Sociology Ch 1: Theory and Method Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Sociology Ch 1: Theory and Method Deck (66):
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C. Wright Mills

(1959) observed that social sciences enable people to "translate private troubles into public issues." Sociologist who coined the phrase "sociological imagination."

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Sociology

The scientific study of human social life, groups, and societies. It’s not an absolute science.

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Structuration

The two-way process by which we shape our social world through our individual actions and by which we are reshaped by society. Human society is being constantly restructured.

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Globalization

The growth of world interdependence

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When did sociology become a systematic scientific study?

Late 1700s, early 1800s

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Auguste Comte

(1798-1857) Early sociological thinker and French philosopher. Invented the word "sociology" for his new field of science. Called the father of sociology. First to think of social interactions as a science.

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Social facts

The aspects of social life that shape our actions as individuals. (Durkheim)

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Émile Durkheim

(1858-1917) French scholar. Believed that to become a science, sociology had to study social facts. Saw society as a body of specialized parts. First sociologist to engage in sociological research. Came up with "social facts," like gender, race, and age. Had idea of organic solidarity. Came up with term anomie.

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Organic solidarity

The social cohesion that results from the various parts of a society functioning as an integrated whole. (Durkheim)

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Social constraint

The conditioning influence on our behavior by the groups and societies of which we are members. Social constraint was regarded by Durkheim as one of the distinctive properties of social facts.

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Anomie

Refers to a situation in which social norms lose their hold over individual behavior.

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Capitalism

Involves the production of goods and services sold to a wide range of customers. An economic system based on the private ownership of wealth, which is invested and reinvested in order to produce profit.

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Karl Marx

(1818-1883) German philosopher. Sought to explain the societal changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution. Targeted communism.

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Max Weber

(1864 – 1920) Influenced by Karl Marx. Rejected the materialist conception of history. Believed ideas and values had just as much effect on social change as economic factors. Thought cultural ideas and values help shape society and affect our individual actions. Most influential work was his study on bureaucracy.

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Symbolic interactionism

A theoretical approach in sociology which emphasizes the role of symbols and language as core elements of all human interaction.

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Harriet Martineau

(1802 – 1876) Born in England. Authored more than 50 books. Translated Comte's book "Positive Philosophy," introducing sociology to England. The first to turn a sociological on previously ignored issues such as marriage, children, domestic and religious life, and race relations. Believed research wasn't enough, but one must advocate for social change.

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W. E. P. Du Bois

(1868 – 1963) African American. Conflict theorist. Concept of "double consciousness," a way of talking about identity through the lens of the particular experiences of African Americans. Connected social analysis to social reform.

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Functionalism

A rival tradition of thought to symbolic interactionism. Originally pioneered by Comte. A theoretical perspective based on the notion that social events can best be explained in terms of the functions they perform – that is, contributions they make to the continuity of a society. In recent years it has declined in popularity due to functionalist thinkers unduly stressing factors leading to social cohesion at the expense of those producing division and conflict, the functional analysis attributes to society qualities they do not have, and functionalists often wrote as though societies have needs and purposes even know these concepts only make sense when applied to individuals.

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Manifest functions

The functions of a particular social activity that are known to and intended by the individuals involved in the activity.

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Robert K. Merton

Functionalist. Distinguish between manifest and latent functions. Believed a major part of sociological explanation consisted in uncovering latent functions of social activities and institutions.

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Latent functions

Functional consequences that are not intended or recognized by the members of a social system in which they occur.

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Marxism

A body of thought deriving its main elements from Karl Marx's ideas. Seen by its adherents as a combination of sociological analysis and political reform.

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Feminist theory

A sociological perspective that emphasizes the centrality of gender in analyzing the social world and particularly the experiences of women. There are many strands of feminist theory, but they all share the intention to explain gender inequalities in society and to work to overcome them.

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Feminism

Advocacy of the rights of women to be equal with men in all spheres of life. Feminism dates from the late 18th century in Europe, and feminist movements exist in most countries today.

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Postmodernism

The belief that society is no longer governed by historical progress. Postmodern society is highly pluralistic and diverse, with no "grand narrative" guiding its development. Some go as far as to argue there's no such thing as history.

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Jean Baudrillard

Important theorist of postmodernism. French philosopher. Believes that the electronic media has destroyed our relationship to our past and has created a chaotic, empty world.

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Middle-range theories

Theories that are specific enough to be tested directly by in empirical research, yet are sufficiently general to cover a range of different phenomena.

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Microsociology

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

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Macrosociology

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

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Science

Think use of systematic methods of empirical investigation, analysis of data, theoretical thinking, and the logical assessment of arguments, to develop a body of knowledge about a particular subject matter.

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Empirical investigation

Factual inquiry carried out in any area of sociological study.

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Factual questions

Questions that raise issues concerning matters of fact (rather than theoretical or moral issues).

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Comparative questions

Questions concerned with drawing comparisons between different human societies for the purposes of sociological theory or research.

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Developmental questions

Questions that sociologist pose when looking at the origins and path of development of social institutions from the past to the present.

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Theoretical questions

Questions posed by sociologists when seeking to explain a particular range of observed events. The asking of theoretical questions is crucial to allowing us to generalize about the nature of social life.

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Hypothesis

An idea or a guess about a given state of affairs, put forward as a basis for empirical testing.

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Data

Factual information used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation. Social science data often refer to individuals responses to survey questions.

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Ethnography

The firsthand study of people using participant observation or interviewing.

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Participant observation

A method of research widely used in sociology and anthropology, in which the researcher takes part in the activities of the group or community being studied. Also called fieldwork.

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Survey

A method of sociological research in which questionnaires are administered the population being studied.

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Pilot study

A trial run in survey research.

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Sampling

Studying a proportion of individuals or cases from a larger population as representative of that population as a whole.

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Sample

A small proportion of a larger population.

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Representative sample

A sample from a larger population that is statistically typical of that population.

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Random sampling

Sampling method in which a sample is chosen so that every member of the population has the same probability of being included.

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Experiment

A research method in which variables can be analyzed in a controlled and systematic way, either in an artificial situation constructed by the researcher or in naturally occurring settings.

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Comparative research

Research that compares one set of findings on one society with the same type of findings on other societies.

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Measures of central tendency

The ways of calculating averages.

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Correlation coefficient

A measure of the degree of correlation between variables.

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Mean

A statistical measure of central tendency, or average, based on dividing a total by the number of individual cases.

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Mode

The number that appears most often in a given set of data. This can sometimes be a helpful way of portraying central tendency.

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Median

The number that falls halfway in a range of numbers – a way of calculating central tendency that is sometimes more useful than calculating the mean.

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Standard deviation

A way of calculating the spread of a group of figures.

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Degree of dispersal

The range or distribution of a set of figures.

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Oral history

Interviews with people about events they witnessed or experienced at some point earlier in their lives.

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Triangulation

The use of multiple research methods as a way of producing more reliable empirical data than are available from any single method.

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Informed consent

The process whereby the study investigator informs potential participants about the risks and benefits involved in the research study. Informed consent must be obtained before an individual participates in a study.

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Debriefing

Following a research study, the investigator will inform study participants about the true purpose of the study, and will reveal any deception that happened during the study.

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Why is sociology considered to be science?

Sociology is a scientific endeavor according to the definition of science in this book.

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Describe four ways that sociology can help us in our lives.

First, it helps us develop a greater awareness and understanding of cultural differences. Second, we are better able to assess the results of public-policy initiatives. Third, we may become more self enlightenment. Fourth, it helps us develop a sociological eye towards social problems and develop rigorous research skills.

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What are all the different research methods?

• Ethnography- qualitative method. The study of people using participant and non-participant observations or interviewing. Harder to be objective.
• Surveys- quantitative method. A method in which questionnaires are distributed to the population being studied. Most common method.
• Experiments- A method in which variables can be measured in a controlled and systematic way.
• Secondary data analysis- Take a data set that’s already collected, and then manipulate it to test a hypothesis.
• Content analysis- qualitative method. Analyzing the content of something.
• Sampling-Studying a proportion of individuals that’s representative of a whole.

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Why is sociology important?

Helps you make informed decisions, understand diversity, and think critically.

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The Sociological Imagination

The ability to look beyond the individual as the cause for success and failure and see how one's society influences the outcome.

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Conflict perspetive

A theoretical framework that views society in a struggle for scarce resources. Ex: Marxism and Feminism

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George Herbert Mead

Father of symbolic interactionism.

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Dramaturgy

Goffman. Life is like a stage. The way we act with each other is like acting. Front stage and back stage self. We are constantly trying to manage other peoples impression of us- impression management.