Soc 1000 Final Exam

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A. Engman; Intro to Sociology @ U of M

91 Terms
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Assumes that social experiences exist independent of observers and are out there waiting to be discovered
Emphasise the importance of subjectivity and insiders understanding; do not believe in a universal social reality
Abstract Experience
Experience that happens in your mind
When you focus on exceptions and accept them as universal truths or rules
Sociological Imagination
Connects the most private parts of our lives with the totality of societies where we live To use the sociological imagination is to study the relationship between personal troubles and public issues Emphasises the co-constitution of individual people and the societies in which they are embedded
Systems of thought that influence us to perceive the world in particular ways, and to make particular judgements and eventually choices about behaviour Can be used to justify one's personal opinions and discount the opposition’s arguments
How the social world is organised to elicit particular patterns of behaviour as people navigate the world practically (you can't change the location of a class by thinking about it, therefore your behaviour would be to go to where the class is)
Societal Reproduction
When individuals behave in a way that is consistent with ideologies/structure of the society where they live, their behaviour reproduces the same structure and ideology Without individuals, ideology and social structure would cease to exist No matter which decisions individuals take (go with the flow, demand social change), they are responsible for the results of their decisions and actions
The capacity for individuals to make their own decisions and take their own actions of their own free will
When researchers translate concepts into measurable variables
A subset of a population that is investigated (if we are using survey methods, then the sample is the subset of the population that actually took the survey)
The extent to which observations about a sample can be reasonably assumed to represent a population as a whole
Sampling Procedures
Random: each individual has an equal and random chance of being chosen Representative: the sample is a reproduction of the population along particular demographic characteristics Convenient: participants based on their availability Snowball Sampling: past participants introduce future participants to the researcher, often the best way to research hard to access groups
Types of Variables
Nominal: numbers are used to represent different conditions but the phenomenon is not quantitative. (EX: race, neighbourhood, marital status) Ordinal: different values of the value can be ranked, but there is no way to measure the precise difference between ranked values (EX: likert scale) Interval: difference between values are measurable but there is no true zero (EX: credit score) Ratio: difference between values are measurable, and there exists a true zero (EX: number of siblings, income)
Central Tendency:
Measures of central tendency attempt to give a quick picture of the content of one variable (mean, median, mode, proportion, range)
The first step in the analysis process is having the interviews transcribed into a document Researchers then search the text for salient (noticeable) themes, or “codes”
The researcher embeds them self in the social milieu they wish to study; participant observation
Informed Consent
The gold standard for ethics in social research is informed consent This means that the research participants are informed of the aims of the study and of what they can expect as a research participant Usually, informed consent involves participants signing a written contract stating that they agree to be part of a research project Sometimes, written consent is not reasonable or practical to obtain. In such cases, verbal consent is sufficient
Theorizing Observation
We may often come up against the argument that we should “let the facts speak for themselves” If we are able to make systematic observations using sociological research methods, why do we need theory? We need to think about how our assumptions influence the kinds of observations we are able to make using particular research methods
Theory Laden Observation
Theory allows us to be explicit about the set of assumptions we are making when we analyse observations ALL OBSERVATION INVOLVES ASSUMPTIONS Being explicit about the assumptions we make (and why we are making them) in the research process improves research in multiple ways
Concerned with the nature of existence (or what exists) Ontological assumptions: assumptions concerning what exists (what does and does not exist, and the nature of existence) Ontological commitment: social forces exert real influence in the social world
Concerns the nature of reliable knowledge; how do we know what we know? What counts as evidence? Epistemological Commitments: The act of making up one's mind, or the state of having made it up, about a fact Epistemological assumptions: Concern the validity of observation / evidence / data
Methodological Pluralism
Originating epistemological commitment in sociology
Karl Marx
Wrote before the institutionalisation of sociology An early example of an “interdisciplinary thinker” Formally an economist, but also considered philosophy, history, etc.
The core of the human experience is the collective production of our means of subsistence from nature What are the material conditions of life? (economic structure) How do our material conditions determine our behaviour and our life trajectories? All societies, according to Marx, have a mode of production, an economic system that serves to organize the collective production of our means of subsistence
Mode of Production
The system by which people collectively produce their means of subsistence Capitalist Mode Of Production: Means of production (MoP) Relations of production (RoP) (a) Owning class / bourgeois (b) Working class / proletariat
Social Change
Dialectical tension is responsible both for: historical change within some consistent MoP historical change from one MoP to another (revolution)
Max Weber
Influenced by the work of Marx Thought Marx did not pay enough attention to how the material conditions of life were understood by members of society, and how this understanding influenced the character of society Distinguishes between CLASS and STATUS Class describes a person’s relationship to the economy Status describes a person’s relationship to the “cultural order”
Verstehen Sociology
The social world cannot simply be described, it must be interpreted
Aimed toward a scientific understanding of society The functionalist perspective abstracts away from individual experience Provided one of the first functionalist analyses of society Solidarity: the glue that keeps society together
Whereas Weber leaned in to people’s understanding of the social institutions in which they were embedded, Durkheim argued that the true purpose of social institutions is often opaque to the people who inhabit them According to functionalism, social institutions may have features that are not part of their explicit design, that nevertheless serve to keep society together (or to facilitate its reproduction Functionalism is concerned with relationships between different social institutions
Function of Crime
Lay theory of crime (conservative): crime is an undesirable or pathological phenomenon caused by individual moral failure Lay theory of crime (liberal / progressive): crime is an undesirable or pathological phenomenon caused by social problems (poverty, lack of education, unemployment, etc.) Crime (and criminal punishment) serve to produce an event that strengthens the sentiment of pro-sociality that governs social life
Racial Wage
White working class and freed slaves could work together, however they do not because the white working class values their status in society
Pierre Bordieu
Most influential theorist in contemporary academic sociology Incorporates elements of all of the classical thinkers we have learned about (especially Marx and Durkheim) Provides a theory of how structure, culture and individual agency interact to reproduce social institutions Symbolic violence; exclusive spaces
Habitus is a social agent’s way of being in the world, is produced via socialization in early childhood
For Bourdieu, a field is an arena of social activity Some fields that Bourdieu discusses are; The economy The field of cultural production (art) The education system Every field has its own unspoken logic
Bourdieu borrows the term “capital” from Marx, who uses it to describe the value that capitalists invest in ownership of the means of production According to Bourdieu, this “economic capital” is only one form of capital in society that people use to position themselves within various fields Another form of capital is “cultural capital”: Ability to play an instrument, knowledge about literature or fine art, etc. Basically, the ability to be evaluated as someone who “knows what they are talking about” when it comes to culture
Sometimes, talent and/or hard work really does produce upward social mobility In order to succeed, people who do not possess the habitus that is native to a field will have to work twice as hard, as they must not only achieve the milestones associated with success, but also correct for their own natural attitude
A shared system of symbols and their corresponding meaning(s) Behavioural practices that are common to a community and that are invested with particular meanings Culture = shared symbolic representation
Symbolic Representation
We often orient towards objects or situations as if their meaning is an objective feature (EX. The value of money, the law) People must understand and be part of the same culture to understand the difference between the two EX: “one more book” with middle finger = 3 year old does not understand the meaning of the middle finger We orientate towards the meanings of gestures/phrases rather than the gesture/phrase itself without the meaning behind it
Social Construction
Social construction occurs when shared culture creates a social object towards which people orient as if its reality were objective
Theory of Culture in Action (Ann Swidler)
Settled Culture Structure and culture are mutually reinforcing In “settled times,” culture takes the form of traditions and “common sense” In such times, culture has only a weak direct effect on individual behaviour (behaviour is determined primarily by structure) Unsettled Culture Structure becomes out-of-sync with existing traditions In “unsettled times,” culture increasingly takes the form of novel ideology (a new story about the existing structure) In such times, culture creates new strategies for action, and propels people to act in ways that might upend their existing habits and traditions
Ann Swidler
In settled times, when structure and its existing culture (i.e. its existing narrative account of itself) allow for relatively easy social reproduction, new ideologies are unlikely to take hold and motivate novel courses of behaviour for individuals In unsettled times, however, people find that they can no longer rely on existing culture to explain their experience (or, in other words, their immediate experience begins to negate the existing cultural story) In such times, culture (rather than structure) becomes the thing that motivates action and thereby moves history
Culture & Agency
Episodes of being unsettled → making decisions to return oneself to settled times/states Culture = the way society acts/is Agency = people’s/society’s reaction to the culture The idea of culture as “shared meaning” suggests that culture is monolithic Swider argues that different cultural interpretations are simultaneously maintained People have access to a “cultural toolkit” that they reference in unsettled moments to make sense of their experience
In a society where culture is primarily transmitted via mass media, one’s interaction with culture becomes about conformity vs. deviance A subculture is a cultural group within a larger culture Subcultures generally take a negative position relative to the dominant culture
Modern vs. Post-Modern Culture
Modern Culture: Dominant culture vs. subculture Post-Modern Culture: Culture becomes increasingly fragmented More difficult to discern what is “dominant culture” and what is “subculture” Greater diversity of meanings that people can attach themselves to in unsettled moments
Nature vs. Nurture
Biological determinism ( “nature” limit position) Genetics and the biological systems they produce imbue individuals with particular qualities: temperament, intelligence, behaviour, etc. Empiricism (“nurture” limit position) People’s experience is what accounts for the way that they develop
We can think about exposure to all socially meaningful knowledge as being analogous to exposure to language Socialization is the process by which people learn to function in social life and become aware of themselves as they interact with others “learning to function in social life” means different things for different social groups
Primary Socialization
The process of acquiring the basic skills needed to function in society during childhood, usually in the context of the family EX: Language, Rules of social interaction, Sense of self
Secondary Socialization
Explicit and implicit socialization that occurs outside the context of a child’s primary socialization environment (which is usually the family) In Canadian society, the most important vehicle is the school system Secondary socialization at school occurs via two distinct sources of social knowledge; Authority figures & Peer groups
Peer Group Socialization
In later childhood and throughout adulthood, people also experience socialization within peer groups Peer groups are groups of people who are similar in age and social status Within peer groups, teenagers and young adults collectively process and engage with the social knowledge they receive from primarily socialization (and from the secondary socialization they are exposed to via authority figures) Within the context of an affirming peer group, teenagers and young adults often feel comfortable challenging or rejecting aspects of their accumulated social knowledge This can result in “deviance” from social norms, including dress and other aspects of presentation, behaviour, and beliefs
Social Interaction
The micro-level encounters between individuals, Responsible for early socialization
Stages of Social Developments
Imitation (infancy and toddlerhood) (EX:Parent sticks out their tongue → baby sticks out their tongue) Role-playing (pre-school) (EX: “playing house”, “playing doctor”) Games that necessitate understanding multiple roles / perspectives simultaneously (school age children) Internalization of the “generalized other” (maturity) Internalization of an archetypal social role that one seeks to embody through behaviour At this stage, individuals become socially mature
A “role” is analogous to the roles that actors take on in plays or films: they are prescribed ways of interacting that are conditioned by a particular social time and space Every role has particular expectations and acceptable behaviours built into it Social interaction, for Goffman, occurs as much between “roles” as it does between the individuals who inhabit those roles
Human interaction is conditioned by the character of the space in which it takes place Goffman notes that roles often have both a “frontstage” and a “backstage”
Front stage activities involve the coordination of roles to present a certain kind of interactive experience to an “audience” (individuals who are not part of the construction and reproduction of the setting)
The backstage is also a “setting,” people also inhabit roles while backstage In the backstage, actors coordinate to produce the situation of the frontstage
One way to assess the objective character of some feature of society is by observing how actors, organizations, and institutions are networked A network is a set of social individuals that are linked by communicative acts; Economic exchange Friendship Employment relationships Family relationships
An individual point of contact in a network
A social relationship between two nodes A dyad is the most basic unit of network structure Takes two to make, but only one to die
Network Analysis
Number of nodes Number of connections Centrality Path distance Network analysis reveals the objective structure of a social group, without necessitating any analysis of the content of interaction Black Swan event: EX: stock market crash can have an influence on political views
Collectivities characterized by structure that encourage patterns in individual action In the context of an organization, the structure of the network is often concrete, such that the network structure becomes independent of the individuals who occupy the network Organizational culture: The structure of an organization can be described with reference to its objective features It is important to remember, however, that organizations are always also cultural entities Culture influences the kinds of communicative acts that nodes in a network engage in
Institutions are made up of multiple organizations that are formally networked For example, the criminal justice system involves multiple organizations, all of which have their own organized networks
Institutionalization is the process by which networks which are at first informal become formally organized, and formally recognized Institutionalization is both structural and cultural
Social Capital
Social capital: the networks or connections that people have Increased network centrality = increased social capital BUT social capital is not only about connections, but about the quality of connections People draw on their own social capital when they deploy their networks for some benefit (for example, asking for a favour) Quantity of weak ties = ability to find a job
Institutional Change
Unlike informal networks, institutions are resistant to change Weber: “the iron cage of bureaucracy”
Path Dependence
When networks are institutionalized, they often exhibit path dependence, which occurs when one action (or a series of actions), sets an individual or organization down a “path” form which it becomes increasingly costly to deviate
Social categorization based on some physical characteristic Race is something that we see because it is socially meaningful There are many non-racial physical differences between individuals that are not signified as fundamental social categories To say that race is a social construction is not to say that race is “not real” – it is real because it is socially meaningful, and has measurable social consequences
Shared culture
The process through which physical differences become signified as important social categories Contemporary racial categorization is rooted in two historical trajectories: slavery, and colonialism This widely pervasive cultural system of categorization did not dematerialize with the abolition of slavery in North America
White Supremacy
The socio-cultural nexus of social institutions, cultural ideologies, and individual actors that advantage white people (both individually and collectively) and disadvantage people who are not white
W. E.B. DuBois
Wrote both about the subjective experience of racialization as well as the socio-political position of Black Americans in the aftermath of the civil war (both macro and micro-level analysis) Work focuses on the experiences of Black Americans, but has been used by a wide variety of race scholars to theorize different cases Theorised experience of post-civil war Black Americans
The Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. DuBois)
Character of racialized consciousness Failure of emancipation to grant true freedom to freed slaves Program of self actualization (p. 127) Black Americans are “born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.” Du Bois’ concept of the veil describes the inability of escaping racial categorization for non-whites
Double Consciousness
Black Americans experience double-consciousness Consciousness of one’s self; one’s own self-understanding Consciousness of how one is perceived, both by white individuals and by the dominant white culture more generally
The Veil
Slavery → Suffrage → Education At each impasse, political freedom is negated No attempt on the part of the wider culture to deal with the necessary consequences of the previous historical era As a result, no ability in wider culture to recognize Black Americans as individuals separated from their racial category EX: Barack Obama can’t escape being the “first black president” (can’t discuss him without mentioning that) = the veil which prevents him from being recognized as an individual Whiteness acts as an open curtain = whiteness is recognized immediately as the default, lets the white individual be recognized as an individual
Imperialism is a political program that advocates a state’s expansion into novel territory via military force, diplomacy, or a combination of these efforts Goals of imperialism may vary, but economic exploitation of novel territory is universal
Military / political control of a colonized nation by a colonizing nation Economic exploitation Neo-imperialism / neo-colonialism: economic exploitation without direct political or military control Settler colonialism: While all examples of colonialism involve some degree of settlement by the colonizing power, the colonization of some states involves the permanent settlement of colonizers and their decedents
The process of removing colonists and colonial structures from formerly colonized nations Self-determination for formerly colonized peoples
Colonial Ideology
As with slavery, the cultural/ideological justification for colonialism is an ideology that systematically dehumanizes colonial subjects Franz Fanon: colonial ideology always defines colonial subjects as simultaneously barbaric and pre-cultural à not fully human Bifurcated orientation towards the colonial subject on the part of the dominant culture
Critical Race Theory
Critical race theory is a body of scholarship that originated in legal studies Describes how racial and ethic prejudice is embedded in the structure of social institutions; therefore, race-based discrimination persists even when social actors are “not racist” (i.e. when the ideologies that served to justify slavery and colonial ideology are no longer widely accepted) Institutional racism: occurs when organizational policies and practices systematically discriminate against people of some racial group
Describes gender-based inequality, and the structures and ideologies that sustain that inequality Political inequality and exclusion Economic inequality Compulsory domesticity Sexual violence
Women's Movement
First Wave Feminism Canada: late eighteenth century – mind 1920s Goals: sufferage, basic property rights Second Wave Feminism 1960s-1980s Goals: bodily autonomy, freedom from sexual oppression, political and economic equality with men “The problem that has no name”
Liberal feminism: Liberal feminism: women should be free to make choices; all social arenas open to men should also be open to women Socialist / Marxist feminism: women’s oppression is fundamentally related to their position in capitalist economies; women create economic value that is not part of the formal economy Essentialist feminism: women and men are fundamentally different; women’s oppression stems from the systematic devaluing of traits that are specific to women Post-structural feminism: gender is an ideological construct whose performance oppresses members of both genders
The Double Shift
Even though their labour market participation has risen steadily since the 1970s, women continue to perform the majority of unpaid labour in the home Childcare, cooking, cleaning: labour that is necessary to achieve daily social reproduction Women are responsible for performing the majority of this labour, both when it is unpaid (i.e. in the context of a family) and as low- wage, low-prestige, often precarious employees
Intersectional Feminism
Social categories that are associated with some form of oppression, like race and gender, never occur in isolation Intersectional feminists argue that different forms of oppression must be considered jointly
Class (to do with feminism)
Class is another category of oppression that intersects with both gender and race This means that class has an important effect on how race- and gender-based oppression is experienced In our recent history, we have witnessed the emergence of several social movements focused on highlighting racial and gender oppression Class has received much less attention than other categories of inequality, but it has a substantive impact on how both race and gender are experienced
Measuring Class Inequality
The Gini coefficient What’s the degree of deviation away from the line of equality? Greater deviation = greater division from equality
Crime and Deviance
Deviance: behaviour that goes against established social norms Criminal law: describes a set of behaviours that society formally recognizes as (a) deviant and (b) formally sanctionable Crime: deviant behaviour that violates the law
A Sociological Approach To Crime
We tend to think about deviant behaviour, and specifically criminal behaviour, as inherently socially pathological Personal moral failing Thinking about crime sociologically requires that we distance ourselves from moral judgement and think about the social forces that contribute to criminal behaviour Crime is viewed as a sociological failing and is seen as something to be reduced; whether through prison sentences or supports for that person’s life to not put them in a “crime doing” situation again
Durkheim & Crime
An additional function of crime, according to Durkheim, is that it can force a society to recon with the fact that its moral character has changed Functional analysis of crime: trying to step outside of moral judgement and assess the situation at a logical level Criminal commits crime = neighbours see each other taking trash cans out = can both shit talk the criminal = find more commonality & opportunity to present your shared moral beliefs Secondary function of crime: Can also have moral judgements about the moral disjuncture of law and general beliefs (someone is arrested for smoking a joint = you and your neighbour say “this is crazy we cant be throwing people in jail for smoking joints” = moral judgement about the judicial system)
Categorizing Deviant Behaviour
Social diversions: minor acts of deviance that are recognized, but largely tolerated, by society (no formal sanction) Social deviations: more serious acts of deviance that most people agree are socially harmful (institutional sanction) Conflict crimes: deviant acts that are criminalized (state sanction), but about which there is controversy with regard to ultimate moral status Consensus crimes: deviant acts that are criminalized and that are universally accepted as morally unacceptable (state sanction)