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Social sciences

Any study that studies humans and the world around them (geography, sociology, etc.)
Or
Disciplines that study human social behavior or institutions and the functions of human society in scientific manner

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Sociology

Studies human society and social behavior
-social interaction
-social phenomena
-focuses on complex, more advanced societies

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Social interaction

How people relate to one another and influence each other's behavior

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Social phenomena

Observable facts or events that involve human society

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Anthropology

Comparative study of past and present cultures

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Things to know about anthropology

-Focuses on simple, less advanced present cultures

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Psychology

Study of behavior and mental processes

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Social psychology

Study of how the social environment affects an individual's behavior and personality

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Economics

Analyzes the choices people make to satisfy their needs and wants

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Things to know about economics

-processes by which goods and services are produced, distributed and consumed
-connection to sociology: effects of certain economic factors on groups

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Political science

Examination of the principles organization and operation of government

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History

Studies the people and events of the past
-sociologists use the past to try to explain current social behaviors and attitudes

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Thinking like a sociologist
*impact of the Internet

-helped create new form of isolation
-broadens horizons and access to more info

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The sociological perspective

a. Looking at social life in a scientific, systematic way rather than depending on a common-sense explanation usually found in the media
b. look at the hidden meanings behind human actions
c. Behavior is influenced by social factors and that behavior is learned from others
d. "Viewing the world from others' eyes"

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The sociological imagination (c. Wright mills)

a. Ability to see the connection between the larger world and your personal life

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Theories

Explanations of the relationships among particular phenomena

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Theoretical perspectives

Set of assumptions about the nature of things

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Functionalist perspective

a. View society as a set of interrelated parts that work together to produce a stable social system
b. Society is held together through consensus (agreement)
c. Topics of interest: functions of family, religion, education, and economy
d. Look at an elements positive consequences for society as a whole
e. Dysfunction
f. Manifest function
g. Latent function

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Dysfunction

Negative consequence an element has for the stability of the social system
-disrupts the working of society and creates social problems
-can lead to social change (things learn to adapt and adjust)

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Manifest function

Intended and recognized consequence of some element of society
*automobile:speedy transportation

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Latent function

Unintended and unrecognized consequence of an element of society
*automobile:gain social standing

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Conflict perspective

a. Focus on the forces in society that promote competition and change
b. Examine how those who have power control those who don't
c. Interested in violent conflict and nonviolent competition
*men and women, age groups, racial and ethnic backgrounds
d. Topics of interest: decision-making in the family, relationships among racial groups and disputes among workers and employers
e. Basis of social conflict: conflict over scarce resources
f. Feminist perspective

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Basis of social conflict

Competition over scarce resources
-compete for power and wealth
-dominant groups establish rules and procedures that protect their interests

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Feminist perspective

-view society as a sex/gender system in which men dominate women
-things considered masculine are more highly valued
-reinforced by social institutions of family, religion and education

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Interactionist perspective

a. Focuses on how individuals interact with one another in society
b. Interested in meanings that individuals attach to their own actions and the actions of others
c. Topics of interest: child development, relationships within small groups and mate selection
d. Particularly interested in the role that symbols play in our lives
e. Symbolic interaction
*meaning
*language
*thought

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Symbol

Anything that represents something else

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Symbolic interaction

How people use symbols when interacting
-texting

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Macrosociology

Study of large-scale systems or society as a whole
-includes the analysis of long-term processes, such as industrialization
-functionalists and conflict perspectives

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Microsociology

Looking at small-group settings and the face-to-face interactions among group members
-used to measure the impact of teacher expectations on student achievement
-interactionists perspective

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Globalization

Development of economic, political and social relationships that stretch worldwide (modern analysis)