Intro to Sociology Complete Notes-Everything you need for 90%+

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Rutgers University
Professor Wilhelms

Intro to Sociology 10/05/2013 23:24:00 ← Chapter 1 • The Sociological Imagination o A quality of mind that allows people to see how remote and impersonal social forces shape their life story of biography  Biography is day to day activities from birth to death  Social forces are considered remote and impersonal because people have no hand in creating them (cell phones) o When people respond to social forces in their lives, they become part of that force o The sociological imagination is a point of view that allows us to identify seemingly remote an impersonal social forces and connect them to our biography o The study of social facts  Emile Durkheim  French sociologist that defined social facts as ideas, feeling, and ways of behaving “that possess the remarkable property of existing outside the consciousness of the individual” • Words and gestures people use to impose thoughts  Social facts include currents of opinion  The state of affairs with regard to some way of being  The intensity of these currents is broadly reflected in rates summarizing behaviors like marriage, suicide or birth rates  The sociological consequences  Berger says that the wish to look inside and learn more is analogous to the sociological perspective  Berger points out that sociologists are driven to debunk the social systems they study  Troubles and issues  Sociologists distinguish between troubles, which can be resolved by changing the individual, and issues, which can be resolved only by addressing the social forces that created them  C. Wright Mills defines troubles as personal needs, problems or difficulties that can be explained as individual shortcomings • The resolution of a trouble lies in changing the individual in some way  An issue is a matter that can be explained only by factors outside an individual’s control and immediate environment  According to Mills, people need a quality of mind that will help them to use information to think about what is going on in the world and what may be happening within themselves • This is the sociological imagination • The Industrial Revolution o Sociology emerged in part as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, an ongoing ad evolving social force that transformed society, human behavior, and interactions in incalculable ways o Transformed virtually every aspect of society o Defining feature was mechanization—process of replacing human and animal muscle as a source of power with external sources like burning wood, coal, and natural gas o Is also changed notion of time and place  People could now easily take a train to somewhere else o Sociology emerged out of efforts to document and explain the effects of the Industrial Revolution on society o The big three sociologists are Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber o Auguste Comte (1798-1857)  French philosopher that became known as the father of positivism and gave sociology its name in 1839  Positivism holds that valid knowledge about the world can be derived on from sense experience or knowing the world through the senses and from making empirical associations  Comte advanced the “law of three stages” which maintains that societies develop according to three stages:  The theocratic • People explain the events going on in the world as the work of personified deities o Deities possess supernatural qualities that allow them to exert their will over humans and nature  The metaphysical • People draw upon abstract and broad concepts to define features of reality that cannot be observed through the senses or direct experiences • Deals with big philosophical questions such as the nature of the human mind, the meaning of life, and good versus evil  The positive • People use scientific explanations grounded in observation and experimental designs to understand the world  Comte recommended that sociologists study social statics, the forces that hold societies together such that they endure over time, and social dynamics, the forces that cause societies to change o Karl Marx (1818-1883)  German philosopher but spent life in London  Sought to analyze and explain how conflict drives social change  Marx viewed every historical period as characterized by a system of production that gave rise to specific types of confrontation between two exploiting classes  From his perspective, the system of production accompanying the Industrial Revolution gave rise to two distinct classes  Bourgeoisie • The profit driven owners of the means of production  Proletariat • Those individuals who must sell their labor  The finance aristocracy • People who lived in luxury among masses of starving, low paid, unemployed people • Included bankers and stockholders o Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)  Frenchman who focused on the division of labor and solidarity  The division of labor is the way a society divides and assigns day to day tasks  Was interested in how the division of labor affected solidarity, the system of social ties that connects people to one another and is the wider society  Observed that industrialization changed the division of labor form relatively simple to complex and, by extension, changed the nature of solidarity  Believed that the sociologists job was to analyze and explain the solidarity  Identified four types of social ties which describes a different kind of relationship to the group  Egoistic describes a state in which the ties attaching the individual to others in society are weak • When individuals are detached from others, they have less resistance to suicide  Altruistic • Describes a state in which the ties attaching the individual to the group are such that the person has no life beyond the group • Person’s sense of self cannot be separated from the group  Anomic • Describes a state I which the ties attaching individual to the group are disrupted due to dramatic changes in social and economic circumstances  Fatalistic • The ties attaching the individual to the group involve discipline so oppressive it offers no chance of release • Individuals see future as permanently blocked o Max Weber (1864-1920)  German sociologist tried to analyze and explain how the Industrial Revolution affected social actions (actions people take in response to others)  Suggested that sociologists focus on the broad reasons that people pursue goals  Believed that social action is oriented toward one of four, ideal types  Traditional • A goal is pursued because it was pursued in the past  Affectional • Goal is pursued in response to an emotion  Value rational • Goal is pursued with a deep and abiding awareness of the symbolic significance of the actions take to pursue the goal. Instead, action is guided by codes of conduct to prohibit certain kinds of behavior  Instrumental rational • Goal is pursued by the most efficient means without considering consequences o W.E.B. Du Bois  Had a preoccupation with the meaning of being black o Jane Addams (1860-1935)  Confounded one of the first settlement houses, which provided services  Influenced sociological thought and work in an area of the discipline now known as public sociology  Worked to give populations in need a voice and to change the way society operated with regard to child labor, juvenile justice, industrial safety, working how, women’s’ minority rights, and a variety of other areas  Advocated for sympathetic knowledge, first hand knowledge gained by living and working among those being studied because knowing one another better reinforces the common connection of people such that the potential for caring and empathetic moral actions increase • The Importance of a Global Perspective o A global perspective assumes that social interactions do not stop at political borders and that the most pressing social problems are part of a larger global situation o Global interdependence is a situation in which human interaction and relationships transcend national borders and in which social problems within any one country are shaped by social forces and events taking place outside the country o Global interdependence is part of a dynamic process known as globalization the ever increasing flow of goods, services, money, people, technology etc o As a result of globalization, no longer are people, goods, services, images etc fixed to specific geographic locations • Globalization o At least four positions on the nature of economic, political, and cultural transformations ← Chapter 3 The Challenge of defining culture • Culture is the way of life of a people • Sociologists define culture as the human created strategies for adjusting to their surroundings and to those creatures that are part of those surroundings • Culture cannot exist without a society, a group of interacting people who share, perpetuate, and create culture • Sociologists face several conceptual challenges in thinking about culture o How do you describe culture? o How do we know who belongs to a culture? o What are the distinguishing characterizes that set one culture apart from others? • Material and nonmaterial components o Culture consists of material and nonmaterial  Material culture consists of all the natural and human created objects to which people have attached meaning o Learning the meanings that people assign to material culture helps sociologists grasp the significance of those objects in peoples’ lives o Nonmaterial culture is the nonphysical creations that people cannot hold or see • Beliefs o Beliefs are conceptions that people accept as true concerning how the world operates and where the individual fits in relationship to others o Beliefs can exert powerful influences on actions as they are used to justify behavior, ranging from the most generous to the most violent • Values o Values are general, shared conceptions of what is good, right, appropriate, worthwhile, and important with regard to conduct, appearance, and states of being • Norms o Norms are written and unwritten rules that specify behaviors appropriate and inappropriate to a particular social situation o Depending on the importance of a norm, punishment can range from a frown to death. In this regard, we can distinguish between folkways and mores  Folkways are norms that apply to the mundane aspects or details of daily life  Mores are norms that people define as essential to the well being of a group  People who violate mores are usually punished severely • Symbols o Symbols are any kind of physical or conceptual phenomenon—a word, an object, a sound, a feeling, an odor, a gesture or bodily movement, or a concept of time—to which people assign a name and a meaning • The role of geographic and historical forces o Nonmaterial culture represent responses to historical and geographic challenges • The role of language o Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf advanced the linguistic relativity hypothesis, which states that “no two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality.” o Sapir and Whorf argue that unless people’s linguistic backgrounds are similar, the same physical evidence does not lead to the same picture of the universe • Culture as a tool for the problems of living o Culture provides a variety of formulas that enable individuals to adjust to the challenges of being human • Cultural formulas for social emotions o Culture also provides formulas for expressing social emotions, internal bodily sensations that we experience in relationship with other people o People do not simply express social emotions directly, however, they interpret, evaluate, and modify their internal bodily sensation upon considering feeling rules o Feeling rules are norms that specify appropriate ways to express the internal sensations and also define sensations that one should feel toward another person • Cultural diffusion o People borrow material and non material culture from other societies o The process by which an idea, an invention, or some other cultural item is borrowed from a foreign source is called diffusion • The home culture as the standard o The home culture is usually the standard that people use to make judgments about another culture o Sociologists use the term culture shock to describe that strain o The intensity of a culture shock depends on several factors  The extent to which the home and foreign cultures differ  The level of preparation for or knowledge about the new culture  The circumstances surrounding the encounter o People can also experience reentry shock, or culture shock in reverse, upon returning home after living in another culture o One reason people experience culture and reentry shock is that they hold the viewpoint of ethnocentrism—they use one culture as the standard for judging the worth of foreign ways • Ethnocentrism o The most extreme and destructive form of ethnocentrism is cultural genocide, in which the people of one society define the culture of another society not as merely offensive, but as so intolerable that they attempt to destroy it o Another type of ethnocentrism is reverse ethnocentrism, in which the home culture is regarded as inferior to a foreign culture—people who engage in this kind of thinking often idealize other cultures as utopias • Cultural relativism o Cultural relativism is an antidote to ethnocentrism o Cultural relativism means two things  That a foreign culture should not be judged by the standards of a home culture  That a behavior or way of thinking must be examined in its cultural context—that is, in terms of that culture’s values, norms, beliefs, environmental challenges, and history o Ideally, cultural relativism is perspective that aims to understand a culture on its own terms; that is, the primary aim is not to condone or discredit it • Subcultures o In every society, there are groups that share in certain parts of the mainstream culture but have distinctive values, norms, beliefs, symbols, language, and/or material culture that set them apart in some way—these groups are called subcultures o One characteristic central to all subcultures is that their members are separated or cut off in varying degrees from those thought to be part of the mainstream culture o Sociologists use the term countercultures in reference to subcultures that challenge, contradict, or reject the dominant or mainstream culture o Sociologist Milton Yinger maintains that members of countercultures feel strongly that the society as structured cannot bring them satisfaction o Yinger presents three broad, and at times overlapping, categories of countercultures  Communitarian utopias withdraw into a separate community where they can live with minimum interference from the larger society, which they view as evil, materialistic, wasteful, or self centered  Mystics search for truth and for themselves and turn inward in the process  Radical activists preach, create, or demand a new order with new obligations to others. They stay engaged, hoping to change society and its values ← Chapter 4 Socialization • In the broadest sense of the word, socialization is the process by which people develop a sense of self and learn the ways of the society in which they live • More specifically, it is the process by which humans o Acquire a sense of self or social identity o Learn about the social groups to which they belong and do not belong o Develop their human capacities o Learn to negotiate the social and physical environment they have inherited • Socialization is a life long process, beginning at birth and ending at death • It takes hold through internalization, the process in which people take as their own and accept as binding the norms, values, beliefs, and language that their socializers are attempting to pass on • No discussion of socialization can ignore the importance of two factors—nature vs. nurture o Nature comprises one’s human genetic makeup or biological inheritance o Nurture refers to social experiences that make up every individual’s life • The Importance of social contact o Cases of children raised in extreme isolation or in restrictive and sterile environments show the importance of social contact to normal development o Some of the earliest and most systematic work was done by Kingsley Davis  His work on the consequences of extreme isolation demonstrates how neglect and lack of social contact influence emotional, mental, and even physical development o Cases of less extreme isolation  Psychiatrist Rene Spitz (1951) studied 91 infants who were raised by their parents during the first three to four months of life but who were later placed in orphanages  The children were starved emotionally  The emotional starvation caused by the lack of social contact resulted in such rapid physical and developmental deterioration that a significant number of children died o Children of the holocaust  Anna Freud and Sophie Dann (1958) studied six German Jewish children whose parents had been killed in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany  The children were shuttle from one foster home to another for a year before being sent to the ward for motherless children at the Terezin concentration camp  Freud and Dann found that the children were ignorant of the meaning of family and grew excessively upset when they were separated from one another  Taken together, these cases teach us that children need close contact with and stimulation from other if they are to develop normally • Individual and Collective memory o Memory, the capacity to retain and recall past experiences, is easily overlooked in exploring socialization o On an individual level, memory allows people to know others and remember interacting with them o On a societal level, memory preserves the cultural past o Some physical trace remains in the brain after new learning takes place, stored in an anatomical entity called an engram  Engrams are formed by chemicals produced in the brain  They store in physical form the recollection of experiences o Sociologists use the term collective memory to describe the experiences shared and recalled by a significant numbers of people • Development of the social self o Sociologists maintain that a sense of self arises when children are able to see the self as an object o The self becomes an object when children can  Take the role of the other and  Name, classify, and categorize the self  Role taking  People acquire a sense of self when they can role take  George Herbet Mead (1934) maintains that the key to role taking is self awareness • According to Mead, people possess self-awareness when they can comprehend their place in social activities going on around them • He maintains that we learn to do this through a three stage interactive process that involves imaginative role taking o Preparatory (0-2  Children have not yet developed the cognitive ability to role-take  They mimic or imitate people around them o Play stage (2-6)  Mead saw children’s play as the mechanism by which they practice role- taking  Defined play as a voluntary, spontaneous activity with few or no formal rules  In the play stage children pretend to be significant others o Game stage (7 and up)  The play stage is followed by the game stage  Games are structures, organized activities that involved more than one person • As they learn to play games, children also learn to o Follow established rules o Take simultaneously the roles of all participants o See how their role fits in relation to an established system of expectations • Through games, children learn to organize their behavior around the generalized other—a system of expected behaviors and meanings that transcend the people participating o The importance of symbols to role taking  Significant symbols are gestures that convey the same meaning to the people transmitting and recovering  Mead defined gesture as any action that requires people to interpret its meaning before responding  In addition to words, gestures also include nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, facial expression, posture, and other body movements or positions that convey meaning  Through gestures, others convey how they are evaluating our appearance and behavior  Mead maintains that the self is always recognized in relationship to others  Mead described the self as having two parts—the me and the I  The me is the social self—the part of the self that is the product of interaction with others and that has internalized the rules and expectations  The I is the active and creative aspect of the self. It is the part of the self that questions the expectations and rules for behavior o The looking glass self  Cooley coined the term looking glass self to describe the way in which a sense of self develops: people act as mirrors for one another  We see ourselves reflected in others’ real or imagined reactions to our appearance and behavior • Cognitive Development o Piaget believed that learning and reasoning are important adaptive tools that help people meet and resolve environmental challenges o Logical thought emerges according to a gradually unfolding genetic timetable o Piaget’s model of cognitive development includes four broad stages and children cannot proceed from one stage to another until they master the reasoning challenges of earlier stages  Sensorimotor  0-2  children explore the world with their senses  the cognitive accomplishments of this stage include an understanding of the self as separate from other people and the realization that objects and people exist even when they are out of sight  preoperational stage 2-7  think anthropomorphically—assign human feelings to inanimate objects  in the formal operational (adolescence and onward) people can think abstractly • Agents of socialization o Agents of socialization—significant others, primary groups, in groups and out groups, and institutions—shape our sense of self, and teach us about the groups to which we do and do not belong o Groups as agents of socialization  In the most general, a group is two or more people who do the following  Share a distinct identity  Feel a sense of belonging  Interact directly or indirectly with one another o Primary groups  A primary group—such as a family, military unit, or peer group—is a social group that has face to face contact and strong emotional ties among its members  The members of a primary group strive to achieve some desired place in the thought of the others and feel allegiant to the other members  Primary groups are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual (Cooley)  Sociologists Amith Ben-David and Yoav Lavee offer a specific example of this buffering function  Like the family, a military unit is a primary group. A unit’s success in battle depends on the existence of strong ties among its members o In groups and out groups  A group distinguishes itself by the symbolic and physical boundaries its members establish to set it apart from nonmembers  Symbolic boundaries include membership cards, colors, or dress codes such as a uniform  A group also distinguishes itself by establishing criteria for membership including a certain ancestry, a particular physical trait, or some accomplishment  Sociologists use the terms in group and out group in reference to intergroup dynamics  An in group is the group to which a person belongs, identifies, admires, and/or feels loyalty  An out group is any group to which a person does not belong  When sociologists study in group and out group dynamics, they ask, “under what circumstances does the presence of an out group unify an in group and create an us versus them dynamic?  An in group assumes a position of moral superiority over an out group  An in group perceives an out group as a threat. The in group holds real or imagined fear that the out group is seeking • Political power • Control of scarce or valued resources • A larger shrare of the pie • Retribution for pas wrongs • Return of lost power  An in group/out group tensions may be evoked for political gain  Often an in group and out group clash over symbols—objects or gesture that are clearly associated with and valued by one group o Mass and social media  Mass media are forms of communication designed to reach large audiences without face to face contact between those conveying and those receiving the messages • Socialization across the life cycle o It is important to realize that socialization takes place throughout the human life cycle o There are at least eight major stages of the lifecycle o Stages 1to3 (infancy, toddler, preschool)  During stage 1 (infancy), it is important that caretakers give consistent, predictable care  Inadequate, unpredictable care leaves infants uncertain of their ability to elicit care and makes them feel that the world is not reliable  In stage 2 (toddler), the child’s nervous and muscular systems mature, and abilities in one area are frustrated by inabilities in another  In stage 3 (preschool) corresponds with Mead’s play stage, in that children play at being the kind of person they hope to grow up to be o Stage (6-12)  Systematic instruction is central to this stage  Recognition is won by doing things o Stage 5 (adolescence)  This stage is characterized by rapid body growth and genital maturation o Stage 6 (young adulthood)  During this stage, young adults form close and intimate bonds with others  A mark of a healthy personality is the ability to love and to work  People with this ability can work productively without losing the capacity to be sexual and loving o Stage 7 (middle age)  Ideally, those in middle age make an effort to guide and help establish the next generation and to pass on what they have contributed to life  This stage is characterized by a strengthened commitment to the care of cherish people and objects o Stage 8 (old age)  Old age involves the realization that one’s biography is the accidental coincidence of but one life cycle in but one segment of history  With this realization comes a sense of comradeship with all human beings  If acceptance is not achieved, one feels despair about oneself and the world and believes that the remaining time is too short to try again or change things • Resocialization o Resocialization is a process that involves breaking with behaviors and ways of thinking that are unsuited to existing or changing circumstances, and replacing them with new, more appropriate ways of behaving and thinking o Much resocialization happens naturally and involves no formal training o Voluntary versus imposed resocialization  Resocialization can be voluntary or imposed  Imposed resocialization occurs when people are forced into a program designed to train them, rehabilitate them, or correct some supposed deficiency in their earlier socialization  Sociologist Erving Goffman wrote about a particular type of setting called total institutions in which people are isolated from the rest of society to undergo systematic resocialization  Goffman identified common procedures for staff at any total institution to follow to resocialize inmates  In general, it is easier to resocialize people when they want to be resocialized than when they are being forced to abandon old values and behaviors  Furthermore, resocialization occurs more readily when acquiring new values and behaviors that require competence rather than subservience ← Readings • The Promise of Sociology by C. Wright Mills o The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals o The first lesson of the social science that embodies it is the idea that the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within his period, that he can know his own chances in life by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances o The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society o That imagination is the capacity to shift from one perspective to another— from the political to the psychological; from examination of a single family to comparative assessment of the national budgets of the world o Perhaps the most fruitful distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between the personal troubles of milieu and the public issues of social structure o Troubles occur within the character of the individual and within the range of his immediate relations with others  Resolution of troubles properly lie within the individual as a biographical entity and within the scope of his immediate milieu o Issues have to do with matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life  An issue is a public matter • Mexico: The New China o Tijuana is a city more than two million people larger than San Diego and has become North America’s electronics assembly hot spot o The shorter and more nimble supply chain is better  First, a shorter supply chain means that a company can make things when it wants to, instead of when it has to  There’s less risk. If they make an error in the design, they’ve wasted at most a few days’ worth of production  It’s simply faster  A short supply chain is an incentive to motivate ← Chapter 7 • Deviance, conformity, and social control o The only characteristic common to all forms of deviance is that some social audience challenges or condemns a behavior or an appearance because it departs from established norms o Deviance is any behavior or physical appearance that is socially challenged or condemned because it departs from the norms and expectations of a group o Conformity comprises behaviors and appearances that follow and maintain the standards of a group o All groups employ mechanisms of social control—methods used to teach, persuade, or force their members and non members to comply with and not deviate form its norms and expectations o When sociologist J.L. Simmons (1965) asked 180 men and women in the United States from a variety of age, educational, occupational, and religious groups to “list those things or types of persons whom you regard as deviant,” they identified a total of 1154 items  Conclusion was that the only characteristic common to all forms of deviance is the fact that some social audience regards a behavior or person as deviant and treats it as such  Something that some group considers deviant may no be considered deviant by another o Deviance—the violation of norms  When socialization fails to produce conformity, other mechanisms of social control—sanctions, censorship, or surveillance—may be used to convey and enforce norms  we learned that folkways are customary ways of handling the routine matters of everyday life  mores are norms that people define as essential to the well being of their group  during the cultural revolution, the dominant mores rejected special social status and the accumulation of worldly possessions  a farmer who planted extra crops was considered suspect  the slightest misstep could make one a target of intense criticism  during the cultural revolution, people were sentenced to hard labor in the countryside for engaging in sex outside of marriage  norms can vary according to whom they apply and according to whether people  know they exist  accept them  enforce them uniformly  think them important  back the up with the forces of law  adhere to them in their public and/or private lives o Socialization as a means of social control  Researchers found that, compared to U.S. preschools, Chinese preschoolers are taught to give contrastive critiques of their classmates’ works and to learn from their critiques of their own and other’s works  Chinese preschoolers are also taught to downplay interpersonal conflicts and play cooperatively  In contrast, American preschoolers are taught to expect praise for their work o Sanctions as mechanisms of social control  When conformity cannot be achieved voluntarily, other mechanisms of social control may be used to convey and enforce norms  Sanction—reactions of approval or disapproval to others’ behavior or appearance  A positive sanction is an expression of approval and a reward for compliance; it may take the form of applause, a smile, or a pat on the back  Negative sanction is an expression of disapproval for noncompliance; the punishment may consist of withdrawal of affection, ridicule, ostracism, banishment, physical harm, imprisonment, solitary confinement, or even death  Informal sanctions are spontaneous, unofficial expressions of approval or disapproval that are not backed by the force of law  Formal sanctions are expressions of approval or disapproval backed by laws, rules, or policies that specify the condition under which people should be rewarded or punished and the procedures for allocating rewards and administering punishments o Censorship and surveillance as mechanisms of control  In addition to sanctions, other mechanisms of social control include censorship and surveillance  Censorship is a method of preventing information from reaching an audience • Censorship relies on censors—people whose job is to sift information conveyed through movies, books, letters, email, TV, the internet, and other media  Surveillance involves watching and otherwise monitoring the movements, activities, conversations, and associations of people to prevent them from engaging in wrongdoing, to catch those who are engaged in wrongdoing, and to ensure that the public is protected from wrongdoers o The disciplinary society  Foucault (1977) sought to identify the turning points that make the society we live in today fundamentally different in structure from the societies that preceded it  Identified historical shift in the way society punishes people form what he called a culture of spectacle (public punishment) to a carceral culture (social arrangement under which the society largely abandons the physical an public punishment and replaces it with surveillance to control people’s activities and thoughts)  Attributes change to a transformation in technologies  The panopticon is a metaphor for what Foucault calls the disciplinary society, a social arrangement that normalizes surveillance, making it expected and routine • The functionalist perspective o Emile Durkheim (1901) argued that although definitions of what constitutes deviance vary by place, it is present in all societies  He defined deviance as acts that offend collective norms and expectations  Believed that what makes an act or appearance deviant is not so much its character or consequences, but that a group has defined it as dangerous or threatening to its well being  According to Durkheim, deviance has an important function in society, for at least two reasons  The ritual of identifying and exposing the wrongdoing, determining a punishment, and carrying it out is an emotional experience that binds together the members of a group and establishes a sense of community  Deviance is functional because it helps bring about necessary change and prepares people for change  Leaves unanswered question—who decides that a particular activity or appearance is deviant? • Labeling theory o Labeling theorists maintain that an act is deviant when people notice it and then take action to label it as a violation and apply appropriate sanctions o As Becker’s statement suggests, labeling theorists are guided by two assumptions  Rules are socially constructed  These rules are not enforced uniformly or consistently o Labeling theorists maintain that whether an act is deviant depends on whether people notice it and, if they do notice, on whether they label it as a violation of a rule and subsequently apply sanctions o The critical variable in the study of deviance, then, is the social audience rather than the individual actor, since it is the social audience that eventually determines whether or not any episode or behavior is labeled deviant o Labeling theorists suggest that for every rule a social group creates, four categories of people exist  Conformists are people who have not violate the rules of a group and are treated accordingly  Pure deviants are people who have broken the rules and are caught, punished, and labeled as outsiders  Secret deviants are people who have broken the rules but whose violation goes unnoticed  The falsely accused are people who have not broken the rules but are treated as if they have o The falsely accused  Kai Erikson (1966) identified a particular situation in which people are most likely to be falsely accused of a crime: when the well-being of a country or a group is threatened  The defining activity can take the form of a witch hunt—a campaign to identify, investigate, and correct behavior that has been defined as undermining a group o The status of deviant  The status of deviant can be primary or secondary in character  Primary deviants include those people whose rule breaking is viewed as understandable, incidental, or insignificant in light of some socially approved status they hold  Secondary deviants include those whose rule breaking is treated as something so significant that it cannot be overlooked or explained away • Secondary deviants assume a master status of deviant, an identification that proves to be more important than most other statuses that person holds, such that he or she is identified first and foremost as a deviant • A master status of deviant is liked to an expected set of auxiliary statuses  Sociologist Howard Becker (1973) recommends that, when studying deviance, researchers pay particular attention to who has the power to define how others “will be regarded, understood, and treated” and to who has the power to escape detection and punishment  The most powerful have the ability to create laws and policies that focus attention on some crimes and not others  They also have the ability to escape detection and to avoid punishment if caught  Sociologists are just as concerned with those who make, apply, and avoid rules as with those who are caught violating them  Sociologists consider who had the power to define deviance, influence the public to accept their definitions, and apply the recommended sanctions • Obedience to authority o The firm commands of a person holding a position of authority over a person hearing those commands can elicit obedient responses o Stanley Milgram (1974) wanted to learn how people in positions of authority persuade other people to accept an authority’s definitions of deviance and to deliver sanctions • The constructionist approach o In an effort to understand how deviance is defined, sociologists take a constructionist approach to study the role of claims maker and claims-making activities o Regarding deviance, the constructionist approach focuses on the way specific groups, activities, conditions, or artifacts become defined as problems o In particular constructionists examine claims makers and claims-making activities  Claims makers are people who articulate and promote claims and who tend to gain in some way if the targeted audience accepts their claims as true  Claims-making activities are actions taken to draw attention to claims o The success of claims-making campaign depends on a number of factors, including access to the media, available resources, and the claims maker’s social status and skill at fund-raising, promotion, and organization o According to Joel Best, when constructionists study the process through which a group or behavior is defined as a problem to society, they focus on who makes the claims, whose claims are hears, and how audiences respond to them o In essence, constructionists examine how claims makers go about presenting a condition • Structural strain theory o Deviant behavior is a response to structural strain, a situation in which a disconnect exists between culturally valued goals and legitimate means for achieving those goals o According to Robert K. Merton (1957), structural strain is any situation in which  The valued goals of a society have unclear limits (that is, people are unsure whether they have achieved them)  People are unsure whether the legitimate means will allow them to achieve the goals  Legitimate opportunities for reaching the goals remain closed to a significant portion of the population o Structural strain in the US  Merton also maintains that structural strain exists in the US because the legitimate means of achieving wealth do not always lead to its achievement  Merton believed that people respond in identifiable ways to structural strain and that their response involves some combination of acceptance and rejection of the valued goals and means  He identified the following five responses  Conformity is the acceptance the cultural goals and the pursuit of those goals through legitimate means  Innovation is the acceptance of the cultural goals but the rejection of the legitimate means to achieve them  Ritualism involves the rejection of the cultural goals but a rigid adherence to the legitimate means of achieving them  Retreatism involves the rejection of both culturally valued goals and the legitimate means of achieving them  Rebellion involves the full or partial rejection of both the goals and the means of attaining them and the introduction of a new set of goals and means • Differential association and opportunities o Criminal behavior is learned; thus, criminals constitute a special type of conformist in that they conform to the norms of the groups with which they associate o Coined by sociologists Edwin H. Sutherland and Donald R. Cressey (1978), differential association explains how deviant behavior, especially juvenile delinquency, I learned o This theory states that exposure to criminal patterns and isolation from anticriminal influences put people at risk of turning criminal o These criminal contacts take place within deviant subcultures, groups that are part of the larger society but whose members share norms and values favoring violation of that larger society’s laws o Sociologist Terry Williams (1989) offers one example of how teenagers can make contact with a deviant subculture  He studied a group of teenagers who sold cocaine in Washington heights  Williams argues that the teenagers were susceptible to recruitment for two reasons  The saw little chance of finding high paying jobs  They perceived drug dealing as way to earn money to escape their circumstances  William’s findings suggest that once teenagers become involved in drug networks, they learn the skills to perform their jobs the same way everyone learns to do a job  His research suggests that criminal behavior is not simply the result of differential association with criminal ways—there are other factors at work, including illegitimate opportunity structures—social settings and arrangements that offer people the opportunity to commit particular types of crime o White collar crime consists of crimes committed by persons of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupations o Corporate crime is committed by a corporation through the way that it does business as it competes with other companies for market share and profits o How would Williams account for criminal behavior in an environment where none previously existed? For example in a sheltered suburb or the white collar crime? ← Chapter 8 • The extremes of Poverty and wealth in the world o Poverty is a situation in which people have great difficulty meeting basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing  Absolute poverty is a situation in which people lack the resources to satisfy the basic needs no person should be without  Relative poverty is measured not by some objective standard, but rather by comparing a person’s situation against that of others who are more advantaged in some way  Extreme wealth is the most excessive form of wealth, in which a very small proportion of people in the world have money o Core concept  When sociologists study systems of social stratification, they seek to understand how people are ranked on a scale of social worth and how that ranking affects life chances  Social stratification is the systematic process of ranking people on a scale of social worth such that the ranking affects life chances in unequal ways  Sociologists define life chances as the probability that an individual’s life will follow a certain path and will turn out a certain way o Social inequality describes a situation in which these valued resources and desired outcomes are distributed in such a way that people have unequal amounts and/or access to them • Ascribed versus achieved statuses o Ascribed statuses are social positions assigned on the basis of attributes people possess through no fault of their own—those acquired at birth, develop over time, or are possessed through no effort or fault of their own o Achieved statuses are attained through some combination of personal choice, effort, and ability o The various achieved and ascribed statuses hold social prestige, a level or respect or admiration for a status apart from any person who happens to occupy it o Esteem is the reputation that someone occupying an ascribed or achieved status has earned from people who know and observe the person o Caste and class systems  Real world stratification systems fall somewhere on a continuum between two extremes  A caste system is when people’s ascribed statuses figure most prominently in determine their life chances  A class system is when merit, talent, ability, or past performance figure is the most prominent in determining their life chances  A direct connection exists between caste rank and opportunities to exercise power, acquire wealth, and secure valued opportunities  People in lower castes are labeled as innately inferior in intelligence, morality, ambition, and many other traits  Conversely, people in higher castes consider themselves to be superior in such traits  In theory, the inequality that does exist results in different in talent, ability, and past performance in class systems • Social mobility o Within a class system, movement from one social class to another is termed social mobility o Types of social mobility  Horizontal  A change in social situation that does not involve a change in social status  Vertical  A change in a person’s social situation that involves a gain or loss of social status  Upward • A change in a person’s social situation that involves a gain in social status  Downward • A change in a person’s social situation that involves a loss of social status o Hertz found that children from high-income households receive more education and are healthier as adults, factors that contributed to them maintaining their economic status • Conceptualizing inequality o Sociologists draw upon the theoretical traditions of functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interaction to think about inequality—why it exists, who benefits, and how it in enacted in interaction with others o Functionalist view  Functionalists maintain that poverty exists because it contributes to overall order and stability in society and that inequality is the mechanism by which societies attract the most qualified people to the most functionally important occupations  Sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore wrote the classic functionalist argument about why social inequality exists  Social inequality—the unequal distribution of social rewards— is the device by which societies ensure that the best-qualified people fill the most functionally important occupations  Functional important is  The degree to which the occupation is functionally unique  The degree to which other occupations depend on the one is question  Davis and Moore concede that the stratification system’s ability to attract the most talented and qualified people is weakened when  Capable people are overlooked or denied access to the needed training  Elite groups control the avenues of training  Parents’ influence and wealth determine the status their children attain o The functions of poverty  Herbert Gans asked, “why does poverty exist?” he answered that poverty performs at least 15 functions  Fill unskilled and dangerous occupations  Provide low cost labor for many industries  Serve the affluent  Volunteer for drug trial tests  Sustain organizations and employees serving the poor  Purchase products that would otherwise be discarded o A conflict view of social inequality  Conflict theorists take issue with the premise that social inequality is the mechanism by which the most positions in society are filled  Melvin Tumin and Richard Simpson point out that some positions command large salaries and bring other valued rewards even though their contributions to society are questionable  Tumin and Si
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