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SYG2010-0008: Social ProblemsExam 1 Study GuideSociology- What is it? The study of human society and social interactions.Culture, social institutions, social structure: - Social structure: framework of society that surrounds us; consists of the ways that people and groups are related to one another.- Social institutions: major arenas of social life in which durable routines and patterns of behavior take place.- Culture: the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects passed from one generation to the next.Sociological perspective on norms violators - Discrepancy between social standards and reality- Examines violations of the social norm: deviant behavior- Assumes that norm violators are symptoms of social problems, not the social problemSociological imagination: ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society.How did Mills characterize the Sociological imagination: Connect private problems to public issues, shift focus to a larger social context, evaluates the connection between personal troubles and public issues.Social problem: condition that undermines the health of some or all members of society, usually a matter of public controversy.How do issues develop into social problems? Out of an issue people identify as most serious, a visible problem.Objectivist vs. Constructionist- Objective: the existence of a social condition. - Subjective: based on values and norms, condition is harmful to society. Sociological Theories - Theory: Sets of logically related statements that attempt to describe, explain, or predict social events.- Theoretical approach: interpret social reality in a distinct way by giving us a framework for organizing our observationsGrand theoretical approaches in sociology: Functionalist: society is a stable, orderly system composed of a number of interrelated parts are social institutions (such as families, the economy, education, and the government.)- Manifest function: the intended and recognized consequences of an activity or social process.- Latent function: the unintended consequences of an activity or social process that are hidden and remain unacknowledged by participants.Conflict: based on the assumption that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources (certain groups are privileged while others are disadvantaged through the unjust use of political, economic, or social power.)- Marxism: members of the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie) control the means of production (ex: the land, tools, factories, and money for investment) and are at the top of a system of social stratification that affords them different lifestyle and life chances from the members of the working class (the proletariat), who must sell their labor power (ability to work) to capitalists. In the process, the capitalists derive excessive profit from the workers’ labor.Symbolic interactionism: focuses on a micro level analysis of how people act toward one another and make sense of their daily lives and views society as the sumof the interactions among individuals and groups.Macro vs. Micro: a way that sociology breaks down is into macro/large and micro/small analyses. Sociologists make connections between personal and public issues in society through micro-level and macro-level analysis.- Macrosociology: analysis of social life that focuses on broad features of society, such as social class and the relationships of groups to one another- Microsociology: analysis of social life that focuses on what people do when they are in one another’s presencePerson-Blame Approach: points to cultural deprivation and blames social problems on individuals. System-Blame Approach: Social Structure as the Basic Unit of AnalysisThe Role of Sociology in Social Problems: a tool for gaining an objective understanding of social problems. Methods for studying social problems:- Surveys and interviews- Field studies- Experiments- Secondary data analysisSociety’s response to social problems:- Conservatives: seek to limit the scope of societal change; focus is on shortcomings of individuals, not society.- Liberals: favor more sweeping change in society; see problems in the organization of society.- Radicals: support policies that go beyond mere reform, can be either ultra liberal or ultra conservative.Claims-making: “the process of trying to convince people that a particular issue orsituation should be defined as a social problem.”Poverty and WealthSocial stratification: society’s system of ranking categories of people in a hierarchy.Social class: category of people within the hierarchy of stratification who have similar access to resources and opportunities.Income: receipt of money or goods over a particular accounting period.Wealth: net value of a person’s assets minus their debt. Income inequality in the US- Distribution: The top 10% of U.S. residents acquire 50.5 percent of the income; the bottom 90 percent receives the other 49.5- Patterns: By 2010, income inequality was back to the same levels as it had been in the1920s.Wealth inequality in the US- Distribution: even less equally than income.The Scope of the Problem:- Who are the rich? - Who are the poor? Demographics and patterns of the poor (age, gender, race, region):- Age: People 18 and younger.- Gender: Woman. - Race: more whites live in poverty (16 million), but a smaller percentage of whites (9.2%) compared to other racial groups are poor.- Region: the South and West have higher rates of people in poverty.The feminization of poverty: the trend by which women represent an increasing proportion of the poor.Classifications of the poor: - Working poor: working full time for most of the year, but remaining below the poverty line.- Non-working poor: not working or part-time workers in poverty.Poverty: deprivation of resources that is life threatening.Problems with the poverty line: outdated and that 1960 standards are inadequate.Structural: sociologists have found that there are structural explanations for this disproportionate distribution. (Ex: the govt.) Reasons for poverty patterns: Blaming the victim: finding the cause of a social problem in the behavior of people who suffer from it.Gender InequalitySex: biological distinction, male or female. Gender: social and cultural differences, masculine or feminine.Sexism: the belief that one sex is superior to another.Patriarchy: male-dominated, male-identified, and male-centered society-

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FSU SYG 2010 - Exam 1 Study Guide

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