SOC 101 Chapter 1 Notes

a way of learning about the world that combines logically constructed theory and systematic observation
the scientific study of human social relationships, groups, and societies
social embeddedness
the idea that economic, political, and other forms of human behavior are fundamentally shaped by social relationships
purpose of sociology
to understand and generate new knowledge about human behavior, social relations, and social institutions on a larger scale
sociological imagination
the ability to grasp the relationship between individual lives and the larger social forces that shape them
the ability of individuals and groups to exercise free will and to make social change
patterned social arrangements that have an effect on agency
critical thinking
the ability to evaluate claims about truth by using reason and evidence
accepted social behaviors and beliefs
a state of normlessness that occurs when people lose sight of the shared rules and values that give order and meaning to their lives
social statics
the way society is held together
social dynamics
the laws that govern social change
based on facts alone
C. Wright Mills
said uncovering relationship between personal troubles and public issues requires a sociological imagination
rules of critical thinking
1. be willing to ask any question, no matter how difficult 2. think logically and be clear 3. back up your arguments with evidence 4. think about the assumptions and biases – including your own – that underlie all studies 5. avoid anecdotal evidence 6. be willing to admit when you are wrong or uncertain about your results
development of sociological thinking
the scientific revolution, the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, urbanization: the population shift toward cities
french social theorist credited with founding modern sociology, naming it, and associating it with the scientific study of social relationships. Twin pillars of his sociology were study of social statics and social dynamics. Claimed his new science of sociology was positivist. Gave three stages to all sciences.
french scholar who set the field on its present course. laid out rules for conducting research, developed an important theory of social change. For him, sociology’s subject matter was social facts. Only social facts can explain other social facts. Principal concern was explaining the impact of modern society on social solidarity. He viewed that these bonds are based on similarity, which is mechanical solidarity, as opposed to organic solidarity.
Karl Marx
His central idea was that virtually all societies throughout history have been divided into economic classes, with one class prospering at the expense of others – all human history should be understood as the product of class conflict. Condemned capitalism’s exploitation of working people (proletariat) by the ownership class (bourgeoisie). Believed there would eventually be utopia. Means of production would belong to fewer and fewer hands. Thought social change would be revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary
Max Weber
german sociologist who said to explain what people do we must use a method called Verstehen (interpretive understanding) – imagine how subjects being studied might have perceived and interpreted the situation. modern societies were characterized by the development and growing influence of formal rationality. He studied bureaucracies – said they were formally rational, but at the same time irrational because it would strip people of their humanity and creativity
social facts
qualities of groups that are external to individual members yet constrain their thinking and behavior; ?
social solidarity
the bonds that unite the members of a social group
mechanical solidarity
bonds are based on similarity
organic solidarity
modern society functions as an interdependent organic whole, like a human body
the capitalist (or property-owning) class
the working class; wage workers
class conflict
the product of competition between social classes over the distribution of wealth and power in society
ownership class, bourgeoisie, exploits the working class, proletariat
historical materialism
a theory of socioeconomic development according to which changes in material conditions are the primary influence on how society and the economy are organized
social relationships
Weber’s Verstehen sought to explain them by having the sociologist/observer imagine how the subjects being studied might have perceived and interpreted the situation
formal organizations characterized by written rules, hierarchical authority, and a paid staff, intended to promote organizational efficiency
(structural) functionalism
seeks to explain social organization and change in terms of the roles performed by different social structures and institutions
conflict theory
seeks to explain social organization and change in terms of the conflict built into social relationships
symbolic interaction
argues that both the individual self and society as a whole are the product of social interactions based on language and other symbols
scientific method
a process of gathering empirical data, creating theories, and rigorously testing theories
ideas about the world that describe a possible relationship between social phenomena
inductive reasoning
starts from specific data, such as interviews or field notes, which may focus on a single community or event, and endeavors to identify larger patterns from which to derive more general theories
deductive reasoning
the process of taking an existing theory and logically deducing that if the theory is accurate, we should discover other patterns of behavior consistent with it
qualitative research
highlights data that cannot be quantified (or converted into numbers), focusing instead on generating in-depth knowledge of social life, institutions, and processes
quantitative research
gathers data that can be quantified and offers insight into patterns of social behavior and social attitudes
scientific theories
answer questions about how and why scientific observations are as they are
an idea that describes a number of things that have something in common
operational definition
definition of a concept that allows it to be observed and measured
a concept or its empirical measure that can take on multiple values
quantitative variables
factors we can count
qualitative variables
variables that express a quality and do not have a numerical value
the degree to which two or more variables are associated with one another
causal relationship
a relationship between two variables in which the one is the cause of the other
spurious relationship
a correlation between two or more variables that is actually the result of something else that is not being measured, rather than a causal link between the variables themselves
negative correlation
one variable increases as the other decreases
principle of falsification
the principle, advanced by philosopher Karl Popper, that a scientific theory must lead to testable hypotheses that can be disproved if they are wrong
the ability for a theory to be disproven; the logical possibility for a theory to be tested and proven false
the concepts and measurements accurately represent what they claim to represent
the extent to which the findings are consistent with different studies of the same phenomenon or with the same study over time
a characteristic of results that systematically misrepresent the full dimensions of what is being studied
ability to represent the object of study accurately
value neutral
personal beliefs and opinions do not influence the course of research
the repetition of a previous study using a different sample or population to verify or refute the original findings
research methods
specific techniques for systematically gathering data
a questionnaire or interviews administered to a group of people in person or by telephone or e-mail to determine their characteristics, opinions, and behaviors
a portion of the larger population selected to represent the whole
the whole group of people studied in sociological research
random sample
a sample in which everyone in the population of interest has an equal chance of being chosen for the study
a method of research that uses in-depth and often extended study to describe and analyze a group or community
a detailed conversation designed to obtain in-depth information about a person and his or her activities
leading questions
a question that solicits a particular response
research techniques for investigating cause and effect under controlled conditions
independent (experimental) variable
a variable that causes changes in another variable
dependent variable
a variable that changes as a result of changes in another variable
statistical data
quantitative information obtained from government agencies, businesses, research studies, and other entities that collect data for their own or others’ use
document analysis
examines written materials or cultural products: previous studies, newspaper reports, court records, campaign posters, digital reports, films, pamphlets and other forms of text or images produced by individuals, government agencies, or private organizations
Nuremberg code
a collection of ethical research guidelines developed to help prevent such atrocities from ever happening again
cultural representations of social realities
a particular kind of symbolic system, composed of verbal, nonverbal, and sometimes written representations that are vehicles for conveying meaning
the beliefs, norms, behaviors, and products common to the members of a particular group
material culture
the physical objects that are created, embraced, or consumed by society that help shape people’s lives
nonmaterial culture
the abstract creations of human cultures, including ideas about behavior and living
particular ideas that people accept as true
the common rules of a culture that govern the behavior of people belonging to it
fairly weak norms that are passed down from the past, whose violation is generally not considered serious within a particular culture
strongly held norms, violation of which would seriously offend the standards of acceptable conduct of most people within a particular culture
powerful mores, the violation of which is considered serious and even unthinkable
codified norms or rules of behavior
the abstract and general standards in society that define ideal principles, like those governing notions of right and wrong
ideal culture
the values, norms, and behaviors that people in a given society profess to embrace
real culture
the values, norms, and behaviors that people in a given society actually embrace and exhibit
cultural inconsistency
a contradiction between the goals of ideal culture and the practices of real culture
that which is taken for granted as “natural” or “normal” in society, though it may be socially constructed
a worldview whereby one judges other cultures by the standards of one’s own culture
etic perspective
the perspective of the outside observer
emic perspective
the perspective of the insider
cultural relativism
a worldview whereby we understand the practices of another society sociologically, in terms of that society’s own norms and values and not our own
cultures that exist together with a dominant culture but differ from it in some important respects
high culture
music, theater, literature, and other cultural products that are held in particularly high esteem in society
popular culture
the entertainment, culinary, and athletic tastes shared by the masses
social class reproduction
the way class status is reproduced from generation to generation
cultural capital
wealth in the form of knowledge, ideas, verbal skills, and ways of thinking and behaving
the internalization of objective probabilities and the expression of those probabilities as choice
a commitment to respecting cultural differences rather than submerging them into a larger, dominant culture
rape culture
a social culture that provides an environment conducive to rape
global culture
a type of culture – some would say US culture – that has spread across the world in the form of Hollywood films, fast-food restaurants, and popular music heard in virtually every country
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