Essentials of Sociology Fifth Edition Chapters 1-3

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Sociology
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The study of human groups and societies, giving particular emphasis of the industrialized world.
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Personal troubles
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Difficulties that are located in individual biographies and their immediate milieu, a seemingly private experience
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Public Issues
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Difficulties or problems that are linked to the institutional and historical possibilities of social structure.
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Sociological Imagination
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The application of imaginative thought to the asking and answering of sociological questions.
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Structuration
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The two-way process by which we shape our social world through our individual actions and by which we are reshaped by society.
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Social Facts
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According to Emile Durkheim, the aspects of social life that shape our action as individuals. Durkheim believed that social facts could be studied scientifically.
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Organic Solidarity
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According to Emile Durkheim, the social cohesion that results from the various parts of a society function as an integrated whole.
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Social Constraint
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The conditioning influence on our behavior by the groups and societies of which we are members. Social constraint was regarded by Emile Durkheim as one of the distinctive properties of social facts.
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Anomie
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A concept first brought into wide usage in sociology by Durkheim, referring to a situation in which social norms lose their hold over individual behavior.
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Materialist Conception of History
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The view developed by Marx, according to which material, or economic, factors have a prime role in determining historical change.
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Capitalism
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An economic system based on the private ownership of wealth, which is invested and reinvested in order to produce profit.
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Symbolic Interactionism
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A theoretical approach in Sociology developed by George Herbert Mead that emphasized the role of symbols and language as core elements of all human interaction.
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Symbol
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One item used to stand for or represent another- as in the case of a flag, which symbolizes a nation.
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Functionalism
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A theoretical perspective based on the notion that social events can best be explained in terms of the functions they perform- that is, the contributions that make to the continuity of a society.
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Manifest Functions
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The functions of a particular social activity that are known to and intended by the individuals involved in the activity
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Latent Functions
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Functional consequences that are not intended or recognized by the members of a social system in which they occur.
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Marxism
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A body of thought deriving its main elements from Karl Marx’s ideas
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Power
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The ability of individuals or the members of a group to achieve aims or further the interests they hold. Power is a pervasive element in all human relationships. Many conflicts in society are struggles over power, because how much power an individual or group is able to obtain governs how far they are able to put their wishes into practice.
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Ideology
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Shared ideas or beliefs that serve to justify the interests of dominant groups. Ideologies are found in all societies in which there are systematic and ingrained inequalities among groups. The concept of ideology connects closely with that of power, since ideological systems serve to legitimize the power that groups hold.
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Feminist Theory
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A sociological perspective that emphasized 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
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Advocacy of the rights of women to be equal with men in all spheres of life. Feminism dates from the late eighteenth century in Europe, and feminist movements exist in most countries today.
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Postmodernism
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The belief that society is no longer governed by history or progress. Postmodern society is highly pluralistic and diverse, with no \”Grand narrative\” guiding its development.
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Microsociology
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The study of human behavior in contexts of face-to-face interaction.
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Macro sociology
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The study of large-scale groups, organizations, or social systems.
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Science
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The disciplined marshaling of empirical data, combined with theoretical approaches and theories that illuminate or explain those data. Scientific activity combines the creation of new modes of thought with the careful testing of hypotheses and ideas. One major feature that helps distinguish science from other idea systems (such as religion) is the assumption that all scientific ideas are open to criticism and revision.
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Empirical Investigation
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Factual inquiry carried out in any area of sociological study.
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Factual Questions
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Questions that raise issues concerning matters of fact (rather than theoretical or moral issues)
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Comparative Question
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Questions concerned with drawing comparison among different human societies for the purposes of sociological theory or research.
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Developmental questions
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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
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Questions posed by sociologist 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
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An idea or a guess about a given state of affairs, put forward as a basis for empirical testing.
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Data
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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
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The firsthand study of people using participant observation or interviewing.
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Participant Observation
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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
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A method of sociological research in which questionnaires are administered to the population being studied.
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Pilot Study
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A trial run in survey research
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Representative Sample
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A sample from a larger population that is statistically typical of that population
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Random Sampling
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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
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A research method in which variables can be analysed 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
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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
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The ways of calculating averages
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Correlation Coefficient
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A measure of the degree of correlation between variables
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Standard Deviation
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A way of calculating the spread of a group of figures.
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Degree of dispersal
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The range or distribution of a set of figures.
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Oral history
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Interviews with people about events they witnessed earlier in their lives
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Triangulation
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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
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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
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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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Culture
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The values, norms and material goods characteristic of a given group. Like the concept of society, the notion of culture is widely used in sociology and the other social sciences (particularly anthropology). Culture is one of the most distinctive properties of human social association.
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Values
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Ideas held by individuals or groups about what is desirable, proper, good, and bad. What individuals value is strangly influenced by the specific culture in which they happen to live.
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Norms
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Rules of conduct that specify appropriate behavior in a given range of social situation. A norm eaither prescribes a given type of behavior or forbids it. All human groups follow definite norms, which are always back by sanction of one kind or another- varying from informal disapproval to physical punishment.
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Material Goods
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The physical objects that a society creates these influence the ways in which people live.
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Instinct
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A fixed pattern of behavior that has genetic origins and that appears in all normal animals within a given species.
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Society
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A group of people who live in a particular territory, are subject to a common system of political authority, and are aware of having a distinct identity from other groups. Some societies, like hunting and gathering societies, are small, numbering no more than a few dozen people. Other are large, numbering millions- modern Chinese society, for instance, has a population of more than a billion people.
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Sociobiology
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An approach that attempts to explain the behavior of both animals and human beings in terms of biological principles.
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Biological determinism
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The belief that differences we observe between groups of people, such as men and women, are explained wholly by biological causes.
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Subculture
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Values and norms distinct from those of the majority, held by a group within a wider society.
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Assimilation
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The acceptance of a minority group by a majority population, in which the new group takes on the values and norms of the dominant culture.
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Multiculturalism
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The view-point according to which ethnic groups can exist separately and share equally in economic and political life.
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Ethnocentrism
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The tendency to look at other cultures through the eyes of one’s own culture, and thereby misrepresent them.
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Cultural relativism
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The practice of judging a society by its own standards
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Cultural Universals
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Values or modes of behavior shared by all human cultures.
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Marriage
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A socially approved sexual relationship between two individuals. Marriage normally forms the basis of a family of procreation-that is, it is expected that the married will produce and raise children.
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Linguistic relativity hypothesis
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A hypothesis based on the theories of Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, that perception are relative to language.
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Signifier
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Any vehicle of meaning and communication
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Pastoral Societies
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Societies whose subsistence derives from the rearing of domesticated animals.
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Agrarian societies
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Societies whose means of subsistence are based on agricultural production (crop growing).
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Industrialization
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The emergence of machine production, based on the use of inanimate power resources (such as steam or electricity)
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Nation-State
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A particular type of state, characteristic of the modern world, in which a government has sovereign power within defined territorial area, and the population are citizens who know themselves to be part of a single nation.
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Colonialism
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The process whereby Western nations established their rule in parts of the world away from their home territories.
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Developing World
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The less developed societies, in which industrial production is either virtually nonexistent or only developed to a limited degree. The majority of the world’s population live in less developed countries.
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Emerging Economies
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Developing countries that over the past two or three decades have begun to develop a strong industrial base, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
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Nationalsim
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A set of beliefs and symbols expressing identification with a national community
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Social Reproduction
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The process whereby societies have structural continuity over time. Social reproduction is an important pathway through which parents transit or produce values., norms and social practices among their children.
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Socialization
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The social processes through which we develop an awareness of social norms and values and achieve a distinct sense of self.
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Resocialization
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The process of learning new norms, values, and behaviors when one joins a new group or takes on a new social role, or when life circumstances change dramatically.
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Cognition
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Human thought processes involving perception, reasoning and remembering.
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Social Self
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The basis of self consciousness in human individuals, according to the theory of George Herbert Mead. The social self is the identity conferred upon an individual by the reactions of others. A person achieves self consciousness by becoming aware of this social identity.
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Self-Conciousness
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Awareness of one’s distinct social identity as a person separate from others.
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Generalized Other
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A concept in the theory of George Herbert Mead, according to which the individual takes over the general values of a given group or society during the socialization process.
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Agents of socialization
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Groups or social contexts within which processes of socialization take place.
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Nuclear Family
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A family group consisting of an adult or adult couple and their dependent children.
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Peer Group
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A friendship group composed of individuals of similar age and social status.
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Age-grades
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The system found in small traditional cultures by which people belonging to a similar age group are categorized together and hold similar rights and obligations.
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Social roles
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Socially defined expectation of an individual in a given status, or occupying a particular social position. In every society, individuals play a number of social roles, such as teenage, parent, worker, or political leader.
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Self-Identity
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The ongoing process of self-development and definition of our personal identity through which we formulate a unique sense of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
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Life Course
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The various transitions and stages people experience during their lives.
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Aging
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The combination of biological, psychological, and social processes that affect people as they grow older.
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Social gerontologists
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Social scientists who study aging and the elderly.
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Disengagement theory
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A functionalist theory of aging that holds that it is functional for society to remove people from their traditional roles when they become elderly, thereby freeing up those roles for others.
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Activity Theory
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A functionalist theory of aging, which holds that busy, engaged people are more likely to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
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Continuity Theory
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Theoretical perspective on aging that specifies that older adults fare best when they participate in activities consistent with their personality, preferences, and activities earlier in life.
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Social Conflict Theories of Aging
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Arguments that emphasize the ways in which the larger social structure helps to shape the opportunities available to the elderly. Unequal opportunities are seen as creating the potential for conflict.
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Life Course Theory
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A perspective based on the assumptions that the aging process is shaped by historical time and place; individuals make choice that reflect both opportunities and constraints; again is a lifelong process; and the relationships, event,s and experiences or early life have consequences for later life.
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Young Old
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Sociological term fro persons between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-four
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Old Old
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Seventy-five and Eighty-four
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Oldest Old
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Eighty-five+
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Ageism
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Discrimination or prejudice against a person on the grounds of age.

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