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Glossary of Sociology Chapter 1 vocab

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Sociology
The systematic study of human society.
Sociological Perspective
The special point of view of sociology that sees general patterns of society in the lives of particular people.
Global Perspective
The study of the larger world and our society’s place in it.
4. High-income countries
The nations with the highest overall standards of living.
Middle-income countries
Nations with a standard of living about average for the world as a whole.
Low-income countries
- Nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor.
Positivism
A scientific approach to knowledge based on “Positive” facts as opposed to mere speculation.
Theory
A statement of how and why specific facts are related.
Theoretical approach
A basic image of society that guides thinking and research.
Structural-functional approach
A framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability.
Social structure
Any relatively stable pattern of social behavior.
Social functions
The consequence of a social pattern for the operation of society as a whole.
Manifest functions
The recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern.
Latent function
The unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern.
Social dysfunction
Any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society.
Social-conflict approach
A framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change.
Gender-conflict approach
A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and men.
Feminism
Support of social equality for women and men.
Race-conflict approach
A point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnic categories.
Macro-level orientation
A broad focus on social structures that shape society as a whole.
Micro-level orientation
A close-up focus on social interaction in specific situations.
Symbolic-interaction approach
A framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals.
Positivist sociology
The study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior.
Science
A logical system that develops knowledge from direct, systematic observation.
Empirical evidence
Information we can verify with our senses.
Concept
A mental construct that represents some aspect of the world in a simplified form.
Variable
A concept whose value changes from case to case.
Measurement
A procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specific case.
Reliability
Consistency in measurement.
Validity
Actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure.
Correlation
A relationship in which two (or more) variables change together.
Cause and effect
A relationship in which change in one variable (the independent variable) causes change in another (the dependent variable).
Interpretive sociology
The study of society that focuses on discovering the meanings people attach to their social world.
Critical sociology
The study of society that focuses on the need for social change.
Gender
The personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being female or male.
Research method
A systematic plan for doing research.
Experiment
A research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions.
Survey
A research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions on a questionnaire or in an interview.
Participant observation
A research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities.
Stereotype
A simplified description applied to every person in some category.

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