Exam Study Notes
Sociology of the Body
Immutability: idea that our body is 100% made up of genes, and that society does not affect our
^this is wrong, society does affect our bodies.
Societal pressures pushes us to turn our bodies into a condition that is recognized as being right
and proper. Example: dieting, tattoo, plastic surgery, haircuts, fads, clothes, taking drugs (to
make you look better).
Peers let us know if our bodies are good or not (complements or advice).
Our body is set from common expectation.
The shape of the body and the way it is dressed and made up and the way it moves are messages
Body as a site of anxiety: body is a canvas, a site of work and it is something we keep changing.
We feel anxious our bodies, we're always looking to eat healthier foods so they do not make us
fat (because then we will be anxious). We always feel anxious from our body.
Body as a site of pleasure: there is an industry that prompts us to seek sensation: films, soap
operas, commercials, books all tempt our bodies. We get emotional rushes from these things
whether its paying to go to a scary movie to get scared or get sad (soap operas). Also we can
drink and eat induces sensations and exiting experiences. Thus we experience pleasure from our
Body as an object/ site for desire and discrimination: our body is an object of desire, it is a
site that is always on display and people tend to judge what they see.
A person's weight, height, attractiveness influence their annual income, health, likelihood of
Our body can be set by society's expectations/our affiliations with different groups, example
Muslims and Jews are circumcised, catholic priests are defined as sexually abstinence.
4 people same height, rank them in order of tallest to shortest, they ranked the high status people
(doctor, professor) taller than the students even though they were all the same height.
Higher income = better diet. Tall people live longer.
People enhance their body image to conform to prevailing norms.
Some people believe physical stature indicates social stature.
The correlation between per capita family income and average height across many countries is
Disability: is a physical or mental problem that keeps people from performing within a range of
"normal" human activity.
Impaired: people are considered deficient in physical or mental capacity.
Albeism: prejudice and discrimination against people who have disabilities.
1. Rehabilitation involves during disabilities through medical and technological intervention.
2. Normality of disability: insist on self-help, they see disability as a social problem. They say
they are differently abled, not disabled.
The other technique is trying to eliminate these people from society by killing them and
Aging: is a process of socialization or learning new roles appropriate to different stages of life.
People pass through distinct stages of lifes which taken together are called the life course.
Stages are often marked by rites of passage.
Some stages are marked by law (age of drinking, driving, voting).
Age cohort: a category of people born in same range of years.
Age roles: norms and expectations about behavior of people in different age cohorts.
A generation: an age group that has unique and formative historical experiences.
Age stratification: social inequality between age cohorts.
Gerontocracy: society ruled by elderly people, and where elderly earn highest income and enjoy
most prestige. Sociology of Environment & Technology
Technology: application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life.
Paradox of Technology: Technology (manufacturing, transportation, communication field)
brings a vast richness of possibilities and progress to our lives yet simultaneously have serious
negative impacts. Technology made life better but at the same time there are some negatives that
come along with it.
Risk society: is a postmodern society defined by the way in which risk is distributed as a side
affect of technology. It is a society in which technology distributes danger among all categories
of population. We get to produce more goods but at the cost of climate change, acid rain,
greenhouse effect, and endangered species. Risk is present in society as a side effect of
Technology distributes danger among all categories of population, with some categories more
exposed to technological dangers than others (poor neighborhoods get illegal dumping on them).
Risks and outcomes are difficult to calculate, genetically modified food is an example we don't
have research to know if this will do anything. We do not see the bad outcomes of technology,
rise of carbon dioxide in the air we breathe, slow yet relentless warming of hte planet, those
chemical substances used to fatten up the meat we eat
(book mentions some bad things of technology: 1977 dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals
were discovered leaking into the basements and drinking water of residents near Niagara falls,
this shutdown elementary school and evacuation of residents from their homes; gas leak in
bhopal india killed 4000 people and injured 30,000).
Normal accident: are accidents that occur inevitably through unpredictably, because of the vary
complexity of technologies. (Book mentions f-16 flipped upside down when it crossed the
equator, at and t crashed in usa).
Technopoly: is a form of social organization in which technology compels people to try to solve
all problems by using technical rather than moral criteria, even though technology is often the
source of social problems.
(In class, mentioned the destruction of the ecological and climatic equilibrium of hte planet,
destroying trees and killing animals, making them instinct for money and capital).
The natural resources of the earth are depleted in the pursuit of profit.
Industrial organizations bring many pieces of technology are the biggest polluters of the air and
Private cars were expected to resolve problem of mobility and transportation but they created
traffic james, air and noise pollution, destroys whole areas of human settlement. Environmental degradations:
Global warming: increased dependence on fossil fuel burning made the surface
temperature of the world increase. Ocean levels increased also (floods).
Industrial pollution: affect us directly by seeping into our drinking water and air we
breathe and causing a variety of ailments from asthma to cancer. They also affect us
indirectly by coal burining power plants pulp and paper mills exhaust emitting sulphur
dioxide and other gases that then form acid rain (destroys plants and trees)
Decline in biodiversity: environment become so inhospitable to so many species that the
rate of extinction has accelerated to at least 100 times beyond natural rate. (50 years no
humans = life would flourish).
Recombinant DNA: Molecular biologists creating new life forms by mixing DNA. It has
benefits such as making farmers have better crops that fight disease, use ore eating
microbes to do dangerous and costly jobs in mining.
Genetic pollution: ^ results in this. Health and ecological dangers that may result from
artificially splicing genes together.
Social construction of environmental problems: Environmental problems are both created or
contested, they are constructed by scientists, and contested by politicians.
Inequality and Social Distribution of Environmental risk (environmental racism):Tendency
to heap environmental dangers on the disadvantaged (racial minority groups).
^examples from Canada: deer hunters and trappers in NWT were exposed to radioactive
uranium, radiation exposure lead to widespread cancer and lung disease. There is a disturbing
association in Canada between level of contamination and concentration of aboriginal
Caron: it affects us all...but not equally. Sociology of Religion
theoretical approaches (durkhaim marx, webter), secularition and religious revival, major world
religions and rligiosity
Historically religion told us what we know. It offered answers to most of life's questions.
Substantive definitions: focus on what religion is (to be religious is to believe in something,
entails actions, involves emotions, is a social phenomenon)
Functional definitions: focus on what religion does (provide meaning and purpose to life,
promotes social cohesion and a sense of belonging, provides social control.
Durkheim & Collectivity (social solidarity): Religion's origin is social. People live in a
community to share common sentiments that form a collective conscience (similar mentality).
Leads people to designate objects as sacred and others are profane.
Weber & Ideas (social change): Religion is orientated toward this world- religious ides and
behavior evident in everyday conduct. Weber examined the possibility that Protestant
Reformation strongly influenced moral tone of capitalism in Western world through the adoption
of Protestant ethic. Weber argued that ideas represent a person's definition of reality and
therefore have potential to influence behavior.
Marx & Conflict (social conflict): Religion is a human creation. Religion is the "opium of the
people" it soothes the disadvantaged by minimizing the importance of this world. Religion
encourages people to accept existing social inequalities instead of changing their oppressive
conditions. Religion unites people under false consciousness.
Civic religion: things that aren't religious become religious (sports).
Religious beliefs: articulate the nature of the sacred and its symbols.
Religious rituals: provide guidelines as to how people should act in the presence of the sacred.
Religion creates and reinforces social solidarity.
Religiosity: refers to how important religion is to people. Can measure religiosity in various
ways (operationalization): strength of belief, emotional attachment to religion, knowledge about
religion, frequency of performing rituals, frequency of applying religious principles to daily life.
Social factors connected to religiosity:
Obligation: those obligated to attend religious services (preteens attend more regularly).
Opportunity: those with more opportunity for religious service attendance (seniors
attend more often)
Need: those who have more need of religion. Learning: those whose parents attended religious services frequently are more likely to
The Future of Religion:
Are two contradictory social processes occurring today:
1. Secularization: increasingly, secular institutions are taking over some functions formerly
performed by religion. Believes that religion is on the decline worldwide. People with no
religious affiliation rose in Canada from 0.5 to 16.2%.
2. Revival: Intensification of religious belief.
Both are likely to persist for some time, giving rise to a world neither more religious