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SOCY 105- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 19 pages long!)


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCY 105
Professor
Danny Swann
Study Guide
Midterm

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UMD
SOCY 105
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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SOCY105 Lecture Notes
2/4/16
Most important social problem in US in 2014
o Americans agreed government is biggest problem
SAT rates have declined since 2006
o American students think we are smarter than ever before
o Grades have gotten better in schools since 95’s
o Grade inflation
o Self interest of teachers
A social problem is a social condition or pattern of behavior that has
negative consequences for individuals, our social world and our physical
world
Many more problems today as compared to the past are related to
globalization the increase of flows (and the ease of these flows) of ideas and
products across boundaries. Problems are increasingly more global as
compared to regional
Structure-the organized relationships between the basic components of a
social system. Karl Mannheim believes social structure refers to the web of
interacting social forces from which have arisen the various modes of
observation and thinking. We are constrained by structure.
Power- the ability to control others, events or resources; to make happen
what one wants to happen in spite of obstacles, resistance, or opposition-
max weber
Agency- the capacity or ability of individuals to act independently and to
make their own free choices. The freedom to operate independently or
unconstrained by structure
Intersectionality- the intersection of 2 or more social problems; most often
refers to forms of discrimination or oppression.
Social construction-objective reality-acknowledging there is a phenomenon
happening through data or other forms of empirical evidence
Social construction of reality-refers to how the world is a largely if not
entirely a social creation, originating and evolving through everyday
thoughts and actions. Most meanings and constructs in society are contested
and fluid
The development of a social problem
o 1. The transformation of a private trouble into a public issue,
recognition that a particular problem is shared collectively by
many in society. Can be done in both a top down manner (rich are
taxed too much) or grassroots (women’s suffrage)
o 2. Formalizing the manner in which the social problems or
complaints generated by people are dealt with
o . In the event stage  doesn’t solve problem, activists, victims,
proponents etc begin to distrust the structure of stage 2
o 4. When a group of advocates no longer believe their issue can be
addressed by the structures of stage 2 they must decide either to
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work outside of the current existing system or change it enough so
it will accommodate their interests
Mill’s sociological imagination
o The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and
biography and the relations between the two within society- c.
wright mills
o 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 only by becoming aware
of those of all individuals in his circumstances
o Personal troubles occur within the character of the individual and
within range of his immediate relations with others; they have to
do with his self and with those limited areas of social life of which
he is directly and personally aware
o Public issues have to do with matters that transcend these local
environments of the individual and the range of his inner life
Miro to macro
o Macro-societal level analysis
o Micro-individual level on analysis
2/9/16
Economic sociology
The study of how the material conditions of life are produced and
reproduced through social processes
o The field of economic sociology can be separated into the sociology of
markets and consumption
Markets: views markets as socially constructed arenas where
repeated exchanges occur between buyers and sellers under a
set of formal and informal rules governing relations between
competitors, suppliers and customers
Dependent on governments, laws/policy/cultural
understanding
o The sociology of consumption situates consumption in the problem of
what consuming things means to people
One core idea is that consumption is about how people
constitute their lifestyles. Lifestyles can be constructed in
emulation of other groups or instead by the competition
between social groups for status
Another aspect is how moral and meanings affect what goods
can be bought and sold. Scholars have explored why some
products can and cannot be commoditized and how that has
evolved over time.
What are some problematic aspects of our economy?
o Potential economic social problems
Inequality
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