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Keyterms for Midterm One outlined

Course Code
Suzanne Casimiro
Study Guide

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Sociology Midterm 1 Key terms
Sociology - the systemic study of human society
Sociological imagination - seeing the general in the particular
Positivism a way of understanding based on science
Theory a statement of how and why specific facts are related
Theoretical approaches a basic image of society that guides thinking and research
social structures any relatively stable pattern of social behaviour
social functions the consequences of any social pattern of society as a whole
structural-functional approach a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex
system whose parts work together to promote solidaity and stability
social-conflict approach a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of
inequality that generates conflict and change
symbolic interactional approach a framework for building theory that sees society as the
product of the everyday interactions of individuals
feminist approach (gender-conflict approach)- a point of view that focuses on inequality and
conflict between women and men
postmodern approach - is critical of modernism with a mistrust of grand theories and
ideologies. Human sciences cannot be scientific because of human subjectivity
Scientific sociology the study of society based on systemic observation of social behaviour
interpretive sociology the study of society that focuses on the meaning people attach to their
social world
critical sociology the study of society that focuses on the need for social change
empirical evidence - information we can verify with our senses
reliability consistency in measurement
validity actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure
Objectivity personal neutrality in conducting research
Hypothesis - a statement about the possible relationship between two or more variables
Culture the ways of thinking, acting and the material objects that together shape a persons way
of life.
cultural transmission the process by which one generation passes their culture to the next
norms rules and expectation by which society guides the behaviour of its members
values - culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and
beautiful and that serve as broad guidelines for social living
Beliefs specific statements that people hold to be true
Language a system of symbols that allows people to communicate with each other
Symbo l anything that caries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture
Ethnocentrism the practise of judging another culture by the standards of ones own
Counterculture cultural patterns that strongly oppose those widely accepted in society
Multicultural social policy designed to encourage ethnic or cultural heterogeneity
Socialization - lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and
learn culture
nurture vs nature biology vs. culture/society in influencing behaviour?
agents of socialization - Familiar settings that have special importance in the socialization
process (eg. Family, peers, school, mass media)
Social structure social patterns that guide our behaviour in everyday life. The building blocks
of social structures are: status and role
Status - a social position that a person holds
Role behaviour expected of a person that holds a particular status
social construction of reality process by which people creatively shape reality through social
dramaturgical analysis Erving Goffmans term for the study of social interaction in terms of
theoretical performance
Social group 2 or more people who identify with and interact with one another
Primary group a small social group whose members share personal and lasting relationships
secondary group a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or
formal organisation a large secondary group organized to achieve its goals efficiently
bureaucracy an organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently
oligarchy the rule of the many by the few (bureaucracy places a few of the leaders in charge of
the resources of the entire organization)
Sex the biological distinction between females and males
Gender - Refers to the personal traits and patterns of behaviour (including social opportunities &
privileges) that culture attaches to being female or male
sexual revolution (peaked in 1960s and 1970s) drew sexuality out into the open. Baby boomers
were the first generation to grow up with the idea that sex was a normal part of social life (plus
the Kinsley report, the birth pill, and the new Chastity movement)
sexual counter-revolution ( evident in 1980s) aimed criticism at permissiveness and urged a
return to more traditional family values
sexual orientation a persons romantic and emotion attraction to another person
heterosexuality sexual attraction to someone of the opposite sex
Homosexuality - sexual attraction to someone of the same sex
Bisexuality - sexual attraction to people of both sexes
Asexuality a lack of sexual attraction to people of either sex
Deviance the recognized violation of cultural norms
Crime violation of a societys formally enacted criminal law
social control attempts by society to regulate peoples thoughts and behaviour
labelling theory the idea that deviance and conformity results not so much from what people
do, as from how others respond to those actions
white collar crime crime committed by persons of high social position in the course of their