Finals Notes 2013
SOC100: Introduction to Sociology
Sociology: the systematic study of human behaviour in social context.
Social solidarity: refers to (1)the degree to which group members share beliefs
and values, and (2)the intensity and frequency of their interaction.
Values: ideas about what is good and bad, right and wrong.
Theory: a tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and
why certain facts are related.
Altruistic suicide: occurs in settings that exhibit very high levels of social
solidarity, according to Durkheim. In other words, altruistic suicide results from
norms very tightly governing behaviour.
Egoistic suicide: results from the poor integration of people into society because
of weak social ties to others, according to Durkheim.
Anomic suicide: occurs in settings that exhibit low levels of social solidarity,
according to Durkheim. Anomic suicide results from vaguely defined norms
Social structures: relatively stable patterns of social relations.
Sociological imagination: the quality of mind that enables one to see the
connection between personal troubles and social structures.
Microstructures: the patterns of relatively intimate social relations, formed during
face-to-face interaction. Families, friendship circles, and work associations are all
examples of microstructures. Macrostructures: overarching patterns of social relations that lie outside and
above a person's circle of intimates and acquaintances. Macrostructures include
classes, bureaucracies, and power systems, such as patriarchy.
Patriarchy: the traditional system of economic and political inequality between
women and men.
Global structures: patterns of social relations that lie outside and above the
national level. They include international organizations, patterns of worldwide
travel and communication, and the economic relations among countries.
Industrial Revolution: often regarded as the most important event in world
history since the development of agriculture and cities, the Industrial Revolution
refers to the rapid economic transformation that began in Britain around 1775. It
involved the large-scale application of science and technology to industrial
processes, the creation of factories, and the formation of a working class.
Functionalism: theory that human behaviour is governed by relatively stable
social structures. It underlines how social structures maintain or undermine social
stability. It emphasizes that social structures are based mainly on shared values or
preferences. And it suggests that re-establishing equilibrium can best solve most
Conflict theory: generally focuses on large, macrolevel structures, such as the
relations among classes. It shows how major patterns of inequality in society
produce social stability in some circumstances and social change in others. It
stresses how members of privileged groups try to maintain their advantages while
subordinate groups struggle to acquire advantages. And it typically leads to the
suggestion that eliminating privilege will lower the level of conflict and increase
the sum total of human welfare.
Class conflict: the struggle between classes to resist and overcome the opposition
of other classes.
Class consciousness: awareness of belonging to the social class of which one is a
member. Protestant ethic: the sixteenth -and seventeenth- century Protestant belief that
religious doubts can be reduced, and a state of grace assured, if people work
diligently and live ascetically. According to Weber, the Protestant work ethic had
the unintended effect of increasing savings and investment and thus stimulating
Symbolic interactionism: theory that focuses on face-to-face communication in
microlevel social settings. It emphasizes that an adequate explanation of social
behaviour requires understanding the subjective meanings people attach to their
social circumstances. It stresses that people help to create their social
circumstances rather than merely reacting to them. And by underscoring the
subjective meanings people create in small social settings, it validates unpopular
and unofficial viewpoints, increasing our understanding and tolerance of people
who may be different from us.
Feminist theory: view that patriarchy is at least as important as class inequality in
determining a person's opportunities in life. It holds that male domination and
female subordination are determined not by biological necessity but by structures
of power and social convention. It examines the operation of patriarchy in both
micro and macro settings. And it commands that existing patterns of gender
inequality can and should be changed for the benefit of all members of society.
Research: the process of systematically observing reality to assess the validity of a
Experiment: a carefully controlled artificial situation that allows researchers to
isolate hypothesized causes and measure their effects precisely.
Variable: a concept that can take on more than one value.
Randomization: in an experiment, assigning individuals to groups by chance
Dependent variable: the presumed effect in a cause-and-effect relationship.
Experimental group: the group that is exposed to the independent variable in an
experiment. Control group: the group that is not exposed to the independent variable in an
Independent variable: the presumed cause in a cause-and-effect relationship.
Reliability: the degree to which a measurement procedure yields consistent results.
Validity: the degree to which a measure actually measures what is intended to
Survey: research method in which people are asked questions about their
knowledge, attitudes, or behaviour, either in a face-to-face or telephone interview
or in a paper-and-pencil format.
Sample: the part of the population of interest that is selected for analysis.
Population: the entire group about which the researcher wants to generalize.
Respondent: a person who answers a researcher's questions.
Probability sample: sample in which the units have a known and non-zero chance
of being selected.
Sampling frame: a list of all the people in the population of interest.
Close-ended question: in a survey, a type of question that provides the respondent
with a list of permitted answers. Each answer is given a numerical code so that the
data can later be easily input into a computer for statistical analysis.
Association: relationship between two variables if the value of one variable
changes with the value of another.
Open-ended question: in a survey, a type of question that allows respondents to
answer in their own words.
Field research: the systematic observation of people in their natural settings.
Detached observation: a type of field research that involves classifying and
counting the behaviour of interest according to a predetermined scheme. Reactivity: the tendency of people who are observed by a researcher to react to the
presence of the researcher by concealing certain things or acting artificially to
impress the researcher.
Participant observation: research that involves carefully observing people's face-
to-face interaction and participating in their lives over a long period, thus achieving
a deep and sympathetic understanding of what motivates them.
Analysis of existing documents and official statistics: a non-reactive research
method that involves the analysis of diaries, newspapers, published historical
works, and statistics produced by government agencies, all of which are created by
people other than the researcher for purposes other than sociological research.
Post-industrial Revolution: the technology-driven shift from manufacturing to
service industries and the consequences of that shift for virtually all human
Globalization: the process by which formerly separate economies, nation-states.
and cultures are becoming tied together and people are becoming increasingly
aware of their growing interdependence.
Culture: the sum of practices, languages, symbols, beliefs, values, ideologies, and
material objects that people create to deal with real-life problems.
High culture: culture consumed mainly by upper classes.
Popular culture (mass culture): culture consumed by all classes.
Society: a number of people who interact, usually in a defined territory, and share
Abstraction: the human capacity to create general ideas or ways of thinking that
are not linked to particular instances. Symbol: anything that carries a particular meaning, including the components of
language, mathematical notations, and signs. Symbols allow us to classify
experience and generalize from it.
Cooperation: the human capacity to create a complex social life by sharing
resources and working together.
Norms: generally accepted ways of doing things.
Production: the human capacity to make and use tools. It improves our ability to
take what we want from nature.
Material culture: the tools and techniques that enable people to accomplish tasks.
Non-material culture: symbols, norms, and other non-tangible elements of
Folkway: the least important norms- the norms that evoke the least severe
punishment when violated.
Mores: core norms that most people believe are essential for the survival of their
group or their society.
Taboos: the strongest norms. When someone violates a taboo, it causes revulsion
in the community and punishment is severe.
Language: a system of symbols strung together to communicate thought.
Sapir-Whorf thesis: holds that we experience certain things in our environment
and form concepts about those things. We then develop language to express our
concepts. Finally, language itself influences how we see the world.
Ethnocentrism: the tendency to judge other cultures exclusively by the standards
of your own.
Manifest functions: visible and intended effects of social structures.
Latent functions: the invisible and unintended effects of social structures.
Multiculturalism: policy that reflects Canada's ethnic and racial diversity in the
past and enhances its ethnic and racial diversity today. Cultural relativism: the belief that all cultures have equal value.
Rights revolution: the process by which socially excluded groups have struggled
to win equal rights under the law and in practice.
Rites of passage: cultural ceremonies that mark the transition from one stage of
life to another (e.g. baptisms, confirmations, weddings) or from life to death
Postmodernism: culture characterized by an eclectic mix of cultural elements
from different times and places, the erosion of authority, and the decline of
consensus around core values.
Rationalization: the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals
and the unintended, negative consequences of doing so.
Consumerism: the tendency to define ourselves in terms of goods and services we
Subculture: a set of distinctive values, norms, and practices within a larger
Countercultures: subversive subcultures that oppose dominant values and seek to
Socialization: the process by which people learn their culture. They do so by (1)
entering into and disengaging from a succession of roles and (2) becoming aware
of themselves as they interact with others.
Role: a set of expected behaviours, or the behaviour expected of a person
occupying a particular position in society.
Self: a sense of ideas and attitudes about who one is as an independent being. Looking-glass self: Cooley's description of the way our feelings about who we are
depend largely on how we see ourselves evaluated by others.
I: according to Mead, the subjective and impulsive aspect of the self that is present
Me: according to Mead, the objective component of the self that emerges as people
communicate symbolically and learn to take the role of the other.
Significant others: the people who play important roles in the early socialization
experiences of children.
Generalized other: according to Mead, a person's image of cultural standards and
how they apply to him or her.
Primary socialization: the process of acquiring the basic skills needed to function
in society during childhood. Primary socialization usually takes place in the family.
Secondary socialization: socialization outside the family after childhood.
Hidden curriculum: teaches students what will be expected of them as
conventionally good citizens once they leave school.
Thomas theorem: "situations we define as real become real in their
Self-fulfilling prophecy: an expectation that helps bring about what it predicts.
Peer groups: a person's peer group comprises people who are about the same age
and of similar status as that person. The peer group acts as an agent of
Status: a recognized social position that an individual can occupy.
Self-socialization: choosing socialization influences from the wide variety of mass
Gender roles: the set of behaviours associated with widely shared expectations
about how males or females are supposed to act. Resocialization: what occurs when powerful socializing agents deliberately cause
rapid change in a person's values, roles, and self-conception, sometimes against
that person's will.
Initiation rite: a ritual that signifies the transition of the individual from one group
to another and helps to ensure his or her loyalty to the new group.
Total institutions: settings in which people are isolated from the larger society
and under the strict control and constant supervision of a specialized staff.
Anticipatory socialization: beginning to take on the norms and behaviours of the
roles to which one aspires.
Virtual communities: an association of people, scattered across the city or around
the world, who communicate via computer about a subject of common interest.
Social interaction: involves people communicating face to face or via computer,
acting and reacting in relation to other people. It is structured around norms, roles,
Emotion management: the act of obeying "feeling rules" and responding
appropriately to situations.
Emotion labour: emotion management that many people do as part of their job
and for which they are paid.
Dramaturgical analysis: views social interaction as a sort of play in which people
present themselves so that they appear in the best possible light.
Role distancing: involves giving the impression that we are just going through the
motions and that we lack serious commitment to a role.
Status cues: visual indicators of a person's social position. Stereotypes: rigid views of how members of various groups act, regardless of
whether individual group members really behave that way.
Bureaucracy: a large, impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined
positions arranged in a hierarchy.
Social network: a bounded set of individuals who are linked by the exchange of
material or emotional resources.
Social group: a group composed of one or more networks of people who identify
with one another and adhere to defined norms, roles, and statuses.
Social category: a group composed of people who share similar status but do not
identify with one another.
Primary group: social groups in which norms, roles, and statuses are agreed upon
but are not put in writing. Social interaction leads to strong emotional ties. It
extends over a long period and involves a wide range of activities. It results in
group members knowing one another well.
Secondary group: social groups that are larger and more impersonal than primary
groups. Compared with primary groups, social interaction in secondary groups
creates weaker emotional ties. It extends over a shorter period, and it involves a
narrow range of activities.
Groupthink: group pressure to conform despite individual misgivings.
In-group: comprises people who belong to a group.
Out-group: comprises people who are excluded from the in-group.
Reference group: a group of people against whom an individual evaluates his or
her situation or conduct.
Formal organization: secondary groups designed to achieve specific and explicit
objectives. Chapter 5
Deviance: occurs when someone departs from a norm and evokes a negative
reaction from others.
Crime: deviance that is against the law.
Law: a norm stipulated and enforced by government bodies
Informal punishment: a mild sanction that is imposed during face-to-face
interaction, rather than by the judicial system.
Stigmatization: process of negatively evaluating people because of a marker that
distinguishes them from others.
Formal punishment: takes place when the judicial system penalizes someone for
breaking a law.
Victimless crimes: violations of the law in which no victim has stepped forward
and been identified.
Self-report surveys: surveys in which respondents are asked to report their
involvement in criminal activities, either as perpetrators or as victims.
Victimization surveys: surveys in which people are asked whether they have been
victims of crime.
Street crime: crimes including arson, break and enter, assault, and other illegal
acts disproportionately committed by people from lower classes.
White-collar crimes: illegal acts committed by respectable, high-status people in
the course of work.
Labelling theory: holds that deviance results not so much from the actions of the
deviant as from the response of others, who label the rule breaker a deviant.
Strain: what results when a culture teaches people the value of material success
and society fails to provide enough legitimate opportunities for everyone to
succeed. Subculture: a set of dis