Chapter 6

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Published on 16 Jun 2011
School
UTSC
Department
Sociology
Course
SOCA02H3
Professor
Ch 6- Bureaucracies
Beyond Individual Motives
The Social Origins of Evil
1.Norms of solidarity demand conformity. We form relationships with friends, lovers, spouses, teammates,
and comrades-in-arms, we develop shared ideas or norms of solidarity about how we should behave
toward them to sustain the relationships. It is the power of norms of solidarity that helps us understand
how soldiers are able to undertake many unpalatable actions
2.Structures of authority tend to render people obedient. Most people find it difficult to disobey
authorities because they fear ridicule, ostracism, and punishment. As soon as we are introduced to a
structure of authority, we are inclined to obey those in power.
3.Bureaucracies are highly effective structures of authority. A bureaucracy is a large, impersonal
organization comprising many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. Efficiency means
achieving the bureaucracys goals at the least cost. We commonly think individual motives prompt our
actions, and for good reason. Our deeply held emotions partly govern our behaviour.
NETWORKS
Network Analysis
We are enmeshed in overlapping sets of social relations or social networks
A social network is a bounded set of individuals linked by the exchange of material or emotional
resources, everything from money to friendship
Social networks may be formal (defined in writing) or informal (defined in practise)
Each of your network members is linked to other people
oThis is what connects you to people you have never met, creating a small world that extends far
beyond your personal network
The units of analysis or nodes in a network can be individuals, groups, organizations and even countries
Finding a Job
its not what you know but who you know
Many people learn about important events, ideas, and opportunities from their social networks
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Mere acquaintances are more likely to provide useful information about employment opportunities than
friends or family members because people who are close to you typically share overlapping networks
Mere acquaintances are likely to be connected to diverse networks
Urban Networks, Scientific innovation, and the Spread of HIV/AIDS
According to Tonnies, a community is marked by intimate and emotionally intense social ties, whereas a
society is marked by impersonal relationships held together largely by self-interest
One advantage of network analysis is its focus on peoples actual social relationships rather than their
abstract attributes, such as their age, gender, or occupation
Networks also shape scientific influence because scientists in a social network tend to share similar
scientific beliefs and are thus more open to some influences than others are
Concrete social networks track the spread of disease
The Building Blocks of Social Networks
Most elementary network is the dyad, a social relationship between two nodes or social units (people,
firms, organizations, countries)
A triad is a social relationship among three nodes
In a dyadic relationship such as a marriage, both partners tend to be intensely and intimately involved
The dyad needs both partners to live but to die it needs only one to opt out
In a dyadic relationship, the partners must assume full responsibility for all that transpires
When a third person (or other social unit) enters the picture, therby creating a triad, relationships tend
to be less intimate and intense
oThe triad restricts individuality by allowing one partner to be constrained for the collective good
The introduction of a third person makes possible a completely new set of social dynamics that are
structurally impossible in a dyadic relationship
GROUPS
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Love and Group Loyalty
Group loyalty is often more powerful than romantic love
Varieties of Group Experience
Social groups comprise one or more networks of people who identify with one another and adhere to
defined norms, roles, and statuses
we usually distinguish social groups from social categories, people who share similar status but do not
identify with one another
in primary groups, norms, roles, and statuses are agreed on but are not put in writing
social interaction creates strong emotional ties
the family is the most important primary group
secondary groups are larger and more impersonal than primary groups
social interaction in secondary groups creates weaker emotional ties
it results in most group members having at most a passing acquaintance with one another
Conformity and Groupthink
conformity is an integral part of life, and primary groups generate more pressure to conform than do
secondary groups
strong social ties create emotional intimacy
they also ensure that primary group members share similar attitudes, beliefs and information
conformity ensures group cohesion
group pressure can overturn individual conviction and result in conformity
the likelihood of conformity increases as group size increases to three or four members
as group cohesiveness increases, so does the likelihood of conformity
social status affects the likelihood of conformity
culture matters
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Document Summary

The social origins of evil: norms of solidarity demand conformity. We form relationships with friends, lovers, spouses, teammates, and comrades-in-arms, we develop shared ideas or norms of solidarity about how we should behave toward them to sustain the relationships. It is the power of norms of solidarity that helps us understand how soldiers are able to undertake many unpalatable actions: structures of authority tend to render people obedient. Most people find it difficult to disobey authorities because they fear ridicule, ostracism, and punishment. As soon as we are introduced to a structure of authority, we are inclined to obey those in power: bureaucracies are highly effective structures of authority. A bureaucracy is a large, impersonal organization comprising many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. Efficiency means achieving the bureaucracy"s goals at the least cost. We commonly think individual motives prompt our actions, and for good reason. Our deeply held emotions partly govern our behaviour.