Sociology - Exam II

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Social Structure

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Social Structure

The complex framework of societal institutions and the social practices that make up a society and establish certain limits on people's behavior.

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Social Interaction

The process by which people act toward or respond to other people, which serves as the foundation for all relationships and groups in society.

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Social Marginality

The state of being part insider and part outsider in the social structure.

Refers to people who share the traditions and lives of two distinct groups.

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Any physical or social attribute or sign that so devalues a person's social identity that it disqualifies the person from full social acceptance.

They are said to have a deviant appearance, for they are viewed as being deviant without uttering a single word.

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A socially defined position in a group or society characterized by certain expectations, rights, and duties.

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Status Set

Comprises all the statuses a person occupies at a given time.

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Ascribed Status

A social position conferred at birth or received involuntarily later in life, based on attributes over which the individual has little or no control.

Examples of this status are age, gender, or race.

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Achieved Status

A social position that a person assumes voluntarily as a result of personal choice, merit, or direct effort.

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Master Status

The most important status that a person occupies that dominates over that individual's other statuses and is the overriding ingredient to determining a person's general social position.

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Status Symbols

Material signs that inform others of a person's specific status.

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A set of behavioral expectations associated with a given status.

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Role Expectation

The expectations about how a role should be played out according to a particular group or society.

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Role Performance

How someone actually plays a role.

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"Sick Role"

What occurs when someone who is sick is expected to carry out the behaviors associated with their role but can't or doesn't want to because they are sick.

This is a classic example of role expectation versus role performance.

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Role Ambiguity

The expectations associated with a role is sometimes unclear.

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Role Conflict

What occurs when incompatible role demands are placed on a person by two or more statuses held at once.

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Role Strain

What occurs when incompatible demands are built into a single status that a person occupies.

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Role Distancing

What occurs when people consciously foster the impression of a lack of commitment or attachment to a particular role and merely go through the motions of role performance.

Ex) A college student who doesn't want people to think he is working a dead-end job instead says that he is working the fast-food job to "make a few extra bucks while he gets his degree."

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Role Exit

What occurs when people disengage from social roles that have been central to their social identity.

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Social Group

Consists of two or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity along with a feeling of interdependence.

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Primary Group

A small, less-specialized group in which members engage in face-to-face, emotion-based interactions over an extended period of time.

Typically has less than ten people.

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Secondary Group

A larger, more-specialized group in which members engage in more impersonal, goal-oriented relationships for a limited period of time.

Typically has more than twelve people.

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Social Solidarity

The ability of a group to maintain itself in the face of obstacles because of social bonds that hold members of the group together.

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Social Networks

A web of social relationships that links one person with other people and, through them, with other people they know.

You can have anywhere between 500 and 1500 of these in your lifetime.

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Formal Organization

A highly structured secondary group formed for the purpose of completing certain tasks or goals efficiently.

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Social Institution

A set of organized beliefs and rules that establishes how a society will attempt to meet its basic needs.

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Subsistence Technology

The methods and tools that are available for acquiring the basic needs of daily life in a particular society.

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Techno-Economic Bases

The amount of technology that is available and the subsequent economic structure of that society.

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Hunting-and-Gathering Societies

The smallest type of society that uses simple technology to hunt animals and gather vegetation.

They have anywhere between 25 and 40 people and are found in more geographically isolated areas.

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Horticultural Societies

The second smallest type of society that possesses technology for cultivating plants.

They are much less nomadic and have a much broader division of duties due to a larger population and a more permanent residence.

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Pastoral Societies

The second smallest type of society that possesses technology for domesticating animals.

This society falls pray to gender inequality, where men are viewed as superior because they handle the big prey and women are inferior because they are simply there to give birth to boys.

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Agrarian Societies

The last pre-industrial society that uses technology of large-scale farming, such as animal and energy-driven plows, to produce their food supply.

Social and gender inequality is at its highest in this type of pre-industrial society.

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Industrial Societies

A society that uses technology to mechanize production.

Production is fuel-powered in this society and occupation status becomes more important than kinship status.

Divide between rights of men and women increases in this society and social institutions like the family are diminished while those like the government are elevated.

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Post-Industrial Societies

The final type of society that uses technology that supports a service and information based economy.

This society produces valuable information that can be "sold" to others or used in the production of other goods.

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Sociocultural Evolution

A society's gain of technology and progression into a more-advanced society.

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A classification scheme containing two or more mutually exclusive categories that are used to compare different kinds of behavior or types of societies.

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Division of Labor

How the various tasks of a society are divided up and performed.

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Mechanical Solidarity

A term coined by Emile Durkheim that refers to the social cohesion of pre-industrial societies, in which there is minimal division of labor and people are united by shared values and duties.

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Organic Solidarity

A term coined by Emile Durkheim that refers to the social cohesion found in industrial societies, in which people perform very specialized tasks and are united by their dependence.

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The first society identified by Ferdinand Tommies. It is a small, traditional society where achieved status prevails and the interest of the group is more important than one's self-interest.

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The second society identified by Ferdinand Tommies. It is a large, urban society where achieved status is the most important and most people are viewed as strangers due to impersonal interactions.

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Civil Inattention

A phenomenon observed by Goffman in which an individual shows awareness that another is present without making this person the object of particular attention, which commonly occurs in random encounters with strangers.

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Interaction Order

An order that regulates the form and processes of social interactions in different situations.

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Definition of the Situation

An analysis of the social context around us and how to best adjust for our self-interest, which prompts us to adjust our behavior and/or attitudes for the situation.

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Social Construction of Reality

The process by which our perception of reality is largely shaped by the subjective meaning that we give to an experience.

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A false belief or prediction of a situation that produces behavior that makes the originally false belief come true.

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The study of commonsense knowledge that people use to understand the situations in which they find themselves.

Pioneered by sociologist Harold Garfinkel.

Ex) During a conversation, we expect us and the other person to take turns in speaking.

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Dramaturgical Analysis

The study of social interaction that compares everyday life to a theatrical presentation.

Proposed by Erving Goffman.

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Social Script

A playbook that actors use to guide their verbal replies and overall performance to achieve the desired goal of the conversation or fulfill the role they are playing

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Impression Management (Presentation of Self)

Refers to people's efforts to present themselves to others in ways that are most favorable to their own interests or images.

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Face-Saving Behavior

The strategies we use to rescue our performance when we experience a potential or actual loss of face.

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Studied Nonobservance

A face-saving technique in which one role player ignores the flaws in another's performance to avoid embarrassment for everyone involved.

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Front Stage

The area where a player performs a specific role before an audience.

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Back Stage

The area where a player is not required to perform a specific role because it is out of view of a given audience.

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Nonverbal Communication

The transfer of information between persons without the use of words via visual cues, environmental cues, and vocal cues.

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Personal Space

The immediate area surrounding a person that he or she claims as private.

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A collection of people who happen to be in the same place and at the same time but share little else in common.

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A number of people who may have never met one another but share a similar characteristic, like race, gender, or age.

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A group to which a person belongs and with which the person feels a sense of identity.

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A group to which a person does not belong and toward which a person may feel competitiveness or hostility.

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Reference Group

A group that strongly influences a person's behavior and social behavior, regardless of whether a person is in the ingroup or outgroup.

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Instrumental Needs

Task-oriented needs that can't be fulfilled by just one person.

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Expressive Needs

Emotion-based needs that involve supporting group members in their self-expression and daily problems.

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Small Group

A collectively small enough group that allows members to be acquainted with one another and interact simultaneously.

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A group composed of two members.

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A group composed of three members.

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Absolute Size

The number of members a group actually has.

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Relative Size

The number of potential members that could be in a group.

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The ability to influence what goes on in a group or social system.

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Instrumental Leadership

Leadership that is most appropriate when the group's purpose is to complete a task or reach a particular goal.

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Expressive Leadership

Leadership that is most appropriate when the group is dealing with emotional issues and morale is needed.

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Authoritarian Leaders

Leaders who make all major group decisions and assign tasks to members.

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Democratic Leaders

Leaders who encourage discussion and decision-making through consensus building.

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Laissez-faire Leaders

Leaders who encourage group members to make their own decisions and are hardly involved in the process.

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The process of maintaining or changing behavior to comply with the norms established by a society, subculture, or other group.

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Solomon Asch

Discovered the power of conformity in his famous study in which he asked one participant in a group filled with actors to choose the line of best fit from a set. He found that nearly 1/3 of those participants willingly chose the wrong answer when the group did for fear of embarrassment.

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An idea proposed by Irving Janus that refers to the process by which members of a cohesive group arrive at a decision that many individual members privately believe is unwise.

Ex) The results of Asch's study.

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Normative Organizations

Organizations we voluntarily join when we want to pursue some common interest or gain personal satisfaction or prestige from being a member.

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Coercive Organizations

Associations that people are forced to join.

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Utilitarian Organizations

Organizations that we not so voluntarily join to provide us with some material reward.

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Darley and Latane

Conducted a study that concluded that the more people added to a group, the less responsibility each member feels in regards to a situation. They found this out when they separated college students into different groups of two and three at different tables. When an epilectic student, an actor, went off on their own, more dyads went to check on the student than triads after some time.

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The process of social interaction, in which we acquire a personality and insight into aspects of our culture.

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Oskar and Jack

Identical twins raised separately who possessed both extreme differences and startling similarities in behavior. Their case led sociologists to conclude that people are products of both nature and nurture.

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A boy raised in isolation in the forests outside 19th century Paris who became the first documented feral child. Upon his discovery, Dr. Itard raised him and tried to teach him language before he died.

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Another documented case of a feral child discovered by Kingsley Davis. She was a victim of incest between her physically disabled mother and grandfather. After her rescue, she never showed any emotion because she was never exposed to it.

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Another case of a feral child documented by Kingsley Davis. She was a victim of incest between her deaf mother and grandfather. When she was hidden away with her mother, they developed a simple sign language between the two of them.

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Skeels and Dye

Conducted a study on the effects of institutions on the outcomes of children. They found that children raised with more loving care had higher intelligence and greater outcomes than children kept in those institutions.

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Sensorimotor Stage

The first stage of cognitive development identified by Piaget in which children from birth to two years old perceive their world solely by sensing it. They end up grasping object permanence at the end of this stage.

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Preoperational Stage

The second stage of cognitive development identified by Piaget in which children from two to seven years old begin to use symbols but still struggle with abstract thought and egocentrism, or the struggle to understand others' perspectives.

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Concrete Operational Stage

The third stage of cognitive development identified by Piaget in which children from seven to twelve years old develop basic reasoning and understand more complex ideas.

Ex) A child who recently lost their pet can explain that their pet went to heaven, but a child in a former stage would be confused and not know what to say.

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Formal Operations Stage

The final stage of cognitive development identified by Piaget in which those twelve and up are able to think critically, understand theories, and contemplate the future.

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Emotional Reflexes

Inborn emotional responses to stimuli.

Ex) A newborn is born with the ability to cry when upset, sad, or uncomfortable.

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Pre-Conventional Morality

The first level of morality identified by Lawrence Kohlberg in which behavior is guided simply by rewards and punishments for said behavior. In this stage, we are less likely to behave in such a way that will warrant a punishment.

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Conventional Morality

The second level of morality identified by Lawrence Kohlberg in which people behave by society's rules due to how they may or may not be perceived by society for said behaviors.

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Postconventional Morality

The final and least attainable level of morality identified by Lawrence Kohlberg in which one's behavior is guided by the belief that human rights and other ethical principles override certain rules and laws for behavior.

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"Looking-Glass" Metaphor

The idea that we build our personality off of how others view us, as proposed by C.H. Cooley.

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Social Choking

A phenomenon proposed by C.H. Cooley in which we believe people are so critical of us that we will be judged harshly for the smallest of mistakes. This fear leads us to choke in whatever we do.

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Role-Taking or Role-Playing

The process where children will pretend to fulfill a role while adults imagine fulfilling a role, as identified by G.H. Mead.

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  1. Family

  2. Peers

  3. School and or work

  4. Media

What are the four agencies of socialization?

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C.C. Wilson

Proposed that violent media only served as an outlet for violent tendencies and aggression instead of causing violence.

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