Sociology Complete Course Review for Final Exam

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New York University
Arum, Conley, Molotch

Sociology Final Review C. Wright Mills ("The Promise of Sociology") 1959 1. The sociological imagination is a type of consciousness or quality of mind to help us better understand the world and our part in our world 2. There is a relationship between self and society, biography and history, the micro and the macro, personal troubles and public issues, individual agency and structure; they are intertwined, one does not exist without the other 3. Example: You are having trouble with your marriage, argue a lot. You could attribute this to the 2 of you being incompatible, too hotheaded. But with the sociological imagination, you would take into account that perhaps the institution of marriage – the laws of the license of marriage, or the specifics of prenuptial agreement – is also enacting and putting strain on your marriage. If you see this and realize that you argue over money and the prenup agreement, you can try to change the prenup and hopefully argue less and agree more on other things too. Stanley Milgram, ("Behavioral Study of Obedience") 1963 1. Milgram created a experiment to study obedience and authority by having a subject administer increasingly strong electric shocks to another person as per instructions of an experimenter in a lab coat. 2. The results were surprising to Milgram because all of the subjects exceeded the predicted point at which they refused to go one with the shocking and a majority administered the maximum shocks. The subjects showed signs of anxiety, tension, and stress (nervous laughter, wringing hands, smoking) 3. Helps explain the phenomenon of the Holocaust in that many Nazis were regular people, not necessarily evil or lacking morals, but performed these harmful acts because of an order from authority.  Individual choices: This study shows how authority can affect our individual choices and alter us to become obedient in our actions. Subjects did not want to administer painful and perhaps life-threatening shocks, but many did simply because they were told to.  Conformity: Subjects conformed to parameters of the experiment despite their actual desire to not harm another person.  Context: A hypothesis to why subjects obeyed such orders from authority is that the setting of the experiment, at Yale, could have created the sense that this was an experiment that would contribute to the academic furthering of knowledge. The prestige of the university could have meant to the subjects that they could trust the scientists; also the scientists were intellectuals who knew what they were doing. Solomon Asch, "Group Forces in the Modification and Distortion of Judgments" 1. Asch’s experiment studied the affect of group conformity on judgment by having 1 naïve subject in a group. Looking at line lengths, everyone else would answer unanimously and incorrectly. 2. Results: many (1/3) naïve subjects gave into the majority, even though the answer was incorrect. Some did so because they believed they themselves perceived it wrong, the group was correct; some did because they thought they had just seen it incorrectly; some did because they did not want to be different from the majority but knew they were correct and everyone else was wrong. About ¼ did not give into majority. Of those who yielded and those who remained independent, some were confident in their answer, some had doubts.  Individual choices: Our choices can be affected and altered by those around us. In variations of this experiment, when 1 person who also deviated from the majority entered the group, the naïve subject was more likely to remain independent. When this new person retracted their correct answer, the naïve subject was also more likely to retract their answer.  Conformity: Groups can distort an individual’s perception, judgment, and/or actions to conform. Erving Goffman, ("The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life") 1959 1. We present ourselves by giving an expression – explicit words and actions – and giving off an expression – subtle, implicit gestures, habits. 2. We can manipulate these expressions to present ourselves how we want to. What we give is more easily manipulated, giving off is less controlled, so what we give off may seem more genuine and true. But if you learn to manipulate what you give off, you can present yourself how you want.  Interactions: staring at people, “dimming of the lights”/ “civil inattention”  Conversations: saying “oops” to show that you are normal, “dimming of the lights”/ “civil inattention” Max Atkinson, ("Claptrap") 1984 1. Claptraps are interactional devices people can use to induce applause from an audience. Examples of claptraps: lists of 3s, volume, tone (up, up, down), emphasis on certain words, rhythm, contrasting pairs, gestures, clear completion point, key pauses 2. To be a successful public speaker, need to employ multiple claptraps and have charisma 3. Charisma is also learned; saying the right thing at the right time to the right audience; good eye contact/not using a teleprompter; refusing applause  Interactions: These cues/patterns for interaction between a speaker and an audience are learned  Deviance: People do not like to clap alone, always clap with everyone else, about 8 seconds Pamela Fishman, “Interaction: The Work Women Do” 1. Fishman studied 3 couples’ daily conversations through tape recordings. 2. Interaction is work 3. Results: men said more facts, information; women said more questions, helping/support words, attention beginnings; men chose the topic of conversation, said more statements, turned on the tape recorder, define the conversation/interaction, interrupted women more; women try harder and fail more; men try less and succeed more  Gender inequality: there is unequal distribution of work in conversation, women do the “shit work”, try harder and fail more, men try less and succeed more, which contributes to the stereotype that women talk more  Interactions: defines interaction as work  Work: interaction is work; women do “shit work”  Conversations: conversations between men and women reveal gender inequality, power issues, stereotypes; men and women’s different styles of conversation lead to negative stereotypes for women W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Souls of Black Folk” (Ch. 1 “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”) 1903 1. Blacks have a double-consciousness which is two different mindsets, one to interact with whites, and one to interact with blacks  Racism/inequality: Blacks must have a double-consciousness, but whites do not, they can be themselves 24/7; double consciousness takes more effort/energy for blacks to live as normally as possible  Interactions: different interactions with blacks vs. whites G.H. Mead 1. Symbols allow humans to be the smartest creatures. We can then think of self and make ourselves the subject of our thoughts. We see what others think about ourselves as important 2. The Social Self/Emerging Self: “I” to “Me”; individuals see themselves through interacting with others and seeing how they see us to change how we present ourselves, feedback to change and create a positive sense of self; we exist through others 3. Significant others, relevant others, reference group, generalized other  Interaction: interaction creates the self  Conformity: Mead says that we will not all conform because our interactions are with different people (significant others, etc.) and thus create different feedback and different selves Dana Goodyear, “Grub: Eating bugs to save the planet” 2011 1. Entomophagy is the eating of bugs 2. Bugs have nutrients and are sustainable  Culture: eating is highly cultural; our preferences are from culture  Ethnocentrism: We see entomophagy as disgusting because we are accustomed to see bugs as pests. But this is sustainable and healthy. People are trying to make it more appealing to Americans to overcome ethnocentrism  Deviance: We see entomophagy as deviant because were are unaccustomed to it  Environment (sustainability): entomphagy is sustainable – large source of bugs – and better for the environment than meat because bugs require significantly less land and food to raise Horace Miner, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema” 1. Miner presents American culture through an outsiders lens that makes Americans seem like an obscure tribe / aliens  Culture: our culture is made obscure  Ethnocentrism: article shows ethnocentrism from the other side  Deviance: we seem “deviant”/abnormal Richard Bernstein, “Cook Was (a) a God or (b) Not a God” (a review of Marshall Sahlins) 1. Marshall Sahlins argued that the Hawaiians killed Captain Cook because of a myth that a white god, Lono, would come. Hawaiians submitted and praised Cook, treated him with gifts. Cook showed up but then returned again which didn’t fit the story so the indigenous Hawaiians killed him. 2. In response to Obeysekere’s critique: Obey is being racist, needs to use anthropologic evidence like accounts  Culture  Ethnocentrism Nicholas Thomas, “Cook Reappraised” (on Gananath Obeyesekere) 1. Obeysekere criticized Sahlins for being ethnocentric because he is white. Just because Cook was white, does not mean that everyone thinks that white means godly. Obeysekere argues that Hawaiians submitted to Cook because he was weapons and gold and Cook killed a high ranking Hawaiian. They then sought revenge when Cook returned.  Culture  Ethnocentrism: criticizing Sahlins for being ethnocentric David Rosenhan, "On Being Sane in Insane Places" 1973 1. Rosenhan’s experiment studied the environment of mental hospitals by having sane and healthy adults act insane to be admitted into the mental institution as schizophrenic. Once in, they resumed acting normally. 2. Results: All pseudopatients were release with “schizophrenia in remission”. No doctors/nurses suspected their sanity, some patients did. Were treated poorly, not talked to, depersonalized  Deviance: Healthy people were labeled “deviant”. The label of schizophrenia was very sticky and influential in the nurses’ treatment of the pseudopatients. It also remained even after showing no symptoms and being released from the hospital. Labels perpetuate deviance because people will often see you with your label, not separate  Context: Sanity and normality is based on context/environment. Pseudopatients were depersonalized and not talked to even though they showed no symptoms of schizophrenia  Institutions: The institution of the mental hospital creates the stickiness of these labels. The labels dictate how people are treated W Nick Davies, “Make Heroin Legal” 2001 1. Davies argues for making heroin legal to improve the issues that people attribute to the drug such as death, disease, moral collapse. These are actually a result of the black market that emerged from the laws against heroin. If heroin is made legal, these will be solved. 2. Heroin does no physical damage and is safe when prescribed by doctors; it is dangerous when is it cut with rat poison, etc. from black market and when used with dirty needles 3. Laws of prohibition has created this deviance; created problems that it was trying to solve, which emerged from the black market  Deviance: Law defines “deviance” as those who use heroin; black market lead to more “deviance” in sellers and buyers  Organizations/institutions: government has exaggerated stats and created fears; laws have created the issues it was trying to solve because it led to the black market; “deviance” is a political tool Charles M. Blow “Smoke and Horrors” 2010 1. A disproportionate number of blacks and Hispanics are arrested for possession of weed because police target these people and trick them into searches 2. The consequences of an arrest can affect people’s opportunity for financial aid, job hiring, housing 3. Criminalizing weed has becoming a “life-ruining racial weapon”  Deviance: possessing weed is “deviant”  Race/inequality: blacks and Hispanics targeted  Organizations/institutions: the criminalization has led to negative consequences for blacks and Hispanics; “deviance” is a political tool Laud Humphreys, Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places 1975 1. Studied how men engaged in soliciting sex with strangers in public bathrooms 2. Highly organized rules/rituals/cues/behaviors to solicit sex; “collective action” – mutual understanding; this “deviant” act has norms 3. Interviewed these men and found that they were not “deviant” in their normal lives, only “deviant” when they entered these bathrooms  Deviance: This is seen as a “deviant” act, but these men are not “deviant” outside of the tearoom  Sex  Organizations: highly organized behaviors create a “performance”  Context: “deviance” in the setting of bathroom William Chambliss, “The Saints and the Roughnecks” 1973 1. Chambliss ethnographically studied 2 groups of white high schoolers for the relationship between adolescent delinquency and self-image 2. The Saints: upper-middle class; did more “deviant” acts than the Roughnecks; drove drunk, moved construction cones; did “deviant” acts outside of town where people did not know them; teachers and townspeople did not see these boys as “deviant”, saw them as popular, well-manner, were excused for bad grades so they did well in school, seen as just having fun, never punished by police 3. The Roughnecks: lower class; did “deviant” acts in town where townspeople could see them because they didn’t have cars/money to go elsewhere; fought more, stole; teachers did not give them breaks because they saw them as “deviant” and going no where in life so they did poorly in school; police did not let them off 4. Years later, follow-up: most of the Saints went to college; most of the Roughnecks did not; self-fulfilling prophecy  Deviance: Labels affect how others perceive you, their actions towards you. This can affect you for the rest of your life, self-fulfilling prophecy, “death by dossier” – judgments accumulate through one’s life, stigma  Class: People perceive you differently based on class, people had a bias towards the 2 groups, contributed to the label of “deviant” Max Weber, “The Characteristics of Bureaucracy” 1. Bureaucracy is a way for society to be organized. There are rules, hierarchy, authority 2. In history, society was organized by tradition, then charisma, and now bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is more flexible than tradition 3. It is sometimes an “Iron Cage” because it can be restricting and limiting 4. (There are formal and informal rules; which ones to follow can lead to “deviance”)  Organizations: bureaucracy organizes society  Deviance: those who do not follow rules are “deviant” Robert Merton, “Manifest and Latent Functions” 1. Manifest function – explicit function/motivation of an organization/institution 2. Latent function – an unintended consequence of manifest function 3. Example: for NYU, a manifest function is higher education and research, latent functions are making money, getting funding, school rankings, real estate; for police department, manifest is reducing crime, latent is that they also need crime to have police so decriminalizing things gives them no work  Organizations: organizations all have manifest and latent functions David Sudnow, "Dead on Arrival” 1. Sudnow studied how patients in a lower class hospital came to be labeled as “dead on arrival.” Factors for labeling include patients’ age, background, appearance (dirty clothes), perceived morals (drunk). This is “procedural death”, instead of the qualities of life like heartbeat, etc. 2. Doctors and ambulance drivers acted with care, speed, etc. based on these factors 3. Some patients were used as object of practice  Organizations: these are informal rules at this hospital  Context: line between dead and alive is not clear, depends on context  Class: your class can define if you are dead or alive Clifford Shearing and Phillip Stenning, “From the Panopticon to Disney World” 1. Disney World is highly organized to control guests 2. Devices of control are all built into the structure of the parks: barriers, announcements, workers in costume, railway/car & parking lot set up, lines/queues, signs, constant reminders, photo spots 3. Control is consensual/”unwitting consent”, people go along with it to be able to stay in park, “the controlled become the source of control”, some don’t even realize they are being controlled  Organizations: Disney has control strongly built into its organization  Deviance: those who “deviate” from rules are asked to leave the park, but people want to/pay to be in park so most people just follow rules  Social control: strong social control built in, most people don’t realize it, “unwitting consent” Gina Kolata, "News of Advance in Aids Treatment Delayed 5 Months" 1990 1. The findings of an advance in AIDs treatment was not released to the news by the scientists because they wanted to publish it and receive recognition and credit. This delay cost lives  Organizations: The rules for publishing information and receiving credit led to the delay of vital information that could have saved lives. These restrictions relate to Weber’s “Iron Cage” of bureaucracies  Media: Releasing information to the media does not ensure proper credit unless it is published  Deviance: These scientists were “deviant” in a moral sense, but were not “deviant” because they followed the rules of publishing information to the scientific community Joel Best and Gerald Horiuchi, “The Razor Blade in the Apple: The Social Construction of Urban Legends” 1. Halloween Sadism is an urban legend constructed through media and fears. 2. These cases were few and isolated, not anonymous offenders/sadists, victims usually knew the person. The media and police spread the stories to be a frequent crime/crime wave, strangers doing this to random children, created fear 3. Urban legends are linked to/come out of social strains: threats to children, fear of crime, mistrust of others  Media: Portrayed this as a frequent crime and something to fear, played off parents’ fears and concerns for kids  Crime: This crime wave/ urban legend was socially constructed Mark Fishman’s “Crime Waves as Ideology” 1. Fishman studied the “crime wave against the elderly” in NY in 1970s 2. Found that there was no crime wave. The police statistics show no crime wave, just a general increase 3. Media and police constructed this crime wave: news stations respond to what other stations are reporting, police report to media what the news stations want to hear. There are “news themes” or “beats” group similar stories, news needs to have some theme or consistency  Media: see 3  Organizations: The way in which the media and the police are structure together to report news constructs crime waves that do not actually exist  Crime: Crime waves are socially constructed Stanley Lieberson, “Why Do Tastes Become Tastes?” 1. Lieberson studies how we acquire tastes using the phenomenon of fashion and naming children. It is not individual choice but other influences from our surroundings, membership of certain groups, etc. 2. 3 influences: external events (time/place, culture, politics, technologies), internal mechanisms (class imitation), and idiosyncratic historical developments (initial tastes and specific influences); multilayered asymmetrical 3. Example: external events – Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Depression; internal mechanisms – lower class imitates upper class then upper class finds new fashion; idiosyncratic historical developments – Marcus Garvey  Tastes: shaped by societal forces  Media: entertainment defines what is great  Class: Class level affects tastes as lower class tend to imitate upper class fashions, then upper class wants to find new fashions that are different from lower class  Individual choice: We believe that we like what we like by choice but it is more than that Dianne Hagamann, “The Joy of Victory, the Agony of Defeat: Stereotypes in Newspaper Sports Feature Photographs” 1. Sports photographs have a specific pattern/formula to display a certain emotion, defeat, victory, etc. in a pose 2. Photos are high conventionalized because there is a limiting space, # words to convey a story, need to be eye-catching and immediately understood which leads to photos looking the same  Media: Media is highly organized to communicate stories  Conformity: Photos start looking the same because writers need to quickly get message across/ understood Candace West; Don H. Zimmerman, “Doing Gender” 1. West and Zimmerman argue that in everything we do, we are “doing gender” or portraying/displaying our gender, there are no time-outs. Gender is not individual, it is part of social situations 2. “Doing gender” establishes differences between sexes, like bathrooms, housework 3. Study of Agnes who is a transsexual, she had to learn the little things that “do gender” to display herself as a woman that we easily look over, so she can explicitly define what being a woman means  Gender: gender is managing sex category  Individual choices: We are always “doing gender” whether we want to or not, we have no time-outs.  Deviance: Agnes is seen as “deviant” because she is not really one or the other, duck or bunny. A person can be seen as “deviant” if you do not display your “correct” gender in your interactions  Interactions: Gender is embedded in all of our interactions. Agnes learned the specific actions/interactions that display being a women  Organizations: Our social institutions are “doing gender”, i.e. public restrooms Harvey Molotch, “Rest Room and Equal Opportunity” 1. Restrooms are unequal because they allot equal space to men and women who have different needs. Men need urinals, and women need toilets which take up more room, so they have fewer resources. 2. This contributes to the stereotype that women are always late because they spend longer in the bathroom primping or gossiping, but it is because they have to wait because there are fewer resources 3. To give equal opportunity, we must acknowledge these differences and implement affirmative action principles, more space for women’s bathroom to give them the same number of toilets as urinals  Gender/inequality: Men and women are different biologically which has evolved into social differences and stereotypes  Organizations: Social institutions try to offer equal opportunity without taking into account inherent differences (urinals vs. toilets). Barrie Thorne and Zella Luria, "Sexuality and Gender in Children's Daily Worlds" 1. Thorne and Luria studied 9-11 year old children in elementary schools to study their sexual development. As this age, kids are on verge of sexual maturity and cultural adolescence and are learning heterosexuality. 2. Girls: pairs of friends; sharing activities; bonded by sharing emotions/feelings; turn- taking activities, cooperation; shifting friendships; talked about romance before sexual; physical appearance 3. Boys: large groups of friends; bonded by breaking rules; competitive, hierarchy, sports, outdoors, physical; learned heterosexuality and homophobia 4. Gender and sexuality are learned together, intertwined  Gender: Gender begins to develop early on in childhood. We learn social rules and norms of gender  Sexuality: Children learn heterosexuality early on  Deviance: Children learn the norms of gender, being a girl vs. being a boy Debra Tannen, “You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation” 1. Tannen studied the differences in men and women’s conversations 2. There is a stereotype that women talk too much. But Tannen found that men actually talk more in meetings and group discussions. 3. Women speak in “rapport-talk” or private conversations, to establish close relationships, to acquire interaction 4. Men speak in “report-talk” or public conversations, to enforce independence, hierarchy, own skills and knowledge, to acquire knowledge  Gender: different styles of conversation  Interactions: conversation  Conversations: rapport- vs. report-talk, for different goals Mitchell Duneier, “Talking to Women” (pp. 188-216)  Gender  Conversations: men calling out to women vs. women calling out to men Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward Laumann, and Gina Kolata: “Sex Partners” 1. There is a common belief that today people have more sex partners than in the past which is true. But this is not because people have gotten more promiscuous; they found that people have 1 sex partner a year. 2. These findings can be at
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