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aims to understand behavior by studying how the groups to which people belong influence attitudes and actions
-such groups include: society, social class, race, ethnicity, sex, occupations and professions, age cohort, educational level, military background, family type
-sociology locates the behavior of individuals in a larger CONTEXT (all information; surrounding circumstances)
-peoples actions are influenced by their social environment


Industrial Revolution and Sociology

the origins of sociology connect to the industrial revolution
-make stuff by machine; mass production
-social changes motivated people to attempt to scientifically study society
-science + technology grows
-rise of capitalism (cash economy)


Division of Labor

The specialization of work tasks by means of which different occupations are combined within a production system. All societies have at least some rudimentary form of division of labor, especially between the tasks allocated to men and those performed by women. With the development of industrialism, the division of labor became vastly more complex than in any prior type of production system. In the modern world, the division of labor is international in scope.


Social Construct

-a widely accepted idea or practice which is taken for granted
-feels "natural" but isn't
ex: pink blanket= feminine; for girls
or to gaze- if you stare at someone to long it is weird, its a social construct who said it was weird?
-An idea or practice that a group of people agree exists and that is maintained over time because people take its existence for granted



the process through which people internalize norms and values and achieve a distinct sense of self


Social Structure

relatively stable patterns of social behavior that gives shape to our lives as evidenced by roles, groups and institutions (family, gov't, economy, education)
(regularities or patterns in how people behave in their relationships with one another)



a well substantiated explanation for what is observed



expectations for behavior associated with a social position


Theoretical Perspectives

an orientation or approach



social phenomena and practices are understood in terms of how they contribute to a stable society
(perspective based on the notion that social events can best be explained in terms of the functions they perform)
ex: higher education
-increase knowledge
-provides vocational training


Manifest Functions

intended, recognized consequences of an institution or an aspect of society
(the functions of a type of social activity that are known to and intended by the individuals involved in the activity)
-Robert Merton's idea


Latent Functions

unconscious or unintended results that may reflect hidden purposes
ex: debt in higher education
-Robert Merton's idea


Conflict Theory

emphasizes power differences between groups as critical to understanding society



An economic system based on the private ownership of wealth, which is invested and reinvested in order to produce profit
-Karl Marx studies this


Karl Marx

-studies capitalism
-classes crash in pursuit of their own interests. The workers (proletariat class) and the owners of capital (bourgeoisie class) have conflicting interests. (workers and owners have different aims)
-marx predicted he eventual result would be social change


Symbolic Interactionism Perspective

social life is possible because humans can communicate via symbols- words, gestures
-people construct the social world through these everyday interactions
-George Herbert Mead
-ones sense of self in childhood develops through interactions with others
-a theoretical approach in sociology developed by George Herbert Mead that emphasizes the role of symbols and language as core elements of all human interaction


Emile Durkheim

-behavior understood within a larger social context
-social solidarity (social bonds)
-anomie- a social disorder characterized by a lack of purpose and alienation from society


Social Solidarity

according to Émile Durkheim, the social cohesion that results from the various parts of a society functioning as an integrated whole
-(social bonds)



a concept first brought into wide usage in sociology by Durkheim that refers to a situation in which social norms lose their hold over individual behavior
- a social disorder characterized by a lack of purpose and alienation from society


Max Weber

-rationalization- as part of the modern world
-bureaucracy- A type of organization marked by a clear hierarchy of authority and the existence of written rules of procedure and staffed by full-time, salaried officials.



a type of organization marked by a clear hierarchy of authority and the existence of written rules of procedure and staffed by full-time, salaried officials.



a concept used by Max Weber to refer to the process by which modes of precise calculation and organization, involving abstract rules and procedures, increasingly come to dominate the social world



The study of human behavior in contexts of face-to-face interaction



The study of large-scale groups, organizations, or social systems


Sociological Imagination

a knowledge of historical and social situations (context) is necessary to understand individual experiences
-Wright C. Mills
-The application of imaginative thought to the asking and answering of sociological questions. Someone using the sociological imagination "thinks himself away" from the familiar routines of daily life.