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57 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
what is sociology?
the study of human social life, groups and interactions
-ranges from passing encounters to global processes
what are the 3 large paradigms that drive sociology?
-symbolic interactionism
-conflict theory
what is a social problem?
an aspect of society that people think needs addressing
how to develope social imagination?
1. what is happening?
2. why?
3. how do you know?
4. what are the consequences?
5. how could it be otherwise?
what are the 2 social factors that influence suicide?
1. Solidarity: level of connection person has with others
2. Social control: social mechanisms regulate persons actions
what are durkheim's 4 types of suicide?
1.egoistic (sad, lonely, depressed)
2. altruistic motivation (suicide bombers, cults)
-fatalistic suicides- hoplessness, elderly, terminally ill, inmates
-anomic suicides: cannot deal with chaos - stock market crashes
functionalist view
-macro theory
-define society made of inter-related parts
-all work together to make society run smoothly
-society seen as stable
what are durkheim's views of functionalism?
-solidarity / unity holds society together
-(1. mechanical society: community, values, shared belief
2. organic society; diverse labour, people depend on one another for survival)
what are the criticisms of functionalism?
Lost popularity over the years
Fails to look at influence wealth and power
Accused of supporting the status-quo
(support cars, we also support negatives like road deaths, pollution etc.)
Fails address big question “For who does society function”
Ignores power relations
conflict theory view
Macro: Big Picture theory
Views society as struggle for scarce resources
Scarce resources:
1. economic wealth
2. power
(focuses on inequalities in society)
who was W.E.B Du Bois
African –American conflict theorist
Studied race relations in USA
Poverty among African-Americans result of racism
Have to live in 2 worlds white (second class citizens) and black (equals)
Called “double consciousness”
-studied effects of colonialism
-inequality is reproduced
what are the criticisms of conflict theory
Seen as too radical
People think rules laws “make sense”
Not everything is conflict, most things fine
People think that word conflict is negative or bad
Maybe positive term competition maybe good thing
what is the symbolic interactionist view?
Micro theory
Focus how communication influences people’s interactions to create the social world we live in
Consists of language, symbols,
Symbols may be rooted in a culture (Australian flag)

Society is fluid and changing
Symbols change over time (swastika accepted Nazi Germany- not today)
Context and setting affects our behaviour
(church opposed to bar)

Interactionists believe individuals power to change the world
Develop shared norms about acceptable behaviours
We do not tolerate forms deviant behaviour
Deviance could result in sanctions (fines, exclusion, jail)
who formulated the dramaturgy theory adn within what paradigm?
erving goffman, within symbolic interactionism. says that life is like acting , we perform
Daily interactions are like actors on stage
Adjust behaviours to a social situation
We manage our impressions complex actions
(behaviour on first date; our dress, language , manners, )
what role does howard becker play within symbolic interactionism?
Society defines what is deviant
Deviance is locational, temporal, changing
People labelled as deviant or conformist
Labels influence how society sees us and how we view ourselves

Becker suggests label ascribe to people influences their behaviour
what are criticisms of social interactionism?
Too much emphasis on power of individual to change the world
Ignores roles social structures, institutions on our behaviours
Many other factors influence the kind of person we turn out to be
how can you look at homelessness through functionalism paradigm?
Believe that society works inter-related system; looks for the function of any issue.
Smooth society means govt, local community business sector must work together
Therefore programmes like food banks, soup kitchens make dysfunctional system like homelessness function in society.
how can you look at homelessness through conflict theory paradigm?
Homelessness as sign societal inequality
Focus social class differences in wealth status and prestige
Upper class controls wealth and power
Homeless have little wealth power
If elites distributed wealth reduce homelessness
how can you look at homelessness through symbolic interactionism paradigm?
View events smaller (micro scale)
Explores how homelessness affects individual
How individuals act towards each other
What labels do we assign to homeless people?
How do homeless people interact with other homeless people?
what is the definition of inequality?
individuals, families and larger social groups do not enjoy the same or equal access to power, income and/or wealth in our society, and most other societies
what are 3 assumptions about inequality?
1. Most cultures and societies have some belief system, which attempts to justify social and economic inequalities

2. We are born into different social groups, these social groups offer varying opportunities, which in turn produce diverse outcomes

3. Which ever class we are born into, has a very strong influence on life-chances and opportunities
who was Karl Marx and what contributions did he make in sociology?
major figure development sociology, criticism industrial/capitalist society
- looked into social class and inequities
what were the 2 main classes in society according to Marx?
1. people who own the means of production (called the capitalist or the bourgeoisie; means of production = materials, labour and technology of production), and
2. those who do not but sell their labour (called the proletariat or workers)
what views did Marx's have re social class?
Marx believed that the growing exploitation of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie would lead to a political revolution, and the end of capitalism    
Marx proposed that the revolution would produce a classless society, where property would be owned collectively and distributed to the masses
what are the criticisms of Marx's views on social class?
At least four classes (upper, middle, lower/working and under) and not two, with the working/lower class being the largest

the global class revolution predicted by Marx did not take place

Now separation of the ownership and the control of the means of production. (professional managers, boards)
-Marx's ideas mainly based on economic issues

Disregards other causes inequality:
ethnicity, gender, power and status
who was Max Weber and what was his contributions to sociology?
One most insightful sociologists , interests in the workings of politics and how bureaucracies functioned
what were Weber's view on social class?
Weber defined a `social class' as a group of people who shared a similar position in a market, or capitalist, economy

People receive similar economic rewards, in the form of pay or salary,have similar life chances, or opportunities

For Weber, class based on other factors than economic inequality
what were the 4 social classes as defined by weber?
- propertied class
- white collar workers
- petty bourgeoisie, ie shopkeepers and small proprietors
-working class
how is weber's conceptualisation more complex that Marx's with regards to social class?
1. There are more classes in Weber's configuration
2. Weber's notion of class is not based solely on the ownership or non-ownership of the means of production, as is the case with Marx
what is the definition of social stratification?
Social Stratification refers to patterns of inequality which preserve status and class differences within society
-"layers" of class (strata)
-takes into account status and power
-formulated by weber
what does a group status consist of?
consists of all people occupying a similar status in society, as determined by factors such as education, ethnicity, family background, manners or behaviour, occupation, source of wealth (business, luck or inheritance)
what is the difference between prejudice and discrimination?
-prejudice defined as fixed attitude (positive or negative) based on personal perceptions rather than actual reality.
-discrimination is action upon prejudice (unfavourable)
-Discrimination uses an ideology claiming that one group, generally the group of the discriminator, is superior to the other group or groups in society
why do third world countries remain poor?
Indigenous economy was almost totally destroyed by the colonial powers

Large proportion of their natural resources were extracted and taken away /no infrastructure    
The down-turn in the global economy over the past 25 years mean economic conditions in most poorer countries have deteriorated
theory of imperialism in global inequality
Hobson: imperialism arose as when Western nation-states sought out new global markets for their produce and new sources of raw materials

Achieved through colonisation . Hobson viewed imperialism as drive to conquer and subjugate other people through colonisation    
Lenin : large Western capitalist business corporations play leading role in the global exploitation of the poorer countries / trade agreements benefit companies
what are the criticisms of Hobson and Lenin's theories on imperialism?
Weakness of theories is that concentrate on economic factors in the development of the global economy,
ignore cultural, environmental and political factors
what is the theory of dependency in global inequality?
World has developed in an uneven way, such that the core industrialised countries maintain dominance over Third World countries,

Dependence upon the developed countries for foreign aid and technical assistance

Third World countries are dependent upon the developed countries subordinate and become impoverished
who developed the sociological imagination?
american sociologist C Wright Mills
Durkheim is the theorist most often associated with which social paradigm?
Which theorist determined that status occurred in groups within classes such as 'the manual working class"?
Karl Marx
According to Durkheim fatalistic suicides result from a:
from alienation from society
Robert Merton's greatest theoretical contribution was:
showing how social reality is unintended
Which paradigm believes that the individual can change the world through their own actions?
symbolic interactionism
Durkheim explained variations in the suicide rate by focusing on
social solidarity
Becker used which terms to refer to people who break socially acceptable rules?
Durkheim stated that a person who loses their partner and commits suicide would be described as:
Goffman's theory of dramaturgy suggests that:
people change behaviour to suit a situation
what is ethnicity/
denotes a sense of belonging to a particular community whose members share common cultural traditions. (Bilton, 1996)
An ethnic group perceives itself and is perceived by others to be different in some combination of the following traits: language religion race and ancestral homeland with its related culture.
(Yinger, 1981
the concept of race:
Definition: Race refers to the beliefs and practices justified by the idea that there are distinct groups of people known as “races”. They are said to be distinctive because members of those races allegedly share certain “natural” or “biological” characteristics. Racism includes claims that these characteristics point to the “fact” that some races are naturally and permanently inferior to others.
racism through functionalism
Racism intended and unintended consequences
Intended: Slavery in USA functioned to build successful agricultural economy
Unintended: enslaving fellow human beings treating them like animals
racism through conflict theory
One group wanting advantage over another
Removing populations of one group to other areas so they lose what wealth they might have had (Jews in Nazi Germany)
racismn through interactionalism
Micro interactions how language supports or attacks an issue
ie. “man of middle-eastern appearance”
Use of racial slurs denigrate people
Some terms accepted previously but change over time in terms of acceptance
what is the definition of prejudice?
s an attitude that prejudges a person positively or negatively on basis of real or imagined characteristics
what is a stereotype?
Oversimplified generalisations about groups of people, may be positive or negative: negative traits such as laziness, stupidity or having criminal tendencies
what is discrimination?
is about actions “refers to unfavourable treatment of all persons to create unequal outcomes”
what are the four categories of racism and who came up with them?
Merton (1949)
-all weather liberals (stands up for principles even though personal risk is involved)
-fair weather liberals (unpredjudiced opinions, but does not act)
-timid bigots (holds prejudices, though doesn't show them openly for fear of backlash)
-active bigots (act on prejudices)
what is institutional racism?
asserts that racism built into way institutions reproduce racial disadvantage ( across race religion or ethnicity) – blocked educational opportunities – decreased chances of paid work- reproduces social inequalities for many groups.
what are 2 versions of mason's typology?
conspiracy version: people in powerful positions get together and discriminate against ethnic groups
-structural version:state serves capitalists resulting in racist policies (sweat shops)
-unintended consequences: institutions hold anti-racist policies, but accidentally perpetuate disadvantage
-colonialism version; minority poeple suffer long term effects as result of history
- political opportunism: racist policies emerge in order to win votes