American Social Problems Chapter 1

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Violence
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Is the use of physical force to cause pain, injury, or death to another or damage to property.
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Sociology
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The academic discipline that engages in the systematic study of human society and social interactions.
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Society
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A large number of individuals who share the same geographic territory and are subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
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Culture
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The knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are passed from person to person and from on generation to the next in a human group or society.
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Social Problem
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Is a social condition (such as poverty) or a pattern of behavior (such as substance abuse) that harms some individuals or all people in a society and that a sufficient number of people believe warrants public concern and collective action to bring about change.
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Discrimination
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Actions or practices of dominant group members (or their representatives) that have a harmful impact on members of subordinate groups.
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Crime
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A physical attack against a person because of assumptions regarding his or her racial group, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry.
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Sociological Imagination
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Is the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society.
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Micro level analysis
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Focuses on small – group relations and social interaction among individuals.
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Macro level analysis
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Focuses on social processes occurring at the societal level, especially in large – scale organizations and major social institutions such as politics, government, and the economy.
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Theory
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Is a set of logically related statements that attempt to describe, explain, or predict social events.
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Perspective
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An overall approach or viewpoint toward come subject
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Functionalist perspective
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Society is a stable, orderly system composed of a number of interrelated parts, each of which performs a function that contributes to the overall stability of society.
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Manifest functions
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Are intended and recognized consequences of an activity or social process.
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Latent functions
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Are the unintended consequences of an activity or social process that are hidden and remain unacknowledged by participants.
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Verstehen
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Enables individuals to see the world as others see it and to empathize with them.
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Dysfunctions
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The undesirable consequence of an activity or social process that inhibit a society’s ability to adapt or adjust.
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Social disorganization
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Refers to the conditions in society that undermine the ability of traditional social institutions to govern human behavior.
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Social deviance
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A pattern of rule violation, than other areas had.
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Values
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Are collective ideas about what is right or wrong; good or bad, and desirable and undesirable in a specific society.
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Norms
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Established rules of behavior or standards of conduct.
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Anomie
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A loss of shared values and norms.
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Industrialization
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Is the process by which societies are transformed from a dependence on agriculture and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries.
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Urbanization
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The process by which an increasing proportion of a population lives in the cities rather than in rural areas.
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Subculture of violence hypothesis
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States that violence is part of the normative expectations governing everyday behavior among young males in the lower classes.
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Lifestyle – routine activity approach
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The patterns and timing of peoples daily movements and activities as they go about obtaining the necessities of life – such as food, shelter, companionship, and entertainment – are the keys to understanding violent personal crimes and other types of crime in our society.
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Conflict perspective
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Is based on the assumption that groups in society are engaged in continuous power struggle for control of scarce resources.
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Real culture
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Refers to the values and beliefs that people actually follow.
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Ideal culture
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Refers to the values and beliefs that people claim they hold.
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Capitalism
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Is an economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production, from which personal profits can be derived through market competition and without government intervention.
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Capitalist class (bourgeoisie)
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Own and control the means of production (the land, tools, factories, and money for investment), are at the top of a system of stratification that affords them different lifestyles and life chances from those of the member of the working class.
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Working class (proletariat)
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Those who must sell their labor power, members of the working class forfeit control over their work, and the capabilities derive excessive profit from the workers’ labor.
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Patriarchy
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A system of male dominance in which males are privileged and women are oppressed.
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Symbolic interactionist perspective
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Views society as the sum of the interaction of individuals and groups.
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Moral entrepreneurs
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Are people who use their own views of right and wrong to establish rules and label others as deviant (nonconforming).
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Labeling theory
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Suggests that behavior that deviates from established norms is deviant because it has been labeled as such but others.
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Social construction of reality
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The process by which peoples perception of reality is shaped largely by the subjective meaning that they five to an experience.
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Self – fulfilling prophecy
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The process by which an unsubstantiated belief or prediction results in behavior that makes the original false conception come true.
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Situational approach
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Violence results from a specific interaction process, termed a \”situational transaction.\”
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Quantitative data
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Can be measured numerically and lend themselves to statistical analysis.
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Qualitative data
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Are reported in the form of interpretive descriptions (words) rather than numbers.
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Field research
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The study of social life in its natural setting; observing and interviewing people where they live, work, and play.
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Survey research
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Is a poll in which researchers ask respondents a series of questions about a specific topic and record their responses.
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Secondary analysis of existing data
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A research method in which investigators analyze data that originally were collected by others for some other purpose.
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Unobtrusive research
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Data can be gathered without the researchers having to interview or observe research subjects.
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Content analysis
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A systematic evaluation of cultural artifacts or written documents to extract thematic data and draw conclusions about some aspect of social life.
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How do sociologist view violence?
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Sociologists view violence as a social problem that involves both a subjective awareness and objective reality. We have a subjective awareness that violence can occur in such public settings as schools, day – care, centers, businesses and churches. Our subjective awareness becomes an objective reality when we can measure and experience the effects of violent criminal behavior.
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How do sociologist examine social life?
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Sociologist use both micro level and macro level analyses to examine social life. Micro level analysis focuses on small group relations and social interaction among individuals; Macro level analysis focuses on social processes occurring at the societal level, especially in large – scale organizations and major social institutions.
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How does a functionalist perspective view society and social problems?
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In the functionalist perspective, society is a stable, orderly system composed of interrelated parts, each of which performs a function that contributes to the overall stability of society. According to functionalists, social problems such as violence arise when social institutions do not fulfill the functions that they are supposed to perform or when dysfunction occurs.
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How does the conflict perspective view society and social problems?
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The conflict perspective asserts that groups in society are engaged in a continuous power struggle for control of scare resources.
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How does the value concept perspective differ from the critical conflict perspective?
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According to the value concept theorists, social problems are conditions that are incompatible with group values. From this perspective, value clashes are ordinary occurrences in families, communities, and the larger society, in which people commonly hold many divergent values. In contrast, critical conflict theorists suggest that social problems arise out of major contradictions inherent in the way societies are organized.
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Why are there so many different approaches in the conflict perspective?
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Different conflict theorists focus on different aspects of power relations and inequality in society. However, all the different perspectives are based on the assumption that inequality and exploitation, rather than social harmony and stability; characterize contemporary societies.
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How does the symbolic interactionists perspective view society and social problems?
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Unlike functionalists and conflict perspectives, which focus on society at the macro level, the symbolic interactionists perspective views society as the sum of the interactions of individuals and groups. For symbolic interactionists, social problems occur when social interaction is disrupted and people are dehumanized, when people are labeled deviant, or when the individuals definition of a situation causes him or her to act in a way that produces a detrimental outcome.

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