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Flashcards in Class 1 Deck (20)
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Define sociology

The study of society and the individual in relationship to society


Macro sociology

Society as a whole
Large scale
Social structures
Believe that Individual positions within social structures determine behaviour


Micro sociology

Believe that human behaviour is the result of individual interpretations

Focuses on the smallest building blocks of society and builds up to larger social structures
Begins with one on one interactions
Bottom up view


What are the sociological theories

Functionalism (structural functionalism) = always macro

Conflict theory = always macro

Symbolic interactionism = all micro all the time

Social constructionism = both macro and micro

Rational choice / social exchange theory = always micro

Feminist theory = both macro and micro


Functionalism (structural functionalism)

One of the oldest theories

Views society almost as it was a biological organism where all parts exist for a balance or homeostasis within society and everything has a role to play in society (we’re all in the same boat)

Compares society to a living organism

Manifest function = advertised or intended or obvious
Latent function = not advertised it’s unintended or less recognizable


Conflict theory

One of the older theories
Points out within society some people or groups have more resources or others and they tend to fight to keep hold of the resources or power they have (not everything is equal)
Men vs women
Ethnic vs ethnic


Dynamic equilibrium

Parts of a society work together to maintain dynamic equilibrium (like homeostasis)



Who is the major founder of functionalism

Emile Durkheim
- considered a founder of modern sociology and noticed it separate from psych and politics

- dynamic equilibrium results in common consciousness that exerts a strong coercive influence on individual actors (we all have the same idea)

- dysfunctions in society are caused by anomie (NO NORMS) (not all on the same page) and you get different subgroups of all doing different things which in his mind is like cancer and bad news


Conflict theory

Society is a competition for limited resources
Individuals and groups compete for social political and material power

A conflict theory would explain the differences within society as historical differences

Primarily concerned with imbalances in wealth, power, and prestige amount major groups in society and how these imbalances have competitive advantages for some over others

Imbalances create class struggle


Who is the major founder of conflict theory

Karl Marx
- Considered a founder of modern sociology
- Capitalism is his main focus; profit, wealth, wages, inequality
“Carl show me the money Marx”

Max Weber
- considered a founder of modern sociology
- more then one source of conflict not just income, several factors can moderate people reactions to inequality
- rationalization and bureaucracies
“The web guy”
“If you have two people of the working class then you have to consider other areas of conflict such as ethnicity, gender, religion etc”


Class consciousness versus

common consciousness versus

false consciousness

Common consciousness = we are all in the same boat (Durkheim)

Class consciousness = a social condition in which members of a subordinate social class are actively aware of themselves as a group that is exploited by the wealthy (Marx)

False consciousness = lack of awareness; members of a subordinate class see themselves as individuals instead of an exploited group (Marx)


Who is George Herbert mead

Founder of social psychology

His ideas form foundation for the symbolic interactionist school of thought


What is Meads self development stages

Preparatory stage (0-2)
- children learn to use language and symbols but only mimic those around them

Play stage (2-6)
- children learn to play the roles of others in pretend games such as playing doctor

Game stage (7+)
- children begin to understand the generalized other, the generalized attitude of a large social group
- idea of abstract rules

The first thing that develops is the ME and a response to that social self which is called the I

The me develops through interactions with others and consists of our interpretations of how the generalized other views is

The I arises in response to the me. The I is ones personal identify and individuality

To Mead the actual self consists of the balance of I and Me
Thinking is discussion between I and Me


Me vs I

Me = mirror image of environment

I = individual

(Me comes first)


Symbolic interactionism

Interaction between two things

People act towards things based on meaning
Meanings are derived from social interactions and adapted through individual interpretation

Symbol = a physical thing that stands for a mental thing

Human life if lived in the symbolic domain

Symbols are culturally derived social objects that have shared meanings, which are created and maintained through social interactions


What is the looking glass self

Symbolic interactionism

The self is shaped by others and interactions with others and perception of others

Individuals shape themselves on this perception, tending to confirm expectations

The people you interact with causes you to respond in a certain way (parents see you as an angel, ex sees you as a devil)


Who came up with the looking glass self

Charles Cooley
Symbolic interactionist


Social constructionism

Reality is not inherent but socially constructed

Social constructs = anything that appears natural or obvious to the people that accept it but is largely the invention of a given society
(Childhood is a social construct)

Builds on symbolic interactionism but now with macro levels as well


Rational choice/social exchange

Rational choice theory
- individuals make decisions by comparing the costs and the benefits
- the goal is to maximize benefits and reduce costs
- borrowed from economic theory

Social exchange theory
- individuals respond to rewards and punishments
- the goal is to maximize rewards and reduce punishments
- borrowed from behavioural psychology


Feminist theory

A variety of perspectives on the treatment of women vs men in society

3 waves
- 1 = women’s suffrage
-2 = social liberties
- 3 = intersectionality (how different identities interact)