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Definitions: Chapters 1-5 All bolded words and their definitions from chapters one through five (what is covered on the first midterm).

Course Code
SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey
Study Guide

of 6
9:47 PM
Systematic study of human groups and their interactions
Sociological perspective
View of society based on the dynamic relationships between
individuals and the larger social network in which we all live
Personal troubles
Personal challenges that require individual solutions
Social issues
Challenges caused by larger social factors that require collective
Sociological imagination
Ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives
Quality of mind
Ability to view the personal circumstance within a social context
Ascribed status
Attributes (advantages and disadvantages) assigned at birth (sex,
economic status, etc)
Achieved status
Attributes developed throughout life as a result of effort and skill
(course grades)
Theoretical approach that considers all understanding to be based on
Anti positivism
Theoretical approach that considers knowledge and understanding to
be the result of human subjectivity
Cultural assessments that identify something as right, desirable and
Quantitative sociology
Study of behaviours that can be measured (income levels).
Qualitative sociology
The study of non measurable, subjective behaviours (effects of
The study of society as a whole
The study of individual or small group dynamics within a larger
Symbolic interactionism
Perspective asserting that people and societies are defined and
created through the interactions of individuals
Political economy
The interactions of politics, government and governing, and the social
and cultural constitution of markets, institutions and actors
Worldwide process involving the production, distribution, and
consumption of technological, political, economic and socio cultural
goods and services
Natural state
Hobbes' conception of the human condition before the emergence of
formal social structures
French philosophers during the Enlightenment period who advocated
critical thinking and practical knowledge
Organic analogy
Belief that society is like an organism with interdependent and
interrelated parts.
Survival of the fittest
Spencer's interpretation of biological principles to justify why only the
strong should survive
Natural selection
The biologically based principle that environmental pressures allow
certain beneficial traits to be passed on to future generations
The biological process by which genetic mutations are selected for,
and against, through environmental pressures.
Social Darwinism
Spencer's assertion that societies evolve according to the same
principles as biological organisms do
Point of view that opposes regulation of or interference with natural
Collective conscience
Durkheim's concept highlighting the totality of a society's beliefs and
Social facts
General social features that exist on their own and are independent
of individual manifestations
Mechanical solidarity
Describes early societies based on similarities and independence
Organic solidarity
Describes later societies organized around interdependence and
increasing division of labour
For Parsons, the almost mechanical responses to specific stimuli
For Parsons, the results of an active and inventive process
Social action theory
Parsons' framework attempting to separate behaviours from actions
The social system must be able to gather sufficient resources and
adjust to changes in the environment
Goal attainment
The system needs to establish clear goals and priorities
The system needs to maintain solidarity while allowing the aspirations
of subgroups
The system needs to motivate individuals to release their frustrations
in socially appropriate ways.
Tension maintenance
Recognizes the internal tensions and strains that influence all actors
Pattern maintenance
Involves socially appropriate ways to display tensions and strains.
Natural or physical inequality
According to Rousseau, inequality based on physical differences
established by nature - strength, intelligence
Moral or political inequality
According to Rousseau, inequality based on human classification of
valuable things (money, social status)
Hegel's view of society as the result of oppositions, contradictions
and tensions from which new ideas and social change can emerge
The belief that the human mind and consciousness are more
important in understanding the human condition than is the material
The material and economic foundation for society, made up of the
forces of production and the relations of production.
Forces of production
The physical and intellectual resources a society has with which to
make a living
Relations of production
The relationship between workers and owners
The workers who do not own land
The rich owners
Marxist concept to describe process by which workers lack
connection to what they produce and become separated from
themselves and other workers
The difference between what workers are paid and the wealth they
create for the owner
All of the things that society values and aspires to once its material
needs are met
A set of beliefs and values that support and justify the ruling class of a
False consciousness
Belief in a support system that oppresses you
Class consciousness
Recognition of domination and oppression and collective action to
address it.
Thomas Theorem
Assertion that what people define as real are real in their
Weber's term for deep understanding and interpretation of
subjective social meanings
Formal sociology
Simmel's theory that argues that different human interactions, once
isolated from their content, can be similar in form.