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U of A SOCI 2013 - Exam 1 Key Terms

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Chapter 1:Conflict theory- - Emphasizes the role of coercion and power, a person’s or group’s ability to exercise influence and control over others, in producing social order- Emphasizes strife and friction- Derived from Karl Marx- Pictures society as fragmented into groups that compete for social and economic resources- Social order is maintained by domination, with power in the hands of those with the greatest political, economic, and social resources- MacrosociologyDebunking- - Peter Berger- Refers to looking behind the facades of everyday life- Question the actions and ideas that are usually taken for granted- Sociologists look at the behind-the-scenes patterns and processes that shape the behavior they observe in the social world- Ex: schooling- most people think that education is primarily a wayto learn and get ahead; sociologists conclude that more than just learning takes place; cliques, expectations of society, race and class conflictsDiversity- - Broad concept that includes studying group differences in society’s opportunities, the shaping of social institutions by different social factors, the formation of group and individual identity, and the process of social change- Includes the study of cultural orientations- Global, not just localEmpirical-- Sociological conclusions are based on careful and systematic observations- Observations must be gathered and recorded vigorously- Reexamine assumptions and conclusions constantlyEnlightenment-- Huge influence on the development of modern sociology- Age of Reason- Characterized by faith in the ability of human reason to solve societies problemsFeminist theory-- Developed to understand the status of women in society and with the purpose of using that knowledge to better women’s livesFunctionalism-- Interprets each part of society in terms of how it contributes to the stability of the whole- Conceptualizes society as more than the sum of parts- Ex: the family as an institution serves roles- reproduction, support, enrichment of individual experiences- MacrosociologyIssues-- Affect large numbers of people and have their origins in the institutional arrangements and history of society- Ex: Organic metaphor-- View of society as an organism- A system of interrelated functions and parts that work together to create the whole- Constantly evolving society, like an organismPositivism-- Auguste Comte- System of thought in which scientific observation and description is considered the highest form of knowledge as opposed to religious dogma or poetic inspiration - The modern scientific method grew out of thisSocial change- - The alteration of society over time- Society is not fixed- Humans are not seen as passive recipients of social expectations- Society is stable but constantly changingSocial Darwinism-- Application of Darwinian thought to society- Survival of the fittest is the driving force of social evolution as well- Evolving society from simple to complex in a process of adaptation to the environment- Laissez-faire approach because they thought society would follow its natural evolutionary course toward perfection- Conservative mode of thought Social facts-- Emile Durkheim- Used to indicate those social patters that are external to individuals- Ex: customs and social values - Not explained by biology or psychology, but are the proper subjectof sociologySocial institution-- Established and organized systems of social behavior with a particular and recognized purpose- Ex: family, religion, marriage, government, and the economy- Confront individuals at birth and transcend individual experience, but still influence individual behaviorSocial interaction-- Behavior between two or more people that is given meaning- People react and change depending on the actions and reactions of othersSocial structure-- The organized pattern of social relationships and social institutions that together constitute society- Refers to the fact that social forces not always visible to the humaneye guide and shape human behavior- Choices are largely conditioned by ones location in societySociological imagination-- C. Wright Mills- The ability to see the societal patterns that influence the individual as well as groups of individuals- The task of sociology was to understand the relationship between individuals and the society in which they live- Ex: personal grooming; seeing yourself in the mirror as you think society will see youSociology-- The study of human behavior in society- All human behavior occurs in a social context- Scientific way of thinking about society and its influence on human groupsSymbolic interaction theory-- Consider immediate social interaction to be the place where society exists- Because of the human capacity for reflection, people give meaning to their behavior and this is how they interpret the different behaviors, events, or things that are significant for sociological study- Relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop and rely on inthe process of social interaction- Emphasizes face-to-face interaction - Microsociology Troubles-- Privately felt problems that spring from events or feelings in a persons life- Ex: unemploymentVerstehen-- German word- Refers to understanding social behavior from the point of view of those engaged in it - In order to understand social behavior one had to understand the meaning that a behavior had for people- Ex: social action, putting a bumper sticker on your car that states pride in US military troopsChapter 2:Beliefs-- Shared ideas held collectively by people within a given culture about what is true- Part of what binds people together- The basis for many norms and values of a given culture- Ex: in US- Christianity and democracy- Guides people through their livesCounterculture-- Subcultures created as a reaction against the values of the dominant culture- Reject the dominant cultural values, often for political or moral reasons; develop practices that defy the norms and values of the dominant group- Nonconformity- Ex: youth culturesCultural capital-- Refers to the cultural resources that are deemed worthy and that give advantages to groups possessing such capital - Pierre Bourdieu- Those that possess cultural capital use it to improve their social and economic position in society- Ex: relationship between cultural capital and grades in school- more capital means able to do better and be more competitive in admissions and labor fieldCultural diffusion-- The transmission of cultural


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