Sociology Key Applications (Ch.1-3)

The Big 3
Conflict Theory
Symbolic Interactionism
Functionalism
Conflict Theory
a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of groups that are competing for scarce resources (macro-level analysis)
Symbolic Interactionism
a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another (micro-level analysis)
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Functionalism
a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of various parts, each with a function that, when fulfilled, contributes to society’s equilibrium (macro-level analysis)
Influence of society on people’s lives
Society lies at the center of what we do and how we think
Goals of Science
1. To explain why something happens
2. To make generalizations
3. To predict
(4. To move beyond common sense)
Natural Science
the intellectual and academic disciplines designed to comprehend, explain, and predict events in our natural environments
Social Sciences
the intellectual and academic disciplines designed to understand the social world objectively by means of controlled and repeated observations
Karl Marx and social change
Believed the engine of human history is class conflict (struggle between capitalists and workers)
Max Weber and social change
Believed religion to be central force in social change (protestant ethic)
Auguste Comte
founder of sociology; believed sociologists would reform society, making it a better place to live
positivism
the application of the scientific approach to the social world
Herbert Spencer
2nd founder of sociology; social darwinism and survival of the fittest; lower and higher forms of society; wrong to help the poor
Jane Addams
social reform/justice; strove to bridge gap between the powerful and the powerless
W.E.B Du Bois
one of the founders of the NAACP
Harriet Martineau
lived long before Durkheim and Weber; studied U.S. social customs such as women not being allowed to vote, education, sex and slavery, and relations between white women and men in the South
C. Wright Mills
came up with sociological perspective; intersection of history and biography
Basic (pure) sociology
sociological research for the purpose of making discoveries about life in human groups, not for making changes in those groups
Applied sociology
the use of sociology to solve problems- from the micro level of classroom interaction and family relationships to the macro level of crime and pollution
Social Facts
Emile Durkheim’s term for a group’s patterns of behavior
Manifest Functions
the intended beneficial consequences of people’s actions
Latent Functions
unintended beneficial consequences of people’s actions
Macro-level Analysis
an examination of large-scale patterns of society (functionalists and conflict theorists)
Micro-level Analysis
an examination of small-scale patterns of society; such as how the members of a group interact (symbolic interactionalists)
Ethnocentrism
the use of one’s own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies, generally leading to a negative evaluation of their values, norms, and behaviors
Cultural Relativism
not judging a culture but trying to understand it on its own terms
Gestures
the ways in which people use their bodies to communicate with one another
Language
a system of symbols that can be combined in an infinite number of ways and can represent not only objects but also abstract thought; allows human experience to be cumulative, provides a social/shared past and future, allows shared, goal-directed behavior, has embedded within it ways of looking at the world
Examples of Cultural Lag
We can get instant diagnosis and recommended treatment from the internet, yet we still visit the doctor’s office. We no longer need a short school year as less people farm now, yet we still just go for 9 months.
Culture shock
the disorientation that people experience when they come in contact with a fundamentally different culture and can no longer depend on their taken-for-granted assumptions about life
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
language creates ways of thinking and perceiving; we can learn both the words and ways of looking at the world
Moral Holiday
specified times when people are allowed to break norms (ex: Mardi Gras)
Pluralistic Society
a society made up of many different groups (ex: America)
Williams’ core values of America
Achievement and success, individualism, hard work, efficiency and practicality, science and technology, material comfort, freedom, democracy, equality, group superiority
Positive Sanction
a reward or positive reaction for following norms, ranging from a smile to a material reward
Negative Sanction
an expression of disapproval for breaking a norm, ranging from a mild, informal reaction such as a frown to a formal reaction such as a prize or a prison sentence
5 emerging American values
leisure, self-fulfillment, physical fitness, youthfulness, and concern for the environment
Real Culture
the norms and values that people actually follow; as opposed to ideal culture
Ideal Culture
a people’s ideal values and norms; the goals held out for them
Material Culture
the material objects that distinguish a group of people, such as their art, buildings, weapons, utensils, machines, hairstyles, clothing, and jewelry
Nonmaterial Culture
a group’s way of thinking (including its beliefs, values, and other assumptions about the world) and doing (its common patterns of behavior, including language and other forms of interaction); also called symbolic culture
Natural Selection
those who are better adapted to the environment tend to survive and produce more offspring
Nature vs. Nurture
the debate between genetics and environment as the primary influence on the development of one’s personality and behaviors
Jack and Oskar
identical twin brothers separated at birth; case shows that both genetics and environment play a role in development b/c there are many similarities, as well as many differences between the two
Harlow Experiment
Raised baby monkeys in isolation with 2 artificial mothers, one with hard cage and food, one with soft felt and no food; concluded that infant-mother bonding is not the result of feeding, but of “intimate physical contact”
Looking-glass self
a term coined by Charles Horton Cooley to refer to the process by which our self develops through internalizing others’ reactions to us
Significant other
an individual who significantly influences someone else
generalized other
the norms, values, attitudes, and expectations of people “in general”; the child’s ability to take the role of the generalized other is a significant step in the development of a self
Mead’s Stages of Development
1. Imitation: children under 3, no sense of self, imitate others
2. Play: ages 3-6, play “pretend” others (princess, spiderman, etc)
3. Team Games: after about age 6 or 7, team games (“organized play”), learn to take multiple roles
Piaget’s Stages of Development
1. Sensorimotor stage: (birth-2 yrs) understanding is limited to direct contact (sucking, touching, etc), we can’t think or recognize cause and effect (we don’t know our actions cause something to happen)
2. Preoperational Stage: (2-7 yrs) develop the ability to use symbols, but still don’t understand common concepts or know how to take the role of the other
3. Concrete Operational Stage: (7-12 yrs) reasoning abilities are more developed but remain concrete; we are unable to talk about abstract concepts
4. Formal Operational Stage: (>12 yrs) capable of abstract thinking
Freud’s Theory of Personality
id: inborn basic drives (food, safety, attention, sex, etc)
superego: the conscience; the internalized norms and values of our social groups
ego: a balancing force between the id and the demands of society (superego)
Ekman’s Six Emotions
anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise
Agents of Socialization
Family/social class, neighborhood, religion, day care, school, peer groups, workplace
Social Inequality and Gender Status
giving privileges and obligations to one group of people while denying them to another; gender is a primary basis for social inequality
Kohn’s Study of Social Class and Punishment
Working-class parents expect full obedience and tend to use physical punishment; middle-class parents focus more on developing their children’s curiosity, self-expression, and self-control, and they are more likely to reason with their children than to use physical punishment
Mother-child bonding and day care
children who spend more time in day care have weaker bonds with their mothers and are less affectionate to them, they are also less cooperative with others and more likely to fight and be mean
Mass media influence on gender roles
give us stereotypical images; commercials show boys competing outside and girls cooperating indoors; action figures for boys and dolls for girls; women as dominant and rugged and women as sexy and submissive (and scantily clad)
Starting and Stopping points of development of self
childhood: birth to 12 years
adolescence: 13-17 years
Transitional adulthood (adultolescence): 18-29 years
Early Middle Years: 30-49 years
Late Middle Years: 50-65 years
Transitional Older Years: 65-74 years
Later Older Years: 75 years to death

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