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Sociology 2140 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Social Fact, Anxiety, Consumerism

Course Code
SOC 2140
Darlene Balandin
Study Guide

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Sociology Midterm:
November 6th 2014
100 Multiple Choice (2 hours during class schedule):
Mooney Text: Power and Everyday Practices
Chapter 1: “Unpacking the Centre”
-Everyday practices: The “everyday” practices that are part of people’s commonplace and
taken for granted activities. (Even a café latte some cherish as an everyday ritual reflects
a geography, history, and economy of power relations)
-The places we sleep, the places we shop, the products we buy, the places we shop, and
the magazines we read are all part of a system of corporate consumerism
-Heterosexuality is able to maintain its privileged position as the normal and natural
sexual expression. (Whiteness is also another social characteristic that occupies the
-To “unpack the centre” means to explore the taken for granted features of dominant
forms of social organization
-The CENTRE is: A position of social advantage / a standpoint from which those who
occupy the centre see the world / sustained through what are typically unmarked and
unnamed cultural practices.
Agency: The capacity to make choices within the frames of reference and possibilities
available to us.
Socialization: Key concept in Sociology. (Used to explain the process through which
individuals come to acquire social habits, beliefs, and skills.)
-Those who are at the centre often do not see power at work. (In examining the
complexities of power: part of the task is to explore how power is socially organized,
who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged, what factors need to be in place for this to
happen, when and where the exercise of power is most likely to occur, and ultimately
why power happens.
-Karl Marx (Spent his life writing about the economics of Capitalism):
Capitalism: When trade and industry are owned by private owners instead of by the state.
For Marx, Capitalism is an economic system inherently defined by antagonistic class
relations between two fundamental classes – the capitalist class and the working class.
(Understood class as primarily defined by ownership of and control over economic
resources within society)
Means of Production: Ownership and control over economic resources within society –
Able to generate more capital (profit) by exploiting those who do not – the working class.

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-“Normal” is a form of social regulation that pervades institutions, and everyday
Discourse: Organized systems of knowledge that make possible what can be spoken
about, and how one can speak about it (Mary Adams’ definition)
-By governing ourselves in accordance with principles of “normal” behaviour, we
contribute to the reproduction of social inequality. (Many ways in which power is
produced, reproduced, and contested correlates to a wide range of everyday practices)
-C. W Mill’s idea of “Sociological Imagination” Connects individuals to the wider
social context within which they live. (Refers to the “quality of mind” that uses
information and reason to link personal biography to the broader social world
Chapter 2: “Thinking about Power: Exploring Theories of Domination and
-The first wisdom to Sociology is this: “Things are not what they seem” (Peter Berge)
Two ways of thinking about how power works in contemporary Western industrialized
societies: 1. The organization and significance of medical science and 2. Financial
Enlightenment or known as “Modernism”: (Literal meaning “To shed light upon”)
Period under way in Europe in the late 17th century. Enlightenment thought posed the
radical new idea that people could use human reason to shape history. (The belief that
through scientific exploration one could measure and understand not only the natural
environment but also human behaviour.) Science as a tool for human progress
Post Modernism: An outlook rejecting the Enlightenment belief that, through human
reason and research, humanity was on the road to progress. Instead, history was
reconceptualized as fragmented, discontinuous, and without a larger purpose. (Wanted
historians to study smaller-scale history in order to piece together the history of ideas and
events, rather then making claims about broad swatches of human history.)
Post Structuralism: A postmodern approach, as practiced in the social sciences. Post
Structuralists reject grand narratives, and instead conceptualize social life as fractured
and discontinuous. (Research is best through localized studies that reveal the minutiae of
social meaning and organization).
Epistemology: A branch of philosophy that focuses on what constitutes knowledge and
how we come to know things.
Hybridity: Where dominant and marginalized forms of knowledge mix and transform into
new ways of being

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Subaltern: Those who possess knowledges subordinated by European colonial history and
Karl Marx: Known for his expectation (and indeed, hope) that capitalism would
eventually be replaced by a more egalitarian system. (This new revolutionary phase of
history would usher in a more just distribution of wealth and social resources) Power,
particularly as exercised through the domination of one class over others, must be made
visible, critiqued, resisted, and transformed. (For Marx, power must be challenged, and
social change must be pursued)
Historical Materialism: A scientific study of the stages of human history and
development. (It was based on two essential beliefs 1. The word historical indicates
that the approach emphasizes that social structures, social relationships, and social
change can only be understood in historical context 2. He believed that to understand this,
we must study the material conditions under which people live.
Power is maintained through a system of domination, in which control is exercised by the
ruling class over land, labour, and capital. Power, therefore, rests primarily in the
possession of economic resources. (When capitalist economic power is most successful,
these inequalities will be deepened). To exercise power is an act of social control,
because power means having the ability to organize social, economic, and political
relations in a way that benefits the possessors of power, and subordinates those who do
not hold it.
Antonio Gramsci:
-People do rise up in protest when they perceive that they are being oppressed by a higher
-In Western capitalist nations, power is still maintained through coercion when nations
states, acting in the interests of preserving the economic order, enact measures for
suppressing resistance to domination.
Hegemony: Influence or control over another country, a group of people, etc. (Is an
indirect form of government and of imperial dominance in which the hegemon (leader
state) rules geopolitically subordinate states by means of its implied power – by the threat
of force, rather than by direct military force.)
-Gramsci reveals how domination can be accomplished without direct authoritarian rule
Grand Narratives: Grand or sweeping claims or stories about history. (Examples are the
explanations of history and knowledge provided by Christianity, capitalism, and
socialism.) Also known as “metanarratives” put forth by Jean Lyotard
Michel Foucault:
-Explored how knowledge and power are themselves historically produced and reflective
of the ethical and political values of their time.
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