large division
of labour and the beginnings of social inequality. People however, could live in
larger groups because they could produce surplus of goods
3. Agriculture: With the development of more technologies groups could live in
larger denser areas, the innovation of crafts began and social inequality resulted
because of large surplus. Those that had a lot of money could get more food.
There was increased literacy, and an invention of crafts like pottery.
4. Feudalism: a closed off agricultural economy where the landlord owns the land,
and has peasants (serfs) farming it. This was exploiting workers and resulted in
5. Capitalism: bourgeoisie has private ownership to the means of production and
property. This originated with the industrial revolution at the beginning of the 19th
century. Aristocrats/rich owned the land, and the poor worked the enterprise.
6. Socialism: means of production are owned collectively, state plans the economy
and there is no profit motive.
Neoliberalism: Neoliberalism is a type of capitalism that promotes private enterprise, a
free and open global trade in which corporations make private decisions not governments
because the government should leave the regulation of the economy off their mandate.
However, the government implements minimum wage, working conditions, and
orchestrates the flow of capital.
Mass Media: media is messages communicated via a source of medium, which is a
means of communication like the internet, TV, and newspapers. Mass media is the
institutions that use these means to communicate with large numbers of people. Social
processes of communication are enabled by technologies for example, twitter and
Facebook. Mass Communication: the transmission of messages by person or group through a device
to a large audience.
Ecocentrism: the opposite of anthropocentrism; the view that humans are only one part of
the global ecosystem.
Digital Sociality: A social landscape in which new communication technologies are
promoting human interaction and contact.
Transculturation: a term to describe the merging and converging of cultures.
Imperialism: the conquest taking over land, resources and people’s labour; and spreading
the ideas, practices and attitudes of the colonizers.
Sociology as a Critical Discipline: refers to the Sociological Imagination and C Wright
Mills (Critical Theory), and how one is supposed to view social institutions with a critical
view. However, this also includes the fact that sociology doesn’t accept common sense it
further analyzes the social constructs we see in society today that hide behind the
common sense curtain
Disability: a mental or physical condition that limits people’s everyday activities and
restricts what they can do. Disability marginalizes an individual and the individual faces
social constructs that prove him as being weak, and not as capable as those without
disability. Disability is also not understood by those that do not have disability such as
women with MS who struggle to work throughout the day and get judged
Biosphere: encompasses all living things (earth)
Gerontology: the scientific study of old age and aging
Ecology: the study of how living organisms interact with the environment
Deep Ecology: belief that unless we believe environmental issues become “our” issues,
very little can be accomplished.
Human Exceptionalism Paradigm (HEP): humans transcend natures; exempt from natural
forces; mastery of nature. As humans we get to control nature because we are above it
The White House Project: 9% of guests on news shows are women. Speak 10% of the
time. Competence presented as masculine. Caryl Rivers – politically active women
disparaged and stereotyped. Hilary Clinton – ‘witch’. Women are also joked about and
not taken seriously. Additionally their clothing is usually complimented and they are seen
Medical Discourse on Aging: Women’s aging is pathologized and is seen as an illness by
medical institutions. The end of reproductive capacity, menopause requires hormone replacement therapy. On the contrary mens aging is not pathologized. Pathologizing
requires necessary medical intervention. Women’s social value is lost at the end of
reproduction (there is no use for them). An example of medical discourse on men is
Social Construction of Animals: a social mechanism, phenomenon, or category created
and developed by society; a perception of an individual, group, or idea that is
‘constructed’ through cultural or social practice
Dogs are socially constructed – mans best friend, the color of dogs determine who buys
them and how many people adopt them
Black Dog Syndrome – negatively socially constructed. High euthanasia rates and low
adoption rates of black dogs, especially large black dogs, in animal shelters. Blackness
stands for bad. Pigs as messy and filthy.
Hegemony: domination through ideological control and consent.
Ableism: discrimination against those who have disabilities on the basis of preconceived
notions about their limitations. For instance, and individual with back problems is
perceived to not be able to sit and work for long.
Ecofeminism: an approach that investigates the domination of women and nature by men.
Environmental Racism: a form of discrimination against minority groups and people
from poor countries who are subjected to a disproportionate share of environmental
hazards and polluting industries
Ecological Paradigm: emphasizes that modern industrial society is beginning to exceed
the limits of the environment
New Environmental Paradigm: The view that human social actions occur within an
ecosystem that has its own processes and limits
Ecology and Modernization Theory: Emerged in 1980’s from the work of German Social
Scientist Joseph Huber, who had an optimistic view of the future. Suggests that
technology and scientific discoveries will keep pace with human and environmental
pressures and allow economic expansion without destroying the environment. Suggests
further that under the right conditions capitalists are drawn to environmentally
responsible techniques as soon as there is a market for them. Shown to be successful
through the increasing demand for green goods and organic foods.
Biopower: Foucault’s term to explain people taking ownership of their bodies and health
Modernization theory: Modernization theory is the theory used to explain how society
evolves and progresses. This theory places a lot of emphasis on the type of modernization
in Europe in the 17th century that was marked by social and technological changes.
Modernization theory has the same principles as the Idea of Progress. Colonialism: The result of imperialism. (Conquest of land, resources, and people’s
Prejudice: A negative prejudgment of a person or group that is irrational, not fact and
Bureaucracy: a rational organization designed to complete many routine tasks as
efficiently as possible
Functions of Media: Functionalists say media is used to socialize (transmit beliefs,
traditions and all that from one generation to another), surveillance (have a mechanism in
place that gathers information for population), correlation (have someone present difficult
and complex information in an understandable way), entertainment (allow people to rest,
relax, and escape daily pressures). Conflict theorists say media is a tool used by the rich
and powerful to control the masses and reinforce false consciousness. Symbolic
internationalists say media is a tool in contemporary life that is no more important than
another. Feminists critique media for highlighting patriarchal natures and using women in
advertising, in addition to exploiting them in porn. PostStructuralism believes… (Refer
to next one)
Baudrillard: Baudrillard came up with the concept of simulation and hyperreal.
Simulation is the assertion that media create a “simulated” world through the
reinforcement of certain images and signs, and hyperreal is Baudrillard’s belief that
people’s perceptions, as defined by the media lead to the sense of a simulated reality. He
argued that we are dominated by the experience and feelings of watching TV. We lost the
ability to comprehend reality and we see “real” on television. Media is made to the lowest
common denominator so it softens our intellect rather than challenges it. What is real and
what is simulated is blurred through mass media.
Homogenization of Culture: globalization entrenches western media as the global default,
cultural diversity is declining because of this. Ex. We have similar shopping malls around
the world, people in India are wearing jeans and tshirts over traditional clothing, and
megastores are taking over) CanCon legislation was changed to promote cultural
nationalism in defence to this homogenization. Around the world the few media
corporations produce the American way of life in international TV shows
Social Media and Protest: the use of social media websites in social revolutions such as
the Arab Spring (Libya and Egypt Revolutions). With greater accessibility to social
networking and online community can be created where individuals can keep in touch
and spread messages faster than ever. Activist sites are popping up and events such as
protests can be planned in advance online with ease and relative low cost.
Treadmill of Production: Assembly line production, workers do not need to be highly
skilled to complete tasks, it is faster and more effect. However, this alienates the worker
from the work itself. You don’t need highly skilled craftsmen anymore to make a good
you can have a modest worker do a role on the assembly line. Happened during the industrial revolution. Worker exchanges his labour for money instead of pride of owning
the final product.
Theories of Work: Three types of work, primary (Resource extraction), secondary
(manufacturing of goods), tertiary (service sector). Conflict theory of work suggests
human beings reach their potential through their labour. Human world is created through
social processes of labour, so labour forms the basis of Marx’s concept of materialism.
Symbolic Interact, we view our sense of self as resulting from human reaction, and our
self worth is defined by what we do as work. Feminist, show women as working double
shifts one of laborer the other as mother. Functionalist model works in patriarchal system
and discriminates women and marginalizes them in working force. Functionalists say
work is an integral part of the social structure and to look to the pattern of relationship
that link people to their working lives.
American Landfill Sites: typically found in Racialized areas (areas where large amounts
of nonwhite people reside) and this therefore represents environmental racism.
Bifurcated consciousness: a concept rooted in feminist sociological theory that refers to
how some women are able to experience the social world as if they were men
Environmental Citizenship: is an idea that each of us is an integral part of a larger
ecosystem and that our future depends on each one of us embracing the challenge and
acting responsibly and positively toward our environment.
Critical Thinking: is the study of clear and unclear thinking. It is primarily used in the
field of education, and not in psychology (it does not refer to a theory of thinking)
Baudrillard: Baudrillard came up with the concept of simulation and hyperreal.
Simulation is the assertion that media create a “simulated” world through the
reinforcement of certain images and signs, and hyperreal is Baudrillard’s