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SOCIOL 1A06 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Marshall Mcluhan, Glass Ceiling, Order Theory

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Sandra Colavecchia
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Sociology Midterm Review
Sociological imagination and sociological theories
CH 1 NS, CH 1, 3, 7 SIQ, 1 Becker
Concept of sociological imagination:
C . Wright Mills (1959)
Individual experiences connected to a social context
Main Sociological Paradigms
1. Structural Functionalism (order theory; macro
2. Conflict theory(change theory; macro)
3. Symbolic Interactionism (change theory; micro
4. Feminist Theories (change theory; macro and micro)
How does each theory explain society?
What are the criticisms of each theory?
Application to: Olympics, funerals, songs etc.
Structural Functionalism
Stability, equilibrium
Analogy to human body
Interrelated parts
Functionality of parts
Talcott Parsons, Emile Durkheim
Conflict theory
Focus on economic conditions
Class conflict between working-class and owners of capital
Karl Marx
Symbolic Interactionism
Focus on micro-level interactions
Communication through symbols
Interactions create society

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Feminist Theory
Focus on gender relations and gender based inequalities
Attention paid to women’s social reality
Example: Scholarship on unpaid labour
Structural functionalist’s argue that funeral services serve to increase social solidarity. Funerals provide
public social support for individuals who are privately grieving.
Feminist theorists highlight how masculinity is created; in our society men are expected to be stoic.
Feminist theory focuses on gender relations, gender differences and gender socialization
Conflict theorists problematize the role of religion in society. According to this theory religion pacifies
the working class and prevents the development of class consciousness, which is needed to overthrow
Symbolic internationalists suggest that symbols and material objects are important in understanding
how grieving is constructed and actively created. This paradigm examines our micro-level interactions
and the use and interpretation of symbols
Structural functionalists, rather than conflict theorists would focus on the functions and benefits of a
funeral service for society
Research methods and ethics
Ch 20 NS; Ch 6 SIQ; Ch 2 and Ch 3 Becker
Surveys (self-administered questionnaires, interviews)
Observatory Studies (participant observation, Ethnography)
Secondary data analysis (documentary analysis, Historical sociology, use of official statistics
Research methods
What are the strengths and limitations of each research method?
Qualitative versus quantitative methods
Cross sectional versus longitudinal research
Research ethics
Ethics approval process: Informed consent, consent letter
Confidentiality, anonymity

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What ethical issues are raised by:
Philip Zimbardo’s prison study (Ch 6 SIQ)
Stanley Milgrams study of obedience
Laud Humphreys study of the tearoom trade
The Tuskegee syphilis experiment
One of the key limitations of observational studies is: generalizability. The findings of a study of one
social group may not be generalizable to other social groups (i.e. Findings of biker gang study in Toronto
may not apply to biker gangs in other cities.
Positivism is old style research, authoritative research using set criteria. Fits with experimental method
Ch 2 NS; Ch 10 SIQ; Ch 4 Becker
What is culture? What are culture universals?
Ethnocentrism versus cultural relativism
Ideal versus real culture
Contemporary culture defined by processes of :
What are the key features of each?
What is meant by the term “the commercialization of childhood”?
What was Pierre Bourdieu’s theory? (economic capital converted into social and cultural capital)
Why is social and cultural capital important?
What are the culture wars?
The concept of “social capital” emphasizes the between networks and connections and economic
Ch 3 NS; Ch 4 and 5 SIQ; Ch 5 Becker
What is the nature versus nurture debate?
What is the relevance of research on feral children, neglected children and twin studies for this
What is socialization?
Agents of socialization
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