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Sociology 102


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What is a social problem?
a condition that undermines the well-being of some or all members of a society and is usually a matter of public controversy.
Social Structures
the way that people view things
the physical aspects of society (buildings, roads and stuff)
Economic Structure
a way to distribute resources in society
the ability to do something
Economic Power
The wealthy do better than the poor
Political Power
the government sets out laws that forbid people from doing certain things.
Idea developed by Adam Smith. Means of production are owned by the citizens and the individual. It is private ownership of property.
the government owns the means of production (the infrastructure). The rewards of that system are then given back to the people. Ex: (School)
Political Structure
The way the government is set up
derived from latin words 'demos' meaning citizens (people) and 'crecey' meaning the rule. Therefore democracy is the rule of the people.
When a government forces people to do things. It is the legitimate use of power. The citizens understand that certain people have power.
Rule by king or queen. The only way to get into power is through bloodline, like prince william and harry.
only the most highly educated can rule (similar to us... only highly educated become president)
totalitarianism aka. dictatorship
Is a militaristic government. The leader is in control of the armed forces. Pretty much do what i say or ill kill you.
How has property ownership shaped political structures?
Those with more property get to make the decisions. By having property, and thus money people have the power to make important decisions.
The Sociological imagination
the ability to distinguish between personal troubles and social issues (in the words of C. Mills)
Personal Troubles
a problem that affects an individual as oppose to a group.
Social/Public Issues
A problem that affects society as a whole.
Unemployment example of Sociological Imagination
If 1 out of 100 is laid off it is a personal problem. If 10 out of 100 are laid of it is a social/public issue.
Divorce example of sociological immagination.
half of all marriages end in divorce. social problem.
Structural Functionalism
how societies are held together
Social institutions
polity, economics, family, religion, education
Social Solidarity
refers to the integration, and degree and type of integration, shown by a society or group.
Mechanical Solidarity
Society holds together because all members of society are alike. Agrarian societies. No broad division of labor. Everyone does roughly the same thing.
Organic Solidarity
– the society coheres together based on the interdependence of each group of society. Broad division of labor.
Social Pathology
social problems that are shared by different nations or groups
social dysfunction
it tells us that if a problem exists in society it is because of disease that exists in some social institution.
Manifest Functions
the basic function of something. Washington states manifest function is education.
Latent Functions
the secondary functions, Washington States Latent functions would be providing a dating pool, job opportunities.
How does structural functionalism perceive social problems?
– social problems are the result of rapid social change. EX: Hurricane Katrina closed oil refineries which then raised gas prices, creating a social problem.
Bourgeoisie - Capitalists
it is in their interest to get workers to do as much as possible for as little as possible.
Proletariat - workers
It is in their interest to do as little as possible for as much as possible
Lumpin Proletariat
The poorest of the poor who will work for less, putting middle class out of business.
Labor Theory of Value
The cost of Labor is what determines the value of the product.
Symbolic Interactionism
Society only exists through our sharing of a set of symbols, and our understanding of these symbols
Learning Theories/symbols
you learn and develop ideas based on your surroundings and way of life. Ex: Being born in a poor neighborhood. Or being born in the USA, you probably learned english.
Labeling Theories/symbols
We have the ability to label other institutions and people in society. Once we apply a label to something, that determines the way we will react too it. Teacher applies label to us as “students” and shapes how he reacts to us.
The social construction of social problems
the way society perceives things creates social problems
Survey Data
The use of a census. Unfortunately this skips over homeless and illegal immigrants
Experimental research
Research in a lab. Bring in test subjects and see how they react.
Secondary Analysis
The follow up to the original tests. The objective is to uncover new data.
Observational Techniques
ethnographic studies.

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