Sociology 101 (Exam 1)

What is the Sociological Perspective?
– Individuals are social beings
– Individuals are socially determined
– Individuals create, sustain, and change social forms within which they conduct their lives.

What does c. Wright Mills mean by the Sociological Imagination?
The task of sociology was to realize that individual circumstances are inextricably linked to the structure of society. It is stimulated by a willingness to view the social world from the perspective of others. The view that individual troubles are inextricably linked to social forces.

In what ways does the sociological perspective contradict conventional wisdoms?
The sociological perspective is based one research and observation. Conventional wisdoms are based on what already exists.

What is the significance of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as it relates to sociology? Our class?
The prisoners only saw reality through their perspective, not knowing that there was more to life outside of the cave. Sociology releases you from that cave.

What are the primary institutions in society? And what are the basic functions of each?
political system: organization and legitimation of the system of governance
economy: production and distribution of goods and services, ownership, division of labor
religion: source of meaning and values
marriage and family: socialization, identity, procreation, sexuality
education: socialization, knowledge and skills
other: mass media, law/police, military, health care

What is a social role? What experiment demonstrated the power of social roles to shape behavior?
Social role: the behavior expected of a person occupying a status in a social organization is the role. Our position in a institution/society. (i.e. student, parent, worker)
The experiment that demonstrated the power in roles is the Zimbardo mock prison at Stanford university. He studied the impact of prison life on guards and prisoners. People were chosen to take part in the experiment and were assigned a duty/ role to partake in. In just a few days, the students who were playing the role of guards and prisoners actually became the guards and inmates in a few days. believed it was their true role.

What is culture? Non-material and material.
Culture is the shared beliefs of group members that unite them and guide their behavior shaped through experience.
Nonmaterial: language, values.
Material: the physical objects created by a culture – the buildings, tools.

What is socialization? How do conflict and order theories explain socialization?
Socialization is the process of learning cultural values, norms and expectations.
Conflict theory and socialization: The view of society is based on conflict and competition. Conflict is normal feature and influences distribution of power
Order theory (Functionalism) and socialization:
The view of society – social systems in integrated parts Social integration: High
sharing of culture/values, unity among the member.

What is the order model (structural functionalism) and how does it explain society?
Attributes to societies the characteristics of cohesion, consensus, cooperation, reciprocity, stability, and persistence. The parts of the system are in harmony.

What is conflict theory and how does is explain society?
The basic form of interaction is not cooperation but competition, which often leads to conflict. Social change results from the conflict among competing groups and therefore tends to be drastic and revolutionary.

How does each theory explain education? Explain the criminal justice system?
He noted that punishment of a crime has the manifest consequence(intended) of punishing and deterring the criminal. Latent consequence(unintended) of punishment is the societal reaffirmation of what is considered moral.

What is stratification and what are the two types? What are the characteristics of each type?
Caste: hierarchal arrangement by birth, no upward movement, ascribed status.
Class: social organization based on economic rank, social mobility, hierarchy.

How do the conflict and order models explain stratification?
Order model is supportive of inequality because the unequal distribution of rewards is assumed to be not only inevitable but also necessary. Stratification serves the useful function of societal maintenance by providing a mechanisms to ensure all slots in the division of labor are filled. Conflict model claims assumes that stratification reflects the distribution of power in society and is therefore a major source of discord and coercion. Stratification is unjust, divisive, and a source of social instability or change.

What is the reality of the system of stratification in the U.S.? What are the conventional wisdoms to justify it? What is the reality?
Type: Class system
Conventional wisdoms: equal opportunity, america is the greatest nation, we value human life.

What are the conventional wisdoms about poverty in the U.S.? How does reality contradict them? Who benefits from poverty?
– “We value human life” No, we value money.
– The affluent and powerful benefit from poverty.

Economy: function, characteristics of capitalism and socialism.
Function:production and distribution of goods and services for a society and also determines the division of labor (types of jobs).
Capitalism: The economic system based on private ownership of property, guided by the pursuit of maximum profits (greed).
Socialism: the economic system in which the means of production are owned by the people for their collective benefit. Public ownership of means of production for their collective benefit.

U.S. monopoly capitalism: characteristics
multinational corporations: large corporations controlling economy instead of more companies controlling it. the large corporations control demand rather than respond to the demands of the market
concentration of ownership: less companies in control of economy.. shifted to the corporations
shared monopolies: when 4 or fewer firms supply 50% or more of a particular market
interlocking directorates: the linkage between corporations that result when an individual serves on the board of directors of two companies ( direct interlock) or when two companies each have a director on the board of a third company (an indirect
interlock) “persons” within meaning of the law
legal obligation to maximize profit…don’t care about consumers.
“Wealthfare’ or socialism for the rich: tax breaks : work opportunity tax credit, subsidies, direct money, research and development( this goes towards the university colleges), low or no interest loans, bailouts ( large companies are bailed out by government when they are in trouble) .

US monopoly capitalism: factors in shaping the economy
1. mergers: benefits are diminished (ex: supporting schools, the arts, development of research and training potential workers
reduces number of jobs. Increases corporate debt (ex: US corps spend half of earnings on interest payments.) Nonproductive (ex: no new plants products or jobs, rather creates profits for lawyers, accountants, brokers and big investors.

2. acquisitions: companies buying smaller companies

3. failure to enforce laws: fraud, Sherman Anti-trust Law

4. lack of regulation

US monopoly capitalism: outcomes for corporations
Wealth in the business community is centralized in a relatively few corporations, and this concentration is increasing.

Power and monopoly capitalism: power over the economy, workers, communities, and the political system.
Power over the economy: own means of production, eliminate competition, control supply, create demand.
Power over Workers: downsizing, offshoring, outsourcing (eliminating jobs and getting a temporary agency), automation (replacing workers with machines to save money).
Power over communities: Race to bottom
Power over political system: attacks on organized labor: Only 7-8% unionized.

Great Recession: causes, crisis and its consequences.
Causes: Decline in manufacturing, cut in jobs, loss of significant tax revenue to federal, state, and local government.
Crisis and Consequences: National government lost a great deal of tax revenues, causing them to face serious shortfalls. Reducing jobs –> unemployment increase. The American Dream stayed a dream.