Sociology Exam One Chapter One

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Sociology
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The study of human groups and societies, giving particular emphasis to analysis of the industrialized world. It is one of a group of social sciences, which include anthropology, economics, political science, and human geography. The divisions between the various social sciences are not clear-cut, and all share a certain range of common interests, concepts, and methods.
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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. Someone using the sociological imagination \”thinks himself away\” from the familiar routines of daily life
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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 actions as individuals. Durkheim believed they could be studied scientifically
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Organic Solidarity
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According to Emilie Durkheim. the social cohesion that results from the various parts of a society functioning as an integrated whole
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Social Constraint
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The condition influence on our behavior by the groups and societies of which we are members. It 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, which emphasizes 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 function they perform- that is, the contributions they 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. It 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 interest of dominant groups. They are found in all societies in which there are systematic and ingrained inequalities between groups. This concept connects closely with that of power, since these systems serve to legitimize the power that groups hold
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Feminist Theory
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A sociological perspective that emphasizes the centrality of gender in analyzing the social world and particularly the experiences of women. There are many strands to this 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. It 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. This 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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Macrosociology
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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 raises issues concerning matters of fact (rather than theoretical or moral issues)
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Comparative Questions
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Questions concerned with drawing comparisons between different human societies for the purposes of sociological theory or research
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Developmental Questions
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Questions that sociologists 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 sociologists 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 a 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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Sampling
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Study a proportion of individuals or cases from a larger population as representative of that population as a whole
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Sample
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A small proportion of a larger population
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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 analyzed in a controled 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 finding on one society with the same type of finding on other societies
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Measure 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 variable
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Mean
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A statistical measure of central tendency, or average based on dividing a total by the number of individual cases
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Mode
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The number that appears most often in a given set of data. This can sometimes be a helpful way of portraying central tendency
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Median
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The number that falls halfway in a range of numbers- a away of calculating central tendency that is sometimes more useful than calculating a mean
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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 of distribution of a set of figures
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Oral History
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Interviews with people about events they witnessed or experienced at some point 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. It 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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