[SOCI 1251] - Midterm Exam Guide - Ultimate 20 pages long Study Guide!

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6 Feb 2017
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SOCI 1251
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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Social Problems
What is Sociology?
Sociology: the scientific study of social life, social change, and the social causes and
consequences of human behavior
Sociologists ask questions such as:
o Why and how do people and groups interact with one another?
o How are different groups or societies organized?
o How do they deal with conflict and change?
o How do changes in one society affect other societies?
Sociologists study groups of all sizes
o Not really one person
o Dyads (e.g., a romantic couple)
o Small groups (e.g., a family)
o Large groups (e.g., the auto industry)
o Nations (e.g., the U.S.)
o The global society
Underlying assumptions of sociology
o People are social by nature
o People live most of their lives in groups
o Interactions between people and groups are reciprocal: each influences the other
Individuals influence a group and groups influence an individual
o Groups feature recurrent social patterns, ordered behavior, shared expectations, and
common understandings
o Conflict and change are inevitable
Not always going to be the same and this can cause conflicts
Sociology vs. Common Sense
o Common sense ideas seem sensible to any reasonable person
Taken for granted
Rarely questioned
o Sociology uses scientific methods to test ideas, including common sense assumptions
Scientific methods involve analyzing evidence in a way that is planned, objective,
systematic, and repeatable
Many common sense ideas are challenged by scientific evidence
Example about how common sense now is that you will live with someone before
you marry them
Evidence that people who live together first are more likely to get a
divorce
Questions sociologists do and don’t ask
o Sociologists don’t ask questions that require philosophical or moral judgments
Controversial issues will be addressed
o Sociologists do ask questions that can be studied objectively and scientifically
e.g., sociologists may study a group’s religious beliefs, but they do not make
judgments about whether the beliefs are right or wrong
More about how it influences their lives
o What they eat, if they are likely to divorce, if they are happy
Comparing the social sciences
o All study aspects of human behavior and social life, but each has a different focus:
Cultural anthropology: the culture or way of life of a society
Psychology: individual behavior and mental processes
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Political Science: government systems and power
Economics: economic conditions and how people organize, produce, and
distribute goods
Sociology: human interaction, groups, and social structure
What are Social Problems?
Social problem: a social condition that has negative consequences for individuals, our social
world or the physical world
Problems can threaten social institutions: *
o The family (domestic violence)
o Education (the rising cost of college tuition)
o The economy (unemployment/underemployment)
Problems can threaten the physical world: *
o Global warming, oil spills, toxic waste, urbanization
Not environmental affects but social affects
An objective and systematic approach to understanding the causes of social problems
Analysis of relationships between individuals and society
Analysis of the role of the social structural in problems and their solutions
Social problems become social problems when we perceive them to be
o Aren’t usually problems right when they start
Perspective provides insight to how a social condition may be defined as a problem by one
segment of society but not by another
o Social problems are in the eye of the beholder
Objective reality: comes from acknowledging that a particular social condition exists
Subjective reality: addresses how a problem becomes defined as a problem
How do things become defined as a social problem
o Going from not a problem to being a big influence on society
The Sociological Imagination
The sociological imagination:
o Understanding the link between personal experiences and our social world
Using the sociological imagination:
o Learn to distinguish between personal troubles and public issues
o Conditions from an individual viewpoint are things that only impact that person, but it
can grow into a larger problem overall
Personal troubles
o Occur within the character of the individual and her or his immediate relationships with
others
o Can be resolved by the individual; the individual has control over these issues
o Affects few people
o Someone who comes to school and party first year, then party too much and drop out
Could have gone to class more, looked for help, changed friends
Public issues could be beyond control
People think everyone has to go to college even if it is not right for you
Bachelor’s degree is the new high school degree
Addiction issues
Public issues
o Societal conditions that transcend individuals
o Lie beyond individuals’ control
o Widespread, affecting many people
o Involves a crisis in institutional arrangements
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