Sociology Midterm Review
December 1, 2013
Sociology- systematic study of social behavior and human groups. Focuses on social
relationships on people’s attitudes and behavior and how societies change.
The Sociological Imagination
C. Wright Mills coined the term
An awareness of the relationship between the individual and the wider society.
Example: comprehend our personal settings and the remote impersonal world that
surrounds us (drinking coffee, eating chocolate)
Key element is the ability to view our own society as an outsider would rather than from
Example: Canadians eat while walking, japan they do not because they want to appreciate
the food, seem as disrespectful.
Science- body of knowledge obtained by methods based on systematic observations.
Natural science- study of physical features of nature and the ways in which they interact and
Social Science- study of various aspects of human society; social behavior and people.
(Sociology, anthropology, economics, history, phycology, and political science).
Anthropology- past cultures and pre industrial societies that continue today, the origins
of men and women
Economics- explore ways in which people purchase and sell goods and services, and
Historians- concerned with events and people from the past
Political- international relations, government, power and authority
Physiologist- personality and individual behavior
Sociology- influence that society has on peoples attitudes and behaviours and the way
people shape society
Theory- template containing definitions and relationships used to organize and understand the
Sociologists develop theory to explain how individual behavior can be understood within
a social context
Anomie- loss of direction that society feels when social control of individual has become
Loss their purpose or sense of direction during social change
Verstehen- German words for understanding of ones own intellectual work
Max weber Ideal Type- construct, made up model that serves as a measuring rod against which actual cases
can be evaluated
Macrosociology- concentrates on large-scale studies or entire civilians. (a country)
Suicide of different countries as an example
Microsociology- study of small groups and often uses experimental studies
Sociologists 19 century
Emile Durkheim (1951)
Concerned as to social forces that cause people to take their lives, not why they actually
Interested in suicide rates
Concerned with a larger social context (macro sociology)
Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
Most influential philosophers of nineteenth century
Believed that theoretical science of society and investigation of behavior were needed to
Coined the term SOCIOLOGY
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)
Translated Comete’s work to English
Observations and social practices from Britain and north America
Book; society in America
Examines religion, politics, and immigration in US.
Examined social class, gender, and race
Herbert spencer (1820-1903)
Did not feel compelled or concerned with fixing society like Harriet did
Merely hoped to understand society better
Societies are bound to change eventually
Law, economics, history, philosophy
Taught his students Verstehen
To understand behavior, must learn subjective meanings attach to their actions and how
they view and explain their own behavior Karl Marx
Shared with emile and max dual interest in philosophical issues
Charles Horton Cooley- modern development (1929)
Looked at smaller units
Face to face interactions, not necessarily huge groups
Understanding of small groups
Robert Merton (1968) (nodern)
Combining theory and research
Different ways on how people achieve success in life
Macro and Micro sociology
Harold Innis (modern)
Contributes to our understanding from a political economic perspective
How extraction of resources relates to development of Canadian state
John Porter (modern)
The Vertical Mosaic
Social class and inequality as it relates to race, ethnicity, and social classes
Pointed out that upward social mobility was a reality for only select ethnic groups in
Four Major Theoretical Perspectives (no one is correct, use all four)
o Parts of society are structured to maintain stability
o Works as a organism
o Everything interacts with one another (family, contributing work, chores, cook, ect)
or prostitute, the seller, earns money, the buyer, satisfied with their purchase
o Equilibrium model- as changed occur in one part of society, their must be
adjustments in other parts
o Talcott Parons- viewed society as a vast network all connected to one another, each
helps to maintain system as a whole
o Social Strains will occur
o Manifest Functions- (Robert Merton): institutions that are open, stated, conscious
functions. Recognize consequences of society
College, university excellent academics
o Latent Functions- unconscious or unintended that may reflect hidden purpose of
Colleges and universities hold down employment o Dysfunction- element or process of society that may disrupt a social system or
lead to decrease in stability.
o Social behavior best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing
o Social change brought through conflict (marx)
o Conflict not necessarily violent
o The Marxist View
Karl marx: struggle enviable given the exploitation of workers under
capitalist economic system
Struggle of exploitation- normal and desirable aspect of social change
o Micro or macro
o Explain and change gender roles, inequality between men and women
o Liberal Feminism
Advocates women equality obtained through opportunity and freedom
o Marxist Feminism
Capitalism for the oppression of women
o Socialist Feminism
Gender relations formed by patriarchy and capitalism
o Radical Feminism
Embedded in Patriarchy, womens view on reproduction
o Transnational Feminism
Political power and capitalism oppress women around the world
o Dorothy Smith (1926)
Sociology that is built on everyday experiences of women, sociology used to
ignore these experiments
o Generalizes about everyday forms of social interaction to understand society as a
o Erving Goffman
The presentation of the self
Dramaturgical Approach- compares everyday life to setting of theater and
o George Herbert Mead & Charles Cooley
Founder of interactionist perspective
How individual behavior was influenced by a larger group or society
Theory of the self
Develops as newborns grow and interact with others
Significant Others- individuals who are important in the development of
the self (parents)
Generalized others – attitudes, viewpoints, and expectations that a child
takes into consideration Chapter Two: Sociological Research
Scientific method- scientific method is a systematic, organized series of steps that ensures
maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem
Define the problem
o Operational Definition- explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough
to allow the researcher to assess the concept.
o Could use functionalist perspective
Review the literature
Formulate a testable hypothesis
o Hypothesis- speculative statement between two or more factors known as
o Variables- measureable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under
o Independent Variable- cause or influence another variable (education) has
stigma, change to see what happens
o Dependent Variable- the action depends on the influence of the independent
variable (the outcome) (higher pay)
o Casual Logic- relationship between a condition or variable and a particular
consequence with one leading to another
o Correlation- exits when a change in one variable occurs at the same time with a
change in another variable (people getting info from tv, or magazines..tv dumb
downs magazines or news papers)
Collect & analyze data
o Survey, observation, experiment, existing sources
o Sample- selection from a larger population that represents that population
o Random Sample- every member of an entire population being studied has the
same chance of being selected.
o Validity- degree to which a scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study. Valid
measure depends on accurate data.
o Reliability- extent to which a measure produces consistent results. (using same
Select Research Design
o Research Design- detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically.
o Survey- study, generally form of an interview or questionnaire, provides
information about how people think or act.
Interview- face to face or telephone
Questionnaire- printed or written form to obtain information.
o Quantitative research- collects and reports data in numerical form. Can not look
at topic in great depth or detail
o Qualitative research- what is seen in naturalistic settings and focuses on more
personal side, depth of topic, small groups ect.
Ethnography- study of an entire social setting through systematic
observation. How subjects themselves view their social setting. o Observation- collects information through direct participation or observing a
certain group/individual. Allow sociologists to examine certain behaviors.
o Experiments- artificially created situation that allows researcher to manipulate
o Experimental group- exposed to an independent variable (test of new drug and
effects, give it to experimental group)
o Control group- is not, no stigma
Develop the conclusion
o Supporting hypothesis – data supports our hypothesis
o Controlling for other factors-
Control Variable- unchanged in an experiment, no stigma
Ideas for future research
Hawthorne Effect- subjects of research who deviate from their typical behavior because they
realize they are under observation.
Secondary Analysis- research techniques that make use of previously collected and publicly
accessible information and data.
Non reactive, since it does not influence peoples behaviors
If they rely on data by others, they might not have effective results that they need
Content Analysis- systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.
Erving goffman – advertisements portrayed women as inferior to men.
Ethics of Research
Code of Ethics- standards of acceptable behavior developed by or for members of a profession.
“the right to know versus the right to privacy”
Chapter Three: Culture
Culture- totality of learned socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material objects, and
behavior. Includes ideas, values, and customs of a group of people.
Society- large numbers of people who live in the same territory, are relatively independent of
people outside their area, and participate in a culture.
Largest form of human group
Learn culture and transmit it to one generation to the next
Cultural Universals- societies develop certain common practices and beliefs. Adaptions to meet
essential human needs (food, shelter, and clothing).
o Sports, cooking, funeral ceremonies, medicine, and sexual restrictions. Innovation- process of introducing a new object or idea. Interests sociologists because of social
consequences that introducing something new can have on society.
Discovery- making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality (DNA molecule)
Invention- existing cultural items are combined into a form that did not exist before
Diffusion- process by which cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society.
(exploration, military conquest, missionary work, influence of mass media, tourism, and the
Globalization- world wide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and
financial markets. (mcdonalds spread from north America to hong kong)
Technology- information about how to use the material resources of the environment to satisfy
human needs and desires. – Gerhard Lenski
Material Culture- physical or technological aspects of our daily lives, including food items,
factories, and raw materials.
William F. Ogburn
Non-Material Culture- ways on using material objects and also to culture, beliefs, customs ect.
More resistant to change than material culture.
William F. Ogburn
Cultural Lag- period of maladjustment when the non-material culture is still adapting to the
William F. Ogburn
Language- abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. Includes
speech, written, numerals, symbols, gestures, non-verbal communication.
Sapir- Whorf Hypothesis – two linguistics, describe the role of language in interoperating our
world. Language precedes thought. Symbols and grammar organize the word for us. Language is
not a given.
Non- Verbal Communication- not using words
Norms- established standards of behaviors maintained by society. Must be widely shared and
understood. (wash hands after using the bathroom)
Formal Norms- generally written down and specify strict rules for punishment of violaters.
(laws) – governed social control
Informal Norms- generally understood but not precisely recorded. Proper dress standard of
Mores- deemed highly necessary to the welfare of society. Obedience to mores, violations can
lead to penalties. Mores against murder and child abuse. Folkways- norms governing everyday behavior. Focus on shaping behavior of members of sa
Sanctions- penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm. positive sanctions,
Values- collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper- or bad,
undesirable, and improper in a culture.
What people in a culture prefer
Honoring parents, love, health, ownership
Functionalist- maintain stability requires support of society; usually central values and common
Working towards stabilizing culture
Conflict- common culture may exist, but it is argued that it serves to maintain the privileges of
Dominant Ideology- describes the set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to
maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests.
o Georg Lukacs & Antonio Gramsci
Interactionist- examine shopping or consumer practices to from a micro perspective in order to
understand a larger society.
Feminist Perspective- mass media, dominant ideology contribute to control against women.
Subculture- segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values
that differs from a pattern of the larger society.
Counter culture- when a subculture opposes certain aspects of the larger culture. (old person
oppsses same sex marriage, was raised for 60 years that it should be a man and woman)
Culture shock- anyone who feels disoriented, uncertain, uncomfortable when in an unfamiliar
culture. (watching Portuguese people kill pigs).
Multiculturalism- promotes cultural and racial diversity and full and equal participation of
individuals and communities of all origins.
Eurocentrism- discrimination and prejudice to those are seen as non European and thus, the
Cultural imperialism- the influence of the material or non material elements of a culture on
another culture or cultures. Ethnocentrism- tendency to assume that our culture and way of life are superior to all others.
Cultural relativism- views peoples behaviors from the perspective of their own culture. Places a
priority in understanding other cultures.
Xenocentrism- belief that the products, styles, or ideas of our own society are inferior or less to
those that originate elsewhere. (French whine better than Canada whine)
Chapter four : Socialization
Nature versus nurture- biological inheritance and environmental factors (heredity vs.
environment) both influence socialization process, one factor operates without the other
Nell (Jodie Foster)- crouches like animal, was raised that way (environmental factor)
Isabell- parents were ashamed, kept her hidden from the world, no contact, lived in a dark room,
could not speak. Her mother could not speak or hear. Ealr socialization is important
Monkey- more attached to the mother who gives love and nurture, rather than the mother who
feeds them. Only goes to mother who feeds them when hungry, not for anything else. Spent more
time clinging to the non-mother who gave them love and nurture. Developed greater social
attachment to warmth.
Sociobiology- systematic study of the biological bases of social behavior. Assume that particular
forms of behavior are genetics. Suggests that all behavior is the result of genetic or biological
factors. Social interaction plays no role in shaping people.
How human nature is affected by the genetic composition of a group of people who share
Self- distinct identity that sets us apart from others
George Herbert Mead
Develop and change throughout our lives
Looing Glass Self- learn who we are by interaction with others. Our view of ourselves comes
from the impressions of others and how they see us.
“self is the product of our social interactions with people”
Imagine how we present ourselves to others
Imagine how others evaluate us
Develop a feeling of ourselves Stages of the Self- the self emerges
George Mead continuing Charles Cooley work
o Preparatory Stage- children imitate the people around them, especially family
Symbols- gestures, objects that form the bases of human communication
o Play Stage- child learns to pretend to be other people, becomes a character
Role taking- mentally assuming the perspective of another person. (asking
parent for a favour when they are in a good mood, not bad)
o Game Stage- about 8 or 9 of age, begins to consider actual tasks. Grasp their own
social positions, and others around them
Presentation of the Self- convey