Sociology – Session 1 (Ivy Tech, Sociology Final Exam)

the study of human society; differs from other sciences in that it detects patterns in how different societies respond to similar phenomena
Sociological Imagination
the ability to connect the most basic, intimate aspects of an individual’s life to seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces
Social Institution
a complex group of interdependent positions that, together, perform a social role and reproduce themselves over time; also defined in a narrow sense as any institution in a society that works to shape the behavior of the groups or people within it
German for “understanding” by Max Weber; empathic understanding of human behavior
a sense of aimlessness or despair that arises when we can no longer reasonably expect life to be predictable; too little social regulation; normlessness
Positivist Sociology
a strain within sociology that believes the social world can be described and predicted by certain describable relationships (akin to a social physics)
Double Consciousness
a concept conceived by W. E. B. Du Bois to describe the two behavioral scripts, one for moving through the world and the other incorporating the external opinions of prejudiced onlookers, which are constantly maintained by African Americans
the theory that various social institutions and processes in society exist to serve some important (or necessary) function or purpose to keep society running
Conflict Theory
the idea that conflict between competing interests is the basic, animating force of social change and society in general
Symbolic Interactionism
a micro-level theory in which shared meanings, orientations, and assumptions form the basic motivations behind people’s actions; e.g., examining the interactions between people with a focus on how the people talk, dress, and use body language
a condition characterized by a questioning of the notion of progress and history, the replacement of narrative within pastiche, and multiple, perhaps even conflicting, identities resulting from disjointed affiliations
Social Construction
an entity that exists because people behave as if it exists and whose existence is perpetuated as people and social institutions act in accordance with the widely agreed-upon formal rules or informal norms of behavior associated with that entity; e.g., capitalism
Midrange Theory
a theory that attempts to predict how certain social institutions tend to function
a branch of sociology that seeks to understand local interactional contexts; its methods of choice are ethnographic, generally including participant observation and in-depth interview
a branch of sociology generally concerned with social dynamics at a higher level of analysis—that is, across the breadth of a society
Social Identity
a collection of individual stories told between individuals
Auguste Comte
Sociologist: “Science is used to predict human behavior.”
Karl Marx
Sociologist: “The division of labor has social and moral consequences.”
Max Weber
Sociologist: “Sociologists must understand the meaning people attach to their actions.” & “Think sociologically”
Harriet Martineau
Sociologist: “This thinker translated the work of others and wrote the first book on sociological method.”
Emile Durkheim
Sociologist: “The sense of self and identity are influenced by historical and social circumstances.”
W.E.B. DuBois
Sociologist: “Class conflict drives social change.”
Georg Simmel
Sociologist: “This thinker developed formal definitions for small and large groups.”
Interpretive Sociology
the study of society that concentrates on the meanings people associate to their social world