Sociology 1020 (section 002) Midterm Review Notes
November 16 2013 @ 6:oopm, SSC @ rm 3010, 3014, 3018, 3022, 3024, 3026 or 3028
Lecture 1 Introduction:
• Key idea to sociology = concerns itself with theories about the social relations between individuals and groups of people
within a particular society; patterned/systematic group behaviours (based on multitude of factors i.e. age, gender, etc.)
• Goal of sociology is to describe the social world, explain how and why, and critique existing social arrangements
• Peter Berger: “to see the general in the particular” – identify similar and general patterns in the behaviour of particular
individuals; individuals belong in different categories and society dictates how specific categories are to behave.
• The Sociological Imagination – C. Wright Mills:
o 1950s, American sociologist
o “We see the world through our own experiences” – inhibits understanding of our world; we need to look at the world
through different perspectives.
o Levels of analysis:
1. Biography – human agency/the ability to act; individual experiences are unique + microlevel (one person)
2. Milieu – “gemeinschaft” = sense of belonging; everyday context of where you live + intermediate level
3. History – macrolevel (society/structures) impacts people by changing everyday context in which they live
o Private problems: problems concerning an individual, impacting only the biography and milieu (i.e. illness)
o Public issues: problems/concerns relevant to history, affecting society with broader reach (i.e. terrorism)
• Structuration Theory – Anthony Giddens:
o (structure + action)
o British sociologist that added onto Mills
o Refers to ability of individuals to act to bring about change on a societal level
o Individuals take on a double involvement in society:
1. Products – you are a produce of the structures you belong to; society influences you to shape you into a product
2. Producers – you bring about change, producing society
Lecture 2 – Sociological Theory:
• Moving to cities, the Industrial Revolution, democratic rights and political rights led to a fermenting of ideas. • Auguste Comte – 1838: sociology is “a new way of looking at the world”
o Positivism: taking steps in natural sciences (i.e. chemistry, physics, mathematics) and applying it to the social
institutions to understand humans.
• Theory: statement of how and why certain facts are related; acts like a lens explaining patterns and based on theoretical
paradigms (including structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interaction, and feminism).
Structural Functionalism: institutions (family, education, religion, economy, media) shape lives and contribute to and organize
• Want solidarity and stability and concerned not with slow change, but revolutions.
• Macrolevel orientation
• Structures = stable patterns of social behaviour
• Institutions = subsystems of enduring patterns of social relationships, organized to meet basic human needs.
• How structures are set up determine your chances in society – either at a person’s advantage or disadvantage
• Normal state of the system is equilibrium
• Changes in one structure/institution would provoke chances in others. Change = disruptive.
• Widespread consensus about societal values
• Manifest functions: open, stated and conscious functions of institutions; these involve intended, recognized consequences of
aspect of society (i.e. school for educating)
• Latent functions: unconscious or unintended functions that may reflect hidden purposes of an institution (they just happen –
not necessarily bad) (i.e. dating in high school, bullying, or the teaching of manners and etiquette)
• Eufunction: positive benefit for society maintaining equilibrium
• Dysfunction: element or process of society that is disruptive to a social system + reduces stability; social systems have to fix
these to move forward.
• Critique: too broad; ignores class inequalities, focuses on stability at the expense of conflict, assumes “natural order” & most
of the structural functionalists are part of the elite ruling class.
• Emile Durkheim: argues that society is a social system – has certain basic needs for survival (i.e. food, water, order,
clothing, reproduction) and social structures and institutions fulfill these needs.
o Society is dynamic
o Preindustrial societies have simple division of labour based on mechanical solidarity; social cohesion based on
tradition. Modern societies have complex divisions of labour based on organic solidarity leading to functional
interdependence. Key to change is expanding division of labour.
o Suicide is an indication of social problems – if social cohesion increases, suicides decrease and if social cohesion
decreases, suicide rates increase. Rapid social change = anomie
Conflict Theory: counter to structural functionalism in that they question “functional for whom?” • Macrolevel orientation
• Views society as area of inequality that generates conflict and social change – division based on inequality
• Change and conflict among groups is inevitable
• Society is structured in ways to benefit a few at the expense of the majority
• Factors such as age, race, sex, and class are linked to social inequality
• Dominant vs. minority groups compete for access (i.e. for prestige, wealth, and power)
• Alienation: Isolation results from powerlessness. Capitalism alienates workers in 4 specific ways:
o 1.) from act of working,
o 2.) from products of work,
o 3.) from other workers, and
o 4.) from human potential.
• Karl Marx: German historical materialist, studied how societies change throughout history by looking at the economic
o 1.) class conflict has always existed, and 2.) in capitalist society, this is much more evident. Everyone is in pursuit of
o Economic institution is the key driving force in every culture, determining the other institutions.
o Economic processes – modes of production determine all processes and social change
o Ownership over means of production is the basis for other forms of inequality
o Class: social category based on ownership and control over means of production
Two classes: bourgeoisie (owners of capital) dominate and proletariat (workers sell labour) are exploited
workers. These two classes have different interests, leading to class conflict based on class consciousness
(awareness of common experience of exploitation/oppression)
Marx hoped that class consciousness would create a revolution to overthrow capitalism.
o False consciousness: explanations of social problems grounded in an individual’s (not a society’s) shortcomings.
Symbolic Interactionism: an explanation for the everyday interactions, founded by George H. Mead.
• Microlevel orientation
• Subjective vs. objective = society is product of everyday interactions, is evolving, and is based on our understanding of
• Society arises as a “shared reality”
• Symbol = something that meaningfully represents something else – most interaction is symbolic, dependent on language or
gestures and this is how we understand our world. • W.I. Thomas: “what we define as real, is real in its consequences” – how you define something is how you react to it.
• Max Weber: (father of symbolic Interactionism) was a pluralist – saw many things as bringing about change in society
o Verstehen = to understand/people need to sympathize
o No single factor determines society or the individual – therefore, social conflict may originate from values, statuses,
ideas, politics, law, and economy. These are keys to understanding the society.
o Ruling classes use beliefs to legitimate their position, so other classes will cooperate in their own subordination.
o Rationalization of society: doing something in the most efficient way possible – change from tradition to rationality.
Feminism Theories: study of women’s lives
• Macrolevel orientation = constraints and forms of resistance in women’s lives
• Microlevel orientation = reproduction of gender through language and emotion management
• Viewed as a moreactivist type of sociology and interdisciplinary
• Different perspectives but commonalities are:
o Gender inequalities are socially constructed (not biologically determined)
o Patriarchy is present in nearly all societies
o Transnational feminism: recognition that there are axis of inequality that diversify the experience of women.
• Maternal feminism: developed in early 19 century (1763 in Britain)
o Moral crusaders want to improve society = aligned with middleupper class + wanted to elevate the lowermiddle class.
o Led to temperance movement (desire to eliminate consumption of alcohol from society) and women’s suffrage
movement (desire for right to vote for women)
• Liberal feminism: early 1960s
o Focus on women gaining equality through access to education and jobs and using these skills acquired.
• Radical feminism:
o View men as dominant gender and therefore, women as subordinates = patriarchy is the universal cause of women’s
o They need to separate from men to avoid marginalization – limited involvement with men
• Socialist feminism: similar/adopted to a Marxist view
o Gender inequalities based on economic factors and influenced by class inequalities.
o View that women should organize with men of the same class to solve the problems of gender inequality and overthrow
the economic system. Lecture 3 – Investigative Methods:
• Milgram Study: “what German traits/characteristics lent them in being willing to hurt others?”
o Conducted in the US where there were 2 people in a room and the “learner” was actually the one conducting the
study. This learner had to get the answer correct or the other test participant would shock them in increasingly
stronger voltages as punishment.
o Results = 2/3 of subjects went all the way to 450 volts, which is beyond lethal.
o We follow orders – power of the situation = we are compliant.
o Agentic shift = individuals that give off or forsake responsibilities (putting it off on someone else).
• Research ethics: code of conduct adopted by institutions in the 1970s setting regulations to what kind of tests can be
conducted on people.
• Sociological investigation – 2 requirements: 1.) use sociological perspective, and 2.) be curious & ask questions
• Empirical evidence: anything you can observe with one of the 5 senses
• 5 ways of knowing the world:
o 1.) personal
o 2.) tradition – how things have been in the past
o 3.) authority – expert advice
o 4.) religion – faith/belief that cannot be challenged
o 5.) science – dialogue about empirical evidence collected; solves question/issue
• Normative approach: what ought to be in the world
• Empirical approach: science; up to study and debate (aka scientific method)
o What is the scientific method?
1. Define problem: state what you hope to investigate
• operational definition: explanation of abstract concept specific enough to allow researcher to assess
concept; actual procedures used to measure theoretical concepts (i.e. marital status includes single, married,
divorced, commonlaw, and widow)
2. Review literature: scholarly studies relevant to subject – has this been done before? Look at limitations.
3. Formulate hypothesis: a “best guess” about what relationship we think we’ll find; variable: measurable trait
subject to change under different conditions (i.e. person, time, situation, place, etc.)
• Independent variable: guessed to affect an outcome; always comes first!
• Dependent variable: impacted by/depends on the independent variable
• Causal logic: involves relationships between a variable and a particular consequence • Correlation: relationship by which two or more variables change together (but you are not sure what causes
what) (i.e. inactivity vs. weight gain – what came first?)
• Spurious correlation: an apparent, although false, relationship between two or more variables caused by
some other variable
4. Collect and analyze data:
• Selecting the sample Sample: selection from a larger population that is statistically typical of that
• Ensuring validity and reliability – Validity: degree to which a measure truly reflects the phenomenon being
studied (instrument/question measures what it is supposed to measure) and Reliability: extent to which a
measure provides consistent results
5. Develop conclusion – support hypothesis (but they do no always generate data that supports the original
hypothesis) (in sociology, you can only support and never prove because there are too many unknowns and
variability with humans)
o Major research designs:
1. Surveys – quantitative research (on how people think or how they act)
• Interviews – face to face or telephone questioning > high response rate and probe beyond questionnaire
allowing for more depth
• Questionnaires – printed or written form to obtain information from respondent > inexpensive and good for
2. Field research – qualitative research (on how people understand their world)
• Relying on what is seen in field and naturalistic settings – focus often on small groups or communities
• Participant observation ethnography: efforts to describe entire social setting through extended systematic
o 1970s – Laud Humphreys: stalked and then interviewed men he found after seeing them
perform sex with other men in public washrooms.
3. Indepth interviews – uncover layers of meaning in responses;
• semistructured (specific questions but flexible enough to direct responses)
• or unstructured (open ended questions, not confined to core set of questions)
4. Experiments – artificially created situations allowing for a manipulation of variables
• Experimental group – exposed to independent variable
• Control group – not exposed to independent variable
• Hawthorne effect – reactivity from people to being in an experiment (i.e. giving researchers that they think
the researcher wants to hear)
5. Use of existing sources • Secondary analysis – research techniques that make use of the previously collected and publicly accessible
information and data (i.e. Census Canada)
• Content analysis – systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale (i.e.
movies, TV shows, journals, etc.)
• Limitations of sociology: what is true in at one place and one time won’t be true at a different place or time and valuefree
objectivity is impossible but it is still crucial to not bring bias into experiments.
Lecture 4 – Culture:
• First developed 2 million years ago – dwelling, clothing, tools, food – and acted as basis of survival to buffer against nature
• Edward T. Hall Proxemics: culture is all about communication (silent communication = time and space)
o culture dictates how we use space or what we think of time
time = 5 minute late rule
space = territoriality: claiming of territory in public places & territorial realignment/reallocation: spacing
of people in one set area
• Canadian norms: Intimate distance = 01ft, relationship based on touching
Personal distance = 14ft, strong verbal/visual communication (friendships)
Social distance = 412ft, normal tone of voice, visual communication key
Public distance = 12+ft, vision reduced volume increased – (formal settings)
**women are much more reluctant to let strangers in close
• Cultures vary but have 5 common components:
1. Symbols – anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a culture
2. Language – system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another
SapirWhorf Hypothesis: 1.) language precedes thought, 2.) language is culturally determined, and 3.)
language is not a given
3. Beliefs – specific statements that people hold to be true or false
4. Values – abstract ideas or generally accepted standards of behaviour; more abstract than norms; culturally
determined; comes in pairs as guidelines for evaluation (i.e. good/bad, strong/weak, etc.)
Ideal values = thoughts/what we hold to be true vs. real values = behaviour. A conflict in this is cognitive
5. Norms – established rules of behaviour to guide members of society – principles by which a society governs itself
with; often drawn from values and are more precise rules. Prescriptive norms – something you should do
Proscriptive norms – something you should not do
3 types of norms (can be prescriptive or proscriptive) coined by William Graham Sumner:
• Folkways – informal customs/everyday etiquette not essential to survival of the group; can be
violated without serious consequences (i.e. lying)
• Mores (Mos = singular) – customs considered to be correct or necessary for group survival’ based
on cultural values with moral underpins; if violated, there will be serious consequences (i.e.
• Taboo – worst of the mores that are perceived to be extremely offensive (i.e. incest)
Laws – codified mores that are imposed by the state; formal rules with sanctions, with
• Civil = dispute between two parties/individuals
• Criminal = state deals with public safety
• Subculture – group of people within a single society who possess, in addition to the cultural practices that they share in
common with members of the large society, certain distinct cultural practices that set them apart; buy into larger society’s
norms but also have their own. (i.e. Chinese immigrants, Mennonites)
Argot – specialize language differentiating group
• Counterculture – group of people within a single society who strongly oppose the cultural patterns widely accepted within
that society (i.e. KKK, FLQ)
• Cultural universals – customs shared across much of he world based on human’s basic survival needs; Randowel – humans
have same basic needs
• Cultural diversity – a combination of cultures in a specific geographical region; natural causes (i.e. island, land formation)
vs. social conditions (i.e. immigration, technology)
• Cultural diffusion – transmission of material and nonmaterial goods from one group to another (i.e. technology, clothes,
foods, etc.) via exploration, military encounters, media, tourism, migration, and expanding global economy.
• Cultural lag – coined by William Fielding Ogburn, referring to period of maladjustment when nonmaterial culture is still
struggling to adapt to new material conditions (i.e. privacy and censorship had not just caught up with use of technology)
• Ethnocentrism – belief that one’s own cultural view is superior or the only correct view; judging another society based on
our own culture and standards; gives people sense of solidarity and patriotism, but may lead to discrimination or prejudice.
• Cultural relativism – opposite of ethnocentrism – practice of judging and understanding a culture by its own standards (but
sometimes all behaviour cannot be embraced i.e. child soldiers)
• Cultural materialism – anthropological research orientation; basic idea that cultural beliefs are a rational adaptation to
material conditions (i.e. Harris – Hindus and cow love – India relies on traditional agricultural practices and therefore they
worship cows because they are needed to tend to the crops)
Structural functionalism: • Shared norms (as core values and beliefs) = stability, cohesion, and necessity
• Society depends on culture for order – can be changed but slowly
• Emphasizes the way norms and values are institutionalized and serve stability of society
• Norms and values are set and used (promoted) by the dominant social class to maintain social control and their power and
serves interests of capitalist society
• Privileged people have wealth and power and therefore, it is all about competition – exploitation is disregarded because no
one is an ally
• Focus on dominant ideology of society and ways in which ideology keeps and legitimizes existing social structure
• People create and maintain their culture through every day interactions: culture influences people and people influence
• Mostly concerned with symbolic expression of any culture
• Analyze how dominant ideology contributes to control and marginalization of women (i.e. representations of gender –
Barbie sets standards impossible to maintain for girls but is a representation of North American culture)
Lecture 5 – Socialization:
• We are agents of socialization, also linking one generation to another
• Socialization is a process by which people learn to be members of society (Peter Berger) – internalizing social expectations
• Lifelong and interactive process, starting with one’s epigenisis (genetic potential DNA)
1. Primary socialization – 012 years
Family is the most important agent
Development of interpersonal and cognitive skills and sense of self
Both intentional and unintentional but largely imposed
Precursor for successful socialization
3 attachment styles:
• 1.) sec