Chapter 1: The Study of Society

the systematic study of human society, social groups, and social interactions

a set of norms specifying the rights and obligations associated with a status (i.e. status=mom; role=to love)

Social Structure
A recurrent pattern of relationships among groups (student

Sociological Imagination
The ability to recognize how apparently personal issues at least partly reflect broader social structures

C. Wright Mills
Came up with the sociological imagination

Empirical Research
research based on systematic unbiased examination of evidence

August Comte
Founder/Coined “Sociology”
Scientific method can be applied to social events
Positivism (would be able to predict human behavior)

Herbert Spencer
English philosopher and sociologist who applied the theory of natural selection to human societies (1820-1903)

Karl Marx
Philosopher, Economist, and Social Activist
Ecomonic Determinism and Dialectic

Economic Determinism
Means that the economic relationships provide the foundation of which all other social and political arrangments are built (Karl Marx)

Philosophy views change as a product of contradiction and conflict between the parts of society
Influenced by George Hegel
Thesis (capitalist class) Anti-Thesis (Working Class) Sythesis (Communistic Economic System)

Collective Conscience
Community standards of morality, The set of beliefs shared by people throughout society.

Too little freedom

Too much freedom

Max Weber
German economist, historian, and philosopher who believed that knowing patterns of behavior was less important than understanding the meanings people attatch to behavior (Value Free)

Value Free
sociology concerns itself with establishing what is, not what ought ot be

Jane Addams
Founder of the Hull House

Structural-Function Theory
Addresses the question of social organization (structure) and how it is maintained (function)

consequences of social structures that have positive effects on the stability of society

consequences of social structures that have negative effects on the stability of society

Manifest Function or Dysfunction
consequences of social structures that are intended or recognized

Latent Function of Dysfunction
consequences of social structures that are neither intended nor recognized

Conflict Theory
Addresses the points of stress and conflict in society and the ways in which they contribute to social change (Marx)

3 Assumptions of Structural-Functionalism
Stability, Harmony, and Evolution

3 Assumptions of Conflict Theory
Competition, Structural inequality, and social change

Symbolic Interaction Theory
Addresses the subjective meanings of human acts and the processes through which people come to develop and communicate shared meanings

3 Major Premises of Symbolic Interaction Theory
Meanings are important, Meanings grow out of relationships, and meanings are negotiated between people

focuses on social structures and organizations and the relationships between them

focuses on interactions among individuals

a statement about relationships that we expect to find if our theory is correct (testable/falsifiable)

measured characteristics that vary from one individual or group to the next (Ex: race and unemployment)

Independent Variable
the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied, the cause (Ex: race)

Depedent Variable
It depends on the actions of the independent variable, the effect (Ex: Unemployment)

refers to the process of deciding exactly how to measure a given variable

Operational Definition
Describes the exact procedure by which a variable is measured

The process of systematically selecting representative cases from the larger population

Random Samples
samples chosen through a random procedure, so that each individual in a given population has an equal choice of being selected

exists when there is an empirical relationship between two variables (Ex: income increases when education increases)

An interrelated set of assumptions that explains observed patterns

The process of moving from data to theory by devising theories that account for empirically observed patterns

The process of moving from theory to data by testing hypothesises drawn from theory

a method in which the researcher manipulates independent variables to test theories of cause and effect

Experimental Group
that experiences the independent variable

Control Group
The group that does not recieve the independent variable

Survey Research
method that involves asking a relatively large number of people the same set of standardized questions

the frequency with which an attitude or behavior occurs

a change in a variable over time

a difference in the incidence of a phenomenon across social groups

Cross-Sectional Design
uses a sample of the popuation at a single point in time

Longitudinal Research
Any research in which data are collected over a long period of time

Spurious Relationship
Exists when one variable seems to cause changes in the second variable, but a third variable is the real cause of the change

Social-Desirability Bias
The tendency of people to color the truth so that they soud more desirable and socially acceptable than they really are

Participant Observation
refers to conducting research by participating, interviewing, and oberving “in the field”

the repetition of empirical studies by another researcher or with different samples to see if the same results occur

Content Analysis
Refers to the systematic examination of documents of any sort