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SOC103H1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Herbert Blumer, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, George Herbert Mead

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Introducing Sociology
Sociology the systematic study of social behavior, or the stud of society
Society The largest-scale human group, whose members interact w/ one
another, share a common geographic territory, and share common
Macrosociology The study of social institutions (ex. Roman Catholic
Church or marriage) and large social group (ex. ethnic minorities,
college students)
Microsociology the study of processes and patterns of personal
interaction that take place among people w/i groups.
Sociological imagination an approach to sociology that situates the
personal experiences of individuals w/i the societal context in
which these experiences occur.
Social institutions one kind of social structure, made up of a number of
relationships (i.e. stable patterns of meaningful orientation to one
another). People use institutions to achieve their intended goals, as
students use schools, or patients use hospitals.
Role the expected pattern of interaction with others.
Interaction The process by and manner in which, social actorspeople
tryingtomeeteachother’sexpectations–relate to each other,
especially in face to face encounters.
Expectations A shared idea about how people should carry out the
duties attached to a particular status.
Status Asociallydefinedpositionthatdelineatespeople’srightsand
Social structure Any enduring predictable pattern of social relations
among people in society; the subject matter of sociology. All social
structures control us, so that we act in a certain way in a given
situation, despite personal differences; they change us, so we
behave differently in different situations, despite our more or less
fixed“personalities”;andalthough they resist the efforts of
individuals to bring about social change, the also produce social
Negotiation the ways in which people try to make sense of one another
and make sense to one another; for example, by conferring,
bargaining, making arrangements, compromising, and reaching
Sociology explain difference, find patterns in social relations
o also solve problems find better ways live together
o blame not centered in sociology to blame is not to understand
everyone has agency, free will & constrained, manipulated
o not common sense knowledge; seek scientific, sound explanations
Functional theory
o Society = interconnected & interdependent parts
create stability & efficiency
parts = social institutions: families, economy, gov’t,education
ex. economy regulates good/services production,
distributions, consumption; schools socialize youth
o Robert Merton: social institutions manifest and latent functions
manifest function intended, easily recognized
latent function unintended & hidden
ex.Durkheim:crime’smanifest: benefit lawbreaker; latent
mobilize popular sentiment, set social boundaries, solidarity
o Functionalist: social problems b/c rapid social change institutions
fail fulfill roles social disorder & problems
sudden cultural shift disrupt traditional values
ex. NA industrialization & urbanization social disorganization
Durkheim: rapid social change anomie (normlessness)
traditional guidance forms break down, social control
decline, less bonds btwn people more deviance
solution: strength social normal, slow social change pace
ex results: increase suicides, familial conflicts & violence
Suicide Emile Durkheim
study laid quantitative methods in modern sociology
o established sociological discipline in academia
o “thesociologicalmethod”=systematicanalysisofstatistics
ex. rates of suicide in different localities, groups
result: suicide rates not only reflect individual behavior, also some
prevailing trend compelling individuals to suicidal behaviors
o ruled out psychological explanations: Jewish community
highest neurosis, lowest suicides
o visible social patterns counter psychological explanation
3 types of suicide identified
o 1. Egotistic suicide peoplefalloutofsocialgrouporgroups’
bonds weakened by excessive individualism
social value of churches, schools, families in building
social bonds dissolution = increase likelihood suicide
noted Protestant faith more individualistic than Catholic
Protestants more likely to suicide, data supported
social institutions central to social integration
ex. Married less suicide b/c more
o 2. Altruistic suicide motivated by social duty,
motivated by self-abnegation, greater good, glory
ex. Suicides higher among soldiers than civilians
o 3. Anomic suicide b/c absence of social regulations, norms
happen after sudden social shock or disturbance
suicide b/c sudden confusion & distress, social
uncertainty, req. rapid readjustment no societal guide
Conclusion: suicide rates correlated inverselyw/person’sdegreeof
integration into domestic, religious, political society
o highly integrated less likely suicide
o Functions of Deviance and Conformity
all societies allow marginal tolerable/invisible deviance
crime clarifies social boundaries btwn right/wrong
psychological focuses individual factors deviance = usual
behavior of abnormal people
crimes & anti-social acts b/c personality defects
deviance b/c/ social reasons, conformity preferred b/c rewarded
Social control theory of deviance
normal people have deviant impulses, but unmotivated
conformity” law-biding benefit/avoid punishment
Children learn rule w/ supervision
Older = more social relationships reciprocal obligation
networks: friends/acquaintances reward conformity,
punish deviance w/ exclusion, shame, contempt
rewarded conformity encourages more conformity
other locked into deviance, some into conventional conformity
conform to rules valuing deviance, criminality
early crime involvement weakens social bonds, failure
build social network outside crime criminal life trap
escapes: key life events ex. marriage, parenthood,
valued job, home purchase b/c new bonds impose
behavioral control
Rational choice theory of deviance
assumes all people competing socio-economic resources
if no caught/punish risk, motivates crime for own welfare
(il)legal works on income-generating activities continuum
ex. corporate crime = rational, weighs costs/benefits
fundamentals: break rules when deviance controls/norms weak
Durkheim: Crime/deviance universal maybe societal necessity
punishment strengthen social cohesion btwn law-abiders

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o The Functions of Conflict
similar to deviance: normal & universal, healthy for society
conflict clarifies boundaries btwn opposing people
strengths social cohesion, co-operation, unity btwn groups
o Modern Functionalism
perspectivefromDurkheim’smacrosociological views
key proponents: Robert Merton, Talcott Parson
Critical Theory
o approach: inequality btwn groups class, gender, race
views society = collection of varied groups, constant struggle to
dominate society & institutions
reject functionalist social problems explanations: limited focus
on power struggles, special interests
Marx: modern social problems b/c capitalism, exploitive
economic system not industrialization & urbanization
social problems b/c economic inequality 2 groups, based
on relation to production:
Bourgeoisie owners, control means of production
Proletariat working class, wage laborers
Bourgeoisies retain dominance b/c economic/ political
result: proles alienate from work
solution: abolish bourgeoisie fair wages = work value
Weber: status groups”,“politicalparties” w/ inequalities
o View conflicts != destructive societal force
use: focus attention on social problem, bring people together
conflict central to many social movements
o Focus: manipulative ideologies not shared values
Ideologies beliefsthatguidepeople’sinterpretationsofand
reactions to external events
dominant ideology = ideology of dominate social class, justifies
programs society against class inequality b/c favor elites
taught in schools, religious institutions, media
o Conflicts over Power and Authority
power ability dominate, many aspects (direct/indirect)
authority legitimate power exercised in justified way
Weber: 3 main sources of authority in history:
1. traditional; 2. rational-legal; 3. charismatic
modernization associated w/ shift btwn 1 2
major social upheavals associated w/ shift 2 3
class conflict to intergroup conflict
o Modern Critical Theory Frankfurt School of sociology
19th century: scientific methods formulate societal laws
20th century: subjective, less dogmatic approach
The Vertical Mosaic John Porter
Noted historical link btwn ethnic immigrant origins and current
class location
o elites mainly White Anglo Saxon Protestant, few French
solve issue, encourage bettering education access for all classes
higher education = opportunity for next generation
Postmodern Theories
o interested: ideologies protecting dominant social order, incl. critical
ex. mass media. frames conventional ideologies, propaganda
o counter modernism (19th 20th century) social phenomena studies
social life improve w/ science = social progress
science defines normality, encourage conformity
result: society more socially, culturally, morally evolved
o Postmodernism: rationality unclear knowledge situation specific,
limited to time, place, social position
prevent knowledge construction & imposition need critique &
reality fragmented, all accounts disjointed & conflicting
no singular truth; proponents = propaganda, confuse &
dominate public
questions normality definition
o support by: gender, race, gay right, anti-globalization,
environmentalist movements
o reject objectivity & subsequent claims weak point
o ex.Foucault’sanalysisofprisons & imprisonment
all modern society = prison, panopticon
prisoners constant surveillance, unseen guards
disciplinary society: 3 primary control techniques
hierarchical observation
normalizing judgment
continual examination
Foucault’sanalysis applicable to any space w/ power differential
ex. school, factories, offices
Feminist theory
o focus: dominance & subordination relations btwn genders
study gender-basedinequitiesdifferingwomen’slives
mix critical and symbolic interactionism
argue: gender inequalities b/c socio-economic & ideological
factor not biological
o women often force female roles domestically, work, public
role acceptance more costly, dangerous than male equivalent
o key interests: gendering of experiences & victimization
Intersectionality follows victimization combination of
o Feminist axioms/assumptions:
all person life = political dimension
public & private life spheres gendered
patriarchy (male control) embedded in society
o First wave: 1850s 1900s:women’ssuffrage
Symbolic Interaction
o focus: social relationship/interactions shared meanings,
definitions, symbols
Also: effects of labeling deviants, criminals stigma
o Social problems: analyze how certain behaviors defined/framed
Labeling Theory: any social problem constructed/defined by
influence groups
ex. Marijuana smoking made social problems b/c moral
entrepreneurs; no intrinsic harms
Herbert Blumer: social problems develop in stages
1. social recognition
2. social legitimating
3. mobilization for action
4. development and implementation of an official plan
o studies social structures, as patterns of behavior, arise out of process
by which people interpret and respond to each other
o Herbert Blumer: basic elements of model w/ three propositions
1. human beings act towards things on the basis of meaning that
things have from them
2.these meanings arise out of social interaction
3. social action results from a fitting together of individual lines
of action
o Simmel, studied effects of urbanization, urban lifestyle

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o “definitionofthesituation”– shared situational norms guide course
of interaction, constrains interaction but not rigid
emerge from interpersonal negotiations, formal/direct
o Social Constructionism
examine how people create shared social reality
George Herbert Mead: children learn interaction by acquiring
shared system of symbols
shared meaning make possible social interactions
Goffman: dramaturgical view of social life
Stigma Erving Goffman
Material Settings
Sociology the systematic study of social behavior, or the stud of society
Demography The study of human populations their growth and
decline through births, deaths and migration.
Environmental geography the systematic study of the interaction
between humans and the surrounding natural world, focusing on
the human impact on the environment and vice versa.
Human capital a skill or skull set usually including educational
value on the job; the result of foregone income and a long-term
investment in personal improvement.
Population composition the makeup or mix of different social types in a
population; for example, ,the different numbers of men and
women, old and young people.
Population Pyramid A graphic depiction of the age- sex composition of a
Cohort a set of people with a common origin or starting point; birth
cohort a set of people born in the same year or set of years.
Human geography the systematic study of the location of human
enterprises and characteristics; for example, health, education,
commerce, and trade; closely linked to other social sciences like
Megacity a geographic locale with a large concentrated population,
sometime defined as exceeding 5 million people (also megalopolis,
or megapolis)
Bedroom suburb A residential area near a large city that provides
housing and services for people who commute each day into the
downtown urban area.
Population & Demography:
o Functionalist view: Malthusian
Tomas Malthus: pop. issues environmental, food supply
Basis: food production additive, population increase
population eventually outstrip food supply food per
capita decline
food production limits: arable land, soil quality,
technological level
limited carrying capacity (# ppl supportable by available
resources at given technological level)
Pop.growth“checks”,keeppop.w/ food supply, prevent
positive checks: increase death rate,ex. war, famine,
preventive checks: limiting live birth # ex. abortion,
infanticide, abstinence, delayed marriage, contraceptives
preventive promoted by Malthus, avoid positive checks
Concern w/ maintain social equilibrium, pop. in line w/ foods
else nature re-assert societal equilibrium = war, famine
Currently developing country fertility rates 4 6:
S.E Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America = millions
current rate global pop. possibly double every 25
World food product increase, slower rate
grain production +64% (1970 1990); +24% (1990
past growth b/c irrigation expansion, tripled (1950
2000), no significant growth (2000 2010)
world irrigated are per 1000 pop: 47ha 1970s 43ha
world’shungry800million1970 1 billion 2010
Optimum pop. 1 2 billion
o Critical response
deny social equilibrium attainable/social arraignment benefits
powerful people self-benefiting actions, push supporting
Developing countries problems b/c socio-economic inequalities
not over-pop.
ex. recent famines b/c improper land use, civil wars,
political factors, protectionist tariffs
historically famine notsignificant“positivecheck”
poverty inequality cause problems similar by overpopulation
peasants high fertility b/c children = farm worker,
w/ modernity, economic dev.: fertility decrease, no
industrial societies: poorer family gain by reducing
Large, rapidly growing pop. merely compounds problems
of poverty, dependency, plague, famine
advocate: zero population growth (ZPG) = temp solution
birth rate = death rate, population size constant
o Why Demography WORKING TITLE
o Population Trends WORKING TITLE
currently 6.9 billion, projected 9 billion 2070, 8.4 billion 2100
o World Population
The Limits to Growth Erving Goffman
The Environment
o Functionalism
o Critical Theory
o Symbolic Interactionism
o Natural Environment
o Location & Human Geography
Urban life:
o Functionalist view
Durkheim: previously rural, small town life:
common conscience shared experiences, values, norms,
singular identity btwn members
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