Chapter 6: Groups and Organizations
Social networks: the set of direct and indirect connections among a group of people. Direct
connections include links of kinship, friendship, and acquaintance. Information, social
support, and other valuable resources flow through incompletely connected, or weakly tied,
Community: a group of people living together and sharing common values, a common
territory, and a daily life. Communities are often self-contained, with community members
working and living within the same limited geographic area.
Spontaneous organization: an organization that arises quickly to meet a single goal and
disbands when the goal is achieved.
Informal organization: an organization with loosely specified goals and little task
differentiation between members.
Formal organization: an organization with clearly specified goals and a high degree of task
differentiation among members.
Bureaucracy: the most developed, most efficient formal organization, with formal
properties that include written rules, protected careers, and a clear chain of reporting
relationships (a system that is rationalized and associated with states and the post-Industrial
Revolution period; they work differently in different countries)
Means of production: a term used by Marxists to refer to wealth-generating property such
as land, factories, and machinery; the ways goods are produced for sale on the market,
including all the workers, machinery, and capital such production needs.
Hawthorne effect: refers to the behaviour-modifying effect of surveillance, particularly in
research (named for the famous studies of workers at Western Electric Company in
Hawthorne, Illinois, that revealed that subjects’ behaviour changes when they are observed,
because they believe they are somehow special)
Role expectations: the responsibilities and characteristics of an assumed role that tell
someone how to play a role, like that of schoolteacher, and how others should act toward
someone playing that role.
Corporate crime: committed on behalf of a corporation, corporate crime victimizes
consumers, competing businesses, or governments. It can lead to major social, financial, or
physical harm, although often no criminal law has been violated.
Totalitarian: an all-powerful form of government that exerts extreme control over the
private lives of its citizens and is often associated with fascists policies of racism and
Georg Simmel defined social interactions and social forms as the basic matter of sociology
Mark Granovetter argues that weakly tied networks (indirect links) may be more useful
than strong ties or connected networks
Weber traced the rise of bureaucracies to the rise of capitalism and modern states and the
secularization of human activities According to Adam Smith, a specialized division of labour became the foundation of
modern industry and bureaucratization
Robert Merton says that “bureaucratic personality” are members who conform to rigid
Patricia Reaney argues that telecommunicating can be a big plus for workers and employers
because it boosts morale and job satisfaction and relieves stress
Chapter 7: Deviance
Deviance: people, behaviours, and conditions subject to social control (violate social norms)
Social control: the various and myriad ways in which members of social groups express their
disapproval of people and behaviours. They include name-calling, ridicule, ostracism,
incarceration, and even killing.
Social interaction: the process by which people act and react in relationships with others
Social groups: a number of individuals, defined by formal or informal criteria of
membership, who share a feeling of unity or are bound together in stable patterns of
interaction (two or more individuals who have a specific common identity and who interact
in a reciprocal social relationship)
Strain theory: Robert Merton’s theory that deviance results when people experience a gap
between their aspirations and their opportunities.
Class: inequality among groups of people based on the distribution of material resources
and social capital.
Cultural support theory: an explanation of deviance that emphasizes an understanding of
how deviant values lead to deviant behaviour.
Control theory: a category of explanation that maintains that people engage in deviant
behaviour when the various controls that might be expected to prohibit them from doing so
are weak or absent.
Situated transaction: a process of social interaction that lasts as long as the individuals find
themselves in each other’s company. As applied to the study of deviance, the concept of the
situated transaction helps us to understand how deviant acts are social and not just
First Nations: “Indians” in Canadian law; together with Métis and Inuit, they constitute
Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples
Social constructionism: the sociological theory that argues that social problems and issues
are less objective conditions than they are collective social definitions based on how they
are framed and interpreted.
Claims-making: the social constructionist process by which groups assert grievances about
the troublesome character of people or their behaviour.
Conflict theory: a theoretical paradigm linked to the work of Marx and Weber that
emphasizes conflict and change as the regular and permanent features of society because society is made up of various groups that wield varying amounts of power. Conflict theorists
often stress the importance of status, economic inequality, and political power.
Power: in the classic formulation, power refers to the ability to exercise one’s will, even in
the face of opposition from others. In Marxist sociology, a social relationship that has a
material base. In Weberian sociology, power is more broadly defined and can reflect an
individual’s or group’s capacity to exert their will over others.
Status groups: organized groups comprising people who have similar social status
situations. These groups organize to maintain or expand their social privileges by excluding
outsiders from their ranks and by trying to gain status recognition from other groups.
Master status: a status characteristic that overrides other status characteristics in terms of
how others see an individual. When a person is assigned a label of “deviant” (murderer,
drug addict, cheater), that label is usually read by others as signifying the most essential
aspects of the individual’s character.
Status degradation ceremony: the rituals by which formal transition is made from non-
deviant to deviant status. Examples include the criminal trial and the psychiatric hearing.
Roles: the specific behaviour, privileges, duties, and obligations expected of one who
occupies a specific status.
Self: in Mead’s theory, an emergent entity with a capacity to be both a subject and an
object and to assign meaning to itself, as reflected upon in one’s own mind. In Goffman’s
dramaturgical theory, the self is a more shifting “dramatic effect” – a staged product of the
scenes one performs in.
Chapter 8: Class and Status Inequality
Status: a socially defined position that a person holds in a given social group or organization
to which are attached certain rights, duties, and obligations; a relational term, since each
status exists only through its relation to one or more other statuses filled by other people.
Economic elite: refers to men and women who hold economic power in society
(operationalize this concept in terms of reported financial assets and/or leadership positions
on the boards of key corporations)
Intersectionalities: recent analysts have called attention to the ways in which social
inequalities are interwoven in a complex fashion. Gender inequalities are influenced by
social class, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, and immigrant status.
Social stratification: refers to the structured patterns of inequality that often appear in
societal arrangements. From a macrosociological perspective, it is possible to discern the
hierarchical strata of social classes that characterize most contemporary societies.
Meritocracy: this form of social stratification relies on differences in effort and ability rather
than ascribed statuses such as gender, age, or race. Bourgeoisie: Marx used this term to refer to the capitalist class – those individuals who own
the means of production (factory owners),