Sociology Exam 1 Flashcards Preview

Commonwealth 2nd Quarter > Sociology Exam 1 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Sociology Exam 1 Deck (46):


is a science or study of social groups; the study of forms of social groups or modes of an organization, the processes, which tend to maintain or change these forms or organizations and the relations between groups.


Is sociology really a science

o By definition a science is a systematic effort to develop general principles about a particular subject matter, based on actual observation and stated in a form that can be tested by any competent person… this is done in sociology… therefore, yes it is a science!
• It is a social science, like psychology instead of a natural science, like anatomy or chemistry


Sociology vs. Psychology

o Sociology is the study of group behavior patterns, and
• Sociology begins at the arrangement conference and ends at the graveside.
o Psychology is the study of individual behavior patterns
• Psychology begins at the time of death and ends at ones acceptance of death.


Funeral Service and Sociology

o Funeral service practitioners must understand the cultural requirements of their client families. Each family is unique with many of their needs and wants based on their culture.



o Culture consists of abstract patterns (the rules, ideas, and beliefs shared by members of society) of living and dying
o Culture is defined as: It is the unique and distinctive way of life which regulates ones arts, laws, theories, beliefs, knowledge, morals and al basic patterns of living.


How do we learn our culture?

o We begin to learn our culture at birth
Direct learning & indirect learning


Direct Learning

learning that comes from parents and formal education


Indirect Learning

learning that comes from our cultural environments by observing them



o Enculturation, also called Socialization, is a process beginning at birth where individuals learn social values like the thoughts and actions of their society.
o ***This is how people learn the value of a funeral rite within their society.
o Regarding death, enculturation dictates what people should and should not do. These then become known as the “customs” of death and funeral rites in society.
o Society is a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.



o Within each culture you can find subcultures
• Subcultures are small but identifiable units which have distinctive traits unique to themselves but can still be connected to the bigger culture by common traits
• Subcultures are still a part of the bigger culture but have some ways and thoughts unique to themselves
• Ex. The American way is a culture, but a subculture of Mexican influences can be seen in the Southwestern states.


Foundations for Subcultures

o People become part of subcultures for many different reasons, above is just a few of the foundations for some subcultures


Subcultures can be based on

• Geographic locations
• Religious beliefs
• Ethnic groups
• Language



a social behavior as dictated by the tradition of the people in that culture.



a must-behavior that dictates that the individual must abstain (refrain) from certain acts dealing with death.



can be morally binding and must be followed; must-behaviors that are basic and important patterns of ideas and acts of people as related to treatment of the dead. If these are violated one will get a strong reaction from society
• It is a more that we give our deceased some type of final disposition in our culture/society. If one does not do this then they get a strong reaction from society



behaviors which are construed as somewhat less compulsive than mores of the same society, and do not call for a strong reaction from the society if violate
• Example: is pulling to side of the road and taking off your hat when a procession passes



a must-behavior not necessarily a basic or important pattern of a people (related to death) but one which is enforced by those governing; a rule or action prescribed by an authority able to enforce its will
• Example: is death certificates or following the rules of the provisional program in order to get licensed.


Understanding Cultures and Subcultures

o As a funeral director if you have an understanding of particular culture or subculture that you are serving you can better meet the needs of the families within that culture or subculture!



o Most members of a culture and subculture develop pride in their cultural and subculture beliefs and customs, but some begin to think that their culture is superior to all others.


Cultural Relativism

that is, keep the emotional idea that all cultures are equal and pertinent!


Cultural Universals

o No matter how different some culture may be there are a few common traits that can be seen throughout them
• Examples of some cultural universals are establishment of families (marriage), establishments of rules and regulations for orderly living (government), and YES, the responses to death of a member of their culture (funeral rites)
• You can see these traits throughout a number of different cultures around the world!


Cultural Universal of the Response to Death

o In regards to the response to death several traits can be seen throughout many different cultures to include similarities in the following ways:
• All have a type of announcement of death
• All have some type of care for the dead
• All use a method of disposition
• All want to find a way to memorialize the dead
• All use some type of ceremony or ritual


Funeral Rite

an all inclusive term used to encompass all funerals and/or memorial service



a rite (any event performed in a solemn and prescribed manner) with the body present


Memorial Service

a rite where the body is not present



an instrumental action dealing with death, that is also expressional and that may or may not be charged with symbolic content expressing, among other things, the attitudes of the participants and possible onlookers (passive participants) who may be regarded as co-beneficiaries



things to which socially created meaning is given
• Example: the cross can be seen and people interpret it as a religious symbol and understand what it stands for.


Family Structures and Funeral Rites

o In order for funeral directors to adequately counsel survivors of a family unit they must first identify the family structure and then determine the role of the deceased within that structure
o To determine the family structure first the funeral director needs to determine who and how the family was governed. Most families can be divided into one of three governments


o The following are three basic governments followed by most families.




The father rules the family; power is passed to the oldest male child.



The mother rules the family



The male and female have equal rights, duties, and governing power


Family Structures/ Systems

o There are several different types of family structures/systems
o Family structures/ systems let the funeral director get an idea on how the family works and can then understand the impact that the loss will have on that structure/ system
o By knowing family structures/ systems funeral directors can begin to determine some possible issues they may run into while serving that family


Entended (Joint) Family

A household or family unit consisting of father and mother, all their children (except married daughters) their son’s wives and children (except married daughters)
• Example: of a Joint Family is the Amish communities and some Indian tribes. This type of family was extremely prevalent during the time of sharecropping


Characteristics of a Joint Family

• Agriculturally based
• Economically self-sufficient (usually grow own food)
• Patriarchal form of family government
• Have restricted mobility (usually due to duties of the farm)
• Religious, usually being religion by teaching children bible stories
• Tend to be Conservative


Impact of Death of Joint Families

o Because joint families are so large, death of a member does not threaten the unit to any great extend since all members of the unit contribute equally and are able to take on and complete the deceased responsibility. If it is a parent that dies the children will usually be raised by remaining family members


Nuclear Family

o A household or family unit consisting of one man and one woman married to each other and their children if any exist
o Example: of a Nuclear Family is the show Leave it to Beaver or the cartoon show The Simpson’s


Characteristics of Nuclear Family

• Can be either patriarchal, matriarchal, or egalitarian
• Total income of unit determines economic standing
• Religion is usually taught at an institution
• Tend to be highly mobile (will move is another area offers better opportunities)


Impact of death on Nuclear Family

• Death in nuclear families usually has a great impact on the structure/system due to its small size. IF decedent contributed to the income it can cause economic hardships for the surviving members. The remaining spouse will be left to raise any children and maintain the household. They will then re-enter society as a widow or widower.


Modified Extended Family

o A household or family unit created by related nuclear families and/ or friendships
o Example:
• Of a modified extended family is the show I Love Lucy, Lucy and Ricky befriended their neighbors Fred and Ethel and they all became a modified extended family.


Characteristics of Modified Extended Family

• Begins with a nuclear family which then develops kinships and/or friendship with other nuclear families for security, protection, or help


Impact of Death on Modified Extended Family

• The impact is much like the impact of the Nuclear family however, the kinships and/or friendships become very important to the family that experiences the loss because these kinships and/or friendships offer assistance, emotional support, and other needs


Single Parent Family

o A household or family unit consisting of one adult, either male or female and their children
• What would you expect the impact of death to be on this family structure?


Blended Family

o A household or family unit created by one male and one female and the children from their previous marriages and may include children from the present marriage
o Example:
• The show The Brady Bunch


there are ______different types of family structures/ systems and the above is only ___ of them



Families & Funeral Rites

o Helping families is what we do. We have now looked at the structures of families, governments of families, and the responsibilities of families
o Remember the majority of people are living in a nuclear family structure or modified extended family system.