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Introduction to Sociology 2e

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Contents Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 An Introduction to Sociology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

What is sociology? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 History of Sociology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Theoretical Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Why study sociology? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2 Sociological Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Approaches to Sociological Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Research Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Ethical Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

3 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51What is culture? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Elements of Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Pop Culture, Subculture and Cultural Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Cultural Theoretical Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

4 Society and Social Interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Company Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Socio-Theoretical Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79Social Reality Constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

5 Socialization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Self-Development Theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Why Socialization Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Socialization Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Lifelong Socialization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

6 Groups and Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115Group Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Group Size and Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Formal Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

7 Deviance, Crime, and Social Control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Bypass and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 Crime and Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

8 Media and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Technology Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157Media and technology in society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 Global Impact of Media and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168

9 Social Stratification in the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183What is social stratification? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184Social Stratification and Mobility in the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Global stratification and inequality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196

10 Global Inequality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 Stratification and Global Classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206 Global Wealth and Poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

11 Race and Ethnicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 Theories of Race and Ethnicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 Intergroup Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232Race and Ethnicity in the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

12 Gender, Gender and Sexuality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 Sex and Gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 genus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 Sex and Sexuality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262

13 Aging and the Elderly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273

Who are the elders? aging in society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274The Aging Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281Challenges of older people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287 Theoretical Perspectives on Aging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291

14 Marriage and Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307What is Marriage? What is a family? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309 Variations in Family Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313Challenges for Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318

15 Religiosity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333A sociological approach to religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334 World Religions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338 Religion in the United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343

16 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353Education in the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354Educational Theoretical Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359 Educational Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363

17 Government and Politics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375Power and Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 376 forms of government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380Politics in the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384Theoretical Perspectives on Government and Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385

18 Labor and the Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395Economic Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397 Globalization and Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 406Works in the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409

19 Health and Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423The social construction of health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 425 Global Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427Health in the United States. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 428 Comparative Health and Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 433 Theoretical Perspectives on Health and Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 436

20 Population, Urbanization and the Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449 Demographics and Population . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 452Urbanization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456Environment and Society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 460

21 Social Movements and Social Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475 Collective Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477Social Movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 480 Social change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497

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About This Book Welcome to Introduction to Sociology 2e, an OpenStax resource created with multiple goals: accessibility, affordability, personalization, and student engagement - while encouraging students to achieve high levels of learning. Teachers and students alike will find that this book provides a solid foundation in sociology. It's available online for free and in affordable print and e-book editions.

To expand access and encourage community curation, Introduction to Sociology 2e is "open source" and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. All are invited to submit examples, new research, and other comments to improve and strengthen the material and keep it current and relevant for today's students. You can make suggestions by contacting us at[email protected]

For Students Written for you, this book draws on the teaching and research experience of a number of sociologists. In today's socially networked world, the topic of sociology is more relevant than ever. We hope that through this book you will learn how simple, everyday human actions and interactions can change the world. In this book you will find applications of sociological concepts that are relevant, timely, and balanced.

For the lecturer This text is intended for a one-semester introductory course. As current events affect our social perspectives and the field of sociology in general, OpenStax encourages educators to keep this book up to date by sending their updated examples to[email protected]so that students and faculty across the country can network and engage in fruitful discussions.

General procedure Introduction to Sociology 2e follows a typical introductory course in sociology in scope and structure. In addition to comprehensive coverage of core concepts, key scientists, and emerging theories, we incorporate section briefings with engaging questions, discussions that help students use their sociological imagination, and features that engage students in the discipline in meaningful ways. While this text can be adapted and reorganized to suit your needs, the standard version is organized to present topics conceptually with relevant everyday experiences.

Second Edition Changes Part of the job of updating the second edition was to ensure that the research, examples, and concepts used in this book are current and relevant to today's students. To that end, we have rewritten the introduction to each chapter to reflect the latest developments in sociology, history, and global culture. In addition to new graphics and images, the reader of the second edition will find new resource boxes on a variety of topics, which was one of the goals of the update - to bring the world more into focus through case studies on global culture.

For example, since the first issue, there have been major cultural shifts in the Middle East and the Arab world—an ongoing movement called the Arab Spring—changes that now feed into our coverage of social movements and social unrest (Chapter 21, “Social Movements and Social Unrest "). Social change"). New issues related to immigration in the United States and around the world were brought to the forefront of the second edition, as rising income disparities and modern modes of transportation account for trends in Europe (fears of Islamic conservatism and economic recession) and US political debates (such as border security, education and health care).

Since the first edition in 2012, technology and social media have introduced new ways of communicating, and of course these changes are changing the fabric of social life around the world. The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are

foreword 1

is reflected in new material in Chapter 4, “Society and Social Interaction,” where we discuss how social media is changing classical models of social stratification and prestige.

In addition to updating critical facts, data and guidelines from the first edition, we have expanded on key topics including:

Feminism and Feminist Theory Health Legislation

US social stratification minimum wage policy

Transgender Issues and Changes in DSM-V Global Education Statistics

Marriage and equal pay competing theories of tolerance

The Use of Cyberbullying Charter Schools Française |

Effects of the economy on populations Climate change debates

Use of technology and social media by world population and demographic changes

Individuals and groups net neutrality, online privacy and security

Other topics received a slight update for relevance and student engagement. The racial tensions created by the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases and the legalization of marijuana are two examples of such escalations.

Features of OpenStax Introduction to Sociology 2eWe have kept and updated specific features from the original text for this updated version.

Modularity This book is organized in Connexions ( ( as a collection of modules that can be rearranged and modified to suit the needs of a particular teacher or class to become. However, modules often contain references to content from other modules, since most sociology topics cannot be treated in isolation.

Learning ObjectivesEach module begins with a set of clear and concise learning objectives. These goals are designed to help the instructor decide what content to include or assign, and to show students what they can expect to learn. After completing the module and the exercises at the end of the module, the students should be able to prove that they have mastered the learning objectives.

Key Features The following features show students the dynamic nature of sociology:

• Sociological Research: Highlights specific recent and relevant research studies. Examples are “Is Music a Universal Culture?” and “Misleading Divorce Rates”.

• Sociology in the Real World: Links the chapter content to student life and discusses sociology in everyday life. Topics include "McJob Secrets" and "Note Inflation: When is an A Really a C?"

• Overview: Resources present sociological concepts at the national or international level, including “Education in Afghanistan” and “Native American Tribes and Environmental Racism”.

• Case Study: Describes real-life people whose experiences relate to the content of the chapter, such as: B. "Catherine Middleton: The Commoner Who Would Be Queen."

• Social Policy and Debate: Discusses political issues related to chapter content such as “The Legalese of Sex and Gender” and “Is the U.S. Bilingual?"

• Careers in Sociology: Explores the life and work of individuals in sociology careers, including the real-world problems and debates these professionals face on a daily basis.

Section Summaries Section summaries distill the information in each section for students and faculty to the succinct key points covered in the section.

2 Preface

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Key terms Key terms are in bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also given in the glossary that appears at the end of the online module and at the end of the printed chapter.

Section Tests Section tests provide an opportunity to apply and test the information students learn in each section. Multiple choice and short answer questions offer a variety of question types and difficulty levels.

Additional Research This resource helps students further explore the topic of the section and provides related research topics for them to explore.

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction to Sociology 2e is based on the work of numerous professors, authors, editors and reviewers who are able to bring topics to students in an engaging way.

We would like to thank all of the people listed below, as well as the many others who invested their time and energy in reviewing the manuscript and providing feedback. In particular, Clint Lalonde and the staff at BC Campus for sharing the updates they have made for use in this issue, and the staff at Stark State College for their editorial assistance with this update. Her contribution was instrumental in maintaining the pedagogical integrity and accuracy of the text.

AutorenbeiträgeHeather Griffiths, Fayetteville State University*Nathan Keirns, Zane State College*Eric Strayer, Hartnell College*Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Georgia Perimeter CollegeGail Scaramuzzo, Lackawanna CollegeTommy Sadler, Union UniversitySally Vyain, Ivy Tech Community College*Jeff Bry, Minnesota State Community Das Technical College in Moorhead * Faye Jones, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

*People who contributed to the 2nd edition

FachreferentenRick Biesanz, Corning Community CollegeCynthia Heddlesten, Metropolitan Community CollegeJanet Hund, Long Beach City CollegeThea Alvarado, College of the CanyonsDaysha Lawrence, Stark State CollegeSally Vyain, Ivy Tech Community CollegeNatashia Willmott, Stark State CollegeAngela M. Adkins, Stark State CollegeCarol Jenkins, Glendale Community CollegeLillian Marie Wallace, Pima Community CollegeJ. Brandon Wallace, Middle Tennessee State University, Gerry R. Cox, emeritierter Professor der University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, David Hunt, Augusta State University, Jennifer L. Newman-Shoemake, Angelo State University, and Cisco College, Matthew Morrison, University of Virginia, Sue Greer-Pitt, Southeast Kentucky Community und Technical CollegeFaye Jones, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community CollegeAthena Smith, Hillsborough Community CollegeKim Winford, Blinn CollegeKevin Keating, Broward CollegeRussell Davis, University of West AlabamaKimberly Boyd, Piedmont Virginia Community CollegeLynn Newhart, Rockford CollegeRussell C. Ward, Maysville Community and Technical College

Foreword 3

Xuemei Hu, Union County CollegeMargaret A. Choka, Pellissippi State Community CollegeCindy Minton, Clark State Community CollegeNili Kirschner, Woodland Community CollegeShonda Whetstone, Blinn CollegeElizabeth Arreaga, Emeritus Photographer at Long Beach City College Malik Howard, El Centro College and Collin CollegeJeff Bry, Minnesota State Community and Technical College at MoorheadCynthia Tooley, Metropolitan Community College at Blue RiverCarol Sebilia, Diablo Valley CollegeMarian Moore, Owens Community CollegeJohn Bartkowski, University of Texas at San AntonioShelly Dutchin, Western Technical Faculty

Supplements Accompanying the main text is a trainer's PowerPoint file ( which contains all the images and captions found throughout the text and a trainer's test bank .

Disclaimer All photos and images were licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license at the time of their placement in this book. CC-BY license does not cover any trademarks or logos in the photos. If you have any questions about photos or images, please contact us at[email protected]

4 Preface

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1 An introduction to sociology

Figure 1.1 Sociologists study how society affects people and how people affect society. (Photo courtesy of Diego Torres Silvestre/flickr)

Learning objectives 1.1. What is sociology?

• Explain central concepts of sociology

• Understand how different sociological perspectives have evolved

1.2. The History of Sociology • Explain why sociology arose when it arose

• Describe how sociology became an academic discipline in its own right

1.3. Theoretical Perspectives • Explain what sociological theories are and how they are used

• Understand the similarities and differences between structural functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism

1.4. Why study sociology?• Explain why studying sociology is worthwhile

• Identify ways in which sociology is applied in the real world

Chapter 1 | An introduction to sociology 5

Introduction to Sociology We all belong to many groups; You are a member of your sociology class and a member of your family; They may like a political party, a sports team, or the crowd attending a sporting event; You are a citizen of your country and part of a generation. You can play a slightly different role in each group and feel different in each one.

Groups differ, among other things, in size and formalities as well as in the solidarity between the group members. Within a large group, smaller groups can exist, and each group can behave differently.

At a rock concert, for example, some people like to sing along, others prefer to sit back and watch, others join a mosh pit or try crowd surfing. Why do we feel and act differently in different social situations? Why can people from the same group behave differently in the same situation? Why might people who behave similarly not feel connected to others who behave in the same way? These are some of the many questions sociologists ask when studying people and societies.

1.1 What is sociology?

Figure 1.2 Sociologists learn about society as a whole while studying individual and group interactions. (Photo courtesy of Gareth Williams/flickr)

What are society and culture? Sociology is the study of groups and group interactions, societies and social interactions, from small and personal groups to very large groups. A group of people living in a defined geographic area, interacting with each other, and sharing a common culture is what sociologists call a society. Sociologists study all aspects and levels of society. Sociologists working at the micro level study small groups and individual interactions, while those using macro level analysis study trends in large groups and societies. For example, a micro-level study could examine accepted rules of conversation in different groups, such as teenagers or business people. In contrast, a macro-level analysis could examine how language use has changed over time or across social media.

The term culture refers to the group's shared practices, values, and beliefs. Culture encompasses the way a group lives, from routine, everyday interactions to the most important parts of the lives of the group members. It encompasses everything that a society produces, including all social rules. Sociologists often study culture with the sociological imagination, which pioneering sociologist C. Wright Mills described as an awareness of the relationship between a person's behavior and experience and the larger culture that shaped a person's choices and perceptions. It is a way of looking at our own behavior and that of others in relation to history and social structure (1959).

An example of this is a person's decision to get married. In the United States, this choice is heavily influenced by individual feelings; however, the social acceptance of the marriage in relation to the person's circumstances also plays a role. Remember,

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however, this culture is a product of the people in a society; Sociologists are careful not to treat the term "culture" as if it were alive by itself. Reification is a mistake in treating an abstract concept as having a real, material existence (Sahn 2013).

Patterns of Inquiry: How Sociologists View Society All sociologists are interested in the experiences of individuals and how those experiences are shaped through interactions with social groups and society as a whole. For a sociologist, the personal choices an individual makes do not exist in a vacuum. Cultural patterns and social forces push people to choose one option over another. Sociologists attempt to identify these general patterns by examining the behavior of large groups of people living in the same society and exposed to the same social stresses.

Changes in US family structure provide an example of patterns that sociologists are interested in studying. A "typical" family today is very different from decades past, when most American families consisted of married parents living in the same house with their unmarried children. The proportion of unmarried couples, same-sex couples, single parents and single adult families is increasing, as is the number of extended families in which other family members such as grandparents, cousins ​​or adult children live together in the family (US Census Bureau 2013).

While mothers still make up the majority of single parents, millions of fathers also raise their children alone, and over 1 million of these single parents have never been married (Williams Institute 2010; quoted in Ludden 2012). Increasingly, single men and women and cohabiting same-sex and opposite-sex couples are choosing to raise their children through surrogacy or extramarital adoption.

Some sociologists study the social facts, that is, laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all the cultural rules that govern social life and that can contribute to these changes in the family. Do people in America see marriage and family differently than they used to? Do working and economic conditions play a role? How has culture influenced the choices individuals make in living their lives? Other sociologists study the consequences of these new patterns, such as the way children are affected, or changes in educational, housing, and health needs.

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Figure 1.3 Modern American families can be very different in structure from what was historically typical. (Photo courtesy of Tony Alter/WikimediaCommons)

Another example of how society influences individual decisions can be seen in views and use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits. Some people believe that those who receive SNAP benefits are lazy and unmotivated. Statistics from the US Department of Agriculture paint a complex picture.

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Table 1.1 SNAP use by state in 2005 Sociologists study social conditions in different states to explain differences in the numbers of people receiving SNAP benefits. (Table courtesy US Department of Agriculture)

Eligibility Percentage by Eligibility Reason

Living in WiverArea

time not exceeded

Restrictions[1]In the E&T program

receive exemption

Total Eligible Percentage for the


Alabama 29 62/72 0 1 73/80

Alaska 100 62 / 72 0 0 100

California 6 62/72 0 0 64/74

District of Colombia

100 62 / 72 0 0 100

Florida 48 62/72 0 0 80/85

Mississippi 39 62 / 72 0 3 100

Wyoming 7 62/72 0 0 64/74

The percentage of the population receiving SNAP benefits is much higher in certain states than others. If the above cliché is true, does this mean that people in some states are lazier and less motivated than people in other states? on social issues like this.

To identify social trends, sociologists also study how people use SNAP benefits and how people respond to their use. The survey found that for many people in all walks of life there is a strong stigma attached to using SNAP benefits. who qualify for this type of support with SNAP benefits. According to Hansonand Gundersen (2002), the intensity with which this stigma is felt is related to the general economic climate. This illustrates how sociologists observe a pattern in society.

Sociologists identify and study patterns that relate to all types of contemporary social problems. "Don't ask, don't tell" politics, the rise of the Tea Party as a political faction, how Twitter influenced everyday communication - these are all examples of issues sociologists can study.

The Study of the Part and the Whole: How Sociologists View Social Structures A fundamental foundation of the sociological perspective is the concept that the individual and society are inseparable. It is impossible to study one without the other. The German sociologist Norbert Elias called figuration the process of simultaneously analyzing the behavior of individuals and the society that shapes that behavior.

One application that makes this concept understandable is the practice of religion. While people experience their religion individually, religion exists in a broader social context. For example, a person's religious practice may be influenced by government regulations, holidays, teachers, places of worship, rituals, and so on. These influences underscore the important relationship between individual religious practices and the social pressures that affect that religious experience (Elias 1978).

1. The lowest number is for people in households reporting receipt of food stamps in the Income and Program Participation Survey (SIPP). The higher number applies to people in households that do not receive food stamps on the SIPP.2. The lowest number is for people in households reporting receipt of food stamps in the Income and Program Participation Survey (SIPP). The higher number applies to people in households who do not receive food stamps on the SIPP.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Connections between the individual and society When sociologist Nathan Kierns spoke to his girlfriend Ashley (a pseudonym) about the move she and her partner had made from an urban center to a small Midwestern town, he became curious about how the social Pressure exerted on the lesbian couple differed from one community to another. Ashley said they were used to being stared at and commented on when she and her partner walked hand-in-hand around town. Otherwise she felt at least tolerated. There was little or no outright discrimination.

That all changed when they moved to the small town for their partner's job. For the first time, Ashley faced direct discrimination based on her sexual orientation. Some of them were particularly painful. Landlords have not rented to them. Ashley, who is a highly skilled professional, had a difficult time finding a new job.

When Nathan asked Ashley if she and her partner were discouraged or bitter about this new situation, Ashley said they decided to do something about it rather than let it get to them. Ashley has spoken to groups at a local college and several area churches. Together they decided to create the city's first gay-straight alliance.

Allianz has successfully worked to educate their community about same-sex couples. It also worked to raise awareness of the types of discrimination Ashley and her partner experienced in the city and how it could be eliminated. The Alliance has grown into a powerful advocacy group working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT people.

Kierns noted that this is an excellent example of how negative social forces can lead to a positive response from individuals to bring about social change (Kierns 2011).

1.2 The history of sociology

(A B C D)

Figure 1.4 Humans thought like sociologists long before sociology became an academic discipline in its own right: Plato and Aristotle, Confucius, Khaldun, and Voltaire laid the foundations of modern sociology. (Photos (a), (b), (d) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Photo (c) courtesy of Moumou82/Wikimedia Commons)

Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by the relationship between individuals and the societies to which they belong. Many issues studied in modern sociology were also studied by ancient philosophers in their desire to describe an ideal society, including theories of social conflict, economics, social cohesion, and power (Hannoum 2003).

In the thirteenth century, Ma Tuan-Lin, a Chinese historian, was the first to recognize social dynamics as an underlying component of historical development in his seminal encyclopedia General Study of Literary Remains. The next century saw the rise of what some believe to be the world's first sociologist, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) of Tunisia. He has written on many subjects of interest today and laid the foundations of modern sociology and economics, including a theory of social conflict, a comparison of nomadic and sedentary life, a description of political economy, and a study of the social cohesion of a tribe to its efficiency. (Hannum 2003).

In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers developed general principles that could be used to explain social life. Thinkers like John Locke, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbes reacted to what they saw

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social ills, writing on issues they hoped would lead to social reform. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) wrote about the position of women in society. Her work has long been ignored by the male academic establishment, but since the 1970s Wollstonecraft has been widely regarded as the first major feminist thinker.

The early 19th century brought major changes with the Industrial Revolution, greater mobility and new forms of employment. It was also a time of great social and political upheaval, with the rise of empires that exposed many people for the first time to societies and cultures different from their own. Millions of people moved to the cities and many people gave up their traditional religious beliefs.

Creating a Discipline

August Comte (1798-1857)

Figure 1.5 Auguste Comte played an important role in the development of sociology as a recognized discipline. (Photo courtesy of WikimediaCommons)

The term sociology was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (1748-1836) in an unpublished manuscript (Fauré et al. 1999). In 1838 the term was reinvented by Auguste Comte (1798-1857). Comte originally studied engineering, but later became a student of the social philosopher Claude Henri de Rouvroy Comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825). Both thought that social scientists could study society using the same scientific methods as natural sciences. Comte also believed in the potential of social scientists to work toward the betterment of society. He claimed that once scholars identified the laws that governed society, sociologists could address problems such as poor education and poverty (Abercrombie et al. 2000).

Comte called the scientific study of social patterns positivism. He described his philosophy in a series of books entitled The Course in Positive Philosophy (1830-1842) and An Overview of Positivism (1848). He believed that using scientific methods to uncover the laws by which societies and individuals interact would usher in a new "positivist" era of history. Although the field and its terminology have grown, sociologists still believe in the positive impact of their work.

Harriet Martineau (1802–1876) - the first female sociologist

Harriet Martineau was a writer who covered a wide range of social science topics. She was an early observer of social practices, including economics, social class, religion, suicide, government, and women's rights. Her writing career began in 1931 with a series of stories entitled Illustrations of Political Economy, in which she attempted to enlighten ordinary people about the principles of economics (Johnson 2003).

Martineau was the first to translate Comte's writings from French into English, thus introducing sociology to English-speaking scholars (Hill 1991). She is also credited with the first systematic methodological international comparisons of social institutions in two of her most famous sociological works: Society in America (1837) and Retrospect of Western Travel (1838). Martineau felt that the workings of capitalism ran counter to the moral principles professed by the people of the United States; She pointed out the shortcomings of free enterprise, in which workers would be exploited and impoverished while entrepreneurs would get rich. She further noted that the belief in the equality of all human beings is incompatible with the lack of rights for women. Like Mary Wollstonecraft, Martineau was often overlooked in her day because of the male dominance of academic sociology.

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Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Figure 1.6 Karl Marx was one of the founders of sociology. His ideas on social conflicts are still relevant today. (Photo courtesy of John Mayall/Wikimedia Commons)

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher and economist. In 1848 he and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) jointly wrote the Communist Manifesto. This book is one of the most influential political manuscripts in history. It also presents Marx's social theory, which differs from Comte's proposal.

Marx rejected Comte's positivism. He believed that societies grew and changed as a result of struggles between different social classes over the means of production. At the time he was developing his theories, the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism were leading to large wealth inequalities between factory owners and workers. Capitalism, an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of goods and the means of their production, has grown in many nations.

Marx predicted that the inequalities of capitalism would become so extreme that workers would eventually revolt. This would lead to the collapse of capitalism, which would be replaced by communism. Communism is an economic system in which there is no private or corporate property: everything is common property and distributed as needed. Marx believed that communism was a more egalitarian system than capitalism.

While his economic predictions may not have come true in time, Marx's idea that social conflict leads to changes in society is still one of the main theories used in modern sociology.

Herbert Spencer (1820–1903)

In 1873 the English philosopher Herbert Spencer published The Study of Sociology, the first book with the term "sociology" in the title. Spencer rejected much of Comte's philosophy as well as Marx's theory of class struggle and his support of communism. Instead, he favored a form of government that allowed market forces to control capitalism. His work influenced many early sociologists, including Émile Durkheim (1858–1917).

Jörg Simmel (1858–1918)

Georg Simmel was a German art critic who also wrote extensively on social and political issues. Simmel took an anti-positivist stance, addressing issues such as social conflict, the role of money, individual identity in city life, and the European fear of outsiders (Stapley 2010). Much of his work has focused on micro-level theories, analyzing two- and three-person group dynamics. His work also emphasized individual culture as the creative abilities of the individual. Simmel's contributions to sociology are not often included in the discipline's scholarly history, perhaps overshadowed by his contemporaries Durkheim, Mead, and Weber (Ritzer and Goodman 2004).

Emil Durkheim (1858-1917)

Durkheim helped establish sociology as a formal academic discipline by founding the first European Department of Sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895 and publishing his Rules of Sociological Method in 1895. In another important work, Division of Labor in Society (1893), Durkheim established his theory of how societies transformed from a primitive state into a capitalist and industrial one. According to Durkheim, people rise in society on the basis of merit.

Durkheim believed that sociologists could examine objective "social facts" (Poggi 2000). He also believed that through these studies it would be possible to determine whether a society was "healthy" or "pathological". He saw healthy societies as stable, while pathological societies experienced a breakdown in social norms between individuals and society.

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

In 1897, Durkheim attempted to demonstrate the effectiveness of his social science rules by publishing a work entitled Suicide. Durkheim studied suicide statistics at various police stations to examine differences between the Catholic and Protestant communities. He attributed the differences to socio-religious forces rather than to individual or psychological causes.

George Herbert Met (1863–1931)

George Herbert Mead was a philosopher and sociologist whose work focused on the ways in which the mind and self evolved as a result of social processes (Cronk nd). He argued that the way an individual comes to see themselves depends largely on interactions with others. Mead called certain individuals who influenced a person's life significant others, and also conceptualized "generalized others" as the organized and generalized attitude of a social group. Mead's work is closely related to the symbolic-interactionist approach and emphasizes the micro level of analysis.

Max Weber (1864–1920)

In 1919, the prominent sociologist Max Weber founded a faculty for sociology in Germany at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Weber wrote on many sociological topics, including political changes in Russia and social forces affecting factory workers. He is best known for his 1904 book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. The theory that Weber presents in this book is still controversial today. Some believe Weber argued that the beliefs of many Protestants, especially Calvinists, led to the creation of capitalism. Others interpret it simply as a claim that the ideologies of capitalism and Protestantism are complementary.

Weber believed that it was difficult, if not impossible, to use standard scientific methods to predict group behavior as accurately as people would expect. They argued that the influence of culture on human behavior should be considered. This was even true for the researchers themselves, who they felt should be aware of how their own cultural biases might influence their research. To deal with this problem, Weber and Dilthey introduced the concept of understanding, a German word meaning "to understand deeply". In the search for understanding, external observers of a social world - an entire culture or a small neighborhood - try to understand it from the perspective of those inside.

In his book The Nature of Social Action (1922), Weber described sociology as an attempt to "interpret the meaning of social action and thus provide a causal explanation for the manner in which action takes place and the effects it produces evokes". He and other like-minded sociologists proposed a philosophy of antipositivism in which social researchers would strive for subjectivity while working to depict social processes, cultural norms, and social values. This approach led to some research methods whose goal was not to generalize or predict (traditional in science) but to systematically gain a deep understanding of social worlds.

Differing research approaches based on positivism or anti-positivism are often credited as the basis for the differences between quantitative sociology and qualitative sociology found today. Quantitative sociology uses statistical methods, such as surveys with large numbers of participants. Researchers analyze data using statistical techniques to see if they can uncover patterns in human behavior. Qualitative sociology seeks to understand human behavior by learning about it through in-depth interviews, focus groups, and analysis of content sources (such as books, journals, journals, and popular media).

Should we raise the minimum wage? In the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage and signed an executive order making it effective for people working on new federal employment contracts. Pass legislation to change the national minimum wage more broadly. The result became a national controversy, with several economists taking differing positions on the issue and public protests organized by various groups of minimum-wage workers.

Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue that some workers would receive higher paychecks while others would lose their jobs, and that higher labor costs would make companies less likely to hire new workers (Bernstein 2014; quoted in CNN).

Proponents of raising the minimum wage argue that any job losses would be more than offset by the positive impact on the economy of higher-income lower earners (Hassett 2014; quoted in CNN).

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Sociologists can also look at the minimum wage issue from different perspectives. How would an increase in the minimum wage affect a single mother? Some might examine economic impacts, e.g. B. Your ability to pay bills and keep food on the table. Others may observe how reducing economic stress can improve family relationships. Some sociologists might study the impact on the status of small business owners. All of these could be examples of public sociology, a branch of sociology that strives to bring sociological dialogue to public forums. The goals of public sociology are to improve understanding of the social factors underlying social problems and to help find solutions. According to Michael Burawoy (2005), the challenge of public sociology is to engage multiple audiences in multiple ways.

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives

Figure 1.7 Sociologists develop theories to explain social events such as protests. (Photo courtesy of

Sociologists study social events, interactions, and patterns, and develop a theory to explain why things work the way they do. In sociology, a theory is a way of explaining various aspects of social interactions and creating a testable statement, called a hypothesis, about society (Allan 2006).

For example, although suicide is generally viewed as an individual phenomenon, Émile Durkheim was interested in studying the social factors that influence it. He studied social bonds within a group, or social solidarity, and hypothesized that differences in suicide rates might be explained by differences based on religion. Durkheim collected a wealth of data on Europeans who had ended their lives and did find differences based on religion. Protestants were more likely than Catholics to commit suicide in Durkheim's society, and his work supports the theory's usefulness in sociological research.

Theories vary in scope according to the scope of the problems they purport to explain. Macro-level theories deal with big problems and large groups of people, while micro-level theories look at very specific relationships between individuals or small groups. Grand theories attempt to explain large-scale connections and to answer fundamental questions such as why societies form and why they change. Sociological theory is constantly evolving and should never be considered complete. Classical sociological theories are still considered important and timely, but new sociological theories build and build on the work of their predecessors (Calhoun 2002).

In sociology, some theories offer broad perspectives that help explain many different aspects of social life and these are called paradigms. Paradigms are philosophical and theoretical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories, generalizations, and the experiments conducted to support them. Three paradigms dominate sociological thinking because they provide useful explanations: structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.

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Table 1.2 Sociological theories or perspectives Different sociological perspectives allow sociologists to view social problems through a variety of useful lenses.

Sociological Paradigm

The focus legs there Analysis

structural functionality

Macro or MiddleThe way each part of society works together to contribute to the whole

Macro Theory of ConflictThe ways in which inequalities contribute to social differences and perpetuate power differences

symbolic interactionism

Micro interactions and one-to-one communication

Functionalism Functionalism, also called structure-function theory, views society as a structure with interconnected parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of individuals in that society. Functionalism arose from the writings of the English philosopher and biologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), who saw similarities between society and the human body; I have heard that just as the different organs of the body work together to keep the body going, so the different parts of society work together to keep society going (Spencer 1898). The parts of society Spencer referred to were social institutions or patterns of belief and behavior focused on meeting social needs, such as government, education, family, health, religion, and economy.

Émile Durkheim, another early sociologist, applied Spencer's theory to explain how societies change and survive over time. Durkheim believed that society is a complex system of interconnected and interdependent parts that work together to maintain stability (Durkheim 1893), and that society is held together by shared values, languages, and symbols. He believed that to study society, a sociologist must look beyond the individual to social facts such as laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, and rituals that serve to govern social life. Alfred Radcliff-Brown (1881-1955) defined the function of each recurring activity as the role it plays in social life as a whole, and thus its contribution to social stability and continuity (Radcliff-Brown 1952). In a healthy society, all parts work together to maintain stability, a condition later termed dynamic equilibrium by sociologists such as Parsons (1961).

Durkheim believed that individuals can form a society, but to study society sociologists must look beyond individuals to social facts. Social facts are the laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all cultural rules that govern social life (Durkheim 1895). Each of these social facts serves one or more functions within a society. For example, one function of a society's laws might be to protect society from violence, while another is to punish criminal behavior, while another is to protect public health.

Another notable structural functionalist, Robert Merton (1910-2003), has pointed out that social processes often have many functions. Manifest functions are the sought or expected outcomes of a social process, while latent functions are the unintended outcomes of a social process. For example, an obvious function of college education involves gaining knowledge, preparing for a career, and finding a good job that uses that education. Latent functions of your college years include meeting new people, participating in extracurricular activities, or even finding a spouse or partner. Another latent function of education is the employment hierarchy based on the level of education attained. Latent functions can be useful, neutral, or harmful. Social processes that have undesirable consequences for the functioning of society are called dysfunctions. Examples of educational dysfunction include poor grades, skipping grades, dropping out of school, failing to graduate and find a suitable job.


One criticism of the structure function theory is that it cannot adequately explain social change. Also problematic is the somewhat circular nature of this theory; Repetitive patterns of behavior are thought to have a function, but we pretend to know that they only have a function because they are repeated. Furthermore, dysfunctions can persist even if they fail to perform a function, which seems to contradict the basic premise of the theory. Many sociologists now believe that functionalism is no longer useful as a macro-level theory, but that it serves a useful purpose in some intermediate-level analyses.

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

A world culture?

Figure 1.8 Some sociologists see the online world as contributing to the creation of an emerging global culture. Are you part of a global community? (Photo courtesy of quasireversible/flickr)

Sociologists around the world are carefully searching for signs of what would be an unprecedented event: the emergence of a global culture. In the past, empires like those of China, Europe, Africa, and Central and South America connected people from many different countries, but these people rarely became part of a common culture. They lived far apart, spoke different languages, practiced different religions, and traded in few commodities. Today, the increase in communication, travel, and trade have made the world a much smaller place. More and more people can communicate instantly - wherever they are - via phone, video and text. They share movies, TV shows, music, games, and information over the Internet. Students can study with teachers and students on the other side of the world. Governments are finding it more difficult to hide the conditions in their countries from the rest of the world.

Sociologists explore many different aspects of this potential global culture. Some examine the dynamics associated with the social interactions of global online communities, e.g. B. when members feel more connected to other group members than to people living in their own countries. Other sociologists study the impact this growing international culture is having on smaller and less powerful local cultures. Still other researchers examine how international markets and outsourcing of labor affect social inequalities. Sociology can play a key role in helping people understand and respond to the nature of this emerging global culture.

Conflict theory Conflict theory sees society as competition for limited resources. This perspective is a macro-level approach most closely identified with the writings of the German philosopher and sociologist Karl Marx (1818-1883), who saw society as composed of individuals from different social classes competing for social, material, and political resources need, such as food and housing, employment, education and leisure. Social institutions such as government, education, and religion reflect this competition in their inherent inequalities and help perpetuate the unequal social structure. Some individuals and organizations are able to obtain and retain more resources than others, and these "winners" use their power and influence to maintain social institutions. Various theorists have proposed variations on this basic theme.

The Polish-Austrian sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz (1838-1909) expanded on Marx's ideas by arguing that war and conquest are the basis of civilizations. He believed that cultural and ethnic conflicts led to states being identified and defined by a dominant group that held power over other groups (Irving 2007).

The German sociologist Max Weber agreed with Marx, but also believed that in addition to economic inequalities, inequalities in political power and social structure also cause conflict. Weber found that different groups were affected differently

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Education, race and gender, and that people's responses to inequality have been tempered by differences in class and levels of social mobility, and by perceptions of the legitimacy of those in power.

The German sociologist Georg Simmel (1858–1918) believed that conflict can help to integrate and stabilize a society. The intensity of the conflict varies according to the emotional involvement of the parties, the degree of solidarity between the opposing groups, and the clarity and narrowness of the goals. Simmel also showed that groups work to create internal solidarity, centralize power, and reduce dissent. Conflict resolution can reduce tension and hostility and pave the way for future agreements.

In the 1930s and 1940s, German philosophers known as the Frankfurt School developed critical theory as an elaboration of Marxist principles. Critical theory is an extension of conflict theory and encompasses more than just sociology, including other social sciences and philosophy. A critical theory attempts to address structural problems that cause inequality; it must explain what is wrong with current social reality, identify individuals who can make changes, and provide practical goals for social transformation (Horkeimer 1982).

More recently, inequality based on gender or race has been similarly explained and institutionalized power structures identified that help perpetuate inequality between groups. Janet Saltzman Chafetz (1941-2006) presented a model of feminist theory that attempts to explain the forces that perpetuate gender inequality and a theory of how such a system might be changed (Turner 2003). Likewise, critical race theory grew out of a critical analysis of race and racism from a legal perspective. Critical Race Theory analyzes structural inequality based on white privilege and the wealth, power, and prestige that comes with it.


Agriculture and locavores: how sociological perspectives can look at food consumptionFood consumption is an everyday and everyday event, but it can also be associated with important moments in our lives. Eating can be an individual or group action, and eating habits and customs are influenced by our cultures. In the societal context, our country's food system is at the center of countless social movements, political issues and economic debates. Each of these factors can become the subject of sociological studies.

A structural-functional approach to the issue of food consumption may be interested in the role of agribusiness in the country's economy and how it has changed from the early days of manual farming to modern mechanized production. Another investigation could examine the various functions that occur in food production: from growing and harvesting to flashy packaging and mass consumption.

A conflict theorist might be interested in the power differentials in food regulation, where people's right to information intersects with corporate profit-seeking, and how government mediates these interests. Or a conflict theorist is interested in the power and impotence that local farmers experience in the face of large agribusinesses, such as the documentary film Food Inc. depicts as a result of Monsanto's patenting of seed technology. Another study topic could be how diet differs in different social classes.

A sociologist looking at food consumption through a symbolic-interactionist lens would be more interested in micro-level issues, such as the symbolic use of foods in religious rituals or the role they play in the social interaction of a family dinner. This perspective may also examine interactions between group members who identify based on a particular diet, e.g. B. Vegetarians (people who don't eat meat) or locavores (people who make an effort to eat locally produced foods).

Just as structural functionalism has been criticized for focusing too much on the stability of societies, conflict theory has been criticized for tending to focus on conflict at the expense of acknowledging stability. Many social structures are extremely stable or have evolved gradually over time, rather than changing abruptly as conflict theory suggests.

Symbolic Interaction Theory Symbolic interaction theory is a micro-level theory that focuses on the relationships between individuals within a society. Communication - the exchange of meaning through language and symbols - is viewed as the way people communicate with each other

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understand their social world. The theorists Herman and Reynolds (1994) note that this perspective sees people as active shapers of the social world and not just as influenced.

George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) is considered one of the founders of symbolic interactionism, although he never published his work on it (LaRossa and Reitzes 1993). Mead's student Herbert Blumer coined the term "symbolic interactionism" and outlined these basic premises: people interact with things based on the meanings assigned to those things; the meaning ascribed to things arises from our interactions with others and society; the meanings of things are interpreted by a person in dealing with things under certain circumstances (Blumer 1969). For example, if you love books, a Symbolic Interactionist might suggest that you have learned through your interactions with family, friends, school, or church that books are good or important; Perhaps your family had special reading time each week, receiving your library card was treated as a special event, or bedtime stories were associated with warmth and comfort.

Social scientists using symbolic-interactionist thinking look for patterns of interaction between individuals. His studies are usually about observing individual interactions. For example, while a conflict theorist studying political protest focuses on class differences, a symbolic interactionist is more interested in how individuals in the protest group interact and the signs and symbols protesters use to communicate their identities. The focus on the importance of symbols in building society led sociologists such as Erving Goffman (1922-1982) to develop a technique called dramaturgical analysis. Goffman used theater as an analogy for social interaction and recognized that people's interactions showed patterns of cultural "scripts". Because it may not be clear what role a person might play in a given situation, they must improvise their role as the situation evolves (Goffman 1958).

Studies using the symbolic-interactionist perspective tend to use qualitative research methods such as in-depth interviews or participant observation because they attempt to understand the symbolic worlds in which research subjects live.

Constructivism is an extension of symbolic interaction theory that proposes that reality is what people cognitively construct. We develop social constructs based on interactions with others, and the constructs that endure over time have meanings that are widely accepted or universally accepted by the majority of society. This approach is often used to understand what is defined as deviant in a society. There is no absolute definition of deviance, and different societies have constructed different meanings of deviance and associated different behaviors with deviance. A situation that illustrates this is what you think you are doing when you find a wallet on the street. In the United States, handing over the wallet to local authorities would be considered an appropriate measure, and keeping the wallet would be considered a diversion. In contrast, many Eastern societies would find it much more appropriate to keep the wallet and look for the owner themselves; handing it over to someone else, even to the authorities, would be considered deviant behavior.


Research conducted from this perspective is often scrutinized because it is difficult to remain objective. Others criticize the extremely narrow focus on symbolic interaction. Proponents, of course, consider this one of its greatest strengths.

sociological theory today

These three approaches are still the main basis of modern sociological theory, but some development has been observed. Structural functionalism was a dominant force after World War II and well into the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, sociologists began to believe that structural functionalism could not adequately explain the rapid social changes then taking place in the United States.

Conflict theory then gained prominence as institutionalized social inequality was reemphasized. Critical theory and certain aspects of feminist theory and critical race theory have focused on creating social change through the application of sociological principles, and the field has placed a renewed emphasis on helping ordinary people understand the principles of sociology, on the form of public sociology.

Postmodern social theory seeks to view society through an entirely new lens, rejecting previous macro-level attempts to explain social phenomena. Postmodern social theory, which gained general acceptance in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is a micro-level approach that analyzes small local groups and individual reality. Its increasing popularity coincides with the constructivist aspects of symbolic interactionism.

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1.4 Why study sociology?

Figure 1.9 Research by sociologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark helped the Supreme Court decide to end “separate but equal” segregation in US schools. (photo courtesy of public domain)

When Elizabeth Eckford attempted admission to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957, she was greeted by an angry crowd. But she knew she had the law on her side. Three years earlier, in the landmark case of Brown v. The Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court, repealed 21 state laws that allowed blacks and whites to be educated in separate school systems as long as the school systems were "equal." One of the main factors that influenced this decision was the research conducted by husband and wife sociologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark. Her research showed that segregation was harmful to black school-age youth, and the court found that harm unconstitutional.

Since its inception, many interested in sociology have been driven by an academic desire to bring knowledge to the field, while others saw it as a way not only to study but also to improve society. In addition to desegregation, sociology has played a crucial role in many important social reforms, such as native populations to preserve their land and culture, and reforms to the prison system.

The prominent sociologist Peter L. Berger (1929–), in his 1963 book Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective, describes a sociologist as "one concerned with the disciplined understanding of society". He claims that sociologists have a natural interest in monumental moments in people's lives, as well as a fascination with mundane, everyday events. Berger also describes the "aha" moment when a sociological theory becomes applicable and understood:

[T]here is a deceptive simplicity and obviousness about some sociological investigations. Someone reads them, nods to the familiar scene, realizes that this has all been heard before and that people have nothing better to do than tinker with truisms - until suddenly someone stumbles upon a realization that radically challenges everything previously assumed . about this familiar scene. This is where you begin to feel the excitement of sociology. (Berger 1963)

Sociology can be exciting because it teaches people ways to see how they fit into the world and how others perceive them. Looking at themselves and society from a sociological perspective helps people see where they connect with different groups based on the many different ways they categorize themselves and how society categorizes them in turn. It raises awareness of how these classifications - such as economic and status level, education, ethnicity or sexual orientation - affect perception.

Sociology teaches people not to accept simple explanations. Teach them how to organize their thinking so they can ask better questions and come up with better answers. It makes people more aware that there are many different types of people in the world who don't necessarily think the way they think. It increases your willingness and ability to try to see the world from other people's perspectives. This prepares them to live and work in an increasingly diverse and integrated world.

Sociology in the Workplace Employers continue to look for people with so-called 'transferable skills'. This means they want to hire people whose knowledge and training can be applied in multiple environments and whose skills contribute to multiple tasks.

Chapter 1 | An introduction to sociology 19

Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Studying sociology can provide people with this broad knowledge and skills that can contribute to many jobs, including

• Understanding of social systems and large bureaucracies;

• Ability to design and conduct research projects to assess whether a program or policy is working;

• the ability to collect, read and analyze statistical information from polls or surveys;

• the ability to recognize important differences in people's social, cultural and economic backgrounds;

• Ability to create reports and communicate complex ideas; and

• the ability to think critically about social issues and problems faced by modern society. (Department of Sociology, University of Alabama)

Sociology prepares you for a wide range of professional fields. In addition to conducting social research or training others in the field, people with a sociology degree are employed by government agencies and corporations in areas such as social services, counseling (e.g., family planning, careers, substance abuse). community planning, health services, marketing, market research and human resources. Even a small background in sociology can be beneficial in careers such as sales, public relations, journalism, teaching, law and criminal justice.

Please "Call Me Friend": Students and Social Media The phenomenon known as Facebook was developed specifically for students. While previous generations wrote notes in each other's printed yearbooks at the end of the school year, modern technology and the Internet have ushered in dynamic new ways for people to interact socially. Instead of meeting on campus, students can call, text, and skype from their dormitories. Instead of a weekly study group meeting at the library, online forums and chat rooms help students network. The availability and immediacy of computer technology forever changed the way students interact.

Now, with several social networks vying for supremacy, some have carved out their place in the market and others have attracted niche audiences. Although Facebook started the social networking trend aimed at teenagers and young adults, people of all ages are now actively "friending". LinkedIn excelled at focusing on professional connections and serving as a virtual world for workplace networking. Newer offshoots like Foursquare are helping people connect based on the real-world places they frequent, while Twitter has captured the market for brevity.

Widespread smartphone ownership contributes to this social experience; The Pew Research Center (2012) found that most people in the United States with cell phones now have internet-enabled "smart" phones. a growing acceptance of smartphone use in many different and previously forbidden environments. The results of the use of smartphones and other social media are still unclear.

These new ways of social interaction have also led to harmful outcomes, such as cyberbullying and what some call FAD, or Facebook Addiction Disorder. The researchers also looked at other potential negative effects, such as whether Facebook lowers a student's GPA or whether there could be long-term effects of replacing in-person interaction with social media.

All of these social networks are showing new ways of how people interact, be they positive or negative. They illustrate how sociological topics are alive and changing today. Social media will certainly be an evolving topic in the study of sociology for decades to come.

chapter overview

key terms

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conflict theory:



Dramaturgical analysis:

Dynamic balance:





others generalize:

great theories:


latent functions:

Macro Level:

Manifest Functions:

Micro level theories:



qualitative sociology:

quantitative sociology:


significant others:

Social Facts:

Social institution:

social solidarity:


the view that social researchers should pursue subjectivity when working to depict social processes, cultural norms, and social values

a theory that views society as competing for limited resources

an extension of symbolic interaction theory that proposes that reality is what humans cognitively construct

the shared practices, values, and beliefs of a group

a technique sociologists use to look at society through the metaphor of theatrical performance

a stable state in which all parts of a healthy society work well together

social patterns that have undesirable consequences for the functioning of society

the process of simultaneously analyzing the behavior of an individual and the society that shapes that behavior

the role that a recurring activity plays in social life as a whole and what contribution it makes to structural continuity

a theoretical approach that views society as a structure with interconnected parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of the individuals that make up that society

the organized and generalized attitude of a social group

an attempt to explain large-scale connections and to answer fundamental questions such as why societies arise and why they change

a verifiable proposal

the unrecognized or unintended consequences of a social process

a comprehensive consideration of the role of social structures within a society

sought the consequences of a social process

the study of specific relationships between individuals or small groups

philosophical and theoretical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories, generalizations, and the experiments conducted to support them

the scientific study of social patterns

In-depth interviews, focus groups and/or content source analysis as the source of your data

statistical methods such as B. Surveys with a large number of participants

a mistake in treating an abstract concept as having a real material existence

certain individuals that affect a person's life

Laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals and all cultural rules that govern social life

Patterns of beliefs and behaviors aimed at meeting social needs

the social ties that hold a group of people together, such as B. Kinship, location and religion

a group of people living in a defined geographic area who interact with each other and share a common culture

Chapter 1 | An introduction to sociology 21

sociological idea:


symbolic interactionism:


to understand:

the ability to understand how one's past is related to that of other people, history in general and social structures in particular

the systematic study of society and social interaction

a theoretical perspective through which scholars study the relationship of individuals within their society by examining their communication (language and symbols).

a proposed explanation of social interactions or society

a German word meaning to understand deeply

Summary section

1.1 What is sociology? Sociology is the systematic study of society and social interaction. In their studies, sociologists identify cultural patterns and social forces and determine how they affect individuals and groups. They also develop ways to apply their discoveries to the real world.

1.2 The History of Sociology Sociology was developed to study and understand the changes in society brought about by the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some early sociologists thought that societies and the roles of individuals in society could be studied using the same scientific methods used in the physical sciences, while others believed that it was impossible to scientifically predict human behavior, and still others debated value such predictions. These perspectives are still represented in sociology today.

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives Sociologists develop theories to explain social events, interactions and patterns. A theory is a proposed explanation of these social interactions. Theories have different scales. Macro-level theories such as structural functionalism and conflict theory attempt to explain how societies function as a whole. Micro-level theories such as symbolic interactionism focus on interactions between individuals.

1.4 Why study sociology? Studying sociology is beneficial for both individuals and society. By studying sociology, people learn to critically engage with societal issues and problems that our society faces. Studying sociology enriches the lives of students and prepares them for a career in an increasingly diverse world. Society benefits because people with a sociological education are better able to make informed decisions about social problems and take effective action to deal with them.

The section questionnaire

1.1 What is sociology?1. Which of the following statements best describes the subject of sociology?

one. The study of individual behaviorb. The study of cultures c. The study of society and social interaction. the study of economics

2. C. Wright Mills once said that sociologists must develop a sociological __________ to study how society affects individuals.

one. culture b. fantasyc. Method. Tool

3. A sociologist defines society as a group of people living in a defined area, sharing a common culture and who: a. interactb. work in the same industry

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c. speaking different languages. practice a recognized religion

4. Recognizing patterns means that a sociologist must be able to: a. compare the behavior of individuals from different societiesb. compare one society to another c. Identify commonalities in how social groups respond to social pressures. Compare individuals to groups

1.2 The history of sociology5. Which of the following was a subject of study in early sociology?

one. astrologyb. economic c. physics history

6. Which founder of sociology believed that societies change through class struggle? That. Emile Comteb. Karl Marxc. platod. Herbert Spencer

7. The difference between positivism and anti-positivism relates to: a. whether individuals like their company or not b. whether the research methods use statistical data or personal surveys c. whether sociological studies can predict or improve society. everything above

8. What would a quantitative sociologist use to collect data? That. A big searchb. A bibliographical search c. A detailed interview. TV show review

9. Weber believed that people could not be examined purely objectively because they were influenced by: a. drugs b. your culture c. their genetic makeup. The researcher

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives10. Which of these theories is most likely to look at the social world at a micro level?

one. structural functionalismb. conflict theory c. positivismd. symbolic interactionism

11. Who believed that the history of society was marked by class struggle? That. Emile Durkheimb. Karl Marxc. Erving Goffmann. George Herbert Met

12. Who coined the term symbolic interactionism? That. Herberto Blumerb. Max Weberc. Lester F Wardd. WI Thomas

13. A symbolic interactionist might compare social interactions to: a. behavioral conflicts

Chapter 1 | An introduction to sociology 23

c. human organs d. theater roles

14. What research technique would a symbolic interactionist be likely to use? That. survey b. Participant observation c. Quantitative data analyzed. None of the above

1.4 Why study sociology?15. Kenneth and Mamie Clark used sociological research to show that segregation means:

one. advantageousb. harmfulc. illegal. not important

16. Studying sociology helps people analyze data because they learn: a. interview techniquesb. apply statisticsc. theories too generating. everything above

17. Berger describes sociologists as concerned about: a. monumental moments in human life. general events of daily life c. both a and bd. none of the above

Short answer

1.1 What is sociology?1. What do you think C. Wright Mills meant when he said that being a sociologist requires developing a sociological imagination?

2. Describe a situation in which a decision you made was influenced by social pressure.

1.2 The history of sociology3. What do you think of Karl Marx's contributions to sociology? What perceptions of Marx have you been exposed to in your society and how do these perceptions influence your views?

4. Do you prefer qualitative or quantitative research? Why? Does it matter what subject you study?

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives5. Which theory do you think best explains how societies work – structural functionalism or conflict theory? Why?

6. Do you think that human behavior in social interactions is more like animal behavior or more like actors playing a role in a theatrical production? Why?

1.4 Why study sociology?7. How do you think a sociology course might affect your social interactions?

8. What job are you interested in? How can studying sociology help you in this career?

More research

1.1 What is sociology? Sociology is a broad discipline. Different types of sociologists use different methods to study the relationship between individuals and society. For more information on sociology, see

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1.2 The history of sociology Many sociologists have helped shape the discipline. To learn more about prominent sociologists and how they changed sociology, visit (

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives People often think that all conflicts are violent, but many conflicts can be resolved non-violently. To learn more about nonviolent conflict resolution methods, see the Albert Einstein Institution (

1.4 Why study sociology? Social communication is evolving rapidly due to ever-improving technologies. To learn more about how sociologists study the impact of these changes, visit (


1.1 What is sociology? Elijah, Norbert. 1978. What is Sociology? New York: Columbia University Press.

Hanson, Kenneth, and Craig Gundersen. 2002. “How Unemployment Affects the Food Stamp Program.” Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report No. 26-7. USDA. Retrieved January 19, 2012 ( ( - 7/fanrr26-7.pdf) ).

Luden, Jennifer. 2012. "Single Parenting by Choice: More Men Going It Single." NPR. Retrieved December 30, 2014 (

Mills, C. Wright. 2000 [1959]. The sociological imagination. 40th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

SAH, Richard. 2013. “The Perils of Reification”. The opposite perspective. Retrieved October 14, 2014 (

U.S. Census Bureau. 2013. "America's Families and Housing Patterns: 2012." Retrieved December 30, 2014 (

1.2 The history of sociology Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner. 2000. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. London: Penguin.

Burowy, Michael. 2005. "2004 Presidential Address: For Public Sociology." American Sociological Review 70 (Februar): 4–28. Abgerufen am 30. Dezember 2014 (,%20Live/Burawoy.pdf).

Cable Network News (CNN). 2014. "Should the minimum wage be raised?" CNN money. Retrieved December 30, 2014 (

Cronk, George. n.d. "Georg Herbert Mead." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. Recuperado on October 14, 2014 (

Durkheim, Emil. 1964 [1895]. The Rules of Sociological Method, edited by J Mueller, E George and E Caitlin. 8th ed. Translated by S. Solovay. New York: Free Press.

Faure, Christine, Jacques Guilhaumou, Jacques Vallier, and Francoise Weil. 2007 [1999]. From the Manuscripts of Sieyès, 1773–1799, Volumes I and II. Wetten: Master.

Hannum, Abdelmajid. 2003. Translation and Colonial Images: Ibn Khaldun Orientalist. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University. Retrieved January 19, 2012 ( (

Hill, Michael. 1991. "Harriet Martineau." Women in Sociology: A Biobibliographical Sourcebook edited by Mary JoDeegan. New York: Greenwood Press.

Johnson, Bethany. 2003. "Harriet Martineau: Theories and Contributions to Sociology." Education Portal. Retrieved October 14, 2014 (

Poggi, Gianfranco. 2000. Durkheim. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 1 | An introduction to sociology 25

Ritzer, George and Goodman, Douglas. 2004. Sociological Theory, 6th Edition. New York: McGraw Hill Education.

Stapley, Pierre. 2010. "Georg Simmel." Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. Retrieved 21 October 2014 (

Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress. 2010. Women and Business, 2010: 25 Years of Progress, but Challenges Remain. August. Washington, DC: Congressional Printing Office. Retrieved January 19, 2012 ( ( = Files.Serve&File_id=8be22cb0-8ed0-4a1a-841b-aa91dc55fa81) ).

1.3 Theoretical Perspectives Allan, Kenneth. 2006. Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory: Visualizing Social Worlds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Rock, Geraldo. 1973. History of Anthropology. Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing House.

Calhoun, Craig J. 2002. Classical Sociological Theory. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Durkheim, Emil. 1984 [1893]. The division of labor in society. New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, Emil. 1964 [1895]. The Rules of Sociological Method, edited by J Mueller, E George and E Caitlin. 8th ed. Translated by S. Solovay. New York: Free Press.

GOFFMAN, Erving. 1958. The Representation of the Self in Everyday Life. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Social Science Research Centre.

Goldschmidt, Walter. 1996. “Functionalism” in Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, vol. 2, edited by D. Levinson and M. Brasa. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Henry, Stuart. 2007. "Deviation, Constructivist Perspectives." Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Retrieved October 14, 2014 (

Herman, Nancy J., and Larry T. Reynolds. 1994. Symbolic Interaction: An Introduction to Social Psychology. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

Horkeimer, M. 1982. Critical Theory. New York: Seabury Press.

Irving, John Scott. 2007. Fifty Important Sociologists: The Formative Theorists. New York: Rouledge.

LaRossa, R. and D.C. charm. 1993. "Symbolic Interactionism and Family Studies". pp. 135–163 in Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methods: A Contextual Approach, edited by PG Boss, WJ Doherty, R LaRossa, WR Schumm, and SK Steinmetz. New York: Springer.

Maryanski, Alexandra, and Jonathan Turner. 1992. The Social Cage: Human Nature and the Evolution of Society. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1998 [1848]. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin.

Parsons, T. 1961. Theories of society: foundations of modern sociological theory. Nova York: Free Press.

Pew Research Center. 2012. Mobile Technology Fact Sheet. Pew Research Internet Project, April 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2014 (

Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. 1952. Structure and Function in Early Society: Essays and Discourses. London: Cohen and West.

Spencer, Herbert. 1898. The principles of biology. New York: D. Appleton and Company.

Turner, J. 2003. The Structure of Sociological Theory. 7th ed. Belmont, California: Thompson/Wadsworth.

UCLA School of Public Affairs. n.d. "What is Critical Race Theory?" UCLA School of Public Affairs: Critical Research. Retrieved October 20, 2014 (

1.4 Why study sociology? Berger, Peter L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. New York: Anchor Books.

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Department of Sociology, University of Alabama. n.d. Is Sociology Right For You?. Huntsville: University of Alabama. Retrieved January 19, 2012 ( / Why sociology) ).


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2 Sociological Research

Figure 2.1 Many believe that crime rates increase when the moon is full, but scientific research does not support this conclusion. (Photo courtesy of Jubula 2/flickr)

Chapter 2 | Sociological research 29

Learning goals2.1. Approaches to sociological research

• Define and describe the scientific method

• Explain how the scientific method is used in sociological research

• Understand the role and importance of an interpretative framework

• Define what reliability and validity mean in a research study

2.2. Research Methods • Distinguish between four types of research methods: surveys, field research, experiments and desk research

data analysis

• Understand why different topics are better suited to different research approaches

2.3. Ethical Concerns• Understand why ethical standards exist

• Demonstrate knowledge of the American Sociological Association Code of Ethics

• Define value neutrality

Introduction to Sociological Research Have you ever wondered how homeschooling influences a person's later success in college, or how many people wait until age 40 to get married? Wondering if texting is changing teens' ability to write properly or communicate clearly? How do social movements like Occupy Wall Street develop? What about the development of social phenomena such as the large fan base of Star Trek and Harry Potter? The purpose of the survey is to answer questions. Sociological research attempts to answer a variety of questions like these and others about our social world.

We often have opinions about social situations, but these may be influenced by our expectations or based on limited data. Rather, scientific research is based on empirical evidence, which is evidence from direct experience, scientifically collected data, or experimentation. For example, many people believe that crime rates increase when the moon is full, but research does not support this belief. Researchers Rotton and Kelly (1985) performed a meta-analysis of research on the effects of the full moon on behavior. Meta-analysis is a technique that combines the results of virtually all previous studies on a given topic. Rotton and Kelly's meta-analysis included 37 previous studies on the effects of full moons on crime rates, and the overall results were that full moons are completely unrelated to crime, suicide, psychiatric problems, and calls to crisis centers (cited in Arkowitz and Lilienfeld 2009). Each of us knows a case when a crime took place on a full moon, but most likely it was just a coincidence.

People generally try to make sense of events in their world by finding or creating an explanation for an event. Social scientists can develop a hypothesis for the same reason. A hypothesis is a testable educated guess about predicted outcomes between two or more variables; It is a possible explanation for certain events in the social world, and allows tests to see whether the explanation is true in many cases and among many different groups or locations. Sociologists use empirical data and the scientific method, or an interpretive framework, to improve understanding of societies and social interactions, but research begins with finding an answer to a question.

2.1 Approaches to sociological research When sociologists apply the sociological perspective and start asking questions, no topic is taboo. Every aspect of human behavior is a source of possible investigation. Sociologists question the world that humans have created and in which they live. You notice behavioral patterns as people move about in this world. Using sociological methods and systematic research within the framework of the scientific method and an interpretive academic perspective, sociologists have uncovered workplace patterns that transformed industries, family patterns that enlightened family members, and educational patterns that supported structural changes in classrooms.

The act during a full moon argument caused some vague opinions. For example, if human behavior related to these allegations were systematically tested, a police officer could write a report and make the results available to sociologists and the world at large. The new perspective can help people understand themselves and their neighbors and make better decisions about their lives. It may seem odd to use scientific methods to study social trends, but as we shall see, relying on systematic approaches provided by research methods is extremely useful.

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Sociologists usually begin the research process by asking a question about how or why things happen in this world. It could be a unique question about a new trend or an old question about a common aspect of life. Once the question is formulated, the sociologist goes through an in-depth process to answer it. In deciding how to frame this process, the researcher can choose a scientific approach or an interpretive framework. The following sections describe these approaches to knowledge.

The Scientific Method Sociologists use established research methods such as experiments, surveys, and field research. But people and their social interactions are so diverse that it seems impossible to map or explain these interactions. It may seem that science is about chemical discoveries and reactions, or proving ideas are right or wrong, rather than exploring the nuances of human behavior.

However, this is exactly why scientific models work to study human behavior. A scientific research process establishes parameters that help ensure results are objective and accurate. Scientific methods provide constraints and boundaries that focus a study and organize its results.

The scientific method involves developing and testing theories about the world based on empirical evidence. It is defined by its commitment to systematic observation of the empirical world, striving to be objective, critical, skeptical, and logical. It involves a set of prescribed steps established over centuries of science.

Figure 2.2 The scientific method is an essential tool in research.

But just because sociological studies use scientific methods doesn't make the results any less humane. Sociological issues are not reduced to true or false facts. In this area, study results are more likely to give people access to knowledge they did not have before - knowledge about other cultures, knowledge about rituals and beliefs, or knowledge about trends and attitudes. Study reliability, which refers to the likelihood that research results will be replicated if the study is replicated. Reliability increases the likelihood that what happens to one person will happen to everyone in a group. Researchers also look for validity, which refers to how well the study measures what it was designed to measure. Returning to the topic of crime rates during the full moon, the reliability of a study would reflect how well the resulting experiment represents the average adult crime rate during the full moon. Validity would ensure that the study design examines exactly what it was intended to examine, so an examination of adult criminal behavior during a full moon should address this issue and not stray to crimes of other age groups, for example.

In general, sociologists are concerned with questions about the role of social characteristics in outcomes. For example, how do different communities perform in terms of mental well-being, community cohesion, career diversity, wealth, crime rates, etc.? Is the community running smoothly? Sociologists look through the cracks to uncover the obstacles that stand in the way of meeting basic human needs. You can study environmental influences and behavioral patterns that lead to crime, substance abuse, divorce, poverty, unwanted pregnancy or disease. And because sociological studies don't just focus on negative behaviors or challenging situations, researchers can examine vacation trends, healthy eating habits, neighborhood organizations, higher educational standards, games, parks, and exercise habits.

Chapter 2 | Sociological Research 31

With the scientific method, sociologists can not only collect data, but also interpret and analyze it. They consciously apply scientific logic and objectivity. You are interested in the results - but not bound by them. They work outside of their own political or social agendas. That doesn't mean pollsters don't have their own personalities with preferences and opinions. But sociologists consciously use the scientific method to preserve as much objectivity, focus, and consistency as possible in any given study.

With its systematic approach, the scientific method has proven itself for the design of sociological studies. The scientific method provides a systematic and organized series of steps that help ensure objectivity and consistency when researching a social problem. They provide the means of accuracy, reliability and validity. Ultimately, the scientific method provides a common basis for discussion and analysis (Merton 1963).

Typically, the scientific method begins with these steps - 1) asking a question, 2) researching existing sources, 3) formulating a hypothesis - as described below.

ask a question

The first step in the scientific method is to ask a question, describe a problem, and identify the specific area of ​​interest. The subject must be narrow enough to be studied within a geography and time period. “Are societies capable of sustainable happiness?” it would be too vague. The question must also be broad enough to have universal value. "What do personal hygiene habits reveal about the values ​​of XYZ High School students?" it would be too narrow. However, happiness and hygiene are topics worth investigating. Sociologists do not exclude topics, but strive to group these topics into better search terms.

So sociologists are careful in defining their terms. For example, in a study of hygiene, hygiene might be defined as "personal habits of maintaining physical appearance (as opposed to health)", and a researcher might ask, "How do different personal hygiene habits reflect the cultural value attributed to appearance?" In formulating these basic research questions, sociologists develop an operational definition, that is, they define the term in terms of the physical or concrete steps required to objectively measure it. The operational definition identifies an observable state of the concept. By operationalizing a concept variable, all researchers can collect data in a systematic or reproducible way.

The operational definition must be valid, appropriate and meaningful. And it has to be reliable, which means the results will be nearly consistent when tested on more than one person. For example, "good drivers" can be defined in many ways: those who use their turn signals, those who don't speed, or those who politely allow others to ride along. But this driving behavior can be interpreted differently by different researchers and can be difficult to measure. Alternatively, "driver who has never experienced a traffic violation" is a specific description, leading researchers to obtain the same information, making it an effective operational definition.

Browse existing fonts

The next step researchers take is to conduct background research through a literature review, which is a review of existing similar or related studies. A visit to the library and thorough online research will reveal existing research results on the subject of studying. This step helps researchers gain a thorough understanding of previous work on the topic at hand and allows them to position their own research to build on prior knowledge. Researchers—including research students—are responsible for correctly citing existing sources that they use in a study or that influence their work. While it's fine to borrow previously published material (as long as it reinforces a unique point of view), it should be properly referenced and never plagiarized.

To examine hygiene and its value in a particular society, a researcher can sift through existing research and unearth studies on parenting, vanity, compulsive behaviors, and cultural attitudes toward beauty. It is important to sift through this information and determine what is relevant. Using existing sources educates researchers and helps refine and improve study designs.

formulate a hypothesis

A hypothesis is an assumption about how two or more variables are related; he makes a conjectural statement about the relationship between these variables. In sociology, hypotheses often predict how one form of human behavior affects another. In research, independent variables are the cause of change. The dependent variable is the effect or thing being changed.

For example, in a baseline study, the researcher would designate some form of human behavior as an independent variable and observe the impact it has on a dependent variable. How does gender (the independent variable) affect the income rate (the dependent variable)? How does religion (the independent variable) affect family size (the dependent variable)? How is social class (the dependent variable) affected by educational level (the independent variable)?

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Table 2.1 Examples of dependent and independent variables Usually, the independent variable causes the dependent variable to change in some way.

Independent variable dependent hypothesis


The greater the supply of affordable housing, the lower the homelessness rate.

Affordable housing price for the homeless

The larger the offer of math tutoring, the better the math grades.

Math lessons Math notes

The greater the presence of the police patrol, the safer the neighborhood.

presence of the police patrol

safest neighborhood

The larger the factory lighting, the greater the productivity. Factory lighting productivity

The larger the observation set, the greater the public awareness.

Observation of public awareness

At this point, a researcher's operational definitions help measure the variables. For example, in a study asking how tutoring improves grades, one researcher might define a "good" grade as a 3 or better, while another uses a 2+ as a starting point for "good." Another operational definition could describe “tutoring” as “one-to-one support from an expert in the field hired by an educational institution”. These definitions set boundaries and establish cut-offs that ensure consistency and reproducibility in a study.

As the table shows, an independent variable causes a dependent variable to change. For example, a researcher might hypothesize that learning proper hygiene (the independent variable) will increase their self-esteem (the dependent variable). In other words, a child's self-esteem depends in part on the quality and availability of hygienic resources.

Of course, this hypothesis can also work in reverse. Perhaps a sociologist believes that increasing a child's self-esteem (the independent variable) automatically increases or improves hygiene habits (now the dependent variable). Identifying the independent and dependent variables is very important. As the hygiene example shows, identifying just two themes or variables is not enough; Your future relationship should be part of the hypothesis.

Just because a sociologist makes an informed prediction about the outcome of a study doesn't mean that data contradicting the hypothesis is undesirable. Sociologists look at general patterns as a response to a study, but they are equally interested in exceptions to patterns. In an education study, a researcher might predict that early school leavers have trouble finding a fulfilling career. While it has become at least a cultural assumption that the higher the education, the higher the salary and career happiness, there are certainly exceptions. Those with little education have had impressive careers, and those with higher degrees have struggled to find jobs. A sociologist makes a hypothesis and knows that the results will vary.

After the preparatory work has been done, it is time for the next research steps: design and conduct the study and draw conclusions. These research methods are discussed below.

Framework of Interpretation While many sociologists rely on the scientific method as a research approach, others work within a framework of interpretation. Although systematic, this approach does not follow the hypothesis testing model that attempts to find generalizable results. Rather, an interpretive framework, sometimes called an interpretive perspective, attempts to understand social worlds from the perspective of the participants, which leads to in-depth knowledge.

Interpretive research is generally more descriptive or narrative in its findings. Rather than formulating a hypothesis and a method for testing it, an interpretative researcher develops approaches to exploring the subject at hand that may involve a significant amount of direct observation or interaction with subjects. This type of researcher also learns over time, sometimes adjusting research methods or processes midway to optimize results as they develop.

2.2 Research Methods Sociologists look around the world, see an interesting problem or pattern, and decide to study it. You use research methods to design a study -- maybe a detailed and systematic scientific method of doing research and obtaining data, or maybe

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an ethnographic study using an interpretative framework. The planning of the research project is a fundamental step of any sociological study.

When entering a certain social environment, a researcher must be cautious. There are times when you remain anonymous and times when you are open. There are times to do interviews and times to just observe. Some participants must be fully briefed; others must not know that they are being watched. A researcher wouldn't walk into a crime-ridden area at midnight and yell, "Any gang members out there?" And when a researcher walks into a coffee shop and tells staff they're being observed as part of a work efficiency study, the embarrassed and intimidated baristas may not behave naturally. This is called the Hawthorne effect – where people change their behavior because they know they are being observed in a study. The Hawthorne effect is unavoidable in some investigations. In many cases, sociologists must disclose the purpose of the study. The subjects must be aware that they are being observed, which can lead to a certain artificiality (Sonnenfeld 1985).

Making the presence of sociologists invisible is not always realistic for other reasons. This option is not available to researchers studying prison behavior, early childhood education, or the Ku Klux Klan. Researchers cannot just go into jails, kindergarten classrooms, or clan meetings and discreetly observe behavior. In such situations other methods are required. All studies shape the research design, while the research design shapes the study at the same time. Researchers choose methods that best fit their study topics and their general research approaches.

When designing study projects, sociologists usually choose between four widely used methods of social research: survey, field research, experiment and analysis of secondary data or use of existing sources. Each research method has advantages and disadvantages, and the subject of study greatly influences which method or methods are used.

Polls As a method of polling, a poll collects data from individuals who respond to a series of questions about behavior and opinions, usually in the form of a questionnaire. Surveys are one of the most widely used scientific research methods. The standard survey format allows individuals a level of anonymity in which to express personal ideas.

Figure 2.3 Questionnaires are a common research method; the US census is a well-known example. (Photo courtesy of Kathryn Decker/flickr)

At some point, most people in the United States will respond to some form of survey. The US Census is an excellent example of a large-scale sociological survey. Not all research is considered sociological research, however, and much of the research that people commonly encounter focuses on identifying marketing needs and strategies, rather than testing a hypothesis or contributing to social science insights. Questions like, "How many hot dogs do you eat in a month?" or "Was the staff helpful?" they are generally not designed as scientific research. Often television polls do not reflect the general population, but are simply viewer reactions to a particular show. Polls from shows like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance represent fan opinion but aren't particularly scientific. A nice contrast to this are the Nielsen ratings, which determine the popularity of television programs through scientific market research.

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Figure 2.4 American Idol uses a real-time polling system - with numbers - that allows viewers to vote on the contestants. (Photo courtesy of Sam Howzit/flickr)

Sociologists conduct research under controlled conditions for specific purposes. Surveys collect different types of information from people. While polls aren't well suited for measuring how people actually behave in social situations, they're a great way to find out how people feel and think -- or at least how they say they feel and think. Surveys can track preferences for presidential candidates or reported individual behaviors (such as sleeping, driving, or texting) or factual information such as employment status, income, and education level.

A survey is aimed at a specific demographic, people who are the focus of a study, such as B. College athletes, international students, or teenagers living with type 1 diabetes (juvenile onset). Most researchers choose to survey a small sector of the population or sample, ie a manageable number of individuals representing a larger population. The success of a study depends on how well a population is represented by the sample. With a random sample, each person in a population has an equal chance of being selected for the study. According to the laws of probability, random samples represent the population as a whole. For example, a Gallup poll, when conducted as a national random sample, should be able to provide an accurate estimate of public opinion whether it polls 2,000 or 10,000 people.

After choosing the topics, the researcher develops a specific plan for asking questions and recording answers. It is important to inform participants in advance about the nature and purpose of the study. If they agree to participate, the researchers thank participants and offer them an opportunity to view the study results if they are interested. The researcher introduces the subjects to an instrument, which is a means of gathering information. A common tool is a questionnaire in which subjects answer a series of questions. For some topics, the researcher may ask yes-or-no or multiple-choice questions, allowing subjects to select possible answers for each question. This type of quantitative data—research results collected in numerical form that can be counted—is easy to tabulate. Simply count the number of "yes" and "no" answers or correct answers and display them as a percentage.

Quizzes can also ask more complex questions with more complex answers - in addition to "yes", "no" or the option next to a checkbox. In these cases, the answers are subjective and vary from person to person. How do you want to use your university education? Why do you follow Jimmy Buffett across the country and go to every concert? These types of questions require short, essayistic answers, and participants willing to write these answers will provide personal information about religious beliefs, political opinions, and morality. Some issues that reflect inner thinking are impossible to observe directly and difficult to discuss honestly in a public forum. People are more likely to give honest answers when they can answer questions anonymously. This type of information is qualitative data - results that are subjective and generally based on what is seen in a natural environment. Qualitative information is more difficult to organize and tabulate. The researcher will end up with a wide range of answers, some of which may be surprising. The benefit of written reviews, however, is the wealth of material they provide.

An interview is a face-to-face conversation between the researcher and the subject and a way to conduct research on a topic. Interviews are similar to short-answer questions in surveys in that the researcher asks the respondent a series of questions. However, participants are free to react as they please without being constrained by pre-determined choices. In the back and forth of an interview, a researcher may ask for clarification, spend more time on a subtopic, or ask additional questions. In an interview, ideally, the interviewee should feel comfortable asking and answering often complex questions. There are no right or wrong answers. The subject may not even know how to answer questions honestly.

Questions like, "How has societal attitudes toward alcohol consumption influenced your decision about whether or not to have your first sip?" or "Did you feel that your parents' divorce would place a social stigma on your family?" It involves so many factors that the answers are difficult to categorize. A researcher must avoid directing or urging the subject to respond in a certain way; otherwise the results are unreliable. And obviously is a sociological interview

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no interrogation. The researcher will benefit from gaining a subject's trust, having empathy or compassion for the subject, and listening without judgement.

The work of field research sociology rarely takes place in limited and narrow spaces. Sociologists rarely study issues in their own offices or laboratories. Instead, sociologists go out into the world. They find issues where they live, work and play. Field research refers to collecting primary data from a natural environment without conducting a laboratory experiment or survey. It is a research method more suited to an interpretive framework than the scientific method. In order to conduct field research, the sociologist must be willing to enter new environments and to observe, participate in, or experience these worlds. In fieldwork, it is the sociologists, not the subjects, who are out of their element.

The researcher interacts or observes one or more people and collects data in the process. The key to fieldwork is that it takes place in the subject's natural environment, be it a coffee shop or tribal village, a homeless shelter or the DMV, a hospital, an airport, a mall, or a beach resort.

Figure 2.5 Sociological researchers travel across countries and cultures to interact with and observe subjects in their natural environment. (Photo courtesy of IMLS Digital Collections and Content/flickr and Olympic National Park)

Although field research usually begins in a specific environment, the purpose of the study is to observe specific behaviors in that environment. Field work is ideal for observing how people behave. However, it's less useful for understanding why they behave the way they do. You really can't limit cause and effect when there are so many variables floating around in a natural environment.

Much of the data collected in the field research is not based on cause and effect but on correlation. And while the field research looks for correlation, their small sample size doesn't allow establishing a causal relationship between two variables.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Parrot heads as sociological subjects

Figure 2.6 Business suits for the day's work are replaced by necklaces and T-shirts for a Jimmy Buffett concert. (Photo courtesy of Sam Howzitt/flickr)

Some sociologists study small groups of people who share a common identity in some aspect of their lives. Almost everyone belongs to a group of people who share a common interest or hobby. Scientologists, folk dancers, or members of Mensa (an organization for people with exceptionally high IQs) express a certain part of their identity through their group membership. These groups are often of great interest to sociologists.

Jimmy Buffett, an American musician who built his career on his only Top 10 song "Margaritaville," has a following of devoted groupies called the Parrotheads. Some of them have taken fandom to the extreme and made Parrothead culture a way of life. In 2005, researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau became aware of parrot heads and their subculture. The two watched Jimmy Buffett fans create an artificial reality together. They wanted to know how fan groups shape culture.

What Mihelich and Papineau found was that, for the most part, parrotheads do not attempt to challenge or even change society, as many subgroups do. In fact, most parrotheads live successfully in society and occupy high-ranking positions in the corporate world. What they are looking for is to escape the stress of everyday life.

In Jimmy Buffett shows, parrot heads play a kind of role-playing game. They paint their faces and dress for the tropics with grass skirts, Hawaiian necklaces and parrot hats. These fans generally don't play Parrotheads outside of these shows; You are unlikely to see a single parrot head on a bench or library. In that sense, parrot head culture is less about individualism and more about conformity. Being a parrot head means sharing a specific identity. Parrot heads feel connected: it's a group identity, not an individual one.

In their study, Mihelich and Papineau cite a recent book by the sociologist Richard Butsch, who writes: "Unself-conscious actions, when performed collectively by many people, can produce change, even if the change is unintentional" (2000). . Many groups of Parrothead fans have done good deeds on behalf of Jimmy Buffett's culture by donating to charities and volunteering their services.

However, the authors suggest that commercialism is what really drives Parrothead culture. Jimmy Buffett's popularity was dying in the 1980s until it was revived after he signed an endorsement deal with a brewery. Today, his tours alone generate nearly $30 million a year. Buffett has made a lucrative career working with product companies, marketing Margaritaville in the form of T-shirts, restaurants, casinos, and an extensive line of products. Some fans accuse Buffett of selling out, others admire his financial success. Buffett doesn't hide his business exploits; From the stage, he's known for telling fans, "Remember, I'm foolishly spending your money."

Mihelich and Papineau collected much of their information online. Dubbing their study "web ethnography," they collected extensive narratives from fans who joined Parrothead clubs and published their experiences on websites. “We do not claim to have undertaken a complete ethnography of Parrothead fans or even ParrotheadWeb activity,” the authors explain, “but we do focus on specific aspects of Parrothead practice as revealed on the Web.

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Research” (2005). Fan narratives gave them insight into how individuals identify with Buffett's world and how fans use popular music to cultivate personal and collective meaning.

In conducting studies of cultural nests, most sociologists seek to discover universal appeal. Mihelich and Papineau observed, "Although parrot heads are a relative minority of the contemporary United States population, a thorough analysis of their practices and conditions illuminates the cultural practices and conditions that many of us experience and participate in" (2005).

Here we consider three types of fieldwork: participant observation, ethnography, and case study.

Participating observation

In 2000, a comics writer named Rodney Rothman wanted a glimpse into office work. He entered the sterile high-rise office of a New York dot-com agency. For two weeks he pretended to work there every day. Its main purpose was simply to see if anyone would notice it or question its presence. Nobody did. The receptionist greeted him. The staff smiled and said good morning. Rothman was accepted as part of the team. He even asked for a table, informed the hostess of his whereabouts and attended a meeting. He published an article about his experience in The New Yorker entitled "My Fake Job" (2000). He was later discredited for allegedly making up some of the story's details, and The New Yorker apologized. However, Rothman's amusing article still offers fascinating descriptions of the inner workings of a "dot-com" company and illustrates how far a sociologist can go to uncover material.

Rothman had conducted a form of study called participant observation, in which researchers bring people together and participate in the routine activities of a group with the goal of observing them in that context. This method allows researchers to experience a specific aspect of social life. A researcher can go to great lengths to gain first-hand insight into a trend, institution, or behavior. Researchers place themselves temporarily in papers and record their observations. A researcher could work as a waitress at a diner, live homeless for several weeks, or ride with cops patrolling their regular rhythm. Often these researchers try to blend in seamlessly with the population they study and may not reveal their true identity or purpose if they feel it would compromise the results of their research.

Figure 2.7 Is she a waitress at work or a sociologist conducting a participant observation study? (Photo courtesy of zoetnet/flickr)

At the beginning of a field study, researchers may be faced with a question: "What's actually going on in the kitchen of the most popular restaurant on campus?" or "What's it like to be homeless?" Participatory observation is a useful technique when the researcher wants to explore a particular environment from within.

Field workers just want to observe and learn. In this environment, the researcher is alert and open to everything that happens, and accurately records all observations. Then, as patterns emerge, questions become more specific, observations lead to hypotheses, and hypotheses guide the researcher in converting data into results.

In a study of small towns in the United States, conducted by sociologists John S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, the team changed the purpose of data collection. They initially planned to focus their study on the role of religion in US cities. Collecting observations, they found that the effects of industrialization and urbanization were the most relevant issue for this social group. The Lynds haven't changed their methods, but they have revised their purpose.

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This shaped the framework of Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, its published findings (Lynd and Lynd 1959).

The Lynds have been open about their mission. The residents of Muncie, Indiana knew why the explorers were among them. However, some sociologists prefer not to alert people to their presence. The main advantage of covert participant observation is that the researcher gains access to authentic and natural behaviors of the members of a group. The challenge, however, is gaining access to an environment without disrupting the behavioral pattern of others. Becoming an internal member of a group, organization, or subculture takes time and effort. Researchers must pretend to be something they are not. The process may involve role-playing, networking, networking, or applying for a job.

Once in a group, some researchers spend months or even years pretending to be one of the people they are observing. However, as observers, they cannot interfere too much. They must keep their purpose in mind and apply the sociological perspective. In this way, they illuminate social patterns that often remain unrecognized. Because the information gathered during participatory observation is qualitative rather than quantitative, the end results are often descriptive or interpretive. The researcher can present results in an article or book and describe what he has seen and experienced.

The journalist Barbara Ehrenreich carried out such research for her book Nickel and Dimed. One day, it is said, over lunch with his editor, Ehrenreich mentioned an idea. How can people with minimum wage work exist? How do low earners survive? she guessed. Someone should do a study. To his surprise, his editor replied, Why don't you?

Thus Ehrenreich entered the ranks of the working class. For several months she left her comfortable home and lived and worked among people who mostly lacked higher education and marketable professional skills. Undercover, she applied for and worked for minimum-wage jobs as a waitress, cleaner, nursing home attendant, and clerk at a retail chain. During her participant observation, she used the income from these jobs only to pay for food, clothing, transportation, and shelter.

She discovered the obvious that surviving on minimum wage is almost impossible. She has also experienced and observed attitudes that many middle- and upper-class people have never considered. She witnessed firsthand the treatment of working-class employees. She has seen the extreme measures people take to survive. She described colleagues who worked two or three jobs, worked seven days a week, lived without cars, couldn't afford treatment for chronic health conditions, were arbitrarily fired, were drug tested, and frequented homeless shelters .roof. She brought up aspects of that life and described the difficult working conditions and abuse that low-income workers were subjected to.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, the book she wrote when she returned to real life as a highly paid author, has been widely read and used in many college classrooms.

Figure 2.8 Field research takes place in real locations. What kind of environment do workspaces encourage? What would a sociologist discover after fading in? (Photo courtesy of drawzhrodague/flickr)


Ethnography is the extended observation of the social perspective and cultural values ​​of an entire social environment. Ethnographies involve the objective observation of an entire community.

At the core of an ethnographic study is how subjects see their own social position and how they understand themselves in relation to a community. For example, an ethnographic study might consider a small fishing town in the United States, an Inuit community, a village in Thailand, a Buddhist monastery, a private boarding school, or an amusement park. Those

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

All places have borders. People live, work, study or vacation within these borders. People are there for a reason and therefore behave in certain ways and respect certain cultural norms. An ethnographer would commit to spending a specified amount of time studying every aspect of the chosen site and absorbing as much as possible.

A sociologist studying a tribe in the Amazon might observe how the villagers go about their daily lives and then write an article about it. To observe a spiritual retreat center, an ethnographer could sign up for a retreat and attend as a guest for an extended stay, observing and recording data and assembling the material into results.

Institutional Ethnography

Institutional ethnography is an extension of the basic principles of ethnographic research that deliberately focuses on concrete everyday social relationships. The institutional ethnography developed by the Canadian sociologist Dorothy E. Smith is often regarded as a feminist-inspired approach to social analysis and primarily takes into account the experiences of women in male-dominated societies and power structures. Smith's work is seen as a challenge to sociology's exclusion of women, both academically and in the study of women's lives (Windowmaker, undated).

Historically, social science research has tended to objectify women and ignore their experiences unless viewed from a male perspective. Modern feminists note that portraying women and other marginalized groups as subordinates helps authorities assert their own dominant position (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, undated). Smith's three major works explored what she called "the conceptual practices of power" (1990; cited in Fensternmaker, undated), and are still considered seminal works in feminist theory and ethnography.

The Making of Middletown: A Study of Modern American Culture In 1924, a young couple named Robert and Helen Lynd undertook an unprecedented ethnography: they applied sociological methods to a study of an American city to find out what "ordinary" people in the United States did. and believed. They chose Muncie, Indiana (population about 30,000), as their subject, moved to the small town, and lived there for eighteen months.

For decades, ethnographers have studied other cultures—groups considered minorities or outsiders—such as gangs, immigrants, and the poor. But nobody had studied the so-called average American.

By recording interviews and using polls to gather data, the Lynds didn't gloss over or idealize Life in America (PBS). They objectively stated what they observed. They researched existing sources and compared Muncie in 1890 to the Muncie they observed in 1924. Most adult Muncie had grown up on farms but now lived in townhouses. Based on this discovery, the Lynds focused their studies on the effects of industrialization and urbanization.

They noted that Muncie was divided into business-class and working-class groups. They defined the business class as dealing with abstract concepts and symbols, while the working class used tools to create concrete objects. The two classes led different lives with different goals and hopes. However, the Lynds found that mass production offered the same amenities to both classes. Like wealthy families, the working class could now own radios, cars, washing machines, telephones, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators. This was a new material reality that emerged in the 1920s.

As the Lynds worked, they divided the manuscript into six sections: earning a living, building a home, educating youth, enjoying leisure time, engaging in religious practices, and engaging in community activities. Each chapter contained subsections such as "The long arm of work" and "Why do they work so hard?". in the chapter "Earning a living".

When the study was complete, the Lynds found a major problem. The Rockefeller Foundation, which commissioned the book, claimed it was useless and refused to publish it. The Lynds asked if they could look for a publisher themselves.

Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture was not only published in 1929, it became an instant bestseller, an unprecedented status for a sociological study. The book sold out six times in its first year of publication and never went out of print (PBS).

Nothing like this had ever been done before. Middletown was front-page reviewed in The New York Times. Readers in the 1920s and 1930s identified with, but were equally fascinated with, the citizens of Muncie, Indiana

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sociological methods and the use of scientific data to define ordinary people in the United States. The book was proof that social data was important - and interesting - to the American public.

Figure 2.9 A classroom in Muncie, Indiana, in 1917, five years before John and Helen Lynd began researching this "typical" American community. (Photo courtesy of Don O'Brien/flickr)

case study

Sometimes a researcher wants to study a specific person or event. A case study is an in-depth analysis of a single event, situation, or person. To conduct a case study, a researcher examines existing sources such as documents and archival materials, conducts interviews, conducts direct observations, and even conducts participatory observations when possible.

Researchers can use this method to study a single case of, for example, a foster child, a drug dealer, a cancer patient, a criminal, or a rape victim. However, one of the main criticisms of the case study method is that while a case study provides depth on a topic, it does not provide enough evidence to draw a general conclusion. In other words, it's difficult to make universal claims based on just one person because a person doesn't look for a pattern. For this reason, most sociologists do not use case studies as their primary research method.

However, case studies are useful when the individual case is unique. In such cases, a single case study can add tremendous knowledge to a particular discipline. For example, a wild child, also called "wild child", is a child who grows up isolated from humans. Feral children grow up without social contacts and language, which are crucial elements for the development of a "civilized" child. These children mimic the behavior and movements of animals and often invent their own language. There are only about a hundred cases of "wild children" in the world.

As you can imagine, a feral child is a topic of great interest to researchers. Feral children provide unique information about child development because they grew up outside the parameters of "normal" child development. And since there are very few feral children, the case study is the most appropriate method for researchers to study the subject.

At the age of three, a Ukrainian girl named Oxana Malaya suffered from severe parental neglect. She lived in a shed with dogs and ate raw meat and leftovers. Five years later, a neighbor called authorities and reported seeing a girl running on all fours and barking. The staff introduced Oxana into society where she was cared for and taught her human behavior, but she was never fully socialized. She was deemed unable to support herself and is now living in a mental institution (Grice2011). Case studies like these offer sociologists a way to collect data that cannot be collected by any other method.

Experiments You've probably tested personal theories of society. "If I study in the evening and repeat in the morning, I improve my memory." Or: "If I stop drinking soda, I'll feel better." Cause and effect. If this, then that. When you test the theory, your results prove or disprove your hypothesis.

One way researchers test social theories is by conducting an experiment, which means they examine relationships to test a hypothesis—a scientific approach.

There are two main types of experiments: laboratory experiments and nature or field experiments. In a lab environment, polling can be controlled to potentially record more data in a given period of time. In a nature or field experiment, the generation of data cannot be controlled, but the information can be considered more accurate because it was collected without any intervention or interference from the researcher.

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

Any kind of sociological experiment can be used as a research method to test if-then statements: If something specific happens, then something else specific will result. To set up a laboratory experiment, sociologists create artificial situations that allow them to manipulate variables.

Classically, the sociologist selects a group of people with similar characteristics, such as age, class, race, or education. These people are divided into two groups. One is the experimental group and the other is the control group. The experimental group is exposed to the independent variables, the control group is not. For example, to test the benefits of tutoring, the sociologist might subject the experimental group of students to tutoring, but not the control group. Then both groups would be tested for performance differences to see if the tutoring had an effect on the experimental group of students. In such a case, as you can imagine, the researcher would not want to jeopardize the performance of the two groups of students, so the scenario would be somewhat artificial. For example, the test would not be for a grade reflected in your enduring transcript.

An experience in action

Figure 2.10 Sociologist Frances Heussenstamm conducted an experiment to examine the correlation between traffic stops and walk-based bumper stickers. This issue of racial profiling remains a controversial topic to this day. (Photo courtesy of dwightsghost/flickr)

A real example will help illustrate the trial process. In 1971, Frances Heussenstamm, a professor of sociology at California State University in Los Angeles, had a theory about police bias. To test her theory, she conducted an experiment. She selected fifteen students from three ethnic backgrounds: black, white and Hispanic. She selected students who commuted to and from campus on the Los Angeles freeways and who had a record driving record for more than a year. Those were your independent variables - students, good driving, same commute.

Then she stuck a Black Panther sticker on each car. This sticker, representing a social value, was the independent variable. In the 1970s, the Black Panthers were a revolutionary group that actively fought against racism. Heussenstamm asked the students to follow their normal driving habits. She wanted to see if the apparent support for the Black Panthers would change the way these good drivers were treated by the police who patrolled the highways. The dependent variable would be the number of transit stops/citations.

The first arrest due to a faulty lane change occurred two hours after the start of the attempt. One participant was stopped three times in three days. He dropped out of college. After seventeen days, the fifteen drivers had accumulated a total of thirty-three speeding tickets. The attempt was aborted. The funds for paying fines were gone, as was the enthusiasm of the participants (Heußenstamm 1971).

Secondary Data Analysis Although sociologists often engage in original research studies, they also contribute knowledge to the discipline through the analysis of secondary data. Secondary data is not first-hand data collected from primary sources, but is work that has already been done by other researchers. Sociologists can study works written by historians, economists, professors, or early sociologists. You can browse magazines, newspapers or magazines from any historical period.

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Using available information not only saves time and money, but can also deepen a study. Sociologists often interpret results in a new way that was not part of the author's original intent or intent. For example, to study how women were encouraged to act and behave in the 1960s, a researcher might look at films, television shows, and situation comedies from the period. Or, to study changes in behavior and attitudes due to the advent of television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a sociologist would rely on new interpretations of secondary data. Decades from now, researchers will likely conduct similar studies on the advent of cell phones, the Internet, or Facebook.

Social scientists also learn by analyzing research from various agencies. Government agencies and global corporations like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics or the World Health Organization publish studies with insights useful to sociologists. A public statistic such as the foreclosure rate can be useful in examining the impact of the 2008 recession; A racial demographic profile can be compared to education funding data to examine resources accessible to different groups.

One of the advantages of secondary data is that it is non-reactive research (or discrete research), meaning it does not involve direct contact with subjects and does not change or influence people's behavior. Unlike studies that require direct human contact, using previously published data does not require inputting a population and the investments and risks associated with this research process.

Using available data has its challenges. Public records are not always easily accessible. A researcher has to do some legwork to track them down and gain access to the records. To guide research across a vast library of materials and avoid wasting time reading unrelated sources, sociologists use content analysis and apply a systematic approach to collecting and evaluating information gleaned from secondary data related to the study in question.

But in some cases there is no way to verify the accuracy of existing data. It is easy to count how many drunk drivers are stopped by the police, for example. But how many aren't? While it is possible to determine the percentage of teenage students who drop out of high school, it can be more difficult to determine the number of those who later return to school or receive the GED.

Another problem arises when data is not available in the exact form needed or does not contain the exact angle the researcher is looking for. For example, the average salaries of public school teachers are public records. But the individual numbers don't necessarily tell you how long it took each teacher to reach that salary range, what their education is, or how long they've been teaching.

When conducting a content analysis, it is important to consider the publication date of an existing source and to consider shared cultural attitudes and ideals that may have influenced the research. For example, Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd pooled the research for their book Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture in the 1920s. Attitudes and cultural norms were very different from today. Beliefs about gender, race, education, and work roles have changed significantly since then. At the time, the purpose of the study was to uncover the truth about small communities in the United States. Today it is an illustration of the attitudes and values ​​of the 1920s.

2.3 Ethical concerns Sociologists conduct studies to shed light on human behavior. Knowledge is a powerful tool that can be used to make positive change. And while a sociologist's goal is simply to uncover knowledge, not inspire action, many people use sociological studies to improve people's lives. In this sense, conducting a sociological study is an enormous responsibility. Like any researcher, sociologists must consider their ethical obligation not to harm individuals or groups in the conduct of their research.

The American Sociological Association, or ASA, is the premier professional organization of sociologists in North America. The ASA is also a great resource for sociology students. The ASA maintains a code of ethics—formal guidelines for conducting sociological research—consisting of ethical principles and standards to be applied in the discipline. It also describes procedures for filing, investigating, and resolving complaints about unethical behavior.

Practicing sociologists and sociology students have much to consider. Some of the guidelines state that researchers should try to be both skilful and fair in their work, especially when it comes to their human subjects. Researchers must obtain informed consent from participants and inform subjects of research responsibilities and risks before agreeing to participate. During a study, sociologists must ensure the safety of participants and stop work immediately if a subject is potentially threatened at any level.

Researchers have an obligation to protect the privacy of research participants whenever possible. Even under pressure from authorities such as the police or courts, researchers are not ethically allowed to disclose confidential information. Researchers must make results available to other sociologists, must make public all sources of financial support, and must not accept funding from organizations that may create a conflict of interest or attempt to influence research results for their own purposes. The ethical considerations of the ASA not only characterize the study, but also the publication of the results.

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case study:

Code of Ethics:

Content analysis:


dependent variables:

empirical evidence:



Field research:

Hawthorn Effect:


independent variables:

Interpretation framework:




The pioneering German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) identified another crucial ethical concern. Weber understood that personal values ​​could distort the framework for publishing study results. While accepting that some aspects of research design could be influenced by personal values, he stated that it was totally inappropriate to let personal values ​​dictate the interpretation of responses. He claimed that sociologists must establish value neutrality, a practice of remaining impartial, without prejudice or judgment, in the course of a study and when publishing results (1949). Sociologists have an obligation to disseminate research results without omitting or distorting essential data.

Is value neutrality possible? Many sociologists believe that it is impossible to set aside personal values ​​and maintain complete objectivity. Instead, they caution readers that sociological studies can inevitably contain some degree of value bias. It doesn't discredit the findings, but it does allow readers to see them as a form of truth rather than a singular fact. Some sociologists try to remain uncritical and as objective as possible when examining cultural institutions. Value neutrality does not mean having no opinion. It means struggling to overcome personal biases, especially unconscious biases, when analyzing data. It means avoiding the data skewing to fit a predetermined outcome consistent with a specific agenda, such as: B. a political or moral point of view. Investigators have an ethical obligation to report findings even when they contradict personal views, predicted findings, or widely held beliefs.

chapter overview

Key Terms In-depth analysis of a single event, situation or individual

a set of guidelines established by the American Sociological Association to promote ethical inquiry and professionally responsible scholarship in sociology

apply a systematic approach to collecting and evaluating information from secondary data related to the study in question

when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable, but does not necessarily indicate causality

a variable that is modified by other variables

Evidence derived from direct experience, scientifically collected data, or experimentation

Observe a complete social environment and all that it entails

Testing a hypothesis under controlled conditions

Gathering data from a natural environment without conducting a laboratory experiment or survey

when study participants behave in a certain way because of the awareness that they are being observed by a researcher

an informed, testable assumption about predicted outcomes between two or more variables

Variables that cause changes in dependent variables

a sociological research approach that seeks an in-depth understanding of a topic or problem through observation or interaction; This approach is not based on hypothesis testing

a face-to-face conversation between the researcher and the subject

an academic research step in which all existing studies on a topic are identified and examined to provide a basis for further research

a technique in which the results of practically all previous studies on a specific topic are evaluated together

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non-reactive search:

Working definitions:

Participating observation:


Primary data:

qualitative data:

Quantitative data:

random sample:



scientific method:

Secondary Data Analysis:



Value neutrality:

using secondary data, does not involve direct contact with subjects and will not change or influence the behavior of individuals

specific explanations of abstract concepts that a researcher wishes to explore

when a researcher dives into a group or social setting to make observations from an "insider" perspective

a defined group that serves as the subject of a study

Data collected directly from first hand

includes information that is subjective and is generally based on what is seen in a natural environment

represent surveys collected in numerical form that can be counted

participants in a study are randomly selected to serve as representatives of a larger population

a measure of the consistency of a study that accounts for the likelihood that results will be replicated when a study is replicated

small, manageable number of individuals representing the population

An established academic research method that involves asking a question, researching existing sources, formulating a hypothesis, designing and conducting a study, and drawing conclusions

Using data collected by others but applying new interpretations

Collect data from individuals who respond to a series of questions about behavior and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire

the degree to which a sociological measure accurately reflects the subject of study

a practice of remaining impartial during the course of a study and when publishing results, without prejudice or judgment

Summary section

2.1 Approaches to Sociological Research Using the scientific method, a researcher conducts a study in five phases: asking a question, researching existing sources, formulating a hypothesis, conducting a study, and drawing conclusions. The scientific method is useful because it provides a clear way to organize a study. Some sociologists conduct research using an interpretive framework rather than the scientific method.

Scientific sociological studies often observe relationships between variables. Researchers study how one variable changes another. Before conducting a study, researchers are careful to apply operational definitions to their terms and establish dependent and independent variables.

2.2 Research methods Sociological research is a very complex process. As you can see, there is a lot behind even a simple research project. There are many steps and many things to consider when collecting data about human behavior and interpreting and analyzing data to obtain meaningful results. Sociologists use scientific methods for good reason. The scientific method provides an organizational system that helps researchers plan and conduct the study and ensures that the data and results are reliable, valid, and objective.

The many methods available to researchers—including experiments, surveys, field studies, and secondary data analysis—all have advantages and disadvantages. The strength of a study can depend on the selection and implementation of the appropriate survey method. Depending on the topic, a study may use a single method or a combination of methods. It is important to plan a research project before conducting a study. The information

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The data collected can be surprising, and the study design should provide a solid framework for analyzing predicted and unexpected data.

Table 2.2 Main sociological research methods Sociological research methods have advantages and disadvantages.

Implementation of the method Benefits Challenges

Research • Questionnaires

• Interviews

• Generates many replies

• Can search a large sample

• Quantitative data are easy to map

• Can be time consuming

• It can be difficult to encourage participant response

• Captures what people think and believe, but not necessarily how they behave in real life


• Monitoring

• Participating observation

• Ethnography

• Case study

• Provides detailed and accurate real-life information

• Late

• Data captures how people behave, not what they think and believe

• Qualitative data is difficult to organize

Experiment • Deliberate manipulation

of social customs and traditions

• Tests cause and effect relationships

• Hawthorn effect

• Ethical concerns about human welfare

Secondary Data Analysis

• Analysis of government data (census, health, crime statistics)

• Research of historical documents

• Make good use of previous sociological information

• Data may be focused on a purpose other than yours

• Data can be difficult to find

2.3 Ethical concerns Sociologists and sociology students must take ethical responsibility for any study they conduct. They must primarily ensure the safety of their participants. Wherever possible, they should ensure that participants are fully informed before agreeing to participate in a study.

The ASA maintains ethical guidelines that sociologists must consider when conducting research. The guidelines cover conducting studies, appropriate use of existing resources, accepting funding, and publishing results.

Sociologists must try to preserve value neutrality. They must collect and analyze data objectively and put their personal preferences, beliefs and opinions aside. You must report findings accurately, even if they contradict personal beliefs.

The section questionnaire

2.1 Approaches to sociological research1. A measure is considered ______ if, according to the subject matter of the study, it actually measures what it purports to measure.

one. reliableb. sociologicalc. valid quantitative

2. Sociological studies test relationships in which a change in one ______ causes a change in the other.a. subject b. behavior

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c. Variable. working definition

3. In one study, a group of 10-year-old boys are fed donuts every morning for a week and then weighed to see how much weight they have gained. Which factor is the dependent variable?

one. The Donutsb. The boy. The duration of one week d. the weight gained

4. Which statement provides the best operational definition of "childhood obesity"? That. Children who eat unhealthy food and spend a lot of time watching TV and video gamesb. A worrying trend that can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart diseasec. Body weight must be at least 20% greater than the healthy weight of a child of this size. The tendency of today's children to weigh more than children of previous generations

2.2 Research Methods5. Which materials are considered secondary data?

one. Photos and letters someone else gave youb. Books and articles by other authors about your studiesc. Information you have collected that is now included in your results. Responses from participants you researched and interviewed

6. What method did researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau use to study parrot heads? That. searchb. experiment c. web ethnography. case study

7. Why is choosing a random sample an effective way to select participants? That. Participants are unaware that they are part of a studyb. The researcher has no control over who participates in the study. It is larger than an ordinary sample. Everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the study

8. What research method did John S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd primarily use in their study of Middletown? That. secondary data b. surveyc. Observed participant. Experiment

9. Which research approach best suits the scientific method? That. questionnaire b. case study c. Ethnographic. Secondary Data Analysis

10. The main difference between ethnography and other types of participatory observation is: a. Ethnography is not based on hypothesis testingb. the subjects of ethnography do not know that they are being studied. Ethnographic studies always include ethnic minorities. Ethnography focuses on how subjects see themselves in relation to the community

11. What best describes the results of a case study? That. Because of its depth, it provides more reliable results than other methods. Your results are not universalc. It is based exclusively on analyzed secondary data. everything above

12. The use of secondary data is considered a research method in its own right or ________.a. not reactiveb. not participatoryc. not restrictive

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d. not confrontational

2.3 Ethical concerns13. Which statement illustrates value neutrality?

one. Childhood obesity is obviously a result of parental neglect and schools need to play a greater role in prevention.

B. In 2003, states like Arkansas passed laws requiring elementary schools to remove vending machines from schools.

c. Just restricting children's access to junk food at school is not enough to prevent obesity. Exercise and a healthy diet are fundamental components of children's education.

14. Which person or organization defined the concept of value neutrality? That. Institutional Review Board (IRB) b. Pedro Rossi. American Sociological Association (ASA) d. Max Weber

15. To study the impact of fast food on lifestyle, health, and culture, from which group would a researcher be ethically unfit to accept funding?

one. A fast food restaurant. A nonprofit healthcare organizationc. A private hospital. A government agency such as health and social services

Short answer

2.1 Approaches to sociological research1. Write down the first three steps of the scientific method. Think of a broad topic that interests you and would lend itself well to sociology studies—for example, racial diversity in a college, rituals of welcome, scholarships for athletes, or driving for teenagers. Now guide this topic through the first few steps of the process. Write a few sentences or a paragraph for each step: 1) Ask a question about the topic. 2) Research and write down the titles of some articles or books you want to read on the subject. 3) Formulate a hypothesis.

2.2 Research Methods2. What data do surveys collect? For which topics would surveys be the best research method? What disadvantages can you expect when using a survey? To research further, ask a research question and write a hypothesis. Then create a survey with about six topic-related questions. Justify each question. Now define your population and create a plan for recruiting a random sample and conducting the survey.

3. Imagine doing field research in a certain place for a certain time. Do not think about the study topic itself, but consider how you, as a researcher, need to prepare for the study. What personal, social, and physical sacrifices do you have to make? How will you manage your personal belongings? What devices and organizational systems do you need to collect the data?

4. Create a short research project on a topic that interests you greatly. Write a letter to a charity or funding organization now and ask for funding for your studies. How can you describe the project convincingly, but realistically and objectively? Explain how the results of your study will make a relevant contribution to existing sociological work.

2.3 Ethical concerns5. Why do you think the ASA developed such detailed ethical principles? What kind of study could put human participants at risk? Think of some examples of studies that could be harmful. Do you think that some researchers might be tempted to cross frontiers that threaten human rights in the name of sociology? Why?

6. Would you volunteer to participate in a sociological study that might jeopardize your health and safety but could help thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people? For example, would you participate in a study of a new drug that could cure diabetes or cancer, even if it caused you great inconvenience and physical discomfort, or possibly permanent damage?

More research

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2.1 Approaches to Sociological Research For a historical perspective on scientific methods in sociology, see The Elements of Scientific Method in Sociology by F. Stuart Chapin (1914) in the American Journal of Sociology: Method in Sociology (

2.2 Research methods For information on current sociology experiments in the real world, see:

2.3 Ethical Concerns Founded in 1905, the ASA is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC with 14,000 members, including researchers, faculty members, students and sociologists. Its mission is to "articulate policies and implement programs that will have the greatest possible impact on sociology now and in the future." Learn more about this organization at (


2.0 Introduction to Sociological Research Arkowitz, Hal and Scott O. Lilienfeld. 2009. "Madness and Full Moons: Does the Full Moon Really Trigger Strange Behavior?" Scientific American. Retrieved December 30, 2014 ( ( moon /) ).

Rotton, James, and Ivan W. Kelly. 1985. "Much Ado About the Full Moon: A Meta-Analysis of Lunar Madness Research." Psychological Bulletin 97 (#2): 286-306.

2.1 Approaches to sociological research Arkowitz, Hal and Scott O. Lilienfeld. 2009. "Madness and Full Moons: Does the Full Moon Really Trigger Strange Behavior?" Scientific American. Retrieved October 20, 2014 ( / ) ).

Berger, Peter L. 1963. Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. New York: Anchor Books.

Merton, Robert. 1968 [1949]. social theory and social structure. New York: Free Press.

„Scientific Method Lab“, an die University of Utah, )

2.2 Métodos de pesquisaButsch, Richard. 2000. The Making of the American Audience: From Stage to Television, 1750–1990. Cambridge: CambridgeUP.

Caplow, Theodore, Louis Hicks, and Ben Wattenberg. 2000. "The First Century Measured: Middletown." The First Century Measured. PBS. Retrieved February 23, 2012 ( (

Durkheim, Emil. 1966 [1897]. Suicide. New York: Free Press.

Fenstermacher, Sarah. n.d. “Dorothy E. Smith Award Statement.” American Sociological Association. Retrieved October 19, 2014 (

Franke, Richard and James Kaul. 1978. "The Hawthorne Experiments: First Statistical Interpretation". American Sociological Review 43(5):632-643.

Grice, Elizabeth. "Scream of an Enfant Sauvage." The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 July 2011 ( ( /tvandradio/3653890/Cry-of-an-enfant-sauvage.html) ).

Heussenstamm, Frances K. 1971. Transaktion „Bumper Stickers and Cops“: Social Science and Modern Society 4:32–33.

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Igo, Sarah E. 2008. The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lynd, Robert S., and Helen Merrell Lynd. 1959. Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Javanovich.

Lynd, Staughton. 2005. "Make Middleton." Indian History Journal 101(3): 226–238.

Mielich, John and John Papineau. Agosto de 2005. "Parrot Heads in Margaritaville: Fan Practice, Oppositional Culture, and Embedded Cultural Resistance in Buffett Fandom." Journal of Popular Music Studies 17(2): 175–202.

Pew Research Center. 2014. "Ebola Concerns Rise, But Most 'Fairly' Confident in Government, Hospitals to Deal With Disease: Widespread Support for US Ebola Trade in West Africa." Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, October 21. Retrieved October 25, 2014 ( - with-disease/ ( with -diseases/) ).

ROTHMAN, Rodney. 2000. "My bogus job." pp. 120 in The New Yorker, November 27.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. n.d. "Institutional Ethnography." Retrieved October 19, 2014 ( (

Sonnenfeld, Jeffery A. 1985. "Bringing Light to the Hawthorne Studies." Journal of Professional Conduct 6:125.

2.3 Ethical ConcernsCode of Ethics. 1999. American Sociological Association. Retrieved 1 July 2011 (

Rossi, Peter H. 1987. "No good applied social research goes unpunished." Gesellschaft 25(1): 73–79.

Weber, Max. 1949. Methodology of the Social Sciences. Translated by H. Shils and E. Finch. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.


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3 Culture

Figure 3.1 People adhere to various rules and standards created and maintained in culture, such as: B. Giving someone a high five. (Photo courtesy of Chris Barnes/flickr)

Learning goals3.1. What is culture?

• Distinguish between culture and society

• Explain tangible versus intangible culture

• Discuss the concept of cultural universalism in relation to society

• Compare and contrast ethnocentrism and xenocentrism

3.2. Elements of Culture • Understand how values ​​and beliefs differ from norms

• Explain the importance of symbols and language to a culture

• Explain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

• Discuss the role of social control within culture

3.3. Pop culture, subculture and cultural change • Discuss the role of high culture and pop culture in society

• Distinguish between subculture and counterculture

• Explain the role of innovation, invention and discovery in culture

• Understand the role of cultural backwardness and globalization in cultural change

3.4. Theoretical Perspectives on Culture • Discuss the main theoretical approaches to cultural interpretation

Chapter 3 | culture 51

Introduction to culture What are the rules when you meet someone you know at school, work, the supermarket or the mall? In general, we do not consider all complexities of codes of conduct. We can just "Hello!" say. and ask, "How was your weekend?" or another trivia question intended as a friendly greeting. We rarely hug or physically touch the person. In fact, this can be viewed with contempt or disgust, as Americans have fairly strict rules about personal space. However, we all adhere to various rules and standards that are created and maintained in culture. These rules and expectations matter, and there are ways you can violate that negotiation. Think what would happen if you stopped and informed everyone who said, "Hi, how are you?" exactly as you were that day and in detail. They would likely be breaking the culture's rules, especially greetings. Perhaps in another culture the question is more literal and requires an answer. Or if you're having coffee with a good friend, maybe this question deserves a more detailed answer. These examples are all aspects of the culture that are shared beliefs, values, and practices that participants need to learn from. Sociologically we examine in which situation and context a certain behavior is expected and in which situations this may not be the case. These rules are created and applied by people interacting and sharing culture.

In everyday conversation a distinction is rarely made between the terms culture and society, but the terms have slightly different meanings and the distinction is important to a sociologist. A society describes a group of people who share a community and culture. By “community” sociologists mean a definable region—as small as a neighborhood (Brooklyn, or “the east side of town”), as large as a country (Ethiopia, the United States, or Nepal), or something in between (in the United States). To clarify, a culture represents the beliefs and practices of a group, while society represents the people who share those beliefs and practices. Neither society nor culture could exist without the other. In this chapter we examine the relationship between culture and society in more detail, paying particular attention to the elements and forces that shape culture, including diversity and cultural change. A final discussion is dedicated to the different theoretical perspectives from which sociologists study culture.

3.1 What is culture? Humans are social beings. Since the emergence of Homo sapiens nearly 250,000 years ago, humans have formed communities to survive. By living together, people form common habits and behaviors – from specific methods of upbringing to preferred techniques for obtaining food. In modern Paris, many people shop daily for what they need for dinner at open-air markets and buy cheese, meat and vegetables from various specialty stalls. In the United States, most people shop in supermarkets once a week and fill their shopping carts to the brim. How would a Parisian perceive American shopping behavior that Americans consider normal?

Almost all human behavior, from shopping to getting married to expressing feelings, is learned. In the United States, people tend to think of marriage as a decision between two people based on mutual feelings of love. In other countries and at other times, marriages were arranged through a complicated process of interviews and negotiations between entire families, or in other cases through a direct system such as a "mail order bride". For someone who grew up in New York City, a Nigerian family's marriage customs can seem strange or even wrong. On the other hand, someone from a traditional Kolkata family might be intrigued by the idea of ​​romantic love as the basis for marriage and lifelong commitment. In other words, how people view marriage depends heavily on what they have learned.

Behavior based on learned customs is not a bad thing. Being familiar with the unwritten rules helps people feel safe and “normal”. Most people want to go about their daily lives with confidence that their behavior will not be challenged or disrupted. But even an act as seemingly simple as going to work demonstrates a high level of cultural ownership.

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Figure 3.2 How would a visitor from a suburban US behave and feel on this crowded train in Tokyo? (Photo courtesy of simonglucas/flickr)

Let's take the case of going to work by public transport. Whether people move in Dublin, Cairo, Mumbai or San Francisco, many behaviors will be the same, but there are also significant differences between cultures. Typically, a passenger finds a designated bus stop or train station, waits for their bus or train, pays an employee before or after boarding, and quietly takes a seat if one is available. However, when boarding a bus in Cairo, passengers need to hurry as buses often do not stop to receive customers. Bus drivers in Dublin are expected to hold out their arm to indicate that the bus should stop for them. And when boarding a suburban train in Mumbai, passengers have to squeeze into crowded carriages and push and shove on crowded platforms. This type of behavior would be considered the height of rudeness in the United States, but in Mumbai it reflects the daily challenges of navigating a crowded train system.

In this example of displacement, culture is made up of thoughts (e.g. expectations of personal space) and tangible things (bus stops, trains and seating capacities). Material culture refers to the objects or possessions of a group of people. Subway passes and bus tokens are part of material culture, as are cars, shops, and the physical structures where people worship. Intangible culture, on the other hand, consists of the ideas, attitudes and beliefs of a society. The tangible and intangible aspects of culture are interconnected, and physical objects often symbolize cultural ideas. A subway pass is a tangible item, but it represents a form of intangible culture, namely capitalism and the acceptance of paying for transportation. Clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry are part of material culture, but the appropriateness of wearing specific clothing for specific events reflects immaterial culture. A school building belongs to material culture, but teaching methods and educational standards are part of immaterial educational culture. These tangible and intangible aspects of culture can vary subtly from region to region. As people travel further and move from different regions to entirely different parts of the world, certain tangible and intangible aspects of culture become dramatically unknown. What happens when we meet different cultures? As we interact with cultures other than our own, we become more aware of the differences and similarities between their world and our own.

Cultural Universals A comparison of one culture with another often reveals obvious differences. But all cultures also have common elements. Cultural universals are globally distributed patterns or characteristics in all societies. An example of cultural universality is the family unit: every human society has a family structure that governs sexual reproduction and child rearing. However, how this family unit is defined and how it functions varies. For example, in many Asian cultures, family members of all generations often live together in one house. In these cultures, young adults continue to live in the extended family structure until they marry and move into their spouse's home, or they may stay and raise their nuclear family within the extended family estate. In contrast, in the United States, individuals are expected to leave home and live independently for a period before forming a parent-child family unit. Other cultural universals are customs such as funeral rites, marriages and birth celebrations. However, each culture can view ceremonies very differently.

Anthropologist George Murdock first recognized the existence of cultural universals while studying kinship systems around the world. Murdock found that cultural universals often revolve around basic human survival, such as finding food, clothing, and shelter, or shared human experiences, such as birth and death, or disease and healing. Through his research, Murdock identified other universals, including language, the concept of personal names, and, interestingly, jokes. Humor appears to be a universal means of relieving tension and creating a sense of unity among people (Murdock 1949).

Chapter 3 | culture 53

Making Connections: Sociological Research

Sociologists consider humor necessary for human interaction because it helps individuals navigate otherwise tense situations.

Is music a cultural universal? Imagine you are sitting in a cinema and watching a film. The film begins with the heroine sitting on a park bench with a somber expression on her face. Cue the music. The first slow, sad notes are in the minor key. As the melody continues, the heroine turns her head and sees a man walking towards her. The music slowly gets louder and the dissonance of the chords sends a chill of fear down the spine. You feel that the heroine is in danger.

Now imagine you are watching the same movie but with a different soundtrack. At the beginning of the scene, the music is soft and soothing, with a hint of sadness. You see the heroine sitting on the park bench and feel her loneliness. Suddenly the music starts. The woman looks up and sees a man walking towards her. The music gets fuller and the tempo increases. You feel your heart pounding in your chest. This is a happy moment.

Music has the ability to evoke emotional responses. In TV shows, movies, and even commercials, music triggers laughter, sadness, or fear. Are these types of musical cues culturally universal?

In 2009, a team of psychologists led by Thomas Fritz of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, studied people's reactions to music they had never heard (Fritz et al. 2009). . The research team traveled to Cameroon, Africa, and asked members of the Mafa tribe to listen to western music. Isolated from Western culture, the tribe had never been exposed to Western culture and lacked the context or experience to interpret their music. Nonetheless, while listening to a Western piano piece, the tribesmen could identify three basic emotions: happiness, sadness, and fear. It turns out that music is a kind of universal language.

The researchers also found that music can promote a sense of integrity within a group. Indeed, scholars studying the evolution of language have concluded that language (an established component of group identity) and music were originally one and the same (Darwin 1871). Since music is largely non-verbal, musical sounds can cross social boundaries more easily than words. Music allows people to make connections where language can be a more difficult barrier. As Fritz and his team discovered, music and the emotions it conveys can be cultural universals.

Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism Despite all the similarities between people, cultural differences are far more common than cultural universals. For example, although all cultures have a language, the analysis of specific language structures and manners shows enormous differences. In some Middle Eastern cultures, it is customary to stand close to other people during a conversation. Americans keep their distance and maintain a lot of "personal space". Even something as simple as eating and drinking varies greatly from culture to culture. If your teacher comes into morning class with a cup of liquid, what do you think he's drinking? In the United States, it's more likely to be filled with coffee, not Earl Gray tea, a favorite in England, or yak butter tea, a staple in Tibet.

The way kitchens differ across cultures fascinates many people. Some travelers take pride in their willingness to try unfamiliar foods, like famed food writer Anthony Bourdain, while others return home and express their gratitude for the cuisine of their home culture. People in the United States often express their disgust at the cuisines of other cultures and find it disgusting, for example, to eat dog meat or guinea pig meat, without questioning their own habit of eating cows or pigs. Such attitudes are an example of ethnocentrism, or evaluating and judging another culture based on how it compares to one's cultural norms. Ethnocentrism, as the sociologist William Graham Sumner (1906) described it, involves the belief or attitude that one's culture is better than everyone else's. Almost everyone is a bit ethnocentric. For example, Americans tend to say that people in England drive on the "wrong" side of the road rather than the "other" side. Dog in a French restaurant - not on the menu but as a customer's pet and companion. A good example of ethnocentrism refers to parts of Asia as the "Far East". One might ask, "Far east of where?"

A high regard for one's own culture can be healthy; a shared sense of community pride, for example, unites people in a society. But ethnocentrism can lead to disdain or dislike for other cultures and can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. People with the best of intentions sometimes travel to a society to "help" its people because they see them as uneducated or backward - essentially inferior. In reality, these travelers are guilty of cultural imperialism, the conscious imposition of their own cultural values ​​on another culture. The colonial expansion of Europe,

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Begun in the 16th century, it has often been accompanied by harsh cultural imperialism. European settlers often saw the people of the lands they colonized as uneducated savages in need of European government, dress, religion, and other cultural practices. A more modern example of cultural imperialism might be the work of international charities, which introduce agricultural methods and crop species from developed countries and neglect native varieties and agricultural approaches that are better suited to a particular region.

Ethnocentrism can be so strong that one becomes disoriented and frustrated with all the differences of a new culture. In sociology we call this culture shock. A Chicago traveler might find rural Montana's nocturnal stillness unsettling, not peaceful. An exchange student from China might get annoyed with constant interruptions in class while other students ask questions—a practice considered rude in China. Perhaps the Chicago traveler was initially mesmerized by the quiet beauty of Montana and the Chinese student was thrilled to see an American-style classroom firsthand. But as they experience unforeseen differences in their own culture, their excitement gives way to uneasiness and doubts about how to properly act in the new situation. When people learn more about a culture, they eventually recover from culture shock.

Culture shock can occur because people don't always anticipate cultural differences. Anthropologist Ken Barger (1971) discovered this while conducting participatory observation in an Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic. Originally from Indiana, Barger was reluctant when asked to enter a local snowshoe race. He knew that he would never defend himself against these experts. In fact, he finished last, much to his humiliation. But the tribesmen congratulated him, saying, "You really tried!" In Barger's own culture, he learned to appreciate winning. Winning was pleasant to the Inuit, but their culture valued survival skills essential to their environment: how hard you tried could mean the difference between life and death. Throughout his stay, Barger participated in caribou hunts, learned how to protect himself from winter storms, and sometimes spent days with little or no food to share with his tribesmen. Striving and cooperation, two intangible values, were actually much more important than winning.

During his time with the Inuit tribe, Barger learned to confront cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is the practice of evaluating a culture by its own standards, rather than looking at it through the lens of its own culture. Practicing cultural relativism requires an open mind and a willingness to consider and even adapt to new values ​​and norms. However, it is not always possible to accept everything about a new culture indiscriminately. Even the most culturally relativistic people in egalitarian societies—where women have political rights and control over their own bodies—would question whether the widespread practice of female genital mutilation in countries like Ethiopia and Sudan should be accepted as part of cultural tradition. Thus, sociologists attempting to study cultural relativism may have difficulty reconciling aspects of their own culture with aspects of the culture they study.

Sometimes when people try to correct feelings of ethnocentrism and develop cultural relativism, they swing too far to the other end of the spectrum. Xenocentrism is the opposite of ethnocentrism and refers to the belief that another culture is superior to one's own. (The Greek root of the word xeno, pronounced "ZEE-no," means "foreigner" or "foreign guest.") It falls to an exchange student returning home from a semester abroad, or a sociologist returning from the field perhaps difficult to associate with the values ​​of their own culture, having experienced what they consider a more sincere or noble way of life.

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing sociologists studying different cultures is maintaining perspective. It is impossible for anyone to keep all cultural prejudices in check; the best we can do is be aware of them. Being proud of one's culture doesn't have to mean imposing one's values ​​on others. And appreciation for a different culture should not prevent individuals from studying it critically.

Overcoming culture shock During the summer vacation, Caitlin flew from Chicago to Madrid to visit Maria, the exchange student she befriended the previous semester. At the airport, she overheard rapid, musical Spanish being spoken around her. As exciting as it was, she felt isolated and disconnected. Maria's mother kissed Caitlin on both cheeks as she greeted them. Her imposing father kept his distance. Caitlin was half asleep when dinner was served - at 10pm! Maria's family sat around the table for hours, talking loudly, gesturing and discussing politics, a taboo subject in Caitlin's home. They served wine and toasted the guest of honor. Caitlin had trouble reading her hosts' facial expressions and didn't know when to make the next toast. That night, Caitlin crawled into a strange bed and wished she hadn't come. She missed her home and felt overwhelmed by the new customs, language and environment. She studied Spanish at school for years - why not prepare her for it?

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What Caitlin didn't realize was that humans rely not only on spoken words but also on subtle signals like gestures and facial expressions to communicate. Cultural norms accompany even the smallest non-verbal cues (DuBois 1951). They help people know when to shake hands, where to sit, how to speak, and even when to laugh. We relate to others through a shared set of cultural norms, and we usually take them for granted.

This is why culture shock is often associated with traveling abroad, even though it can happen in your own country, state, or even hometown. The anthropologist Kalervo Oberg (1960) is credited with first coining the term “culture shock”. During his studies, Oberg found that encountering a new culture was initially exciting for most people. But gradually they became stressed when dealing with people from a different culture who spoke a different language and used different regional expressions. There were new foods to digest, new daily schedules to follow, and new etiquette to learn. Living with this constant stress can leave people feeling incompetent and insecure. People respond to frustration in a new culture, Oberg found, by initially rejecting it and glorifying the culture itself. An American visiting Italy might crave a "real" pizza or complain about the unsafe driving habits of Italians compared to people in the United States.

It helps to remember that culture is learned. Everyone is ethnocentric to some degree and identification with their country is natural.

Caitlin's shock was minor compared to that of her friends Dayar and Mahlika, a Turkish couple who live in on-campus dormitories. And it was nothing like his classmate Sanai. When Sanai was 15, she was forced to flee war-torn Bosnia with her family. After two weeks in Spain, Caitlin felt a little more compassion and understanding for what these people were going through. She understood that adapting to a new culture takes time. It can take weeks or months to recover from culture shock, and it can take years to fully adjust to life in a new culture.

By the end of Caitlin's journey, she had made new friends for life. She stepped out of her comfort zone. She learned a lot about Spain, but also discovered a lot about herself and her own culture.

Figure 3.3 Experiencing new cultures offers an opportunity to practice cultural relativism. (Photo courtesy of OledSidorenko/flickr)

3.2 Elements of Culture, Values ​​and Beliefs The first and perhaps most important elements of culture that we will discuss are its values ​​and beliefs. Values ​​are a culture's standard for recognizing what is good and fair in society. Values ​​are ingrained and critical to conveying and teaching a culture's beliefs. Beliefs are the principles or beliefs that people hold to be true. Individuals in a society have specific beliefs, but they also share collective values. To illustrate the difference, Americans generally believe in the American Dream - that anyone who works hard enough will be successful and rich. Underlying this belief is the American value that wealth is good and important.

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Values ​​shape a society by suggesting what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, desirable and avoided. Consider the value America places on youth. Children represent innocence and purity, while young adult looks signify sexuality. Shaped by this value, individuals spend millions of dollars each year on cosmetic products and surgeries to look young and beautiful. The United States also has an individualistic culture, meaning that people place a high value on individuality and independence. In contrast, many other cultures are collectivist, meaning that group well-being and group relationships are a primary value.

Living up to the values ​​of a culture can be difficult. It's easy to appreciate good health, but it's hard to quit smoking. Marital monogamy is valued, but many spouses commit infidelity. Cultural diversity and equal opportunities for all people are valued in the United States, but white men have dominated the country's top political positions.

Values ​​often suggest how people should behave, but they don't accurately reflect how people behave. Values ​​represent an ideal culture, the standards that society wants to adopt and meet. But the ideal culture differs from the real culture as society really is based on what is happening and existing. In an ideal culture there would be no traffic accidents, murders, poverty or racial conflicts. But in real culture, police officers, legislators, educators, and social workers are constantly striving to prevent or remedy these accidents, crimes, and injustices. American teenagers are encouraged to value celibacy. However, the number of unplanned teenage pregnancies shows that not only is it difficult to live up to the ideal, but value alone is insufficient to spare teenagers the potential consequences of sex.

One way societies strive to put values ​​into action is through rewards, sanctions, and punishments. When people observe society's norms and uphold their values, they are often rewarded. A boy helping an elderly woman board a bus may receive a smile and a "thank you." A CEO who increases profit margins may receive a quarterly bonus. People sanction certain behaviors by giving their support, approval, or permission, or by instilling formal measures of disapproval rather than support. Sanctions are a form of social control, a means of promoting conformity to cultural norms. Sometimes people conform to norms in anticipation or expectation of positive sanctions: for example, good grades can mean praise from parents and teachers. From the point of view of criminal law, properly applied social control is also cheap crime fighting. Applying social control approaches results in most people conforming to social rules regardless of the presence of authority figures (such as law enforcement).

When people go against the values ​​of a society, they are punished. A boy who pushes an older woman onto the bus first may get scowls or even slaps in the face from fellow passengers. A CEO who refuses customers is likely to be fired. Breaking norms and rejecting values ​​can lead to cultural sanctions, such as B. receiving a negative label - lazy, worthless bum - or legal sanctions such as traffic tickets, fines or prison terms.

Values ​​are not static; They vary over time and between groups as people evaluate, debate, and change collective social beliefs. Values ​​also vary from culture to culture. For example, cultures differ in their values ​​about what types of physical proximity are appropriate in public. It's rare for two friends or co-workers to hold hands in the United States, where this behavior often symbolizes romantic feelings. But in many nations, male physical intimacy in public is taken for granted. This difference in cultural values ​​came to the fore when people reacted to photos of former President George W. Bush holding hands with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 2005. A simple gesture like holding hands carries great symbolic differences between cultures.

Figure 3.4 In many parts of Africa and the Middle East it is considered normal for men to hold hands as friends. How would Americans react to these two soldiers? (Photo courtesy of Geordie Mott/Wikimedia Commons)

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

Norms So far, the examples in this chapter have often described how people should behave in certain situations—for example, when shopping for groceries or boarding a bus. These examples describe the visible and invisible rules of behavior by which societies are structured, or what sociologists call norms. Norms define how to behave in accordance with what a society defines as good, right, and important, and most members of society adhere to them.

Formal norms are established, written rules. These are behaviors that have been worked on and agreed upon to serve and minister to the greatest number of people possible. Laws are formal norms, but also employee handbooks, entrance exam requirements and no-walking signs in swimming pools. Formal norms are the most specific and clearest of the different types of norms, and they are the most strictly enforced. But formal norms are also applied to varying degrees and are reflected in cultural values.

For example, money is highly valued in the United States, so crimes involving money are punished. It is against the law to rob a bank and banks do everything they can to prevent such crimes. People protect valuable possessions and install anti-theft devices to protect homes and cars. A less strictly enforced social norm is drinking and driving. While it is against the law to drive while intoxicated, for the most part drinking is an acceptable social behavior. And while there are laws penalizing drunk driving, few systems are in place to prevent the crime. These examples show a range of formal norm enforcement.

There are many formal norms, but the list of informal norms—casual behaviors that are universally and widely accepted—is longer. People learn informal norms through observation, imitation, and general socialization. Some informal norms are taught directly—"Kiss your Aunt Edna" or "Use your napkin"—while others are learned through observation, including observing the consequences of someone breaking a norm. But while informal norms define personal interactions, they extend to other systems as well. In the United States, there are informal norms of behavior in fast food restaurants. Customers queue to order their food and leave when they're done. They don't sit at a table with strangers, sing loudly while preparing their condiments, or sleep in an alcove. Most people do not commit even harmless violations of informal norms. Informal norms dictate appropriate behavior without the need for written rules.

Experiences of Violence The sociologist Harold Garfinkel (1917–2011) studied people's customs to find out how social rules and norms not only influenced behavior but also shaped the social order. He believed that members of society create a social order together (Weber 2011). His resulting book, Studies in Ethnomethodology, published in 1967, discusses people's assumptions about the social composition of their communities.

One of Garfinkel's research methods was known as the "injury experiment", in which the researcher behaves in non-socially awkward ways to test sociological concepts of social norms and conformity. Participants are unaware that an experiment is in progress. However, if the breach is successful, these "innocent bystanders" will react in some way. For example, if the experimenter is a man in a suit and he jumps down the sidewalk or hops on one leg, passers-by are likely to stare at him with surprised expressions. But the experimenter doesn't just act "weird" in public. Rather, the goal is to deviate slightly from a particular social norm, subtly break some form of social etiquette, and see what happens.

To carry out his ethnomethodology, Garfinkel intentionally imposed odd behaviors on unknown individuals. Then he watched her answers. He suspected that odd behavior would shatter conventional expectations, but he wasn't sure how. For example, he put together a simple tic-tac-toe game. A player was previously asked to mark Xs and Osnot in the boxes but in the lines dividing the spaces. The other player, who was in the dark about the study, was stunned and didn't know how to proceed. The second player's reactions, such as outrage, anger, confusion, or other emotions, illustrated the existence of cultural norms that constitute social life. These cultural norms play an important role. They let us know how we behave with each other and how we feel comfortable in our community.

There are many rules for speaking to strangers in public. It's okay to tell a woman that you like her shoes. It's not right to ask if you can try them. It's okay to queue behind someone at the ATM. It's not right to look over his shoulder during transactions. It's okay to sit next to someone on a crowded bus. It's weird sitting next to a stranger on a half-empty bus.

For some violations, the researcher engages directly with unsuspecting bystanders. An experimenter might start a conversation in a public restroom, where it is customary to respect everyone's privacy so strictly that the presence of others is ignored. In a grocery store, one experimenter might grab a grocery item from another's shopping cart,

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saying, "That looks good! I think I will try it. An experimenter might sit around a table with others in a fast-food restaurant, or follow someone into a museum and study the same paintings. In these cases, viewers find it difficult to react, and their uneasiness shows how dependent we are on social norms. Rape experiments discover and explore the many unwritten social rules we live by.

Standards can be further classified as inches or inches. Customs (Morays) are norms that embody a group's views and moral principles. A breach of this can have serious consequences. Stronger customs are legally protected by law or other formal norms. In the United States, for example, murder is considered immoral and punishable by law (a formal norm). More often, however, customs are judged and upheld by public sentiment (an informal norm). People who offend against morals are considered shameful. They may even be shunned or excluded from some groups. US school system practice requires that students write in their own words or use special forms (such as quotation marks and a full citation system) to acknowledge other authors. Writing someone else's words as your own has a name: plagiarism. The consequences of violating this policy are serious and usually result in disqualification.

Unlike customs, customs are norms without a moral basis. Rather, customs guide appropriate behavior in a culture's everyday practices and expressions. They indicate whether you shake hands or kiss on the cheek when greeting. You decide whether you want to wear a tie and blazer or a shirt and sandals to an event. In Canada, women are allowed to smile and greet men on the street. In Egypt this is not acceptable. In the southern regions of the United States, meeting someone you know means stopping and chatting. It's considered rude not to do it, no matter how busy you are. In other regions, people protect their privacy and value time efficiency. A simple nod is enough. Other accepted customs in the United States might include opening the door to a stranger or giving someone a birthday present. The rules regarding these customs can vary from culture to culture.

Many folkways are acts we take for granted. People have to act without thinking to go about their daily routines; they cannot stop and analyze every action (Sumner 1906). Those who experience culture shock may find that it lessens as they learn the mores of the new culture and can go about their daily lives more smoothly. Customs may be small customs, learned through observation and imitated, but they are not trivial. Like customs and laws, these norms help people to navigate their daily lives within a given culture.

Symbols and Language People are always striving, consciously and unconsciously, to understand the world around them. Symbols—such as gestures, signs, objects, characters, and words—help people make sense of this world. They provide clues to understanding experiences and convey recognizable meanings shared by societies.

The world is full of symbols. Sports uniforms, company logos and traffic signs are symbols. In some cultures, a gold ring is a symbol of marriage. Some icons are highly functional; Stop signs, for example, give helpful directions. As physical objects they belong to material culture, but because they function as symbols they also convey intangible cultural meanings. Some symbols are only valuable for what they represent. Trophies, blue ribbons, or gold medals, for example, serve no purpose other than to show achievement. But many objects have tangible and intangible symbolic value.

A police officer's badge and uniform are symbols of authority and law enforcement. The sight of an officer in uniform or a quad bike inspires confidence in some citizens, anger, fear or anger in others.

It's easy to take symbols for granted. Few people question or even think about doll signs on public restroom doors. But these numbers are more than just symbols telling men and women which toilets to use. They also advocate that public restrooms in the United States should be gender specific. While tents are relatively private, most locations don't offer unisex bathrooms.

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(a) (b)

Figure 3.5 Some road signs are universal. But how would you interpret the signage on the right? (Photo (a) courtesy of Andrew Bain/flickr; Photo (b) courtesy of HonzaSoukup/flickr)

Symbols usually stand out when taken out of context. Used unconventionally, they convey powerful messages. A stop sign on a company door makes a political statement, as does a camouflage military jacket worn at an anti-war protest. (Westcott 2008). Today, some university students wear pajamas and slippers to class, clothing that used to be associated only with privacy and bedtime. Even if the students deny it, the outfit challenges traditional cultural norms and makes a statement.

The destruction of symbols is also symbolic. Effigies depicting public figures are burned to show their anger towards certain leaders. In 1989, the mob tore down the Berlin Wall, a decades-old symbol of division between East and West Germany, communism and capitalism.

While different cultures have different systems of symbols, one symbol is common to all: language. Language is a symbolic system through which people communicate and through which culture is transmitted. Some languages ​​contain a system of symbols used for written communication, while others rely only on spoken communication and non-verbalization.

Societies often share a single language, and many languages ​​contain the same basic elements. An alphabet is a written system of symbolic forms related to spoken sounds. Together, these symbols convey specific meanings. The English alphabet uses a combination of twenty-six letters to form words; These 26 letters make up more than 600,000 recognized English words (OED Online 2011).

The rules of speaking and writing vary even within cultures, mostly regionally. Do you refer to a can of carbonated liquid as "soda", soda, or "cola"? Is a home entertainment space a "family room," "recreation room," or "office"? When you exit a restaurant, do you ask the waiter for a "check," "ticket," or "bill"?

Language is constantly evolving as societies develop new ideas. In this age of technology, people almost immediately became accustomed to new nouns like "email" and "internet" and verbs like "download," "text message," and "blogging." found those words meaningless.

Even in constant evolution, language shapes our reality. This insight was established in the 1920s by two linguists, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. They believed that reality is culturally determined and that any interpretation of reality is based on a society's language. To prove this point, sociologists have argued that every language has words or phrases specific to that language. For example, in the United States, the number thirteen is associated with bad luck. In Japan, on the other hand, the number four is considered unlucky because it is pronounced in a similar way to the Japanese word for "death".

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is based on the idea that people experience their world through their language and therefore understand their world through the culture embodied in their language. The hypothesis, also called linguistic relativity, states that language shapes thought (Swoyer 2003). For example, studies have shown that people who don't have access to the word "ambivalent" don't recognize an experience of uncertainty as conflicting positive and negative feelings about a problem. Essentially, the hypothesis argues that if a person cannot describe the experience, then the person does not have the experience.

In addition to using language, people communicate without words. Nonverbal communication is symbolic and, like language, much of it is learned through one's culture. Some gestures are almost universal: smiling often represents

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

Joy, and crying often represents sadness. Other non-verbal symbols vary in meaning depending on the cultural context. For example, the thumbs-up indicates positive reinforcement in the United States, while in Russia and Australia it is an offensive curse (Passero 2002). Other gestures have different meanings depending on the situation and the person. A hand gesture can mean many things, depending on how it's made and for whom. It can mean hello, goodbye, no thanks, or I'm a king. Winks convey a variety of messages, including "we have a secret," "just kidding," or "I'm attracted to you." From a distance, a person can understand the emotional essence of two interlocutors simply by looking at their body language and facial expressions. Frowning eyebrows and crossed arms indicate a serious matter, possibly an argument.

Is the United States bilingual? In 1991, when she was six years old, Lucy Alvarez attended a school that allowed both English and Spanish. Lucy's teacher was bilingual, the librarian provided bilingual books, and many school staff spoke both Spanish and English. Lucky for Lucy and many of her classmates who only spoke Spanish at home. According to the US Census, 13.8% of US citizens speak a language other than English at home. It's a significant number, but not enough to ensure that Lucy is encouraged to use her mother tongue at school (Mount 2010).

Lucy's parents, who moved to Texas from Mexico, struggled with the pressure to speak English. Lucy could easily have gotten lost and left behind if she had felt the same pressure at school. In 2008, researchers at Johns Hopkins University conducted a series of studies on the impact of bilingual education (Slavin et al. 2008). They found that students who were taught both their native language and English made better progress than those who were taught only English.

Technically, the United States does not have an official language. But many believe that English is the official language of the United States, and more than thirty states have passed laws designating English as the official language. Proponents of English-only legislation suggest a national decision will save money on translation, printing and staffing costs, including funding for bilingual teachers. They argue that making English the official language will encourage non-English speakers to learn English more quickly and adapt more easily to US culture (Mount 2010).

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) oppose making English the official language, saying it violates the rights of non-English speakers. They believe that only English laws deny the reality of our nation's diversity and unfairly target Latinos and Asians. They point out that much of the debate on the subject arose beginning in the 1970s, when the United States experienced new waves of immigration from Asia and Mexico.

A lot of product information is written in several languages ​​today. Go to a store like Home Depot and you will find signs in both English and Spanish. Buy a product for children and safety warnings can be displayed in multiple languages. While marketers are financially motivated to reach as many consumers as possible, this trend can also help people adjust to a culture of bilingualism.

Studies show that most American immigrants eventually abandon their native language and become fluent in English. Bilingual education helps with this transition. Today, Lucy Alvarez is an ambitious, high-performing college student. Lucy is fluent in English and Spanish and is studying Law Enforcement – ​​an area that is looking for bilingual employees. The same bilingualism that helped her succeed in elementary school will help her thrive professionally as a police officer serving her community.

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Figure 3.6 Today many signs - on the street and in shops - contain both English and Spanish. What impact does this have on members of society? What impact does this have on our culture? (Photo courtesy of istolethetv/flickr)

3.3 Pop Culture, Subculture and Cultural Change It may seem obvious that there are innumerable cultural differences between the societies of the world. Finally, we can easily see that people are different from one society to another. It is natural for a young woman from rural Kenya to see the world very differently than an older man in Mumbai, one of the world's most populous cities. In addition, each culture has its own internal variations. Sometimes the differences between cultures are not as great as the differences within cultures.

High and pop cultureDo you prefer opera or hip-hop music? Do you enjoy watching horse racing or NASCAR? Do you read books of poetry or celebrity magazines? In each couple, one type of entertainment is considered intellectual and the other intellectual. Sociologists use the term high culture to describe the patterns of cultural experiences and attitudes that exist in the upper strata of a society. People often associate high culture with intellectualism, political power and prestige. In America, high culture is also more associated with wealth. High culture events can be expensive and formal - see a ballet, watch a play, or listen to a live symphony.

The term popular culture refers to the patterns of cultural experiences and attitudes that exist in the dominant society. Popular cultural events can include a parade, a baseball game, or the season finale of a television show. Rock and pop music - "pop" is short for popular - are part of popular culture. Popular culture is often expressed and disseminated through commercial media such as radio, television, film, the music industry, publishing houses and corporate websites. In contrast to high culture, popular culture is known and accessible to most people. You can discuss favorite soccer teams with a new colleague or talk about American Idol while chatting in line at the grocery store. But if you attempted to begin an in-depth discussion of the classic Greek play Antigone, few members of American society would be familiar with it today.

Although high culture may be superior to popular culture, the terms high culture and popular culture vary by time and place. Shakespeare's plays, which were considered pop culture when they were written, are now part of the high culture of our society. Will our descendants associate Breaking Bad with the cultural elite five hundred years from now?

Subculture and Counterculture A subculture is exactly what it sounds like—a smaller cultural group within a larger culture; People in a subculture are part of the larger culture, but they also share a specific identity within a smaller group.

There are thousands of subcultures in the United States. Ethnic and racial groups share the language, food, and customs of their heritage. Other subcultures are connected through shared experiences. Biker culture is about devotion to motorcycles. Some subcultures are made up of members who have characteristics or preferences that differ from the majority of a society's population. The body modification community includes aesthetic additions to the human body such as tattoos, piercings, and certain forms of plastic surgery. In the United States, teenagers often form subcultures to develop a common youth identity. Alcoholics Anonymous provides support for people with alcohol problems. But even when members of a subculture band together, they still identify with and participate in society as a whole.

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Sociologists distinguish subcultures from countercultures, which are a type of subculture that rejects some of the norms and values ​​of the larger culture. Unlike subcultures, which function relatively smoothly within the larger society, countercultures can actively challenge the larger society, developing their own rules and norms by which to live, and sometimes even creating communities that operate outside of the larger society.

Sects, a word derived from culture, are also considered a counterculture group. The group Yearning for Zion (YFZ) in Eldorado, Texas, existed outside of the mainstream and in the limelight until their leader was accused of statutory rape and underage marriage. The cult's formal norms clashed sharply with toleration under US law, and in 2008 authorities raided the complex and removed more than two hundred women and children from the property.

The Evolution of the American Hipster Subculture Skinny jeans, thick glasses, and T-shirts with vintage logos—the American hipster is a recognizable figure in modern America. Predominantly located in metropolitan areas, sometimes centered around hotspots like Williamsburg in New York City, hipsters define themselves through a rejection of the mainstream. As a subculture, hipsters despise many of the values ​​and beliefs of US culture, preferring vintage clothing to fashion and an abohemian lifestyle over wealth and power. While hipster culture may seem like the new trend among middle-class youth, the group's history dates back to the early decades of the 20th century.

Where did hipster culture start? In the early 1940s, jazz was on the rise in the United States. Musicianswere known as the "Hepcats" had a mellow, laid-back quality at odds with normal, upright life. Those who were "hep" or "hip" lived by the code of jazz, while those who were "square" lived by the rules of society. The idea of ​​a “hipster” was born.

The hipster movement spread and young people, drawn to music and fashion, adopted attitudes and language derived from jazz culture. Unlike the slang of the time, hipster slang was intentionally ambiguous. When hipsters said, "It's cool, man," they didn't mean that everything was fine, they meant that it was.

Figure 3.7 In the 1940s, American hipsters were associated with "cool" jazz culture. (Photo courtesy of William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress)

During the 1950s, jazz culture waned and many characteristics of Hepcat culture became popular. A new subculture was on the rise. The "Beat Generation," a title coined by writer Jack Kerouac, was anti-conformist and anti-materialist. They were writers who listened to jazz and made radical politics. They wandered around, hitchhiking across the country and lived in misery.

The lifestyle spread. College students holding copies of Kerouac's On the Road dressed in berets, black turtlenecks and black-rimmed glasses. Women wore black tights and let their hair grow long. Herb Caen, a San Francisco journalist, used the suffix of Sputnik 1, the Russian satellite orbiting the earth in 1957, to call followers of the movement "beatniks."

As the Beat Generation faded away, a related new movement began. He also focused on overcoming social boundaries, but also stood for free speech, philosophy and love. He was named after previous generations; as a matter of fact,

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Some theorists claim that the Beats themselves coined the term to describe their children. Over time, the "little hipsters" of the 1970s came to be known simply as "hippies."

The current generation of hipsters grew out of the hippie movement, just as the hippies grew out of the beats and the beats out of the hepcats. Although contemporary hipsters don't seem to have much in common with 1940s hipsters, the emulation of nonconformity still exists. In 2010, sociologist Mark Greif began studying the American hipster subculture, noting that much of what united the group's members was not based on fashion, taste in music, or even a specific issue with the mainstream. "All hipsters play like they're inventors or early adopters," Greif wrote. “Pride comes from knowing and deciding what's cool before the rest of the world. However, habits of hate and blame are endemic among hipsters because they sense the weakness of every position—including their own” (Greif 2010). Just as jazz-age hepcats confronted mainstream culture with carefully crafted performances of cool and nonchalance, modern hipsters reject conventional values ​​with purposeful apathy.

Young people often defy traditional conventions, albeit in the same way as others. Ironic, cool to the point of indifference, and intellectual, hipsters continue to embody a subculture while influencing mainstream culture.

Figure 3.8 Intellectual and trendy, today's hipsters define themselves through cultural irony. (Photo courtesy of Lorena Cupcake/WikimediaCommons)

Cultural change As the modern example shows, culture is constantly evolving. Furthermore, new things are added to the material culture every day, which also affect the immaterial culture. Cultures change when something new (e.g. railroads or smartphones) opens up new ways of life and when new ideas enter the culture (e.g. through travel or globalization).

Innovation: discovery and invention

An innovation refers to the first appearance of an object or concept in society - it is innovative because it is extremely new. There are two ways to come across an innovative object or idea: discover or invent. Discoveries make previously unknown but existing aspects of reality known. When Galileo looked through the telescope and spotted Saturn in 1610, the planet was already there, but nobody knew about it until then. When Christopher Columbus discovered America, it was clear that the country was already well known to its inhabitants. However, the discovery of Columbus was new knowledge for Europeans and paved the way for changes in European culture as well as in the cultures of the discovered countries. For example, new foods such as potatoes and tomatoes changed the European diet, and horses brought from Europe changed the hunting practices of Native American tribes on the Great Plains.

Inventions arise when something new emerges from existing objects or concepts - when things are put together from scratch. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, electrical appliances were being invented at an amazing rate. Cars, airplanes, vacuum cleaners, lightbulbs, radios, telephones and televisions were all new inventions. Inventions can shape a culture when people use them in place of older methods to carry out activities, to relate to others, or to achieve things.

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new types of activities. Their adoption reflects (and can shape) cultural values, and their use may require new norms for new situations.

Consider the introduction of modern communication technologies such as mobile phones and smartphones. As more and more people carried these devices, phone calls were no longer confined to homes, offices, and phone booths. People on trains, in restaurants, and other public places became annoyed by listening to one-sided conversations. Standards were needed for the use of mobile phones. Some people hold the idea that people in the world should be mindful of their fellow human beings and their surroundings. However, technology has enabled an alternative solution: text messaging, which allows for silent communication and has overtaken the phone as the primary way to fulfill the cherished ability to stay in touch anywhere, anytime.

If the pace of innovation increases, this can lead to generational conflicts. Tech gadgets that catch on quickly in one generation are sometimes shunned by a skeptical older generation. The objects and ideas of a culture can cause not only generational but also cultural differences. Material culture tends to spread faster than immaterial culture; Technology can spread through society in a matter of months, but it can take generations for society's ideas and beliefs to change. Culture and its acceptance as part of immaterial culture (Ogburn 1957).

Cultural backwardness can also cause tangible problems. America's infrastructure, built a hundred or more years ago, is struggling to support today's crowded and fast-paced life. However, there are delays in designing solutions to infrastructure problems. Rising fuel prices, rising air pollution and traffic jams are symptoms of cultural backwardness. As people become more aware of the consequences of resource overexploitation, it takes time to develop the means to support change.

Figure 3.9 The sociologist Everett Rogers (1962) developed a model of the diffusion of innovations. As consumers begin to embrace a new innovation, the item grows toward 100% market share, or full saturation within a society. (Graphics courtesy of Tungsten/Wikimedia Commons)

dissemination and globalization

The integration of world markets and technological advances in recent decades have enabled greater exchange between cultures through the processes of globalization and diffusion. Beginning in the 1980s, Western governments began deregulating social services while allowing greater freedom for private enterprise. As a result, world markets were dominated by multinational companies in the 1980s, a situation that was new at the time. We have since referred to this integration of international trade and financial markets as globalization. Increased communication and air travel further opened the door to international trade relations, facilitating not only the flow of goods but also the flow of information and people (Scheuerman 2014 (revised)). Today, many US companies are setting up branches in other countries where resources and labor costs are cheaper. When a person calls in the United States to inquire about banking, insurance, or computer services, the person answering the call may work in another country.

The process of globalization is accompanied by the diffusion or spread of material and immaterial culture. While globalization refers to the integration of markets, diffusion refers to a similar process in integrating international cultures. Middle-class Americans can fly abroad and come back with a renewed appreciation for Thai noodles or Italian gelato. Access to television and the internet has brought the lifestyles and values ​​portrayed in American sitcoms into homes around the world. Twitter feeds of public demonstrations in one country emboldened political protesters in other countries. When this type of diffusion occurs, material objects and ideas from one culture are introduced into another.

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Figure 3.10 Officially patented in 1893 as a “locker lock” (left), the zipper did not find widespread use in society for many decades. Today it is instantly recognizable around the world. (Photo (a) courtesy U.S. Patent Office/Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy Rabensteiner/Wikimedia Commons)

3.4 Theoretical Perspectives on CultureMusic, fashion, technology and values ​​- all products of culture. But what do they mean? How do sociologists perceive and interpret culture in terms of these tangible and intangible elements? Let's end our cultural analysis by considering it in the context of three theoretical perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.

Functionalists see society as a system in which all parts work together - or function - to create society as a whole. So societies need culture to exist. Cultural norms serve to support the smooth functioning of society, and cultural values ​​guide people in their decisions. Just as the members of a society work together to meet the needs of society, a culture exists to meet the basic needs of its members.

Functionalists also study culture in terms of values. Education is an important concept in the United States because it is valued. The culture of education - including the material culture such as classrooms, textbooks, libraries, dormitories - supports the emphasis placed on the value placed on the education of members of a society.

Figure 3.11 This statue of Superman is in downtown Metropolis, Illinois. On its pedestal is written "Truth - Justice - the American way". How would a functionalist interpret this statue? What does that reveal about the values ​​of American culture? (Photo courtesy of David Wilson/flickr)

Conflict theorists view the social structure as inherently unequal, based on differences in power on issues such as class, gender, race, and age. For a conflict theorist, culture is viewed as an amplifying issue of “privileges” for particular groups based on race, gender, class, and so on. Women fight for equality in a male-dominated society. Seniors are fighting to protect their rights, health care and independence from a younger generation of lawmakers. Interest groups like the ACLU work to protect the rights of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Inequalities exist within a culture's value system. Therefore, a society's cultural norms benefit some people but harm others. Some norms, formal and informal, are practiced to the detriment of others. Women couldn't vote

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cultural imperialism:

cultural relativism:

United States until 1920. In some states, gay and lesbian couples were denied the right to marry. Racism and bigotry are very much alive today. Although cultural diversity is said to be valued in the United States, many people frown on interracial marriages. Same-sex marriage is illegal in most states, and polygamy — rife in some cultures — is unthinkable for most Americans.

Central to conflict theory is the impact of economic production and materialism: dependence on technology in rich nations versus lack of technology and education in poor nations. Conflict theorists believe that a society's system of material production affects the rest of the culture. Those who have less power are also less able to adapt to cultural change. This view contrasts with the perspective of functionalism. For example, in the culture of US capitalism, we continue to strive for the promise of the American Dream, which upholds the belief that the rich deserve their privileges.

Symbolic interactionism is a sociological perspective more concerned with personal interactions between members of society. Interactionists see culture as created and sustained by the way people interact and how individuals interpret the actions of others. Proponents of this theory conceptualize human interactions as an ongoing process of deriving meaning from both objects in the environment and the actions of others. This is where the term symbolic comes into play. Every object and action has a symbolic meaning, and language serves as a means for people to represent and communicate their interpretations of those meanings. Those who believe in symbolic interactionism perceive culture as highly dynamic and fluid, dependent on how meaning is interpreted and how individuals interact in conveying those meanings.

We started this chapter with the question of what culture is. Culture consists of all practices, beliefs and behaviors of a society. When culture is learned, it includes how people think and express themselves. While we like to think of ourselves as individuals, we need to acknowledge the influence of culture; we inherit the thought language that shapes our perceptions and patterns of behavior, including those related to family and friends, beliefs and politics.

Culture is a kind of social consolation. After all, sharing a similar culture with others is what societies are all about. Nations would not exist if people did not live together culturally. Societies could not exist if people did not share their heritage and language, and civilization would cease to function if people did not agree on similar values ​​and systems of social control. Culture is preserved through transmission from one generation to the next, but it also evolves through processes of innovation, discovery, and cultural dissemination. We may be constrained by the limitations of our own culture, but as human beings we have the ability to question values ​​and make informed decisions. There is no better testament to this freedom than the extent of cultural diversity within our own society and around the world. The more we study another culture, the better we understand our own.

Figure 3.12 This child's clothing may be culturally specific, but his facial expression is universal. (Photo courtesy of Beth Rankin/flickr)

chapter overview

Key concepts or beliefs that people hold to be true

Groups that reject and reject cultural standards that are widely accepted by society

the conscious imposition of one's own cultural values ​​on another culture

the practice of evaluating a culture by its own standards and not in comparison to another culture

Chapter 3 | culture 67

cultural universals:


cultural lag:

Culture shock:




popular costume:

Formal norms:


high culture:

Ideal culture:

informal norms:




Material Culture:


intangible culture:


Pop Culture:

true culture:



social control:






Patterns or characteristics that are common to all societies globally

shared beliefs, values ​​and practices

the length of time between the introduction of material culture and its acceptance by immaterial culture

an experience of personal disorientation in the face of an unfamiliar way of life

the spread of tangible and intangible culture from one culture to another

Things and ideas found from what is already there

the practice of evaluating another culture by the standards of one's own culture

direct and appropriate behavior in the everyday practices and expressions of a culture

established and written rules

the integration of international trade and financial markets

the cultural standards of a society's elite

the standards that a society wishes to adopt and meet

casual behavior that is generally and broadly complied with

new objects or ideas being introduced to the culture for the first time

a combination of pieces of existing reality in new forms

a symbolic communication system

the objects or possessions of a group of people

the views and moral principles of a group

the ideas, attitudes and beliefs of a society

the visible and invisible rules of conduct by which societies are structured

dominant and ubiquitous patterns in the population of a society

the way society is really based on what is actually happening and existing

a way to formally approve or disapprove certain behaviors

the way people understand the world because of their language

a way to encourage compliance with cultural norms

People who live in a definable community and who share a culture

Groups that share a particular identification, unlike the majority of a society, even when members exist within a larger society

Gestures or objects that are assigned meaning and recognized by people who share a common culture

a culture's standard for recognizing what is good and just in society

the belief that another culture is superior to one's own

Summary section

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3.1 What is culture? Although "society" and "culture" are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings. A society is a group of people who share a community and culture. Culture generally describes the shared behaviors and beliefs of these people and includes tangible and intangible elements. Our experience of cultural difference is influenced by our ethnocentrism and xenocentrism. Sociologists try to practice cultural relativism.

3.2 Elements of culture A culture consists of many elements, such as the values ​​and beliefs of your society. Culture is also defined by norms, including laws, customs and traditions. A society's symbols and language are fundamental to the development and transmission of culture.

3.3 Popular culture, subculture and cultural change Sociologists recognize high culture and popular culture within societies. Societies are also made up of many subcultures—smaller groups that share an identity. Countercultures reject dominant values ​​and create their own cultural rules and norms. Through invention or discovery, cultures evolve through new ideas and new ways of thinking. In many modern cultures, technology is the cornerstone of innovation, the rapid growth of which can lead to cultural backwardness. Technology is also responsible for the spread of tangible and intangible culture that contributes to globalization.

3.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Culture There are three major theoretical approaches to the interpretation of culture. A functionalist perspective recognizes that there are many parts of culture that work together as a system to meet the needs of society. Functionalists see culture as a reflection of society's values. Conflict theorists view culture as inherently unequal based on factors such as gender, class, race, and age. An interactionist is primarily interested in culture as experienced in everyday interactions between the individuals and symbols that make up a culture. Various cultural and sociological events can be explained by these theories; However, there is no “right” way of understanding culture.

The section questionnaire

3.1 What is culture?1. The terms _________________ and ______________ are often used interchangeably, but have nuances that set them apart.

one. imperialism and relativism. culture and society c. society and ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism and Xenocentrism

2. The American flag is a tangible object identifying the United States of America; However, there are certain connotations that many associate with the flag, such as bravery and freedom. What are bravery and freedom in this example?

one. symbols b. language c. Cultivated material. intangible culture

3. The belief that one's own culture is inferior to another is called: a. ethnocentrismomb. nationalismc. xenocentrismd. imperialism

4. Rodney and Elise are American students studying in Italy. When introduced to host families, the families kiss them on both cheeks. When Rodney's host brother introduces himself and kisses him on both cheeks, Rodney walks away in surprise. Where he's from, men don't kiss unless they're romantically involved. This is an example of:

one. culture shock b. Imperialism. ethnocentrism. xenocentrism

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5. It turns out that most cultures identify laughter as a sign of humor, joy, or amusement. Likewise, most cultures acknowledge music in some form. Music and laughter are examples of:

one. relativismb. ethnocentrism xenocentrismd. universalism

3.2 Elements of Culture6. A nation's flag is:

one. an icon b. A value c. A cult. a folklore

7. The existence of social norms, both formal and informal, is one of the main pieces of information that informs ___________, also known as a means of promoting social conformity.

one. values sanctionsc. social control. manners

8. The biggest difference between inches and inches is this. Customs are mainly related to morality while customs are mainly related to being common within a

culture b. Customs are absolute while customs are temporary. Customs refer to material culture while folk ways refer to immaterial culture. Customs refer to immaterial culture while folk ways refer to material culture

9. The idea that people cannot feel or experience something they have no word for can be explained as follows: a. linguistics b. Sapir-Whorfc. Ethnographic images. bilingualism

10. Cultural sanctions can also be seen as ways in which society: a. Establish leadership positionsb. Determine the languagec. Regulates behavior. Determine the laws

3.3 Pop culture, subculture and cultural change11. An example of high culture is ___________ while an example of popular culture would be ____________.

one. Dostoyevsky style in the cinema; "American Idol" winning heir. medicinal marijuana; film noirc. country music; Pop music. political theory; sociological theory

12. The Ku Klux Klan is an example of which part of the culture? That. countercultureb. subculturec. multiculturalismd. Afrocentric

13. Modern hipsters are an example of: a. ethnocentricb. counterculture c. subcultured. high culture

14. Her 83-year-old grandmother has been using a computer for some time. To keep in touch, you tend to send emails of a few lines to update them on your day. She calls after every email to reply point by point but has never responded to email. This can be taken as an example of:

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one. culture delay. innovation c. Ethnocentric xenophobia

15. Some jobs are now being advertised in multinational markets, allowing for remote work instead of working at a main location. This expansion of the labor market and the way jobs are performed can be attributed to:

one. culture delay. innovation c. uncovered. globalization

16. The main difference between invention and discovery is: a. Invention is based on technology while discovery is usually based on cultureb. Discovery is finding something that already exists, but invention puts things together in new ways. Invention relates to material culture, while discovery can be material or theoretical, such as the laws of physics. Invention is usually used to refer to international objects while discovery refers to what is local

someone's culture

17. The fact that McDonald's can be found in almost every country in the world is an example of: a. globalizationb. diffusion c. backward culture. xenocentrism

3.4 Cultural theory perspectives18. A sociologist researches how Hispanic students in the US are historically disadvantaged. Education System. What theoretical approach does the sociologist use?

one. symbolic interactionismb. functionalismc. theorized conflict. ethnocentrism

19. The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 has become an international movement. Proponents believe that economic inequality between the upper classes and the middle and lower classes is increasing at an exponentially alarming rate. What theoretical approach would a sociologist use when studying this movement by examining the interactions between members of Occupy camps?

one. symbolic interactionismb. functionalismc. theorized conflict. ethnocentrism

20. Which theoretical perspective regards society as a system of inherently connected, interdependent parts? That. sociobiologyb. functionalismc. theorized conflict. ethnocentrism

21. The "American Dream" - the idea that anyone can be successful and rich if they work hard enough - is most associated with which sociological theory?

one. sociobiologyb. functionalismc. theorized conflict. ethnocentrism

Short answer

3.1 What is culture?1. Examine the difference between tangible and intangible culture in your world. Identify ten objects that are part of your regular cultural experience. For each, identify which aspects of intangible culture (values ​​and beliefs) these objects represent. What did this exercise tell you about your culture?

Chapter 3 | culture 71

2. Do you think that feelings of ethnocentrism or xenocentrism are prevalent in US culture? Why do you think that? What issues or events could affect this?

3.2 Elements of Culture3. What do you think of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? Do you agree with her or not? Provide examples or research to support your point.

4. How do you think your culture would exist if there were no social "norm"? Do you think chaos would ensue or relative peace could be maintained? Explain.

3.3 Pop culture, subculture and cultural change5. Identify several examples from popular culture and describe how they influence broader culture. How pervasive are these examples in your everyday life?

6. Consider some specific questions or concerns of your generation. Are any ideas countercultural? What subcultures emerged in your generation? How have the issues of your generation been expressed culturally? How did your generation shape society's collective culture?

7. What are examples of cultural backwardness in your life? Do you think technology affects culture positively or negatively? Explain.

3.4 Cultural theory perspectives8. Consider a recent social trend you've witnessed, perhaps related to family, education, transportation, or finance. For example, many military veterans return to college after completing their deployments in the Middle East, rather than entering veteran jobs like previous generations. Choose a sociological approach - functionalism, conflict theory, or symbolic interactionism - to describe, explain, and analyze your chosen social problem. Then determine why you chose this approach. Does that fit your way of thinking? Or did it offer the best way to illuminate the social question?

More research

3.1 What is culture? In January 2011, a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America presented evidence that the hormone oxytocin can regulate and manage cases of ethnocentrism. Read the full article here: (

3.2 Elements of culture The science fiction novel Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney was based on the principles of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Read an excerpt from the novel here: (

3.3 Pop Culture, Subculture and Cultural Change The Beats were a counterculture that spawned an entire movement in art, music and literature - many of which are still highly regarded and studied today. The man responsible for naming the generation was Jack Kerouac; However, the man responsible for introducing this generation to the world was John Clellon Holmes, a writer who was often included in the group. In 1952 he wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine entitled "This Is the Beat Generation". Read this article and learn more about Clellon Holmes and the Beats: (

Popular culture meets counterculture as Oprah Winfrey interacts with members of the Zion sect. Read about it here: (


3.1 What is culture? Barger, Ken. 2008. “Ethnocentrism”. Indiana University, July 1. Retrieved May 2, 2011 ( (

Darwin, Charles R. 1871. Man's Descent and Selection Regarding Sex. London: John Murray.

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DuBois, Cora. 1951. "Culture Shock." Presentation to the panel discussion at the Institute of International Education's first Midwest regional meeting.” 11/28. Also presented to the Women's Club of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3 August 1954.

Fritz, Thomas, Sebastian Jentschke, Nathalie Gosselin and others. 2009. “Universal Recognition of Three Basic Emotions in Music.” Current Biology 19(7).

Murdock, George P. 1949. Estrutura social. NovaYork: Macmillan.

Oberg, Kalervo. 1960. "Culture Shock: Adapting to New Cultural Environments." Practical Anthropology 7:177–182.

Sumner, William G. 1906. Folkways: A Study in the Sociological Significance of Usges, Manners, Customs, Customs and Morals. Nova York: Ginn and Co.

Swoyer, Chris. 2003. “The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis”. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by E.N. Zalta, Winter. Retrieved May 5, 2011 (

3.2 Elements by CultureMount, Steve. 2010. “Constitutional Theme: Official Language”., last modified January 24. Retrieved January 3, 2012 ( (

Online OED. 2011. Oxford University Press. Retrieved May 5, 2011 (

Passero, Kathy. 2002. "Global Travel Expert Roger Axtell Explains Why." Biography July:70–73,97–98.

Slavin, R.E., A. Cheung, C. Groff, and C. Lake. 2008. “Effective Reading Programs for Elementary and Secondary Schools: ABest Evidence Synthesis.” Reading Research Quarterly 43(3):290–322.

Sumner, William G. 1906. Folkways: A Study in the Sociological Significance of Usges, Manners, Customs, Customs and Morals. Nova York: Ginn and Co.

Swoyer, Chris. 2003. “The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis”. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by E.N. Zalta, Winter. Retrieved May 5, 2011 ( ) ).

Vaughan, R. M. 2007. „Cairo’s Man Show.“ Utne Reader März–April:94–95.

Weber, Bruce. 2001. “Harold Garfinkel, common-sense sociologist, dies at 93.” The New York Times, May 3. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / 04garfinkel.html?_r=2) ).

Westcott, Kathryn. 2008. “The world's most recognizable protest symbol turns 50.” BBC News, March 20. Accessed 3 January 2012 ( ( /7292252 .stm) ).

3.3 Pop culture, subculture and cultural changeGreif, Mark. 2010. “The Hipster in the Mirror.” New York Times, November 12. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / 14/books/review/Greif-t.html?pagewanted=1) ).

Ogburn, William F. 1957. "Cultural lag as theory." Sociology & Social Research 41(3):167–174.

Rogers, Everett M. 1962. Diffusion of Innovations. Glencoe: Free Press.

Scheuerman, William. 2010. "Globalization." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by E.N. Revised 2014. Zalta, Summer. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (


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4 Society and Social Interaction

Figure 4.1 Sociologists study how societies interact with the environment and how they use technology. (Photo courtesy of Garry Knight/flickr)

Learning goals4.1. types of companies

• Describe the difference between pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial societies

• Understand the role of the environment in pre-industrial societies

• Understand how technology affects social development

4.2. Socio-theoretical perspectives • Describe Durkhiem's ​​functionalist view of society

• Understand the theoretical view of social conflict

• Explain Marx's concepts of class and alienation

• Identify how symbolic interactionists understand society

4.3. Social Constructions of Reality • Understand the sociological concept of reality as a social construction

• Define roles and describe their place in people's daily interactions

• Explain how people present and perceive themselves in a social context

Introduction to Society and Social Interaction It was a school day and Adriana, who started eighth grade, woke up at 6:15 am. Before getting up, she sent three text messages. One was for Jenn, who moved across five states to a different time zone last year. Even though

Chapter 4 | Society and social interaction 75

Living far apart now, the two friends texted each other every day. Now Adriana wanted to tell Jenn that she liked the new boots in the photo Jenn posted to a social media page last night.

Throughout the day, Adriana used her smartphone to send fifty more text messages, but she made no calls. She even texted her mom in the next room when she had a homework question. She maintained close electronic contact with all her friends on a daily basis. When she wasn't doing her homework or attending class, she was chatting and laughing with friends via text messages, tweets, and social media sites. His smartphone was his main source of social interaction.

We can think of Adriana as a typical digital age teenager - she is constantly communicating with a large group of people who are not limited to one geographic area. That's definitely one of the advantages of new forms of communication: it's cheap and easy, and you can keep in touch with everyone at the same time. However, with these new forms of communication come new forms of social interaction.

As we connect more and more in an online environment, we spend less time interacting in person. So the obvious question is: are these forms of communication good developments in terms of social interaction? Or, if there are negative effects, what will they be? As we shall see, our reliance on electronic communications has consequences. In addition to popularizing new forms of communication, it is also changing the traditional way we deal with conflict, the way we see ourselves in relation to our surroundings, and the way we understand social status.

4.1 Types of Businesses

Figure 4.2 How does technology affect a society's daily occupations? (Photo courtesy of Mo Riza/flickr)

Hunter-gatherer tribes, industrialized Japan, Americans - each is a society. But what does it mean? What exactly is a society? In sociological terms, society denotes a group of people living in a definable community and sharing the same culture. In a broader sense, society is made up of the people and institutions around us, our shared beliefs, and our cultural imaginings. Typically, more advanced societies also share political authority.

The sociologist Gerhard Lenski (1924–) defined societies according to their technological maturity. As society advances, so does the use of technology. Societies with rudimentary technology depend on fluctuations in their environment, while industrial societies have more control over the effects of their environment and therefore develop different cultural expressions. So important is this distinction that sociologists often classify societies along the spectrum of their degree of industrialization—from pre-industrial to industrial to post-industrial.

Pre-Industrial Societies Before the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of machinery, societies were small, rural, and largely dependent on local resources. Economic output was limited to the amount of work a person could do, and skilled occupations were few. The first profession was that of hunter and gatherer.

Hunters and collectors

Of the different types of pre-industrial societies, hunter-gatherer societies are the most dependent on the environment. As the basic structure of human society until about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, these groups were based on kinship or tribes. Hunter-gatherers depended on their environment for survival - they hunted wild animals and foraged wild plants for food. When resources became scarce, the group moved to a new area to find food, i.e.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

They were nomads. Such societies were common until several hundred years ago, but today only a few hundred remain, such as the Australian indigenous tribes sometimes referred to as "Aborigines" or the Bambuti, a hunter-gatherer group of pygmies living in the Democratic Republic of Congo live. Hunter-gatherer groups are rapidly disappearing as world population explodes.


Changing conditions and adaptations have resulted in some societies relying on animal domestication where circumstances permit. Around 7,500 years ago, human societies began to recognize their ability to tame and raise animals and cultivate and cultivate their own plants. Pastoral societies such as Maasai villagers rely on animal domestication as a resource for survival. Unlike earlier hunter-gatherers, who depended entirely on existing resources to stay alive, pastoral groups could raise cattle for food, clothing, and transportation, creating a surplus of goods. to follow your animals to cool feeding spots. Around the time that pastoral societies emerged, specialized professions began to develop and societies began to trade with local groups.

Where societies meet - the worst and the best When cultures meet, technology can help, hinder and even destroy. The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska destroyed almost the entire way of life of the local population. Oil spills in the Nigeria Delta forced many members of the Ogoni tribe to flee their lands, and the forced displacement meant more than 100,000 Ogoni sought refuge in the country of Benin (University of Michigan, nd). And the great Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2006 drew a lot of attention because it took place in the most developed country, the United States. Environmental disasters continue as Western technology and its energy needs expand into less developed (peripheral) regions of the world.

Of course, not all technology is bad. We take electric lights for granted in the United States, Europe and the rest of the developed world. This light lengthens the day and allows us to work, read, and travel at night. It makes us safer and more productive. But regions in India, Africa and elsewhere are not so fortunate. A dedicated organization, Barefoot College in Ajmer District, Rajasthan, India, is taking on this challenge, working with several less developed nations to provide solar power, water and education solutions. The village elders are at the center of the solar projects. The elders agree to select two grandmothers to train as solar engineers and to elect a village committee of men and women to help run the solar program.

The program brought light to more than 450,000 people in 1,015 villages. Environmental rewards include large reductions in kerosene consumption and carbon emissions. The fact that the residents run the projects themselves helps to minimize the feeling of dependency.

Figure 4.3 Skeptical or hesitant villagers are more easily persuaded of the value of the solar project when they realize that the "solar engineers" are their local grandparents. (Photo courtesy of Abri le Roux/flickr)


Around the same time that pastoralist societies emerged, another type of society developed based on people's newly developed ability to cultivate and cultivate plants. Previously, depletion of crops or water supplies in a region forced pastoral societies to relocate in search of food sources for their livestock. Horticultural societies formed in areas where rain and other conditions allowed them to grow stable crops. They were similar to hunter-gatherers in that they

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They depended largely on their surroundings for survival, but since they did not have to leave their location to search for resources, they were able to establish permanent settlements. This created more stability and more material goods and became the basis for the first human survival revolution.


While pastoral and horticultural societies used small, temporary tools like digging sticks or hoes, agricultural societies depended on permanent tools to survive. Around 3000 BC An explosion of new technologies known as the Agricultural Revolution made farming possible – and profitable. Farmers learned to rotate the crops grown in their fields and reuse waste products such as fertilizer, resulting in better harvests and larger food surpluses. The new digging and harvesting tools were made of metal, making them more effective and durable. Human settlements grew into cities and particularly prosperous regions became centers of trade and commerce.

This is also the time when people had the time and comfort to engage in more contemplative and reflective pursuits such as music, poetry and philosophy. This period has been referred to by some as the "dawn of civilization" for the development of leisure and the humanities. Artisans could sustain themselves by crafting creative, decorative, or thought-provoking aesthetic objects and writing.

As resources became more plentiful, social classes became more divisive. Those who had more resources could live a better life and developed into a noble class. The social status difference between men and women has increased. As cities expanded, resource ownership and conservation became a pressing concern.


The ninth century brought about feudal societies. These societies contained a strictly hierarchical system of power based on land ownership and protection. The nobility, known as lords, used vassals who held tracts of land. In return for the resources the land provided, the vassals promised to fight for their lords.

These individual pieces, known as mansions, were managed by the lower class. In exchange for maintaining the land, peasants were guaranteed a place to live and protection from outside enemies. Power was passed down family lines, with peasant families serving their masters for generations and generations. Ultimately, the social and economic system of feudalism failed and was replaced by capitalism and the technological advances of the industrial age.

Industrial Society In the 18th century, Europe experienced a dramatic rise in technological inventions that ushered in an era known as the Industrial Revolution. What marked this period was the number of new inventions that affected people's daily lives. Within a generation, tasks that previously required months of work could be solved in a few days. Before the Industrial Revolution, labor was largely dependent on humans or animals, relying on human workers or horses to move mills and run pumps. In 1782, James Watt and Matthew Boulton created a steam engine that could do the work of twelve horses alone.

Steam energy began to appear everywhere. Instead of paying artisans to painstakingly spin wool into cloth, people turned to textile mills, which quickly produced cloth at a better price and often better quality. Instead of sowing and reaping by hand, farmers could purchase mechanical seed drills and threshing machines, which increased agricultural productivity. Products like paper and glass became available to ordinary people, and the quality and accessibility of education and healthcare skyrocketed. Gas lights allowed better visibility in the dark, and cities developed nightlife.

One result of increased productivity and technology has been the emergence of urban centers. Workers flocked to factories in search of work, and urban populations became increasingly diverse. The new generation is less concerned with preserving the land and family traditions and more focused on acquiring wealth and achieving opportunities for advancement for themselves and their families. People wanted their children and grandchildren to keep getting to the top, and as capitalism grew so did social mobility.

Sociology was born in the 18th and 19th centuries of the industrial revolution. Life changed quickly and the long-established traditions of the agrarian times did not apply to life in the big cities. Crowds of people moved to new environments, often confronting dire conditions of filth, overcrowding, and poverty. Social scientists emerged to study the relationship between individual members of society and society as a whole.

At this time, power passed from the hands of the aristocracy and "old money" to enterprising newcomers who amassed fortunes in their lives. Families like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts became the new powers that be, using their influence in the economy to control aspects of government as well. Eventually, concerns about exploitation of workers led to the formation of unions and laws that set binding conditions for workers.

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Although the introduction of new technologies in the late 19th century ended the industrial age, many of our social structures and conceptions - such as family, childhood and the standardization of time - are based on industrial society.

Figure 4.4 John D. Rockefeller, co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, came from a humble family of salesmen and workers. By the time he died at the age of 98, he was worth $1.4 billion. In industrial societies, businessmen like Rockefeller have the most power. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Post-Industrial Society Information societies, sometimes known as post-industrial or digital societies, are a more recent development. In contrast to industrial societies, which are based on the production of material goods, information societies are based on the production of information and services.

Digital technology is the information society's steam engine, and computer tycoons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are their John D. Rockefellers and Cornelius Vanderbilts. Because the economy of information societies is driven by knowledge rather than material goods, power rests in the hands of those responsible for storing and distributing information. Members of a post-industrial society are more likely to be employed as sellers of services—for example, software programmers or management consultants—than as producers of goods. Social classes are divided by access to education because, without technical skills, people in the information society lack the means to succeed.

4.2 Socio-theoretical perspectives

Figure 4.5 Warren Buffett's ideas about taxation and the spending habits of the very wealthy are controversial, particularly as they raise questions about the system of class structure and embedded social power in the United States. The three main sociological paradigms differ in their perspectives on these questions. (Photo courtesy of Medill DC/flickr)

Although many sociologists have contributed to the study of society and social interaction, three thinkers form the basis of modern perspectives. Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber have developed various theoretical approaches to help us understand how societies function.

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Émile Durkheim and Functionalism As a functionalist, Émile Durkheim's (1858-1917) perspective on society emphasized the necessary interconnectedness of all its elements. For Durkheim, society was more than the sum of its parts. He maintained that individual behavior is not the same as collective behavior and that studying collective behavior is quite different from studying the actions of an individual. Durkheim called the collective beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society the collective conscience. In his quest to understand what causes people to behave in a similar and predictable manner, he wrote: "If I do not submit to the conventions of society, if I do not conform in my dress to the customs of my country and my class, the The ridicule I provoke, the social isolation in which I am kept produce, albeit in a lesser form, the same effects as the punishment" (Durkheim 1895). Durkheim also believed that social integration, or the strength of people's ties to their social groups, was a key factor in social life.

Borrowing the ideas of Comte and Spencer, Durkheim compared society to a living organism in which every organ plays a necessary role in keeping the being alive. Socially deviant members of society are also necessary, Durkheim argued, since punishment for deviance reinforces established cultural values ​​and norms. That is, the punishment of a crime confirms our moral conscience. "A crime is a crime because we condemn it," Durkheim wrote in 1893. "An act offends the common conscience, not because it is criminal, but criminal because it offends that conscience" (Durkheim 1893). Durkheim called these elements of society "social facts". By this he meant that social forces should be seen as real and existing outside of the individual.

As an observer of his social world, Durkheim was not entirely satisfied with the way society was developing at the time. His main concern was that the cultural glue that held society together was failing and people would become more and more divided. organic.

Pre-industrial societies, Durkheim explained, were held together by mechanical solidarity, a sort of social order maintained by a culture's collective consciousness. Societies with mechanical solidarity act mechanically; Things are mostly done because they have always been done that way. This type of thinking was common in pre-industrial societies where strong kinship ties and little division of labor created shared morals and values ​​among people, such as hunter-gatherer groups. When people tend to do the same kind of work, Durkheim argues, they tend to think and act in the same way.

In industrial societies, mechanical solidarity is replaced by organic solidarity, that is, the social order based on the acceptance of economic and social differences. In capitalist societies, Durkheim wrote, the division of labor becomes so specialized that everyone does different things. Rather than punishing members of a society for not assimilating common values, organic solidarity allows people with different values ​​to live together. Laws exist as formalized morality and are based on reparation rather than revenge.

While the transition from mechanical to organic solidarity is beneficial to a society in the long run, Durkheim noted that it can be a time of chaos and "normlessness." One of the outcomes of the transition is what he called social anomy. Anomia - literally "lawless" - is a situation in which society is no longer sustained by a firm collective conscience. Collective norms are weakened. Humans, while more interdependent to perform complex tasks, are also alienated from one another. Anomy is experienced during times of social uncertainty such as war or major economic recovery or recession. When societies reach an advanced stage of organic solidarity, they avoid anomie by redeveloping a set of common norms. According to Durkheim, once a society has achieved organic solidarity, it stops developing.

Karl Marx and the conflict theory Karl Marx (1818-1883) is certainly one of the most important social thinkers in recent history. Although there are many critics of his work, he is still widely respected and influential. For Marx, the constructions of society were based on the idea of ​​"base and superstructure". This term refers to the idea that the economic character of a society forms its basis on which the cultural and social institutions, the superstructure, rest. For Marx, it is the basis (economy) that determines what a society will be like.

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Figure 4.6 Karl Marx observed that all elements of a society's structure depend on its economic structure.

In addition, Marx saw conflict in society as the most important means of change. Economically, he saw the existing conflict between the owners of the means of production - the bourgeoisie - and the workers, called the proletariat.

Marx claimed that these conflicts have recurred throughout history at times of social revolution. These revolutions, or “class antagonisms” as he called them, were the result of one class dominating another. More recently, with the end of feudalism, a new revolutionary class, which he called the bourgeoisie, dominated the proletarian workers. The bourgeoisie was revolutionary in the sense that it represented a radical change in the structure of society. In the words of Marx: “Society as a whole is becoming more and more divided into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly confronting each other – the bourgeoisie and the proletariat” (Marx and Engels 1848).

In the mid-19th century, as industrialization increased, industrial employers, the "owners of the means of production" in Marx's terms, became increasingly exploitative of the working class. The big steelmakers were particularly cruel, and their facilities were popularly referred to as the "Satanic Factories," based on a poem by William Blake. Marx's colleague and friend Frederick Engels wrote The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844, which detailed the terrible conditions.

Such is the old town of Manchester and on re-reading my description I have to admit that it is far from over the top but not nearly black enough to give any true impression of the filth, ruin and unlivability that the challenge of all. Cleanliness, ventilation and health considerations that characterize the construction of this single district of at least twenty to thirty thousand inhabitants. And one such district exists in the heart of England's second largest city, the world's first industrial city.

Add to this the long hours worked, the use of child labor, and exposure to extreme conditions of heat, cold, and toxic chemicals, and it's no wonder Marx and Engels made reference to capitalism, which is a way of organizing an economy like this Things used to manufacture and transport products (like land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) belong to individuals and corporations and not to the government like the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie".

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Figure 4.7 Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) analyzed the differences in social power between "have" and "have not" groups. (Photo (a) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy of George Lester/Wikimedia Commons)

For Marx, what we do defines who we are. Historically, despite the persistent nature of one class dominating another, there was a certain element of humanity. There was at least some connection between the worker and the product, reinforced by the natural conditions of the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun such as we see in an agricultural society. But with the bourgeois revolution and the rise of industry and capitalism, the worker worked only for wages. His relation to his efforts was no longer human, but based on artificial conditions.

Marx described modern society in terms of alienation. Alienation refers to the state in which the individual is isolated and divorced from their society, work, or sense of identity. Marx defined four specific types of alienation.

Disposal of the product of one's labor. An industrial worker does not have the ability to relate to the product he is working on. Instead of spending years training as a watchmaker, an unskilled worker can get a job in a watch factory pushing buttons to seal parts. The worker doesn't care if he makes watches or cars, just that the work exists. Likewise, a worker may not even know or care about the product they are contributing to. A worker on a Ford assembly line can spend all day fitting windows into car doors without ever seeing the rest of the car. A canner can spend a lifetime cleaning fish without ever knowing what product it's being used for.

Alienation from one's own work process. A worker does not control the conditions of his work because he does not own the means of production. When a person is hired to work at a fast food restaurant, they are expected to prepare the food the way they were taught. All ingredients must be combined in a specific order and in a specific amount; there is no room for creativity or change. A Burger King employee cannot decide to change the condiments for french fries any more than a Ford assembly line worker can decide to move a car's headlights to a different position. Everything is decided by the bourgeoisie, which then dictates the orders to the workers.

alienation from others. Workers compete rather than cooperate. Employees compete over schedules, bonuses and job security. Even if a worker clocks in at night and goes home, the competition isn't over. As Marx commented in The Communist Manifesto (1848): “As soon as the exploitation of the worker by the factory owner, who receives his wages in cash, ceases, he is attacked by the other part of the bourgeoisie, the landowner, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker.

Alienation from oneself. One end result of industrialization is a loss of connectivity between a worker and their job. Since there is nothing that binds a worker to his job, there is no longer any sense of self. Instead of boasting as a watchmaker, car maker or cook, man is just a cog in the machine.

Overall, alienation in modern society means that an individual has no control over their life. Even in feudal societies, a person controlled the manner of his work, when, and how it was done. But why, then, does the modern working class not rise up and rebel? (In fact, Marx predicted that this would be the end result and collapse of capitalism.)

Another idea that Marx developed is the concept of false consciousness. False consciousness is a condition in which a person's beliefs, ideals, or ideologies are not in the person's best interests. In fact, it is the ideology of the ruling class (here the capitalist bourgeoisie) that is imposed on the proletariat. Ideas like emphasizing competition

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Cooperation or hard work as a reward clearly benefits the owners of the industry. As a result, workers are less likely to question their place in society and take individual responsibility for existing conditions.

In order for society to overcome false consciousness, Marx proposed replacing it with class consciousness, the consciousness of one's position in society. Instead of existing as a 'class by itself', the proletariat must become a 'class by itself' in order to bring about social change (Marx and Engels 1848), which means that the class could become the advocate of social improvement. Only when society enters this state of political consciousness is it ready for a social revolution.

Figure 4.8 An assembly line worker assembles car parts using complex machinery. Has technology made this type of work more or less alienating? (Photo courtesy of Carol Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons)

Max Weber and Symbolic Interactionism While Karl Marx may be one of the best-known thinkers of the 19th century, Max Weber is certainly one of the greatest influences in the field of sociology. Like the other social thinkers discussed here, he was concerned with the important changes that were taking place in Western society with the advent of industrialization. And like Marx and Durkheim, he feared the negative effects of industrialization on the individual.

Weber's primary focus on the structure of society was on the elements of class, status, and power. Similar to Marx, Webers saw the class as economically determined. Society, he believed, was divided between owners and workers. Status, on the other hand, was based on non-economic factors such as education, kinship, and religion. Both status and class determined an individual's power or influence over ideas. Unlike Marx, Weber believed that these ideas formed the basis of society.

Weber's analysis of modern society focused on the notion of rationalization. A rational society is based on logic and efficiency, not morality or tradition. For Weber, capitalism is perfectly rational. While this leads to efficiency and performance-based success, it can have negative repercussions when taken to the extreme. In some modern societies, this is evident when rigid routines and rigid projects lead to a mechanized work environment and a focus on manufacturing identical products at all locations.

Another example of the extreme conditions of rationality can be found in the classic film Modern Times (1936) by Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin's character performs a routine task to the point where he cannot stop his movements even when he is not at work. In fact, we now even have a recognized illness resulting from such tasks known as "Repetitive Stress Disorder."

Weber also differed from his predecessors in that he was more interested in how individuals experienced social divisions than in the divisions themselves. The theory of symbolic interactionism, the third of the three most accepted theories in sociology, is based on Weber's early ideas, which emphasize the point of view of the individual and his relationship to society. For Weber, the culmination of industrialization, rationalization, and the like, results in what he called a cage in which institutions and bureaucracy imprison the individual. This leads to a sense of "world disenchantment," an expression Weber used to describe the end state of humanity. A grim prediction indeed, but one that has at least partially come true (Gerth and Mills 1918). In a rationalized and modern society we have supermarkets instead of family shops. We have chain restaurants instead of local restaurants. Superstores, which offered a wide variety of goods, replaced independent stores that focused on a single product line, such as hardware, groceries, auto repairs, or clothing. Malls offer retail stores, restaurants, fitness centers, and even condominiums. This change may be rational, but is it generally desirable?

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Figure 4.9 Cubicles are used to maximize individual workspace in an office. Such structures may be rational, but they are also isolating. (Photo courtesy of Tim Patterson/flickr)

The Protestant work ethic In 1904, in a series of essays, Max Weber introduced the idea of ​​the Protestant work ethic, a new work ethic based on the Calvinist principle of predestination. In the 16th century, Europe was shaken by the Protestant revolution. Religious leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin argued against the Catholic Church's belief in salvation through obedience. While Catholic leaders emphasized the importance of religious dogma and the performance of good deeds as the gateway to heaven, Protestants believed that inner grace, or faith in God, was sufficient to attain salvation.

John Calvin in particular popularized the Christian concept of predestination, the idea that all events - including salvation - have already been decided by God. Since the followers were never sure whether they were chosen to enter Heaven or Hell, they looked for signs in their everyday lives. If a person was diligent and successful, then he would probably be among the chosen ones. If someone were lazy or just plain indifferent, they would probably be among the damned.

Weber argued that this mindset encouraged people to work hard for personal gain; After all, why help the unfortunate when they have already been damned? Over time, the Protestant work ethic spread and became the basis of capitalism.

4.3 Social constructions of reality

Figure 4.10 Who are we? What role do we play in society? According to sociologists, we construct reality through our interactions with others. In a way, our everyday interactions are similar to those of actors on stage. (Photo courtesy of Jan Lewandowski/flickr)

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So far we have mainly discussed differences between societies. Instead of discussing its problems and configurations, let us now examine how society came into being and how sociologists view social interaction.

In 1966, sociologists Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann wrote a book called The Social Construction of Reality. In it they argued that society is created by people and human interaction, which they call habituation. Habituation describes how "each frequently repeated action is formed into a pattern which can then ... be performed again in the future in the same way and with the same economic effort" (Berger and Luckmann 1966). We not only build our own society, but also accept it as it is because others created it before us. Society is indeed "habit".

For example, your school exists as a school and not just as a building because you and others agree that it is a school. If your school is older than you, it was founded in agreement with others before you. In a sense it exists by consensus, both past and present. This is an example of the institutionalization process, the act of introducing a convention or norm into society. Remember that although the institution is socially constructed, it is still very real.

Another way of looking at this concept is given by W.I. Thomas, who states: "When people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences" (Thomas and Thomas 1928). That is, people's behavior can be determined by their subjective construction of reality and not by objective reality. For example, a teenager who is repeatedly labeled—talented, gamer, bum—can live up to the term even though it's not initially part of their character.

Like Berger and Luckmann in their description of habituation, Thomas argues that our moral codes and social norms are created through "successive definitions of the situation". This concept is defined by sociologist Robert K. Merton as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Merton explains that in a self-fulfilling prophecy, even a false idea can come true if acted upon. As an example, he cites a “run on the banks”. Let's say that for some reason several people wrongly fear that their bank is about to collapse. Because of this misconception, people rush to the bank and demand all the money at once. Because banks rarely, if ever, have that much cash on hand, the bank actually runs out of cash, fulfilling the customer prophecy. Here reality is constructed by an idea.

Symbolic interactionists offer another lens through which to analyze the social construction of reality. With a theoretical perspective that focuses on the symbols (such as language, gestures, and artifacts) that people use to interact, this approach is interested in how people interpret these symbols in everyday interactions. For example, we can feel fear when we see a person holding a gun, unless of course it is a police officer. Interactionists also recognize that language and body language reflect our values. It is enough to learn a foreign language to know that not every word in English can be easily translated into another language. The same goes for gestures. While Americans would recognize a "thumbs up" as "great," it would mean "one" in Germany and "five" in Japan. Thus, our construction of reality is influenced by our symbolic interactions.

Figure 4.11 The plot of a self-fulfilling prophecy appears in many works of literature, perhaps most famously in the story of Oedipus. Oedipus learns from an oracle that he will kill his father and marry his mother. Striving to avoid his destiny, Oedipus inadvertently fulfills it. The Oedipus story illustrates a way in which members of society contribute to the social construction of reality. (Photo courtesy of Jean-Antoine-Theodore Giroust/Wikimedia Commons)

Roles and Statuses As you can imagine, people engage in many types of behaviors in everyday life. Roles are recognized patterns of behavior that are representative of a person's social status. As you read this text, you are currently playing the role of a student. But you also play other roles in your life, such as “daughter”, “neighbor” or “employee”. Each of these different roles is associated with a different status.

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Sociologists use the term status to describe the responsibilities and benefits experienced by a person according to their position and role in society. Some statuses are assigned - the ones you don't choose like son, old person or wife. Other, so-called achieved statuses, are obtained voluntarily, such as school dropouts, millionaires or nurses. or son, you have a different status than neighbor or employee. A person can be assigned countless roles and statuses. Even a single status such as "student" has a complex set of roles or roles associated with it (Merton 1957).

If too much is asked of a single roll, roll strain can occur. Consider the responsibilities of a parent: cooking, cleaning, driving, solving problems, being a source of moral guidance—the list goes on. Likewise, a person may experience role conflict when one or more roles are conflicting. A parent who also has a full-time job can face role conflicts on a daily basis. When there is a deadline at the office but a sick child needs to be picked up from school, what comes first? If you're working for a promotion but your kids want you to go to their school play, which one do you go for? Being a college student can be at odds with being an employee, an athlete, or even a friend. Our roles in life have a huge impact on our choices and who we become.

Self-expression It is, of course, impossible to look inside a person's head and study the role they are playing. All we can observe is behavior or role play. Roleplay is how a person expresses their role. Sociologist Erving Goffman put forward the idea that a person is like an actor on stage. Goffman called his theory dramaturgy and believed that we use "impression management" to present ourselves to others as we hope to be perceived. Each situation is a new scene, and individuals play different roles depending on who is present (Goffman 1959). Think about how you behave towards your co-workers versus your grandparents towards the behavior on a blind date. Even if you don't consciously try to change your personality, your grandparents, co-workers, and girlfriend are likely to see different sides of you.

As in a play, the setting also matters. When you invite a group of friends over to your home for dinner, you play the role of the host. It is agreed that you will provide food and seating and will likely have a lot of cleaning to do at the end of the night. Likewise, your friends play the role of guests and are expected to respect your property and any rules you set ("Don't leave the door open or the cat will come out."). In each scene there must be a shared reality between the players. In this case, if you see yourself as a guest and others see you as a host, there are likely problems.

Impression management is a crucial component of symbolic interactionism. For example, in a courtroom, a judge has many “props” to convey an impression of fairness, seriousness, and control—like her robe and gavel. Those entering the courtroom are expected to follow the scene. Imagine the "impression" that can be created by the way a person dresses. For this reason, lawyers often choose the hairstyle and clothing for witnesses and defendants in court cases.

Fig. 4.12 Janus, another possible “accessory”, represented with two heads, represents war and peace. (Photo courtesy of Fubar Obfusco/WikimediaCommons)

Goffman's dramaturgical ideas expand on the ideas of Charles Cooley and the looking-glass self. According to Cooley, we base our image on what we think other people see (Cooley 1902). We imagine how we should appear to others, then we react to it

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Status reached:

agricultural societies:



Assigned Status:



class consciousness:

collective conscience:

False Consciousness:

feudal societies:


Horticultural associations:

Hunter-gatherer societies:

industrial societies:

Information societies:


iron cage:

mirror me:

mechanical solidarity:

organic solidarity:

Pastoral Societies:


this speculation. We wear certain clothes, style our hair a certain way, wear makeup, wear cologne, and the like—all with the idea that our self-expression affects how others perceive us. We expect a certain response, and if we're lucky, we get the ones we want and feel good about it. Additionally, Cooley believed that our sense of self is based on this idea: we imagine how we look to others, make inferences from their reactions to us, and then develop our personal sense of self. In other words, people's reactions to us are like a mirror in which we are reflected.

chapter overview

Key terms for the status a person chooses, such as B. Level of education or income

Societies that depend on agriculture for their livelihoods

Isolation of an individual from his society, his work and his sense of self

a situation in which society is no longer sustained by a firm collective conscience

Statuses beyond a person's control, such as gender or race

the owners of the means of production in a society

a way of organizing an economy so that the things used to manufacture and transport products (like land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individuals and corporations and not by the government

awareness of their position in society

the collective beliefs, morals and attitudes of a society

a person's beliefs and ideologies that conflict with their best interests

Societies operating under a strictly hierarchical system of power based on land ownership and protection

the idea that society is built by us and those before us and is followed like a habit

Plant Based Societies

Societies dependent on hunting wild animals and gathering uncultivated plants for survival

Societies characterized by a reliance on mechanized labor to create material goods

Societies based on the production of intangible goods and services

the act of introducing a convention or norm into society

a situation in which an individual is bound to social institutions

our reflection of how we think we appear to others

a sort of social order maintained by a culture's collective consciousness

a kind of social order based on the acceptance of economic and social differences

Societies based on animal domestication

the workers of a society

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role conflict:

Roll Performance:

Tension rope:

Set of functions:


self-fulfilling prophecy:

social integration:



Theorem of Thomas:

a belief that modern society should be built on logic and efficiency rather than morality or tradition

a situation in which one or more roles of a person clash

the expression of a paper

Stress that occurs when too much is asked of a single function

a set of roles associated with a specific status

Patterns of behavior that are representative of a person's social status

an idea that becomes reality in practice

how strongly a person is connected to their social group

a group of people living in a definable community and sharing the same culture

the responsibilities and benefits experienced by a person according to their position and role in society

how a subjective reality can cause events to unfold according to that reality, even though they are not initially supported by objective reality

Summary section

4.1 Types of Corporations Corporations are classified according to their development and use of technology. For most of human history, people lived in pre-industrial societies characterized by limited technology and low production of goods. After the Industrial Revolution, many societies based their economies on mechanized labor, leading to higher profits and a trend toward greater social mobility. At the turn of the millennium, a new type of society emerged. This post-industrial or information society is based on digital technology and intangible goods.

4.2 Theoretical perspectives on society Émile Durkheim believed that as societies progress, they make the transition from mechanical to organic solidarity. For Karl Marx, society exists as a class conflict. With the rise of capitalism, workers become alienated from themselves and others in society. The sociologist Max Weber found that the rationalization of society can be taken to harmful extremes.

4.3 Social constructions of reality Society is based on the social construction of reality. How we define society affects how society really is. Likewise, the way we see other people affects their actions as well as our actions towards them. We all take on different roles throughout our lives, and our social interactions depend on the types of roles we take on, who we take on, and the environment in which the interaction takes place.

The section questionnaire

4.1 Types of companies1. Which of the following fictional societies is an example of a pastoral society?

one. The Deswan people, who live in small tribes and base their economy on the production and trade of textilesb. The Rositiano clan, a small community of farmers who have lived on his family's land for centuries. The Hunti, a nomadic nomadic group specializing in horse breeding and training. The Amaganda, an extended family of warriors serving a single noble family

2. Which of the following occupations is a person with power most likely to have in an information society? That. software engineer b. miner. Author of children's books. tenant

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3. Which of the following companies was the first to have permanent residence? That. industry b. hunter-gathererrc. Horticulture. Feudal

4.2 Socio-theoretical perspectives4. In which of the following forms of society is organic solidarity most likely?

one. Hunter and Gatherer Industriec. Agricultural. Feudal

5. According to Marx, the _____ own the means of production in a society.a. proletariat b. Vassal. Bourgeoisie. anomie

6. Which of the following statements best describes Marx's concept of alienation from one's own work process? That. A supermarket cashier always scans store coupons before company coupons because she was taught to do so.

path.b. A businessman thinks he deserves a raise but is nervous about asking his manager for a raise; instead he comforts

Coming to terms with the idea that hard work is its own reward. c. An associate professor fears she won't be hired permanently and begins spreading rumors about one of her colleagues.

employees to make themselves look better.d. A construction worker is fired and temporarily works at a diner, even though he has never had a job.

Interested in preparing food in advance.

7. The evangelical work ethic is based on the concept of predestination, which states that ________.a. Doing good deeds in life is the only way to guarantee a place in heaven. Salvation is attainable only through obedience to God. no one can be saved until he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior. God has already chosen those who will be saved and those who will be damned.

8. Which of the following sociological thinkers popularized the concept of the iron cage? That. Max Weberb. Karl Marxc. Emile Durkheimd. Friedrich Engels

9. Émile Durkheim's ideas about society can best be described as ________.a. functionalistb. conflict theory. symbolic interaction isd. rationalist

4.3 Social constructions of reality10. Mary works full-time in a downtown office while her young children live at a neighbor's house. She just found out that the nanny is leaving the country. Mary has given in to pressure to volunteer at her church and her mother-in-law is moving in with her next month. What is likely to happen as Mary tries to balance her existing and new responsibilities?

one. stress function b. Self-fulfilling prophecy. status conflict. status voltage

11. According to Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, society is based on ________.a. habitual actions b. status c. institutionalization

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i.e. role performance

12. Paco knows that women find him attractive and has never had any trouble getting a date. But as he gets older, he dyes his hair to hide the gray and wears clothes that hide the increased weight. Paco's behavior is best explained with the concept of ___________.

one. working voltage b. car mirror. role played. habituation

Short answer

4.1 Types of companies1. In what type or types of societies do the benefits seem to outweigh the costs? Justify your answer and give social and economic reasons.

2. Is Gerhard Lenski right to classify societies according to technological progress? Based on what you've read, what other criteria might be appropriate?

4.2 Socio-theoretical perspectives3. Pick two of the three sociologists discussed here (Durkheim, Marx, Weber) and use their arguments to explain a current social event like the Occupy movement. Do your theories stand up to modern scrutiny?

4. Think about how workers are alienated from the product and process of their work. How can these concepts be applied to students and their education?

4.3 Social constructions of reality5. Draw a large circle, then “cut” the circle into slices like a cake and label each slice with a role or status you hold. Add as many statuses, assigned and achieved, as you have. Don't forget things like dog owners, gardeners, travelers, students, joggers, employees. How many statuses do you have? Where are there role conflicts?

6. Think of a self-fulfilling prophecy that you experienced. Based on this experience, do you agree with Thomas' statement? Also, use recent event examples to support your answer.

More research

4.1 Types of Societies The Maasai are a modern herder society whose economy is largely based on herding cattle. Read more about the Maasai and see photos of their daily life here: (

4.2 Socio-theoretical perspectives One of the most influential writings of recent history was the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Visit this page to read the original document that sparked revolutions around the world: (

4.3 RealityTV Tropes Social Constructs is a website where users identify concepts commonly used in literature, film and other media. Although the tone is mostly humorous, the site provides a good starting point for research. Browse the list of examples under the Self Fulfilling Prophecy entry. Pay close attention to real-life examples. Is there anything that surprised you or that you disagree with? (


4.0 Introduction to Society and Social InteractionMaasai Association. "In the Face of the Lion." Retrieved 4 January 2012 (

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4.1 Types of corporations Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 2005. “Israel: Treatment of Bedouin, Including Incidents of Harassment, Discrimination or Assault; State Protection (January 2003 to July 2005),” Refworld, July 29. Retrieved 10 February 2012 ( ( ).

Kjeilen, Tore. "Bedouin." Looklex. with. Retrieved February 17, 2012 ( (

University of Michigan. n.d. "The Oil Curse in Ogoniland". Retrieved January 2, 2015 (

4.2 Socio-theoretical perspectives Durkheim, Émile. 1960 [1893]. The division of labor in society. Translated by George Simpson. New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, Emil. 1982 [1895]. The rules of the sociological method. Translated by WD Halls. New York: Free Press.

Engel, Frederick. 1892. The Condition of the Working Class in England 1844. London: Swan Sunshine & Co.

Geography. 1998. "The Way of the Bedouins". Geography. with. Retrieved 4 January 2012 ( (

Gerth, H. H. und C. Wright Mills. 1946. De Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Nova York: Oxford University Press.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. 1998 [1848]. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin Group.

4.3 Social constructions of reality Berger, P. L., and T. Luckmann. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.

Cooley, Charles H. 1902. Human Nature and the Social Order. Nova York: Scribners.

GOFFMAN, Erving. 1959. The Representation of the Self in Everyday Life. New York: double day.

Merton, Robert K. 1957. "The Role Set: Problems in Sociological Theory." British Journal of Sociology 8(2):110–113.

Thomas, W.I., and D.S. Thomas. 1928. The Child in America: Behavioral Problems and Programs. Nova York: button.


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5 socialization

Figure 5.1 Socialization is the way we learn the norms and beliefs of our society. Since our first family and leisure experiences, we have become aware of society's values ​​and expectations. (Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks/flickr)

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Learning goals5.1. theories of self-development

• Understand the difference between psychological and sociological theories of self-development

• Explain the moral development process

5.2. Why Socialization Matters • Understand the importance of socialization for both individuals and society

• Explain the debate between nature and nurturing

5.3. Socialization Agents • Understand the roles of families and peer groups in socialization

• Understand how we are socialized through formal institutions such as schools, workplaces and government

5.4. Socialization throughout life • Explain how socialization occurs and is repeated throughout life

• Understand how people are socialized into new roles at age-related transition points

• Describe when and how rehabilitation takes place

Introduction to Socialization In the summer of 2005, Police Detective Mark Holste followed an investigator from the Department of Children and Families to a home in Plant City, Florida. They were there to verify a neighbor's statement about a derelict house on Old Sydney Road. A little girl was reported to be peeking out of one of her broken windows. This seemed strange because no one in the neighborhood had seen a young child in or around the house that had been occupied by a woman, her boyfriend and two adult children for the past three years.

Who was the mysterious girl at the window?

When Detective Holste and his team entered the house, they were shocked. It was the worst mess they'd ever seen, riddled with roaches, littered with feces and urine from humans and pets, and riddled with crumbling furniture and ripped blinds.

Detective Holste walked down a hallway and into a small room. Then he found the little girl, eyes wide and blank, staring into the darkness. A newspaper report later described the detective's first encounter with the child: "She was lying on the floor on a moldy, torn mattress. She was curled up on her side. . . Her ribs and collarbone stuck out. . . her black hair was matted and full of lice. Insect bites, rashes and wounds pierced her skin. . . She was naked except for a swollen diaper. … Her name, said the mother, was Danielle. She was almost seven" (DeGregory 2008).

Detective Holste immediately carried Danielle out of the house. She was taken to a hospital for medical treatment and examination. Through extensive testing, doctors determined that Danielle, despite being severely malnourished, could see, hear, and vocalize normally. Despite this, she did not look anyone in the eye, did not know how to chew or swallow solid food, did not cry, did not respond to stimuli that usually caused pain, and did not even know how to communicate with words. or simple gestures like nodding "yes" or "no". Although tests showed she had no chronic diseases or genetic abnormalities, she could only stand when someone was holding her hands, and she "tipped sideways like a crab" (DeGregory 2008).

What happened to Danielle? Put simply, it has been neglected beyond the basic necessities of survival. Based on her investigation, social workers concluded that she had been left almost entirely alone in rooms like the one where she was found. Without regular interaction—holding, hugging, talking, the explanations and demonstrations most young children are given—she won't learn to walk or talk, eat or interact, play, or even understand the world around her . Sociologically, Danielle had not been socialized.

Socialization is the process by which people are taught to be competent members of a society. It describes the way people understand social norms and expectations, accept society's beliefs, and become aware of social values. Socialization is not the same as socialization (interacting with other people such as family, friends and co-workers); Strictly speaking, it is a sociological process that takes place through socialization. As Danielle's story shows, even the most basic of human activities are learned. You may be surprised to learn that even physical tasks such as sitting, standing and walking did not develop automatically for Danielle as she got older. And without socialization, Danielle had learned nothing about her society's material culture (the tangible objects a culture uses): for example, she couldn't hold a spoon, bounce a ball,

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or use a chair to sit. Nor had she learned her intangible culture, such as her beliefs, values, and norms. She didn't understand the term "family," didn't know the cultural expectations of using the bathroom to urinate, and had no sense of propriety. More importantly, she didn't learn to use the symbols that make up language - through which we learn who we are, how we relate to other people, and the natural and social world we live in.

Sociologists have long been fascinated by circumstances like Danielle's—in which a child receives enough human support to survive but virtually no social interaction—because they show how much we depend on social interaction to provide the information and skills that we need to be part of society or even to develop an 'I'.

The need for early social contact was demonstrated by research by Harry and Margaret Harlow. From 1957 to 1963, the Harlows conducted a series of experiments to study how rhesus monkeys, which behave very much like humans, are affected by isolation as babies. They studied monkeys raised in two types of "surrogate" maternal circumstances: a mesh and wire sculpture or a soft velvet "mother." The monkeys consistently preferred the company of a soft, fluffy surrogate mother (similar to a rhesus monkey) who could not feed them to a mother made of net and wire who provided food via a feeding tube. This showed that while food was important, social comfort was of greater value (Harlow and Harlow 1962; Harlow 1971). Later experiments testing greater isolation showed that such lack of social contact resulted in significant social and developmental challenges later in life.

Figure 5.2 Baby rhesus monkeys, like humans, need to be raised with social contacts for healthy development. (Photo courtesy of Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/flickr)

(Video) How to Begin a Sociology Essay | The Homework Help Show EP 58

In the following sections, we examine the importance of the complex process of socialization and how it occurs through interaction with many individuals, groups, and social institutions. We will examine how socialization is not only crucial for children in their development, but also how it is a lifelong process through which we prepare for new social environments and expectations at every stage of our lives. But first we turn to the studies of self-development, the process of recognizing a sense of self, a "self" that is then socializable.

5.1 Theories of Self-Development When we are born we have a genetic makeup and biological characteristics. However, who we are as humans develops through social interaction. Many scholars, both in the field of psychology and sociology, have described the process of self-development as a precursor to understanding how this "self" is socialized.

Psychological Perspectives on Self-Development The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was one of the most influential modern scientists to theorize how people develop a sense of self. He believed that personality and sexual development were closely related and divided maturation into psychosexual stages: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. He postulated that human self-development is closely linked to early developmental stages such as breastfeeding, toilet training, and sexual awareness (Freud 1905).

According to Freud, failure to engage or detach properly at any given stage has emotional and psychological consequences throughout adulthood. An adult with oral fixation may overeat or drink too much. An anal fixation can produce sheer aberration (hence the term "anal retentive"), while a person trapped in the phallic stage can be promiscuous or emotionally immature. Although no solid empirical evidence supports Freud's theory, his ideas continue to contribute to the work of scientists in various disciplines.

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

Sociology or Psychology: What's the Difference? What do they agree on and where do their ideas differ? The answers are complicated, but the distinction is important to scholars in both fields.

As a general difference, we can say that while both disciplines are interested in human behavior, psychologists focus on how the mind influences that behavior, while sociologists study the role of society in shaping behavior. Psychologists are interested in the mental development of people and how their minds process their world. Rather, sociologists focus on how different aspects of society contribute to an individual's relationship with their world. Another way to think of the difference is that psychologists tend to look inwards (mental health, emotional processes) while sociologists tend to look outwards (institutions, cultural norms, interactions with others) to understand human behavior to understand.

Émile Durkheim (1958-1917) was the first to make this distinction in research when he attributed differences in suicide rates between people to social causes (religious differences) rather than psychological causes (such as their psychological well-being) (Durkheim 1897). . Today we see the same distinction. For example, a sociologist studying how a couple gets their first kiss on a date might focus their research on cultural norms for dating, social patterns of sexual activity over time, or how this process differs for seniors and teenagers . A psychologist would likely be interested in the person's early sexual awareness or mental processing of sexual desire.

Sometimes sociologists and psychologists have worked together to expand knowledge. In recent decades, however, their domains have become more sharply separated, as sociologists increasingly focus on broad social problems and patterns, while psychologists continue to focus on the human mind. Both disciplines make valuable contributions through different approaches that provide us with different types of useful insights.

Psychologist Erik Erikson (1902–1994) developed a theory of personality development based in part on Freud's work. However, Erikson believed that the personality continued to change over time and never really ended. His theory includes eight stages of development, beginning at birth and ending at death. According to Erikson, people go through these stages throughout their lives. In contrast to Freud's focus on psychosexual states and basic human drives, Erikson's view of self-development gave more credence to social aspects, such as the way we negotiate between our own basic desires and what is socially accepted (Erikson 1982).

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a child development psychologist who specifically focused on the role of social interactions in their development. He recognized that the development of the self unfolds through a negotiation between the world as imagined and the world as socially experienced (Piaget 1954). All three thinkers have contributed to our modern understanding of self-development.

Sociological theories of self-development One of the seminal contributors to sociological perspectives was Charles Cooley (1864-1929). He contended that people's self-concept is constructed in part through their perception of how others see them - a process called "the looking-glass self" (Cooley 1902).

Later, George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) studied the self, a person's distinct identity that develops through social interaction. In order to engage in this "I" process, an individual must be able to see themselves through the eyes of others. This is not an ability we are born with (Mead 1934). Through socialization, we learn to put ourselves in each other's shoes and see the world from their perspective. It helps us to become self-aware when we look at ourselves from the perspective of the "other". For example, the case of Danielle illustrates what happens when social interaction is absent from early experience: Danielle lacked the ability to see herself as others would see her. From Mead's point of view, she had no "I".

How did we go from newborn to human with “I”? Mead believed that there is a specific developmental path that all human beings go through. In the preparatory phase, the child can only imitate, it cannot imagine how others see things. They copy the actions of people they regularly interact with, like their mothers and fathers. This is followed by the play phase, where the children begin to take on the role that someone else might have. This allows children to experience a parent's point of view by exhibiting "adult" behavior such as "dress up" and role-playing "mother" or speaking on a toy phone as they see their parents do.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

During the play phase, children learn to consider multiple roles at the same time and how these roles interact with each other. You will learn to understand interactions involving different people with different purposes. For example, a child at this stage is likely to be aware of the different responsibilities of the people in a restaurant who together contribute to a smooth dining experience (someone seats you, someone else takes your order, someone else cooks the food while someone else cleans) dirty ).

Eventually, children develop, understand, and learn the idea of ​​the generalized other, the common behavioral expectations of society at large. At this stage of development an individual is able to imagine himself as seen by one or many others - and thus, from a sociological perspective, to have a 'self' (Mead 1934; Mead 1964).

Kohlberg's theory of moral development

Moral development is an important part of the socialization process. The term refers to the way people learn what society considers "good" and "bad," which is important for the proper functioning of society. Moral development prevents people from acting out of uncontrolled impulses and instead considering what is right for society and good for others. Lawrence Kohlberg (1927–1987) was interested in how people learn to decide what is right and what is wrong. To understand this issue, he developed a theory of moral development that includes three levels: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional.

In the preconventional phase, young children, who lack higher levels of cognitive abilities, experience the world around them only through their senses. It is not until adolescence that the conventional theory develops, when young people become increasingly aware of the feelings of others and take them into account when determining "good" and "bad." In the final phase, referred to as post-conventional, people begin to think of morality in abstract terms, like Americans who believe everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At this point, one also recognizes that legality and morality do not always go together in the same way (Kohlberg 1981). When hundreds of thousands of Egyptians protested government corruption in 2011, they employed post-conventional morality. They understood that while their rule was legal, it was not morally right.

Gilligan's theory of moral development and sex

Another sociologist, Carol Gilligan (1936-), acknowledged that Kohlberg's theory might exhibit gender bias since her research was only conducted on males. Would the women students have reacted differently? Would a social scientist, analyzing research results, notice different patterns? To answer the first question, she began examining the differences between boys' and girls' moral development. Gilligan's research showed that boys and girls have different ideas about morality. Boys tend to have a justice perspective, emphasizing rules and laws. Girls, on the other hand, have a perspective of caring and responsibility; They consider people's reasons for behavior that appears morally wrong.

Gilligan also recognized that Kohlberg's theory was based on the assumption that the perspective of justice was the correct, or rather, perspective. Gilligan, on the other hand, theorized that neither perspective was "better": the two legal norms served different purposes. Ultimately, she explained that boys are socialized into a work environment where rules ensure smooth operations, while girls are socialized into a home environment where flexibility allows for harmony in caregiving and parenting (Gilligan 1982; Gilligan 1990).

What a beautiful young lady! "What a cute dress!" "I like the bows in your hair." "Wow, you look so beautiful today."

According to Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World, most of us use niceties like this when we meet little girls. "And?" You can ask.

Bloom claims that we focus too much on how girls look, and as a result our society socializes them to believe that their looks are vital. And Bloom could be on the right track. How many times do you tell a little boy how cute his outfit is, how nice his shoes are, or how handsome he looks today? To support her claims, Bloom cites as an example that around 50% of girls aged three to six worry about being fat (Bloom 2011). We are talking about kindergarten children who are concerned about their body image. Sociologists are very interested in this type of gender socialization, which reinforces societal expectations about how boys and girls should be - how they should behave, what toys and colors they should like, and how important their clothes are.

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A solution to this type of gender socialization is attempted in the Egalia preschool in Sweden, where children develop in a genderless environment. All of the children of Egalia are referred to using neutral terms like "friend" rather than "he" or "she". Playgrounds and rides are deliberately set up in such a way that any reinforcement of gender expectations is excluded (Haney 2011). Egalia strives to eliminate all gendered social norms from the preschool world of these children.

Extreme? Possibly. So what is the middle ground? Bloom suggests starting with simple steps: When you meet a young woman, ask her what her favorite book is or what she likes. In short, deal with their minds... not their outward appearances (Bloom 2011).

5.2 Why socialization is important Socialization is vital for both the individual and the society in which he lives. It shows how people and their social worlds are completely intertwined. First, a society perpetuates itself by teaching culture to new members. If the new generations of a society do not learn its way of life, it ceases to exist. Everything that distinguishes a culture must be passed on to those who join it for a society to survive. For US culture to survive, for example, children in the United States must learn cultural values ​​related to democracy: they must learn the norms of voting and how to use physical objects such as voting machines. Of course, some would argue that it's just as important in the US. Culture for the younger generation to learn the etiquette of eating in a restaurant or the rituals of outdoor parties at football matches. In fact, there are many ideas and objects that people in the United States teach children in hopes of preserving the society's way of life for another generation.

Figure 5.3 Socializing teaches us about our society's expectations of dining out. The manners and customs of different cultures (when can you eat with your hands? how should you praise the chef? who is the "head" at the table?) are learned through socialization. (Photo courtesy of NiyamBhushan/flickr)

Socialization is so important to us as individuals. Social interaction provides the means by which we can begin to see ourselves through the eyes of others and how we learn who we are and how we fit into the world around us. In order to function successfully in society, we must also learn the basics of tangible and intangible culture, everything from dress to the right attire for a particular occasion; from when we sleep to where we sleep; and from what is considered proper for dinner to using the stove to prepare it. Above all, we must learn language - be it the dominant or common language in a subculture, whether verbal or signed - in order to communicate and think. As we saw with Danielle, without socialization we literally don't have each other.

Nature versus nurturing Some experts argue that what we are is the result of our nurturing - the relationships and affection that surround us. Others argue that who we are is based solely on genetics. According to this belief, our temperaments, interests and talents are defined before birth. So from this perspective, who we are depends on nature.

One way researchers are trying to measure nature's effects is by studying twins. Some studies followed identical twins raised separately. The pairs shared the same genetics, but in some cases they were socialized in different ways. Instances of this type of situation are rare, but examining the degree to which identical twins raised apart are alike and different can give researchers insight into how our temperaments, preferences, and abilities are shaped by our genetic makeup versus our social environment .

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

For example, in 1968 twin girls of mentally ill mothers were put up for adoption, separated and raised in different households. Little did the adoptive parents, let alone the babies, know that the girls were one of five sets of twins that were the subject of a scientific study (Flam 2007).

In 2003, the two then 35-year-old women got together. Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein sat side by side in awe and felt like they were looking into a mirror. Not only did they look and behave similarly, they used the same hand gestures and facial expressions (Spratling 2007). Studies like this point to the genetic roots of our temperament and behavior.

Although genetics and hormones play important roles in human behavior, sociology's greatest concern is the effect that society has on human behavior, the "nurturing" side of the nature-nurturing debate. What race were the twins? What social class did your parents come from? And what about gender? Religion? All of these factors influenced the twins' lives as well as their genetic make-up and are important to consider when looking at life through a sociological lens.

The life of Chris Langan, the smartest man you've never heard of. firefighter. factory worker. Cowboy. Chris Langan has spent most of his adult life doing jobs like this. He had no college degree, few resources, and a history of disappointments. Chris Langan also had an IQ of over 195, nearly 100 points higher than average (Brabham 2001). So why didn't Chris become a neurosurgeon, professor, or aeronautical engineer? According to Macolm Gladwell (2008) in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Chris lacked the necessary soft skills to succeed at such a high level - skills that are not innate but learned.

Gladwell consulted a recent study by sociologist Annette Lareau, in which she closely followed 12 families from diverse economic backgrounds and examined their parenting techniques. Parents from low-income families pursued the strategy of "realizing natural growth", that is, they let their children develop themselves with a lot of independence; Parents from higher-income families, on the other hand, “actively nurtured and utilized a child's talents, opinions, and abilities” (Gladwell 2008). These parents were more likely to engage in analytical conversations, encourage active questioning of the establishment, and encourage the development of negotiation skills. Parents could also introduce their children to a wide range of activities, from sports to music to accelerated academic programs. When a middle-class child was denied admission to a gifted program, the mother asked the school for additional testing until her daughter was accepted. However, low-income parents tended to obey authorities such as school boards unconditionally. Their children were not socialized to comfortably face the system and speak out (Gladwell 2008).

What does this have to do with Chris Langan, whom some call the smartest man alive (Brabham 2001)? Born into abject poverty, Chris moved across the country with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. His genius went almost unnoticed. After accepting a full scholarship to Reed College, he lost his funding after his mother failed to complete the required paperwork. Chris, who had only received an A the previous semester, was unable to successfully present his case to the administration, received an F on his report card and had to drop out of college. After enrolling at Montana State, he was unable to find funds to travel 16 miles to attend classes due to an administrator's refusal to rearrange his schedule. What Chris had in genius, he lacked in practical intelligence, or what psychologist Robert Sternberg defines as "knowing what to say to whom, when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect" (Sternberg et al .2000). . Such knowledge was never part of their socialization.

Chris dropped out of school and began working various blue-collar jobs, pursuing his intellectual interests on the side. Although he has recently attracted attention with his Theoretical Cognitive Model of the Universe, he remains jaded and resistant to the educational system.

As Gladwell concluded, "He had to walk his path alone, and nobody — not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, not even geniuses — does it alone" (2008).

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Figure 5.4: Identical twins may look alike, but their differences can give us clues as to the effects of socialization. (Photo courtesy of D. Flam/flickr)

All sociologists recognize the importance of socialization for healthy individual and social development. But how do scientists working in the three main theoretical paradigms approach this topic? Structural functionalists would argue that socialization is essential to society both because it trains members to operate successfully within it and because it perpetuates the culture by passing it on to new generations. Without socialization, a society's culture would perish with the death of its members. A conflict theorist might argue that socialization reproduces inequality from generation to generation, passing on different expectations and norms to people with different social characteristics. For example, individuals are socialized differently based on sex, social class, and race. As with Chris Langan, this creates different (unequal) possibilities. An interactionist studying socialization is concerned with personal exchange and symbolic communication. For example, dressing boys in blue and girls in pink is a small way to convey messages about differences in gender roles.

5.3 Agents of Socialization Socialization helps people learn to function successfully in their social world. How does the socialization process work? How do we learn to use the objects of our society's material culture? How did we come to adopt the beliefs, values, and norms that represent their intangible culture? This learning occurs through interaction with various socialization actors such as peer groups and families, as well as formal and informal social institutions.

Agents of Social Groups Social groups often provide the first experiences of socialization. Families and later peer groups communicate expectations and reinforce norms. People first learn to use the tangible objects of material culture in these settings and are introduced to society's beliefs and values.


The family is the first actor of socialization. Moms and dads, siblings and grandparents, and extended family members teach a child what they need to know. For example, they show the child how to handle objects (such as clothing, computers, cutlery, books, bicycles); how to treat others (some as "family", some as "friends", still others as "strangers" or "teachers" or "neighbors"); and how the world works (what is "real" and what is "imagined"). As you know, whether from your own experience as a child or your role in raising a child, socialization involves teaching and learning about an endless array of objects and ideas.

However, remember that families don't socialize children in a vacuum. Many social factors influence the way a family raises their children. For example, we can use the sociological imagination to see that individual behaviors are influenced by the historical period in which they occur. Sixty years ago it wouldn't have been particularly strict for a

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Father beats his son with a wooden spoon or a belt when he misbehaves, but today the same act can be considered child abuse.

Sociologists recognize that race, social class, religion, and other social factors play important roles in socialization. For example, poor families often emphasize obedience and conformity in raising their children, while wealthy families emphasize judgment and creativity (National Opinion Research Center 2008). This may be because working-class parents have less education and more repetitive tasks for which it helps to be able to follow rules and adapt. Therefore, they teach their children behaviors that are beneficial in these positions. This means that children are effectively socialized and raised to take on the types of jobs their parents already have, thereby reproducing the class system (Kohn 1977). Likewise, children are socialized to conform to gender norms, racial perceptions, and class behaviors.

In Sweden, for example, stay-at-home parents are an accepted part of the social landscape. A government policy is offering subsidized leave - 480 days for families with newborns - with the option of paid leave shared between mothers and fathers. As one stay-at-home father puts it, “being home to take care of your little son is a very fatherly thing. I find that very masculine” (Associated Press 2011). Almost 90 percent of Swedish fathers use their paternity leave (about 340,000 fathers); on average, they last seven weeks per birth (The Economist, 2014). What about US politics – and the expected gender roles in our society? How are Swedish children raised this way socialized according to their parents' gender norms? How might this differ from the gendered norms of parenting in the United States?

Figure 5.5 The socialized roles of fathers (and mothers) vary across societies. (Photo courtesy of Nate Grigg/flickr)

The Peer Group

A peer group consists of people who are similar in age and social status and who have common interests. Peer socialization begins in the early years when children in a playground teach younger children how to take turns, the rules of the game, or how to shoot a basket. When children become teenagers, this process continues. Peer groups matter in a new way for teenagers as they begin to develop separate identities and independence from their parents. Additionally, peer groups offer their own opportunities for socialization, as children often engage in different types of activities with their peers than with their families. Peer groups offer young people their first major socialization experiences outside of the family environment. Interestingly, studies have shown that while friendships are high on teens' priority lists, this is offset by parental influence.

Institutional Agents The social institutions of our culture also shape our socialization. Formal institutions—such as schools, workplaces, and government—teach people how to behave and navigate these systems. Other institutions like the media contribute to socialization by flooding us with messages about norms and expectations.


Most American children spend about seven hours a day, 180 days a year in school, making it difficult to deny the importance of school to their socialization (US Department of Education, 2004). Students are not only in school to study math, reading, science and other subjects - the obvious function of this system. Schools also play a latent role in society, socializing children in behaviors such as practicing teamwork, keeping to a schedule, and using textbooks.

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Figure 5.6 Not only do these kindergarten children learn to read and write; They are socialized with norms such as keeping their hands to themselves, waiting in line, and reciting the pledge of allegiance. (Photo courtesy Bonner Springs Library/flickr)

School and classroom rituals, conducted by teachers who act as role models and leaders, regularly reinforce what society expects of children. Sociologists describe this aspect of school as the hidden curriculum, the informal instruction conducted by schools.

For example, schools in the United States have created a sense of competition in the way grades are assigned and how teachers evaluate students (Bowles and Gintis 1976). When children compete in a relay race or a math competition, they learn that there are winners and losers in society. When children need to work together on a project, they practice teamwork with others in collaborative situations. The hidden curriculum prepares children for the adult world. Children learn to deal with bureaucracy, rules, expectations, variety and sitting times during the day. Schools in different cultures socialize children differently to prepare them to function well in those cultures. The latent functions of teamwork and dealing with bureaucracy are characteristics of US culture.

Schools also socialize children by teaching them about citizenship and national pride. In the United States, children are taught to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Most districts require instruction in US history and geography. As scholarly understanding of history has advanced, textbooks in the United States have been scrutinized and revised to update attitudes toward other cultures and perspectives on historical events; thus, children are socialized into a different national or world history than previous textbooks may have done. For example, information about the mistreatment of African Americans and Native Americans more accurately reflects these events than previous textbooks.

Controversial textbooks On August 13, 2001, twenty South Korean men gathered in Seoul. Everyone cut off a finger because of the textbooks. These men took drastic measures to protest eight textbooks approved by Tokyo for use in Japanese secondary schools. According to the Korean government (and other East Asian nations), textbooks covered up negative events in Japan's history at the expense of other Asian countries.

In the early 1900s, Japan was one of the most aggressive nations in Asia. For example, Korea retained it as a colony between 1910 and 1945. Today, Koreans argue that the Japanese are covering up colonial history through these textbooks. A major criticism is that they fail to mention that the Japanese forced Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II. Textbooks describe the women as “conscripted” to work, a euphemism that downplays the brutality of what actually happened. Some Japanese textbooks dismiss a major demonstration of Korean independence in 1919 as a "riot." In reality, Japanese soldiers attacked peaceful demonstrators, leaving an estimated 6,000 dead and 15,000 injured (Crampton 2002).

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While it may seem extreme that people would be so angry at the way events are described in a textbook that they would resort to dismemberment, the protest contends that textbooks are an important tool of socialization in state education systems.

the workplace

Just as children spend a large portion of their day at school, many American adults at some point invest a significant portion of their time in the workplace. Although socialized into their culture from birth, workers need resocialization in the workplace, both in terms of tangible culture (e.g., how to use the copier) and intangible culture (e.g., whether it's okay is to speak directly to the boss or to share the fridge).

Different jobs require different types of socialization. In the past, many people worked in one job until they retired. The trend today is to change jobs at least once a decade. Between ages 18 and 46, the average baby boomer in the youngest cohort had 11.3 different jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). This means people need to be socialized and socialized through a variety of work environments.


While some religions are informal institutions, here we focus on practices followed by formal institutions. Religion is an important form of socializing for many people. America is full of synagogues, temples, churches, mosques and similar religious communities where people gather to pray and learn. Like other institutions, these sites teach participants how to interact with the religion's material culture (such as a mezuzah, prayer rug, or communion wafer). For some people, important ceremonies related to family structure—such as marriage and birth—are associated with religious celebrations. Many religious institutions also uphold gender norms and help enforce them through socialization. From ceremonial rites of passage that strengthen family unity to power dynamics that reinforce gender roles, organized religion promotes a shared set of socialized values ​​passed through society.


Although we don't think about it, many of the rites of passage people go through today are based on age norms set by the government. Being defined as “adult” generally means being eighteen, the age at which a person becomes legally responsible for themselves. And age 65 is the start of “old age,” since that's when most people are eligible for senior benefits.

Every time we step into one of these new categories - seniors, adults, contributors - we need to be socialized into our new role. When American men turn eighteen, they must register with the Selective Service System within thirty days to be included in a database for possible military service. These state dictates mark the points at which we demand socialization into a new category.

mass media

The mass media disseminates impersonal information to a wide audience via television, newspapers, radio and the Internet. Since the average person spends more than four hours a day in front of the television (and children spend even more time in front of the screen), media has a major impact on social norms (Roberts, Foehr, and Rideout 2005). People learn about both tangible objects of culture (such as new technologies and transportation) and intangible culture—what is true (beliefs), what matters (values), and what is expected (norms).

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girls and movies

Figure 5.7 Some people are concerned about how girls are being socialized into a 'princess culture' these days. (Photo courtesy of Jørgen Håland/flickr)

Pixar is one of the largest producers of children's films in the world and has released major blockbusters such as Toy Story, Cars, The Incredibles and Up. What Pixar has never produced before is a film with a female lead. That changed with Pixar's latest film, Brave, which was released in 2012. Before Brave, Pixar featured women as supporting characters and love interests. In Up, for example, the only female human character dies within the first ten minutes of the film. For the millions of girls who watch Pixar films, there are few strong characters or roles that they can identify with. If they don't see possible versions of themselves, they may see women as secondary in men's lives.

Animated films from Pixar's parent company Disney have many female leads. Disney is known for films with female leads such as Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Mulan. Many of Disney's films play a woman, and she is almost always a princess. If she's not a princess to begin with, she usually ends the movie by marrying a prince or, in Mulan's case, a military general. While not all "princesses" in Disney films play a passive role in their lives, they usually need a man to save them, and the happy ending they all seek involves marriage.

Along with this prevalence of princesses, many parents express concern about the princess culture that Disney created. Peggy Orenstein addresses this issue in her popular book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Orenstein wonders why every little girl is expected to be a "princess" and why pink has become an obsession for many girls. Another mother wondered what she did wrong when her three-year-old daughter refused to do "unprincess" things, including running and jumping. The effects of this princess culture can negatively impact girls throughout their lives. An early emphasis on beauty and sensuality can lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and risky sexual behavior in older girls.

What to expect from Pixar's new film, the first to feature a female character? Although Valente has a female lead, she is still a princess. Will this film offer a new kind of role model for girls? (O'Connor 2011; Barnes 2010; Rose 2011).

5.4 Lifelong socialization Socialization is not a one-time or even short-term event. We are not “stamped” on an assembly line by some socialization machine and thus socialized once and for all. In fact, socialization is a lifelong process.

In the United States, lifelong socialization is largely determined by age norms and "time-related rules and regulations" (Setterson 2002). As we age, we encounter age-related transition points that require socialization into a new role, such as For example, the US government requires that all children attend school. Child labor laws enacted in the early 20th century declared this nationwide

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Childhood is a time of learning, not work. However, in countries like Niger and Sierra Leone, child labor remains widespread and socially acceptable, and there are few laws regulating such practices (UNICEF 2012).

Gap year: how different societies socialize young adults

Figure 5.8 Age transition points require socialization into new roles, which can vary greatly from society to society. Young adults in America are encouraged to go straight to college or work, students in England and India can take a year off like Britain's Princes William and Harry, while young people in Singapore and Switzerland are forced into armed service. (Photo courtesy of Charles McCain/flickr)

Ever heard of a gap year? It's a common custom in British society. When teenagers graduate from high school (also called high school in the US), they typically take a year off before going to college. You can often find a job, travel, or find other ways to experience a different culture. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge spent his gap year practicing survival skills in Belize, teaching English in Chile and working on a dairy farm in the UK (Prince of Wales 2012a). His brother Prince Harry worked for AIDS orphans in Africa and worked as a jackeroo (a ranch hand) in Australia (Prince of Wales 2012b).

In America, this transition in life is socialized very differently and a year off is generally frowned upon. Instead, young Americans are encouraged to choose a career in their mid-teens, choose a college and major in their late teens, and complete all college or technical education necessary for their careers in their early 20s.

In still other nations, this stage of life is associated with conscription, a term used to describe conscription. Egypt, Switzerland, Turkey and Singapore have introduced this system. Young men in these nations (usually all men) are expected to complete several months or years of military training and service.

How would your life be different if you lived in one of these other countries? Can you imagine similar social norms - related to age transitions in life - that differ from country to country?

Many of society's life expectancies are clarified and enforced on a cultural level. By interacting with others and watching others interact, the expectation of fulfilling roles becomes evident. During middle or high school, the prospect of having a boyfriend or girlfriend might have been viewed as undesirable. The socialization that takes place in high school changes expectations. When one looks at the excitement and importance attached to dating and relationships in the high school social scene, it quickly becomes clear that one is now expected to be not just a child and a student, but a significant other as well. Completion of formal education—high school, trade school, or college—involves social adjustment to new expectations.

Educational expectations vary not only from culture to culture, but also from class to class. While middle- or upper-class families expect their daughter or son to attend a four-year university after high school, other families may expect their child to work full-time immediately, as many family members did before.

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The Long Road to Adulthood for Millennials 2008 was a year of financial turbulence in the United States. Rampant foreclosures and bank failures set off a chain of events that produced distrust in government, credit defaults and widespread unemployment. How has this affected young adults in the United States?

Millennials, sometimes referred to as Generation Y, is a term used to describe the generation born between the early 1980s and early 1990s. While the recession was in full swing, many were in the process of entering, attending or graduating from high school and college. With historically low job prospects, many graduates were unable to find work, sometimes rejoining their parents, and struggling to pay off student loans.

According to the New York Times, this economic stagnation is causing millennials to postpone what most Americans consider adulthood: "The traditional cycle seems to have gotten out of hand, as young people stay detached from romantic partners or permanent homes and come back to life Going to school, lack of better options, travel, avoiding commitments, fierce competition for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) jobs at Teach for America, anticipating adulthood” (Henig 2010). The term boomerang generation describes young graduates, for whom the lack of suitable employment after graduation often leads them to return to their parents' homes (Davidson, 2014).

According to Henig, the five milestones that define adulthood are “finish school, leave home, become financially independent, get married and have a child” (Henig 2010). Millennials take longer to reach these social milestones, if at all. Sociologists wonder what long-term effects this generation's situation might have on society as a whole.

In the process of socialization, adulthood brings with it a new set of challenges and expectations, as well as new roles. As the aging process progresses, social roles evolve. Teenage pleasures like wild nights and serial dating are becoming less acceptable in the eyes of society. Responsibility and commitment are emphasized as pillars of adult life, and men and women are expected to "settle down". Many people get married during this time or are legally married, bring children into the family and concentrate on their jobs. They become partners or parents instead of students or significant other.

Just as children pretend to be doctors or lawyers, play house and dress up, adults engage in anticipatory socialization, preparing for future roles in life. Examples include a couple living together before marriage, or expectant parents reading childcare books and preparing their home for the new arrival. As part of early socialization, financially capable adults begin to plan for their retirement, save money, and think about future health care options. Transitioning into a new role in life can be difficult, despite the social structure that supports it.

Rehabilitation In the process of rehabilitation, old behaviors that were helpful in a previous role are removed because they are no longer useful. Rehabilitation is necessary when a person transfers to an aged care center, attends boarding school, or is serving time in prison. In the new environment, the old rules no longer apply. The resocialization process is typically more stressful than normal socialization because people have to unlearn behaviors that have become habitual for them.

The most common form of rehabilitation takes place in a total institution, where people are isolated from society and forced to follow the rules of others. A ship at sea is a total institution, just like religious monasteries, prisons or some cult organizations. They are places isolated from wider society. The 6.9 million Americans living in prisons and correctional institutions at the end of 2012 are also members of these types of institutions (U.S. Department of Justice 2012). As another example, each branch of the military is an overall institution.

Many individuals are rehabilitated into an institution through a two-part process. First, members entering an institution must leave behind their previous identities through a so-called degradation ceremony. In a demotion ceremony, new members lose aspects of their old identities and are given new identities. The process is sometimes gentle. To enter a nursing home, an elderly person often has to leave a family home and give up many possessions that were part of their longstanding identity. Although caregivers guide seniors with compassion, the process can still be a loss. In many ministries, this process is also gentle and takes place in a supportive and caring environment.

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early socialization:

Humiliation Ceremony:

another generalizes:

hidden CV:

moral development:



Peer Group:




In other situations, the humiliation ceremony may be more extreme. New prisoners lose liberty, rights (including the right to privacy) and personal property. Upon entering the army, soldiers cut their hair short. Their old clothes are discarded and they wear matching uniforms. These individuals must relinquish all characteristics of their former identity in order to be resocialized into a "soldier" identity.

Figure 5.9 During basic training, Air Force members are taught how to walk, move, and look. (Photo courtesy of Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios, US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons)

Having been stripped of their old identity, new members of an institution construct a new one to fit the new society. In the military, soldiers go through basic training together, learn new rules and bond. They follow structured schedules set by their leaders. Soldiers must clear their areas for inspection, learn to march in incorrect formations, and salute in the presence of superiors.

Learning to deal with life after living in a total institution requires another process of rehabilitation. In the US military, soldiers learn discipline and the ability to work hard. They set personal goals to accomplish a mission and take pride in their unit's accomplishments. Many soldiers who leave the military turn these skills into excellent careers. Others feel lost when they leave, unsure of the outside world and what to do next. The process of resocialization to civilian life is not easy.

chapter overview

Key concepts as we prepare for future roles in life

the process by which new members of an overall institution lose aspects of their old identities and acquire new ones

the common behavioral expectations of society as a whole

the informal teaching in schools that socializes children according to social norms

the way people learn what is 'good' and 'bad' in society

the influence of our genetic makeup on self-development

the role our social environment plays in self-development

a group of people of similar age and social status who share common interests

the process of removing old behaviors and learning new behaviors in their place

a person's distinct sense of identity developed through social interaction

the process by which people understand social norms and expectations, accept society's beliefs, and become aware of social values

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Summary section

5.1 Self-development theories Psychological theories of self-development have been extended by sociologists who explicitly study the role of society and social interaction in self-development. Charles Cooley and George Mead made important contributions to the sociological understanding of the development of the self. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan developed their ideas and explored how our sense of morality develops. Gilligan added the dimension of gender differences to Kohlberg's theory.

5.2 Why socialization is important Socialization is important because it helps sustain societies and cultures; it is also a fundamental part of individual development. Research shows that both nature (our genetic and hormonal makeup) and our upbringing (the social environment in which we grew up) affect our personality. Sociology is more concerned with how society's influence affects our patterns of behavior, which is clear from the way behavior differs between classes and genders.

5.3 Agents of Socialization Our direct interactions with social groups, such as families and peers, teach us how others expect us to behave. Likewise, the formal and informal institutions of a society socialize its population. Schools, workplaces and the media communicate and reinforce cultural norms and values.

5.4 Socialization throughout life Socialization is a lifelong process that repeats itself as we enter new life stages, such as adulthood or old age. Resocialization is a process that removes the socialization we have developed over time and replaces it with newly learned rules and roles. Because it involves breaking old accumulated habits, resocialization can be a stressful and difficult process.

The section questionnaire

5.1 Theories of self-development1. Socialization as a sociological term describes:

one. how people interact in social situationsb. how people learn social norms, beliefs and values ​​c. the internal mental state of a person in a group environment. the difference between introverts and extroverts

2. Harlow's study of rhesus monkeys showed that: a. Rhesus monkeys raised by other primate species are poorly socializedb. Great apes can be properly socialized by mimicking humans. Food is more important than social comfort. Social comfort is more important than food

3. What Happens on Lawrence Kohlberg's Conventional Level? That. Children develop the ability to think abstract thoughts.b. Morality is developed through pain and pleasure.c. Children begin to think about what society considers moral and immoral.d. Parents' beliefs do not affect children's morals.

4. What did Carol Gilligan think the early moral scholars missed? That. The Perspective of Justice b. Sympathetic responses to moral situationsc. The woman's perspective. How the social environment affects moral development

5. How to distinguish between psychology and sociology? That. Psychology focuses on the mind while sociology focuses on society.b. Psychologists are interested in mental health, while sociologists are interested in social functioning.c. Psychologists look inward to understand behavior, while sociologists look outward.

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d. go get it

6. How did being almost completely isolated as a child affect Danielle's verbal skills? That. She couldn't communicate. B. She has never learned words, but she has learned signs.c. She couldn't understand much, but she knew how to use gestures.d. She could understand and use simple language such as "yes" and "no".

5.2 Why socialization is important7. Why do sociologists need to be careful when drawing conclusions from twin studies?

one. Results do not apply to singletons.b. Twins were often raised in different ways. c. Twins can really become fraternal.d. Sample sizes are usually small.

8. From a sociological point of view, which factor does not have a major influence on a person's socialization? That. genreb. Class Typed Blood. race

9. Chris Langan's story illustrates the following: a. Children growing up in single-parent families tend to have a higher IQ.b. Intelligence is more important than socialization.c. Socialization may be more important than intelligence.d. Neither socialization nor intelligence affects college admissions.

5.3 Socialization Agents10. Why are wealthy parents more likely to socialize their children for creativity and problem solving than poor parents?

one. Wealthy parents socialize their children to the skills of the employees. B. Wealthy parents don't worry about their children rebelling against their rules. c. Wealthy parents never bother with repetitive tasks.d. Rich parents care more about money than a good education.

11. How do schools prepare children to one day enter the labor market? That. With a standardized curriculum. Through the hidden curriculumc. By socializing them in teamwork. everything above

12. Which of the following statements is not a way in which people are socialized through religion? That. People learn the material culture of their religion.b. Life stages and roles are associated with religious celebrations.c. An individual's personal inner experience of a divine being leads to their belief. i.e. Places of worship offer space for shared group experiences.

13. Which of the following functions is an obvious function of schools? That. Understand when to speak and when to be silent. Learning to read and write c. According to a schedule. Know locker room etiquette

14. Which of the following is typically the first agent of socialization? That. schoolb. familyc. mass media. Workplace

5.4 Socialization throughout life15. Which of the following is not an age-related transition point where Americans need to be socialized into new roles?

one. childhood

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B. School age. adulthood. old

16. Which of the following statements is true about US graduate socialization? That. They are expected to take a year off before college.b. You must serve in the military for one year.c. They are expected to enter college, trade school or the job market shortly after graduation. i.e. They are forced to move away from their parents.

Short answer

5.1 Theories of self-development1. Think of a current problem or pattern that a sociologist might study. What kind of questions would the sociologist ask and what research methods might he use? Now consider the questions and methods a psychologist might use to study the same problem. Comment your different approaches.

2. Explain why it is important to conduct surveys with both male and female respondents. What sociological issues might show gender differences? Give some examples to illustrate your ideas.

5.2 Why socialization is important3. Why are twin studies an important way to learn more about the relative effects of genetics and socialization on children? What human development questions do you think twin studies can best answer? For what kind of questions would the twin study not be so helpful?

4. Why do you think people like Chris Langan keep fighting even after being helped by social systems? What have they missed that is preventing them from functioning successfully in the social world?

5.3 Socialization Agents5. Do you think it's important for parents to talk about gender roles with their young children, or is it better to leave gender for later? How do parents consider gender norms when buying books, movies and toys for their children? How do you think they should think about it?

6. Based on your observations, when are teenagers most likely to listen to their parents or peers when making decisions? What types of dilemmas are appropriate for one social actor versus another?

5.4 Lifelong socialization7. Imagine a person joining a sorority or fraternity, attending college or boarding school, or even a child entering kindergarten. How is the process the student goes through a form of socialization? What new cultural behaviors should the student adapt to?

8. Do you think rehabilitation requires a full institution? Why or why not? Can you think of other ways to rehabilitate someone?

More research

5.1 Theories of self-development Lawrence Kohlberg became famous for his research on moral dilemmas. He presented the boys with dilemmas and asked how they would assess the situations. Visit ( to learn more about Kohlberg's most famous moral dilemma, known as the Heinz Dilemma.

5.2 Why Socialization Matters Learn about five other pairs of twins who were raised apart and found each other later in life at (

5.3 Socialization Agents Most societies expect parents to socialize their children according to gender norms. See the controversy surrounding a Canadian couple's refusal to do so at (

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5.4 Lifelong Socialization Homelessness is an endemic problem among veterans. Many soldiers drop out of military service or return from war and find it difficult to reintegrate into civilian life. For more information about this issue, see ( or ://


5.0 Introduction to Socialization DeGregory, Lane. 2008. “The Girl in the Window.” St. Petersburg Times, July 31. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( ( ).

5.1 Theorias do Autodesenvolvimento Cooley, Charles Horton. 1902. "The Looking Glass Self". Pp. 179–185 em Human nature and social order. Nova York: Scribners.

Blossom, Lisa. 2011. “How to Talk to Little Girls.” Huffington Post, June 22. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( ( - to-speak-to-little-gir_b_882510.html) ).

Ericsson, Eric. 1982. The Completed Life Cycle: A Review. New York: Norton.

Durkheim, Emil. 2011 [1897]. Suicide. London: Rouledge.

Freud, Siegmund. 2000 [1904]. Three essays on theories of sexuality. New York: Essential Books.

Giligan, Carol. 1982. In Another Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Giligan, Carol. 1990. Making Connections: The Relationship Worlds of Adolescent Girls at the Emma Willard School. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Haney, Phil. 2011. “Genderless Preschool in Sweden.” Baby & Children, June 28. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( ( - preschool -in Sweden/) ).

Harlow, Harry F. 1971. Learning to love. New York: Ballantine.

Harlow, Harry F. and Margaret Kunne Harlow. 1962. "Social Deprivation in Monkeys". Scientific American November: 137-46.

Kohlberg, Lawrence. 1981. The Psychology of Moral Development: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages. New York: Harper and Row.

Mead, George H. 1934. Mind, Self and Society, herausgegeben von C. W. Morris. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mead, George H. 1964. On Social Psychology, edited by A. Strauss. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Piaget, Jean. 1954. The construction of reality in children. New York: Essential Books.

5.2 Why socialization mattersBrabham, Denis. 2001. "The Smart Guy." Newsday, August 21. Retrieved 31 January 2012 ( (

Flamm, Faye. 2007. "Separated Twins Shed Light on Questions of Identity." The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( ( - on-identity-issues-1808191.php) ).

Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008. "The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2." Outlier: the success story. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

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Spratling, Cassandra. 2007. "Nature and Creation." Detroit FreePress. 11/25 Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( / 26786902_1_twins-adoption-identical-strangers) ).

Sternberg, R.J., GB. Forsythe, J. Hedlund, J. Horvath, S. Snook, W.M. Williams, R.K. Wagner and EL. Grigorenko.2000. Practical intelligence in everyday life. New York: Cambridge University Press.

5.3 Associated Press Socialization Agents. 2011. “Swedish Parents Trade Jobs for Childcare.” The Gainesville Sun, October 23. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( ) ).

Barnes, Brooks. 2010. “Pixar Fires Its First Female Director.” The New York Times, December 20. Retrieved August 2, 2011 ( / ?ref=arts ( / ?ref=arts) ).

Bowles, Samuel and Herbert Gintis. 1976. Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reforms and the Contradictions of Economic Life. New York: Essential Books.

Crampton, Thomas. 2002. “The Ongoing Battle Over Japan's Textbooks.” New York Times, February 12. Accessed August 2, 2011 ( ( - rtexts_ed3_.html) ).

Kohn, Melvin L. 1977. Class and Conformity: A Values ​​Study. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.

National Center for Opinion Research. 2007. General Social Surveys, 1972–2006: Cumulative Codebook. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.

O'Connor, Lydia. 2011. "The Princess Effect: Are Girls Too 'Tangled' in Disney's Imagination?" Annenberg Digital News, January 26. Accessed August 2, 2011 ( (http://www /2011/01/princess-effect-are-girls-too-tangled-disneys-fantasy) ).

Roberts, Donald F., Ulla G. Foehr, and Victoria Rideout. 2005. "Parents, Children, and the Media: A Survey of the Kaiser Family Foundation." Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved February 14, 2012 ( (

pink steve 2011. "Studio Ghibli: Leave the Boys Behind." The Guardian, July 14. Retrieved 2 August 2011. ( ( 2011/ 14.07./studio-ghibli-arrietty-heroines) ).

"South Koreans cut off fingers in anti-Japan protest." 2001. The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2012 ( .uk /news/1337272/South-Koreans-sever-fingers-in-anti-Japan-protest.html) ).

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2014. “Number of Jobs Retained, Labor Market Activity, and Income Growth Among Younger Baby Boomers.” 10 September. Retrieved October 27, 2012 (

US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 2004. "Mean Length of School Year and Average Length of School Day, by Selected Characteristics: United States, 2003-04." Overview of the Private School Universe (PSS). Retrieved 30 July 2011 ( (

"Why Swedish men take so much paternity leave." 2014. The Economist. Retrieved October 27, 2014. (

5.4 Lifelong SocializationDavidson, Adam. 2014. "It's official, the Boomerang Kids aren't going." New York Times, June 20. Retrieved October 27, 2014 ( ).

Henig, Robin Marantz. 2010. “What's in the Mid-Twenties?” New York Times, August 18. Retrieved December 28, 2011 ( ( / 08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1325202682-VVzEPjqlYdkfmWonoE3Spg) ).

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Prince of Wales. 2012a. "Duke of Cambridge, Gap Year." Retrieved 26 January 2012 ( of-cambridge/biography)).

Prince of Wales. 2012b. "Prince Harry, Gap Year." Retrieved 26 January 2012 ( ( personalprofiles/princeharry/biography/gapyear/index .html) ).

Setterson, Richard A., Jr. 2002. "Socialization over the Life Course: New Frontiers in Theory and Research." New Frontiers in Socialization, Vol. 7. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science Ltd.

UNICEF. 2011. "Percentage of children aged 5 to 14 involved in child labor." Retrieved December 28, 2011 ( (http://www.childinfo. org/labour_countrydata.php)).

UNICEF. 2012. “Percentage of Children Aged 5–14 Performing Child Labor.” Retrieved 27 October 2014 ( ( )

United States Department of Justice. 2012. "Patches Population in the US, 2012." Retrieved October 27, 2014 (


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6 groups and organization

Figure 6.1 The Tea Party Express nationwide tour visited Minnesota and held a rally in front of the State Capitol Building. (Photo courtesy of Fibonacci Blue/flickr)

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Learning objectives 6.1. types of groups

• Understand primary and secondary groups as the two sociological groups

• Recognize inner and outer groups as subtypes of primary and secondary groups

• Define reference groups

6.2. Group size and structure • How size affects group dynamics

• Different leadership styles

• How compliance is affected by groups

6.3. Formal Organizations • Understand the different types of formal organizations

• Recognize the characteristics of bureaucracies

• Identify the concepts of McJob and McDonaldization of society

Introduction to groups and organizations Over the past decade, grassroots efforts to raise awareness of specific political issues have gained popularity. As a result, tea party groups have sprung up in almost every community across the country. Tea Party supporters are dedicated to raising awareness of any issue that challenges the security, sovereignty, or tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America (Tea Party, Inc. 2014). The group takes its name from the famous Tea Party held in Boston Harbor in 1773. Its members include people from all walks of life who work to protect their values ​​and beliefs. Their beliefs tend to be anti-tax, anti-big government, pro-gun, and generally politically conservative.

Their political stance is supported by what they call the "15 non-negotiable core beliefs."

1. Illegal aliens are illegal here.

2. Home-friendly employment is essential.

3. A strong army is essential.

4. Special interests must be eliminated.

5. Gun ownership is sacred.

6. Government must be reduced.

7. The national budget must be balanced.

8. Deficit spending must end.

9. Bailouts and stimulus programs are illegal.

10. Reducing personal income tax is a must.

11. The corporate tax cut is mandatory.

12. Political offices must be accessible to ordinary citizens.

13. Intrusive government must be stopped.

14. English as the primary language is required.

15. Traditional family values ​​are encouraged.

Tea Party politicians have been elected to various offices at the national, state and local levels. Indeed, in Alabama, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio and Texas, pro-tea party members have won seats in the US House of Representatives and Senate. Nationally, the Tea Parties are actively seeking the impeachment of President Barack Obama for "egregious violations," including straining the country's national health care system (Obamacare), gun confiscations and a failure to protect victims of the terrorist attack against diplomatic authorities of the USA. Offices in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.

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At the local level, Tea Party supporters have assumed the posts of mayor, district commissioner, city councilman, and others. In a small rural Midwestern county with a population of about 160,000, the three county commissioners who oversee the operation and administration of county government have long been two Republicans and one Democrat. During the 2012 election, the Democrat lost his seat to an outspoken Tea Party Republican who ran as a pro-gun and fiscal conservative. He promised to reduce government spending and reduce the size of the county government.

Groups such as political parties are prevalent in our lives and provide us with a meaningful way to understand and define ourselves—groups with which we feel connected and those with which we don't feel connected. Groups also play an important role in society. As enduring social entities, they help promote shared value systems and are fundamental to the fabric of society as we know it. There are three primary sociological perspectives for study groups: functionalist, conflictist, and interactionist. We can look at the Tea Party movement through the lens of these methods to better understand the roles and challenges of the groups.

The functionalist perspective is a broad, macro-level view that examines how different aspects of society are interconnected. This perspective is based on the notion that society is a balanced system with all the necessary parts of the whole, and examines the roles those parts play in relation to the whole. In the case of the Tea Party movement, a functionalist might examine what macro-level needs the movement is meeting. For example, a structural functionalist might ask how the party forces people to pay attention to the economy.

The conflict perspective is another macro-analytical perspective that focuses on the emergence and growth of inequality. A conflict theorist studying the Tea Party movement can observe how business interests have manipulated the system over the past 30 years, resulting in the gross inequality we see today. Or this perspective could examine how the massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the upper class can lead to a two-class system reminiscent of Marxist ideas.

A third perspective is the symbolic interaction or interactionist perspective. This method of group analysis takes a micro-level view. Rather than examining the big picture, these researchers look at everyday group interactions. In studying these details, the interactionist considers issues such as leadership style and group dynamics. In the case of the TeaParty movement, interactionists might ask, "How do the group dynamics in New York differ from those in Atlanta?" Or, "What determines who becomes the de facto leader in different cities—geography, social dynamics, economic circumstances?"

6.1 Types of Groups Most of us use the word "group" comfortably without much thought. In everyday usage it can be a generic term, although it has important clinical and scientific meanings. Furthermore, the concept of the group is central to much of what we think about society and human interaction. Often we can mean different things with this word. We can say that a group of children saw the dog and it could be 250 students in a classroom or four siblings playing in the garden. In everyday conversation there is no clear use of the distinction. So how can we sharpen the meaning more precisely for sociological purposes?

Definition of a group The term group is amorphous and can refer to any variety of gatherings, from just two people (think of a "group project" at school if you are working with another student), a club, a regular meeting of friends or people who work together or share a hobby. In short, the term refers to any group of at least two people who interact with some frequency and share a sense that their identities are somehow consistent with the group. Of course, when people come together, it's not necessarily a group. For example, a rally is usually a one-off event, and affiliation with a political party does not imply interaction with others. People who are in the same place at the same time but do not interact with each other or share a sense of identity - such as a group of people waiting in line at Starbucks - are considered an aggregate or mass. Another example of a non-group is people who share similar characteristics but are not related in any way. These individuals are considered one category and as an example, all children born between approximately 1980 and 2000 are referred to as "Millennials". Why are millennials a category and not a group? Because while some of them share a sense of identity, as a whole they don't often interact with each other.

Interestingly, individuals within an aggregate or category can become a group. During disasters, people in a neighborhood (gathering) who did not know each other can become friends and depend on each other in the local shelter. When the disaster is over and people just live close together again, the sense of togetherness can remain because everyone shared an experience. They may stay in a group, practicing emergency preparedness, coordinating next-time care, or taking turns caring for neighbors who need extra help. Likewise, there can be many groups within a single category. For example, think of teachers. Within this category there may be groups such as teachers' unions, teacher educators, or officials involved with the PTA.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Types of Groups The sociologist Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) proposed that groups can be divided into two categories: primary groups and secondary groups (Cooley 1909). According to Cooley, primary groups play the most important role in our lives. The primary group is usually quite small and consists of people who are usually face-to-face involved in a long-term emotional way. This group serves emotional needs: expressive rather than pragmatic functions. The primary group is usually made up of significant others, those individuals who have the greatest impact on our socialization. The best example of a primary group is the family.

Secondary groups are often larger and impersonal. They can also be task-oriented and time-limited. These groups have an instrumental rather than an expressive function, meaning their role is goal or task oriented rather than emotional. A classroom or office could be an example of a secondary group. Neither primary nor secondary groups are constrained by strict definitions or established boundaries. In fact, people can move from one group to another. For example, a graduate school might start out as a secondary group focused on the class in question, but as students work together throughout their program, they may find common interests and strong bonds that make them a primary group.

Best Friends She Never Met author Allison Levy worked alone. While I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of working from home, I sometimes missed a community of colleagues, both for practical brainstorming purposes and for the more social "water cooler" aspect. Levy did what many do in the internet age: she found a group of other writers online through a web forum. Over time, a group of about twenty authors, writing for a similar audience, broke away from the larger forum and formed a private, invitation-only forum. While the authors generally represent all genders, ages and interests, it turned out to be a conglomeration of women in their 20s and 30s who made up the new forum; they all wrote fiction for children and young people.

The authors' forum was initially clearly a side group united by the professions and work situations of the members. As Levy explained, “You can be on or off the internet as much as you like. Nobody expects you to show up. It was a useful place to look up information about different publishers and who had been selling what lately, and to keep up to date with industry trends. But over time, Levy found it served a different purpose. Since the group shared characteristics other than writing (like age and gender), the online conversation naturally turned to topics like parenting, aging parents, health and exercise. Levy found it a friendly place to speak, rather than just write, on a variety of topics. Even though people haven't posted for several days, others have expressed concern and asked if anyone had heard of the missing authors. It got to the point where most members of the group shared whether they were traveling or needed to go offline for a while.

The group continued to share. One site member, who suffered from a serious illness in the family, wrote: “I don't know where I would be without you women. It's so nice to have a place to vent that I know won't hurt anyone.” Others shared similar sentiments.

So this is a primary group? Most of these people have never met. They live in Hawaii, Australia, Minnesota and around the world. Maybe they never meet. Levy recently wrote to the group, saying: "Most of my 'real' friends and even my husband don't know much about writing. I don't know what I would do without you. Despite the distance and lack of physical contact, the group is clearly fulfilling a need for expression.

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Figure 6.2 Engineering and construction students gather around a construction site. How do your academic interests define your internal and external groups? (Photo courtesy of USACEpublicaffairs/flickr)

Inner and Outer Groups One of the ways that groups can be powerful is through inclusion rather than exclusion. The feeling of belonging to an elite or select group is exhilarating, while the feeling of not being able to join or compete with a group can be motivating in other ways. The sociologist William Sumner (1840-1910) developed the concepts of ingroup and outgroup to explain this phenomenon (Sumner 1906). In short, an endogroup is the group that an individual feels they belong to and believes is an integral part of who they are. An outgroup, on the other hand, is a group to which someone does not belong; We can often feel contempt or competition for an outgroup. Sports teams, unions, and sororities are examples of internal and external groups; Humans can belong to each of them or be strangers to it. Primary groups consist of inner and outer groups and secondary groups.

While group affiliations can be neutral or even positive, as in the case of a team sport competition, the concept of in-group and out-group can also explain negative human behavior, such as B. white supremacist movements like the KuKlux Klan or bullying of students. Gays or lesbians. By defining others as “not like us” and inferior, ingroups can practice ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, ageism, and heterosexism—ways of negatively judging others based on their culture, race, gender, age, or sexuality. Inner groups can often form within a group of children. For example, a workplace may have groups of people ranging from executives who play golf together, to engineers who write code together, to young singles who socialize after work. While these internal groups may favor and show affinity towards other group members, the organization as a whole may or may not recognize them. As such, it pays to be wary of inner-group politics, as members can exclude others in order to gain status within the group.

Bullying and Cyberbullying: How Technology Changed the Game Most of us know that the old rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is inaccurate. Words can hurt, and this is never more evident than with bullying. Bullying has always existed and has often reached extreme levels of cruelty among children and young people. People in these phases of life are particularly vulnerable to the opinions of others and are strongly involved in their peer groups. Today, technology has ushered in a new era of this dynamic. Cyberbullying is the use of interactive media by one person to torment another, and it's on the rise. Cyberbullying can mean sending threatening text messages, harassing someone on a public forum (like Facebook), hacking into someone else's account and pretending to be him or her, posting embarrassing pictures online, and so on. A study by the Cyberbullying Research Center found that 20% of high school students admitted to having "seriously considered suicide" because of online bullying (Hinduja and Patchin 2010). While face-to-face bullying requires a willingness to interact with the victim, cyberbullying allows bullies to harass others in the privacy of their home without witnessing the harm firsthand. This form of bullying is particularly dangerous because it is generally accessible and therefore easier to carry out.

Cyberbullying, and bullying in general, made international headlines in 2010 when a fifteen-year-old girl, PhoebePrince, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied by girls at her school. After his death, the bullies were prosecuted in the legal system and government-approved anti-bullying policies

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Legislation. This marked a significant shift in the way bullying, including cyberbullying, is viewed in the United States. There are now numerous resources for schools, families and communities to provide education and prevention on this issue. The White House hosted a bullying prevention summit in March 2011, and the President and First Lady Obama took to Facebook and other social media to discuss the importance of bullying.

According to a 2013 report released by the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 1 in 3 (27.8%) students say they have been bullied by their peers at school. 17 percent of students reported being victims of cyberbullying.

Will legislation change the behavior of suspected cyberbullies? That remains to be seen. But we can be sure that communities are working to protect victims before they feel the need to resort to extreme measures.

reference groups

Figure 6.3 Athletes are often seen as a reference group for young people. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Bivera/US Navy/Wikimedia Commons)

A reference group is a group that people compare themselves to - it provides a benchmark. In American society, peer groups are common affinity groups. Children and adults pay attention to what their peers are wearing, what music they like, what they do in their free time - and compare themselves to what they see. Most people have more than one affinity group, so a high school senior might look not only at her peers but also at her older brother's friends and see different norms. And he can watch the antics of his favorite athletes for more behaviors.

Some other examples of affinity groups might include a person's cultural center, workplace, family reunion, and even their parents. Affinity groups often convey conflicting messages. For example, young people in TV and film often have wonderful apartments and cars and a lively social life, even though they don't have a job. In music videos, young women may dance and sing in a sexually aggressive manner that indicates experiences beyond their age. In all age groups we use reference groups to guide our behavior and to show us social norms. So how important is it to surround yourself with positive reference groups? You may not recognize an affinity group, but it still influences your actions. Identifying your affinity groups can help you understand the origin of the social identities you aspire to or wish to distance yourself from.

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Faculty: a world of internal, external and reference groups

Figure 6.4 Which fraternity or sorority would you fit into, if any? The sorority recruitment day offers students the opportunity to learn more about these different groups. (Photo courtesy of Murray State/flickr)

For a student entering college, the sociological study of groups takes on immediate and practical importance. When we arrive in a new place, most of us eventually look around to see if we're blending in or standing out the way we'd like. This is a natural response to a reference group, and on a large campus there can be many competing groups. Let's say you're a strong athlete who wants to play indoor sports and your favorite musicians are a local punk band. with two very different reference groups.

These reference groups can also become your internal or external groups. For example, different groups on campus may ask you to join. Are there fraternities and sororities at your school? If so, they will likely try to persuade students—that is, students they deem worthy—to join them. And if you love playing soccer and want to play on a campus team but are wearing ripped jeans, combat boots, and a t-shirt from a local band, it can be difficult to convince the soccer team to give you a shot. While most collegiate groups refrain from insulting competing groups, there is a clear sense of ingroup and outgroup. "You?" one member can say. "They're fine, but their parties aren't nearly as cool as ours." Or, "Only serious techies join this group." This instant categorization into inner and outer groups means students must choose carefully, since each group they associate with defines not only their friends but also their enemies.

6.2 Group Size and Structure

Figure 6.5 Cadets illustrates how much conformance can define groups. (Photo courtesy of Davidspender/flickr)

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Dyads, Triads, and Large Groups A small group is typically one in which the aggregation of people is small enough that all members of the group know each other and interact at the same time, e.g. a nuclear family, a dyad, or a triad. Georg Simmel (1858-1915) wrote extensively on the difference between a dyad, or group of two, and a triad, which is a group of three (Simmel 1902). In the first case, if one person withdraws, the group can no longer exist. We can think of a divorce, effectively ending the couple's "group," or two best friends who never speak to each other again. With a triad, however, the dynamics are quite different. If one person withdraws, the group lives on. A triad has a different set of relationships. When the group is three, a two-on-one dynamic can develop and there is the potential for a majority opinion on any issue. Small groups often have a strong inner cohesion and sense of connectedness. The challenge, however, is that small groups achieve big goals. They may have difficulty being heard or being a force for change when pressuring larger groups. In short, they are easier to ignore.

Exactly when a small group becomes a large group is difficult to define. It may occur when too many people are participating in a discussion at the same time. Or perhaps a group joins other groups as part of a movement that unites them. These larger groups may share a geographic space, e.g. a fraternity or fraternity on the same campus, or they may be scattered around the world. The larger the group, the more attention it can attract and the more pressure members can exert to achieve their goals. At the same time, the larger the group, the greater the risk of division and lack of cohesion.

Group guidance Larger groups often require some form of guidance. In small primary school groups, the leadership is more informal. After all, most families don't vote on who leads the group, and neither do most groups of friends. That's not to say that real leaders don't emerge, but formal leadership is rare. In secondary groups, leadership tends to be more open. There are often clearly defined roles and responsibilities with a chain of command to be followed. Some secondary groups, like the military, have highly structured and clear chains of command, and many lives depend on them. After all, how well could soldiers function in combat if they didn't know who to listen to or if different people were giving orders? Other secondary groups, such as a workplace or classroom, also have formal leaders, but leadership styles and roles can vary significantly.

Leadership function refers to the leader's focus or goal. An instrumental leader is a person who is goal-oriented and very focused on completing defined tasks. We can imagine an army general or a Fortune 500 CEO being an instrumental leader. In contrast, expressive leaders are more concerned with promoting emotional strength and health, and making sure people feel supported. Social and religious leaders - rabbis, priests, imams, directors of youth homes and social service programs - are often seen as important leaders. There's an old stereotype that men are more instrumental leaders and women are more expressive leaders. And even today, although gender roles have changed, many women and men who display the opposite sex can be viewed as deviant and face resistance. The experiences of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are an example of how society responds to an outstanding woman who is an important leader. Despite the stereotype, Boatwright and Forrest (2000) found that both men and women prefer leaders who use a combination of expressive and instrumental leadership.

In addition to these leadership roles, there are three different leadership styles. Democratic leaders encourage group participation in all decision-making processes. They work hard to reach consensus before deciding on a course of action and moving on. This type of leader is particularly common in a club, for example, where members vote on which activities or projects to undertake. Democratic leaders may be well-liked, but there is often a risk that the danger is slow-moving as consensus-building takes time. Another risk is that party members will choose sides and hole themselves up in opposing factions instead of coming to a resolution. In contrast, a laissez-faire leader (French for "leave everything alone") does not interfere and allows group members to self-manage and make their own decisions. An example of this type of leader might be an art teacher opening the art closet, leaving materials on the shelves, and telling the students to help themselves and make some art. While this style can work well with highly motivated and mature participants with clear goals and guidelines, there is a risk that the group will disintegrate and no progress will be made. As the name suggests, authoritative leaders give orders and assign tasks. These leaders are clearly instrumental leaders with a strong focus on achieving goals. Entrepreneurs often fall into this pattern, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Not surprisingly, the authoritarian leader risks alienating workers. However, there are times when this leadership style may be necessary. Each of these leadership styles can be effective and successful in different circumstances. Think about which leadership style you prefer. Why? Do you like the same style in different areas of your life, like a classroom, a workplace, and a sports team?

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Female Leaders and the Hillary Clinton/Sarah Palin Phenomenon

Figure 6.6 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has come under criticism for her leadership style. (Photo courtesy of marcn/flickr)

The 2008 presidential election marked a dynamic shift when two female politicians entered the race. Of the 200 people who have run for president in the country's history, fewer than 30 have been women. Democratic presidential candidate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton was notoriously divisive and popular. She had almost as many passionate supporters as people who offended her.

Across the aisle was Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Former Alaska Governor Palin was, for some, the perfect example of the modern woman. Juggling her political career with raising a growing family, she relied heavily on using social media to spread her message.

So what light have these candidates' campaigns shed on the possibilities of a woman presidency? According to some political analysts, women candidates face a paradox: they must be as tough as their opponents on issues like foreign policy or they risk appearing weak. However, the stereotypical expectation of women as expressive leaders still prevails. Consider that Hillary Clinton's popularity increased during her 2008 campaign after she cried during the campaign. The New York Times sufficed to run an editorial entitled "Can Hillary cry her way back to the White House?" (Dow 2008). Tough, but his approval ratings skyrocketed afterwards. In fact, many have compared this to how politically sympathetic she was after President Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal. Sarah Palin's expressive qualities were promoted to a greater extent. Although she benefited from the efforts of feminists before her, she identified as a traditional woman with traditional values, a point she made clear by often bringing her young children on stage with her.

So what does this mean for the women who would become presidents and those who would vote for them? On the bright side, a recent study of 18- to 25-year-old women looking at whether female candidates in the 2008 election made them believe that a woman would become president in their lifetime found that most did (Weeks 2011). And the more young women are asking for female candidates, the more female candidates are becoming. Women presidential candidates may not be new when their campaign focuses on their gender, however weird. However, some remain skeptical. As one political scientist bluntly put it, “Women don't succeed in politics—or any other profession—if they don't behave like men. The standard for running for national office remains clearly male' (Weeks 2011).

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

Figure 6.7 This gag gift shows how female leaders can be seen breaking social norms. (Photo courtesy of istolethetv/flickr)

Conformity We all like to conform to some degree. If we want to differentiate ourselves, we also want to choose how we differentiate ourselves and for what reasons. For example, a woman who loves cutting edge fashion and wants to dress up in exciting new styles probably wants to be noticed, but she will likely want to be noticed within a high fashion frame. She didn't want people to think she was too poor to find clothes to match. Conformity is the extent to which an individual meets the norms or expectations of the group. As you may recall, we use reference groups to assess and understand how to behave, dress and behave. Not surprisingly, young people pay particular attention to who is adapting and who is not. A high school boy whose mother makes him wear ironed shirts might protest that he'll look stupid—that everyone wears t-shirts. Another high school kid might want to wear these shirts to get noticed. How much do you like to stand out? Do you consciously prefer conforming to group norms to being selected? Are there people in your class that come to mind when you think of those who don't want to conform?

The psychologist Solomon Asch (1907-1996) conducted experiments that illustrate the great pressure to conform within a small group (1956). After reading about his work in Sociological Research, ask yourself what you would do in Asch's experiment. would you speak What would help you express yourself and what would discourage you?

Fulfilling Expectations In 1951, the psychologist Solomon Asch seated a small group of about eight people around a table. Only one of the people sitting there was the real guy; the rest were employees of the experimenter. However, the subject was tricked into believing that the others were all like himself humans being used in a visual judgment experiment. The group was shown two cards, the first card with a single vertical line and the second card with three vertical lines of different lengths. The researcher asked the group, and in turn asked each participant which line on the second card matched the line on the first card.

However, this wasn't really a visual assessment test. Instead, it was Asch's study of compliance pressures. He was curious what effect multiple wrong answers would have on the subject, which presumably could tell which lines matched. To test this, Asch implanted each respondent's response in a specific way. The guy sat in such a way that he almost had to listen to everyone else's answers before it was his turn. Sometimes the non-specialist members unanimously chose an answer that was clearly wrong.

So what was the conclusion? Asch found that thirty-seven out of fifty subjects responded with an "obviously wrong" answer at least once. When confronted with a unanimously wrong answer from the rest of the group, the subject chose an average of four of the staged answers. Asch revised the study and repeated it, with the subject still hearing the wrong answers but allowed to write down their answer instead of saying it out loud. In this version, the number of compliance cases — giving an incorrect answer to avoid contradicting the group — fell by two-thirds. He also found that group size had an impact on how much pressure subjects felt to conform.

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The results showed that it was much more common when just one other person gave an incorrect answer than when five or six people defended the wrong position. Finally, Asch found that people were much more likely to give the right answer in the face of near-unanimous agreement when they had a single ally. When at least one person in the group also disagreed, the subject agreed only a quarter more times. It was clearly easier to be a minority of two than a minority of one.

Asch concluded that there are two main causes of conformity: people want to be liked by the group or they believe the group is better informed than they are. He found the results of his study disturbing. To him they revealed that intelligent, well-educated people would agree to an untruth with very little persuasion. He believed that this result revealed real problems with the educational system and values ​​in our society (Asch 1956).

Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale, had similar results in his experiment now known simply as the Milgram experiment. In 1962, Milgram found that subjects were extremely willing to perform actions directly contrary to their conscience when directed by an authority figure. In the experiment, participants were willing to give painful, even supposedly fatal, shocks to others who answered questions incorrectly.

To learn more about similar research, visit ( and read an account of Philip Zimbardo's 1971 prison experiment at Stanford University was carried out.

6.3 Formal Organizations A complaint of modern life is that society is dominated by large and impersonal secondary organizations. From schools to business, from healthcare to government, these organizations, referred to as formal organizations, are highly bureaucratized. In fact, all formal organizations are, or are likely to become, bureaucracies. A bureaucracy is an ideal form of formal organization. In his sociological parlance, ideal does not mean "best"; refers to a general model that describes a collection of characteristics or a type that can describe most instances of the element under discussion. For example, if your teacher asks the class to imagine a car, most students will imagine a car that shares a number of characteristics: four wheels, a windshield, and so on. However, each car will be a little different. Some might envision a two-door sports car, others an SUV. The general idea of ​​the car that everyone shares is the ideal type. We will discuss bureaucracies as the ideal type of organization.

Types of formal organizations

(a) (b)

Figure 6.8 Boy Scout Troops and Correctional Institutions are formal organizations. (Photo (a) courtesy of moonlightbulb/flickr; Photo (b) courtesy of CxOxS/flickr)

The sociologist Amitai Etzioni (1975) postulated that formal organizations fall into three categories. Normative organizations, also called voluntary organizations, are based on common interests. As the name suggests, joining is voluntary and usually happens because people find membership rewarding in some intangible way. The Audubon Society and a ski club are examples of standardization organizations. Coercive organizations are groups that we need to be coerced or pressured into joining. These can be prisons or rehabilitation centers. The symbolic interactionist Erving Goffman argues that most coercive organizations are total institutions (1961). A total institution is one in which inmates or military personnel lead controlled lifestyles and total rehabilitation occurs. The third type are utilitarian organizations, united, as the name suggests, by a need for a specific material reward. High school and the job market fall into this category—one unites to get a degree, the other to make money.

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Table 6.1 Table of Formal Organizations This table shows Etzioni's three types of formal organizations. (Table courtesy of Etzioni 1975)

Normative or voluntary compulsory utility

Club Advantage Intangible Advantage Corrective Advantage Material Advantage

Type of membership Voluntary basis Required Contractual basis

Connectedness Shared affinity No affinity Some affinity


Bureaucracies are an ideal form of formal organization. The pioneering sociologist Max Weber popularly characterized bureaucracy as a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality (1922). People often complain about bureaucracies - they are labeled as slow, rule-bound, difficult to navigate and hostile. Let's take a look at the terms that define a bureaucracy to understand what they mean.

Hierarchy of authority refers to that aspect of bureaucracy that makes one person or position accountable to another, who in turn is accountable to their own superiors. For example, as a Walmart employee, your shift manager assigns you tasks. Board members, who in turn report to the shareholders. Everyone in this bureaucracy follows the chain of command.

A clear division of labor refers to the fact that each individual within a bureaucracy has a specialized task to perform. For example, psychology professors teach psychology but do not attempt to provide students with financial aid forms. In this case, it's a clear and sensible division. But what about a restaurant where food is stocked in the kitchen and a nearby hostess is texting her phone? Your job is to seat customers, not deliver food. Is that an intelligent division of labor?

The existence of explicit rules refers to the way the rules are delineated, written, and standardized. For example, your college or university has guidelines for students in the Student Handbook. As technology changes and universities encounter new concerns such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and other critical issues, organizations strive to ensure their explicit rules cover these emerging issues.

Finally, bureaucracies are also characterized by impersonality that removes personal feelings from professional situations. This trait arose, to some extent, from a desire to protect organizations from nepotism, backroom dealing, and other forms of favoritism, while protecting customers and others whom the organization serves. Impersonality is an attempt by large formal organizations to protect their members. Large corporate organizations like Walmart often position themselves as bureaucracies. This allows them to serve large volumes of customers effectively and efficiently, quickly and with affordable products. This leads to an impersonal organization. Customers often complain that stores like Walmart care little about individuals, other businesses, and the community at large.

Bureaucracies are, in theory at least, meritocracies, meaning that hiring and promotion are based on proven and documented ability, not nepotism or random selection. To get into a prestigious college, you need to do well on the SAT and have an impressive transcript. To become a lawyer and represent clients, you must graduate from law school and pass the state bar exam. Of course, there are many well-documented success stories for those who have not followed traditional meritocracies. Think of tech companies with founders who dropped out of college, or artists who rose to fame after a YouTube video went viral. How well do you think established meritocracies recognize talent? Wealthy families hire tutors, interview coaches, exam preparation services and counselors to help their children get into the best schools. It begins in kindergarten in New York City, where competition for the best schools is particularly fierce. Do these schools, many of which have plentiful scholarship funds to make the school more democratic, really give all applicants a fair chance?

Bureaucracies have several positive aspects. They aim to improve efficiency, ensure equal opportunities and ensure that most people can be served. And there are times when rigid hierarchies are necessary. But remember that many of our bureaucracies emerged at the same time our school model was being developed - during the Industrial Revolution. Young workers were trained and organizations were set up for mass production, assembly line work, and factory jobs. In these scenarios, a clear chain of command was crucial. Now, in the information age, this type of rigid training and adherence to protocols can actually reduce both productivity and efficiency.

Today's workplace demands a faster pace, more problem solving and a flexible approach to work. Over-reliance on explicit rules and a division of labor can leave an organization behind. And unfortunately, once established, bureaucracies can take on a life of their own. You may have heard the expression "trying to capsize a tanker in the middle of the ocean" which refers to the difficulties of changing direction with something big and clumsy. State and current governments

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Fiscal crises are examples of this challenge. Making quick changes is almost impossible, resulting in states continuing with increasingly unbalanced budgets year after year. After all, as mentioned, bureaucracies emerged as institutions in a time when privileged white men held all power. Although bureaucracies are said to be based on meritocracy, they can only maintain the existing balance of power by recognizing merit in traditionally male and privileged ways.

Michels (1911) suggested that all large organizations are characterized by the iron rule of oligarchy, in which an entire organization is governed by a few elites. Do you think that's true? Can a large organization be cooperative?

Figure 6.9 This McDonald's storefront in Egypt shows the McDonaldization of society. (Photo courtesy of s_w_ellis/flickr)

The McDonaldization of Society The McDonaldization of society (Ritzer 1993) refers to the growing presence of the fast-food business model in established social institutions. This business model includes efficiency (division of labor), predictability, predictability, and control (supervision). For example, in a medium-sized supermarket chain, checkout clerks check out customers while warehouse clerks keep shelves full of produce and deli clerks cut meat and cheese to order (efficiency). When you enter a store of this supermarket chain, you will receive the same type of goods, you will see the same store organization and you will find the same brands with the same prices (predictability). You'll find that goods are sold by the pound, so you can weigh your fruit and veg purchase instead of just guessing at the price of that bag of onions while employees use a time card to calculate their hours and get overtime ( predictability). . Eventually, you'll notice that all branch employees wear a uniform (and usually a name tag) so they can be easily identified. There are surveillance cameras to monitor the store, and some parts of the store such as B. the warehouse, are generally considered to be blocked for customers (control). Across the world, it has also reduced the variety of products available in the market while making the products available uniform, generic, and boring. Think of the difference between a mass-produced shoe and one from a local shoemaker, between a chicken from a family farm and a company producer, or between a cup of coffee from your local coffee shop and one from Starbucks.

McJob Secrets We often talk about bureaucracy in a derogatory light, and no organization can handle the heat better than fast-food restaurants. Several books and films, such as Eric Schossler's Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, paint an ugly picture of what goes in, what happens, and what comes out of fast food chains. From their impact on the environment to their role in America's obesity epidemic, fast food chains are linked to myriad social ills. Additionally, working in a fast food restaurant is often belittled and even referred to with contempt as work rather than an actual job.

But business school professor Jerry Newman went undercover and worked behind the counters at seven fast-food restaurants to find out what's really going on there. His book My Secret Life on the McJob documents his experiences. Unlike Schossler, Newman found that these restaurants delivered a lot of good along with the bad. In particular, he claimed that employees are honest and hardworking, that management is often impressive, and that the jobs required far more skill and effort than most people realize. In the book, Newman quotes a pharmaceutical executive as saying that a job at a fast-food service is a plus on a candidate's resume because it shows that the employee is dependable and can handle pressure.

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authority figure:



Clear division of labor:

forced organizations:


democratic leader:

day of:

explicit rules:

expression function:

Companies like Chipotle, Panera, and Costco are trying to combat many of the effects of McDonaldization. In fact, Costco is known for paying its employees an average of $20 an hour, or just over $40,000 a year. Nearly 90% of Costco employees have health insurance, a number unprecedented in the retail industry.

While Chipotle isn't known for the high wages it pays its employees, it is known for trying to sell quality food from responsibly sourced suppliers. This is a different approach than what Schossler describes for fast-food chains like McDonalds.

So what do you think? Do these McJobs and the organizations that offer them still play a role in the economy and in people's careers? Or is it dead end jobs that embody everything negative about big bureaucracies? Have you ever worked on one? you would go

Figure 6.10 Fast food jobs are projected to grow faster than most industries. (Diagram courtesy of U.S. BLS)

chapter overview

Key terms are a group of people that exist in the same place at the same time, but do not interact with each other or have a common meaning

of identity

a leader who gives orders and assigns tasks

formal organizations characterized by a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality.

People who share similar traits but are not related in any way

the fact that each individual in a bureaucracy has a specialized job to do

Organizations that people do not join voluntarily, such as prisons or psychiatric hospitals

the extent to which an individual conforms to group or societal norms

a leader who encourages group participation and consensus building before taking action

a group of two

the types of rules in a bureaucracy; Rules that are delimited, recorded and standardized

a group function that fulfills an emotional need

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Expressive Leader:

formal organizations:


Authority hierarchy:


in a group:

Instrumental function:

Instrument Guide:

Iron Rule of Oligarchy:

Führung laissez-faire:

leadership role:

leadership style:

McDonaldization of society:


normative or voluntary organizations:

external group:

main groups:

Reference Groups:


Overall setup:



a leader who cares about the process and the emotional well-being of everyone

large, impersonal organizations

any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and who share some sense of aligned identity

a clear chain of command found in a bureaucracy

the removal of personal feelings from a professional situation

a group to which a person belongs and which they perceive as an integral part of their identity

be oriented towards a task or a goal

a goal-oriented leader with a primary focus on getting things done

the theory that an organization is governed by a few elites rather than by collaboration

a hands-free leader that allows party members to make their own decisions

the main focus or goal of a leader

the style used by a leader to achieve goals or provoke group members into action

the growing presence of the fast food business model in shared social settings

a bureaucracy where membership and advancement are based on merit – proven and documented ability

Organizations that people join to pursue common interests or because they offer intangible rewards

a group to which an individual does not belong and with which he may even compete

small, informal groups of people closest to us

Groups to which a person compares himself

larger, more impersonal, task-oriented groups with limited time

an organization where participants lead controlled lifestyles and where full resocialization occurs

a group of three

Organizations that come together to meet a specific material need

Summary section

6.1 Types of Groups Groups largely define how we think about ourselves. There are two main types of groups: primary and secondary. As the names suggest, the primary group is the complex, long-term group. People use groups as benchmarks to define themselves - who they are and who they are not. Groups can sometimes be used to exclude people or to reinforce prejudice.

6.2 Group size and structure The size and dynamics of a group have a major impact on how members act. Primary groups rarely have formal leaders, although informal leaders can exist. Groups are generally considered large when there are too many members for discussion at one time. There are two types of leadership roles in secondary groups, with an emphasis on expressive leaders

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in emotional health and well-being and instrumental leaders who are more focused on outcomes. In addition, there are different leadership styles: democratic leaders, authoritarian leaders, and laissez-faire leaders.

Within a group, conformance is the extent to which people want to follow the norm. Several experiments have shown how strong the urge to adapt can be. It is worth considering real-life examples of how conformity and obedience can lead people to morally and ethically suspect actions.

6.3 Formal Organizations Large organizations fall into three main categories: normative/voluntary, coercive, and utilitarian. We live in a time of contradictions: while the pace of change and technology requires people to think in a more agile and less bureaucratic way, big bureaucracies like hospitals, schools and governments are more than ever hampered by the way they are organized. At the same time, a tendency towards bureaucratization and conventionalization of local institutions has developed in recent decades. The main roads across the country are becoming increasingly similar; Instead of Bob's Coffee Shop and Jane's Hair Salon, there are Dunkin Donuts and Supercuts. This trend is referred to as the McDonaldization of society.

The section questionnaire

6.1 Types of Groups1. What does a functionalist consider when examining a phenomenon like the Occupy Wall Street movement?

one. The tiny role each person plays in the protests as a whole. The internal conflicts that arise within such a diverse and leaderless groupc. How the movement contributes to the stability of society by providing a safe and controlled outlet for disaffected people

for discord. The factions and divisions that form within the movement

2. What is the main difference between the functionalist and conflict perspective and the interactionist perspective? That. The first two consider the long-term effects of the group or situation, while the last focuses on that

available.b. The first two are the more common sociological perspective, while the last is a more recent sociological model.c. The first two focus on hierarchical roles within an organization, while the last takes a more holistic view. d. The first two perspectives deal with large-scale problems faced by groups, while the last deals with more detailed problems.


3. What is the role of secondary groups in society? That. They are transactional, task-based and short-term and meet practical needs. B. They provide a social network that allows people to compare themselves to others. c. Members give and receive emotional support.d. They allow individuals to challenge their beliefs and prejudices.

4. When a high school student is teased by her basketball team for an academic award, she is dealing with a ______________ competition.

one. primary group b. outgroup sc. reference groups d. subgroups

5. Which of the following is not an example of an integrated group? That. The Ku Klux Klan. A brotherhood. A synagogue. a secondary school

6. What is a group whose values, norms, and beliefs serve as a yardstick for its own behavior? That. secondary group b. Formal organization c. reference group d. main group

7. A parent concerned about their teen's dangerous, self-destructive behavior and low self-esteem might want to take a look at their child:

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one. reference group b. within the group c. from the group. everything above

6.2 Group size and structure8. Two people who just had a baby went from _______ to _________.

one. main group; subgroup b. day of; triad. Few; family. fact group; nuclear family

9. Who is most likely to be an expressive leader? That. The sales manager of a fast-growing cosmetics companyb. A high school teacher in a reform school c. The director of a summer camp for chronically ill children. A manager in a fast food restaurant

10. Which of the following is not an appropriate group for democratic leadership? That. A fire station A college classroom c. A graduating committee. A homeless shelter

11. In Asch's study of conformity, what contributed to the subjects' ability to resist conformity? A very small group of witnesses The presence of an alic. The ability to keep your reply private. everything above

12. What type of group leadership has a top-down communication pattern? That. authorityb. Democrat. Laissez disguised. expressive

6.3 Formal organizations13. What is not an example of a normative organization?

one. A book club. A church youth group c. A protest group of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). a study room

14. Which of these is an example of a complete institution? That. Prison. high school c. Political party. an academy

15. Why do people join charities? That. Because they feel connected there. Because they derive a tangible benefit from joining. Because they have no choice. Because they feel compelled to do so.

16. What is not a feature of bureaucracies? That. Compulsion to join b. hierarchy of authority c. Explicit Rules. division of labour

17. What are some of the intended positive aspects of bureaucracies?

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one. Increased productivity b. Increased efficiency c. equal treatment for all. everything above

18. What is the benefit of the McDonaldization of society? That. There is a larger selection of goods.b. There is less theft.c. There are more worldwide goods availability.d. There are more opportunities for businesses.

19. What is the downside of the McDonaldization of society? That. There is less variety of goods.b. There is a growing need for employees with university degrees. c. There's less competition, so prices are higher. i.e. There are fewer jobs, so unemployment is rising.

Short answer

6.1 Types of Groups1. How has technology changed your primary and secondary groups? Do you have more primary (and separate) groups due to online connectivity? Do you think someone like Levy can have a real core group made up of people she's never met? Why or why not?

2. Compare and contrast two different political groups or organizations, such as the Occupy and Tea Party movements or one of the Arab Spring uprisings. How do groups differ in terms of leadership, membership, and activities? How do the group's goals affect the participants? Are some of them in groups (and have they formed outgroups)? explain your answer

3. The concept of hate crime has been associated with both internal and external groups. Can you think of an example where people have been marginalized or bullied because of this type of group dynamic?

6.2 Group size and structure4. Imagine a scenario where an authoritative leadership style would be beneficial. Explain. What are the reasons why it would work well? What are the risks?

5. Describe a time when you were led by a leader who you felt used a leadership style that did not fit the situation. When and where was it? What could she or he have done better?

6. Imagine you are in Asch's office. Do you find it difficult to give the right answer in this scenario? Why or why not? How would you change the study now to improve it?

7. What type of leader are you usually? Do you embrace different leadership styles and roles as the situation changes? Give an example of a time you held a leadership position and the role and style you expressed.

6.3 Formal Organizations8. What do you think of the recent increase in fast food restaurants? Do you think they contribute to the ills of society? Do you think they are providing a needed service? Have you ever worked in such a job? What did you learn?

9. Do you think that today's big companies like General Motors, Amazon or Facebook are bureaucracies? Why or why not? Which of the main characteristics of bureaucracies do you see in them? Which ones are missing?

10. Where is your favorite place to go shopping, eat out or have a coffee? Big chains like Walmart or smaller retailers? Starbucks or a local restaurant? What do you base your decisions on? Does this section change your mind about these decisions? Why or why not?

More research

6.1 Types of groups For more information on the causes and statistics of cyberbullying, visit this website: (

6.2 Group Size and Structure

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What is your management style? The website ( has a quiz to help you find out!

Explore other compliance experiences at (

6.3 Formal Organizations As mentioned above, the concept of McDonaldization is growing. The following link further discusses this phenomenon: (


6.0 Introduction to Groups and Organizations Cabrel, Javier. 2011. “NOFX – Occupy LA.”, Nov. 28. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / nofx_-_occupy_la_-_11-28-2011.php) ).

Tea Party, Inc. 2014. "Tea Party". Retrieved December 11, 2014 (

6.1 Types of Groups Cooley, Charles Horton.1963 [1909]. Social Organizations: A Study of the Greater Mind. New York: Shocked.

Cyberbullying Research Center. n.d. Retrieved November 30, 2011 (

Hinduja, Sameer and Justin W. Patchin.2010. "Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide." Archives of Suicide Research 14(3):206–221.

Khandaroo, Stacy T. 2010. "The case of Phoebe Prince marks a turning point in the fight against school bullying." Christian Science Monitor, April 1. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (http://www ).

Leibowitz, B. Matt. 2011. “Obama Denounces Cyberbullying on Facebook.” (, March 9. Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( (http://www.msnbc ).

Occupy Wall Street. Retrieved November 27, 2011. ( (

Schwartz, Mattathias. 2011. "Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street." New Yorker Magazine, November 28.

Summer, William. 1959 [1906]. Folklore. New York: Dover.

„Times-Themen: Occupy Wall Street.“ New York Times. 2011. Abgerufen am 10. Februar 2012 ( http: // ).

We are the 99 percent. Retrieved November 28, 2011 (

6.2 Group size and structure Asch, Solomon. 1956. "Independence and Conformity Studies: A Minority by One Against a Unanimous Majority." Psychological Monographs 70 (9, Whole No. 416).

Boatbuilder, K.J. and L. Forrest. 2000. "Leadership Preferences: The Impact of Gender and Connection Needs on Workers' Ideal Preferences for Leadership Behaviors." The Journal of Leadership Studies 7(2): 18-34.

Cox, Anna Maria. 2006. "How Americans View Hillary: Popular but Divisive." Time, 19.08. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (,9171,1229053,00.html ( .1229053.00.html) ).

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DOWD, Maureen. 2008. "Can Hillary Cry Herself to the White House?" New York Times, January 9th. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / 08dowd.html?pagewanted=all) ).

Kurtieben, Danielle. 2010. “Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Women in Politics.” US News and WorldReport, September 30. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (http: / /

Milgram, Stanley. 1963. "Behavioral Study of Obedience." Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67: 371-378.

Simmel, George. 1950. Georg Simmel's Sociology. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.

weeks, Linton. 2011. “The Female Effect in Politics.” National Public Radio (NPR), June 9. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / 09/137056376/the-female-impact-on-presidential-politics) ).

6.3 Formal organizations Di Meglio, Francesca. 2007. “Learning at McJob.” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 22. Accessed February 10, 2012 ( (http: / /

Etzioni, Amitai. 1975. A Comparative Analysis of Complex Organizations: On Power, Participation, and Their Correlates. New York: Free Press.

GOFFMAN, Erving. 1961. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of the Insane and Other Inmates. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

MICHELS, Robert. 1949 [1911]. Political parties. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Neuman, Jerry. 2007. My Secret McJob Life. New York: McGraw-Hill.

RITZER, George. 1993. The McDonaldization of Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

Schlosser, Eric. 2001. Fast Food Nation: Die dunkle Seite des All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition /) ).

Weber, max. 1968 [1922]. Economy and Society: A Survey of Interpretative Sociology. New York: Bedminster.

12(1:B, 2:C, 3:A, 4:D, 5:A)

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7 Deviance, crime and social control

Figure 7.1 Washington is one of several states that have legalized, decriminalized, or legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. (Photo courtesy of Dominic Simpson/flickr)

Learning goals7.1. distraction and control

• Define deviance and explain the nature of deviant behavior

• Differentiate methods of social control

7.2. Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance • Describe the functionalist view of deviance in society using four theories proposed by sociologists

• Explain how conflict theory understands deviance and crime in society

• Describe the symbolic-interactionist approach to deviance, including labeling and other theories

7.3. Crime and Law• Identify and differentiate between different types of crime

• Evaluate US crime statistics

• Understand the three branches of the US criminal justice system

Introduction to Distraction, Crime, and Social Control Twenty-three states in the United States have passed measures legalizing marijuana in some form; Most of these states only authorize medical marijuana use, but fourteen states have decriminalized marijuana use and four states have

Chapter 7 | Distraction, crime and social control 135

also authorize recreational use. Washington State legalized recreational use in 2012, and in the 2014 midterm elections, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC supported voting measures to allow recreational use in their states (Governing 2014). Florida's 2014 medical marijuana proposal fell just short of the 60 percent required for adoption (CBS News 2014).

The Pew Research Center found that a majority of people in the United States (52 percent) now support legalizing marijuana. This 2013 result was the first time a majority of respondents supported legalizing marijuana. A question about the legal status of marijuana was first asked in a 1969 Gallup poll, and at the time only 12% of American adults were in favor of legalization. Pew also found that 76 percent of respondents do not currently support jail time for people convicted of light marijuana possession (Motel 2014).

While many people support legalization, 45% oppose it (Motel 2014). The legalization of marijuana in any form remains controversial and is actively contested; Citizen's Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) is one of the largest Political Action Committees (PACs) dedicated to preventing or reversing legalization measures. As in many aspects of sociology, there are no absolute answers to deviation. What people perceive as deviant varies across societies and subcultures, and can change over time.

Tattoos, vegan lifestyles, single parents, breast implants and even running were once considered deviant but are now widely accepted. The process of change usually takes time and can be accompanied by significant disagreements, particularly on societal norms that are considered essential. For example, divorce affects the social institution of the family, and at the same time divorce has had a deviant and stigmatized status. Marijuana use was once considered deviant and criminal, but US societal norms on the subject are changing.

7.1 Diversion and Control

Figure 7.2 Much of the appeal of watching artists perform drag comes from the humor inherent in seeing everyday norms violated. (Photo courtesy of Cassiopeija/Wikimedia Commons)

What exactly is deviation? And what is the relationship between deviance and crime? According to sociologist William Graham Sumner, deviance is a violation of established contextual, cultural, or social norms, be they custom, custom, or codified law (1906). It could be as small as picking your nose in public or as big as murder. Although the word “deviation” carries negative connotations in everyday language, sociologists recognize that deviance is not necessarily a bad thing (Schoepflin 2011). Indeed, from a structural-functionalist perspective, one of the positive contributions of deviation is that it promotes social change. For example, during the civil rights movement in the United States, Rosa Parks violated social norms by refusing to go to the "black section" of the bus, and the Little Rock Nine broke segregation customs to attend a public school in the United States . Arkansas.

"What is deviant behavior?" cannot be answered directly. Whether or not an act is labeled as deviant depends on many factors, including location, audience, and the person performing the act (Becker 1963). Listening to your iPod on the way to class is considered acceptable behavior. At 2:00 p.m., listen to music from your iPod. Sociology class is considered rude. Eavesdropping on your iPod on the witness stand before a judge could get you in contempt of court and, consequently, a fine or jail time.

Because norms vary across cultures and times, it makes sense that ideas about deviations also change. Fifty years ago, public schools in the United States had strict dress codes that, among other things, often prohibited women from wearing pants to class. Today it is socially acceptable for women to wear pants, but less so for men to wear skirts. In times of war, actions that are generally considered morally reprehensible, such as killing another person, can even be rewarded. Whether an action is deviant or not depends on society's reaction to that action.

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Why I Drive a Hearse When sociologist Todd Schoepflin met his childhood friend Bill, he was shocked to see that he was driving a hearse instead of a regular car. As a professionally trained researcher, Schoepflin wondered what effect driving a hearse had on his friend and what effect it might have on other road users. Would using such a vehicle for everyday tasks be perceived as different by most people?

Schoepflin interviewed Bill, initially curious as to why he drove such an unconventional car. Bill was simply looking for a reliable winter car; On a tight budget, he researched used car ads and came across one for the hearse. The car was doing well and the price was right, so he bought it.

Bill admitted that others' reactions to the car were mixed. His parents were horrified and he got strange looks from his peers. A mechanic once refused to work on it, claiming it was "a dead man's machine". Overall, however, Bill received mostly positive reactions. Strangers gave him thumbs up on the street and stopped him in parking lots to talk about his car. His girlfriend loved it, friends wanted to take it to the sale, and people offered to buy it. Isn't driving a hearse so abnormal?

Schoepflin theorized that driving a hearse, while considered outside of conventional norms, is such a mild form of deviance that it actually becomes a distinguishing feature. Conformists find the choice of vehicle intriguing or appealing, while nonconformists see an odd companion they can relate to. As one of Bill's friends commented, "Every guy wants a unique car like this, and you certainly can." Such anecdotes remind us that deviance is often viewed as a violation of the norm, but not always in a negative way (Schoepflin 2011).

Figure 7.3 A hearse with the license plate "LASTRYD". How would you view the owner of this car? (Photo courtesy of Brian Teutsch/flickr)

Social Control What happens when a person violates a social norm? A driver caught speeding may receive a ticket. A student who wears a bathrobe to class is warned by a teacher. A noisy belching adult is avoided. All societies practice social control, regulation, and enforcement of norms. The underlying goal of social control is the maintenance of social order, a set of practices and behaviors on which members of society base their daily lives. Think of social order as an employee handbook and social control as a manager. When an employee violates a workplace policy, the supervisor steps in to enforce the rules; if an employee follows the rules particularly well, the supervisor can praise or promote the employee.

The means of enforcing the rules are called sanctions. Sanctions can be positive or negative. Positive sanctions are rewards for complying with norms. A promotion is a positive sanction for hard work. Negative sanctions are penalties for violating norms. Getting arrested is a punishment for shoplifting. Both types of sanctions play a role in social control.

Sociologists also classify sanctions as formal or informal. While shoplifting, a form of social deviance, can be illegal, there are no laws dictating how to scratch your nose. That doesn't mean public nose picking isn't punished; Instead you will find informal sanctions. Informal sanctions arise in direct social interactions.

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For example, wearing flip-flops to an opera or swearing loudly in church can lead to looks of disapproval or even verbal reprimands, while behavior that is seen as positive - such as helping an old man carry shopping bags on the street - can lead to informal ones can evoke positive reactions. like a smile or a pat on the back.

Formal sanctions, on the other hand, are a means of officially recognizing and enforcing norm violations. For example, if a student violates their college's code of conduct, they can be expelled from the school. Someone who speaks inappropriately to the boss can be fired. Someone who commits a crime can be arrested or imprisoned. On the plus side, a soldier who saves a life can receive an official commendation.

The table below shows the relationship between the different types of sanctions.

Table 7.1 Informal/Formal Sanctions Formal and informal sanctions can be positive or negative. Informal sanctions arise in social interactions, while formal sanctions formally reinforce norms.

Informal formal

Positive An expression of appreciation A promotion on the job

Negative An angry comment A speeding ticket

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance

Figure 7.4 Functionalists believe that deviance plays an important role in society and can be used to challenge people's opinions. Protesters, like these PETA members, often use this method to raise awareness of their cause. (Photo courtesy of David Shankbone/flickr)

Why does the discrepancy occur? How does it affect a society? Since the dawn of sociology, scholars have developed theories that attempt to explain what deviance and delinquency mean to society. These theories can be grouped under the three major sociological paradigms: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory.

Functionalism Sociologists who follow the functionalist approach are concerned with how the different elements of a society contribute to the whole. They see deviation as a key component of a functioning society. Tension theory, social disorganization theory, and cultural deviation theory represent three functionalist perspectives on deviation in society.

Émile Durkheim: The nature of deviation

Émile Durkheim believed that deviance is a necessary ingredient of a successful society. I have heard that one of the ways that deviation works is by challenging people's current beliefs (1893). For example, when black students in the United States took part in protests during the civil rights movement, they challenged society's notions of segregation. In addition, Durkheim found that punishment for deviance reinforces prevailing social norms, which also contributes to society (1893). Seeing a student being jailed for skipping class reminds other students that skipping class is not allowed and they can be jailed too.

Robert Merton: Deformationstheorie

Sociologist Robert Merton agrees that deviance is an integral part of a functioning society, but he expanded on Durkheim's ideas by developing the theory of tension, which states that access to socially acceptable goals plays a role in deciding whether a person will adjusts or deviates. From birth we are encouraged to pursue the “American Dream” of financial success. A woman who goes to business school, gets her MBA and earns millions

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being the CEO of a company is considered a success. However, not everyone is equal in our society. A person may have the socially acceptable goal of financial success, but no socially acceptable way to reach that goal. According to Merton's theory, an entrepreneur unable to start his own business may be tempted to embezzle funds from his employer to get started.

Merton defined five ways people respond to this gap between a socially acceptable goal and a non-socially acceptable way of pursuing it.

1. Conformity: Those who conform choose not to deviate. They pursue their goals as far as possible with socially recognized means.

2. Innovation: Those who are innovative use criminal or deviant means to pursue goals that they cannot achieve with legitimate means.

3. Ritualism: People who ritualize lower their goals until they can achieve them by socially acceptable means. These members of society are more focused on conformity than achieving a distant dream.

4. Withdrawal: Others withdraw and reject the ends and means of society. Some beggars and homeless people have strayed from the societal goal of financial success.

5. Rebellion: A handful of people rebel and replace a society's ends and means with their own. Terrorists or freedom fighters try to overthrow the goals of a society by socially unacceptable means.

theory of social disorganization

Developed by researchers at the University of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, the theory of social disorganization states that crime is more likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and a lack of social control. A person growing up in a poor neighborhood with high rates of drug use, violence, juvenile delinquency, and underprivileged parents is more likely to become a criminal than a person from an affluent neighborhood with a good school system and families who are positively involved. in the community.

Figure 7.5 Proponents of the social disorganization theory believe that individuals raised in impoverished areas are more likely to engage in deviant or criminal behavior. (Photo courtesy of Apollo 1758/Wikimedia Commons)

Social disorganization theory points to broad social factors as the cause of deviation. A person is not born a criminal but becomes one over time, often due to factors in their social environment. Research on social disorganization theory can have a powerful impact on public policy. For example, studies have found that children from disadvantaged communities who attend preschool programs that teach basic social skills are significantly less likely to be involved in criminal activity.

Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay: The Theory of Cultural Distraction

The theory of cultural deviation suggests that conformity to the dominant cultural norms of lower-class society causes crime. Researchers Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay (1942) studied crime patterns in Chicago in the early 20th century. They found that violence and crime were worst in the middle of the city and gradually decreased as someone traveled from the city center to the suburbs. Shaw and McKay found this pattern to be consistent with the migratory patterns of Chicagoans. New immigrants, many of them poor and without any knowledge of English, lived in the neighbourhoods. As urban populations grew, wealthier people moved to the suburbs, leaving the less privileged behind.

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Shaw and McKay concluded that socioeconomic status correlated with race and ethnicity led to higher crime rates. The mingling of cultures and values ​​created a smaller society with different notions of deviance, and these values ​​and ideas were passed down from generation to generation.

Shaw and McKay's theory was further tested and expounded by Robert Sampson and Byron Groves (1989). They found that poverty, ethnic diversity, and family breakdown had a strong positive correlation with social breakdown in certain locations. They also found that social disorganization was, in turn, associated with high levels of delinquency and delinquency — or deviance. Recent studies conducted by Sampson with Lydia Bean (2006) found similar results. High rates of poverty and single parents correlate with high rates of youth violence.

Conflict Theory Conflict theory considers social and economic factors as causes of crime and deviance. Contrary to functionalists, conflict theorists do not see these factors as positive functions of society. They see them as proof of the inequality in the system. They also challenge social disorganization theory and control theory, arguing that both racial and socioeconomic issues are ignored and social trends are oversimplified (Akers 1991). Conflict theorists also seek answers to the correlation of gender and race with wealth and crime.

Karl Marx: an unequal system

Conflict theory was heavily influenced by the work of the German philosopher, economist, and social scientist Karl Marx. Marx believed that the general population was divided into two groups. He called the wealthy, who controlled the means of production and enterprises, the bourgeois. He referred to workers who depended on the bourgeoisie for employment and survival as the proletariat. Marx believed that citizens centralized their power and influence through government, law, and other organs of authority in order to maintain and expand their positions of power in society. Although Marx said little about deviance, his ideas provided the basis for conflict theorists who study the intersection of deviance and crime with wealth and power.

C. Wright Mills: Ein Elite do Poder

In his book The Power Elite (1956), the sociologist C. Wright Mills described the existence of what he called the power elite, a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society who wielded power and resources. Wealthy executives, politicians, celebrities, and military leaders often have access to national and international power, and in some cases their decisions affect everyone in society. Because of this, society's rules favor a privileged few whom they manipulate to stay on top. It is these people who decide what is and is not criminal, and the effects will often be felt most severely by those of little power. Mills' theories explain why celebrities like Chris Brown and Paris Hilton, or once-powerful politicians like Eliot Spitzer and Tom DeLay, can commit crimes and face little or no legal retribution.

crime and social class

While crime is often associated with the underprivileged, crimes committed by the rich and powerful remain an underpunished and costly problem within society. The FBI reported that victims of burglary, theft, and auto theft lost a total of $15.3 billion in 2009 (FB1 2010). For comparison, when former advisor and financier Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported estimated losses from his Ponzischeme financial fraud of nearly $50 billion (SEC 2009).

This class power-based imbalance is also found in US criminal law. By the 1980s, crack use (cocaine in its purest form) was rapidly becoming an epidemic that gripped the country's poorest urban communities. Its more expensive counterpart, cocaine, was associated with luxury users and was the drug of choice for the wealthy. The legal consequences of being caught by the authorities with crack and cocaine are quite different. In 1986, federal law established that possession of 50 grams of crack was punishable by 10 years in prison. However, an equivalent prison sentence for possession of cocaine required possession of 5,000 grams. In other words, the sentence difference was 1 in 100 (New York Times Editorial Staff 2011). This inequality in the penalties of crack versus cocaine went hand in hand with the unequal social class of the respective users. A conflict theorist would note that those in society who hold power are also those who make the laws regarding crime. In doing so, they make laws that benefit them, while classes without the power and resources to make such decisions face the consequences. The discrepancy between crack and cocaine punishments persisted until 2010, when President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which narrowed the discrepancy to 1 in 18 (The Sentencing Project 2010).

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

Figure 7.6 From 1986 to 2010, penalties for possession of crack, a “poor man's drug,” were 100 times more severe than penalties for use of cocaine, a drug favored by the rich. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism is a theoretical approach that can be used to explain how societies and/or social groups come to see deviant or conventional behavior. Labeling theory, differential association, social disorganization theory, and control theory all fall within the realm of symbolic interactionism.

labeling theory

While we all break norms from time to time, few people would consider themselves deviant. However, those who do have often been labeled “deviant” by society and have gradually come to believe so. Labeling theory studies the attribution of deviant behavior by members of society to another person. So what counts as deviant is determined not so much by the behaviors themselves or by the people who commit them as by the reactions of others to those behaviors. As a result, what is considered deviant changes over time and can vary significantly between cultures.

Sociologist Edwin Lemert expanded the concepts of labeling theory and identified two types of discrepancies that affect identity formation. Primary deviation is a violation of norms that has no long-term impact on self-image or interactions with others. Speeding is a deviant act, but getting a speeding ticket usually doesn't make others see you as a bad person or change the way you see yourself. Individuals who engage in primary deviance still retain a sense of belonging to society and are likely to continue to adhere to norms in the future.

Sometimes, in more extreme cases, the primary deviation can become a secondary deviation. Secondary deviance occurs when a person's self-image and behavior begins to change after their actions have been labeled as deviant by members of society. The person may begin to assume and fulfill the role of "deviant" as an act of rebellion against the society that the person has designated as such. For example, imagine a high school student who frequently skips classes and gets into fights. The student is frequently scolded by teachers and school staff and soon develops a reputation as a "troublemaker". As a result, the student begins to act even more and break more rules; He adopted the "troublemaker" label and adopted this divergent identity. The secondary deviation can be so strong as to grant master status to an individual. A root status is a label that describes a person's primary quality. Some people see themselves primarily as doctors, artists or grandparents. Others see themselves as beggars, convicts, or addicts.

The Right to Suffrage Before Leola Strickland lost her job as an administrative assistant, she dated and mailed a handful of checks for amounts ranging from $90 to $500, which she returned and was convicted of fraud under Mississippi law. Strickland pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid her debts; in return, she was spared serving a prison sentence.

Strickland stood trial in 2001. More than ten years later, she still feels the severity of her judgment. There? Because Mississippi is one of twelve US states that prohibit convicted felons from voting (ProCon2011).

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For Strickland, who said he's always voted, the news came as a huge shock. She is not alone. Approximately 5.3 million people in the US are currently disenfranchised due to criminal convictions (ProCon 2009). These people include inmates, parole officers, parole officers, and even people who have never been arrested, like Leola Strickland.

Under the Fourteenth Amendment, states can deny the right to vote to persons who have participated in “rebellion or other crimes” (Krajick 2004). Although there are no federal laws on the subject, most states practice at least some form of criminal disenfranchisement. It is currently estimated that around 2.4% of the possible voting population is impeached, i.e. without the right to vote (ProCon 2011).

Is it fair to prevent citizens from participating in such an important process? Proponents of disenfranchisement laws argue that criminals owe society a debt. Losing the right to vote is part of the punishment for crimes. These advocates point out that the election is not the only instance in which former criminals are denied their rights; state laws also prohibit released criminals from holding public office, obtaining professional licenses, and sometimes even inheriting property (Lott and Jones 2008).

Opponents of disenfranchisement in the United States argue that voting is a basic human right and should be available to all citizens, regardless of past actions. Many point out that disenfranchisement has its roots in the 19th century, when it was primarily used to prevent black citizens from voting. Even today, these laws disproportionately affect members of poor minorities, denying them an opportunity to participate in a system that, as one social conflict theorist would point out, is already built to their disadvantage (Holding 2006). Those who invoke labeling theory fear that denying dissenters the right to vote will only encourage more deviant behavior. If ex-criminals are deprived of the right to vote, will they be deprived of the rights of society?

Figure 7.7 Should a prior felony conviction permanently disenfranchise a US citizen? (Photo courtesy of Joshin Yamada/flickr)

Edwin Sutherland: Differential Association

In the early 1900s, sociologist Edwin Sutherland attempted to understand how deviant behavior evolved among people. Because criminology was a young field, it drew on other aspects of sociology, including social interactions and group learning (Laub 2006). His conclusions established differential association theory, which suggests that individuals learn deviant behavior from those close to them, who provide models and opportunities for deviance. According to Sutherland, deviance is less a personal choice than a result of different socialization processes. A youth whose friends are sexually active is more likely to view sexual activity as acceptable.

Sutherland's theory could explain why crime affects multiple generations. A longitudinal study begun in the 1960s found that the best predictor of antisocial and criminal behavior in children was whether their parents had been convicted of a crime.

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(Todd and Jury 1996). Children under the age of 10 when their parents were convicted were more likely than other children in their 30s to be involved in spousal abuse and criminal behavior. Even after accounting for socioeconomic factors such as unsafe neighborhoods, poor school systems, and overcrowded housing, the researchers found that parents had the primary influence on their children's behavior (Todd & Jury, 1996).

Travis Hirschi: Control Theory

Control theory goes on to examine important social factors, asserting that social control is directly influenced by the strength of social ties and that deviance results from a sense of disconnection from society. People who believe they are part of society are less likely to commit crimes against them.

Travis Hirschi (1969) identified four types of social ties that bind people to society:

1. Attachment measures our connections to others. When we are closely connected with people, we care about their opinion of us. People conform to society's norms to gain approval (and avoid disapproval) from family, friends, and romantic partners.

2. Commitment refers to the investments we make in the community. A respected local businesswoman who volunteers at her synagogue and is a member of the neighborhood block organization has more to lose by committing a crime than a woman with no career or community ties.

3. Likewise, the level of involvement or participation in socially legitimate activities reduces the likelihood of deviance. Children who are members of little league baseball teams have fewer family crises.

4. The final bond, faith, is an agreement on common values ​​in society. If a person sees social values ​​as beliefs, they will conform to them. An environmentalist is more likely to collect rubbish in a park because he sees a clean environment as a social value (Hirschi 1969).

Table 7.2

The theoretical deviation associated with functionalism arises from:

Strain Theory Robert MertonThe lack of opportunities to achieve socially accepted goals with accepted methods

theory of social disorganization

University of Chicago researchers

Weak social ties and lack of social control; Society has lost the ability to enforce standards for some groups

Cultural Deviation Theory

Clifford Shaw andHenry McKay

Conformity with the cultural norms of lower-class society

The conflict theory associated with theoretical deviation arises from:

Karl Marx Unequal SystemInequalities of wealth and power resulting from the economic system

Power Elite C. Wright Mills' ability of those in power to define deviations to maintain the status quo

symbolic interactionism

The associated theoretical deviation results from:

Labeling Theory Edwin Lemert The reactions of others, particularly those in power, to being able to assign labels

Differential association theory

Edwin SutherlinLearning and modeling of deviant behavior observed in others close to the individual

Control Theory Travis Hirschi Feelings of separation from society

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7.3 Crime and Law

Figure 7.8 How is a crime different from other types of deviations? (Photo courtesy of Duffman/Wikimedia Commons.)

While deviance is a violation of social norms, it is not always a punishable offense and is not necessarily a bad thing. Crime, on the other hand, is behavior that violates official law and is punished with formal sanctions. Walking backwards to class is deviant behavior. Driving with a blood alcohol level above the state limit is a criminal offense. However, as with other forms of deviance, there is ambiguity about what constitutes a crime and whether all crimes are actually "bad" and merit punishment. For example, civil rights activists in the 1960s often intentionally flouted laws as part of their efforts to promote racial equality. In hindsight, we realize that the laws that made many of her actions a crime—for example, Rosa Parks sitting in the whites-only section of the bus—were incompatible with social equality.

As you have learned, all societies have informal and formal ways of maintaining social control. Within these norm systems, societies have legal codes that maintain formal social control through laws, which are rules adopted and enforced by a political authority. Formal negative sanctions will be imposed on those found violating these rules. Typically, penalties depend on the scale of the crime and the importance of the law's underlying value to society. However, as we shall see, there are other factors that influence criminal convictions.

Types of Crimes Not all crimes are weighted equally. Society generally socializes its members to view certain crimes as more serious than others. For example, most people would find someone's murder far worse than stealing a wallet and would expect a murderer to be punished more severely than a thief. In modern US society, crimes are classified into one of two types based on their severity. Violent crimes (also called “crimes against the person”) involve the use of violence or the threat of violence. Rape, murder and armed robbery fall into this category. Nonviolent crimes involve destroying or stealing property, but do not use violence or the threat of violence. For this reason they are sometimes referred to as "property crimes". Theft, carjacking, and vandalism are all types of nonviolent crimes. If you break into a car with a crowbar, you are committing a nonviolent crime; If you attack someone with a crowbar, you are committing a violent crime.

When we think of crime we often think of street crime or crimes committed by ordinary people against other people or organizations, often in public spaces. An often overlooked category is corporate crime, or crime committed by employees in a business environment. Embezzlement, insider trading and identity theft are all types of corporate crime. Although these types of crimes rarely receive the same media coverage as street crime, they can be far more damaging.

A third type of crime that is often discussed is victimless crime. Crimes are said to be victimless when the perpetrator does not explicitly harm another person. Unlike physical assault or theft, which clearly have victims, crimes like drinking beer in your 20s or selling a sexual act harm no one other than the person committing it, even though they are illegal. While some claim such acts are sacrificeless, others argue that they actually harm society. Prostitution can encourage abuse of women by clients or pimps. Drug use can increase the likelihood of employee absenteeism. Such debates show how the deviant and criminal nature of acts unfolds through ongoing public discussion.

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Hate crimes On the night of October 3, 2010, a 17-year-old Bronx boy was kidnapped by a group of neighborhood youth and taken to an abandoned row house. After being beaten, the boy admitted he was gay. His attackers grabbed his partner and began beating him as well. Both victims were drugged, sodomized and forced to burn each other with cigarettes. When questioned by police, the crime leader explained that the victims were gay and "it seemed like [they] liked it" (Wilson and Baker 2010).

Attacks based on a person's race, religion or other characteristics are known as hate crimes. Hate crimes in the United States evolved from the days of the early European settlers and their violence against Native Americans. These crimes were not investigated until the early 1900s, when the Ku Klux Klan attracted national attention for its activities against blacks and other groups. However, the term “hate crime” only became official in the 1980s (Bundeskriminalamt 2011).

An average of 195,000 Americans are victims of hate crimes each year, but less than 5% report the crime (FBI 2010). Most hate crimes are racially motivated, but many are based on religious (especially anti-Semitic) prejudice (FBI 2010). Following incidents such as the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and the tragic suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi in 2010, awareness of hate crimes based on sexual orientation has risen.

Figure 7.9 In the United States, 8,336 victims of hate crimes were reported in 2009. That's less than 5 percent of people who reported being victims of hate crimes in the survey. (Diagram courtesy of the FBI 2010)

Crime Statistics The FBI collects data from approximately 17,000 law enforcement agencies, and the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) are the annual release of that data (FBI 2011). The UCR has extensive information from police reports, but does not take into account many crimes that go unreported, often due to victims' fear, shame or distrust of the police. The quality of this data is also inconsistent due to different approaches to collecting victim data; important details are not always asked or reported (Cantor and Lynch 2000).

Because of these issues, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics released an independent study known as the NationalCrime Victimization Report (NCVR). A self-report study is a collection of data collected using voluntary response methods such as questionnaires or telephone interviews. Self-report data is collected each year by surveying approximately 160,000 people in the United States about the frequency and type of crime they experience in their daily lives (BJS2013). NCVR reports a higher crime rate than UCR and is likely gathering information on crimes that have occurred

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attempted but never reported to the police. Age, race, sex, location and demographic income level are also analyzed (National Criminal Justice Data Archive 2010).

The NCVR survey format allows people to discuss their experiences more openly and also provides a more detailed look at crime, which may include information about consequences, victim-offender relationships, and substance abuse involved. One downside is that NCVR misses out on certain groups of people, e.g. B. People without phones and people who move frequently. The quality of information can also be affected by the victim's inaccurate recollection of the crime (Cantor and Lynch 2000).

Public Perceptions of Crime Neither the NCVR nor the UCS explain all crime in the United States, but general trends can be identified. Crime, particularly violent and gun-related crime, has been on the decline since its peak in the early 1990s (Cohn, Taylor, Lopez, Gallagher, Parker, and Maass 2013). However, the public believes that crime rates are still high or even worsening. Recent polls (Saad 2011; Pew Research Center 2013, cited in Overburg and Hoyer 2013) have found that American adults believe crime is worse today than it was twenty years ago.

Inaccurate public perceptions of crime can be reinforced by popular crime programs such as CSI, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order (Warr 2008) and extensive and repeated media coverage of crime. Many researchers have found that people who closely follow media reports of crime are more likely to misjudge crime rates and are more likely to fear the likelihood of experiencing crime (Chiricos, Padgett, and Gertz 2000). Recent research also found that people who reported watching news about 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing for more than an hour a day were more afraid of future terrorism (Holman, Garfin, and Silver 2014).

The US Criminal Justice System A criminal justice system is an organization that exists to enforce a law. There are three branches of the US criminal justice system: the police, the courts, and the correctional system.


The police are a civilian force tasked with enforcing law and public order at the federal, state, or local level. There is no unified national police force in the United States, although there is a federal police force. Federal officers work under certain government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Division (ATF); and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Federal officials can only deal with matters that are expressly the responsibility of the federal government, and their area of ​​expertise is usually limited. A county police officer might spend time responding to 911 calls, working at the local jail, or patrolling areas as needed, while a federal police officer is more likely to investigate suspected arms dealers or provide security guards for government officials.

The state police have the power to enforce state laws, including regulating highway traffic. The local or county police, on the other hand, has limited jurisdiction with powers only in the city or county in which it operates.

Figure 7.10 Here, members of the Afghan National Police's Crisis Response Unit train in Surobi, Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of isafmedia/flickr)


After a crime is committed and the perpetrator is identified by the police, the case goes to court. A court is a system empowered to make decisions based on the law. The US court system is divided into federal courts and state courts. As the name suggests, federal courts (including the US Supreme Court) deal with federal matters, including

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conflict theory:

control theory:

corporate crime:

Correction system:


Commercial disputes, military justice and government lawsuits. Judges who preside over federal courts are elected by the President with the approval of Congress.

State courts vary in structure but generally comprise three tiers: lower courts, appellate courts and state supreme courts. Unlike the big court hearings seen on TV shows, most noncriminal cases are decided by a judge without a jury present. The traffic court and the small claims court are both types of subordinate courts that deal with specific civil matters.

Criminal cases are tried by courts of first instance with general jurisdiction. A judge and a jury are usually present. It is the jury's responsibility to determine guilt and the judge's responsibility to determine the penalty, although in some states the jury may decide the penalty. Unless a defendant is found "not guilty," any member of the prosecution or defense (depending on which side is the losing side) can challenge the case to a higher court. In some states, the case goes to a special appeals court; in others it goes to the state's highest court, often known as the state's supreme court.

(a) (b)

Figure 7.11 This Kansas County courthouse (left) is a typical state courthouse. Compare this to the Michigan Supreme Court courthouse (right). (Photo (a) courtesy of Ammodramus/Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy of Steve & Christine/Wikimedia Commons)


The prison system, better known as the jail system, is tasked with monitoring people who have been arrested, convicted and convicted of a crime. At the end of 2010, approximately seven million American men and women were behind bars (BJS 2011d).

The incarceration rate in the United States has increased significantly over the last hundred years. In 2008, more than 1 in 100 adult Americans was in prison or in prison, the highest number in our nation's history. And while the United States accounts for 5% of the world's population, we have 25% of the world's prisoners, the largest number of prisoners in the world (Liptak 2008b).

Prison is different from prison. A prison provides temporary confinement, usually while a person awaits trial or parole. Prisons are facilities built for people serving a sentence of more than one year. While prisons are small and local, prisons are large and run by the state or federal government.

Probation refers to a temporary release from jail or jail that requires staff supervision and approval. Probation differs from parole, which is supervised time used as an alternative to jail. Probation and probation may follow a period of incarceration, particularly if the sentence is reduced.

chapter overview

Key terms a theory that examines social and economic factors as causes of criminal misconduct

a theory that claims that social control is directly affected by the strength of social ties and that deviance results from a sense of disconnection from society

Crimes committed by employees in a business environment

the system tasked with monitoring people arrested, convicted or convicted of criminal offences

a system empowered to make decisions based on the law

Chapter 7 | Distraction, crime and social control 147


criminal justice system:

Cultural Deviation Theory:


differential association theory:

Formal sanctions:

hate crime:

informal sanctions:

labeling theory:

Law books:

master state:

Negative sanctions:

non-violent crimes:


Positive sanctions:

power elite:

primary deviation:


secondary deviation:

Self-report study:

social control:

Social Disorganization Theory:

social order:

stress theory:

Street Crime:

Victimless crime:

violent crime:

Conduct that violates official law and is subject to formal sanctions

an organization that exists to enforce a law

A theory that proposes conformity to the prevailing cultural norms of lower-class society causes crime

a violation of contextual, cultural or societal norms

a theory that suggests that individuals learn deviant behavior from those close to them, who provide role models and opportunities for deviance

Sanctions officially recognized and enforced

Attacks based on a person's race, religion or other characteristics

Sanctions that occur during face-to-face interactions

the attribution of deviant behavior to another person by members of society

Codes that maintain formal social control through legislation

a term that describes the main characteristic of a person

penalties for rule violations

Crimes that involve the destruction or theft of property but do not use violence or threaten violence

a civil force tasked with regulating law and public order at the federal, state, or community level

Rewards for meeting standards

a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society who have power and resources

a breach of norms that has no long-term effects on self-image or dealings with others

Means of enforcing the rules

Deviance, which occurs when a person's self-image and behavior begins to change after their actions have been identified as deviant by members of society

a collection of data collected through voluntary response methods such as questionnaires or telephone interviews

the regulation and enforcement of standards

a theory that suggests that crime occurs in communities with weak social ties and a lack of social control

an array of practices and behaviors on which members of society base their daily lives

a theory concerned with the relationship between socially acceptable ends and socially acceptable means of attaining those ends

Crimes committed by ordinary people against other people or organizations, usually in public places

Activities that violate the law but do not harm anyone other than the person doing them

Crimes based on the use of force or the threat of force

Summary section

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7.1 Rerouting and Control Rerouting is a violation of the Rules. Whether or not something is deviant depends on contextual definitions, the situation, and how people react to the behavior. Society attempts to limit deviations through the use of sanctions, which help maintain a system of social control.

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance The three main sociological paradigms offer different explanations for the motivation behind deviance and delinquency. Functionalists point out that deviance is a social necessity because it reinforces norms by reminding people of the consequences of their violation. Violating norms can open society's eyes to injustices in the system. Conflict theorists argue that crime stems from a system of inequality that keeps those in power at the top and the powerless at the bottom. Symbolic interactionists draw attention to the socially constructed nature of deviant labels. Crime and deviance are learned from the environment and reinforced or discouraged by those around us.

7.3 Crime and Law Crime is defined by law and maintained by the criminal justice system. In the United States, there are three branches of the justice system: police, courts, and correctional services. While crime rates rose for most of the 20th century, they are now declining.

The section questionnaire

7.1 Rerouting and Control1. Which of the following statements best describes how deviation is defined?

one. Deviations are defined by federal, state, and local laws.b. The definition of deviation is determined by the religion of the person. c. Deviation occurs whenever someone is harmed by an action. i.e. Deviation is socially defined.

2. During the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks and other black protesters demonstrated against segregation by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. This is an example of ________.

one. An act of social controlb. An act of deviationc. A social norm. criminal customs

3. A student has a habit of talking on her cell phone during class. One day the teacher interrupts the class and asks them to respect the other students in the class by hanging up the phone. In this situation, the teacher used __________ to maintain social control.

one. Informal negative sanctionsb. Informal positive sanctionsc. Formal negative sanctions d. Formal positive sanctions

4. Societies exercise social control to ________.a. formal sanctionsb. social order c. cultural dissenters. sanction marking

5. One day you decide to go to the supermarket in your pajamas. When you're shopping, you notice people giving you weird looks and whispering to other people. In this case, the grocery store customers are demonstrating _______.

one. deviation b. formal sanctions c. informal sanctions d. positive sanctions

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance

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6. A college student wakes up late to find that her sociology test starts in five minutes. She jumps in her car and speeds down the street, where she is pulled over by a police officer. The student explains that she is late and the officer dismisses her with a warning. The student's actions are an example of _________.

one. primary deviationb. positive deviation c. secondary redirect. master bypass

7. According to C. Wright Mills, which of the following individuals is most likely to belong to the power elite? That. A war veteran. A senator. A professor. a mechanic

8. According to social disorganization theory, where is crime most likely to occur? That. A community where the neighbors don't know each other very well. A quarter with a majority of older people. A city with a large minority population. A university campus with very competitive students

9. Shaw and McKay found that crime is primarily associated with ________.a. power b. champion status family values ​​d. wealth

10. According to the concept of the power elite, why would a celebrity like Charlie Sheen commit a crime? Because your parents committed similar crimesb. Because his fame protects him from retribution. Because your fame separates you from society. Because he challenges socially accepted norms

11. A convicted sex offender is paroled and jailed two weeks later for repeated sex crimes. How would labeling theory explain this?

one. The offender has been labeled a deviant by society and has assumed a new master status.b. The perpetrator returned to his old neighborhood, thus reestablishing his old habits. c. The offender has lost the social ties built up in prison and feels disconnected from society.d. The perpetrator is poor and responds to different cultural values ​​that exist in their community.

12. ______ Deviance is a breach of norms that ______ results in a person being labeled as deviant. Secondary; no B. Negative; Doc. Primary; do not. Primary; can i or can i not

7.3 Crime and Law13. Which of the following is an example of corporate crime?

one. embezzlement b. Larcenyc. Robbery. theft

14. Spousal abuse is an example of _______.a. Crimeb street. corporate crime. violent crime. non violent crime

15. Which of the following statements best describes crime trends in the United States? That. Both violent and non-violent crime rates are declining.b. Violent crime rates are declining, but nonviolent crime is now more common than ever.c. Crime rates have skyrocketed since the 1970s due to lax prison laws.

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i.e. Street crime has increased, but corporate crime has decreased.

16. What is the downside of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)? That. NCVS does not include demographic information such as age or gender.b. NCVS may not be able to reach key groups such as those without phones. c. The NCVS does not address the offender-victim relationship.d. The NCVS only contains information collected by law enforcement agencies.

Short answer

7.1 Rerouting and Control1. If given the choice, would you buy an unusual car, like a hearse for everyday use? How would your friends, family or significant others react? Because deviance is culturally defined, most of the decisions we make depend on the reactions of others. Is there anything that people in your life encourage you to do that you don't? Why not you?

2. Think of a recent time when you used informal negative sanctions. What deviant action did you react to? How did your actions affect the deviant(s)? How did your reaction help maintain social control?

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviance3. Choose a famous politician, business leader or celebrity who was recently arrested. What crime did he or she allegedly commit? Who was the victim? Explain your actions from the point of view of one of the most important sociological paradigms. If convicted of the crime, what factors best explain how that person might be punished?

4. If we assume that the status of the power elite is always passed from generation to generation, how would Edwin Sutherland explain these power patterns through differential association theory? What crimes do these elite few get away with?

7.3 Crime and Law5. Consider the crime statistics presented in this section. Do they surprise you? Are these statistics reported correctly in the media? Why or why not?

More research

7.1 Distraction and Control Although we rarely think about it this way, deviation can have positive effects on society. Check out the Positive Deviance Initiative, a program initiated by Tufts University to support social movements around the world striving to improve people's lives at (http: // ) .

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on Deviation The Skull and Bones Society made headlines in 2004 when it was revealed that then President George W. Bush and his Democratic opponent John Kerry had been members of Yale University. In the years since, conspiracy theorists have linked the secret society to various world events, arguing that many of the country's most powerful people are former Bonesmen. While such ideas may provoke much skepticism, many influential figures over the past century have been members of the Skull and Bones Society, and the society is sometimes described as the college version of the power elite. Journalist Rebecca Leung talks about the club's roots and the impact its relationships with decision-makers can have later in life. Read about it at (

7.3 Crime and Law Is the US criminal justice system confusing? You're not alone. Check out this helpful Bureau of JusticeStatistics flowchart: (

How is criminal data collected in the United States? Read about data collection methods and complete the National Crime Victimization Survey. Visit (


7.0 Introduction to Deviance, Crime and Social Control

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CBS News. 2014. “Marijuana Advocates Look for New Targets After Election Victories.” Associated Press, Nov. 5. Retrieved November 5, 2014 ( activists-eye-new-targets-after-election-wins/) ).

Verdict. 2014. “Government Data: Map of State Marijuana Laws.” Decision: States and Localities, November 5. Retrieved November 5, 2014 ( - marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html) ).

Centro de Pesquisa Pew. 2013. “Partisans disagree on marijuana legalization but agree on law enforcement guidelines.” Pew Research Center, April 30. Consultation on November 2, 2014 ( (http:/ /

Motel, Sept. 2014. “6 Facts About Marijuana.” Pew Research Center: FactTank: News By Numbers, Nov. 5. Retrieved ( ( /6-facts-about-marijuana/) ).

7.1 Desvio and Controle Becker, Howard. 1963. Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. Nova York: Free Press.

Schöpflin, Todd. 2011. “Deviant Driving?” Everyday Sociology Blog, January 28. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( - drive.html) ).

Sumner, William Graham. 1955 [1906]. Folklore. New York, NY: Dover.

7.2 Theoretical Perspectives on DevianceAkers, Ronald L. 1991. "Self-control as a General Theory of Crime." Jornal de Criminologia Quantitativa: 201-11.

Cantor, D. and Lynch, J. 2000. Self-reported surveys as a measure of crime and criminal victimization. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (

Durkheim, Emilio. 1997 [1893]. The Division of Labor in Society New York, NY: Free Press.

The Federal Criminal Police Office. 2010. "Crime in the United States, 2009." Retrieved January 6, 2012 ( ( /ucr/cius2009/offenses/property_crime/index.html) ).

Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Causes of Crime. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hold on, Reynolds. 2006. "Why Can't Criminals Vote?" Time, 21.11. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (,8599,1553510,00.html ( .1553510.00.html) ).

Krajick, Kevin. 2004. "Why Can't Former Criminals Vote?" The Washington Post, August 18, p. A19. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( ) ).

Laub, John H. 2006. "Edwin H. Sutherland and the Michael Adler Report: Seventy Years Later In Search of the Soul of Criminology." Criminologia 44:235–57.

Lott, John R Jr. and Sonya D. Jones. 2008. “How criminal voters can overturn an election.” Fox News, Oct. 20. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (,2933,441030,00.html (,2933,441030,00.html ) ).

Mills, C. Wright. 1956. An Elite do Poder. Nova York: Oxford University Press.

Editorial Board of the New York Times. 2011. “Reducing Unfair Cocaine Penalties.” New York Times, June 29. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( ) ). 2009. "Totally Underprivileged by the State." April 13. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (

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Sampson, Robert J. and Lydia Bean. 2006. "Cultural Mechanisms and Death Camps: A Revised Theory of Racial Inequality at the Community Level." The Many Colors of Crime: Unequalities of Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America, edited by R Peterson, L Krivo, and J Hagan. New York: New York University Press.

Sampson, Robert J. and W. Byron Graves. 1989. "Community Structure and Crime: Testing Social Disorganization Theory." American Journal of Sociology 94: 774-802.

Shaw, Clifford R., and Henry McKay. 1942. Juvenile Delinquency in Urban Areas Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

United States Securities and Exchange Commission. 2009. “SEC Charges Bernard L. Madoff with Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme.” Washington, DC: United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved January 6, 2012 ( ( ) ).

The Judgment Project. 2010. “Federal Conviction of Crack Cocaine.” The Conviction Project: Advocacy Research and Reform. Retrieved February 12, 2012 (

Shaw, Clifford R., and Henry H. McKay. 1942. Juvenile Delinquency in Urban Areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Todd, Roger and Louise Jury. 1996. “Children Follow Parents Convicted of Crimes.” The Independent, February 27. Retrieved 10 February 2012 ( ( /children-follow-convicted-parents-into-crime-1321272.html%5B/link) ).

7.3 Crime and Law Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2013. "Data collection: National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)." Bureau of Justice Statistics, undated. Accessed 1 November 2014 ( (http ://

Cantor, D. and Lynch, J. 2000. Self-reported surveys as a measure of crime and criminal victimization. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved February 10, 2012 (

Chiricos, Ted; Padgett, Kathy; and Gertz, Mark. 2000. "Fear, TV News, and the Reality of Crime." Criminology, 38, 3. Retrieved 1 November 2014 ( / 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2000.tb00905.x/summary) )

Cohn, D'Verta; Taylor, Paul; Lopez, Mark Hugo; Gallagher, Catherine A.; Parker, Kim; and Maass, Kevin T. 2013. “Firearm homicide rates have fallen by 49% since 1993. High point: public ignorance; The pace of decline has slowed over the past decade.” Pew ResearchSocial & Demographic Trends, May 7. Retrieved November 1, 2014 ( (http://www . pewsocialtrends .org/2013/05/07/gun-homicide-rate-down-49-since-1993-peak-public-unaware/))

Federal Office of Investigations. 2010. "Latest Hate Crime Statistics." Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( stories/2010/november/hate_112210/hate_112210) ).

Federal Office of Investigations. 2011. "Uniform Criminal Records." Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( ).

Holman, E Allison; Garfin, Dana; and Silver, Roxane (2013). “The Role of the Media in Transmitting Acute Stress After the Boston Marathon Bombings.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 14 November. Retrieved November 1, 2014 ( / 5/30858187/holman_et_al_pnas_2014.pdf) )

Langton, Lynn, and Michael Planty. 2011. “Hate Crimes, 2003–2009.” Department of Justice Statistics. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (

Liptak, Adam. 2008a. "One in 100 US adults behind bars, says new study." New York Times, February 28. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( - Prison.html) ).

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Liptak, Adam. 2008b. "The number of US prisoners exceeds other nations." New York Times, 23.4. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( ( / 23prison.html?ref=adamliptak) ).

National Criminal Justice Records Archive. 2010. “Resource guide for the National Crime Victimization Survey”. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (

Overburg, Paul and Hoyer, Meghan. 2013. “Study: Despite Fall in Gun Crime, 56% Think It's Getting Worse.” USA Today, December 3. Retrieved November 2, 2014 ( (http : / / )

Sad, Lidia. 2011. “A majority of Americans believe US crime is getting worse: A slim majority rate the US crime problem as very serious; 11% say this about local crime.” Gallup: Wellbeing, October 31. Retrieved November 1, 2014 ( ( - deterioration.aspx) )

war sign. 2008. “Crime on the Rise? Public perceptions of crime are still out of sync with reality.” The University of Texas at Austin: Features, November 10. Retrieved November 1, 2014 ( )

Wilson, Michael and Al Baker. 2010. “Trapped, Then Tortured for Being Gay.” New York Times, October 8. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( / 09bias.html?pagewanted=1) ).


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8 media and technology

Figure 8.1 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just a few examples of social media that are increasingly shaping the way we interact with the world. (Photo courtesy of Khalid Albaih/flickr)

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Learning goals8.1. technology today

• Define technology and describe its development

• Understand technology inequality and issues related to unequal access to technology

• Describe the role of planned obsolescence in technological development

8.2. Media and technology in society • Describe the development and current role of different media such as newspapers, television and new media

• Understand the role of product promotion in the media

• Show awareness of the social homogenization and social fragmentation caused by the use of technology and media in modern society

8.3. Global Impact of Media and Technology• Explain the benefits and concerns of media globalization

• Understand the globalization of technology

8.4. Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology • Understand and discuss how we analyze media and technology from different sociological perspectives

Introduction to media and technology How many good friends do you have? How many people do you meet for coffee or to the cinema? How many would you call with news of an illness or invite to your wedding? Now, how many "friends" do you have on Facebook? How often do you post a "selfie" online? How often do you check email? How often do you meet up with friends for dinner and spend your time texting with others instead of chatting? Technology has changed the way we interact with each other. It turned "friend" into a verb, making it possible to share everyday news ("My dog ​​just vomited under the bed! Ugh!") with hundreds or even thousands of people you may know little or not at all. You may be glued to your phone when you should be concentrating on driving, or texting in class instead of listening to your teacher's lecture. When we have the ability to stay connected to a data stream, it's easy to lose focus on the here and now.

As technology pushes the boundaries of our social circle, different media are also changing the way we perceive and interact with each other. We don't just use Facebook to keep in touch with friends; We also use it to "like" certain TV shows, products or celebrities. Even television is no longer a one-way medium; it's an interactive one. We are encouraged to tweet, text or call to vote for candidates in everything from singing competitions to matchmaking ventures - to bridge the gap between our entertainment and our own lives.

How does technology change our lives for the better? Or not? When you tweet a social cause, share an Ice Bucket Challenge video on YouTube, or cut and paste an update on the status of cancer awareness on Facebook, are you driving social change? Does the immediate and constant flow of information mean that we are more aware and engaged than any other society before us? Or are the Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Real Housewives franchises today's version of ancient Rome's bread and circuses—distractions and entertainment to keep the working class complacent about the inequalities in their society?

These are some of the questions that interest sociologists. How can we examine these questions from a sociological perspective? A functionalist would probably focus on what social purposes technology and media serve. For example, the Internet is both a form of technology and a medium, connecting individuals and nations in a communications web that enables both small family discussions and global business networks. A functionalist would also be interested in the obvious functions of media and technology and their role in social dysfunction. Someone using the conflict perspective would likely focus on the systematic inequality created by differential access to media and technology. For example, how can middle-class Americans be assured that the news they hear is an objective representation of reality, untainted by monetary political interests? Someone applying the interactionist perspective to technology and media might try to understand the difference between the real life we ​​lead and the reality portrayed in "reality" television shows like The Bachelor. In this chapter we will use our sociological imagination to examine how media and technology affect society.

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8.1 Technology today

Figure 8.2 Technology is the application of science to solve the problems of everyday life, from hunting tools and agricultural advances, to manual and electronic forms of computing, to today's tablets and smartphones. (Photo (a) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy of Martin Pettitt/flickr; Photo (c) courtesy of Whitefield d./flickr; Photo (d) courtesy of Andrew Parnell/ flickr; photo (e) courtesy of Jemimus/flickr; photo (f) courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns/flickr)

It's easy to look at Apple's latest and most stylish product and think that technology is a new addition to our world. But from the steam engine to the most advanced robotic surgical tools, technology has described the application of science to solving the problems of everyday life. We can look back at the huge, clunky computers of the 1970s that had as much storage space as an iPod Shuffle and roll our eyes in disbelief. But thirty years from now, our slim laptops and iPods will likely look just as archaic.

What is technology? While most people probably think of computers and mobile phones when they think of technology, technology is not just a product of the modern age. For example, fire and stone tools were important ways of developing technology during the Stone Age. Just as the availability of digital technology shapes our lives today, the manufacture of stone tools changed the way pre-modern people lived and died. Ever since the first pocket calculator appeared in 2400 B.C. was invented. Babylon in the shape of an abacus, for the predecessor of the modern computer, created by Charles Babbage in 1882, all of our technological innovations are advancements of previous iterations. In fact, every aspect of our lives today is influenced by technology. In agriculture, the introduction of machines capable of ploughing, threshing, sowing and harvesting greatly reduced the need for manual labour, which in turn meant fewer farm jobs. This led to an urbanization of society as well as lower birth rates as fewer large families had to work on the farms. In the criminal justice system, the ability to establish innocence through DNA testing has saved lives on death row. The examples are endless: technology plays a role in absolutely every aspect of our lives.

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Technological Inequality

Figure 8.3 Some schools have state-of-the-art computer labs while others have barbed wire. Is your academic technology on the cusp of innovation, relatively unpopular, or somewhere in between? (Photo courtesy of Carlos Martinez/flickr)

As with any improvement in human society, not everyone has equal access. Technology in particular often creates changes that widen inequalities. In short, the gap is growing faster. This technological layering has led to a renewed focus on ensuring greater access for all.

There are two forms of technological stratification. The first is the class-based differentiated access to technology in the form of the digital divide. This digital divide has given rise to the second form, a knowledge gap, which it turns out is a persistent and growing information gap for those who have less access to technology. Simply put, students in well-funded schools get more exposure to technology than students in poorly-funded schools. Students with more exposure gain more competency, making them much more marketable in an increasingly technology-based job market, dividing our society into tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy. Even as we improve access, we fail to address an increasingly obvious gap in e-readiness—the ability to classify, interpret, and process knowledge (Sciadas, 2003).

Since the beginning of the millennium, social scientists have sought to draw attention to the digital divide, unequal access to technology across races, classes, and geographies. The term became part of the common lexicon in 1996 when then-Vice President Al Gore used it in a speech. This was the point at which PC usage changed dramatically, from 300,000 users in 1991 to over 10 million users in 1996 (Rappaport 2009). In part, the problem of the digital divide had to do with communities receiving infrastructure upgrades that allowed high-speed Internet access, upgrades that largely went to affluent urban and suburban areas and left large swaths of the country out.

In the late 20th century, access to technology was also a big part of the school experience for those whose communities could afford it. At the turn of the millennium, poorer communities had little or no access to technology, while wealthy families had personal computers in their homes and wired classrooms in their schools. However, in the 2000s, the prices of low-end computers fell significantly and it looked like the digital divide was about to end naturally. Research shows that technology use and Internet access in the United States still varies widely by race, class, and age, although most studies agree that there are minimal differences in Internet use between adult males and females.

Data from the Pew Research Center (2011) point to the emergence of another division. As tech devices become smaller and more mobile, larger percentages of minority groups (such as Latinos and African Americans) are using their phones to connect to the internet. In fact, about 50% of people in these minority groups connect to the Internet through these devices, compared to just a third of whites (Washington 2011). And while it may seem that the internet is the internet, there's one notable difference, regardless of how you get there. Tasks like updating a resume or filling out an application are much more difficult on a mobile phone than on a wired home computer. As a result, the digital divide may not mean access to computers or the internet, but it can mean access to the kind of online technology that enables empowerment, not just entertainment (Washington 2011).

Mossberger, Tolbert, and Gilbert (2006) showed that most of the digital divide for African Americans can be explained by demographic and community characteristics such as socioeconomic status and geographic location. Geography seemed to limit the use of technology. Liff and Shepard (2004) found that women who access male-dominated technology have less confidence in their Internet skills and have less Internet access at work and at home. Finally, Guillen and Suarez (2005) found that the global digital divide resulted from both economic and sociopolitical characteristics of countries.

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Use of technology and social media in society by individuals

Do you have an e-reader or a tablet? What about your parents or your friends? How often do you check social media or your phone? Does all this technology have a positive or negative impact on your life? When it comes to cell phones, 67% of users check their phone for messages or calls even when the phone isn't ringing. Additionally, “44% of cellphone owners slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn't miss calls, texts, or other updates overnight, and 29% of cellphone owners described their cellphone as 'something they couldn't imagine being without to live” (Smith 2012).

While people report that cell phones make it easier to stay in touch, make planning and scheduling their daily activities easier, and increase productivity, that's not the only impact of increasing cell phone ownership in the United States. Smith also reports that “about one in five cell phone owners say their phone has made it at least a little harder to forget about work at home or on weekends; pay full attention to people; or concentrate on a single task without being distracted” (Smith 2012).

A new poll from the Pew Research Center found that 73% of adults are active in some form of online social networking. Facebook has been the most popular platform and both Facebook users and Instagram users check their websites on a daily basis. More than a third of users visit their websites more than once a day (Duggan and Smith 2013).

With so many people using social media in the US and abroad, it's no surprise that social media is a powerful force for social change. You will read more about the struggle for democracy in the Middle East embodied in the Arab Spring in Chapters 17 and 21, but the spread of democracy is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using social media to promote to drive change. For example, McKenna Pope, a thirteen-year-old girl, used the internet to successfully petition Hasbro to combat gender stereotypes by creating a gender-neutral easy-bake oven instead of just the traditional pink color (Kumar 2014). Meanwhile, in Latvia, two 23-year-olds used a US State Department grant to create an electronic petition platform, allowing citizens to submit their ideas directly to the Latvian government. If at least 20% of the Latvian population (about 407,200 people) support a petition, the government will consider it (Kumar 2014).

Online privacy and security

As we increase our Internet footprint, accessing the Internet more frequently to socialize, share materials, conduct business, and store information, we also increase our vulnerability to those with criminal intent. The Pew Research Center recently released a report showing that between 2009 and 2013, the number of internet users who expressed concerns about the amount of personal information about them available online increased by 17%. In the same survey, 12% of respondents said they had been harassed online, and 11% said personal information, such as their social security number, was stolen (Rainie, Kiesler, Kang, and Madden 2013).

Online privacy and security is also a major organizational concern. Recent large-scale data breaches at retailers like Target, financial companies like JP Morgan, government health insurance website, and wireless carriers like Verizon have put millions of people at risk of identity theft if hackers had access to personal information. jeopardize the security of the website.

For example, in late August 2014, hackers broke into the iCloud data storage site and promptly leaked wave after wave of nude photos from the personal accounts of actors such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst (Lewis 2014). While large-scale data breaches affecting businesses and celebrities tend to grab the headlines, individuals can put their personal information at risk simply by clicking a suspicious link in an official email.

How can individuals protect their data? Numerous factsheets available from governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector describe common security measures, including: learning about privacy rights; Read the privacy policy when making a purchase (instead of just clicking "Accept"); provide only the minimum information requested from each source; Ask why information is collected, how it is used, and who has access to it; and monitor your credit history for warning signs that your identity has been compromised.

net neutrality

The issue of net neutrality, the principle that all internet data from internet service providers should be treated equally, is part of the national debate on internet access and the digital divide. On one side of this debate is the belief that those providing internet services, like those providing electricity and water, should be treated as shared carriers, forbidden by law to discriminate on the basis of customer or the nature of the goods. Net neutrality advocates suggest that without such legal protections, the internet could be divided into “fast” and “slow” lanes. A conflict theorist might surmise that this discrimination would allow larger companies like Amazon to pay ISPs a premium for faster service, which could result in an advantage that would put small local competitors out of business.

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The other side of the debate argues that designating ISPs as common carriers would impose an undue regulatory burden and limit the ability of telcos to operate profitably. A functional perspective theorist might suggest that without profits, companies would not invest in improving their Internet services or expanding those services to underserved areas. The final decision rests with the Federal Communications Commission and the federal government, which must decide how broadband providers can be regulated fairly without dividing the Internet between the rich and the have-nots.

8.2 Media and technology in society

Figure 8.4 In the near future, robots will no doubt play a major role in all aspects of our lives. (Photo courtesy of shaysowden/flickr)

Technology and media are intertwined and inseparable from contemporary society in most core and semi-periphery countries. Media is a term that refers to all printed, digital and electronic media. Since the invention of the printing press (and even before that), technology has impacted how and where information is shared. Today it is impossible to discuss the media and the way societies communicate without engaging with the rapid pace of technological change. Twenty years ago, when you wanted to share news about the birth of your baby or a promotion, you called or wrote. You can tell a handful of people, but you probably wouldn't call several hundred, including your old high school chemistry teacher, to tell them. Now you can join an online community of expectant parents before they even announce your pregnancy via a staged Instagram photo. The circle of communication is wider than ever, and when we talk about how societies engage with technology, we need to consider the media and vice versa.

Technology creates media. The comic book you bought your daughter is a form of media, as is the movie you streamed for family home evening, the website you ordered food from, the billboard you stop at on the way to dinner dropped in and the newspaper you're reading is what you've been waiting for. Without technology, media would not exist, but remember, technology is more than just the media we are exposed to.

Categorizing Technology There is no one-size-fits-all way to categorize technology. While it used to be easy to classify innovation as machine-based, drug-based, or similar, the interconnected strands of technological development mean that advances in one area can be replicated in dozens of others. For the sake of simplicity, let's look at how the United States Patent Office, which receives patent applications for almost every major innovation around the world, handles patents. This regulator will patent three types of innovations. Utility models are the first type. These are awarded for the invention or discovery of a new and useful process, product or machine, or for a significant improvement in existing technology. The second type of patent is the registered design. Commonly awarded in architecture and industrial design, it means someone has invented a new and original design for a manufactured product. Plant patents, the last type, recognize the discovery of new species of plants capable of asexual reproduction. While genetically modified foods are the most important topic in this category, farmers have long since created and patented new hybrids. A more modern example may be food giant Monsanto patenting corn containing pesticides (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2011).

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Anderson and Tushman (1990) propose an evolutionary model of technological change, in which an innovation in a form of technology leads to a range of variations. After evaluation, a prototype emerges, and then a period of minor changes to the technology, punctuated by a breakthrough. For example, floppy disks were improved and updated, then replaced by Zip disks, which in turn were improved to the limits of technology and replaced by flash drives. This is essentially a generational model for categorizing technology, where first generation technology is a relatively simple starting point that leads to an improved second generation, and so on.

Violence in Media and Video Games: Does it Matter?

Figure 8.5 One of the most popular video games, Grand Theft Auto, has often been at the center of the debate about unnecessary violence in the gaming world. (Photo courtesy of Meddy Garnet/flickr)

A look at popular video game and film titles aimed at children and young people reveals the wide range of violence that is shown, tolerated and portrayed.

The film industry introduced a ratings system in the 1960s to guide parents in program selection, but new media - particularly video games - proved to be new territory. In 1994, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ERSB) established a rating system for games that addressed issues such as violence, sexuality, drug use, and the like. California has gone a step further by making it illegal to sell video games to minors. The case sparked a heated debate about personal liberties and child protection, and in 2011 the US Supreme Court ruled against California law as violating freedom of speech (ProCon 2012).

Children's games often include aggression games - from cowboys and Indians to cops and robbers to fictitious sword fights. Many articles report the controversy surrounding the proposed link between violent video games and violent behavior. Is the link genuine? Psychologists Anderson and Bushman (2001) reviewed over forty years of research on the subject and found in 2003 that there are causal links between violent video game use and aggression. They found that children who had just played a violent video game showed an immediate increase in hostile or aggressive thoughts, an increase in aggressive emotions, and physiological arousal that increased the likelihood of aggressive behavior (Anderson 2003).

Ultimately, repeated exposure to this type of violence leads to increased expectations that violence is a solution, increased violent behavior scripts, and increased cognitive accessibility to violent behavior (Anderson 2003). In summary, people who play many of these games have an easier time imagining and accessing violent solutions than non-violent ones, and are less socialized to view violence as something negative. While these facts don't mean video games don't matter, they should give gamers food for thought. In 2013, the American Psychological Association began a comprehensive meta-analysis of peer-reviewed research analyzing the effects of media violence. Results are expected in 2014.

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Types of Media and Technology Media and technology have evolved hand in hand, from early printing to modern publishing, from radio to television and film. New media are emerging all the time as we see in the online world.


The earliest forms of print media found in ancient Rome were copied by hand onto tablets and carried around to keep citizens informed. The invention of the printing press changed the way people shared ideas because information could be mass-produced and stored. For the first time there was a way to spread knowledge and information more efficiently; Many believe this development led to the Renaissance and eventually the Age of Enlightenment. This is not to say that the old newspapers were any more reliable than the Weekly World News and National Enquirer are today. Sensationalism abounded, as did censorship, which banned any subject that agitated the populace.

The invention of the telegraph in the mid-19th century changed the print media almost as much as it changed the printing press. Suddenly, information can be transmitted in a matter of minutes. As the 19th century transitioned into the 20th, American publishers like Hearst redefined the world of print media and wielded tremendous power to socially shape national and world events. Of course, even as the media empires of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer grew, the print media also allowed the circulation of countercultural or revolutionary material. Internationally, Vladimir Lenin's newspaper Irksa (The Spark) was published in 1900 and played a role in Russia's growing communist movement (World Association of Newspapers 2004).

With the invention and widespread use of television in the mid-20th century, newspaper circulation steadily declined, and in the 21st century circulation continued to decline as more and more people turned to Internet news sites and other forms of new media to get around to keep up to date. According to the Pew Research Center, 2009 saw an unprecedented decline in newspaper circulation -- a 10.6% decline from the previous year (Pew 2010).

This move away from newspapers as a source of information is having a profound impact on society. When news is disseminated to a large and diverse collection of people, it needs to maintain some level of broad-based coverage and balance in order to attract and subscribe to a wide audience. As newspapers shrink, news sources become more fragmented, allowing each audience segment to choose exactly what to hear and what to avoid. Newspapers are increasingly moving online to stay relevant. It's hard to say what impact new media platforms will have on the way we receive and process information.

Newspapers are increasingly moving online to stay relevant. It's hard to say what impact new media platforms will have on the way we receive and process information. The Pew Research Center's Journalism Excellence Project (2013) reported that all major news magazine viewership declined in 2012, even as digital advertising revenue increased. The same report points out that while newspaper circulation is stable at around $10 billion after years of decline, it is digital payment plans that are allowing newspapers to stay afloat and rising advertising revenues for news magazines are not enough to compensate for this. for lost revenue from newspaper printing.

A 2014 report found that American adults read an average of five books a year in 2013, which is about average. But do they read traditional print or e-books? About 69% of respondents said they had read at least one printed book in the past year, versus 28% who said they had read an e-book (DeSilver 2014). Is print more effective in conveying information? In a recent study, Mangen, Walgermo, and Bronnick (2013) found that students who read from paper performed slightly better on an open-book reading comprehension test with multiple choice, choices, and short answers than those who read a paper read e-book. While a meta-analysis of research by Andrews (1992) seemed to confirm that people read more slowly and understand less when reading on screens, a meta-analysis of recent research on the subject is inconclusive (Noyes and Garland 2008).

television and radio

Radio programming obviously predates television, but both have shaped people's lives equally. In both cases, information (and entertainment) could be enjoyed at home, with a kind of immediacy and community that newspapers could not offer. For example, many people in the United States may recall seeing on television or hearing on the radio that the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked in 2001. Even when people were at home, the media allowed them to share those moments. Real time. That same kind of separate but common approach existed in entertainment as well. School children and office workers would gather to discuss the release of a TV series or radio program from the night before.

Until the 1970s, television in the United States was dominated by three major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) competing for ratings and advertising revenue. The networks also exercised a lot of control over what people saw. In contrast, public service television offered a nonprofit educational alternative to news sensationalization, spurred by network competition for viewers and advertising dollars. These sources – PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), BBC (British

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Broadcasting Company) and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company) – has earned a worldwide reputation for quality programming and a global perspective. Al Jazeera, the independent Arabic news channel, has joined this group as a similar media power, broadcasting to people around the world.

The influence of television on US society can hardly be overestimated. In the late 1990s, 98% of American homes had at least one television, and the average person watched television between two and a half and five hours a day. All of this television has a strong socializing effect, providing affinity groups while reinforcing social norms, values ​​and beliefs.


The motion picture industry began in the 1930s when color and sound were first incorporated into feature films. Like television, early films were social unifiers: as people gathered in theaters to see new releases, they laughed, cried, and feared together. Movies also function as time capsules or cultural landmarks for society. From the westerns starring badass Clint Eastwood to the biopic of Facebook founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, the films illustrate society's dreams, fears and experiences. While many consider Hollywood to be the epicenter of cinema, India's Bollywood is actually producing more films per year that cater to the cultural aspirations and norms of Indian society. More and more people are watching movies online through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming services. While most video streaming companies keep their user credentials private, Nielsen estimates that 38% of US citizens accessed Netflix in 2013. In 2013, Google, Inc. has one-third of the estimated 3 billion who access the internet each month (Reuters 2013; International Telecommunication Union 2014).

new media

Figure 8.6 Netflix, a form of new media, exchanges information in the form of DVDs for users to use from the comfort of their own homes. (Photo courtesy of Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/flickr)

New media encompass all interactive forms of information exchange. This includes social networking sites, blogs, podcasts, wikis and virtual worlds. Of course, the list grows almost daily. However, there is no guarantee that the information provided is correct. In fact, the immediacy of new media coupled with the lack of oversight means we need to be more careful than ever to ensure our news comes from accurate sources.

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Planned obsolescence: technology to stop it

Figure 8.7 People struggle to keep up with technological innovations. But people may not be to blame as manufacturers intentionally design products with a short shelf life. (Photo courtesy of Mathias F. Svendsen/flickr)

Chances are your cell phone company, as well as the manufacturers of your laptop and home appliances, expect their products to fail. Not too fast, of course, or consumers wouldn't be on board - but often enough that you realize it costs a lot more to fix a device than it does to replace it with a newer model. Or you find that the phone company sends you an email saying you're entitled to a free new phone because yours is a whopping two years old. And people who fix machines say that while they fix some twenty-year-old machines, they generally don't fix seven-year-olds; newer models are built to be thrown away. This strategy is known as planned obsolescence and is the business practice of planning that a product will be obsolete or unusable from the moment it is created.

To some extent, planned obsolescence is a natural extension of new and emerging technologies. After all, who holds on to a massive, slow 2000 series desktop computer when you can buy a significantly faster and better one for a few hundred dollars? But the practice is not always so benign. The classic example of planned obsolescence is the nylon stocking. Women's stockings—once a staple for women—grow “ladders” or “ladders” after just a few uses. To do this, the socks must be disposed of and new ones bought. Not surprisingly, the apparel industry hasn't invested much in finding a tear-resistant fabric; It is in the interest of manufacturers to exchange their products regularly.

Those who use Microsoft Windows, like the women who bought endless pairs of socks, may feel like victims of planned obsolescence. Every time Windows releases a new operating system, there aren't usually many new innovations that consumers feel they should have. However, software programs are only backward compatible. That is, while new versions can read older files, the old version cannot read newer ones. After a short while, those who didn't update right away can't open files sent by colleagues or friends, and they usually update too.

After all, if you throw away your old product because you get an offer for a shiny new one (like the latest smartphone model), or because it costs more to fix than it does to replace (like the iPod model), or because if If you don't do this, you stay out of the loop (like the Windows model), the result is the same. It might make you nostalgic for your old Sony Discman and a basic DVD player.

Product AdvertisingCompanies use advertising to sell to us, but the way they reach us is changing. Naomi Klein identified the destructive impact of corporate branding in her 1999 text No Logo, an anti-globalization treatise that focused on black factories, corporate power, and anti-consumption social movements. In the post-millennial society, synergistic advertising practices ensure you get the same message from multiple sources and across multiple platforms. For example, you might see billboards for Miller beer on your way to a stadium, sit down to watch a game preceded by a large format Miller commercial

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Screen and watch a halftime commercial showing people holding the branded bottles. You can probably guess what brand of beer is being sold at the concession stand.

Advertising has changed as technology and media have enabled consumers to bypass traditional advertising spaces. From the invention of the remote control that lets us skip TV commercials without leaving our seats, to recording devices that let us watch programs but skip the commercials, mainstream TV advertising is in decline. And print media is no different. Newspaper and TV advertising revenues fell significantly in 2009, showing that companies need new ways to get their messages across to consumers.

One model companies are considering for handling this advertising crisis uses the same philosophy as celebrity endorsements, just on a different scale. Companies hire college students to represent their campus and look for popular students to be involved in high-profile activities such as sports, fraternities, and music. The marketing team is betting that if we buy perfume because Beyoncé says so, we'll also choose our cell phone or smoothie brand if a popular student encourages that choice. According to a New York Times article, an estimated 10,000 US college students worked on campus as brand ambassadors for products ranging from Red Bull energy drinks to Hewlett-Packard computers during the 2011 fall semester (Singer 2011). As companies imagine, college students trust one source of information above all else: other students.

Homogenization and Fragmentation Despite the diversity of media available, the mainstream news and entertainment you love is becoming increasingly homogenized. McManus' (1995) research suggests that different media tell the same stories, use the same sources, resulting in the same message presented with only minor variations. Whether you read the New York Times or the CNN website, the coverage of national events like a major court case or a political issue is probably the same.

Simultaneously with this homogenization between the major communication carriers, the opposite process is taking place in the most recent media currents. With so many options, people are increasingly personalizing their news experience and minimizing the opportunity to find information that doesn't match their worldview (pre-2005). For example, those who are staunch Republicans might avoid centrist or liberal-minded news and cable sites that portray Democrats in a favorable light. They know how to look up MSNBC's Fox News just as Democrats know how to do the opposite. Even people who want to avoid politics altogether may choose to visit sites that are purely for entertainment or that keep them updated on sports scores. They have an easy way to avoid information they don't want to hear.

8.3 Impact on Global Media and Technology

Figure 8.8 These Twitter updates—a real-time revolution—show the role social media can play in the political landscape. (Photo courtesy of Cambodia4kidsorg/flickr)

Technology, and increasingly the media, have always driven globalization. In a seminal book, Thomas Friedman (2005) outlined several ways technology has flattened the globe and contributed to our global economy. The first edition of The World Is Flat, written in 2005, contends that personal computing and high-speed Internet have transformed key economic concepts. Access to both of these technological changes allowed companies from core nations to recruit employees from call centers in China or India. Using examples such as a woman from the Midwestern United States running a home-based business through call centers in Bangalore, India, Friedman warns that this new world order will exist regardless of whether companies in the heartlands are ready are or aren't. To maintain its key economic role in the world, the United States needs to be careful about how it prepares 21st-century workers for this dynamic.

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Of course, not everyone agrees with Friedman's theory. Many economists have pointed out that the reality is that innovation, economic activity and population are still concentrated in geographically attractive areas and continue to create economic ups and downs that have by no means flattened out to the equality of all. China's most innovative and powerful cities, Shanghai and Beijing, are a world away from the rural misery of the country's poorest residents.

It's worth noting that Friedman is an economist, not a sociologist. His work focuses on the economic gains and risks that this new world order brings. In this section we will take a closer look at how media globalization and technological globalization play out from a sociological perspective. As the name suggests, media globalization is the integration of media worldwide through the cross-cultural exchange of ideas, while technological globalization refers to cross-cultural development and technology exchange.

Media globalization Lyons (2005) points out that multinational corporations are the main vehicle of media globalization and that these corporations control the content and distribution of the global mass media (Compaine 2005). True, when you look at who controls which media, there are fewer independent news sources as larger conglomerates emerge. The United States offers about 1,500 newspapers, 2,600 book publishers, and as many television stations, in addition to 6,000 magazines and an impressive 10,000 radio channels (Bagdikian 2004).

On the surface, there are endless ways to find different mediums. But the numbers are misleading. Media consolidation is a process in which fewer and fewer owners control most media companies. This creates an oligopoly in which a few companies dominate the media market. In 1983, only 50 companies owned most of the mass media. Today in the United States (which has no state media) just five corporations control 90% of the media (McChesney 1999). Comcast is the largest by company revenue in 2014, followed by DisneyCorporation, Time Warner, CBS and Viacom ( 2014). What is the impact of this consolidation on the type of information the US public is exposed to? Does media consolidation deprive the public of many viewpoints and limit their discourse to information and opinions shared by few sources? Why does it matter?

Monopolies are important because less competition typically means consumers are less well served, as different opinions or different viewpoints are less likely to be found. Media consolidation causes the following malfunctions. First, mainstream media owes more to its shareholders than it does to the public. Public companies that are part of the Fortune 500 need to pay more attention to their profitability and to government regulators than to the public's right to know. The few companies that control most of the media because they belong to the power elite only represent the political and social interests of a small minority. In an oligopoly, there are fewer incentives for innovation, improved services, or lower prices.

While some social scientists predicted that increasing forms of media would create a global village (McLuhan 1964), current research suggests that the public accessing the global village will tend to be affluent, Caucasian, and English-speaking (January 2009). As the spring 2011 uprisings in the Arab world demonstrated, technology really offers a window into world news. For example, here in the US we have seen real-time internet updates of Egyptian events with people tweeting, posting and blogging in Tahrir Square.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the technological shift from core to peripheral and semi-peripheral nations raises a complex set of problems. For example, someone using a conflict theory approach might focus on how much political ideology and cultural colonialism accompanies technological growth. Technological innovations are at least theoretically free of ideologies; A fiber optic cable is the same in a Muslim country as it is in a secular, communist or capitalist country. But those who bring technology to less developed countries - whether NGOs, corporations or governments - often have an agenda. A functionalist, on the other hand, might focus on how technology is creating new ways to share information about successful farming programs, or on the economic benefits of opening a new market for cell phone use. In any case, cultural and social assumptions and norms are transmitted over these high-speed wires.

Cultural and ideological biases are not the only risks of media globalization. In addition to the risk of cultural imperialism and the loss of local culture, there are other problems that come with the benefits of a more connected world. One risk is the possibility of censorship by national governments that only allow information and media that they feel serves their message, as is the case in China. In addition, core nations like the United States risk criminals using international media to circumvent local laws against deviant and dangerous behavior such as gambling, child pornography, and sex trafficking. Offshore or international websites allow US citizens (and others) to search for any illegal or unlawful information they want, from 24-hour online gambling sites that do not require proof of age to sites that sell child pornography. These examples illustrate the societal risks of an unrestricted flow of information.

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

China and the Internet: An Uncomfortable Friendship

Figure 8.9 What information is accessible to these Internet cafe users in China? What do you think is being censored? (Photo courtesy of Kai Hendry/flickr)

In the United States, the Internet is used to access illegal gambling and pornography sites, research stocks, know which car to buy, or keep in touch with childhood friends. Can we allow one or more of these activities and restrict the rest? And who decides what needs to be restricted? In a country with democratic principles and an underlying belief in free-market capitalism, the answer will be decided in the court system. But around the world, the questions – and the answers from governments – vary widely.

In many ways, China is the global poster child for the troubled relationship between internet freedom and government control. China, a country with tight controls on the dissemination of information, has long worked to suppress what it calls "harmful information," including dissenting opinions about government policies, dialogues about China's role in Tibet, or criticism of the government's dealings with events.

With sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube blocked in China, the country's internet users -- around 500 million in 2011 -- are turning to local media outlets for their needs. is China's answer to Facebook. Perhaps more importantly from a social change standpoint, Sina Weibo is the Chinese version of Twitter. Microblogging or Weibo works like Twitter in that users can post short messages that can be read by their subscribers. And because these services are evolving so quickly and on such a large scale, it's difficult for government regulators to keep up. This tool was used to criticize the government's response to a fatal rail accident and to protest a chemical plant. He has also been credited with the government's decision to report more accurately on air pollution in Beijing, which came after a high-profile campaign by a well-known real estate developer (Pierson 2012).

There is no doubt that China's authoritarian government will rule this new form of internet communication. The nation blocks the use of certain terms, such as human rights, and passes new laws that require people to register with their real names and make it more dangerous to criticize the government's actions. Indeed, 56-year-old microblogger Wang Lihong was recently sentenced to nine months in prison for “provoking trouble,” as her government described her work helping people with government grievances (Bristow 2011). But the government cannot completely stop this flow of information. Foreign companies looking to enter China's increasingly important consumer market have their own accounts: the NBA has more than 5 million followers, and Tom Cruise's Weibo account has almost 3 million followers (Zhang 2011). The government also uses Weibo to convey its own message. As the millennium progresses, China's approach to social media and the freedoms it offers will be watched closely by the rest of the world - on Sina Weibo and beyond.

Technological Globalization Technological globalization is being accelerated in large part by technology diffusion, the spread of technology across borders. the continued benefits and challenges of such dissemination. In general, the

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The report found that technological advances and rates of economic growth were linked, and that increased technological advances helped improve the situation of many living in abject poverty (World Bank 2008). The report recognizes that rural and low-tech products like corn can benefit from new technological innovations and, conversely, technologies like mobile banking can help those whose rural livelihood consists of low-tech market sales. In addition, technological advances in areas such as mobile phones can lead to competition, lower prices and simultaneous improvements in related areas such as mobile banking and information sharing.

However, the same patterns of social inequality that create digital divides in the United States also create digital divides in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. While the growth in technology use in countries has increased dramatically in recent decades, the diffusion of technology within countries is significantly slower in the peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. Far fewer people in these countries have the training and skills to use, let alone access, new technology. Technological access tends to be concentrated in urban areas, leaving out large sections of citizens from peripheral countries. While the proliferation of information technologies has the potential to solve many global social problems, it is often the population most in need that is hardest hit by the digital divide. For example, water purification technology could save many lives, but the villages in peripheral countries that most need water purification do not have access to the technology, nor the resources to buy it, nor the level of technological convenience to implement it Solution.

The Powerful Cell Phone: How Cell Phones Affect Sub-Saharan Africa Many of Africa's poorest countries suffer from a distinct lack of infrastructure, including poor roads, limited electricity and minimal access to education and phones. But while landline usage hasn't changed much in the past decade, access to cellphones has increased fivefold; Over a third of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to a mobile phone (Katine 2010). Even more people can use a “village phone” through a shared phone program set up by the Grameen Foundation. With access to cellular technology, a multitude of benefits will become available that have the potential to transform the dynamics of these poorer countries. Sometimes this change is as simple as calling neighboring cities. By finding out which markets have suppliers interested in their produce, fishermen and farmers can ensure they visit the market that serves them best and avoid a wasted trip. Others can use cell phones and some of the emerging money-sending systems to securely send money to a family member or business associate elsewhere (Katine 2010).

These shared phone programs are often backed by companies like Vodafone in Germany or Masbabi in the UK in hopes of gaining market share in the region. Phone giant Nokia points out that there are 4 billion mobile phone users worldwide - more than twice that number of people who have bank accounts - meaning there is a perfect opportunity to connect banking companies with people who need their services (ITU Telecom 2009 ). However, not all access is internal to the company. Other programs are funded by business organizations that aim to help peripheral countries with tools for innovation and entrepreneurship.

But this wave of innovation and business potential comes at a price. Of course, there is a danger of cultural imperialism and the assumption that core nations (and core nation multinationals) know what is best for those struggling in the world's poorest communities. Well intentioned or not, the vision of an African continent having a winning conversation on your iPhone might not be ideal. Like all aspects of global inequality, access to technology in Africa requires more than just foreign investment. A concerted effort must be made to ensure that the benefits of technology go where they are most needed.

8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology It is difficult to think of a theory or theoretical perspective that could explain the variety of ways in which people interact with technology and media. Technology ranges from the match you strike to light a candle to sophisticated nuclear power plants that can power the factory that made the candle. Media can refer to the TV you watch, the advert for the bus you take to work or school, or the magazine you flip through in the dentist's waiting room, not to mention all forms of new media, including Instagram , Facebook, Blogs, YouTube , and the like. Are media and technology essential to human progress? They are pernicious capitalist tools that lead

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to the exploitation of workers around the world? Are they the silver bullet the world has been waiting for to level the playing field and lift the world's poor out of extreme poverty? Pick any opinion, and you'll find studies and scholars that agree with you - and those that disagree.

Functionalism Since functionalism focuses on how media and technology contribute to the smooth functioning of society, it's a good start to understand this perspective by writing a list of the roles you think media and technology play. Your list might include the ability to find information on the Internet, the entertainment value of television, or how advertising and product placement contribute to social norms.

commercial function

Figure 8.10 TV commercials can have significant cultural significance. For some, the ads during the Super Bowl are water cooler worthy than the game itself. (Photo courtesy Dennis Yang/flickr)

With almost every household in the United States owning a television and people in the United States watch 250 billion hours of television annually, businesses looking to connect with consumers are finding television an irresistible platform to promote their products and services (Nielsen 2012). . Television advertising is a highly functional way of serving a demographic where it lives. Sponsors can use the sophisticated data network and cable companies have collected about their viewers and target their advertising accordingly. Whether it's Nick Jr. or a cooking show on Telemundo, advertisers likely have a plan to make it happen.

And it certainly doesn't stop with television. Commercial advertising precedes motion pictures and appears on and in public transport, buildings and streets. Big corporations like Coca-Cola take their advertising to public schools, sponsor sports fields or tournaments, and fill the halls and cafeterias of those schools with vending machines selling their wares. With growing concerns about childhood obesity and related diseases, the era of soda vending machines in schools could be coming to an end. As part of the US Department of Agriculture's Healthy Children Free from Hunger Act and Let's Move! initiative started the junk food ban in schools in July 2014.

entertainment function

An obviously manifested function of the media is their entertainment value. When asked why they watch TV or go to the cinema, most people answer that they enjoy it. And the numbers certainly illustrate that. Although the 2012 Nielsen survey shows a slight decrease in the number of US households with televisions, television's reach is still wide. And the amount of time spent watching is just as great. The pleasure is clearly in the foreground. On the technology side, there is also a clear focus on entertainment.

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Factor for the use of new innovations. From playing online games to chatting with friends on Facebook, technology offers new and more exciting ways for people to have fun.

functions of social norms

While the media sells us goods and entertains us, it also serves to socialize us by helping us pass on norms, values, and beliefs to the next generation. In fact, we are socialized and resocialized through the media throughout our lives. All mediums teach us what is good and desirable, how to speak, how to behave, and how to react to events. The media also provide us with cultural references to events of national importance. How many of your older relatives remember watching the space shuttle Challenger explode on TV? How many of you reading this book followed the events of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina on TV or the Internet?

As evidenced by Anderson and Bushman (2011) in Violence in Media and Video Games: Does It Matter? Function is still debated about the extent and impact of media socialization. A recent study (Krahe et al. 2011) showed that violent media content has a desensitizing effect and correlates with aggressive thoughts. Another group of researchers (Gentile, Mathieson, and Crick 2011) found that exposure to media violence in children resulted in increased physical and interpersonal aggression. However, a meta-analysis study spanning four decades of research (Savage 2003) failed to establish a definitive link between seeing violence and committing criminal violence.

Observing how people mimic the styles of dress and language that appear in the media, it becomes clear that the media has a socializing influence. What is not clear, despite nearly fifty years of empirical research, is how much socializing influence the media has compared to other socializing agents, which include any social institution that mediates norms, values, and beliefs (such as peers, family, religion). institutions and the like).

Life-Changing Features

Like the media, many forms of technology actually entertain us, provide a place for commercialization, and socialize us. For example, some studies suggest that increases in obesity rates are correlated with decreases in physical activity caused by an increase in the use of some forms of technology, a latent function of media penetration in society (Kautiainen et al. 2011 ). Undoubtedly, an obvious function of technology is to transform our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Think about how the digital age has improved the way we communicate. Have you ever used Skype or another webcast to talk to a distant friend or family member? Or maybe you organized a fundraiser and raised thousands of dollars, all from your chair.

The downside of this continuous flow of information, of course, is the nearly impossible disconnect from technology, leading to the expectation of constant and convenient access to information and people. This accelerated dynamic does not always work in our favour. Some sociologists argue that this level of media exposure leads to narcotic dysfunction, an outcome in which people become too inundated with media information to really care about the issue, so that their involvement is defined by awareness rather than conscious actions (Lazerfeld and Merton 1948).

Conflict Perspective In contrast to functional perspective theories, the conflict perspective focuses on the creation and reproduction of inequality - social processes that disrupt society rather than contribute to its smooth functioning. If we take a conflict perspective, one of the main focuses is the differential access to media and technology embodied in the digital divide. Conflict theorists also analyze who controls the media and how the media promotes the norms of the white upper-middle class in the United States while downplaying the presence of the working class, particularly people of color.

Media and Technology Control

Powerful individuals and social institutions have great influence over what forms of technology are released, when and where they are released, and what types of media are available for our consumption, which is a form of control. Shoemaker and Voss (2009) define gatekeeping as the classification process by which thousands of possible messages are brought into a form suitable for mass media and reduced to a manageable set. In other words, those in charge of the media decide what the public is exposed to, which, as C. Wright Mills (1956) noted, is at the heart of media power. Take a moment to reflect on how "new media" is evolving and replacing traditional forms of mainstream media. With hegemonic media, a culturally diverse society can be dominated by one race, gender, or class, which manipulates the media to impose its worldview as the social norm. New media weaken the gatekeeper role in information dissemination. Popular websites like YouTube and Facebook not only allow more people to share information freely, but also engage in a form of self-regulation. Users are encouraged to report inappropriate behavior, which moderators will address.

Additionally, some conflict theorists suggest that the way US media is generated creates an imbalanced political arena. Those with more money can buy more media exposure, run smear campaigns against their competitors, and maximize their visual exposure. Almost a year before the US presidential election in 2012, the candidates are - Barack Obama

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for Democrats and several Republican candidates – raised more than $186 million (Carmi et al. 2012). Some would argue that Citizens United vs. Federal is a major contributor to our unbalanced political arena. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court upheld the right of outside groups, including Super Political Action Committees (SuperPACs) with undisclosed donor lists, to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising so long as they do not coordinate with the candidate's campaign or specifically defend a candidate. What do you think a conflict perspective theorist would suggest about the potential for the non-wealthy to be heard in politics, particularly if SuperPACs ensure that wealthier groups have more say?

Technological social control and digital surveillance

Social scientists take the idea of ​​the surveillance society so seriously that an entire journal, Surveillance and Society, is devoted to it. Conceived by Jeremy Bentham, panoptical surveillance, described by George Orwell in 1984 in terms of omnipotent and omniscient government and further analyzed by Michel Foucault (1975), is increasingly materialized in the form of technology used to monitor our every movement . . This surveillance was designed as a form of constant surveillance, where the observation posts are decentralized and what is observed is never directly communicated. Today, digital surveillance cameras capture our movements, spotters can track us through our cell phones, and police forces around the world use facial recognition software.

feminist perspective

Figure 8.11 What types of women do we encounter in the media? Some argue that the range of female imagery is deceptively narrow. (Photo courtesy of Cliff1066/flickr)

Take a look at popular TV shows, advertising campaigns and online gaming sites. For the most part, women are portrayed within certain parameters and tend to have a uniform appearance that society finds attractive. Most are slim, white or fair-skinned, pretty and young. Why does it matter? Theorists from a feminist perspective believe that this idealized image is crucial to the creation and reinforcement of stereotypes. For example, Fox and Bailenson (2009) found that online female avatars that conform to gender stereotypes reinforce negative attitudes toward women, and Brasted (2010) found that the media (particularly advertising) promotes gender stereotypes. As early as 1990, Ms. magazine introduced a no-commercial publication policy.

The gender gap in technology-related fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is no secret. A 2011 US Department of Commerce report suggests that gender stereotypes are one of the reasons for this gap, acknowledging the bias towards men as holders of technological knowledge (US Department of Commerce, 2011). But gender stereotypes go well beyond the use of technology. Media coverage reinforces stereotypes that subordinate women; There are excesses of appearances on airtime, and the reporting denigrates women who flout accepted norms.

Recent research on new media offers a mixed picture of their potential to equalize the status of men and women in the arenas of technology and public discourse. A European agency, the Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women (2010), has issued an opinion report suggesting that while new forms of media have the potential to be perpetuated

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Gender stereotypes and the gender gap in technology and media access, while new media can provide alternative forums for feminist groups and the exchange of feminist ideas. Still, the committee warned of the relatively unregulated environment of new media and the potential for anti-feminist activity, from pornography to human trafficking, to thrive there.

Cyberfeminism, the application and promotion of feminism on the Internet, is becoming increasingly prominent in the discussion about new media and feminism. Research on cyberfeminism ranges from the liberating use of blogs by women living in Iraq during the second Gulf War (Peirce 2011) to an examination of the Suicide Girls website (Magnet 2007).

Symbolic Interactionism Technology itself can function as a symbol for many. The type of computer you own, the type of car you drive, your ability to purchase the latest Apple product all serve as social indicators of wealth and status. Neo-Luddites are people who see technology as a symbol of the coldness and alienation of modern life. But for tech enthusiasts, technology symbolizes the potential for a better future. For those occupying an ideological middle ground, technology can symbolize status (in the form of a giant flat-screen TV) or failure (owning a plain old no-frills cell phone).

social construction of reality

At the same time, the media create and disseminate symbols that become the basis of our common understanding of society. Theorists working from the interactionist perspective focus on this social construction of reality, an ongoing process in which people subjectively create and understand reality. The media constructs our reality in many ways. For some, the people they see on screen can become a primary group, i. H. to the small informal groups of people closest to them. For many others, the media becomes a reference group: a group that influences and compares a person, and against which we measure our successes and failures. We're fine without the latest smartphone until we see characters using it on our favorite TV show or our classmates whip it between classes.

While the media is indeed the medium for spreading the message of wealthy white men, Gamson, Croteau, Hoynes, and Sasson (1992) point out that some forms of media discourse give rise to competing constructions of reality. For example, advertisers are finding new and creative ways to sell us products that we don't need and that we probably don't want without your request, but some networking sites like Freecycle provide an ad-free way to order and swap items that we otherwise might not way they would be discarded. The internet is also rife with blogs chronicling life "off the grid" or without participation in the commercial economy.

Social networks and social construction

While Tumblr and Facebook encourage us to review and share details of our day through online social networks, companies can easily promote their products on these sites. Even supposedly crowd-sourced sites like Yelp (which collects local reviews) aren't immune to entrepreneurial shenanigans. That is, we think we're reading objective observations when in fact we may be buying some other form of advertising.

Facebook, which started out as a free social network for college students, is increasingly a monetized business that sells products and services in subtle ways. But chances are, you don't think of Facebook as one big online advertisement. What began as a symbol of cool and insider status, out of reach of parents and corporate shills, now encourages consumption in the form of games and fan bases. For example, think of all the money spent updating popular Facebook games like Candy Crush. And note that if you become a "fan," you're likely to receive product updates and special offers that drive consumption online and in the real world. It's unlikely that millions of people would want to be "friends" with Pampers. But if that means a weekly coupon, they'll essentially be renting space on their Facebook pages for Pampers to appear. So we're inventing new ways of spending money and developing brand loyalties that will endure even when Facebook is considered outdated and obsolete.

chapter overview

Key words the candidacy and promotion of feminism on the internet

Patents granted when someone invents a new and original design for a manufactured product

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Graben digital:

electronic readiness:

Evolution model of technological change:


knowledge gap:


Media Consolidation:

Globalization of the media:


net neutrality:

New media:


Panoptic Surveillance:

planned obsolescence:

Plant Patents:

technological spread:

technological globalization:



utility model:

unequal access to technology across racial, class, and geographic lines

the ability to classify, interpret and process digital knowledge

an advance in a form of technology resulting in a series of variations resulting in a prototype, followed by a period of minor adjustments in technology punctuated by a breakthrough

the classification process, in which thousands of possible messages are brought into a form suitable for mass media and reduced to a manageable quantity

the information gap that grows as groups grow without access to technology

all printed, digital and electronic media

a process in which fewer and fewer owners control most of the media

the worldwide integration of the media through the intercultural exchange of ideas

those who see technology as a symbol of the coldness of modern life

the principle that all internet data should be treated equally by internet service providers

all interactive forms of information exchange

a situation in which a few companies dominate a market

a form of constant surveillance where observation posts are decentralized and what is observed is never directly communicated

the act of a technology company planning that a product will be obsolete or unsuitable from the moment it is created

Patents recognizing the discovery of new plant species that can be reproduced asexually

the spread of technology across borders

intercultural development and technology exchange

the application of science to solve problems in everyday life

those who see technology as a symbol of the potential for a better future

Patents granted for the invention or discovery of new and useful processes, products, or machines

Summary section

8.1 Technology today Technology is the application of science to solve everyday problems. The rapid pace of technological advances means advances are continuous, but not everyone has equal access. The gap created by this unequal access is known as the digital divide. The knowledge gap refers to an impact of the digital divide: the lack of knowledge or information that prevents those who have not been exposed to technology from acquiring marketable skills.

8.2 Media and technology in society Media and technology have been closely linked since the beginning of human communication. The press, the telegraph, and the Internet are examples of their intersection. Mass media allowed for more shared social experiences, but new media now creates a seemingly endless amount of airtime for all voices that want to be heard. Advertising has also changed with technology. New media allows consumers to bypass traditional advertising spaces and makes companies more innovative and intrusive when trying to grab our attention.

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8.3 Global Impacts of Media and Technology Technology drives globalization, but what that means can be difficult to decipher. While some economists see technological advances leading to a more level playing field where anyone, anywhere can be a global competitor, the reality is that opportunities are still concentrated in geographically privileged areas. Nonetheless, the spread of technology has resulted in more and more technology being spread across borders in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. However, true global technological equality is still a long way off.

8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology There are numerous theories about how society, technology and media will continue to develop. Functionalism sees the contribution that technology and media make to the stability of society, from facilitating leisure time to increasing productivity. Conflict theorists are more concerned with how technology amplifies inequalities between communities, both within and between countries. They also examine how the media often gives a voice to the most powerful and how new media can offer tools to help those lacking rights. Symbolic interactionists see the symbolic use of technology as a sign of everything from a sterile futuristic world to a successful professional life.

The section questionnaire

8.1 Technology Today1. Jerome can use the Internet to select credible sources for his research, but Charlie simply copies large chunks of webpages and pastes them into his work. Jerome has _____________, Charlie doesn't.

one. a functional perspectiveb. the knowledge gap c. E-Readinessd. a digital divide

2. The ________ can be traced back directly to the digital divide, because the differentiated access to the Internet leads directly to a differentiated use of the knowledge found on the Internet.

one. digital divide. knowledge gap c. feminist perspective. E gap

3. The fact that your cell phone uses outdated technology a year or two after you bought it is an example of ____________.

one. the conflict perspectiveb. conspicuous consumption c. Average. planned obsolescence

4. The history of technology began _________.a. in the early stages of human societiesb. with the invention of the computer during the Renaissance. during the 19th century

8.2 Media and technology in society5. When it comes to technology, media and society, which of the following statements is true?

one. The media can influence technology but not society.b. Technology created the media, but society has nothing to do with it. c. Technology, media and society are interconnected and cannot be separated. i.e. Society influences the media, but it is not connected to technology.

6. If the US Patent Office granted a patent for a new variety of tomato that tasted like bubble gum, would it grant a _________ patent?

one. utility model b. plant patent c. patented design. The US Patent Office does not grant patents for plants.

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7. Which of the following statements is the main component of the evolutionary model of technological change? That. The technology may not be patented.b. Technology and media develop together.c. Technology can be traced back to the earliest stages of human society.d. A breakthrough in a form of technology leads to a series of technological variations and developments.

8. Which of the following media are not new media? That. The cable television program Dexterb. Wikipedia. Facebookd. A cooking blog by Rachael Ray

9. Research into video game violence suggests that _________.a. Boys who play violent video games become more aggressive, but girls do notb. Girls who play violent video games become more aggressive, but boys do not. Violent video games have nothing to do with aggressive behavior. Violent video games lead to an increase in aggressive thinking and behavior

10. Comics, Wikipedia, MTV and a Coca-Cola commercial are examples of: a. mediab. symbolic interaction perspectivec. E-Readinessd. the digital divide

8.3 Global Impact of Media and Technology11. When Japanese scientists developed a new swine flu vaccine and offered this technology to pharmaceutical companies in the United States, __________ happened.

one. media globalizationb. technological dissemination c. monetization. planned obsolescence

12. In the mid-1990s, the US government was concerned that Microsoft was a _______________ that exercised disproportionate control over the available options and prices of computers.

one. monopolyb. Conglomerate. oligopoly. technological globalization

13. The film Babel had an international cast and was filmed on location in several countries. When it was shown in cinemas around the world, it introduced a range of ideas and philosophies about cross-cultural connections. This could be an example of:

one. technology Conglomerate. symbolically interacted. globalization of the media

14. What is not a risk of media globalization? That. The Creation of Cultural and Ideological Prejudiceb. The creation of local monopolies. The Danger of Cultural Imperialismd. Loss of local culture

15. The government of __________ is blocking citizens' access to popular new media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

one. Chinab. Indiaac. to install in Afghanistan. Australia

8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology16. A parent secretly monitoring their nanny using GPS, website blockers, and nanny cam is a good example of:

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one. the social construction of realityb. technophile. a neoluddit. panoptic surveillance

17. Using Facebook to create an online persona by only posting images that match your ideal self is an example of the _____________ that can appear in new forms of media.

one. social construction of realityb. cyberfeminismc. market segmentation d. reference

18. _________ is more pro-technology, while _______ sees technology as symbolic of the coldness of modern life.

one. luddites; technology enthusiast technology enthusiasts; Luddites. cyberfeminists; technology enthusiast. liberal feminists; conflict theorist

19. When it comes to media and technology, a functionalist would focus on: a. the icons created and reproduced by mediab. the association of technology and technological skill with menc. the way different forms of media socialize users. the digital divide between the haves and the have-nots

20. When all media sources report a simplified version of the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing without bothering to convey the exact science and complicated statistics behind the story, ___________ is likely taking place.

one. carrier b. the digital divide. technology enthusiast. market segmentation

Short answer

8.1 Technology Today1. Can you think of people in your life who support or question the premise that access to technology leads to greater opportunity? How did you perceive the use of technology and the possibility of networking, or does your experience contradict this idea?

2. Should the US government be responsible for providing Internet access to all citizens? Or is access to the Internet an individual responsibility?

3. How has digital media changed social interactions? Do you think this has deepened or weakened human connections? Defend your answer.

4. Conduct sociological research. Google itself. How much information about you is available to the public? How many and what types of companies offer private information about you for a fee? Compile the data and statistics found. Write a paragraph or two about the social problems and behaviors you observe.

8.2 Media and technology in society5. Where and how do you get your messages? Do you watch network TV? read the newspaper? stay online? What about your parents or grandparents? Do you think it matters where you look for information? Why or why not?

6. Do you think that the new media enable the kind of connecting moments that radio and television programs used to create? If yes, give an example.

7. Where are you most likely to see advertising? What makes them catch your attention?

8.3 Global Impact of Media and Technology8. Do you think technology has actually flattened the world in terms of possibilities? Why or why not? Give examples to support your argument.

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9. Where do you get your messages from? Is it owned by a major conglomerate (you can do a web search and find out!)? Does it matter to you who owns the local media? Why or why not?

10. Who do you think is most likely to bring innovation and technology (e.g. mobile phone companies) to sub-Saharan Africa: non-profit organizations, governments or companies? Why?

8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology11. Compare a functionalist view of digital surveillance with a conflict perspective view.

12. How has the internet influenced your view of reality? Explain using a symbolic-interactionist perspective.

13. Describe how a cyberfeminist might deal with the fact that powerful women politicians are often demonized by the mainstream media.

14. The issue of airline pilot fatigue is a growing media interest. Choose a theoretical perspective and describe how it would explain this.

15. Would you describe yourself as a techie or luddite? Explain and use examples.

More research

8.1 Technology Today To learn more about the digital divide and what it means, visit these websites: ( and http://openstaxcollege .org/l/Digital_Divide2(

To learn more about Internet privacy and security, visit the following website:

8.2 Media and Technology in Society To get an idea of ​​the technology timeline, visit this website:

To learn more about new media, click here: (

To understand how independent media coverage differs from the big affiliate corporate news, watch the Democracy Now! Website: (

8.3 Impact on global media and technology Learn more about the global digital divide here:

8.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Media and Technology To learn more about cyberfeminism, visit the interdisciplinary artist collective subRosa: (

To examine the effects of panoptic surveillance, read some surveillance studies at the free and open source Surveillance and Society website: (

Read an example of socialist media from Jacobin Magazine here:


8.1 Technology TodayGuillen, M.F. and S.L. suarez 2005. “Explaining the Global Digital Divide: Economic, Political, and Sociological Drivers of Transnational Internet Use.” Forças Sociais 84: 681–708.

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Prevent-Target-Breach-35412 ( Prevent-Target-Breach-35412) ).

Liff, Sondra and Adrian Shepard. 2004. “An Evolving Digital Gender Divide.” Oxford Internet Institute, Internet Issue Brief No. 2. Retrieved 11 January 2012 (

McChesney, Robert. 1999. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Troubled Times. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Mossberger, Karen, Caroline Tolbert, and Michele Gilbert. 2006. "Race, Place, and Information Technology". Urban Affairs Review 41:583-620.

Pew Research Center. 2011. “Internet User Demographics”. Pew Internet and American Life Project, May. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( (

"Planned obsolescence". 2009. The Economist, March 23. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( (

Rainie, Lee, Sara Kiesler, Ruogo Kang and Mary Madden. 2013. “Anonymity, Privacy, and Online Safety.” PewResearch Center's Internet American Life Project RSS. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 5, 2014 ( ( anonymity-privacy-and-security-online/) ).

Rappaport, Richard. 2009. "A Brief History of the Digital Divide." Edutopia, October 27. Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( (

Ciadas, George. 2003. “Monitoring the Digital Divide… and Beyond.” World Bank Group. Retrieved 22 January 2012 ( (

SMITH, Aaron. 2012. "The Best (And Worst) Mobile Connectivity." Pew Research internet project. Retrieved December 19, 2014 ( 11 / 30/the-best-and-worst-mobile-connectivity/) ).

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Washington, Jesse. 2011. “A New 'Digital Divide' Emerges for Minorities.” Pew Internet and American Life Project, January 10. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( ( / 2011/For-minority-new-digital-divide-seen.aspx) ).

8.2 Media and Technology in Society Anderson, C.A., and B.J. bushman. 2001. "Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytical review of the scientific literature." Psychology 12: 353-359.

Anderson, Craig. 2003. "Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions." American Psychological Association, outubro. Consulted 13 January 2012 ( / anderson.aspx) ).

Anderson, Philip, and Michael Tushman. 1990. "Technological Discontinuities and Dominant Designs: A Cyclical Model of Technological Change." Administrative Science Quarterly 35: 604–633.

Dilon, Andrew. 1992. "Reading Paper Against Screens: A Critical Review of the Empirical Literature." Ergonomics35(10): 1297-1326.

DeSilver, Drew. 2014. "Book reading is overall stable, but e-books are gaining popularity." Pew Research Center. Retrieved December 5, 2014 ( (http : / /

Dugan, Maeve, and Aaron Smith. "Social Media Update 2013." Pew Research Center's Internet American Life ProjectRSS. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 2, 2014 ( ( - media-update-2013/) ).

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International Telecom Unions. 2014. “The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures.” United Nations. Retrieved 5 December 2014 ( /Statistics/Documents/Facts/ICTFactsFigures2014-d.pdf) ).

Janssen, Jim. "Internet use in high-income families." Pew Research Center's Internet American Life ProjectRSS. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 1, 2014 ( ( / 24.11./internet-use-in-high-income-households) ).

Kumar, Ravi. 2014. "Social Media and Social Change: How Young People Use Technology." You think! n.p. Retrieved October 3, 2014 ( ( /youthink/social-media-and-social-change-how-young-people-are-use-technology) ).

Lievrouw, Leah A. and Sonia Livingstone, eds. 2006. New Media Handbook: Social Design and Social Impact.London: SAGE Publications.

McManus, John. 1995. "A Market-Based Model of News Production". Communication Theory 5: 301–338.

Mangen, A., B.R. Walgermo and K. Bronnick. 2013. “Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Implications for reading comprehension.” International Journal of Educational Research 58: 61–68.

Nilsen. 2013. "'Bingeing' in New Preview for Over-the-Top Streamers." Retrieved December 5, 2014 ( http : // ).

Noyes, Jan, and Kate J. Garland. 2008. "Computer Vs. Paper-Based Tasks: Are They Equal?" Ergonomics 51(9):1352–1375.

Pew Research Center. 2010. "State of the News Media 2010". Pew Research Center publications, March 15. Retrieved January 24, 2012 ( (ícia-media - 2010) ).

Pew Research Center Journalism Excellence Project. 2013. “The State of the Media 2013.” Pew Research Center Publications. Retrieved December 5, 2014 ( ) .

Before, Mark. 2005. “News vs. Entertainment: How Increasing Media Choice Widens Gaps in Political Knowledge and Participation.” American Journal of Political Science 49(3): 577–592.

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Reuters. 2013. “YouTube Stats: The Site Has 1 Billion Monthly Active Users.” HuffingtonPost. Retrieved December 5, 2014 ( ( ) ).

singer Natasha. 2011. "On campus, it's a big commercial." New York Times, September 10. Retrieved February 10, 2012 ( (http: / / ).

SMITH, Aaron. 2012. "The Best (And Worst) Mobile Connectivity." Pew Research Center's Internet American Life Project RSS. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 3, 2014 ( ( 11 /30/the-best-and-worst-of-mobile-connectivity/) ).

SMITH, Aaron. 2014a. "African Americans and the Use of Technology." Pew Research Center's Internet American Life ProjectRSS. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 1, 2014 ( ( african-americans-and-technology-use/) ).

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United States Patent and Trademark Office. 2012. “General Patent Information”. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( ( /patents/resources/general_info_concerning_patents.jsp ).

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van de Donk, W., B.D. Charger, P. G. Nixon, and D. Rucht, eds. 2004. Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens, and Social Movements. New York: Rouledge.

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8.3 Global Impacts of Media and Technology Acker, Jenny C. and Isaac M. Mbiti. 2010. “Mobile phones and economic development in Africa.” Journal of EconomicPerspectives 24(3):207–232. Retrieved 2012-01-12 ( ) ).

Bagdikian, Ben H. 2004. The New Media Monopoly. Boston, MA: Beacon Press Books.

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FRIEDMAN, Thomas. 2005. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Jan, Mirz. 2009. "Media Globalization: Key Issues and Dimensions". European Journal of Scientific Research29:66–75.

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MLUHAN, Marshall. 1964. Understanding the Mediums: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pierson, David. 2012. “The Number of Internet Users in China Reaches 513 Million.” Los Angeles Times, January 16. Retrieved January 16, 2012 ( / 2012/01/Chinese-web-users-grow-to-513-million.html) ).

Die Weltbank. 2008. „Global Economic Prospects 2008: Technology Diffusion in the Developing World.“ Weltbank. )) .

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Gentile, Douglas, Lindsay Mathieson, and Nikki Crick. 2011. “Associations of media violence with form and function of aggression in elementary school children”. Social Development 20:213–232.

Kautiainen, S., L. Koivusilta, T. Lintonen, S.M. Virtanen and A. Rimpelä. 2005. “Information and communication technology use and prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents.” International Journal of Obesity 29: 925–933

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Exposure, Aggressive Cognitions, and Aggressive Behavior”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100: 630–646.

Lazerfeld, Paul F. and Robert K. Merton. 1948. "Mass Communications, Popular Taste, and Organized Social Action". The communication of ideas. New York: Harper & Bros.

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A methodological overview”. Aggression and Violent Behavior 10:99–128.

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9 Social Stratification in the United States

Figure 9.1 This home, formerly owned by famed television producer Aaron Spelling, was once listed for $150 million. Regarded as one of the most extravagant homes in the United States, it is a testament to the wealth generated in some industries. (Photo courtesy of Atwater Village Newbie/flickr)

Learning goals9.1. What is social stratification?

• Distinguish between open and closed shift systems

• Distinction between caste and class systems

• Understand meritocracy as an ideal stratification system

9.2. Social Strata and Mobility in the United States • Understand the class structure of the United States

• Describe different types of social mobility

• Recognize the features that define and identify the class

9.3. Global Stratification and Inequality• Define the global stratification

• Describe different sociological models for understanding global stratification

• Understand how global stratification studies identify global inequalities

9.4. Theoretical perspectives on social stratification • Understand and apply functionalist, conflict-theoretical and interactionist perspectives on social stratification

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Introduction to Social Stratification in America Growing up on a farm in rural Ohio, Aaron left home to serve in the Army and returned a few years later to take over the family farm. He moved into the same house he grew up in and soon married a young woman with whom he had attended high school. When they started having children, they quickly found that the income from the farm was no longer sufficient to meet their needs. Aaron, who had little experience outside of farming, took a job as a clerk at a local grocery store. There his life and that of his wife and children changed forever.

One of the store managers liked Aaron, his attitude and his work ethic. He took Aaron under his wing and began grooming him to advance in the business. Aaron rose through the ranks with ease. So the manager encouraged him to take some courses at a local college. This was the first time Aaron gave serious thought to college. Could he succeed, Aaron wondered? Could he really be the first in his family to graduate? Luckily, his wife also believed in him and supported his decision to attend first grade. Aaron asked his wife and manager to keep his college enrollment a secret. He didn't want others to know if he failed.

Aaron was nervous on his first day of school. He was older than the other students and never thought of himself as college material. However, with hard work and determination, he did very well in the class. Still doubting himself, he enrolled in a different class. Once again he did very well. As his self-doubt began to fade, he took more and more classes. Before he knew it, he was walking across the stage to receive a bachelor's degree with honors. The ceremony seemed unreal to Aaron. He couldn't believe he had finished college, which had previously seemed like an impossible task.

Shortly after graduating, Aaron was admitted to a graduate program at a highly respected university, where he earned a master's degree. Not only was he the first in his family to attend college, but he also earned a bachelor's degree. Inspired by Aaron's success, his wife enrolled in a technical college, earned a nursing degree, and became a registered nurse, working in the labor and childbirth department at a local hospital. Aaron and his wife rose through the ranks in their respective fields and became leaders in their organizations. They embodied the American dream - they worked hard and it paid off.

This story may sound familiar to you. After all, almost one in three freshman college students is a first-generation applicant, and it's well documented that not many are as successful as Aaron. According to the Center for StudentOpportunity, a national nonprofit, 89% of first-generation students will not earn a bachelor's degree within six years of starting school. In fact, these students “drop out of college four times as often as their peers whose parents have college degrees” (Center for Student Opportunity cited in Huot 2014).

Why are students whose parents are college graduates more likely to graduate than students whose parents are non-graduates? This question and many others will be answered when we examine social stratification.

9.1 What is social stratification?

Figure 9.2 At the top of the workforce, the people with the most power rise to the top. These people make the decisions and make the most money. Most Americans will never see the view from the top. (Photo courtesy of Alex Proimos/flickr)

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Sociologists use the term social stratification to describe the social position system. Social stratification refers to a society's categorization of its people into socioeconomic level classifications based on factors such as wealth, income, race, education, and power.

You may remember the word "stratification" from geology class. The different vertical layers in the rock, called stratification, are a good way to visualize social structure. The strata of society are made up of people, and the resources of society are unevenly distributed among the strata. People who have more resources form the top layer of the social structure of stratification. Other groups of people with fewer and fewer resources represent the lowest strata of our society.

Figure 9.3 Layers in the rock illustrate social stratification. People are sorted or stratified into social categories. Many factors determine a person's social position, such as income, education, occupation, but also age, race, gender and even physical abilities. (Photo courtesy of Just a Prairie Boy/flickr)

America likes to think that everyone has an equal chance of success. To some extent, Aaron exemplifies the belief that hard work and talent - not harmful treatment or social values ​​- determine social standing. This emphasis on self-effort sustains the belief that people control their own social position.

However, sociologists recognize that social stratification is a society-wide system that makes inequalities visible. While there are always inequalities between individuals, sociologists are interested in broader social patterns. Stratification is not about individual inequalities, but about systematic inequalities based on group membership, class, and the like. No individual, whether rich or poor, can be held responsible for social inequalities. The structure of society affects a person's social position. While individuals can support or combat inequalities, social stratification is created and supported by society as a whole.

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Figure 9.4 The people living in these houses are likely to have similar levels of income and education. Neighborhoods are often home to people of the same social class. Wealthy families do not typically live alongside poorer families, although this varies by city and country. (Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest/flickr)

The factors that define stratification vary in different societies. In most societies, stratification is an economic system based on wealth, the net value of money and assets a person owns, and on a person's income, wages, or dividends from investments. While people are routinely categorized by how rich or poor they are, other important factors affect social standing. For example, in some cultures, wisdom and charisma are valued, and people who possess them are revered more than those who don't. In some cultures older people are valued; in others, older people are belittled or neglected. Societies' cultural beliefs often reinforce stratification inequalities.

A key determinant of social standing is the social standing of our parents. Parents tend to pass their social status on to their children. People inherit not only social status, but also the cultural norms that come with a particular lifestyle. You share them with a network of friends and family. Social position becomes comfort zone, familiar lifestyle and identity. This is one of the reasons why first-generation college students don't do as well as other students.

Other determinants can be found in the occupational structure of a society. For example, teachers often have a high level of education but receive relatively low salaries. Many believe that teaching is a noble profession, so teachers should do their job for the love of their profession and for the benefit of their students - not for money. However, no successful executive or entrepreneur would adopt this attitude in the business world where profits are valued as the driving force. Cultural attitudes and beliefs like these sustain and perpetuate social inequalities.

Recent Economic Shifts and Stratification in the US As a result of the Great Recession that has rocked our nation's economy in recent years, many families and individuals are struggling like never before. The nation entered a period of persistent and exceptionally high unemployment. Although no one has been completely isolated from the recession, the lower classes have perhaps felt the effects the hardest. Before the recession, many lived paycheck to paycheck, or even comfortably. When the recession hit, they were often among the first to lose their jobs. Unable to find a replacement job, they faced more than lost income. Their homes were foreclosed, their cars confiscated, and their ability to pay for health care stolen. This has empowered many to choose between putting food on the table or filling out a necessary prescription.

While we're not quite out of the woods economically, there are several signs that we're on the mend. Many of those who suffered during the recession are back at work and busy rebuilding their lives. The AffordableHealth Care Act has brought health insurance to millions of people who lost it or never had it.

But the Great Recession, like the Great Depression, changed attitudes. Where it used to be important to show off wealth with expensive clothes like Calvin Klein shirts and Louis Vuitton shoes, there's a new, more frugal mindset today. It has become fashionable in many circles to be frugal. It's no longer about how much we spend, but how much we don't spend. Think shows like Extreme Couponing on TLC and songs like Macklemore's "Thrift Shop."

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Stratification Systems Sociologists distinguish two types of stratification systems. Closed systems hardly take into account changes in social position. They don't allow people to change planes, and they don't allow social relationships between planes. Open systems based on realizations allow movement and interaction between layers and classes. Different systems reflect, emphasize and promote specific cultural values ​​and shape individual beliefs. Stratification systems include class systems and caste systems, as well as meritocracy.

the caste system

Figure 9.5 India used to have a rigid caste system. People from the lowest caste suffered extreme poverty and were rejected by society. Some aspects of India's defunct caste system remain socially relevant. In this photo, an Indian woman of a certain Hindu caste works building, demolishing and building houses. (Photo courtesy of Elessar/flickr)

Caste systems are closed stratification systems in which people can do little or nothing to change their social position. The caste system is one in which people are born into their social position and remain there throughout their lives. Individuals are assigned occupations regardless of their talents, interests, or potential. There are practically no ways to improve a person's social position.

In the Hindu caste tradition, people were expected to work in their caste occupation and to marry according to their caste. Accepting this social position was considered a moral duty. Cultural values ​​reinforced the system. Caste systems encourage belief in fate, destiny, and the will of a higher power, rather than promoting individual freedom as a value. A person living in a caste society was socialized to accept their social position.

Although the caste system has been officially abolished in India, its residual presence is ingrained in Indian society. Aspects of tradition are more likely to be preserved in rural areas, while urban centers show less evidence of this past. In the largest cities of India, people now have more options to choose their own career and marriage partner.

the class system

A class system is based on social factors and individual achievement. A class consists of a group of people who share similar status in terms of factors such as wealth, income, education, and occupation. Unlike caste systems, class systems are open. People are free to pursue a different level of education or employment than their parents. They can also bond and marry members of other classes, allowing people to move from one class to another.

In a class system, occupation is not determined at birth. While family and other social models help guide a person toward a career, personal choices play a role.

In class systems, people have the option of exogamous marriages, unions of spouses from different social categories. Marriage in these circumstances is based on values ​​such as love and compatibility rather than social or economic standing. While there are still social conformities that encourage people to choose mates within their own class, people are not as pressured to choose mates based on these elements alone. Marriage to a partner of the same social background is an endogamous union.

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate


Meritocracy is an ideal system based on the belief that social stratification is the result of personal effort - or merit - that determines social position. A high level of effort leads to a high social standing and vice versa. The concept of meritocracy is an ideal - for there has never been a society in which social position was based solely on merit. Due to the complex structure of societies, processes such as socialization and the reality of economic systems, social position is influenced by several factors - not just earnings. For example, inheritance and pressure to conform disrupt the notion of pure meritocracy. Although meritocracy never existed, sociologists see aspects of meritocracies in modern societies when examining the role of academic and professional achievement and the systems in place for evaluating and rewarding achievement in these areas.

Status Consistency Social stratification systems determine social position based on factors such as income, education, and occupation. Sociologists use the term status consistency to describe a person's consistency or lack of such ranking in relation to these factors. Caste systems correlate with high status consistency, while the looser class system has lower status consistency.

Let's consider Susan for illustration. Susan finished high school but did not go to college. This factor is a characteristic of the lower middle class. He began with landscape maintenance, which, like manual labour, is also a characteristic of the lower or even lower middle class. However, over time, Susan opened her own company. She hired employees. She won larger orders. She became an entrepreneur and earned a lot of money. These characteristics represent the upper middle class. There are discrepancies between Susan's level of education, her job and her income. In a class system, a person can work hard and have little education and still be in the middle or upper class, while this would not be possible in a caste system. In a class system, low status consistency is associated with more choices and opportunities.

The commoner who could be queen

Figure 9.6 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who would become King of England, married Catherine Middleton, a so-called commoner, meaning that she has no royal ancestry. (Photo courtesy of UK_repsome/flickr)

On April 29, 2011, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge married Catherine Middleton, a commoner, in London, England. It is rare, though not uncommon, for a member of the British royal family to marry a commoner. KateMiddleton hails from an upper class background but has no royal ancestry. His father was a former flight dispatcher and his mother was a former flight attendant and owner of Party Pieces. According to Grace Wong's 2011 article entitled "Kate Middleton: A Family Business That Built a Princess," "[the] business grew to the point where [her father] quit his job ... a pop outfit came out." a shed … . for a development to be operated from three converted farm buildings in Berkshire." Kate and William met when they were both students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland (Köhler 2010).

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The British monarchy emerged in the Middle Ages. Their social hierarchy placed kings at the top and commoners at the bottom. This was generally a closed system with people born into positions of nobility. Wealth was passed from generation to generation through birthright, a law declaring that all property would be inherited by the eldest son. If the family was childless, the land went to the closest male relative. Women could not inherit property and their social position was primarily determined by marriage.

The arrival of the Industrial Revolution changed Britain's social fabric. Citizens moved to the cities, got jobs and had better lives. Gradually, people found new ways to increase their wealth and power. Today government is a constitutional monarchy with the prime minister and other ministers elected to their posts, and the role of the royal family is largely ceremonial. The old distinctions between nobility and commoners have been blurred, and the modern class system in Britain resembles that in the United States (McKee 1996).

Even today, the royal family has wealth, power and a lot of attention. When Queen Elizabeth II retires or dies, Prince Charles will be the first to ascend the throne. If he abdicates (not becomes king) or dies, the post goes to Prince William. In this case, Kate Middleton will be named Queen Catherine and will take the position of Queen Consort. She will be one of the few queens in history to have a university degree (Marquand 2011).

There's a lot of societal pressure on her not only to act like royalty, but also to have kids. In fact, on July 22, 2013, Kate and Prince William welcomed their first child, Prince George, and are expecting their second child. The royal family recently changed their inheritance laws to allow daughters and not just sons to ascend the throne. Kate's experience - from commoner to potential queen - demonstrates the fluidity of social position in modern society.

9.2 Social Class and Mobility in the United States Most sociologists define social class as a grouping based on similar social factors such as wealth, income, education, and occupation. These factors affect how much power and prestige a person has. Social stratification reflects an unequal distribution of resources. In most cases, having more money means having more power or more opportunity. Stratification can also arise from physical and mental traits. Categories that affect social standing include family lineage, race, ethnicity, age, and gender. In the United States, rank can also be defined by characteristics such as IQ, athletic ability, appearance, soft skills, and achievements.

Standard of Living Over the past century, the United States has experienced a steady rise in its standard of living, the level of wealth available to a given socioeconomic class to acquire the material needs and comforts to sustain their lifestyle. Living standards are based on factors such as income, employment, class, poverty rates and housing affordability. Because standard of living is closely related to quality of life, it can take into account factors such as the ability to buy a home, own a car, and take vacations.

In the United States, a small fraction of the population has the means to enjoy the highest standard of living. A Federal Reserve Bank study shows that just 1 percent of the population owns a third of our nation's wealth (Kennickell 2009). Wealthy people get more education, have better health, and consume more goods and services. Rich people also have decision-making power. Many people think of the United States as a "middle-class society." They think that some people are rich, few are poor and most are wealthy and live in the middle of the social class. But as the study cited above shows, there is no equal distribution of wealth. Millions of women and men are struggling to pay rent, buy groceries, find jobs and basic health care. Women who are single heads of household tend to have lower incomes and living standards than their married or male counterparts. This is a global phenomenon known as the “feminization of poverty” – which recognizes that women make up a disproportionately large majority of people living in poverty around the world.

In the United States, as in most high-income countries, social class and living standards are based in part on occupation (Lin and Xie 1988). In addition to the obvious impact that income has on living standards, occupations also affect social status through the relative prestige they confer. Employment in medicine, law or technology gives a high priority. Teachers and police officers are generally respected, although not viewed as particularly. At the other end of the scale, some of the lowest ratings are for jobs like waitressing, janitors, and bus drivers.

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The biggest threat to the relatively high standard of living we are used to in the United States is the decline of the middle class. The size, income, and wealth of the middle class has been in decline since the 1970s, at a time when corporate profits have risen by more than 141% and CEO salaries by more than 298% (Popken 2007).

G. William Domhoff of the University of California, Santa Cruz reports that “In 2010, the richest 1% of households (the upper class) owned 35.4% of all private wealth, and the next 19% (the , freelance, and small business class ) had 53.5%, meaning that only 20% of people owned a remarkable 89% and only 11% of wealth was left to the poorest 80% (wage and white-collar workers)” (Domhoff 2013).

Although several economic factors can be improved in the United States (unequal distribution of income and wealth, feminization of poverty, stagnant wages for most workers while executive wages and profits are rising, the middle class is in decline), we have Luckily, the poverty experienced here is mostly relative poverty rather than absolute poverty. While absolute poverty is deprivation severe enough to threaten survival, relative poverty means not having the means to live the lifestyle of an average citizen in one's own country.

As a wealthy and developed country, the United States has the resources to meet the basic needs of those in need through a variety of federal and state welfare programs. Perhaps the best known of these programs is the SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. (This was formerly known as the food stamp program.)

The program began during the Great Depression when unsaleable or surplus food was distributed to the hungry. It wasn't until 1961 that President John F. Kennedy started a pilot food stamp program. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, was instrumental in passing the Food Stamp Act in 1964. In 1965, over 500,000 people received food stamps. In March 2008, at the abyss of the Great Recession, around 28 million people were present. During the recession, that number rose to over 40 million (USDA).

Social Classes in the United States

Figure 9.7 Does taste or fashion sense indicate class? Can you tell if this young man is upper, middle or lower class? (Photo courtesy of Kelly Bailey/flickr)

Does a person's appearance indicate class? Can you tell a man's level of education by his clothes? Do you know a woman's income by the car she drives?

For sociologists, class categorization is a fluid science. Sociologists generally distinguish three class levels in the United States: upper, middle, and lower class. Within each class there are many subcategories. Wealth is the most important means of class differentiation because wealth can be transmitted to children and perpetuates the class structure. An economist, J.D. Foster defines the top 20% of US citizens as "highest income" and the bottom 20% as "lowest income". The remaining 60% of the population make up the middle class. But through this distinction, the annual household income of the middle class ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 (Mason and Sullivan 2010).

A sociological perspective distinguishes classes in part according to their relative power and control over their lives. Not only does the upper class have power and control over their own lives, but their social status gives them power and control over the lives of others. The middle class does not generally control other classes of society, but its members do exercise control over their own lives. In contrast, the lower class has little control over their work or life. Next we will examine the main sections of the American social class and their main sub-categories.

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high class

Figure 9.8 Upper class people can live, work, and play in exclusive places designed for luxury and comfort. (Photo courtesy of

The upper class is considered the highest, and only the powerful elite get to see the view from there. In the United States, people with extreme wealth make up 1% of the population and own a third of the nation's wealth (Beeghley 2008).

Not only does money give access to material goods, it also gives access to a great deal of power. As corporate leaders, members of the upper class make decisions that affect the employment status of millions of people. As owners of the media, they influence the collective identity of the nation. They operate major television stations, radio programs, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses and sports franchises. As board members of the most influential colleges and universities, they shape cultural attitudes and values. As philanthropists, they set up foundations to support the social causes they believe in. As campaigners, they influence politicians and fund campaigns, sometimes to protect their own economic interests.

US society has historically made a distinction between "old money" (inherited wealth passed from one generation to the next) and "new money" (wealth you earned and built yourself). Although both types may have the same net worth, they traditionally occupy different social positions. Old-money people who have been firmly anchored in the upper class for generations are held in high esteem. Their families have socialized them to the customs, norms, and expectations that come with wealth. The very rich often don't work for a salary. Some study business administration or become lawyers to manage family wealth. Others, like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, take advantage of being a wealthy socialite and turn that into celebrity status by flaunting a wealthy lifestyle.

However, the new members of the upper class do not follow the customs and customs of the elite. They didn't go to the most exclusive schools. They didn't socialize for old money. People with new money can flaunt their wealth, buying sports cars and mansions, but they can still exhibit behaviors attributed to the middle and lower classes.

the middle class

Figure 9.9 These club members probably describe themselves as middle class. (Photo courtesy United Way Canada-Centraide Canada/flickr)

Many people describe themselves as middle class, but there are different ideas about what that means. People making $150,000 a year identify themselves as middle class, as do people making $30,000 a year. This helps explain why the middle class in the United States is divided into upper and lower subcategories.

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Upper-middle class people typically have bachelor's and master's degrees. They studied subjects such as economics, management, law or medicine. Members of the lower middle class earn bachelor's degrees from four-year colleges or associate degrees from two-year community or technical colleges.

Comfort is a key concept for the mid-range. Middle class people work hard and live very comfortable lives. Upper-middle class people tend to pursue careers with comfortable incomes. They provide their families with big houses and nice cars. You can go skiing or boating on vacation. Their children receive quality education and health care (Gilbert 2010).

In the lower-middle class, people have jobs that are overseen by members of the upper-middle class. They fill positions in technical, lower management or administrative support. Compared to lower-middle-class jobs, lower-middle-class jobs have more prestige and come with slightly larger paychecks. With this income, people can lead decent, conventional lifestyles but struggle to maintain them. They typically don't have enough income to amass significant savings. Additionally, their control of class status is more precarious than at the higher levels of the class system. When budgets are tight, lower middle class people often lose their jobs.

the underclass

Figure 9.10 This man is a janitor in a restaurant. His work, which is fundamental to business, is considered low class. (Photo courtesy of Frederick Md Publicity/flickr)

The lower class is also called the working class. Like the middle and upper classes, the lower class can be divided into subgroups: the working class, the poor working class, and the lower class. Compared to the lower middle class, people from the lower class have a lower educational background and earn less. They work in jobs that require little prior knowledge or experience, often performing routine tasks under close supervision.

People from the working class, the highest level of the lower class, usually get decent jobs in areas like child custody or food service. The work is practical and often physically demanding, such as landscaping, cooking, cleaning or building.

Among the working class are the working poor. Like the working class, they have unskilled, low-paying jobs. However, their jobs rarely offer benefits such as health care or retirement benefits, and their positions are often seasonal or temporary. They work as sharecroppers, migrant agricultural workers, cleaners and day labourers. Some dropped out of high school. Some are illiterate and cannot read job advertisements.

How can people work full time and still be poor? Even when working full-time, millions of working poor do not earn enough to support a family. The minimum wage varies from state to state, but in many states it is approaching $8.00 an hour (Department of Labor 2014). At that rate, a 40-hour week is $320, or $16,640 per year before taxes and deductions. Even for a single person, the salary is low. A couple with children will find it difficult to cover the costs.

Subclass is the lowest level in the United States. Members of the lower class mostly live in the inner cities. Many are unemployed or underemployed. Those who have work often do menial work for little pay. Some of the lower class are homeless. For many, welfare systems provide much-needed support through food assistance, medical care, shelter and the like.

Social mobility Social mobility refers to the ability to change position within a system of social stratification. When people increase or decrease their economic status in ways that affect social class, they experience social mobility.

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

People can experience upward or downward social mobility for a variety of reasons. Ascending mobility refers to an increase - or upward change - in social class. In the United States, people applaud the achievements of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez or Michael Jordan. Bestselling author Stephen King worked as a janitor prior to his publication. Oprah Winfrey grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi before becoming an influential media personality. There are many stories of people who have risen to fame and fortune from humble beginnings. But the truth is that relative to the total population, the number of people moving from poverty to wealth is very small. Still, rising isn't just about getting rich and famous. In the United States, people who graduate from college, get a promotion, or marry someone with a good income can move up the social ladder. In contrast, downward mobility indicates downgrading in one's own social class. Some people crash because of business setbacks, unemployment, or illness. Dropping out of school, losing your job or getting divorced can lead to a loss of income or status and thus social decline.

It is not uncommon for different generations of a family to belong to different social classes. This is known as intergenerational mobility. For example, an upper-class executive might have middle-class parents. These parents, in turn, may have grown up in the lower class. Cross-generational mobility patterns can reflect long-term social changes.

Likewise, intragenerational mobility describes a difference in social class between different members of the same generation. For example, a person's wealth and prestige can differ greatly from that of their siblings.

Structural mobility occurs when social changes allow a whole group of people to move up or down the social ladder. Structural mobility is attributable to changes in society as a whole, not to individual changes. In the first half of the 20th century, industrialization expanded the US economy, raising living standards and leading to upward structural mobility. In today's labor economy, the recent recession and the offshoring of jobs abroad have contributed to high unemployment rates. Many people have experienced economic setbacks that have triggered a wave of structural downward mobility.

When analyzing trends and movements in social mobility, sociologists consider all modes of mobility. Scientists recognize that mobility is not as common or as easy to achieve as many people think. In fact, some consider social mobility to be a myth.

Class Characteristics Class characteristics, also called class marks, are the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class. Class characteristics indicate a person's exposure to a variety of cultures. Class traits also indicate how much resources a person must expend on things like hobbies, vacations, and recreational activities.

People might associate the upper class with enjoying expensive, refined, or highly sophisticated tastes—expensive clothes, luxury cars, fancy fundraisers, and lavish vacations. People may also think that the middle and lower classes are more likely to enjoy camping, fishing or hunting, shopping at major retailers, and participating in community activities. While these descriptions can identify class features, they can also simply be stereotypes. Furthermore, class characteristics, like class distinctions, have blurred in recent decades. A very rich person might enjoy bowling as much as opera. A factory worker might be an experienced French chef. A billionaire can wear ripped jeans and a low-income college student can wear designer shoes.

Turn-of-the-Century “Social Problem Novels”: Sociological Goldmines Class distinctions were sharper in the 19th century and earlier, in part because people accepted them so easily. The ideology of the social order made the class structure seem natural, correct, and just.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American and British writers played an important role in changing public perceptions. They published novels in which characters fought to survive against a ruthless class system. These dissident writers used gender and morality to challenge the class system and expose its inequalities. They protested against the sufferings of urbanization and industrialization and drew attention to these problems.

Sometimes referred to as Victorian realism, these "novels about social problems" placed middle-class readers in an uncomfortable position: they had to question and challenge the natural order of social class.

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The authors have been both praised and criticized for speaking so strongly about the class's social issues. Most authors did not want to dissolve the class system. They wanted to create an awareness that would improve conditions for the lower classes while maintaining their own upper class positions (DeVine 2005).

Soon bourgeois readers were no longer the only audience. In 1870, the Forster Elementary Education Act made schooling compulsory for all children aged five to twelve in England and Wales. The law increased literacy among the urban poor, leading to a surge in sales of cheap newspapers and magazines. The growing number of people using public transport created a demand for what has been called “railway literature” (Williams 1984). These reading materials are credited with taking the step towards democratization in England. By 1900, the British middle class had established a rigid definition of itself, and the English working class were also beginning to recognize and demand a better way of life.

Many of the novels of this period are considered sociological gold mines. They are studied as existing sources because they describe the customs and customs of the upper, middle, and lower classes of that time in history.

Examples of novels about "social problems" include The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1838) by Charles Dickens, which shocked readers with its brutal portrayal of the realities of poverty, vice and crime. Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) was considered revolutionary by critics for its portrayal of working-class women (DeVine, 2005), and American writer Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900) portrayed an accurate and detailed account of the early Chicago.

9.3 Global stratification and inequality

(a) (b)

Figure 9.11 A family lives in this thatched hut in Ethiopia. Another family lives in a single-width trailer at the trailer park in the United States. Both families are considered poor or lower class. With such differences in global stratification, what constitutes poverty? (Photo (a) courtesy of CannedMuffins/flickr; Photo (b) courtesy of Herb Neufeld/flickr)

Global stratification compares the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries around the world. Global stratification reveals global patterns of social inequality.

In the early years of civilization, hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies lived off the land and rarely interacted with other societies. As explorers began to travel, societies began trading goods, ideas, and customs.

In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution created unprecedented wealth in Western Europe and North America. Because of mechanical inventions and new means of production, people began to work in factories - not only men, but also women and children. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrial technology gradually increased the standard of living for many people in the United States and Europe.

The Industrial Revolution also saw the emergence of huge inequalities between industrialized and non-industrialized countries. While some nations have embraced technology and increased wealth and wealth, others have retained their customs; As the gap widened, non-developed countries fell behind. Some social researchers, such as Walt Rostow, suggest that inequality is also due to differences in power. From a conflict theory perspective, he argues that industrialized nations made use of the resources of traditional nations. As industrialized nations became rich, other nations became poor (Rostov 1960).

Sociologists who study global stratification look at economic comparisons between nations. Income, purchasing power and wealth are used to calculate global stratification. Global stratification also compares the quality of life that a country's population can have.

Poverty rates vary greatly. The poor in rich countries like the US or Europe are much better off than the poor in less industrialized countries like Mali or India. In 2002, the UN implemented the

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Millennium Project, an attempt to reduce global poverty by 2015. To achieve the project's goal, planners estimated in 2006 that developed nations should set aside 0.7% of their gross national income - the sum of the country's goods and services, plus or minus income received and transferred to other nations - to in developing countries (Landler and Sanger, 2009; Millennium Project 2006).

Global Stratification Models

Figure 9.12 Luxury resorts can contribute to the economy of a poorer country. This one in Jamaica attracts middle and upper class people from more affluent nations. The resort is a source of income and employment for local people. Outside its borders, however, there are impoverished neighborhoods. (Photo courtesy of gailf548/flickr)

Several global stratification models have one thing in common: they rank countries according to their relative economic status, or gross national product (GNP). Traditional models, now considered obsolete, used labels to describe the stratification of different areas of the world. Simply put, they were called "First World", "Second World" and "Third World". First and Second World referred to industrialized nations, while Third World referred to “underdeveloped” countries (Henslin 2004). One can still come across these terms when researching existing historical sources, and some peoples are still referred to as “Third World” today.

Another model divides countries into two groups: more developed and less developed. More developed nations are more prosperous, such as Canada, Japan, and Australia. Less developed nations have less wealth to distribute among higher populations, including many countries in Central Africa, South America, and some island nations.

Another global ranking system defines countries based on gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, a country's average national wealth per person. GDP is calculated (usually annually) in two ways: by summing the incomes of all citizens, or by the value of all goods and services produced in the country during the year. This also includes government spending. Since GDP indicates a country's productivity and output, comparing GDP ratios helps determine a country's economic health relative to other countries.

Numbers also determine a country's standard of living. According to this analysis, a middle-income GDP pattern represents a global average. In low-income countries, most people are poor compared to people in other countries. Citizens have little access to amenities such as electricity, sanitation, and clean water. People in low-income countries have no guaranteed education and many are illiterate. Life expectancy of citizens is lower than in high-income countries.

The Big Picture: Calculating Global Stratification Some organizations undertake the task of comparing the wealth of nations. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is one of them. In addition to focusing on population data, the PRB also publishes an annual report that measures population

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economic prosperity of all countries in the world. It's called Gross National Income (GNI) and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

GNI measures the current value of goods and services produced by a country. PPP measures the relative power a country has to buy the same goods and services. GNI refers to production output and PPP to purchasing power. The total is divided by the number of residents living in a country to find the median income of a resident of that country.

Because the cost of goods and services varies from country to country, GNI PPP converts the figures to a relative international unit. Calculating GNI PPP figures helps researchers accurately compare countries' living standards. They allow the United Nations and the Population Reference Office to compare and rank the wealth of all countries and account for issues of international stratification (

9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification Basketball is one of the best-paid professional sports. There is even stratification between teams. For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves pay the lowest annual payroll, while the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly pay the highest. Lakers point guard Kobe Bryant is one of the highest paid athletes in the NBA, earning an estimated $30.5 million a year). Even within certain fields, levels are layered and items are sorted.

In sociology, even a topic like NBA salaries can be looked at from multiple angles. Functionalists will examine the purpose of such high wages, while conflict theorists will examine exorbitant wages as an unjust distribution of money. Social stratification takes on new meanings when examined from different sociological perspectives - functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.

Functionalism In sociology, the functionalist perspective examines how parts of society function. According to functionalism, different aspects of society exist because they serve a necessary purpose. What is the function of social stratification?

In 1945, sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore published the Davis–Moore thesis, which argued that the greater the functional importance of a social role, the greater the reward should be. The theory posits that social class accounts for the inherently unequal value of different jobs. Certain tasks in society are more valuable than others. Qualified individuals to hold these positions should be rewarded more than others.

According to Davis and Moore, a firefighter's job is more important than, say, a grocery store cashier. The cashier's position does not require the same skills and level of training as firefighting. Without the incentive of higher wages and better benefits, why would anyone be willing to encounter burning buildings? At the same salary levels, the firefighter could just as easily work as a supermarket cashier. Davis and Moore believed that rewarding more important work with higher income, prestige, and power encouraged people to work harder and longer.

Davis and Moore contended that in most cases, the level of skill required for a job determines the importance of that job. They also indicated that the more skills required for a job, the less qualified people would do that job. Certain jobs, like cleaning hallways or answering phones, don't require much skill. Employees do not need a college degree. Other jobs, like designing a road network or delivering a baby, require immense skills.

In 1953 Melvin Tumin contradicted Davis-Moore's thesis in "Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis". Tumin asked what determines the importance of a work. Davis-Moore's thesis doesn't explain why a media personality with little education, skills or talent would become famous and rich on a reality show or campaign. Nor does the thesis explain inequalities in the educational system or inequalities by race or gender. Tumin believed that social class prevented qualified people from trying to fill roles (Tumin 1953). For example, an underprivileged youth is less likely to become a scientist, no matter how smart, because of the relatively few opportunities available to them. Nor does Davis-Moore's thesis explain why a basketball player makes millions of dollars a year while a doctor saves lives, a soldier fights for the rights of others, and a professor helps shape the minds of tomorrow to sculpt, it probably won't do in the future. course of their career.

The Davis-Moore thesis, although open to debate, was an early attempt to explain why stratification exists. The thesis states that social stratification is necessary to foster excellence, productivity and efficiency, and thereby give people something to aspire to. Davis and Moore believed that the system served society as a whole because it allowed everyone to benefit from it to some degree.

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conflict theory

Figure 9.13 These people are protesting a decision by the Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, to fire the janitors and outsource the jobs to a private company to avoid paying welfare. Private employment agencies usually pay lower hourly wages. Is the decision fair? (Photo courtesy of Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons)

Conflict theorists are deeply critical of social stratification, arguing that it only benefits some people, not society as a whole. For example, to a conflict theorist, it seems wrong that a basketball player earns millions for a year's contract while a public school teacher earns $35,000 a year. Stratification, conflict theorists believe, perpetuates inequality. Conflict theorists try to draw attention to inequalities, such as how a rich society can have so many poor members.

Many conflict theorists draw on the work of Karl Marx. During 19th-century industrialization, Marx believed that social stratification resulted from people's relationship to production. People were separated by a single line: they either owned factories or worked in them. In Marx's time, like today, bourgeois capitalists owned highly productive businesses, factories and land. Proletarians were workers who performed manual labor to produce goods. Upper-class capitalists made profits and grew rich, while working-class proletarians earned meager wages and struggled to survive. With such conflicting interests, the two groups were separated by differences in wealth and power. Marx' locksmiths experience deep alienation, loneliness and misery due to powerless status levels (Marx 1848). Marx argued that the proletarians were oppressed by the money-hungry bourgeois.

Although working conditions have improved, conflict theorists today assume that the tense working relationship between employers and employees still exists. Capitalists own the means of production and there is a system to make employers rich and workers poor. According to conflict theorists, the resulting stratification leads to class conflict. Had he been alive in today's economy, recovering from a protracted recession, Marx would likely have argued that the recession resulted from the greed of the capitalists gratified at the expense of the workers.

Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism is a theory that uses the everyday interactions of individuals to explain society as a whole. Symbolic interactionism examines stratification from a micro-level perspective. This analysis attempts to explain how people's social position affects their day-to-day interactions.

In most communities, people primarily interact with others who have the same social status. Precisely because of social class, people tend to live, work, and associate with their peers of the same income level, educational background, or race, and even tastes in food, music, and dress. The internal system of social stratification groups people. This is one of the reasons why it was rare for a royal prince like Prince William of England to marry a commoner.

Symbolic interactionists also note that people's appearance reflects their perceived social position. Housing, clothing, and transportation indicate social status, as do hairstyles, taste in accessories, and personal style.

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caste system:


class system:

class brand male:

auffälliger Verbrauch:


downward mobility:

Endogamous marriages:

(Video) What Is Sociology?: Crash Course Sociology #1

exogamous unions:

global stratification:


Cross-generational mobility:

intragenerational mobility:




Figure 9.14 (a) A group of construction workers at the construction site and (b) a group of business people. What stratification categories do these construction workers share? How do construction workers differ from managers or gatekeepers? Who is more competent? Who has the most respect in society? (Photo (a) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy of Chun Kit/flickr)

In order to symbolically communicate social status, people often engage in conspicuous consumption, i. H. the purchase and use of certain products to make a social statement of status. Carrying expensive but eco-friendly bottled water can indicate a person's social standing. Some people buy fashionable expensive sneakers even though they never wear them for running or sports. A $17,000 car provides transportation just as easily as a $100,000 vehicle, but the luxury car makes a social statement that the cheaper car cannot. All of these layering symbols are worth exploring by an interactionist.

chapter overview

Key Terms a system in which people are born into a social position that they will maintain throughout their lives

a group that shares a common social status based on factors such as wealth, income, education, and occupation

social position due to social factors and individual achievements

the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class (also called class markers)

the act of buying and using products to make a statement about one's social position

a thesis that argues that some social stratification is a social necessity

social class demotion

Association of people of the same social category

Unions of spouses from different social classes

a comparison of the wealth, economic stability, status and power of countries as a whole

the money a person earns through work or investments

a difference in social class between different generations of a family

a difference in social class between different members of the same generation

an ideal system in which personal effort - or merit - determines social position

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social mobility:

social stratification:

standard of living:

State Consistency:

structural mobility:

Ascension Mobility:


a law stating that all property passes to the eldest son

the ability to change position within a system of social stratification

a socioeconomic system that ranks members of society from high to low based on such things as wealth, power, and prestige

the wealth available to acquire material goods and amenities to sustain a particular socioeconomic lifestyle

the consistency, or lack thereof, of a person's classification into social categories such as income, education, and occupation

a social change that allows a whole group of people to move up or down the class scale

an increase - or upward change - in social class

the value of money and property owned by a person, for example inheritance

Summary section

9.1 What is social stratification? Stratification systems are either closed, meaning they allow little change in social position, or open, meaning they allow movement and interaction between strata. A caste system is one in which social position is based on assigned status or birth. Class systems are open, with achievement playing a role in social standing. People are divided into classes based on factors such as wealth, income, education and occupation. Meritocracy is a system of social stratification that bestows position based on personal worth and rewarded effort.

9.2 Social Class and Mobility in the United States In the United States there are three main classes: upper class, middle class and lower class. Social mobility describes the change from one social class to another. Class traits, also called class markers, are the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class.

9.3 Global stratification and inequality Global stratification compares the wealth, economic stability, status and power of countries as a whole. By comparing income and productivity across nations, researchers can better identify global inequalities.

9.4 Theoretical perspectives on social stratification Social stratification can be studied from different sociological perspectives - functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. The functionalist perspective holds that systems exist in society for good reasons. Conflict theorists note that stratification promotes inequality, for example between rich entrepreneurs and poor workers. Symbolic interactionists study stratification from a micro-level perspective. They examine how social position affects people's everyday interactions and how the concept of "social class" is constructed and maintained through everyday interactions.

The section questionnaire

9.1 What is social stratification?1. What factor makes caste systems closed?

one. They are run by secret governments. b. People cannot change their social position.c. Most have been banned. i.e. They are only found in rural areas.

2. What makes class systems open? They allow movement between classes.b. People are more open-minded.c. People are encouraged to socialize within their class.

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i.e. They don't have clearly defined layers.

3. Which of these systems allows for greater social mobility? That. Casteb. Monarchical. endoamide. Class

4. Who best exemplifies career advancement opportunities in the United States? That. Factory workers on the first shift. First generation college student First born son to inherit family business. First-time respondent being hired for a job

5. Which statement shows low status consistency? That. A suburban family lives in a modest farmhouse and enjoys a great vacation every summer. B. A single mother receives food stamps and struggles to find a suitable job.c. A college dropout starts an online business that makes millions in its first year.d. A famous actress owns houses in three countries.

6. Based on meritocracy, a physician assistant: a. receive the same salary as all other medical assistants. be encouraged to pursue higher degrees in order to gain a better position c. will probably marry a pro of the same level. deserve a raise for a great job

9.2 Stratification and social mobility in the United States7. In the United States, most people define themselves as:

one. middle classb. high class. underclass d. no specific class

8. Structural mobility occurs when: a. a person climbs the ladder of class b. a person descends the classic ladder. A large group moves up or down the class scale due to social changes. a family member belongs to a different class than its siblings

9. The behaviors, customs and norms associated with a class are known as: a. class features b. performance prestigious. Subclass

10. Which of the following scenarios is an example of intragenerational mobility? That. A janitor belongs to the same social class as his grandmother. B. A leader belongs to a different class than their parents. c. An editor shares the same social class as his cousin.d. A lawyer belongs to a different class than her sister.

11. Professional prestige means that jobs: a. all the same in statusb. are not equivalent. assigned to a person for life. not part of a person's self-identity

9.3 Global stratification and inequality12. Social stratification is a system that:

one. classifies members of society into categoriesb. destroys competition between members of societyc. allows members of society to choose their social position

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i.e. reflects the personal decisions of members of society

13. Which graphic concept best illustrates the concept of social stratification? That. pie chart b. flagpole. planetary motion d. pyramid

14. The GNI PPP value stands for: a. the entire accumulated wealth of a state. annual government spending c. the average annual income of a country's citizens. debt of a country

9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification15. The basic premise of the Davis-Moore thesis is that the unequal distribution of rewards across social class:

one. it is an antiquated mode of social organizationb. it is an artificial reflection of society. serves a purpose in society. cannot be justified

16. Unlike Davis and Moore, Melvin Tumin believed that because of social class, few qualified individuals held higher positions.

one. denied the opportunity, b. encourages strength training. often fired by d. forced to enter

17. Which statement represents layering from the perspective of symbolic interactionism? That. Men often earn more than women, even if they have the same job.b. After work, Pat, a janitor, prefers to eat at a rest stop than in a French restaurant.c. Doctors make more money because their work is more valued.d. Teachers continue to struggle to maintain benefits like health insurance.

18. When Karl Marx said that workers experience alienation, he meant that workers: a. must work alone, without companyb. don't feel connected to their work. move from one geographic location to another. have to make an effort to move forward

19. Conflict theorists see capitalists as those who: a. are ambitious Fund welfare c. spend money wisely. get rich while workers stay poor

Short answer

9.1 What is social stratification?1. Track the social stratification of your family tree. Does the social status of your parents differ from that of your grandparents and great-grandparents? What social traits were passed down from your ancestors? Have there been exogamous marriages in your history? Does your family have status consistency or inconsistency?

2. What defines communities with low status consistency? What are the positive and negative effects of low status consistency cultures? Try to think of concrete examples to support your ideas.

3. Check the concept of stratification. Now select a group of people that you have observed and to which you belong - for example cousins, school friends, classmates, sports teammates or work colleagues. How does the structure of your chosen social group fit the concept of stratification?

9.2 Social Stratification and Mobility in the United States

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4. Which social class do you and your family belong to? Are you in a different social class than your grandparents and great-grandparents? Does your class differ from your social position, and if so, how? Which aspects of your social situation do you assign to a social class?

5. What class characteristics define your peer group? For example, what language patterns or clothing trends do you share with your friends? What cultural elements, such as taste in music or hobbies, define your circle of friends? How do you think these class features differ from other classes above or below yours?

6. Write a list of ten to twenty class features that describe the environment of your creation. Which ones look like real class features and which ones like stereotypes? Which items could fall into both categories? How do you imagine a sociologist who would approach the merging of class characteristics and stereotypes?

9.3 Global stratification and inequality7. Why is it important to understand and be aware of global stratification? Make a list of questions specific to global stratification. For inspiration, tune in to a news channel or read the newspaper. Then select a topic from your list and take a closer look. Who is affected by this issue? Specifically, how is the problem related to global stratification?

8. Compare a family living in a thatched hut in Ethiopia with an American family living in a trailer home in the United States. Assuming both live at or below their country's established poverty line, how do family lifestyles and economic situations resemble and differ?

9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification9. Analyze the Davis-Moore thesis. Do you agree with Davis and Moore? Does social class play an important role in society? What examples can you think of that support the thesis? What examples can you think of that refute the thesis?

10. Consider social stratification from the symbolic-interactionist perspective. How does social stratification affect the everyday interactions of individuals? How do class systems, based on factors such as prestige, power, income, and wealth, affect your own everyday life, beliefs, and attitudes? Illustrate your ideas with specific examples and anecdotes from your own life and the lives of people in your community.

More research

9.1 What is social stratification? The New York Times examined social class in its Class Matters series of articles. The series' online tracking includes an interactive graph called "How Class Works," which presents four factors - occupation, education, income and wealth - and places a person within a specific class and percentile. Which class describes you? Test your class ranking on the interactive website:

9.2 Social Class and Mobility in the United States PBS made a documentary about social class called People Like Us: Social Class in America. The filmmakers interviewed people who lived in penthouses on Park Avenue and in trailer parks in the Appalachian Mountains. The accompanying website is filled with information, interactive games and life stories of the participants. Read about it at (

9.3 Global Stratification and InequalityNations Online describes itself as “among other things, a more or less objective guide through the world, a declaration for the peaceful and non-violent coexistence of nations”. The website offers a wealth of cultural, financial, historical and ethnic information about countries and peoples around the world: .


9.0 Introduction to Social Stratification in the United States Huot, Anne E. 2014. "A Commitment to Making College Accessible to the First Generation of College Students." HuffingtonPost. Retrieved December 22, 2014 (

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9.1 What is social stratification? Koehler, Nicholas. 2010. "An Unusual Princess." Maclean's, November 22nd. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( / ) ).

McKee, Victoria. 1996. "Blue Blood and the Color of Money." New York Times, June 9.

Marquend, Robert. 2011. "What Kate Middleton's Marriage to Prince William Could Do for Britain." Christian Science Monitor, April 15. Retrieved 9 January 2012 ( (http : // ).

Wong, Grace. 2011. "Kate Middleton: A Family Business That Built a Princess." CNN money. Retrieved December 22, 2014 (

9.2 Stratification and social mobility in the United StatesBeeghley, Leonard. 2008. The Structure of Social Stratification in the United States. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

De Vine, Christine. 2005. Gissing, James, Hardy und Wells 'Turn-of-the-Century Novel Class. London: Ashgate Publishing Co.

Domhoff, G.William. 2013. "Wealth, Income, and Power." Retrieved December 22, 2014 (

Gilbert, Dennis. 2010. The American Class Structure in Times of Rising Inequality. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Kennickell, Arthur B. 2009. Ponds and Streams: Wealth and Income in the U.S., 1989 to 2007. 7. Januar. Recuperado am 10. Januar 2012 ( /200913pap.pdf (

Lin, Nan, and Wen Xie. 1988. "Professional Prestige in Urban China". American Journal of Sociology 93(4):793–832.

Mason, Jeff and Andy Sullivan. 2010. “Factbox: What is Middle Class in the United States?” Reuters, September 14. Retrieved 29 August 2011 ( ( / 14/us-usa-taxes-middleclass-idUSTRE68D3QD20100914) ).

Popken, Ben. "CEO Salary 298%, Average Worker? 4.3% (1995-2005)", 2007, The Consumerist. Retrieved December 31, 2014 (

United States Department of Labor. 2014. “Wage and Hour Department: Minimum Wage Laws in the States – September 1, 2014.” Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( (http://www.

United States Department of Agriculture, 2013, Food and Nutrition Assistance Research Database: Overview. Retrieved December 31, 2014 (

Williams, Raymond. 1984 [1976]. Key words: cultural and social vocabulary. New York: Oxford University Press.

9.3 Global Stratification and the Millennium Inequality Project. 2006. “Increasing Budget to Meet Goals.” Millennium Project official website. Retrieved 9 January 2012 ( "Countries by Gross National Income (GNI)." Retrieved 9 January 2012 ( ( "GNI PPC per capita (US$)." World Population Data Sheet PRB 2011. 2011 Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( ( ) ).

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Rostow, Walt W. 1960. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Landler, Mark, and David E. Sanger. 2009. “World leaders pledge $1.1 trillion for crisis.” New York Times, April 3. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( ( / 03summit.html) ).

9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert E. Moore. "Some Principles of Stratification". American Sociological Review 10(2):242-249. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( ( LLC. 2014. "#15 Kobe Bryant." Retrieved December 22, 2014 (

MARX, Karl. 1848. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Retrieved January 9, 2012 ( ( manifest /) ).

Tumin, Melvin M. 1953. "Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis". American Sociological Review 18(4):387-394.


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10 Global Inequality

Figure 10.1 Current economic developments generally follow a similar pattern around the world, which can best be described as a growing gap between the rich and the poor. (Photo courtesy of Alicia Nijdam/Wikimedia Commons)

Learning goals10.1. Stratification and global classification

• Describe the global stratification

• Understand how different classification systems have evolved

• Use the terminology of Wallerstein's World Systems Approach

• Explain the World Bank's economic classification

10.2. Global Wealth and Poverty • Understand the differences between relative, absolute and subjective poverty

• Describe the economic situation in some of the poorest areas of the world

• Explain the cyclical effects of the consequences of poverty

10.3. Theoretical perspectives on global stratification • Describe modernization and dependency theory perspectives on global stratification

Introduction to global inequality The April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 people, was the deadliest garment factory accident in history and was preventable (International Labor Organization, Department of Communications 2014).

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In addition to the textile factories with around 5,000 employees, the building housed a bank, apartments, kindergartens and various shops. Many of them closed the day before the collapse when cracks were discovered in the building's walls. When some textile workers refused to enter the building, they were threatened with losing a month's salary. Most were young women in their twenties or younger. They typically worked more than thirteen hours a day, with two days off a month. For this work, they took home between 12 and 22 cents an hour, or $10.56 to $12.48 a week. Without this payment, most would not be able to feed their children. In contrast, the US federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and workers receive hourly wages if they work more than 40 hours per week.

Did you buy clothes at Walmart in 2012? What about the children's place? Have you ever thought about where these clothes come from? Thirty-two of the garments outsourced to garment factories were destined for American, Canadian, and European stores. After the collapse, it was revealed that Walmart's jeans were made at the EtherTex apparel factory on the fifth floor of the Rana Plaza building, while £120,000 of clothing for The Children'sPlace was made at the New Wave Style Factory, also located in the building . Subsequently, Walmart and The Children's Place pledged $1 million and $450,000, respectively, to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, but fifteen other companies with clothing made in the building did not contribute, including US companies Cato and J.C. Penney (Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights 2014).

As you read this chapter, think of the global system that allows US companies to outsource manufacturing to peripheral countries, where many women and children work in what some call slave labor. Do people in the United States have a responsibility to foreign workers? Should American corporations be held responsible for what happens to workers in the garment factories that make their clothes? What can you as a consumer do to help these workers?

10.1 Stratification and Global Ranking As the wealth of the United States is increasingly concentrated among its richest citizens while the middle class slowly disappears, global inequality concentrates resources in certain nations and severely impairs the opportunities of individuals in poorer and less powerful countries. In fact, a recent Oxfam report (2014) suggests that the world's 85 richest people are worth more than the poorest 3.5 billion combined. The GINI coefficient measures income inequality between countries on a 100-point scale, with 1 representing complete equality and 100 representing the greatest possible inequality. In 2007, the global GINI coefficient, which measures the wealth gap between the core nations of the world's north and the more peripheral nations of the world's south, was 75.5 percent (Korseniewicz and Moran 2009). But before we delve into the complexities of global inequality, let's consider how three important sociological perspectives can contribute to our understanding.

The functionalist perspective is a macroanalytical view that focuses on how all aspects of society are essential to the continued health and viability of the whole. A functionalist might focus on why we have global inequality and what social purposes it serves. This view might argue, for example, that we have global inequality because some nations are better than others at adapting to new technologies and benefiting from a globalized economy, and that if nations' core businesses are located in peripheral countries, they the local expands the economy and benefits workers. .

Conflict theory focuses on the creation and reproduction of inequality. A conflict theorist would likely be concerned with the systematic inequality that arises when core nations exploit the resources of peripheral nations. For example, how many US companies exploit foreign workers who lack constitutional protections and guaranteed minimum wages in the United States? This allows them to maximize their profits, but at what cost?

The symbolic interaction perspective examines the everyday effects of global inequality, the importance individuals attach to global stratification, and the subjective nature of poverty. Someone applying this view to global inequality would likely focus on understanding the difference between what someone living in a core nation defines as poverty (relative poverty, defined as the inability to support the lifestyle of an average citizen in to live in one's country) and where one lives a country on the periphery of a nation defined as poverty (absolute poverty defined as barely able or unable to meet basic needs such as food).

Global Stratification While stratification in the United States refers to the unequal distribution of resources between individuals, global stratification refers to this unequal distribution among nations. This stratification has two dimensions: gaps between nations and gaps within nations. When it comes to global inequality, both economic and social inequality can concentrate the burden of poverty on certain parts of the world's population (Myrdal 1970). As the chart below shows, people's life expectancy is highly dependent on where they were born.

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Table 10.1 Statistics such as infant mortality rates and life expectancy vary greatly by country of origin. (Central Intelligence 2011)

Child mortality rate of the country Life expectancy

Norway 2.48 deaths per 1,000 live births 81 years

United States 6.17 deaths per 1,000 live births 79 years

North Korea 24.50 deaths per 1,000 live births over age 70

Afghanistan 117.3 deaths per 1,000 live births 50 years

Most of us are used to thinking of global stratification as economic inequality. For example, we can compare the average salary of workers in the United States to the average salary in the United States. However, social inequality is just as harmful as economic differences. Prejudice and discrimination—be it against a particular race, ethnicity, religion, or the like—can create and reinforce economic equality, both within and between nations. Think of the inequality that has existed in the nation of South Africa for decades. Apartheid, one of the most extreme instances of institutionalized and legal racism, created a social inequality that brought global condemnation.

Gender inequality is another global problem. Consider the controversy surrounding female genital mutilation. Nations that practice this female circumcision procedure defend it as a longstanding cultural tradition in certain tribes and argue that the West should not interfere. However, Western nations condemn this practice and are working to stop it.

There are inequalities around the world based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to Amnesty International, a range of crimes are committed against people who do not fit into traditional gender roles or sexual orientations (albeit culturally defined). From culturally sanctioned rape to state-sanctioned executions, the abuses are severe. These legalized and culturally accepted forms of prejudice and discrimination exist everywhere – from the United States to Somalia and Tibet – and restrict individuals' freedom and often endanger their lives (Amnesty International 2012).

Global Classification A major concern in discussing global inequality is to avoid an ethnocentric bias that implies that less developed nations want to be like those who have achieved post-industrial global power. Terms such as developed (non-industrialized) and developed (industrialized) imply that non-industrialized countries are somehow inferior and must improve in order to successfully participate in the global economy, a designation that implies that all aspects of the economy transcend national boundaries. We have to be careful how we demarcate different countries. Over time, terminology has changed to make way for a broader view of the world.

Cold War terminology

Cold War terminology was developed during the Cold War era (1945-1980). Familiar and still used by many, it classifies countries into First World, Second World, and Third World nations based on their respective economic development and standard of living. When this nomenclature was developed, capitalist democracies such as the United States and Japan were considered part of the First World. The poorest and most underdeveloped countries were referred to as the Third World and included most of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. The Second World was the middle category: nations not as developmentally limited as the Third World but not as prosperous as the First World, with moderate economies and living standards, like China or Cuba. Later, the sociologist Manual Castells (1998) added the term “Fourth World” to refer to stigmatized minority groups that lacked a political voice worldwide (for example, indigenous minorities, prisoners and the homeless).

Global inequality in relation to economic development was also described during the Cold War. In addition to developing and developed countries, the terms least developed nation and underdeveloped nation were used. It was at this time that the idea of ​​noblesse oblige (first world responsibility) took root, proposing that so-called developed nations should provide foreign aid to less developed and underdeveloped nations in order to raise their standard of living.

Immanuel Wallerstein: World Systems Approach

Immanuel Wallerstein's (1979) world systems approach uses an economic basis to understand global inequality. subordination. Those in a state of subordination faced significant obstacles to mobilization.

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Core nations are dominant capitalist countries, highly industrialized, technological and urbanized. For example, Wallerstein argues that the United States is an economic powerhouse that can support or oppose major economic laws with far-reaching implications, thereby exercising control over all aspects of the world economy and exploiting semiperipheral and peripheral nations. We can look at free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as an example of how a core nation can use its power to gain the most advantageous position on the issue of global trade.

Fringe nations have very little industrialization; What they have usually represents the obsolete residue of core nations or factories and means of production owned by core nations. They typically have unstable governments, inadequate welfare programs, and are economically dependent on core countries for jobs and aid. There are many examples of countries in this category, such as Vietnam and Cuba. We can be sure that workers at a Cuban cigar factory, for example, who are owned or leased by global corporations from core nations, do not enjoy the same privileges and rights as Americans. workforce.

The semi-peripheral nations are among those nations that are not powerful enough to dictate policy, but are nonetheless an important source of raw materials and a booming middle-class market for the core nations, while at the same time exploiting the peripheral nations. Mexico is an example, providing the US with plentiful cheap agricultural labor and supplying the US market with goods at a US-dictated price without the constitutional protections afforded to US workers.

World Bank economic classification by income

Although the World Bank is often criticized, both for its policies and for the way it calculates data, it is still a popular source of global economic data. In addition to tracking the economy, the World Bank tracks demographics and environmental health to provide a complete picture of whether a nation is high, middle, or low income.

Figure 10.2 This world map shows advanced countries, transition countries, less developed countries and less developed countries. (Map courtesy of Sbw01f, data from CIA World Factbook/Wikimedia Commons)

high-income nations

The World Bank defines high-income nations as having a gross national income of at least US$12,746 per capita. The Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) countries are a group of 34 nations whose governments work together to promote economic growth and sustainability. According to the World Bank (2014b), in 2013 the average gross national income (GNI) per capita, or the average income of people of a nation determined by dividing total GNI by total population, of a high-income OECD member nation was $43,903 per capita and the total population over one billion (1.045 billion); On average, 81% of the population in these countries lived in cities. Some of these countries are the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom (World Bank 2014b).

High-income countries face two major problems: capital flight and deindustrialization. Capital flight refers to the movement (flight) of capital from one nation to another, such as when the automobile company General Motors closed US plants in Michigan and opened plants in Mexico. Deindustrialization, a related problem, occurs as a result of capital flight as new companies fail to form to replace jobs lost to foreign nations. As expected, global corporations are relocating their industrial processes to places where they can get the greatest output at the lowest cost, including building infrastructure, training workers, shipping goods, and of course paying employees' wages. This means global companies are seeing the opportunity for emerging markets to create their own industrial zones and leverage the cost of existing infrastructure. -Peripheral Nations.

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Capital flight, outsourcing and jobs in the USA

Figure 10.3: This seedy Detroit auto parts store is a victim of auto industry outsourcing. (Photo courtesy of Bob Jagendorf/flickr)

Capital flight describes the movement of jobs and infrastructure from one nation to another. Look at the US auto industry. In the early 1900s, it manufactured cars that were raced in the United States and employed thousands of workers in Detroit and in the companies that made everything that made cars possible. However, when the fuel crisis of the 1970s hit and people in the United States increasingly sought more fuel-efficient imported cars, automobile production in the United States began to decline. During the 2007-2009 recession, the US government bailed out the Big Three auto companies, underscoring their vulnerability. At the same time, Japan's Toyota and Honda and South Korea's Kia maintained stable sales levels.

Capital flight also occurs when services (as opposed to production) are redistributed. If you called the tech support hotline on your cell phone or ISP, chances are you spoke to someone on the other side of the world. This pro might say her name is Susan or Joan, but her accent makes it clear that her real name might be Parvati or Indira. It may be the middle of the night in this country, but these service providers reply, "Good morning," as if they were in the next town. They know everything about your phone or modem and often use a remote server to log into your home computer to do what needs to be done. These are the workers of the 21st century. You are not on the factory floor or in traditional factories; They are educated, speak at least two languages, and often have considerable technological skills. They are skilled workers, but they are paid a fraction of what similar workers earn in the United States. For US and multinational companies, the equation makes sense. India and other semi-peripheral countries have burgeoning infrastructure and education systems to meet their needs without the nation's basic expenses.

With the redistribution of services, jobs are also being redistributed. Unemployment is high in the United States. Many college graduates fail to find work, and those with only a high school diploma are even worse off. We as a country are outsourcing jobs, and not just simple jobs, but office jobs as well. But before we complain too bitterly, let's look at the culture of consumption that we've adopted. A flat screen TV that could cost $1,000 a few years ago costs $350 today, and those cost savings have to come from somewhere. When consumers look for the lowest possible price, shop at large department stores to get the biggest discount possible, and generally ignore other factors in exchange for low cost, they build the procurement market. And when demand increases, the market will make sure it's met, even at the expense of the people who wanted it in the first place.

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Figure 10.4 Is this international call center the wave of the future? (Photo courtesy of

middle-income nations

The World Bank defines middle-income economies as those with gross per capita income greater than US$1,045 but less than US$12,746. According to the World Bank (2014), the average GNI per capita of a middle-income nation in 2013 was $7,594 per capita for a total population of 2.049 billion, 62% of whom lived in cities. Thailand, China and Namibia are examples of middle-income countries (World Bank 2014a).

Perhaps the most pressing problem for middle-income countries is the problem of debt accumulation. As the name suggests, debt accumulation is the accumulation of foreign debt where countries borrow money from other nations to fund their expansion or growth goals. As the uncertainties of the global economy make it difficult to repay that debt, or even pay the interest, nations can find themselves in trouble. Once global markets depreciate the value of a country's assets, managing the debt burden can be very difficult. These problems have plagued middle-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific (Dogruel and Dogruel 2007). Even in the European Union, which consists of more core countries than semi-peripheral countries, the semi-peripheral countries of Italy and Greece, for example, are confronted with increasing debt burdens. Economic recessions in Greece and Italy continue to threaten the economies of the entire European Union.

low-income countries

The World Bank defines low-income countries as nations whose per capita GNI in 2013 was US$1,045 per capita or less. According to the World Bank (2014a), the average GNI per capita of a low-income country in 2013 was USD 528 per capita and the total population was 796,261,360 inhabitants, of which 28% reside in urban areas. For example, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Somalia are considered low-income countries. Low-income economies are mainly found in Asia and Africa (WorldBank 2014a), where most of the world's population lives. These countries face two major challenges: women are disproportionately affected by poverty (in a global feminization trend of poverty) and a large part of the population lives in absolute poverty.

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10.2 Global wealth and poverty

Figure 10.5 How poor is poor for these beggar children in Vietnam? (Photo courtesy of Eyeball/flickr)

What does it mean to be poor? Does it mean being a single mom of two in New York City waiting for her next paycheck to buy groceries? Does it mean living in your apartment with almost no furniture because your income doesn't allow for extras like beds or chairs? Or does it mean living with the bloated bellies of the chronically malnourished in peripheral sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia? Poverty has a thousand faces and a thousand degrees; There is no single definition that encompasses all parts of the spectrum. You can feel poor if you can't afford cable TV or your own car. Every time you see a colleague with a new laptop and smartphone, you feel like you can barely keep up with your ten-year-old desktop computer. Yet someone else might look at the clothes you wear and the calories you burn and think you're rich.

Types of Poverty Social scientists define global poverty in different ways, taking into account the complexities and problems of relativism described above. Relative poverty is a condition of life in which people can afford basic necessities but are unable to reach the average standard of living in their society. People often look down on "keeping up with the Joneses" - the idea that you have to keep up with your neighbors' standard of living in order not to feel disadvantaged. But it's true that living without a car to get to and from work, no money for a safety net in case a family member falls ill, and no "extras" beyond paying for the bill can make you feel "poor." bills go out .

In contrast to relative poverty, those living in absolute poverty lack even basic needs, which typically include adequate food, clean water, safe housing and access to health care. Absolute poverty is defined by the World Bank (2014a) as someone living on less than $1.25 a day. According to recent estimates, about 17% of people in the developing world lived on US$1.25 a day or less in 2011, a decrease of 26% compared to ten years ago and an overall reduction of 35% compared to twenty years ago corresponds to years ago. A staggering number of people - 88 million - live in abject poverty, and some 3 billion people live on less than US$2.50 a day (Shah 2011). If you were forced to live on $2.50 a day, how would you do it? What would you spend money on and what could you do without? How would you manage needs - and how would you bridge the gap between what you need to live and what you can afford?

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Figure 10.6 Slums in India are a good illustration of absolute poverty. (Photo courtesy of Emmanuelle Dyan/flickr)

Subjective poverty describes poverty composed of many dimensions; it is subjectively present when your actual income does not correspond to your expectations and ideas. With the concept of subjective poverty, the poor themselves have more say when it exists. In short, subjective poverty has more to do with how a person or family defines themselves. This means that a family living on a few dollars a day in Nepal might think they are doing well within their perception of normalcy. However, a westerner traveling to Nepal could visit the same family and see that they are much needed.

The informal economy around the world What do a licenseless taxi driver in New York, a seamstress working from home in Mumbai and a tortilla vendor in Mexico City have in common? They are all members of the informal economy, a loosely defined and unregulated market, free from taxes, government licenses, or human protections. Official statistics prior to the global recession suggest that the informal economy accounted for more than 50% of non-agricultural work in Latin America; in parts of Asia and Africa the figure reached 80% (Chen2001). A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the challenges, parameters, and surprising benefits of this informal market. The wages earned in most informal jobs, particularly in marginalized nations, are pittance — a few rupees for a handmade bracelet at a market, or maybe 250 rupees ($5.00) for a day of fruit and veg selling (Barta 2009). But these small amounts make the difference between survival and extinction for the world's poor.

The informal economy has never been seen very positively by global economists. After all, its members don't pay taxes, don't borrow to expand their businesses, and rarely earn enough to put money back into the economy in the form of consumer spending. However, according to the International Labor Organization (an agency of the United Nations), around 52 million people worldwide will lose their jobs as a result of the current global recession. And while people in the heartland know that high unemployment rates and limited government safety nets can be daunting, their plight is nothing compared to losing a job to those struggling to make ends meet. Once that job is gone, the chance of staying afloat is very slim.

In the context of this recession, some see the informal economy as a key factor in keeping people alive. In fact, one World Bank economist credits the jobs created by the informal economy as a key reason peripheral countries have not fared worse during this recession. Women in particular benefit from the informal sector. Most economically active women in peripheral countries work in the informal sector, which is somewhat protected by the economic crisis. The downside, of course, is that he's equally shielded from the possibility of economic growth.

Even in the United States, the informal economy exists, although not to the same extent as in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. This can include nannies, gardeners and cleaners, as well as unlicensed street vendors and taxi drivers. There are also those who run informal businesses like daycares or salons from their homes. Analysts estimate that this type of worker could make up 10% of the entire US economy, a number likely to rise as companies downsize and more workers seek other options. At the end of the article

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suggests that informal workers, whether selling medicinal wines in Thailand or woven bracelets in India, have at least what most people want most: a chance to make ends meet (Barta 2009).

who are the poor who are the poor Who lives in absolute poverty? The truth most of us would suspect is that the richest countries are often the ones with the smallest populations. Compare the United States, which has a relatively small slice of the population pie and by far the largest slice of the wealth pie, to India. These differences have the expected consequence. The poorest people in the world are women and those living in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. In the case of women, the poverty rate is particularly amplified by time pressure. In general, time is one of the few luxuries the poorest have, but study after study has shown that women in poverty, who are responsible for all the comforts of the family and for any income they earn, have less time. . . The result is that while men and women may experience the same rate of economic poverty, women suffer more in terms of overall well-being (Buvinic 1997). It's harder for women to get credit to grow their business, take the time to learn a new skill, or spend extra hours honing their craft so they can earn more.

Global feminization of poverty

In a way, the phrase “the global feminization of poverty” says it all: women bear a disproportionate percentage of the burden of poverty worldwide. This means more women live in poor conditions, receive inadequate health care, bear the brunt of malnutrition and inadequate drinking water, and so on. Throughout the 1990s, data showed that while overall poverty rates were increasing, particularly in peripheral countries, impoverishment rates among women rose almost 20% more than among men (Mogadham 2005).

Why is this happening? Although numerous variables influence women's poverty, research specializing in this topic identifies three causes (Mogadham 2005):

1. The expansion of the number of families headed by women

2. The persistence and consequences of family inequalities and prejudice against women

3. The implementation of neoliberal economic policies in the world

While women are living longer and healthier lives today than they were a decade ago, many women around the world lack basic rights, particularly in the workplace. In peripheral countries, they accumulate less wealth, farm less land, make money without money, and face restricted civil rights and freedoms. Women can spur economic growth in peripheral countries, but they are often underskilled and lack access to the credit needed to start small businesses.

In 2013, the United Nations assessed progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Goal 3 was to advance gender equality and empower women, and encouraging progress has been made in this area. While non-agricultural female employment remains below 20% in West Asia, North Africa and South Asia, globally it increased from 35% to 40% in the twenty years to 2010 (United Nations 2013).


Most of the world's poorest countries are in Africa. This is not to say that there is no diversity within the countries of this continent; Countries like South Africa and Egypt have much lower poverty rates than Angola and Ethiopia, for example. Overall, African income levels have fallen relative to the rest of the world, meaning Africa as a whole is becoming relatively poorer. To make matters worse, in 2014 the Ebola virus broke out in West Africa, causing a public health crisis and an economic downturn due to the loss of workers and tourist funds.

Why is Africa in such a difficult situation? Much of the continent's poverty is due to the availability of land, particularly arable land (land that can be cultivated). Centuries of land struggles have resulted in much usable land being destroyed or abandoned, while many countries with insufficient rainfall have never developed infrastructure for irrigation. mineral resources of the continent.

In addition, African poverty is exacerbated by civil wars and poor governance, the result of a reinvented continent with artificial borders and colonial leaders. Consider the example of Rwanda. Two ethnic groups lived there together with their own hierarchical and administrative system until the Belgians took control of the country in 1915 and strictly limited the population to two unequal ethnic groups. Although Tutsi members historically held positions of power, Belgian involvement led to Hutu taking power during an uprising in the 1960s, which eventually led to a repressive government and genocide against Tutsi that killed hundreds of thousands of Rwandans or Rwandans

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Life in the Diaspora (US Department of State 2011c). The painful rebirth of a self-governing Africa has left many countries with lasting scars as they try to see their way forward (World Poverty 2012a).


While most of the world's poorest countries are in Africa, most of the world's poorest people live in Asia. As in Africa, there is a different distribution of poverty in Asia, with Japan and South Korea being much more wealthy than India and Cambodia. In fact, most of the poverty is concentrated in South Asia. One of the most pressing causes of poverty in Asia is simply the pressure that population size is putting on its resources. In fact, many believe China's recent success has a lot to do with its draconian population control rules. According to the US State Department, China's market-oriented reforms have helped significantly reduce poverty and rapidly increase income levels (US State Department 2011b). However, all of Asia is feeling the effects of the current global recession, from the poorest countries, whose aid packages are being hit, to the most industrialized countries, whose own industries are slowing. These factors make local poverty unlikely to improve anytime soon (World Poverty 2012b).


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region includes oil-rich Gulf countries such as Iran, Iraq and Kuwait, but also relatively resource-poor countries in relation to their populations such as Morocco and Yemen. These countries are predominantly Islamic. Over the past quarter century, economic growth in the MENA region has been slower than in other developing countries, and nearly a quarter of the 300 million people that make up the population live on less than US$2.00 a day (World Bank 2013).

The International Labor Organization tracks how income inequality affects social unrest. The two regions most at risk of social unrest are sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa region (International Labor Organization 2012). Rising unemployment and high levels of socio-economic inequality in the MENA countries were the main drivers of the Arab Spring, which - beginning in 2010 - toppled dictatorships in the Middle East in favor of democratically elected governments; Unemployment and income inequality are still attributed to immigrants, foreigners and ethnic/religious minorities.

Sweatshops and Student Protests: Who Makes Your Team Spirit?

Figure 10.7 This protester tries to draw attention to the problem of sweatshops. (Photo courtesy Ohio AFL-CIO Lab 2008/flickr)

Most of us don't pay much attention to where our favorite products are made. And certainly, when you're buying a college sweatshirt or cap for a high school football game, you probably aren't flipping the label, checking who made the item, and then researching whether or not the company has fair labor practices. But for members of USAS - United Students Against Sweatshops - they do just that. The organization that was

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was founded in 1997 and has fought numerous battles against apparel manufacturers and other multinational corporations that do not meet what the USAS considers to be fair working conditions and wages (USAS 2009).

At times, their demonstrations take on a sensationalist tone, as in 2006 when twenty Penn State students protested naked or nearly naked to draw attention to the problem of slave labor. In fact, the school is already a member of an independent monitoring organization called the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), which monitors working conditions and works to help colleges and universities comply with their labor laws. But students protested applying the same code of conduct to the factories that supply materials for the goods, and not just where the end product is assembled (Crônica do Ensino Superior 2006).

The USAS organization has offices in more than 250 locations across the United States and Canada and has conducted numerous campaigns against companies such as Nike and Forever 21, Taco Bell restaurants and Sodexo Food Service. In 2000, USAS members helped found the WRC. WRC-affiliated schools pay annual fees that help offset the organization's costs. More than 180 schools are affiliated with the organization. However, the USAS still sees signs of inequality everywhere. And its members believe that, as current and prospective workers, they have a responsibility to ensure workers are treated fairly around the world. For them at least, the global inequality we see everywhere shouldn't be ignored by a team spirit sweatshirt.

consequences of poverty

Figure 10.8 Poverty and malnutrition are part of life for this child in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of DFID - UK Department for International Development/flickr)

Unsurprisingly, the consequences of poverty are often also the causes. The poor often face inadequate health care, limited education and a lack of contraception. But those born into these conditions are incredibly challenged in their escape efforts as these consequences of poverty are also causes of poverty and perpetuate a cycle of disadvantage.

According to the sociologists Neckerman and Torche (2007) in their analysis of studies on global inequality, the consequences of poverty are manifold. Neckerman and Torche divided them into three areas. The first, termed the "sedimentation of global inequality", refers to the fact that once poverty has taken root in an area, it is usually very difficult to reverse. As mentioned above, poverty exists in a cycle in which consequences and causes are intertwined. The second consequence of poverty is its impact on physical and mental health. Poor people face physical health problems, including malnutrition and high infant mortality rates. Mental health is also affected by the emotional stress of poverty, with relative deprivation having the greatest impact. Again, as with persistent inequality, the impact of poverty on mental and physical health becomes more ingrained over time. The third consequence of Neckerman and Torche's poverty is the spread of crime. Nationally, crime rates, particularly violent crime, are higher in countries with higher income inequality (Fajnzylber, Lederman, and Loayza 2002).

Slavery While most of us are used to thinking of slavery in terms of the pre-war South, modern day slavery goes hand-in-hand with global inequality. In short, slavery refers to any situation in which people are sold, treated as property, or forced to work for little or no wages. As in America before the Civil War, these people are at the mercy of their employers. Mobile slavery, the form of slavery practiced in the Southern United States, occurs when one person owns another as property. Child slavery, which may include child prostitution, is a form of slavery. in bondage, or

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Debt bondage, the poor enlist as serfs in exchange for the cost of basic necessities such as transportation, shelter and food. In this scenario, people are paid less than they charge for room and board. If travel is necessary, they may go into debt for their travel expenses and cannot work for free as their wages do not allow them to advance.

Global watchdog group Anti-Slavery International recognizes other forms of slavery: human trafficking (where people are removed from their communities and forced to work against their will), child domestic and child labor, and certain forms of forced marriage where women are few as slaves (Anti-Slavery International 2012).

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification As with any social problem, whether global or not, scholars have developed a variety of theories to study global stratification. The two most widespread perspectives are modernization theory and dependency theory.

Modernization theory According to modernization theory, low-income countries are affected by their lack of industrialization and can improve their global economic position (Armer and Katsillis 2010):

1. an adjustment of cultural values ​​and attitudes towards work

2. Industrialization and other forms of economic growth

Critics point to the inherent ethnocentric orientation of this theory. It assumes that all countries have the same resources and are able to follow the same path. It also assumes that the goal of all countries is to be as “developed” as possible. There is no room in this theory for the possibility that industrialization and technology are not the best goals.

Of course, there is some basis for this assumption. The data show that the core nations tend to have lower maternal and infant mortality rates, longer life expectancies and less absolute poverty. It is also true that in the poorest countries, millions of people die from lack of clean water and sanitation, benefits most of us take for granted. At the same time, the issue is more complex than the numbers suggest. Cultural equality, history, community, and local traditions are all at risk as modernization moves toward the fringes. The challenge, then, is to embrace the benefits of modernization while maintaining a cultural sensitivity to what already exists.

Dependency Theory Dependency theory was developed in part as a response to the western-centric mindset of modernization theory. He argues that global inequality is mainly caused by core (or high-income) nations exploiting semi-peripheral and peripheral (or middle- and low-income) nations, creating a cycle of dependency (Hendricks 2010). As long as peripheral countries depend on core countries for economic stimulus and access to a larger part of the world economy, they will never achieve stable and sustained economic growth. Furthermore, the theory posits that as core nations like the World Bank choose which countries to lend to and what to borrow funds for, they create highly segmented labor markets designed to benefit dominant countries.

At first glance, this theory seems to ignore formerly low-income nations that are now considered middle-income and are on the way to becoming high-income nations and major players in the global economy, such as China. However, some dependency theorists would argue that it is in the interests of core nations to secure the long-term benefits of their peripheral and semi-peripheral partners. Following this theory, sociologists have found that companies are more likely to outsource a significant portion of a company's work when they are the dominant player in the equation; In other words, companies want their partner countries to be healthy enough to provide jobs, but not so healthy that they pose a threat (Caniels and Roeleveld 2009).

Factory Girls We examine functionalist and conflict-theoretical perspectives on global inequality as well as modernization and dependency theories. How might a symbolic interactionist approach this issue?

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absolute poverty:

capital flight:

ding bondage:

Main Nations:

Accumulation of debt:

Debt bondage:


Dependency Theory:

first world:

Fourth World:

Gini coefficient:

Global feminization of poverty:

global inequality:

global stratification:

Gross National Income (GNI):

The book Factory Girls: From Village to City in Changing China by Leslie T. Chang provides this opportunity. Chang follows two young women (Min and Chunming) who work in a handbag factory. They help create coveted handbags and bags for the world market. As part of a growing population of young people leaving behind the homesteads and farms of rural China, these workers are poised to enter the urban struggle and seek ambitious incomes.

Although Chang's study is set in a city many have never heard of (Dongguan), that city produces a third of all shoes on the planet (Nike and Reebok are big manufacturers here) and 30 percent of the world's computer drives, plus one Abundance of clothing (Chang 2008).

But Chang's focus is less on this major global phenomenon and more on how it affects these two women. As a symbolic interactionist would, Chang examines the daily lives and interactions of Min and Chunming—their workplace friendships, family relationships, gadgets, and commodities—in this evolving global space, where young women are leaving behind traditions and pursuing their own futures can design. Her story is something everyone, not just academics, can learn from as we consider sociological issues such as global economies, cultural traditions and innovations, and opportunities for women in the workforce.

chapter overview

Key Terms A state in which someone has little or no ability to pay for basic needs

the movement (flight) of capital from one nation to another via jobs and resources

a form of slavery in which one person owns another

dominant capitalist countries

the accumulation of foreign debt, in which countries borrow money from other nations to fund their expansion or growth goals

the act of people who enlist themselves as servants in exchange for money for passage and subsequently receive very little to regain their freedom

the loss of industrial production, usually to peripheral and semi-peripheral countries where costs are lower

a theory that claims that global inequality stems from the exploitation of peripheral and semi-peripheral nations by core nations

a Cold War-era term used to describe industrialized capitalist democracies

a term used to describe stigmatized minority groups that have no voice or representation on the world stage

a measure of income inequality between countries using a 100-point scale, with 1 representing complete equality and 100 representing the greatest possible inequality

a pattern that emerges when women bear a disproportionate percentage of the burden of poverty

the concentration of resources in core countries and in the hands of a wealthy minority

the unequal distribution of resources between countries

a nation's income, calculated on the basis of the goods and services produced, plus the income of citizens and businesses based in that country

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modernization theory:

peripheral nations:

relative Armut:

Second World:

semi-peripheral nations:

subjective poverty:

Third World:

underground economy:

a theory that low-income countries can improve their global economic position by industrializing infrastructure and changing cultural attitudes towards work

Nations on the fringes of the world economy, dominated by core countries, with very little industrialization

the state of poverty in which someone is unable to live the lifestyle of an average citizen in the country

a Cold War-era term used to describe nations with moderate economic and living standards

Intermediate nations that are not powerful enough to dictate policy but act as a major source of raw materials and an expanding middle-class market

a state of poverty composed of many dimensions, subjectively present when actual income does not match expectations

a Cold War-era term that referred to poor, non-industrialized countries

an unregulated labor and commodity economy that operates outside of governance, regulatory systems, or human protection

Summary section

10.1 Stratification and global ranking Stratification refers to resource gaps between and within nations. In addition to economic equality, social equality is also an important concern, for example discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion and/or sexual orientation. While global inequality is nothing new, several factors make it more relevant than ever, such as: B. the global market and the pace of information exchange. Researchers try to understand global inequality by classifying it by factors such as how industrialized a nation is, whether a country is a means of production or ownership, and how much income a nation generates.

10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty When looking at the world's poor, we must first define the difference between relative poverty, absolute poverty and subjective poverty. While those in relative poverty may not have enough to meet their country's standard of living, those in absolute poverty lack or have few basic needs such as food. Subjective poverty has more to do with each person's perception of their situation. There are fewer poor people in North America and Europe than in Africa, where the poorest countries are, or in Asia, where most people live in poverty. Poverty has numerous negative consequences, from increased crime rates to negative effects on physical and mental health.

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification Modernization theory and dependency theory are two of the most common lenses sociologists use when examining issues of global inequality. Modernization theory posits that countries go through stages of evolution and that industrialization and improved technology are the keys to progress. Dependency theory, on the other hand, sees modernization theory as Eurocentric and paternalistic. According to this theory, global inequality is the result of core nations creating a cycle of dependency by exploiting resources and labor in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries.

The section questionnaire

10.1 Stratification and global classification1. A sociologist focusing on how multinational corporations headquartered in core countries exploit local workers in their factories in peripheral countries uses a __________ perspective to understand the global economy.

one. functionalb. conflict theory c. Feminist. Symbolic interactionist

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2. A theorist from the ____________ perspective might find it particularly remarkable that wealthy corporations improve the quality of life in peripheral countries by creating jobs for workers, pumping money into the local economy, and improving transportation infrastructure.

one. functionalb. feminist conflict. Symbolic interactionist

3. A sociologist working from a symbolic interaction perspective: a. to study how inequality arises and is reproduceddb. investigate how companies can improve the lives of their low-income workersc. Try to understand how companies give high-income countries an advantage compared to low-income countries. wants to interview women working in factories to understand how they deal with the expectations of their own

Caregivers who make ends meet and support their families on a day-to-day basis

4. What kind of nation can France be classified as? That. globalb. Corec. semiperipheral. periphery

5. In the past, the United States made clothes. Many apparel companies closed their factories in the United States and moved to China. This is an example of:

one. conflict theoryb. OECDec. globally unequal. capital flight

10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty6. Slavery in the American South before the Civil War most closely resembled it

one. enslavement of furniture. debt bondage c. relative poverty. bondage

7. Maya is a 12 year old girl living in Thailand. She is homeless and often does not know where to sleep or when to eat. We can say that Maya lives in _________ poverty.

one. subjectiveb. absolutely. relative. global

8. Mike, a student, rents a studio. He can't afford a TV and lives on cheap groceries like beans and instant noodles. Because he doesn't have a steady job, he doesn't own a car. Mike lives in:

one. global povertyb. absolute povertyc. subjective poverty. relative poverty

9. Faith has a full-time job and two children. She has enough money for basic necessities and can pay the rent every month, but she believes that with her education and experience, her income should be enough for her family to live much better than her. faith experienced:

one. global povertyb. subjective povertyc. absolute poverty. relative poverty

10. In a town in the United States, a mining company owns all of the businesses and most of the houses. It sells goods to workers at inflated prices, rents out houses for double the amount of a mortgage, and pays workers less and less than necessary to cover food and rent. Once workers are in debt, they have no choice but to continue working for the company as their skills will not transfer to a new position. This situation is more like this:

one. child slavery

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B. Enslavement of Movable Property c. enslaved by debt. slavish marriage

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification11. A flaw in dependency theory is the unwillingness to acknowledge _______.

one. that formerly low-income nations like China have successfully developed their economies and are no longer classified as dependent on core nations

B. That formerly high-income nations like China were economically dominated by low-income nations entering the global market

c. that countries like China are becoming increasingly dependent on core countries. that countries like China don't necessarily want to be core nations

12. A flaw in modernization theory is the reluctance to recognize _________.a. that semi-peripheral nations are unable to industrializeb. that peripheral nations prevent semi-peripheral nations from entering the global market. its inherent ethnocentric bias. the importance of industrialization in semi-peripheral countries

13. When a sociologist says that nations evolve into more advanced technologies and more complex industries as their citizens learn cultural values ​​that celebrate hard work and success, they are using _______ theory to study the global economy.

one. modernization theory b. dependency theory c. Modern dependency theory. Evolutionary Dependency Theory

14. When a sociologist points out that core nations dominate the world economy, in part through the creation of global interest rates and international tariffs that will inevitably favor high-income nations over low-income ones, he is one:

one. functionalistb. dependency theory. modernization theory. Symbolic interactionist

15. Dependency theorists explain global inequality and global stratification by focusing on how: a. Core nations and peripheral nations exploit semi-peripheral nations. semiperipheral nations exploit core nationsc. Fringe nations exploit core nations. Core nations exploit peripheral nations

Short answer

10.1 Stratification and global classification1. Consider the problem of rock-bottom prices at Walmart. What would a functionalist think of Walmart's model of forcing suppliers to get the absolute lowest prices so it can pass them on to the country's top consumers?

2. Why do some scholars find Cold War terminology ("First World," etc.) offensive?

3. Give an example of the feminization of poverty in core nations. How is it the same or different in peripheral countries?

4. Imagine you are a sociologist studying global inequality by looking at child labor making Barbie dolls in China. What are you focusing on? How do you find this information? Which theoretical perspective can you use?

10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty5. Consider the concept of subjective poverty. Does it make sense that poverty is in the eye of the beholder? When you see a homeless person, do you react differently if he or she seems happy or is begging? Why?

6. Think of people in your family, friends, or classmates who are relatively unequal in terms of wealth. how is their relationship Which factors play a role?

7. Go to your campus bookstore or visit the website. Find out who makes apparel and novelties with your school's badge. In which countries are they produced? Do some research to determine how well your school adheres to the principles espoused by USAS.

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10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification8. There are many critics that modernization theory is Eurocentric. Do you think dependency theory is biased too? Why or why not?

9. Compare and contrast modernization theory and dependency theory. What do you think is the most useful way to explain global inequality? Explain with examples.

More research

10.1 Stratification and Global Ranking To learn more about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals see here: (

To learn more about the existence and impact of global poverty, check the data here: (

10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty Students often think that the United States is immune to the horrors of human trafficking. Check out the following link to learn more about human trafficking in the United States:

For more information on the ongoing practices of slavery in the modern world, click here: (

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Global Stratification For more information on economic modernization, see the Hudson Institute at (

Learn more about economic dependency at the University of Texas Inequality Project: (


10.0 Introduction to Inequality GlobalButler, Sarah. 2013. “Factory deaths in Bangladesh spark action among high street clothing chains.” The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights. 2014. "Rana Plaza: A Look Back and Forward." Global Labor Rights. Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

International Labor Organisation, Communications Department. 2014. "Post Rana Plaza: A Vision for the Future." Working conditions: International Labor Organisation. Retrieved 7 November 2014 ( index.htm).

Korzeniewicz, Robert, and Timothy Patrick Moran. 2009. Uncovering Inequality: A World Historical Perspective. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

10.1 GlobalAmnesty International Stratification and Classification. 2012. "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." Retrieved 3 January 2012 ( ( sexual orientation and gender identity) ).

Castells, Manuel. 1998. End of the Millennium. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

CIA. 2012. “The World Fact Book”. Retrieved January 5, 2012 ( ( - factbook/wfbExt/region_noa.html) ).

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CIA. 2014. "Country Comparison: Infant Mortality Rate." Retrieved 7 November 2014 ( ).

Dogruel, Fatma, and A. Suut Dogruel. 2007. “External debt dynamics in middle-income countries”. Paper presented January 4, 2007 at the Middle East Economic Association Meeting, Allied Social Science Associations, Chicago, IL.

Moghadam, Valentine M. 2005. “The Feminization of Poverty and Women's Human Rights.” UNESCO Gender Equality and Development Section, July. Paris, France.

Myrdal, Gunnar. 1970. The Challenge of World Poverty: A World Anti-Poverty Program in Outline. Nova York: Pantheon.

Oxfam. 2014. "Working for the Few: Political Consumption and Economic Inequality." Retrieved 7 November 2014 ( ) .

United Nations. 2013. "Millennium Development Goals." Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

Wallerstein, Emmanuel. 1979. The Capitalist World Economy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge World Press.

World Bank. 2014a. "Gender Overview". Retrieved November 7, 2014 (

World Bank. 2014b. "High Income: OECD: Data." Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

World Bank. 2014c. "Low Income: Data." Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

World Bank. 2014d. "Upper Median Income: Data." Retrieved 7 November 2014 (

10.2 Global Wealth and Poverty Anti-Slavery International. 2012. "What is Modern Slavery?" Retrieved 1 January 2012 ( ( aspx)).

Bart, Patrick. 2009. “The Rise of the Underground.” Wall Street Journal, March 14. Retrieved January 1, 2012 (ttp:// (

Buvinić, M. 1997. "Women in Poverty: A New Global Underclass." Foreign Policy, Autumn (108): 1–7.

Chen, Marta. 2001. "Women in the Informal Sector: A Global Picture, the Global Movement." A Revision SAIS 21:71-82

Chronicle of Higher Education. 2006. "Nearly Naked Penn State Students Protest Slave Labor." 26th of March. Retrieved January 4, 2012 ( (

Fajnzylber, Paul, Daniel Lederman, and Norman Loayza. 2002. “Inequality and Violent Crime.” Journal of Law and Economics 45:1–40.

International Labor Organization. 2012. “High Unemployment and Rising Inequality Fuel Social Unrest Around the World.” Retrieved 7 November 2014 ( lang--en/index.htm).

Neckerman, Kathryn, and Florencia Torche. 2007. “Inequality: Causes and Consequences.” Annual Review of Sociology33:335–357.

Shah, Anup. 2011. “Poverty Around the World.” World Affairs. Retrieved January 17, 2012 ( (

US Department of State 2011a. "Background Note: Argentina." Retrieved January 3, 2012 ( ( /bgn/26516.htm) ).

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US Department of State 2011b. "Background Note: China." Retrieved 3 January 2012 ( ( /ei/bgn/18902.htm#econ) ).

US Department of State 2011c. "Background Note: Rwanda." Retrieved 3 January 2012 ( ( /ei/bgn/2861.htm#econ) ).

UNITED STATES. 2009. "Mission, Vision, and Organizational Philosophy." August. Retrieved January 2, 2012 (

World Bank. 2013. "Middle East and North Africa." Retrieved 7 November 2014 (,,menuPK:247619~pagePK:146748~piPK:146812~theSitePK :256299.00.html).

World Bank. 2014e. "Poverty at a Glance". Retrieved November 7, 2014 (

world poverty. 2012a. "African Poverty, Hunger and Disease." Retrieved 2 January 2012 ( (

world poverty. 2012b “Poverty in Asia, Caste and Progress”. Retrieved January 2, 2012 ( (

world poverty. 2012c. "Poverty in Latin America, Foreign Aid Debt Burden." Retrieved 2 January 2012 ( (

10.3 Theoretical Perspectives on Stratification GlobalArmer, J. Michael and John Katsillis. 2010. “Modernization Theory.” Encyclopedia of Sociology edited by E.F. Borgatta. Retrieved January 5, 2012 ( ( % 20%20Sociology/11%20Modernization%20Theory.htm) ).

Caniels, Marjolein, C.J. Roeleveld, and Adriaan Roeleveld. 2009. "Perspectives of Power and Dependency in Outsourcing Decisions". European Management Journal 27:402-417. Retrieved January 4, 2012 (

Chang, Leslie T. 2008. Factory Girls: From Village to City in Transition China. Nova York: Random House.

Henriks, John. 2010. “Dependency Theory.” Encyclopedia of Sociology edited by E.F. Borgatta. Retrieved 5 January 2012 ( % 20%20sociology/5%20addiction%20theory.htm) ).


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11 Race and Ethnicity

Figure 11.1 Do you think race played a role in Trayvon Martin's death or the public reaction to it? Do you think race played a role in the initial decision not to arrest George Zimmerman or in his later acquittal? (Photo courtesy of Ryan Vaarsi/flickr)

Learning Objectives 11.1. Racial, ethnic and minority groups

• Understand the difference between race and ethnicity

• Define a majority group (dominant group)

• Define a minority group (subordinate group)

11.2. Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination • Explain the difference between stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and racism

• Identify different types of discrimination

• Look at racial tensions through a sociological lens

11.3. Theories of Race and Ethnicity • Describe how important sociological perspectives view race and ethnicity

• Identify examples of a culture of prejudice

11.4. Relationships between groups • Explain different relationships between groups in terms of their relative levels of tolerance

• Provide historical and/or contemporary examples of each type of intergroup relationship

11.5. Race and Ethnicity in the United States • Compare and contrast the diverse experiences of different ethnic groups in the United States

• Apply theories of intergroup relations, race and ethnicity to different subgroups

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Introduction to Race and Ethnicity Trayvon Martin was a seventeen-year-old black teenager. On the evening of February 26, 2012, he was visiting his father and his father's fiancé in the multi-racial condominium community of Sanford, Florida, where his father's fiancée lived. Trayvon went out to have lunch at a nearby convenience store. When he returned, George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic and community surveillance program coordinator, noticed him. In light of a recent spate of burglaries, Zimmerman called the police to report an individual who was acting suspiciously, which he had done on many other occasions. The 911 driver told Zimmerman not to follow the teenager, but a physical altercation broke out between Zimmerman and Martin shortly after. According to Zimmerman, Martin attacked him and in the ensuing scuffle, Martin was shot dead (CNN Library 2014).

A public outcry followed Martin's death. There have been allegations of racial discrimination — law enforcement agencies use race alone when deciding whether to stop and arrest someone — a nationwide debate over “Stand Your Ground Laws” and a failed lawsuit in which Zimmerman accused NBC of airing an edited version of the 911 call having that made him seem racist. Zimmerman was only arrested on April 11 when he was charged with second-degree murder by special prosecutor Angela Corey. In the subsequent trial he was found not guilty (CNN Library 2014).

The shooting, the public reaction, and the ensuing trial offer a snapshot of the sociology of race. Do you think race played a role in Martin's death or the public reaction to it? Do you think race played a role in the initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman or in his later acquittal? Is society afraid of black men leading to racial discrimination on an institutional level? And the role of the media? Was there a conscious attempt to manipulate public opinion? If you had been on the jury, would you have convicted George Zimmerman?

11.1 Race, Ethnicity and Minorities Although many students entering a sociology class for the first time are accustomed to confusing the terms 'race', 'ethnicity' and 'minority group', to sociologists these three terms have different meanings. The notion of race refers to superficial physical differences that a particular society considers significant, while ethnicity describes a shared culture. And the term “minority groups” refers to groups that are subordinate or powerless in society, regardless of race or country of origin. For example, in modern US history, the elderly may be viewed as a minority group because of a diminished status resulting from widespread prejudice and discrimination against them. Ten percent of nursing home workers admitted to having physically abused an elderly person in the past year, and 40 percent admitted to having committed psychological abuse (World Health Organization 2011). In this chapter we focus on racial and ethnic minorities.

what is race Historically, the concept of race has changed across cultures and eras and is less associated with ancestral and family ties and more concerned with superficial physical characteristics. Historically, theorists have postulated racial categories based on different geographic regions, ethnicities, skin color, and more. Their names for racial groups have connoted regions (e.g. Mongolia and the Caucus Mountains) or skin colors (e.g. black, white, yellow and red).

Social science organizations, including the American Association of Anthropologists, the American Sociological Association, and the American Psychological Association, have taken an official position rejecting biological explanations of race. Over time, the typology of race that developed in the early days of racial science has fallen out of favor, and the social construction of race is a more sociological way of understanding racial categories. Research along this line of thought suggests that race is not biologically identifiable and that previous racial categories were arbitrarily assigned based on pseudoscience and used to justify racist practices (Omi and Winant 1994; Graves 2003). For example, when considering skin color, the social construction of race perspective recognizes that the relative darkness or lightness of skin is an evolutionary adaptation to the sunlight available in different regions of the world. Contemporary notions of race, which tend to be based on socio-economic assumptions, therefore illustrate how remote the modern understanding of race is from biological characteristics. In modern society, some people who identify themselves as "white" actually have more melanin (a pigment that determines skin color) in their skin than other people who identify as "black." Consider the case of actress Rashida Jones. She is the daughter of a black man (Quincy Jones) and her most famous roles include Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation, Karen Filippelli in The Office and Zooey Rice in I Love You Man, none of which are black characters. In some countries, such as Brazil, class is more important than skin color in determining racial categorization. People with high levels of melanin may describe themselves as "white" if they lead a middle-class lifestyle. On the other hand, someone with low melanin levels can be given the identity “black” if they have little education or money.

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The social construction of race is also reflected in how the names of racial categories change over time. It is worth noting that race in this sense is also a marking system that is a source of identity; Certain labels fall out of favor in different social eras. For example, the 19th-century category "Negroid" evolved into the term "Negro" in the 1960s, after which the term fell out of favor and was replaced by "African American." a black person may have multiple identities, but the wording is poor: it groups a variety of ethnic groups under one umbrella term while excluding others that might be accurately described by the label but do not correspond to the spirit of the term. For example, actress Charlize Theron is "African American" with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was born in South Africa and later became a US citizen. Is her identity that of "African American" as most of us understand the term?

What is ethnicity? Ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture—the practices, values, and beliefs of a group. This culture may include language, religion, and shared traditions, among other similarities. Like race, ethnicity is difficult to describe and its meaning has changed over time. And as with race, individuals can be identified with, or self-identified with, ethnicities in complex and even contradictory ways. For example, ethnic groups such as Irish, Italian-American, Russian, Jewish, and Serb may be groups whose members predominantly belong to the "white" racial category. On the other hand, the British ethnic group includes citizens from a variety of racial backgrounds: black, white, Asian and more, as well as a variety of racial combinations. These examples illustrate the complexity and overlap of these identifying terms. Ethnicity, like race, continues to be a method of identification that individuals and institutions employ today—whether through censuses, affirmative action, nondiscrimination laws, or simply in everyday personal relationships.

What are minorities? The sociologist Louis Wirth (1945) defined a minority as “any group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are distinguished from others by being treated differently and unequally in the society in which they live, and who are therefore themselves considered objects of collective discrimination” . The term minority connotes discrimination, and in its sociological usage the term subordinate group can be used interchangeably with the term minority, while the term dominant group often replaces the group that is in the majority. These definitions relate to the concept that the dominant group is those who hold more power in a given society, while subordinate groups are those who lack power in relation to the dominant group.

Note that belonging to a numerical minority is not a characteristic of a minority; Larger groups can sometimes be viewed as minorities due to their lack of power. Powerlessness is the predominant characteristic of the minority or subordinate group. Think, for example, of apartheid in South Africa, where a numerical majority (the country's black residents) were exploited and oppressed by the white minority.

According to Charles Wagley and Marvin Harris (1958), a minority group is characterized by five characteristics: (1) unequal treatment and less power over their lives, (2) distinctive physical or cultural characteristics, such as skin color or language, (3) involuntary group membership, ( 4) a sense of subordination; and (5) high rates of group marriage. Other examples of minority groups might include the LGGT community, religious practitioners whose beliefs are not widespread where they live, and people with disabilities.

The scapegoat theory, originally developed from Dollard's (1939) frustration-aggression theory, suggests that the dominant group shifts its unfocused aggression to a subordinate group. History has given us many examples of a subordinate group being made the scapegoat. An example from the last century is how Adolf Hitler managed to blame the Jewish population for Germany's social and economic problems. In the United States, recent immigrants have often been the scapegoat for the problems of the nation—or individuals. Many states have enacted laws to deprive immigrants; These laws are popular because they allow the dominant group to be the scapegoat of a subordinate group.

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination The terms stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and racism are often used interchangeably in everyday conversations. Let's explore the differences between these concepts. Stereotypes are oversimplified generalizations about groups of people. Stereotypes can be based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation - almost any characteristic. They can be positive (usually related to the group itself, e.g. when women indicate they are less likely to complain about physical pain) but are usually negative (usually related to other groups, e.g. when members suspect a subordinate racial group to a dominant racial group). stupid or lazy). In both cases, the stereotype is a generalization that does not take into account individual differences.

Where do stereotypes come from? In fact, new stereotypes are rarely created; Rather, they are recycled from subgroups that have been assimilated into society and reused to describe new subgroups. For example many

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The stereotypes currently used to characterize black people were used earlier in American history to characterize Irish and Eastern European immigrants.

Prejudice and Racism Prejudice refers to one's beliefs, thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards a group. A prejudice is not based on experience; rather, it is a prejudice that originates outside of actual experience. A 1970 documentary entitled Eye of the Storm illustrates how prejudice develops and shows how defining a category of people as superior (blue-eyed children) leads to prejudice against people who do not belong to the preferred category.

While prejudice is not necessarily racial, racism is a stronger type of prejudice used to justify the belief that one racial category is somehow superior or inferior to others; It is also a set of practices used by a racial majority to harm a racial minority. The Ku Klux Klan is an example of a racist organization; Its members' belief in white supremacy has encouraged crime and hate speech for more than a century.

Institutional racism refers to how racism is embedded in the fabric of society. For example, the disproportionate number of black men arrested, charged and convicted of crimes may indicate racial discrimination, a form of institutional racism.

Colorism is another type of prejudice in which someone believes that within a racial group, one type of skin color is superior or inferior to another. Studies suggest that black African-Americans face more discrimination than light-skinned African-Americans (Herring, Keith, and Horton 2004; Klonoff and Landrine 2000). For example, if a white employer believes that a dark-skinned black employee is less capable than a light-skinned black employer, then that is colorism. At least one study suggested that colorism affected racial socialization, with dark-skinned black youth receiving more warnings about the danger of interacting with members of other races than light-skinned black youth (Landor et al. 2013).

Discrimination While prejudice refers to biased thinking, discrimination consists of actions taken against a group of people. Discrimination can be based on age, religion, health and other indicators; Racial anti-discrimination laws attempt to address this range of social issues.

Racial or ethnic discrimination can take many forms, from unfair housing practices to biased hiring systems. Open discrimination has long been part of US history. In the late 19th century it was not uncommon for business owners to put up signs saying 'Help Wanted: No Need to Apply for Irish'. And the Jim Crow laws of the South, with their "WhitesOnly" signs, are an example of overt discrimination that is not tolerated today.

However, we cannot erase discrimination from our culture by legislating to eradicate it. Even if a magic pill could eradicate racism from everyone's psyche, society itself would perpetuate it. Sociologist Émile Durkheim calls racism a social fact, meaning it requires no action on the part of individuals to continue. The reasons for this are complex and are related to the existing educational, criminal, economic and political systems in our society.

For example, if a newspaper identifies crime suspects by race, it may emphasize stereotypes of a particular minority. Another example of racist practices is racial targeting, where real estate agents direct potential homeowners to or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race. Racist attitudes and beliefs are often more insidious and difficult to define than specific racist practices.

Prejudice and discrimination can intersect and intersect in many ways. To illustrate, here are four examples of how prejudice and discrimination can arise. Unprejudiced non-discriminators are open-minded, tolerant and open-minded people. Unbiased discriminators can be those who mindlessly practice sexism in their workplace by not considering women for certain positions traditionally held by men. Biased non-discriminators are those who hold racist beliefs but do not act on them, such as B. A racist shopkeeper serving minority customers. Bigoted discriminators include those who actively make derogatory remarks about others or perpetuate hate crimes.

Discrimination also manifests itself in different ways. The above scenarios are examples of individual discrimination, but there are other types as well. Institutional discrimination occurs when a social system has evolved with the disenfranchisement of a group, such as B. the historical non-acceptance of minority sexualities by the US military (the "don't ask, don't tell" policy reflected this norm).

Institutional discrimination can also involve the promotion of group status, as in the case of white privilege, which are benefits people receive simply for being part of the dominant group.

While most whites are willing to admit that non-whites experience a number of disadvantages because of their skin color, very few are willing to acknowledge the benefits they receive.

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Racial Tensions in the United States The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014 illustrates racial tensions in the United States and the intersection of prejudice, discrimination and institutional racism. On that day, Brown, an unarmed young black man, was killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. During the incident, Wilson instructed Brown and his friend to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street. Although the eyewitness accounts differ, they agree that an altercation between Wilson and Brown did take place. In Wilson's version, he shot Brown in self-defense after Brown attacked him, while Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown's who was also present at the time, claimed that Brown first fled and then threw himself up with his hands in the air to surrender, whereupon Johnson shot him. repeatedly (Nobles and Bosman 2014). Three autopsies independently confirmed that Brown was shot six times (Lowery and Fears 2014).

The shooting drew attention to a number of racial tensions in the United States. First, members of the predominantly black community saw Brown's death as the result of a white police officer racially profiling a black man (Nobles and Bosman 2014). In the days that followed, it was revealed that only three members of the city's 53-strong police force were black (Nobles and Bosman 2014). The national conversation shifted over the next few weeks, with some commentators pointing to a national sedimentation of racial inequality and identifying redlining in Ferguson as a cause of imbalanced racial composition in the community, local political institutions, and the police force (Bouie 2014). . Redlining is the practice of routinely denying mortgages to families and businesses predominantly located in minority communities, while racial inequality sedimentation describes the cross-generational effects of practical and legalized racism that limits Black people's ability to accumulate wealth.

Ferguson's racial imbalance may help explain why, while only about 63% of the population was black in 2010, black arrests accounted for 86% of raids, 92% of searches, and 93% of arrests in 2013 (Missouri Prosecutor-General 2014). In addition, de facto segregation in Ferguson's schools, racial inequality in wealth, urban sprawl, and a black unemployment rate three times that of whites exacerbated existing racial tensions in Ferguson, which also reflected racial inequalities across the country (Bouie 2014). .

Multiple Identities

Figure 11.2 Golfer Tiger Woods is of Chinese, Thai, African American, Native American, and Dutch descent. People from multiple ethnic backgrounds are becoming more common. (Photo courtesy of familymwr/flickr)

Before the 20th century, intermarriage (referred to as miscegenation) was extremely rare and illegal in many places. As Figure 11.2 shows, attitudes have changed for the better in the second half of the 20th and 21st centuries. Although the sexual subordination of slaves resulted in mixed-race children, these children were generally viewed as black and therefore property. There was no concept of multiple racial identities with the possible

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Making Connections: Big P i c t u r ethe

Exception Creole. Creole society developed in the port city of New Orleans, where a mixed-race culture of French and African residents grew. Unlike other parts of the country, "Colored Creoles" had greater social, economic, and educational opportunities than most African Americans.

In modern times, the abolition of miscegenation laws and a trend towards equal rights and legal protections against racism have steadily reduced the social stigma associated with racial exogamy (exogamy refers to marriage outside of a person's central social unit). It is now common for children of racially mixed parents to acknowledge and celebrate their diverse ethnic identities. Golfer Tiger Woods, for example, has Chinese, Thai, Afro-American, Native American and Dutch roots; He jokingly refers to his ethnicity as "Cablinasian," a term he coined to combine several of his ethnic backgrounds. Although this is the trend, it is not yet recognizable in all areas of our society. For example, the US Census only recently added additional categories that people can identify themselves with, such as: B. Non-white Hispanics. More people chose multiple races to describe themselves in the 2010 census, paving the way for the 2020 census to offer even more options.

The Confederate flag against the First Amendment

Figure 11.3 For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of pride in Southern history. For others, it's a somber reminder of a degrading time in America's past. (Photo courtesy of Eyeliam/flickr)

In January 2006, two girls walked into Burleson High School in Texas carrying bags bearing large pictures of Confederate flags. The school administration told the girls that they were violating the dress code, which forbids clothing with inappropriate symbolism or discriminatory clothing based on race. To stay in school, they would have to ask someone to pick up their bags or drop them off at the office. The girls decided to spend the day at home, but later challenged the school's decision by appealing first to the principal, then to the district superintendent, then to the United States District Court, and finally to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Why did the school ban the scholarships and why did they defend the ban despite being sued? Why did the girls anonymously identified as A.M. and A.T. to seek such strong legal action for their right to carry the purses? The problem, of course, isn't the handbags, but the Confederate flag that adorns them. The parties to this case join a long line of people and institutions who have campaigned for the right to display it, and say such display is covered by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. In the end, the court sided with the district, finding that the Confederate flag contained symbolism significant enough to disrupt the normal running of the school.

While many young people in the United States like to believe that racism is largely a thing of the country's past, this case shows just how much racism and discrimination is very much alive today. If the Confederate flag is synonymous with slavery, is there a place for it to be displayed in modern society? Those fighting for the right to fly the flag say such a display should be covered by the First Amendment: the right to free speech. But others say the flag is synonymous with hate speech. Do you think that showing the Confederate flag should be considered free speech or hate speech?

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11.3 Theories of Race and Ethnicity Theoretical Perspectives We can examine issues of race and ethnicity from three broad sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. As you read these theories, ask yourself which one makes the most sense and why. Do we need more than one theory to explain racism, prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination?


From a functionalist perspective, racial and ethnic inequalities must have played an important role if they existed as long as they existed. This concept is of course problematic. How can racism and discrimination make a positive contribution to society? A functionalist might look at the "functions" and "dysfunctions" caused by racial inequality. Nash (1964) focused his argument on how racism works for the dominant group, proposing, for example, that racism morally justifies a racially unequal society. Consider the way slave owners justified slavery in the pre-war South by claiming that blacks were fundamentally inferior to whites and preferred slavery to freedom.

Another way to apply the functionalist perspective to racism is to discuss how racism can positively contribute to the functioning of society by strengthening bonds between ingroup members by excluding outgroup members. Consider how a community can strengthen solidarity by denying access to outsiders. On the other hand, Rose (1951) suggested that the dysfunctions associated with racism involve a failure to utilize the talents of the subjugated group and that society spends the time and effort required to maintain artificially constructed racial boundaries on others should divert purposes. Consider how much money, time, and effort was expended to keep education systems separate and unequal prior to the civil rights movement.

conflict theory

Conflict theories are often applied to inequalities related to gender, social class, education, race, and ethnicity. A conflict-theoretic perspective of US history would examine the myriad past and present struggles between the white ruling class and racial and ethnic minorities, and identify specific conflicts that arose when the dominant group perceived a threat from the minority group. In the late 19th century, the growing power of black Americans after the Civil War led to draconian Jim Crow laws that severely curtailed black political and social power. Thus, for many years, Vivien Thomas (1910–1985), the black surgical technician who helped develop the groundbreaking surgical technique that saves the lives of "blue babies," was classified and paid as a caretaker, even though she performed complicated surgical procedures experiments through. The years since the Civil War have revealed a pattern of attempted disenfranchisement, with gerrymandering and electoral suppression efforts targeting predominantly minority neighborhoods.

Feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins (1990) developed intersection theory, which suggests that we cannot separate the effects of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other attributes. When considering race and how it can benefit us and disadvantage us, it is important to recognize that the way we experience race is shaped by things like our gender and class. Multiple layers of handicap intersect to create the way we experience racing. For example, if we want to understand prejudice, we need to understand that prejudice focused on a white woman because of her gender is very different from multi-layered prejudice focused on a poor Asian woman who is affected by stereotypes related to it , being poor, being a woman , and their ethnic status.


For symbolic interactionists, race and ethnicity provide powerful symbols as sources of identity. In fact, some interactionists propose that the symbols of race, not race itself, lead to racism. The famous interactionist Herbert Blumer (1958) proposed that racial prejudices are formed through interactions between members of the dominant group: without these interactions, individuals in the dominant group would not hold racial views. These interactions contribute to an abstract picture of the subordinate group that allows the dominant group to support their view of the subordinate group, thus perpetuating the status quo. An example of this might be a person whose beliefs about a particular group are based on images circulating in the popular media and these are undoubtedly believed because the person has never met a member of that group in person. Another way to apply the interactionist perspective is to study how people define their race and the race of others. As we discussed in relation to the social construction of race, since some people claiming a white identity have more skin pigmentation than some people claiming a black identity, how did they come to define themselves as black or white ?

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Prejudice CulturePrejudice culture refers to the theory that prejudice is embedded in our culture. We grew up surrounded by stereotypical images and casual expressions of racism and prejudice. Think of the casually racist images on supermarket shelves or the clichés that populate popular films and commercials. It's easy to see how someone living in the Northeastern United States, who might not know a Mexican-American personally, could get a stereotyped impression of sources like Speedy Gonzalez or Taco Bell's talking Chihuahua. Since we are all exposed to these images and thoughts, it is impossible to know to what extent they have affected our thought processes.

11.4 Intergroup relationships Intergroup relationships (relationships between different groups of people) move in a spectrum between tolerance and intolerance. The most tolerant form of intergroup relations is pluralism, in which there is no distinction between minority and majority groups, but equality of rank prevails. At the other end of the continuum are amalgamation, expulsion, and even genocide—blatant examples of intolerant intergroup relations.

Genocide Genocide, the deliberate annihilation of a (usually subordinate) target group, is the most damaging relationship between groups. Historically we can see that genocide has involved both the intent to eradicate a group and the function of eradicating a group, whether intentional or not.

Probably the best-known case of genocide is Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jewish people at the beginning of the 20th century. Also known as the Holocaust, the express aim of Hitler's "Final Solution" was the extermination of Europe's Jews, as well as the decimation of other minorities such as Catholics, the disabled, and homosexuals. With forced emigration, concentration camps and mass shootings in gas chambers, Hitler's Nazi regime was responsible for the deaths of 12 million people, including 6 million Jews. Hitler's intention was clear, and the high number of Jewish deaths certainly indicates that Hitler and his regime committed genocide. But how do we understand a genocide that is not so open and conscious?

The treatment of Australian Aborigines is also an example of genocide against Indigenous Peoples. Historical accounts indicate that white settlers killed over 10,000 aborigines in Tasmania and Australia between 1824 and 1908 (Tatz 2006). Another example is the European colonization of North America. Some historians estimate that the Native American population declined from approximately 12 million people in 1500 to just 237,000 in 1900 (Lewy 2004). European settlers forced Native Americans to flee their own lands, often resulting in thousands of deaths in forced evictions, as happened on the Cherokee Trail of Tears or Potawatomi. Colonists also enslaved Native Americans, forcing them to abandon their religious and cultural practices. But the primary cause of Native American deaths was not slavery, war, or forced displacement: it was the introduction of European diseases and the Native Americans' lack of immunity to them. Smallpox, diphtheria, and measles flourished among Native American tribes unexposed to and unable to combat disease. These diseases simply decimated the tribes. To what extent this genocide was planned remains controversial. Some argue that the spread of the disease was an unintended effect of the conquest, while others believe it was intentional, citing rumors of smallpox-infected blankets being distributed to the tribes as "gifts".

Genocide is not just a historical concept; is practiced today. Recently, ethnic and geographic conflicts in the Darfur region of Sudan have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. As part of an ongoing land conflict, the Sudanese government and its state-sponsored Janjaweed militia have waged a campaign of murder, forced displacement and systematic rape of Darfuri's population. Although a treaty was signed in 2011, the peace is fragile.

Expulsion Expulsion refers to a subordinate group being forced to leave a particular area or country by a dominant group. As the examples of the Trail of Tears and the Holocaust show, displacement can be a factor in genocide. However, it can also assert itself as a destructive group interaction. Historically, expulsion has often been based on ethnic or racial grounds. In the United States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in 1942 after the Japanese government attacked Pearl Harbor. The order authorized the establishment of internment camps for anyone with as few as one-eighth Japanese ancestry (i.e., a great-grandfather who was Japanese was). More than 120,000 legal residents of Japan and Japanese in the United States. Citizens, many of them children, were held in these camps for up to four years, although there was never any evidence of collusion or espionage. (Indeed, many Japanese Americans continued to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States by serving in the US military during the war.) In the 1990s, the US Executive Branch issued a formal apology for this deportation; The remedial measures continue to this day.

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SegregationSegregation refers to the physical separation of two groups, particularly in the home but also in the workplace and social functions. It is important to distinguish between de jure segregation (legal segregation) and de facto segregation (segregation that occurs without legislation but due to other factors). A blatant example of de jure segregation is the apartheid movement in South Africa, which existed from 1948 to 1994. During apartheid, black South Africans were stripped of their civil rights and forcibly relocated to areas that physically separated them from their white compatriots. Humiliation, violent insurrection, and international defense apartheid were eventually abolished.

The United States experienced de jure segregation for many years after the Civil War. During this time, many former Confederate states passed Jim Crow legislation mandating separate facilities for blacks and whites. These laws were enshrined in the landmark case of Plessey v. Ferguson of the 1896 Supreme Court, which held that "separate but equal" bodies were constitutional. For the next five decades, black people faced legalized discrimination, forced to live, work, and go to school in separate but unequal institutions. Only in 1954 and in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that the Supreme Court declared that "segregated educational institutions are inherently unequal," ending de jure segregation in the United States.

Figure 11.4 South of "Jim Crow" it was legal to have "separate but equal" facilities for blacks and whites. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

However, de facto segregation cannot be abolished by any judicial order. Segregation is still alive and well in the United States, with different racial or ethnic groups often separated by neighborhood, district, or community. Sociologists use segregation indices to measure the racial segregation of different races in different domains. The indices use a scale from zero to 100, with zero being the most integrated and 100 being the least integrated. For example, in the New York metro area, the black-and-white segregation index for the years 2005-2009 was 79. This means that 79% of blacks or whites would have to move for each neighborhood to have the same racial balance as the entire metro area (PopulationStudies Center 2010).

PluralismPluralism is represented by the ideal of America as a "salad bowl": a magnificent mix of cultures, in which each culture retains its own identity while still contributing to the flavor of the whole. True pluralism is characterized by mutual respect for all cultures, both dominant and subordinate, creating a multicultural environment of acceptance. In reality, genuine pluralism is an elusive goal. The mutual respect demanded by pluralism is often absent in the United States, and the country's old pluralistic model of a cultural melting pot posits a society in which cultural differences are not accepted but erased.

Assimilation Assimilation describes the process by which an individual or minority gives up their own identity by adopting the characteristics of the dominant culture. In the United States, which historically has welcomed and absorbed immigrants from various countries, assimilation has been a function of immigration.

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Figure 11.5 For many immigrants to the United States, the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and new life. Unfortunately, they are often confronted with prejudice and discrimination. (Photo courtesy of Mark Heard/flickr)

Most people in the United States have immigrant ancestry. In relatively recent history, between 1890 and 1920, an estimated 24 million immigrants lived in the United States. In the decades since, new waves of immigrants have reached these shores and were eventually absorbed into US culture, sometimes after enduring long periods of prejudice and discrimination. Assimilation can result in the loss of the minority group's cultural identity if assimilated into the dominant culture, but assimilation has little or no impact on the majority group's cultural identity.

Some groups may retain only symbolic gestures of their original ethnicity. For example, many Irish Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, many Hindu Americans enjoy a Diwali festival, and many Mexican Americans may celebrate Cinco de Mayo (a celebration of Mexican independence and heritage on May 5th). For the rest of the year, however, other aspects of their native culture can be forgotten.

Assimilation is opposed to the "salad bowl" created by pluralism; Rather than maintaining their own cultural imprint, subcultures abandon their own traditions to adapt to their new environment. Sociologists measure the degree to which immigrants have assimilated a new culture using four metrics: socioeconomic status, spatial concentration, language assimilation, and intermarriage. Faced with racial and ethnic discrimination, new immigrants can find it difficult to fully assimilate. Language adaptation, in particular, can be a formidable barrier that limits employment and educational options, and thus constrains growth in socioeconomic status.

Amalgamation Amalgamation is the process by which a minority group and a majority group combine to form a new group. Fusion creates the classic "melting pot" analogy; Unlike the "salad bowl," in which each culture retains its individuality, the ideal of the "melting pot" creates a whole new culture from the combination of cultures.

Fusion, also called miscegenation, is accomplished through interracial marriages. In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws flourished in the South during the Jim Crow era. Only with Loving v. Virginia of 1967 that the last anti-miscegenation law was struck off the books, rendering those laws unconstitutional.

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States When settlers arrived in the New World, they found land that did not need to be "discovered" because it was already occupied. America came from northern Europe, then from Eastern Europe, then from Latin America and Asia. And let's not forget the forced immigration of African slaves. Most of these groups went through a period of disenfranchisement, in which they were relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy before (for those who could) achieved social mobility. Today our society is multicultural, although the extent of this multiculturalism varies, and the many

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Making Connections: Sociology in the Real World

Manifestations of multiculturalism have important political implications. The following sections describe how different groups became part of American society, discuss the history of the relationships between each faction's groups, and assess each group's current situation.

Native Americans The only ethnic group with no immigrants in the United States, Native Americans number in the millions, but in 2010 they made up only 0.9% of the US population; see above (US Census 2010). Currently, about 2.9 million people identify as Native Americans only, while another 2.3 million identify as Native Americans mixed with another ethnic group (Norris, Vines, and Hoeffel 2012).

Sports teams with Native American names



Figure 11.6 Many Indians (and others) believe that sports teams with names like Indians, Braves, and Warriors perpetuate undesirable stereotypes. (Photo (a) courtesy Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons; Photo (b) courtesy Chris Brown/flickr)

The sports world is full of team names like Indians, Warriors, Braves and even Savages and Redskins. These names derive from historically biased views of Native Americans as fierce, brave, and strong savages: traits that would be beneficial for a sports team, but not necessarily for the people of the United States, who should be viewed as more than just wild savages . .

Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has campaigned against the use of such mascots, stating that the "myth of the fierce warrior . . . reinforces the racist view that Indians are uncivilized and uneducated, and has been used to justify policies of forced assimilation and destruction of Indian culture" (NCAI Resolution #TUL-05-087 2005). The campaign had limited success. Although some teams have changed names, hundreds of pro, collegiate, and high school teams still have names derived from this stereotype. Another group, American Indian Cultural Support (AICS), is particularly concerned about the use of such names in K-12 schools, which influence children when they should gain a more complete and realistic understanding of Native Americans than these stereotypes offer.

What do you think of such names? Should they be allowed or forbidden? What arguments would a symbolic interactionist make on this subject?

How and why did they come

The first immigrants to America arrived millennia before European immigrants. Migration dates are given with estimates between 45,000 and 12,000 BC. BC discussed. It is believed that the first Native Americans migrated to this new land in search of big game to hunt, which they found in vast herds of herbivores grazing in America. For centuries and then millennia, Native American culture thrived in an intricate web of hundreds of interconnected tribes, each with their own customs, traditions, languages, and religions.

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History of Intergroup Relations

The culture of Native Americans before European colonization is said to be pre-Columbian, that is, before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Columbus mistakenly believed he landed in the East Indies and called the indigenous peoples "Native Americans," a name that has existed for centuries despite being a geographically inappropriate name and used to cover 500 different groups, each with their own languages ​​and traditions.

The history of intergroup relations between European settlers and Native Americans is brutal. As discussed in the genocide section, the impact of European settlement by Americans nearly wiped out the indigenous population.

From the first Spanish settlers to the French, English and Dutch who followed them, European settlers conquered any land they wanted and expanded across the continent at will. When the natives tried to maintain administration of the country, the Europeans beat them back with superior weapons. A key element of this question is the indigenous view of land and land tenure. Most tribes viewed land as a living entity whose resources were stewards, the concepts of land ownership and conquest did not exist in Native American society. European domination of America was indeed an achievement; One scholar points out that Native Americans are the only minority in the United States whose subordination occurred solely through conquest by the dominant group (Marger 1993).

After the formation of the United States government, discrimination against Native Americans was codified and formalized in a series of laws designed to subjugate them and prevent them from gaining power. Some of the most effective laws are the following:

• The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the resettlement of all native tribes east of the Mississippi to land west of the river.

• The Indian Appropriation Acts funded further resettlement and declared that no Indian tribe could be recognized as an independent nation, tribe or power with which the US government would have to make treaties. This made it even easier for the US government to take whatever country it wanted.

• The Dawes Act of 1887 reversed the policy of isolating Native Americans on reservations rather than forcing them onto individual homesteads intermixed with white settlers, thereby reducing their power as a group.

Native American culture was further undermined by the establishment of Indian boarding schools in the late 19th century. . Boarding schools were located off the reservation to ensure children were separated from their families and culture. Schools forced children to cut their hair, speak English, and practice Christianity. Physical and sexual abuse had been rampant for decades; It was not until 1987 that the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a policy on sexual abuse in boarding schools. Some scholars argue that many of the problems facing Native Americans today stem from nearly a century of mistreatment in these boarding schools.

Current status

The eradication of Native American culture lasted until the 1960s, when Native Americans were able to participate in and benefit from the civil rights movement. The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 granted Native American tribes most rights under the United States Bill of Rights. New laws such as the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975 and the Education Assistance Act of the same year recognized and empowered tribal governments. Indigenous boarding schools have dwindled to a few, and Native American cultural groups strive to preserve and nurture ancient traditions to prevent them from being lost forever.

However, Native Americans (some of whom now wish to be called Native Americans to avoid the "savage" connotation of the term "natives") still suffer the effects of centuries of degradation. Long-term poverty, inadequate education, cultural displacement, and high unemployment rates all contribute to the Native American population falling to the lower end of the economic spectrum. Native Americans also suffer disproportionately from a lower life expectancy than most groups in the United States.

African American As discussed in the race section, the term African American can be a misnomer for many individuals. Many people of black color may have more recent roots in Europe or the Caribbean and see themselves as Dominican-American or Dutch-American. Actual immigrants from Africa may also feel they deserve the term African American, as those who are many generations removed from their ancestors who originally came to this country. This section focuses on the experiences of slaves transported from Africa to the United States and their descendants. Currently, the US The Census Bureau (2014) estimates that 13.2% of the US population is black.

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How and why did they come

If Native Americans are the only minority group whose subordinate status came about through conquest, African Americans are the exemplary minority group in the United States whose ancestors did not come here willingly. A Dutch sea captain brought the first Africans to the Virginia colony of Jamestown in 1619 and sold them as indentured servants. This was not an uncommon practice for either blacks or whites, and contract servants were in great demand. For the next century, black and white indentured laborers worked side by side. But the growing agricultural economy required more and cheaper labor, and in 1705 Virginia passed slavery laws declaring that any foreign-born non-Christian could be a slave and that slaves were considered property.

The next 150 years saw the rise of slavery in the United States, with black Africans being kidnapped from their own country and shipped to the New World on the transatlantic journey known as the Middle Passage. Once in America, the black population grew until the number of American-born blacks outnumbered those born in Africa. But colonial (and later US) codes declared that a slave's child was a slave, so the slave class was created. In 1869 the slave trade in the United States was an internal trade, with slaves being bought and sold like cattle across state lines.

History of Intergroup Relations

There is no clearer example of the relationship between dominant and subordinate groups than that of slavery. To justify their highly discriminatory behavior, slave owners and their supporters had to view blacks as inherently inferior. Slaves were denied even the most basic of civil rights, a crucial factor for slave owners and their supporters. Slavery is an excellent example of conflict theory's perspective on race relations; the dominant group needed complete control over the subordinate group to maintain its power. Whipping, executions, rape, truancy, and medical care were permitted and widespread.

Slavery eventually became an issue that split the nation into geographically and ideologically distinct factions, leading to the Civil War. And while the moral abolition of slavery was certainly a catalyst for the war, it wasn't the only driving force. Students of US history will know that the institution of slavery was vital to the Southern economy, whose production of crops such as rice, cotton, and tobacco depended on the virtually unlimited and cheap labor that slavery provided. In contrast, the North did not benefit economically from slavery, leading to racial/political economic differences.

A century later, the civil rights movement was characterized by boycotts, marches, protests, and freedom marches: manifestations of a subordinate group no longer willing to submit to rule. The biggest blow to formal institutionalized racism in America was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That act, which is still enforced today, outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. However, some sociologists would argue that institutionalized racism persists.

Current status

Although formal, government-sponsored discrimination against African Americans has been outlawed, true equality still does not exist. The National Urban League's 2011 Equality Index reports that the overall level of equality between blacks and whites fell from 71.5% last year to 71.1% in 2010. The index, published since 2005, notes a trend towards increasing inequality, particularly with whites, in the areas of unemployment, insurance coverage and incarceration. Blacks also lag significantly behind whites in the areas of business, healthcare and education.

To what extent do racism and prejudice contribute to this persistent inequality? The answer is complex. In 2008, the country's first African-American president was elected: Barack Hussein Obama. Although he is popularly identified as black, it should be noted that President Obama is of equally mixed white heritage, and although all presidents have at times been publicly ridiculed (Gerald Ford has been portrayed as a clumsy, Bill Clinton as someone who could not control his libido ). , a surprising percentage of criticism of Obama was based on his race. The most egregious of these was the controversy over his birth certificate, in which the "birth" movement challenged his citizenship and right to hold office. Though blacks have come a long way since slavery, the echoes of centuries of disempowerment are still palpable.

Asian Americans Like many of the groups discussed in this section, Asian Americans represent a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. The experience of a Japanese-American whose family has lived in the United States for three generations will differ drastically from that of a Lao-American who has only been in the United States for a few years. This section focuses primarily on Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese immigrants and highlights the differences between their experiences. The latest estimate from the US Census Bureau (2014) suggests that approximately 5.3% of the population identify as Asian.

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How and why did they come

The national and ethnic diversity of Asian-American immigration history is reflected in the diversity of their experiences entering American society. Asian immigrants came to the United States in waves at different times and for different reasons.

The first Asian immigrants to arrive in the United States in the mid-19th century were Chinese. These immigrants were mainly men who intended to work for several years to earn an income to support their families in China. Its main destination was the American west, where the gold rush lured people with its wealth of money. Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad was underway at the time, and the Central Pacific section hired thousands of Chinese migrants to complete track-laying in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Chinese also engaged in other handicrafts such as mining and agricultural work. The work was grueling and poorly paid, but like many immigrants, they persevered.

Japanese immigration began in the 1880s, shortly after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Many Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii to get involved in the sugar industry. others came to the continent, especially to California. However, unlike the Chinese, the Japanese had a strong government that negotiated with the US government to ensure the welfare of their immigrants. Japanese men were able to bring their wives and families to the United States, producing second- and third-generation Japanese Americans faster than their Chinese counterparts.

Recent large-scale Asian immigration came from Korea and Vietnam and mostly took place in the second half of the 20th century. Although Korean immigration was fairly gradual, Vietnamese immigration occurred mainly after 1975, after the fall of Saigon and the imposition of restrictive communist policies in Vietnam. While many Asian immigrants came to the United States in search of better economic opportunities, Vietnamese immigrants came as political refugees seeking asylum due to harsh conditions in their home country. The Refugee Act of 1980 helped them find a place to settle in the United States.

Figure 11.7 Thirty-five Vietnamese refugees wait to be transferred aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19). They are rescued by a 35-foot fishing boat 350 miles northeast of Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam after spending eight days at sea. (Photo courtesy US Navy/WikimediaCommons)

History of Intergroup Relations

Chinese immigration came to an abrupt end with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This law was the result of anti-Chinese sentiment fueled by a weak economy and job losses. White workers accused Chinese migrants of taking jobs, and passage of the law meant the number of Chinese workers declined. Chinese men could not afford to return to China or bring their families to the United States, so they remained physically and culturally segregated in Chinatowns in major cities. Later legislation, the Immigration Act of 1924, further restricted Chinese immigration. The law included the race-based National Origins Act, which aimed to keep America's ethnic stocks as pure as possible by reducing "undesirable" immigrants. It was only after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that Chinese immigration increased again and many Chinese families were reunited.

While Japanese Americans have deep and enduring roots in the United States, their history here has not always been smooth. Targeting them and other Asian immigrants, the California Foreign Land Act of 1913 prohibited foreigners from owning land. An even uglier action was the Japanese internment camps of World War II, previously discussed as an example of expulsion.

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Current status

Asian Americans have certainly suffered from racial prejudice, despite the seemingly positive stereotype of the model minority. The model minority stereotype is applied to a minority group that is believed to achieve significant educational, professional, and socioeconomic levels without challenging the existing establishment.

Typically applied to Asian groups in the United States, this stereotype can create unrealistic expectations and stigmatize members of that group who do not meet expectations. Stereotyping all Asians as smart and capable can also lead to a lack of much-needed government support and educational and occupational discrimination.

Hispanics Hispanics come from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. The proportion of the US population who identified as Hispanic in 2013 was recently estimated at 17.1% of the total population (US Census Bureau 2014). According to the 2010 US Census, approximately 75% of respondents who identify as Hispanic say they are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban origin. Of the overall Hispanic group, 60 percent identified as Mexican, 44 percent as Cuban, and 9 percent as Puerto Rican. Keep in mind that the US Census allows people to report more than one ethnicity.

Not only are there major differences between the diverse backgrounds that make up the Hispanic American population, there are also different names for the group itself. The 2010 US Census states that “Hispanic” or “Latino” refers to a Person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Hispanic culture or origin, regardless of race. There has been some disagreement as to whether Hispanic or Latino is the correct term for such a diverse group, and whether it would be better to refer to oneself as belonging to a specific ethnicity, e.g. B. Mexican-American or Dominican-American. This section compares the experiences of Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans.

How and why did they come

Mexican Americans form the largest and oldest Hispanic subgroup. Mexican migration to the United States began in the early 1900s in response to the need for cheap agricultural labor. Mexican migration used to be circular; The workers stayed for a few years and then returned to Mexico with more money than they could earn in their home country. The length of Mexico's shared border with the United States has made immigration easier than for many other immigrant groups.

Cuban Americans are the second largest Hispanic subgroup, and their history is quite different from that of Mexican Americans. The main wave of Cuban immigration to the United States began after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and peaked in 1980 with the Mariel Boat Elevator. Castro's Cuban Revolution ushered in an era of communism that continues to this day. To avoid having their property confiscated by the government, many wealthy and educated Cubans migrated north, often to the Miami area.

History of Intergroup Relations

For several decades, Mexican workers, both legally and illegally, crossed the long border into the United States to work in the fields that provided produce to the developing United States. Western producers needed a steady supply of labor, and in the 1940s and 1950s the official federal bracero program (bracero is Spanish for strong arm) was instituted to provide protection to Mexican migrant workers. Interestingly, "Operation Wetback" was also enacted in 1954, deporting thousands of illegal Mexican workers. From these examples we can see that the US treatment of immigration from Mexico has been ambivalent at best.

Sociologist Douglas Massey (2006) points out that while the average standard of living in Mexico may be lower than in the United States, it is not so low that permanent migration would be the goal of most Mexicans. However, the strengthening of the border instituted by the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act made immigration the norm for most Mexicans. Massey argues that the increase in illegal immigration by Mexicans is a direct result of the law designed to stem it.

Cuban Americans were better off than many immigrants, perhaps because of their relative wealth and education at the time of immigration. In addition, because they were fleeing a communist country, they were granted refugee status, protection, and social benefits. The 1995 Cuban Migration Treaty restricted legal immigration from Cuba, which led to many Cubans attempting to immigrate illegally by boat. According to a 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service, the US government enforces a “wet feet/dry feet” policy on Cuban immigrants; Cubans intercepted while still at sea will be returned to Cuba, while those who reach shore may remain in the United States.

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

Current status

Mexican Americans, particularly those who are illegally here, are at the center of a national immigration debate. Myers (2007) notes that no other minority (other than the Chinese) immigrated to the United States in such an environment of illegality. He notes that in a few years, three times as many Mexican immigrants entered the United States illegally than arrived legally. It should be noted that this is due to the wide disparity of economic opportunity on either side of an open border, not an inherent propensity to break the law. In his report, Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States, Jacob Vigdor (2008) notes that Mexican immigrants experience relatively low rates of economic and civil assimilation. He further suggests that "low rates of economic and civic assimilation separate Mexicans from other immigrants and may reflect the fact that the large numbers of Mexican immigrants illegally residing in the United States have few opportunities on those dimensions to get ahead."

In contrast, Cuban Americans are often viewed as a model minority group within the larger Hispanic group. Many Cubans had a higher socioeconomic status when they arrived in this country, and their anti-communist agenda made them welcome refugees to this country. In South Florida in particular, Cuban-Americans are active in local politics and professional life. However, as with Asian Americans, the fact that they are a model minority can mask the problem of powerlessness that these minority groups face in American society.

Arizona Senate Bill 1070

Figure 11.8 Arizona protesters challenge tough new anti-immigration law. (Photo courtesy of rprathap/flickr)

As legal and illegal immigrants, and with a large population, Mexican Americans are often the target of stereotypes, racism, and discrimination. A stark example of this is Arizona, where a tough immigration law known as SB 1070 (to Senate Bill 1070) has sparked national controversy. By law, Arizona police officers must determine the immigration status of individuals suspected of being illegally resident during a lawful stop, detention or arrest. The law makes the lack of documents proving your legal status a crime and gives law enforcement officers the power to arrest anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

For many, the most problematic aspect of this law is the freedom police officers have regarding their citizenship to challenge. The “reasonable suspicion that the person is an alien illegally residing in the United States” is reason enough to require immigration documentation (Senate Bill 1070 2010). Critics say this law will encourage racial profiling (the illegal practice of law enforcement using race as a basis for suspecting a crime, making it dangerous to be caught) or colloquial reference to "Driving While Black." . Driving While Brown refers to the likelihood of being stopped just for not being white.

SB 1070 has been the subject of many lawsuits from parties as diverse as Arizona law enforcement, the American CivilLiberties Union, and even the federal government, which is suing Arizona for conflicting federal immigration laws (ACLU 2011). The future of SB 1070 is uncertain, but many other states have attempted or are attempting to pass similar measures. Do you think such measures make sense?

American Arabs If it has ever been difficult to pin down a category, it is the various groups that come under the name "American Arabs". After all, Hispanic Americans or Asian Americans are called that because of their home countries. But for American Arabs, theirs

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Country of origin - Arabia - has ceased to exist for centuries. Furthermore, American Arabs represent all religious practices despite the stereotype that all Arabs practice Islam. As Myers (2007) notes, not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs, complicating the stereotype of what it means to be an American Arab. Geographically, the Arab region includes the Middle East and parts of North Africa. People whose ancestors live in this area or who primarily speak Arabic may consider themselves Arabs.

The US census struggles with the issue of Arab identity. As in previous years, the 2010 census did not offer an "Arabic" box to check the racial issue. Individuals wishing to be counted as Arabs must check the Any Other Race box and then enter their race. However, when census data is calculated, it is highlighted in white. However, this is problematic as Arab Americans are denied opportunities for government assistance. According to the best US estimates According to the Census Bureau, the Arab population in the United States grew from 850,000 in 1990 to 1.2 million in 2000, a 0.07 percent increase (Asi and Beaulieu 2013).

why did they come

The first Arab immigrants came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were mostly Syriac, Lebanese and Jordanian Christians, and they came to escape persecution and seek a better life. American population today (Myers 2007). A restrictive immigration policy from the 1920s to 1965 reduced overall immigration, but Arab immigration has been stable since 1965. Immigrants from this period tend to be more Muslim and educated, escaping political unrest and looking for better opportunities.

History of Intergroup Relations

Relations between American Arabs and the ruling majority are marred by mistrust, misinformation, and deeply held beliefs. Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute points out that the Arab-Israeli conflicts of the 1970s were a major contributor to cultural and political anti-Arab sentiment in the United States (2001). The United States has historically supported the State of Israel, while some Middle Eastern countries deny the existence of the State of Israel. Disputes over these issues involved Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

As is often the case with stereotypes and prejudice, the actions of extremists define the entire group, despite the fact that most US citizens with ties to the Middle Eastern community condemn terrorist actions, as do most Middle Easterners. Would it be fair to judge all Catholics by the events of the Inquisition? It is clear that the United States was deeply affected by the events of September 11, 2001. This event left a deep scar on the American psyche and fueled anti-Arab sentiment among a large percentage of Americans. In the first month after 9/11, hundreds of hate crimes were committed against people of apparent Arab descent.

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(b) Figure 11.9 The proposed Muslim Community Center Park51 has caused controversy because of its proximity to Ground Zero. In these photos, people march in protest against the center while counter-demonstrators show their support. (Photos (a) and (b) courtesy of DavidShankbone/Wikimedia Commons)

Current status

While hate crimes against American Arabs have decreased, American Arabs are still victims of racism and bigotry. Racial profiling has been routinely practiced against Arab Americans since September 11, 2001. Especially when traveling by air, being young and looking Arabic is enough to justify a special search or arrest. This Islamophobia (irrational fear or hatred of Muslims) shows no signs of abating. Scholars have found that white domestic terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, who detonated a bomb in an Oklahoma courthouse in 1995, did not inspire similar racial profiles or hate crimes against whites.

Ethnic White Americans As we have seen, there is no minority group that easily fits into a category or that can be easily described. While sociologists believe that individual experiences can often be understood in light of their social characteristics (such as race, class, or gender), we must balance this perspective with an awareness that no two individual experiences are alike. Make

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Generalizations can lead to stereotypes and prejudices. The same is true for White Americans, who come from diverse backgrounds and have had a variety of experiences. According to the US Census Bureau (2014), 77.7% of American adults currently identify only as white. In this section we focus on German, Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants.

why did they come

Ethnic white Europeans made up the second and third major waves of immigration from the early 19th to mid-20th centuries. They joined the newly created United States, composed primarily of white Protestants from England. Although most immigrants came in search of a better life, not all experiences were the same.

The first major influx of European immigrants came from Germany and Ireland, beginning in the 1820s. Germans came for economic opportunity and to avoid political unrest and conscription, especially after the 1848 revolutions. Many German immigrants from this period were political refugees: liberals who wanted to escape an oppressive government. They were good enough to fight their way inland and formed strong German enclaves in the Midwest that still exist today.

Irish immigrants of the same period were not always so well off financially, particularly after the Irish Potato Famine of 1845. Irish immigrants settled mainly in East Coast towns, where they were employed as laborers and faced significant discrimination.

German and Irish immigration continued into the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the number of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe also began to increase. Italians, mostly from the south of the country, arrived in large numbers in the 1890s, as did Eastern European immigrants — people from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Austria-Hungary — around the same time. Many of these Eastern Europeans were peasants forced into a miserable existence in their homelands; Political unrest, land shortages, and crop failures led them to look for better opportunities in the United States. The immigration wave from Eastern Europe also included Jews fleeing pogroms (anti-Jewish riots) in Eastern Europe and the settlement zone in what was then Poland and Russia.

History of Intergroup Relations

More broadly, German immigrants were not bullied to the same extent as many of the other subgroups discussed in this section. Although not welcomed with open arms, they managed to settle and take root in enclaves. A notable exception was the preparation for World War I and during World War II, when anti-German sentiment was virulent.

Irish immigrants, many of whom were very poor, were more lower class than Germans. In Ireland, the English oppressed the Irish for centuries, eradicating their language and culture and discriminating against their religion (Catholicism). Although the Irish had a larger population than the English, they were a subordinate group. This dynamic carried over to the New World, where Anglo-Americans saw Irish immigrants as a race apart: filthy, ambitious, and fit only for the menial jobs. Indeed, Irish immigrants have been the target of criticism identical to that used by the dominant group to characterize African Americans. Out of necessity, Irish immigrants formed close-knit communities, separate from their Anglo-Saxon neighbors.

The subsequent wave of immigration from southern and eastern Europe was also subject to severe discrimination and prejudice. Purity of the American Race (Myers 2007). Italian immigrants lived in segregated slums in Northeastern cities, and in some cases even faced violence and lynchings similar to those suffered by African Americans. They worked harder and were paid less than other workers and often did hazardous work that other workers were reluctant to do.

Current status

The 2008 US Census shows that 16.5% of respondents reported being of German ancestry: the largest group in the country. For many years, German-Americans have struggled to maintain a strong cultural identity, but they are now culturally assimilated into mainstream culture.

There are now more Irish Americans in the United States than there are Irish in Ireland. Irish-Americans, one of the country's largest cultural groups, have slowly achieved acceptance and assimilation into the mainstream.

Myers (2007) states that Italian-American cultural assimilation is "almost complete, but with traces of ethnicity". The presence of "Little Italy" neighborhoods - originally separate slums where Italians congregated in the 19th century - exists today. As tourists flock to Little Italies for saints' festivals, most Italian-Americans have moved to the suburbs at the same rate as other white groups.

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prejudice culture:


dominant group:




Institutional Racism:

intersection theory:


exemplary minority:



Race Profiling:

Race Orientation:


Red line:

Scapegoat Theory:

Sedimentation of Racial Inequality:


Social construction of race:

chapter overview

Key terms the process by which a minority group and a majority group combine to form a new group

the process by which an individual or minority group adopts the characteristics of the dominant culture

the belief that one skin type within a racial group is superior or inferior to another

the theory that prejudice is ingrained in our culture

biased action against a group of people

a group of people who have more power in a society than any of the subordinate groups

shared culture that can include heritage, language, religion and more

the act of a dominant group forcing a subordinate group to leave a particular area or even the country

the conscious destruction of a (usually subordinate) target group

Racism embedded in social institutions

Theory suggesting that we cannot unravel the effects of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other attributes

any group of people excluded from others because of differential and unequal treatment

The stereotype applies to a minority group that achieves higher educational, professional, and socioeconomic levels without protesting against the majority establishment

the ideal of America as a "salad bowl": a mixture of different cultures, in which each culture retains its own identity and yet contributes to the "flavor" of the whole

biased thinking based on wrong assumptions about a group of people

law enforcement's use of the race only to determine whether to stop and arrest someone

the act of real estate agents directing potential homeowners into or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race

a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices used to justify the belief that one racial category is in some way superior or inferior to others

the practice of routinely denying mortgages to households and businesses in predominantly minority communities

a theory suggesting that the dominant group shifts its unfocused aggression to a subordinate group

the intergenerational effects of de facto and de jure racism, which limit black people's ability to accumulate wealth

the physical separation of two groups, especially at home, but also at work and at social events

the school of thought that race is not biologically identifiable

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white privilege:

simplified conceptions of groups of people

a group of people who have less power than the dominant group

the benefits that people derive simply from being part of the dominant group

Summary section

11.1 Race, Ethnicity and Minorities Race is fundamentally a social construction. Ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture and national origin. Minority groups are defined by their powerlessness.

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination Stereotypes are simplified ideas about groups of people. Prejudice relates to thoughts and feelings while discrimination relates to actions. Racism refers to the belief that a race is inherently superior or inferior to other races.

11.3 Theories of Race and Ethnicity Functionalist views of race examine the role of dominant and subordinate groups in creating a stable social structure. Conflict theorists study power differences and struggles between different racial and ethnic groups. Interactionists see race and ethnicity as important sources of individual identity and social symbolism. The concept of prejudice culture recognizes that all people are subject to stereotypes that are ingrained in their culture.

11.4 Intergroup Relations Intergroup relations range from tolerance of pluralism to intolerance as serious as genocide. In pluralism, groups retain their own identity. During assimilation, groups conform to the identity of the dominant group. When merging, groups combine to form a new group identity.

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States The history of the American people contains an infinite variety of experiences that sociologists understand by paradigm. From the indigenous peoples who first settled these lands to the waves of immigration over the last 500 years, migration is an experience with many common characteristics. Most groups experienced varying degrees of prejudice and discrimination during the assimilation process.

The section questionnaire

11.1 Racial, Ethnic and Minority Groups1. The racial term "African American" may refer to:

one. a black person living in the United Statesb. People whose ancestors came to the United States through the slave trade. a white person originally from Africa now residing in the United States. any of the above

2. What is the defining characteristic of a minority group? That. self definitionb. Numerical Minority c. lack of food. strong cultural identity

3. Ethnicity collectively describes: a. beliefs b. languagec. religious. any of the above

4. Which of the following statements is an example of a numerical majority being treated as a subordinate group? That. Jews in Germanyb. Creoles in New Orleans

Chapter 11 | Race and Ethnicity 245

c. White people in Brazil. Blacks under apartheid in South Africa

5. The scapegoat theory shows that: a. subordinate groups blame dominant groups for their problemsb. dominant groups blame subordinate groups for their problemsc. Some people tend to be prejudiced. everything above

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination6. Stereotypes can be based on:

one. pedigree ethnicity. Genre. everything above

7. What is discrimination? That. Biased thoughts against an individual or groupb. Biased actions against an individual or groupc. Believe that a race other than your own is inferior. Another word for stereotypes

8. Which of the following statements best explains racism as a social fact? That. It must be eradicated by law.b. It's like a magic pill.c. It doesn't need the actions of individuals to proceed. i.e. None of the above

11.3 Theories of race and ethnicity9. As a Caucasian in the United States, you have the assurance that you are dealing with authority figures of the same race as you:

one. intersection theory b. conflict theory c. privileged white. scapegoat theory

10. Speedy Gonzalez is an example of: a. intersection theory b. stereotypingc. interactionist view. prejudice culture

11.4 Intergroup Relations11. Which intergroup relationship has the lowest tolerance?

one. separation b. assimilation c. Genocide. expulsion

12. What doctrine justified legal separation in the South? That. Jim Crowb. Plessey v. Fergusonc. juried. separate but equal

13. What relationship between the groups is represented by the "salad bowl" metaphor? That. assimilation b. pluralismc. fusiond. demarcation

14. Fusion is represented by the metaphor _____________.

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one. crucible b. Statue of Libertyc. salad bowl. separate but equal

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States15. What makes Native Americans unique as a subordinate group in the United States?

one. They are the only group to have experienced expulsion.b. They are the only group that has been separated.c. They are the only group that has been enslaved.d. They are the only group who did not come here as immigrants.

16. What subordinate group is often referred to as the “model minority”? That. African American inheritance asian-americanc. White ethnic Americans d. American natives

17. What federal law or program was developed to allow, not block, more Hispanic American immigration? That. The Bracerob program. Immigration Control and Reform Law. Operation Wetbackd. SB1070

18. Many Arab Americans face _______________, especially after 9/11. racism separationc. Islamophobia. Prejudice

19. Why did most white Americans come to the United States? That. For a better life To escape oppression c. Because they were expelled from their own countries. only a and b

Short answer

11.1 Racial, Ethnic and Minority Groups1. Why do you think the term "minority" has stuck when the word "subordinate" is more meaningful?

2. How would you describe your ethnicity? Indicate your family's country of origin? Do you consider yourself multiethnic? How does your ethnicity compare to the people you spend the most time with?

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination3. How do redlining and race orientation contribute to institutionalized racism?

4. Give an example of a cliché you see in everyday life. Explain what would need to happen for this to be eliminated.

11.3 Theories of race and ethnicity5. Give three examples of white privilege. Do you know people who have been through this? From what perspective?

6. What is the worst example of a prejudice culture you can think of? For what reasons do you think it's the worst?

11.4 Intergroup Relations7. Do you think immigration laws should promote a pluralism, assimilation, or fusion approach? Which perspective do you think is most supported by current US immigration policy?

8. What intergroup relationship do you think is most beneficial for the subgroup? For society as a whole? Why?

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Chapter 11 | Race and Ethnicity 247

9. Which group do you think found it easier to come to this country? Which group had the most difficulties? Why?

10. Which group had more socioeconomic gains? Why do you think this group was more successful than the others?

More research

11.1 Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups Explore aspects of race and ethnicity at the PBS What Is Race? website: )

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination How far should First Amendment rights extend? Read more about it at the First Amendment Center: (

Learn more about institutional racism at (

Learn more about how prejudice arises by watching the short documentary Eye of the Storm: ( /watch?v= FjSHOaugO-0)

11.3 Theories of Race and Ethnicity Do you know anyone who practices white privilege? do you practice it Examine the concept with this checklist: ( to see how much this applies to you or others.

11.4 Intergroup Relations So you think you know your own assumptions? Test and find out with the implicit association test: (

What do you know about the treatment of Aboriginal Australians? Learn more by watching the feature-length documentary Our Generation: (

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United States Are people interested in regaining their ethnic identity? Read this article and decide:

White Ethnic Revival: (

What is the current racial makeup of the United States? Check updated United States Census Bureau statistics here: (


11.1 Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups Caver, Helen Bush, and Mary T. Williams. 2011. "Creoles." Multicultural America, Countries and Their Cultures, December 7th. Retrieved February 13, 2012 ( ).

CNN library. (February 22, 2014). "Trayvon Martin shoots fast facts." CNN USA. N.p., accessed October 9, 2014 (

Dollard, J., et al. 1939. Frustration und Aggression. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Graves, Jose. 2003. The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Race Theories in the Millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant. 1994. Race Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Wagley, Charles, and Marvin Harris. 1958. Minorities in the New World: Six Case Studies. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Landlord, Louis. 1945. "The Problem of Minorities". The Science of Man in the World Crisis, edited by R. Linton: 347. In Hacker, Helen Mayer. 1951. Women as a Minority Group. Retrieved December 1, 2011 ( (

World Health Organization. 2011. “Mistreatment of Elderly”. Leaflet N-357. Retrieved 19 December 2011 ( ( ) ).

11.2 Stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination Bouie, Jamelle. (19 Aug 2014). "Why the Ferguson Fires Won't End Soon." Slate. with. N.p., accessed October 9, 2014 (

Herring, C., V.M. Keith e H.D. Horton. 2004. Skin Deep: How Race and Complexion Matter in the „Color-Blind“ Era (Hrsg.), Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Hudson, David L. 2009. "Students Lose Confederate Flag Case in 5th Circuit." Retrieved December 7, 2011 ( -in-5th-circuit( confederate-flag-bolsa-case-in-5th-circuit) ).

Klonoff, E. and H. Landrine. 2000. “Is Skin Color a Sign of Racial Discrimination? Explaining the link between skin color and high blood pressure.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 23:329-338.

Landor, Antoinette M, Leslie Gordon Simons, Ronald L Simons, Gene H Brody, Chalandra M Bryant, Frederick X Gibbons, Ellen M Granberg, and Janet N Melby. 2013. "Examining the Effects of Skin Tone on Family Dynamics and Race-Related Outcomes." Journal of Family Psychology. 27(5):817-826.

Lowery, Wesley, and Darryl Fears. (31 Aug 2014). "Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson, the Friend Who Witnessed His Shooting". Washington Post. Retrieved October 9, 2014. ( 2ee2-11e4-9b98-848790384093_story.html)

McIntosh, Peggy. 1988. "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack." White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Getting Matches Through Working in Women's Studies. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.

Missouri District Attorney's Office. (n.d.) "Racial Profile Report." Np Retrieved October 9, 2014 (

Nobles, Frances and Julie Bosman. (17 Aug 2014). "Autopsy shows Michael Brown was hit at least six times." The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2014 (

Yerevanci. 2013. “Public Opinion on Interracial Marriage in the United States.” Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 23, 2014 (

11.3 Theories of race and ethnicityCollins, Patricia Hill. 2008. Peculiarities of Black Feminist Thought. London: Rouledge.

Durkheim, Emil. 1982 [1895]. The rules of the sociological method. Translated by WD Halls. New York: Free Press.

Nash, Manning. 1964. "Race and the Ideology of Race". Current Anthropology 3(3): 285–288.

Rosa, Arnold. 1958 [1951]. The Roots of Prejudice, Fifth Edition. Paris, France: Unesco. Retrieved November 19 (

11.4 Intergroup Relations Asi, Maryam and Daniel Beaulieu. 2013. “Arab Families in the United States: 2006–2010.” US. Statistics Office. Retrieved November 19, 2014 (

Levi, Gunter. 2004. "Were Native Americans Victims of Genocide?" Retrieved December 6, 2011 ( (

Norris, Tina, Paula L. Vines, and Elizabeth M. Hoeffel. 2012. "The Native American and Alaskan Native American Populations: 2010." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 19 November 2014 (

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Center for Population Studies. 2010. “New Racial Segregation Policies for States and Major Metropolitan Areas: Analysis of the 2005–2009 American Community Survey.” Center for Population Studies: Institute for Social Research. Retrieved November 29, 2011 ( ( ) ) .

Tatz, Colin. 2006. "Confronting the Australian Genocide." The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives. Edited by Roger Maaka and Chris Andersen. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars Press.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2014. “Brief State and County Facts.” Retrieved November 19, 2014 (

11.5 Race and Ethnicity in the United StatesACLU. 2011. “Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling Blocking Arizona Extreme Racial Profiling Act.” American Civil Rights Union. Retrieved December 8, 2011 ( (http://www

Greely, Andrew M. 1972. This Most Oppressive Nation: The Taming of the American Irish. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

Levi, Gunter. 2004. "Were Native Americans Victims of Genocide?" Retrieved December 6, 2011 (

Marger, Martin. 2003. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, California: Wadsworth.

Cultural support of the American Indians. "Mascots: Racism in Schools by the State." 2005. Retrieved 8 December 2011 ( (

Massey, Douglas S. 2006. “Seeing Clearly Mexican Immigration.” Cato Unbound. Retrieved December 4, 2011 ( (http://www.cato-unbound. org /2006/08/20/douglas-s-massey/seeing-mexican-immigration-clearly/) ).

Myers, John P. 2007. Relations between Dominant Minorities in America. Boston: Pearson.

National Congress of American Indians. 2005. "National Congress of American Indians Resolution # TUL-05-087: Support for NCAA Ban on 'Native American' Mascots." Retrieved December 8, 2011 ( ( ).

Senate Bill 1070. 2010. State of Arizona. Retrieved December 8, 2011 ( ( ) ).

Tatz, Colin. 2006. "Confronting the Australian Genocide." pp. 125-140 in The Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives. Edited by Roger Maaka and Chris Andersen. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. “Fast State and County Facts.” Retrieved February 22, 2012 ( (

United States Department of Homeland Security. 2010. “Persons Obtaining Legal Permanent Resident Status by Region and Selected Country of Last Residence: Fiscal Years 1820 to 2010.” Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. Retrieved 6 December 2011 ( (

Vigdor, Jacob L. 2008. “Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States.” Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Civic Report 53. Accessed 4 December 2011 ( htm (


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12 gender, gender and sexuality

Figure 12.1 Some children may learn early on that their gender does not match their gender. (Photo courtesy of Rajesh Kumar/flickr)

Learning Objectives 12.1. sex and gender

• Define and distinguish sex and gender

• Define and discuss what is meant by gender identity

• Understand and discuss the role of homophobia and heterosexism in society

• Distinguish the meanings of transgender, transsexual and homosexual identity

12.2. Gender • Explain the impact of socialization on gender roles in the United States

• Verstehen Sie die Geschlechterschichtung in großen US-Institutionen

• Describe gender from the perspective of the respective sociological perspective

12.3. Sex and Sexuality • Understand different attitudes related to sex and sexuality

• Define sexual inequality in different societies

• Discuss theoretical perspectives on sex and sexuality

Chapter 12 | Sex, gender and sexuality 251

Introduction to gender, sex and sexuality In 2009, 18-year-old South African athlete Caster Semenya won the women's 800-meter world championships in track and field. His time of 1:55:45, a surprising improvement from his 2008 time of 2:08:00, caused officials at the International Athletics Association (IAAF) Foundation to question whether his win was legitimate. If this questioning were based on a suspicion of steroid use, the case would be no different than that of Roger Clemens or Mark McGuire or even Olympic gold medalist in track and field, Marion Jones. But the questioning and eventual testing were based on claims that Caster Semenya was biologically male, regardless of her gender identity.

You might think that distinguishing between biological male and biological female is certainly a simple matter — just run some DNA or hormone tests, do a physical exam, and you'll have the answer. But it is not that easy. Both biologically male and biologically female humans produce a certain amount of testosterone, and different laboratories have different methods of testing, making it difficult to set a specific threshold for the amount of male hormones produced by a woman who makes her sex male. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) criteria for determining eligibility for gender-specific events are not intended to determine biological sex. “Instead, these regulations are intended to identify circumstances in which a given athlete (due to hormonal characteristics) is not eligible to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in the women's category” (International Olympic Committee 2012).

To provide more context, during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, eight female athletes with XY chromosomes were tested and eventually confirmed as fit to compete as women (Maugh 2009). To date, no man has been subjected to this type of test. Doesn't this mean that if women perform better than expected they are "too manly" but men are simply superior athletes if they perform well? Can you imagine Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, being examined by doctors to prove he's biologically male based solely on his looks and athletic ability?

Can you explain how sex, sexuality and gender differ from each other?

In this chapter, we will discuss the differences between gender and sex, along with issues such as gender identity and sexuality. We will also explore different theoretical perspectives on issues of gender and sexuality, including the social construction of sexuality and queer theory.

12.1 Gender and Gender

Figure 12.2 While the biological differences between males and females are fairly simple, the social and cultural aspects of the Lady Lord can be complicated. (Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS/flickr)

When filling out a document such as B. an application or a school registration, you will often be asked to provide your name, address, telephone number, date of birth and gender. But have you ever been asked to provide your sex and gender? Like most people, you may not have realized that sex and gender are not the same thing. However, sociologists and most other social scientists see them as conceptually distinct. Gender refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including primary sex characteristics (the reproductive system) and secondary characteristics such as height and musculature. Gender refers to behaviors, personal characteristics, and social positions that society associates with being a woman or a man.

A person's biologically determined gender does not always correspond to their gender. Therefore, the terms sex and gender are not interchangeable. A boy born with male genitalia is identified as male. However, as he grows up, he is able to identify with the feminine aspects of his culture. Since the term sex refers to biological or physical differences, sex characteristics do not differ significantly between different human societies. Generally,

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Making Connections: Social Policy and Debate

Women, regardless of their culture, will eventually menstruate and develop breasts that can be breastfed. Sex characteristics, on the other hand, can vary greatly between different societies. For example, in American culture, it is considered feminine (or a characteristic of the feminine gender) to wear a dress or skirt. However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures, dresses or skirts (often referred to as sarongs, tunics, or smocks) are considered masculine. The kilt worn by a Scottish man does not make him look feminine in his culture.

The dichotomous view of gender (the idea that someone is male or female) is specific to particular cultures and not universal. In some cultures, gender is considered fluid. Historically, some anthropologists used the term berdachs to refer to individuals who dressed and lived as a different sex, occasionally or permanently. This practice has been observed among certain Native American tribes (Jacobs, Thomas and Lang 1997). Samoan culture accepts what Samoans call the "third gender". Fa'afafine, which translates to "the way of woman," is a term used to describe individuals who were biologically born male but embody both masculine and feminine characteristics. Fa'afafines are considered an important part of Samoan culture. People from other cultures may mislabel them as homosexuals because fa'afafines have diverse sex lives that can include both males and females (Poasa 1992).

The legal term sex and gender The terms sex and gender are not always differentiated in the English language. It was not until the 1950s that US and British psychologists and other professionals working with intersex and transgender patients began to make an official distinction between sex and gender. Since then, psychologists and physiologists have increasingly used the term gender (Moi 2005). By the end of the 21st century, it has become more difficult to translate the appropriate use of the term gender into everyday language - especially in relation to legal language. In an effort to clarify the use of the terms "sex" and "gender," US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 1994 briefing: "The word "gender" has new and useful cultural or attitudinal connotations Traits (as opposed to physical traits) preserve the sexes. . That is, gender is to sex what is female to female and male to male” (JEB v. Alabama, 144 S. Ct. 1436 [1994]). However, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed. Seeing the words as synonyms, she switched them around freely in her instructions to avoid using the word "sex" too often. His secretary is believed to have encouraged this practice by suggesting to Ginsberg that "these nine men" (the other Supreme Court justices) "hear this word and their first connection is not what you want them to think." “ (Fall 1995). This anecdote shows that both sex and sex are actually socially defined variables, with definitions changing over time.

Sexual Orientation A person's sexual orientation is their physical, mental, emotional, and sexual attraction to a particular gender (male or female). Sexual orientation is usually broken down into four categories: heterosexuality, attraction to people of the opposite sex; homosexuality, affection for people of the same sex; bisexuality, attraction to people of both sexes; and asexuality, not attracted to either sex. Heterosexuals and homosexuals can also be referred to informally as 'straight' and 'gay', respectively. The United States is a heteronormative society, meaning that it assumes that sexual orientation is biologically determined and unequivocal. Remember that homosexuals are often asked, "When did you know you were gay?" But heterosexuals are rarely asked, "When did you know you were straight?" (Ryle 2011).

According to current scientific understanding, people are generally aware of their sexual orientation between late childhood and early adolescence (American Psychological Association, 2008). You don't have to engage in sexual activity to be aware of these emotional, romantic, and physical attractions; People can be celibate and still acknowledge their sexual orientation. Gay (including lesbian) women, gay (including gay) and bisexual men of both genders can have very different experiences in discovering and accepting their sexual orientation. At the time of puberty, some may disclose their sexual orientation, while others may be unwilling or unwilling to disclose their homosexuality or bisexuality, as doing so goes against the historical norms of American society (APA 2008).

Alfred Kinsey was one of the first to conceive of sexuality as a continuum and not as a strict dichotomy between gay and straight. He created a six-point rating scale ranging from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual. See the image below. In his 1948 work Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey writes: "Men do not represent two distinct populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world must not be divided into sheep and goats... The living world is in every respect a continuum” (Kinsey 1948).

Chapter 12 | Sex, gender and sexuality 253

Figure 12.3 The Kinsey scale shows that sexuality cannot be measured solely in terms of heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Later studies by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick expanded Kinsey's ideas. She coined the term "homosocial" as opposed to "homosexual," denoting nonsexual same-sex relationships. Sedgwick recognized that in US culture, men are subject to a clear division between the two sides of this continuum, while women enjoy more fluidity. This can be illustrated by the way women in the United States express homosocial feelings (nonsexual appreciation for people of the same sex) through hugs, holding hands, and physical closeness. In contrast, American men avoid these expressions as they go against the heteronormative expectation that male sexual attraction should be exclusive to women. Research suggests that women find it easier to violate these norms than men, since men face greater social disapproval when they are physically close to other men (Sedgwick 1985).

There is no scientific consensus on the exact reasons why a person has a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual orientation. Research has been conducted to examine possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, but there is no evidence linking sexual orientation to any factor (APA2008). However, research presents evidence that gay and bisexual people are treated differently than straight people in schools, in the workplace and in the military. For example, in 2011, Sears and Mallory used data from the 2008 General Social Survey to show that 27% of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) respondents said they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation in the five years prior to the survey . In addition, 38% of openly LGB people experienced discrimination during the same period.

Much of this discrimination is based on stereotypes and misinformation. Some are based on heterosexism, which, according to Herek (1990), is both an ideology and a set of institutional practices that favor heterosexuals and heterosexuality over other sexual orientations. Like racism and sexism, heterosexism is a systematic disadvantage built into our social institutions, empowering those who conform to a heterosexual orientation while simultaneously undermining those who don't. Homophobia, an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals, is responsible for further stereotyping and discrimination. Important measures to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation have only come into force in recent years. In 2011, President Obama repealed the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy that required gay men in the US military not to disclose their sexuality. The Workers' Non-Discrimination Act, which guarantees equality in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, has yet to be fully approved by the government. Organizations such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) defend gay rights and encourage governments and citizens to recognize the existence of gender discrimination and work to prevent it. Other advocacy groups often use the acronyms LBGT and LBGTQ, which stand for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender" (and "Queer" or "Questioning" when the Q is added).

It is sociologically clear that gay and lesbian couples are negatively affected in states where they are denied the legal right to marry. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed, which specifically limited the definition of "marriage" to a union between a man and a woman. It also allowed individual states to decide whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. Imagine if you had married a partner of the opposite sex under similar circumstances — if you vacationed across the country, the validity of your marriage would change every time you crossed state lines. In another blow to supporters of same-sex marriage, in November 2008 California passed Proposition 8, a state law restricting marriage to unions between partners of the opposite sex.

Over time, proponents of same-sex marriage won several court cases that laid the groundwork for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, including the June 2013 decision to include a portion of the DOMA in Windsor v. by Hollingsworth v. Perry and reiterated the August 2010 ruling that found California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. In October 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of rulings against same-sex marriage bans, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Colorado, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming (Freedom to Marry, Inc. 2014). Same-sex marriage is legal in most parts of the United States today. The next few years will determine whether same-sex marriage rights are enforced, depending on whether the US Supreme Court takes legal action to guarantee freedom of marriage as a civil right.

Gender roles As we grow up, we learn how to relate to those around us. In this socialization process, children are introduced to specific roles that are usually associated with their biological gender. The term gender role refers to society's perception of how men and women should look and behave. These roles are based on norms or standards created by society. In US culture, male roles are generally associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while female roles are generally associated with passivity, nurturing, and submission. Role learning begins with socialization at birth. Even today, our society is quick to dress baby boys in blue and baby girls in pink, even applying these color-coded gender labels while the baby is in the womb.

One of the ways children learn gender roles is through play. Parents often provide boys with trucks, toy guns, and superhero paraphernalia, which are active toys that encourage fine motor skills, aggression, and one-on-one play. Daughters are often gifted dolls and costumes that encourage affection, social closeness, and role play. Studies have shown that children are more likely to choose “gender-appropriate” (or same-sex) toys, even when opposite-sex toys are available, because parents give children positive feedback (in the form of praise, engagement, and closeness), physics ) for gender normative behavior (Caldera, Huston, and O'Brien 1998).

Figure 12.4 Parents tend to be more involved when their children are involved in gender-sensitive activities such as sports. (Photo courtesy of ShawnLea/flickr)

The urge to conform to male and female gender roles continues later in life. Men tend to outperform women in jobs like the police, military, and politicians. Women tend to do better than men in caring professions such as childcare, health care (although the term “doctor” still conjures up male imagery) and social work. These professional roles are examples of typical American male and female behavior derived from the traditions of our culture. Their observance indicates the fulfillment of social expectations, but not necessarily personal preferences (Diamond 2002).

Gender Identity US society allows for a degree of flexibility when it comes to the portrayal of gender roles. To a certain extent, men can take on some female roles and women can take on some male roles without compromising their gender identity.

People who identify with a role that differs from their biological sex are referred to as transgender. Transgender is not the same as gay, and many gay men see both their sex and gender as masculine. Transgender men are men who have such a strong emotional and psychological connection to the feminine aspects of society that their gender identifies as feminine. The parallel connection to masculinity exists for transgender women. It is difficult to determine the prevalence of transgenderism in society. However, an estimated two to five percent of the US population are transgender (Transgender Law and Policy Institute 2007).

Transsexuals are transsexual people who try to change their bodies through medical interventions such as surgery and hormone therapy in such a way that their physical being better corresponds to their gender identity. They can also be known as male to female (MTF) or female to male (FTM). Not all trans people choose to change their bodies:

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Many will retain their original anatomy but may present themselves to society as a different gender. This is usually done by adopting clothing, hairstyle, manners, or other traits normally attributed to a different gender. It is important to note that people who cross dress or wear clothing traditionally assigned to a gender other than their biological sex are not necessarily transgender. Cross-dressing is typically a form of self-expression, entertainment, or personal style and not necessarily an expression against the assigned gender (APA 2008).

There is no single, coherent explanation for why people are transgender. Transgender expressions and experiences are so diverse that it is difficult to identify their origin. Some hypotheses point to biological factors, such as genetics or prenatal hormone levels, as well as social and cultural factors, such as childhood and adult experiences. Most experts believe that all of these factors contribute to a person's gender identity (APA 2008).

After years of controversy over the treatment of sex and gender in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (Drescher 2010), the latest edition, DSM-5, responds to claims that the term "gender identity disorder" is stigmatizing and is replaced by "gender dysphoria". Gender dysphoria as a diagnostic category stigmatized the patient by suggesting that there was something "disorganized" about them. Gender dysphoria, on the other hand, removes some of that stigma by removing the word "disorder" while maintaining a category that protects the patient's access to care, including hormone therapy and sex reassignment. In the DSM-5, Gender Disphoria is a condition of people whose gender at birth is opposite of that with which they identify. For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a clear difference between the person's expressed/experienced gender and the gender that other people would assign him or her, and this difference must persist for at least six months. In children, the desire to be the opposite sex must be present and verbalized. This diagnosis is now a separate category from sexual dysfunction and paraphilia, another important part of the stigma attached to the diagnosis (APA 2013).

A change in the clinical picture can contribute to greater acceptance of trans people in society. Studies show that people who identify as transgender are twice as likely to experience aggression or discrimination as non-transgender people; they are also one and a half times more likely to experience bullying (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 2010; Giovanniello 2013). Organizations such as the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs and Global Action for Trans Equality work to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of transgender, transgender, and gay violence. These organizations hope to end this violence by educating the public about gender identity and empowering transgender people and transgender people.

Real Life Mad Friday What if you had to live up to a gender you weren't biologically born to be? If you're a man, imagine having to wear frilly dresses, dainty shoes, and makeup to special occasions, and being expected to enjoy romantic comedies and daytime talk shows. If you are a woman, imagine being forced to wear informal clothing, make minimal efforts about your personal appearance, show no emotion, and watch countless hours of sporting events and sporting commentary. It would be very uncomfortable, right? Well, maybe not. Many people enjoy participating in activities, whether or not related to their biological sex, and would not mind if some of the cultural expectations placed on men and women were relaxed.

Now imagine looking at your body in the mirror and feeling disconnected. You feel like your genitals are shameful and dirty, and you feel like you're trapped in someone else's body with no chance of escape. As you get older, you hate the way your body changes, and that's why you hate yourself. It's important to understand these elements of separation and shame when talking about transgender people. Fortunately, sociological studies are paving the way for a deeper and more empirically grounded understanding of the transgender experience.

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Figure 12.5 Chaz Bono is the transgender son of Cher and Sonny Bono. Although born a woman, he considers himself a man. Being transgender has nothing to do with clothes or hairstyles; it's about self-awareness. (Photo courtesy of Greg Hernandez/flickr)

12.2 Genus

Figure 12.6 Traditional images of gender roles in the United States reinforce the idea that women should be subordinate to men. (Photo courtesy of SportSuburban/flickr)

Gender and socialization The phrase "boys will always be boys" is often used to justify behaviors such as shoving, shoving, or other forms of boy aggression. The phrase implies that such behavior is immutable and part of a boy's nature. The “screenplay” written by the company is somewhat similar to a playwright's screenplay. Just as a playwright expects actors to follow a prescribed script, society expects women and men to behave according to the expectations of their respective gender roles. Scripts are usually learned through a process known as socialization, which teaches people to behave according to social norms.


Children learn early on that boys and girls have different expectations. Cross-cultural studies show that children are aware of gender roles by the age of two or three. By the age of four or five, most children are firmly entrenched in it

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appropriate gender roles (Kane 1996). Children acquire these roles through socialization, a process in which people learn to behave in a specific way dictated by society's values, beliefs, and attitudes. Motorcycling, for example, is often seen in society as a male activity and thus part of male gender roles. Attitudes like these are typically based on stereotypes, simplified notions of group membership. Gender stereotypes involve an over-generalization of women's or men's attitudes, characteristics, or behavior patterns. For example, women may be seen as too shy or too weak to ride motorcycles.

Figure 12.7 While our society has a stereotype that associates motorcycles with men, female motorcyclists demonstrate that a woman's place in modern America extends well beyond the kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker/flickr)

Gender stereotypes form the basis of sexism. Sexism refers to biased beliefs that place one gender above the other. It varies in its severity. In parts of the world where women are grossly undervalued, girls may not have the same access to nutrition, health care and education as boys. They will also grow up believing that they deserve to be treated differently from boys (UNICEF 2011; Thorne 1993). Although illegal when practiced as discrimination in the United States, inequality against women continues to permeate community life. It should be noted that gender discrimination occurs at both the micro and macro levels. Many sociologists focus on the discrimination built into the social structure; this type of discrimination is referred to as institutional discrimination (Pincus 2008).

Gender socialization occurs through four main actors of socialization: family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Each agent reinforces gender roles by creating and maintaining normative expectations for gendered behavior. Exposure also occurs through secondary factors such as religion and workplace. Repeated exposure to these agents over time creates a false sense in both men and women that they are acting naturally rather than following a socially constructed role.

The family is the first actor of socialization. There is ample evidence that parents socialize sons and daughters differently. In general, girls are given more freedom to step out of their prescribed gender roles (Coltrane and Adams 2004; Kimmel 2000; Raffaelli and Ontai 2004). However, differential socialization usually results in greater privileges being afforded to children. For example, boys have more autonomy and independence than daughters from an early age. You may get fewer restrictions on appropriate dress, dating habits, or curfews. Children are also often free to do household chores such as cleaning or cooking and other household chores that are considered feminine. Daughters are forced by their expectation to be passive, loving, generally obedient, and to take on many household chores.

Even when parents aim for gender equality, there can be subtle hints of inequality. For example, boys might be asked to take out the trash or do other tasks that require strength or endurance, while girls might be asked to fold laundry or do tasks that require cleanliness and care. It has been found that fathers are firmer than mothers in their expectations of gender conformity, and their expectations of sons are stronger than daughters (Kimmel, 2000). This applies to many types of activities, including toy preferences, playstyles, discipline, tasks, and personal accomplishments. As a result, boys tend to be particularly attuned to their father's disapproval when engaging in an activity that might be viewed as feminine, such as dancing or singing (Coltraine and Adams 2008). Parental socialization and normative expectations also vary by social class, race, and ethnicity. For example, African American families are more likely than Caucasian families to model an egalitarian role structure for their children (Staples and Boulin Johnson 2004).

The reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes continues as the child reaches school age. Until recently, schools made quite explicit efforts to stratify between boys and girls. The first step in stratification was segregation. Girls were encouraged to take courses in home economics or humanities, and boys to take math and science.

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Studies suggest that gender socialization still takes place in schools today, perhaps in less obvious ways (Lips 2004). Teachers may not even realize that they are acting in a way that reproduces gendered behavioral patterns. However, whenever they ask students to rearrange their seating or line-up by gender, teachers may argue that boys and girls should be treated differently (Thorne 1993).

Even in the lower grades of kindergarten, schools subtly convey the message to girls that they are less intelligent or less important than boys. For example, in a study of teachers' reactions to male and female students, data showed that male teachers praised male students much more than female students. Teachers interrupt girls more often and give boys more opportunities to expand their ideas (Sadker and Sadker 1994). Furthermore, in social and academic settings, teachers traditionally treat boys and girls in opposite ways, reinforcing a sense of competition rather than collaboration (Thorne 1993). Boys also have a greater degree of freedom to break rules or commit minor deviant acts, while girls are expected to follow rules carefully and adopt an obedient role (Ready 2001).

Mimicking the actions of significant others is the first step in developing a sense of self (Mead 1934). gender roles are appropriate, they may be confronted with negative sanctions, such as B. Criticism or exclusion from their peers. Although many of these sanctions are informal in nature, they can be quite severe. For example, a girl who wants to take karate classes instead of dance classes may be labeled a "tomboy" and have difficulty being accepted by both male and female peer groups (Ready 2001). Boys in particular are intensely ridiculed for gender nonconformity (Coltrane and Adams 2004; Kimmel 2000).

The mass media serves as another major agent of gender socialization. In television and film, women tend to play less prominent roles and are often portrayed as wives or mothers. When women are assigned a leadership role, they often fall into one of two extremes: a sane, sacred figure or a malevolent, hypersexual figure (Etaugh and Bridges 2003). The same inequality is pervasive in children's films (Smith 2008). Research shows that in the ten highest-grossing films released between 1991 and 2013, nine out of ten characters were male (Smith 2008).

TV spots and other forms of advertising also reinforce inequality and gender stereotypes. Women are almost exclusively present in advertisements for cooking, cleaning or childcare products (Davis, 1993). Think about the last time you saw a man in a dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent commercial. In general, women are underrepresented in roles that involve leadership, intelligence, or a balanced psyche. Of particular concern is the inhumane portrayal of women, particularly in music videos. But themes that mix violence and sexuality are also widespread in traditional advertising (Kilbourne 2000).

Social stratification and inequality

Stratification refers to a system in which groups of people have unequal access to basic but very valuable social resources. The United States is characterized by gender stratification (as well as stratification by race, income, occupation, and the like). The evidence for gender stratification is particularly clear in the economic sphere. Despite accounting for nearly half (49.8 percent) of payroll employment, men far outnumber women in authoritative, powerful, and therefore high-paying jobs (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Even when a woman's employment status is the same as a man's, she typically earns only 77 cents for every dollar her male colleague earns (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Employed women still do most of the unpaid work in the home. On an average day, 84 percent of women (compared to 67 percent of men) spend time doing housework (US Census Bureau 2011). This dual duty keeps working women in a subordinate role in the family structure (Hochschild and Machung 1989).

Gender stratification through division of labor is not unique to the United States. According to George Murdock's classic Outline of World Cultures (1954), all societies classify work by sex. When a pattern appears in all societies, it is referred to as a cultural universal. Although the phenomenon of gender assignment is universal, its specifics are not. Men and women around the world are not assigned the same task. But the way the genre associated with each task is rated is remarkable. In Murdock's study of the division of labor in 324 societies around the world, he found that in almost all cases jobs assigned to men were given higher prestige (Murdock and White 1968). Even if the types of work were very similar and the differences small, men's work was still considered more important.

The United States has a long history of gender stratification. In retrospect, it appears that society has made great strides in eradicating some of the most glaring forms of gender inequality (see timeline below), but the underlying effects of male dominance still permeate many aspects of society.

• Before 1809 - Women could not make a will

• Before 1840 - Women were not allowed to own or control property

• Before 1920 - women could not vote

• Prior to 1963, employers could legally pay a woman less than a man for the same job

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• Before 1973 – women were not entitled to a safe and legal abortion (Imbornoni 2009)

Figure 12.8 In some cultures, women do all the housework without the help of men, since housework is a sign of weakness and is viewed by society as a feminine trait. (Photo courtesy of Evil Erin/flickr)

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender Sociological theories help sociologists to develop questions and interpret data. For example, a sociologist studying why high school girls are more likely to underperform grade level expectations in math and science than their male peers might use a feminist perspective to frame her research. Another scholar might take a conflict perspective to examine why women are underrepresented in political office, and an interactionist might examine how symbols of femininity interact with symbols of political authority to influence how women in Congress differ from their male counterparts in sessions be treated.

structural functionality

Structural functionalism offered one of the most important perspectives of sociological research in the 20th century and had a major impact on social science research, including gender studies. Since the family is seen as the most integral part of society, assumptions about gender roles within marriage occupy a prominent place in this perspective.

Functionalists argue that gender roles were established well before the pre-industrial era, when men generally took on chores outside the home, such as hunting, and women generally tended to domestic chores in or around the house. These roles were seen as functional as women were often constrained by the physical limitations of pregnancy and breastfeeding and unable to leave the home for long periods of time. Once established, these roles were passed on to succeeding generations as they served as a powerful means of keeping the family system functioning.

As changes occurred in the social and economic climate of the United States during World War II, family structures also changed. Many women have had to assume the role of breadwinner (or modern hunter-gatherer) alongside their domestic role to stabilize a rapidly changing society. When men returned from the war and wanted their jobs back, society became unbalanced as many women did not want to give up their paid positions (Hawke 2007).

conflict theory

According to conflict theory, society is a struggle for dominance between social groups (eg, women versus men) competing for scarce resources. When sociologists look at gender from this perspective, we can see men as the dominant group and women as the subordinate group. According to conflict theory, social problems arise when dominant groups exploit or oppress subordinate groups. Consider the women's suffrage movement or the debate about "women's right to choose their reproductive future." It is difficult for women to outperform men because members of the dominant group set the rules for success and opportunity in society (Farrington and Chertok 1993).

Friedrich Engels, a German sociologist, studied family structures and gender roles. Engels suggested that the same owner-worker relationship seen in the workforce is also seen at home, with women taking on the role of the proletariat. This is due to women's income dependency on men, which is even worse for women who are entirely dependent on their spouses for economic support. Contemporary conflict theorists posit that when women become wage earners, women gain power in the family structure and can establish more democratic rules in the home, although, as noted earlier, they may still bear most of the domestic burden (Rismanand and Johnson- Sumerford 1998). .

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Making Connections: Sociological Research

feminist theory

Feminist theory is a type of conflict theory that examines inequalities on gender issues. It uses the conflict approach to examine the maintenance of gender roles and inequalities. Radical feminism in particular considers the role of the family in maintaining male dominance. In patriarchal societies, men's contributions are considered more valuable than women's. Patriarchal perspectives and arrangements are widespread and taken for granted. As a result, women's views are typically silenced or marginalized until they are discredited or deemed invalid.

Sanday's study of the Indonesian Minangkabau (2004) showed that in societies that some consider matriarchal (where women are the dominant group), women and men work cooperatively rather than competitively, regardless of whether a job is considered female by American standards will. Men, however, do not experience the sense of forked consciousness under this social structure that modern American women encounter (Sanday 2004).

symbolic interactionism

Symbolic interactionism aims to understand human behavior by analyzing the crucial role of symbols in human interaction. This is certainly relevant to the discussion of masculinity and femininity. Imagine you walk into a bank hoping to get a small loan for a school, home, or small business. When you meet a male loan officer, you can logically present your case and list all the hard numbers that make you a qualified applicant to appeal to the analytical qualities associated with masculinity. When meeting with a loan officer, you can make an emotional appeal by voicing your good intentions to appeal to the caring qualities associated with femininity.

Since the meanings assigned to symbols are socially created and not natural and fluid and not static, we act and react to symbols based on the currently assigned meaning. For example, the word gay once meant "gay," but in the 1960's it took on the primary meaning of "homosexual." In transition, it was even known to mean "carefree" or "bright and showy" (Oxford American Dictionary 2010). Furthermore, the word gay (since it refers to a homosexual) had a somewhat negative and unfavorable connotation fifty years ago, but has since acquired a more neutral and even positive connotation. When people perform tasks or possess traits based on their assigned gender role, they are said to be gendered. This idea is based on the work of West and Zimmerman (1987). Whether we express our masculinity or femininity, West and Zimmerman argue, we are always "gendering." So gender is something we do or perform, not something we are.

In other words, both gender and sexuality are socially constructed. The social construction of sexuality refers to how socially constructed definitions of the cultural appropriateness of gendered behavior shape the way people view and experience sexuality. This is in marked contrast to theories of sex, gender, and sexuality that link male and female behavior to biological determinism, or the belief that males and females behave differently because of differences in their biology.

Being a Man, Being a Woman, and Being Healthy In 1971, Broverman and Broverman conducted a landmark study of the characteristics of mental health professionals attributed to men and women. When asked about a woman's characteristics, the list included words such as non-aggressive, gentle, emotional, diplomatic, less logical, non-ambitious, dependent, passive, and organized. The list of male traits included words such as aggressive, rough, unemotional, blunt, logical, direct, active, and sloppy (Seemand Clark 2006). When later asked to describe the characteristics of a healthy person (not gender specific), the list was almost identical to that of a man.

This study uncovered the common belief that being female is associated with unhealthy or unhealthy minds. This concept seems extremely outdated, but in 2006 Seem and Clark replicated the study and found similar results. Again, the characteristics associated with a healthy male were very similar to those of a healthy (sexless) adult. The list of traits associated with femininity has expanded somewhat, but shows no significant changes from the original study (Seem and Clark 2006). This interpretation of the female trait may one day help us better understand gender differences in certain diseases, such as why one in eight women will develop clinical depression in their lifetime (National Institutes of Mental Health, 1999). Perhaps these diagnoses are not only a reflection of women's health, but also a reflection of societal labeling of female characteristics or a result of institutionalized sexism.

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12.3 Sex and sexuality

Figure 12.9 Sexual practices can vary greatly between groups. Recent trends include the finding that married couples have sex more often than single couples and that 27% of married couples in their 30s have sex at least twice a week (NSSHB 2010). (Photo courtesy of

Sexual Attitudes and Practices In the area of ​​sexuality, sociologists focus on sexual attitudes and practices, not on physiology or anatomy. Sexuality is viewed as a person's ability to have sexual feelings. The study of sexual attitudes and practices is a particularly interesting area of ​​sociology because sexual behavior is a culturally universal area. Across time and place, the vast majority of people have had sexual intercourse (Broude 2003). However, every society interprets sexuality and sexual activity in different ways. Many societies around the world have different attitudes toward premarital sex, the age of sexual consent, homosexuality, masturbation, and other sexual behaviors (Widmer, Treas, and Newcomb 1998). At the same time, sociologists learned that certain norms are shared by most societies. The incest taboo is present in all societies, although it varies widely from culture to culture which relative is considered unacceptable for sex. For example, sometimes the father's relatives are considered acceptable sexual partners for a woman, while the mother's relatives are not. Likewise, societies often have norms that reinforce their socially accepted system of sexuality.

What is considered “normal” when it comes to sexual behavior is based on society’s mores and values. Societies that value monogamy, for example, would likely discourage extramarital sex. Individuals are socialized into sexual attitudes through their family, educational system, peers, media, and religion. Historically, religion has been the greatest influence on sexual behavior in most societies, but in recent years peers and the media have emerged as two of the strongest influences, particularly among American teenagers (Potard, Courtois, and Rusch 2008). Let's take a closer look at sexual attitudes in the United States and around the world.

sexuality in the world

International surveys of sexual attitudes in industrialized nations show that normative standards vary around the world. For example, several studies have shown that Scandinavian college students are more tolerant of premarital sex than Americans. students (Grose 2007). A study in 37 countries reported that non-Western societies - such as China, Iran, and India - valued chastity in a potential mate, while Western European countries - such as France, the Netherlands, and Sweden - placed little value on prior sexual experiences (Buses 1989). .

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Table 12.1 Chastity in relation to potential partners Source: Buss 1989

Country Men (average) Women (average)

China 2,54 2,61

If 2.44 2.17

Indonesia 2.06 1.98

Iran 2,67 2,23

Israel (Palestinians) 2.24 0.96

Sweden 0.25 0.28

Norway 0.31 0.30

Finland 0.27 0.29

Netherlands 0.29 0.29

Even in Western cultures, attitudes can differ. For example, according to a survey of 33,590 people in 24 countries, 89% of Swedes responded that there was nothing wrong with premarital sex, while only 42% of Irish gave the answer. In the same study, 93 percent of Filipinos responded that sex before age 16 is always wrong or almost always wrong, while only 75 percent of Russians responded in this way (Widmer, Treas, and Newcomb 1998). Sexual attitudes can also vary within a country. For example, 45% of Spaniards answered that homosexuality is always wrong, while 42% answered that it is never wrong; only 13 percent answered somewhere in the middle (Widmer, Treas, and Newcomb 1998).

Of the industrialized nations, Sweden is considered the most liberal when it comes to attitudes towards sex, including sexual practices and sexual openness. The country has very few regulations on sexual depictions in the media, and sex education, which begins around the age of six, is a compulsory part of Swedish school curricula. Sweden's liberal approach to sex has helped the country avoid some of the biggest social problems related to sex. For example, rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are among the lowest in the world (Grose 2007). It seems that Sweden is a model for the benefits of sexual freedom and openness. However, implementation of Swedish ideals and sexual policies in other, politically more conservative countries would likely meet resistance.

Sexuality in the United States

The United States prides itself on being the land of the "free," but it's quite restrictive compared to other developed nations when it comes to the general attitudes of its citizens toward sex. In an international survey, 29 percent of respondents in the US said premarital sex is always wrong, while the average across the 24 countries surveyed was 17 percent. Similar discrepancies were found for questions about toleration of sex before the age of 16, sex outside of marriage, and homosexuality, with overall disapproval of these acts in the United States being 12, 13, and 11 percent higher than the study average, respectively (Widmer, Treas, and Newcomb 1998 ).

US culture is particularly restrictive in its approach to sex when it comes to women and sexuality. It is generally believed that men are more sexual than women. In fact, there's a common notion that men think about sex every seven seconds. However, research suggests that men think about sex an average of 19 times a day, compared to 10 times a day for women (Fisher, Moore, and Pittenger 2011).

The belief that men have—or are entitled to—more sexual drives than women creates a double standard. Ira Reiss, a pioneering researcher in the field of sexology, defined the double standard as prohibiting premarital sex for women but allowing it for men (Reiss 1960). This standard has evolved to mean that women are only allowed to have premarital sex in committed romantic relationships, while men are unconditionally allowed to have sex with as many partners as they want (Milhausen and Herold 1999). Because of this double standard, a woman is likely to have fewer sexual partners in her life than a man. According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average 35-year-old woman has had three opposite-sex sexual partners, while the average 35-year-old man has had twice as many (Centers for Disease Control 2011).

The future of a society's sexual attitudes can be predicted by the values ​​and beliefs expressed by a country's youth about sex and sexuality. Data from the most recent National Survey of Family Growth shows that 70 percent of boys and 78 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 “agree” or “strongly agree” that “it’s okay for a single woman to to have a child.” ( National Family Growth Survey 2013). In a separate poll, 65% of teens said they "strongly agree" or "tend to agree" that while waiting until marriage to have sex is a good idea, it's unrealistic (NBC

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News 2005). That doesn't mean that young people today have abandoned traditional sexual values ​​like monogamy. Almost all college students (98.9 percent) and women (99.2 percent) who participated in a 2002 study of sexual attitudes said they wanted to settle down with a mutually exclusive sexual partner at some point in their lives, ideally in the next five years (Pedersen et al. 2002).

sex education

One of the biggest controversies surrounding sexual attitudes is sex education in US classrooms. Unlike Sweden, sex education is not required in all public school curricula in the United States. The heart of the controversy isn't whether sex education should be taught in schools (studies have shown that only 7% of American adults oppose sex education in schools); it's about the kind of sex education that should be taught.

Much of the debate revolves around the issue of abstinence. In a 2005 poll, 15% of US respondents believed that schools should only teach abstinence and should not provide birth control or information on how to get it. 46 percent believed schools should adopt a Abstinence Plus approach that teaches children that abstinence is best but still provides information about safe sex. 36 percent believe that teaching about abstinence is not important and that sex education should focus on sexual safety and responsibility (NPR 2010).

The survey suggests that while government officials still debate the content of sex education in public schools, most American adults do not. Those who have championed abstinence-only programs could be the proverbial squeaky wheel in this controversy, representing just 15 percent of parents. Fifty-five percent of respondents agree that providing information about sex and how to obtain and use protection will not encourage teens to have sex earlier than it would in a temperance program. About 77% believe that such a curriculum would make adolescents more likely to practice safer sex now and in the future (NPR 2004).

A model for this approach is Sweden, whose comprehensive sex education program in its public schools educates participants about safe sex. The teenage birth rate in Sweden is 7 per 1,000 births, compared to 49 per 1,000 births in the United States. Among 15-19 year olds, reported cases of gonorrhea are almost 600 times less common in Sweden than in the United States (Grose 2007).

Sociological Perspectives on Sex and Sexuality Sociologists, representing the three main theoretical perspectives, examine the role that sexuality plays in social life today. Scholars recognize that sexuality remains an important and defining social locus, and that the way sexuality is constructed has a significant impact on perceptions, interactions, and outcomes.

structural functionality

With regard to sexuality, functionalists stress the importance of regulating sexual behavior to ensure marital cohesion and family stability. Since functionalists see the family unit as the most integral part of society, they keep a close eye on it at all times and advocate social arrangements that promote and secure the preservation of the family.

Functionalists such as Talcott Parsons (1955) have long argued that the regulation of sexual activity is an important family function. The social norms surrounding family life have traditionally encouraged sexual activity within the family unit (marriage) and discouraged activity outside of it (premarital and extramarital sex). From a functionalist point of view, encouraging sexual activity in marriage aims to strengthen the bond between spouses and ensure that procreation takes place in a stable and legally recognized relationship. This structure gives the offspring the best possible chance of adequate socialization and provision of basic resources.

From a functionalist perspective, homosexuality cannot be widely promoted as an acceptable substitute for heterosexuality. When that happened, reproduction would eventually stop. Thus, when homosexuality is predominant in the population, it is dysfunctional for society. This criticism fails to take into account the growing legal acceptance of same-sex marriage or the increase in gay and lesbian couples choosing to bear and raise children through a variety of available resources.

conflict theory

From a conflict theory perspective, sexuality is another area where power differentials exist and where dominant groups are actively working to advance their worldview as well as their economic interests. Recently, we've seen the debate about legalizing gay marriage intensify across the country.

For conflict theorists, there are two fundamental dimensions to the same-sex marriage debate—one ideological and one economic. Dominant groups (heterosexuals in this case) want their worldview—which encompasses traditional marriage and the nuclear family—to overcome what they see as the intrusion of a secular, individually-driven worldview. On the other hand, many gay and lesbian activists argue that legal marriage is a fundamental right that cannot exist

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can be refused on grounds of sexual orientation and that historically there is already precedent for changes in marriage law: the legalization of previously prohibited interracial marriages in the 1960s is an example.

From an economic standpoint, same-sex marriage activists point out that legal marriage brings with it certain rights, many of which are financial in nature, such as Social Security benefits and medical insurance (Solmonese 2008). Denying gay couples these benefits is wrong, they argue. Conflict theory suggests that as long as heterosexuals and homosexuals fight over these social and financial resources, there will be some degree of conflict.

symbolic interactionism

Interactionists focus on the meanings associated with sexuality and sexual orientation. How femininity is devalued in the US. In society, those who assume such qualities are ridiculed; this is especially true for boys or men. Just as masculinity is the symbolic norm, heterosexuality has become the norm. Before 1973, the American Psychological Association (APA) defined homosexuality as an abnormal or deviant disorder. Interactionist labeling theory recognizes the impact this has had. Before 1973, the APA had a major influence on the social attitude towards homosexuality and defined it as pathological. Today, the APA does not identify any link between sexual orientation and psychopathology and considers homosexuality to be a normal aspect of human sexuality (APA 2008).

Interactionists are also interested in the fact that discussions of homosexuality often focus almost exclusively on gay and lesbian sex; Homosexuals, especially males, can be viewed as hypersexual and, in some cases, deviant. Interactionism can also focus on the insults used to describe homosexuals. Labels like "queen" and "fag" are often used to demean and feminize gay men. This has a further impact on the self-image of homosexuals. Recall Cooley's "mirror self," which suggests that the self develops as a result of our interpretation and evaluation of the reactions of others (Cooley 1902). Constant exposure to derogatory labels, jokes, and pervasive homophobia would lead to a negative self-image or, worse, self-loathing. The CDC reports that young gay men who experience high levels of social rejection are six times more likely to have depression and eight times more likely to have attempted suicide (CDC 2011).

Strange theory

Queer Theory is an interdisciplinary approach to sexuality research that identifies Western society's rigid gender division into male and female roles and questions the way we have learned to think about sexual orientation. According to Jagose (1996), Queer [Theory] focuses on the incompatibilities between anatomical sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, not just the male/female or homosexual/heterosexual divisions. By labeling their discipline “queer,” scholars reject the implications of the label; Instead, they took the word queer and reclaimed it for their own purposes. The perspective underscores the need for a more flexible and fluid conceptualization of sexuality—one that allows for change, negotiation, and freedom. The current scheme used to classify people as "heterosexual" or "homosexual" contrasts one orientation with the other. This reflects other oppressive schemas in our culture, particularly those involving gender and race (black versus white, male versus female).

Queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has spoken out against the monolithic definition of sexuality in American society and its reduction to a single factor: the sex of the desired mate. Sedgwick identified dozens of other ways people's sexuality differs, such as:

• Even identical genital acts mean very different things to different people.

• Sexuality is a big part of some people's sense of self, a small part of others' identity.

• Some people spend a lot of time thinking about sex, while others don't.

• Some people like to have a lot of sex, others little or nothing.

• Many people have their most intense mental/emotional struggle with sexual acts that they don't or don't want to do.

• Some people like spontaneous sex scenes, some people like heavily scripted scenes, some people like spontaneous scenes that are still totally predictable.

• Some people, gay, straight and bisexual, experience their sexuality as deeply rooted in a matrix of gender meanings and gender differences. Others of any sexuality do not (Sedgwick 1990).

Thus, theorists using queer theory strive to question the way society perceives and experiences sex, gender, and sexuality, opening the door to a new academic understanding.

In this chapter we have examined the complexities of gender, sex and sexuality. Distinguishing between sex, gender and sexual orientation is an important first step towards a deeper understanding and critical engagement with these issues.

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biological determinism:

make gender:


double standard:

sexual gender:

Gender Dysphoria:

gender identity:

gender roles:



strange theory:



sexual orientation:


Social construction of sexuality:



Understanding the sociology of sex, gender and sexuality will help raise awareness of the inequalities experienced by subcategories such as women, homosexuals and transgender people.

chapter overview

Key concepts are the belief that men and women behave differently because of inherent gender differences

your biology

the fulfillment of tasks based on the gender assigned to us by society and therefore by ourselves

Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 US law that specifically limits the definition of "marriage" to that between a man and a woman and allows each state to recognize or disallow same-sex marriages contracted in other states

the concept that prohibits premarital sex for women but allows men

a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions of behaviors that are viewed as masculine or feminine

a condition listed in the DSM-5 in which people whose gender at birth is the opposite of who they identify with. This condition replaces "gender identity disorder"

a person's ingrained inner perception of their gender

social perception of how men and women should behave

an ideology and set of institutional practices that favor heterosexuals and heterosexuality over other sexual orientations

an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals

an interdisciplinary approach to sexology that identifies Western society's rigid gender division into male and female roles and questions its appropriateness

a term denoting the existence of physical or physiological differences between males and females

the biased belief that one sex should be valued more than the other

a person's physical, mental, emotional, and sexual attraction to a particular gender (male or female)

a person's ability to have sexual feelings

Socially constructed definitions of the cultural appropriateness of gender-related behavior that shape how people view and experience sexuality

an adjective describing individuals who identify with behaviors and traits distinct from their biological sex

Transgender people attempting to alter their bodies through medical procedures such as surgery and hormone therapy

Summary section

12.1 Gender and Gender

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The terms "gender" and "gender" refer to two different identifiers. Gender denotes biological characteristics that distinguish males and females, while gender denotes social and cultural characteristics of male and female behavior. Sex and gender are not always synchronized. People who strongly identify with the opposite sex are considered transgender.

12.2 Gender Children become aware of, understand and play out gender roles in their early years through socialization that occurs through four main agents: family, education, friend groups and mass media. Socialization into fixed gender roles leads to the stratification of males and females. Each sociological perspective offers valuable insights to understand how and why gender inequality occurs in our society.

12.3 SEX AND SEXUALITY In studying sex and sexuality, sociologists focus their attention on sexual attitudes and practices, not on physiology or anatomy. Norms related to gender and sexuality vary between cultures. In general, the United States tends to be fairly conservative in its sexual attitudes. As a result, homosexuals continue to face resistance and discrimination in most major social institutions.

The section questionnaire

12.1 Sex and Gender1. The terms "male" and "female" refer to a person's _________.

one. Friday genus. both sex and gender. none of the above

2. The term _______ refers to the societal concept of how men and women should act and behave. gender role b. gender bias. sexual orientation. sexual attitudes

3. Research shows that individuals are aware of their sexual orientation _______.a. in childhood b. in early adolescence c. in early adulthood. in late adulthood

4. A person who is biologically female but identifies as male and has undergone surgery to alter their body is considered _______.

one. transgender transsexualc. a transvestite. homosexual

5. Which of the following statements explaining transgenderism is correct? That. It is strictly biological and linked to chemical imbalances in the brain.b. It is a behavior learned through socialization with other transgender people. c. It is genetic and usually skips a generation.d. There is currently no definitive explanation for transgenderism.

12.2 Genres6. Which of the following is the best example of a gender stereotype?

one. Females are typically smaller than males.b. Men do not live as long as women.c. Women tend to be overly emotional while men tend to be level headed. i.e. Men hold more high-paying leadership positions than women.

7. Which of the following is the best example of the role played by peers as socializing agents for school-age children? That. Children can behave however they want in the presence of their peers because they are unaware of gender roles.

Chapter 12 | Sex, gender and sexuality 267

B. Peers serve as a support system for children who wish to act outside of their assigned gender roles. c. Peers tend to reinforce gender roles by criticizing and marginalizing those who behave outside their boundaries.

papers.d. None of the above

8. To which theoretical perspective does the following statement apply: Do women continue to take on responsibilities in the household while they are employed because they keep the household normal, ie keep it in balance?

one. conflict theoryb. functionalismc. feminist theory. symbolic interactionism

9. Only women are affected by gender stratification.a. true NOT CORRECT

10. According to the symbolic-interactionist perspective “we make gender”: a. during half of our activitiesb. only if they relate to our biological sex. only if we actively pursue gender roles. all the time, in everything we do

12.3 Sex and Sexuality11. Which western country is considered the most liberal in its attitude towards sex?

one. United Statesb. Swedenc. Mexican. Ireland

12. Compared to most Western societies, US sexual attitudes are considered _______.a. conservativeb. liberalc. permissive. free

13. Sociologists associate sexuality with _______.a. heterosexualityb. homosexualityc. biological factors d. a person's ability to have sexual feelings

14. According to national polls, what type of sex education program in school do the majority of American parents support? That. abstinence only b. Abstinence plus sexual safetyc. Sexual safety without promoting abstinence. no sex education

15. Which theoretical perspective emphasizes the importance of regulating sexual behavior to ensure marital cohesion and family stability?

one. functionalismb. conflict theory c. Symbolic Interactionismd. strange theory

Short answer

12.1 Sex and Gender1. Why do sociologists find it important to distinguish between sex and gender? How important is differentiation in modern society?

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2. How is gender roles affecting children's play? Think about your childhood. How 'general' were the toys and activities available to you? Remember the gender expectations conveyed by agreeing or disagreeing with your game choices?

12.2 Genres3. How do parents treat sons and daughters differently? How do sons and daughters usually respond to this treatment?

4. What can be done to reduce the impact of gender stratification in the workplace? How does gender stratification harm men and women?

12.3 Sex and sexuality5. Give three examples of how heteronormative US society is.

6. Consider the types of derogatory labels sociologists study and explain how they might apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

More research

12.1 Gender and gender For more information on gender identity and advocacy for transgender people, visit the Global Action for TransEquality website at ( ) .

12.2 Gender Learn more about gender at the Kinsey Institute here: (

12.3 Sex and Sexuality For more information on sexual attitudes and practices in countries around the world, see the full article “Attitudes Toward Nonmarital Sex in 24 Countries” in the Journal of Sex Research at (http ://


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13 aging and the elderly

Figure 13.1 Society's view of older people is likely to change as the population ages. (Photo courtesy of Sima Dimitric/Flickr)

Learning Objectives 13.1. Who are the elders? aging in society

• Understand the difference between the age groups of the third age (young, middle-aged and old).

• Describe “Aging America” as the population experiences increased life expectancy

• Examine aging as a global problem

13.2. The Aging Process • Consider the biological, social and psychological changes of aging

• Describe the birth of geriatrics

• Examine attitudes about death and dying and how they affect older people

• List the five stages of grief taught by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

13.3. Challenges for Seniors • Understand historical and current trends in poverty among older populations

• Recognizing age thinking and age attitudes in individuals and institutions

• Learn about the risks when seniors are mistreated and abused

13.4. Theoretical Perspectives on Aging• Compare and contrast sociological theoretical perspectives on aging

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Introduction to Aging and the Elderly Madame Jeanne Calment of France was the world's oldest living person until she died at the age of 122; There are currently six women worldwide whose age is well documented as 115 years or older (Diebel 2014).

Supercentenarians are people who live to be 110 or older. As of August 2014, there are seventy-five verified supercentenarians worldwide—seventy-three women and two men. These are individuals whose ages have been carefully documented, but there are almost certainly others who have not been identified. The Gerontology Research Group (2014) estimates that there are between 300 and 450 people worldwide who are at least 110 years old.

Centenarians are people who live to be 100 and are about 1,000 times more common than supercentenarians. In 2010, there were an estimated 80,000 centenarians in the United States alone. They represent one of the fastest growing population groups (Boston University School of Medicine 2014).

People over 90 now make up 4.7% of the older population, defined as 65 or older; this percentage is expected to reach 10% by 2050 (US Census Bureau 2011). As of 2013, the US CensusBureau reported that 14.1 percent of the total US population is age 65 or older.

The aging of the US population has significant implications for institutions such as the economy, education, healthcare, and the family, as well as many cultural norms and traditions that focus on the interactions and social roles of seniors. “Old” is a socially defined term, and the way we think about aging is likely to change as the population ages.

13.1 Who are the Elders? Aging in society Think about the American movies and TV shows you've seen recently. Have any of them featured older actors and actresses? What roles did they play? How were these older actors portrayed? Have you been cast as the main character in a love story? Or were they cast as grumpy old men?

Many media portrayals of older people reflect negative cultural attitudes towards aging. In the United States, society tends to glorify youth and associate it with beauty and sexuality. In comedy, older people are often associated with bad moods or hostility. Rarely do senior roles convey the fullness of life that seniors experience - as co-workers, love partners, or the myriad roles they play in real life. What values ​​does it reflect?

One obstacle to society's fuller understanding of aging is that people have little understanding of the aging process until they reach old age. (As opposed to childhood, for example, which we can all look back on.) As such, myths and assumptions about older people and aging are common. There are many stereotypes surrounding the reality of being an older adult. Although individuals often encounter stereotypes associated with race and gender and are therefore more likely to think critically about them, many people unquestioningly accept age stereotypes (Levy 2002). Every culture has certain expectations and assumptions about aging that are part of our socialization.

While the milestones of adulthood are a source of pride, the signs of natural aging can be a source of shame or embarrassment. Some people try to counteract the appearance of aging with cosmetic surgery. Although many seniors report that their lives are more fulfilling than ever and their self-esteem is stronger than when they were young, they are still subject to cultural attitudes that make them feel invisible and unappreciated.

Gerontology is a field of science that attempts to understand the aging process and the challenges faced by seniors. Gerontologists study old age, aging and old people. Gerontologists study what it is like to be an older adult in a society and how aging affects members of a society. A multidisciplinary field, gerontology includes the work of medical and biological scientists, social scientists, and even finance and economics scientists.

Social gerontology is a specialty of gerontology that studies the social (and sociological) aspects of aging. the process of dying. Social gerontologists work as social researchers, counselors, community organizers, and service providers for older people. Because of their expertise, social gerontologists are in a unique position to advocate for older people.

Scientists in these disciplines have learned that "aging" reflects not only the physiological process of aging, but also our attitudes and beliefs about the aging process. You've probably seen calculators online that promise to determine your "actual age" as opposed to your chronological age. These ads aim to make people "feel" an age that is different from their actual age. Some sixty year olds feel frail and old while octogenarians feel happy.

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Equally revealing is that as people age, they define "age" in terms of years past their current age (Logan, 1992). Many people want to postpone old age and see it as a phase that will never come. Some older adults even succumb to stereotyping of their own age group (Rothbaum 1983).

In the United States, the experience of being older has changed significantly over the past century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many American homes were multigenerational families, and the experiences and wisdom of elders were respected. They offered wisdom and support to their children and often helped raise their grandchildren (Sweetser 1984).

American multigenerational families began to shrink after World War II, and their numbers bottomed out around 1980, but are growing again. In fact, a 2010 analysis of Pew Research Center census data found that multigenerational families in the United States are at an all-time high. Data from the 2008 Census shows that 49 million American families, 16.1% of the nation's total population, live in a family with at least two generations of adults -- or one grandparent and at least one other generation.

Attitudes towards older people have also been influenced by major social changes that have taken place over the past 100 years. Researchers believe that industrialization and modernization have done much to reduce the power, influence and standing of older people.

Older people have both benefited and suffered from these rapid social changes. In modern societies, a strong economy has created new wealth for many people. Health care has become more accessible and medicine has advanced, allowing older people to live longer. However, older people are no longer as important to the economic survival of their families and communities as they were in the past.

Study of Aging Populations

Figure 13.2 How old is this woman? In modern American society, appearance is not a reliable indicator of age. In addition to genetic differences, health habits, hair dyes, botox and the like are making the traditional signs of aging less and less reliable. (Photo courtesy of Sean and LaurenSpectacular/flickr)

Since its inception in 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has tracked the age of its population. Age is an important factor to consider along with demographics such as income and health. The following population pyramid shows the age distribution patterns projected for the coming decades.

Chapter 13 | Aging and the Elderly 275

Figure 13.3 This population pyramid shows the age distribution pattern for 2010 and the projected patterns for 2030 and 2050 (graph courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau).

Statisticians use data to calculate the median age of a population, which is the number that marks the middle age range of a group. In the United States, the median age is around forty (US Census Bureau 2010). That means about half of the people in the United States are under forty and about half are over forty. This median age has increased, indicating that the population as a whole is ageing.

A cohort is a group of people who share a statistical or demographic characteristic. People belonging to the same age cohort were born in the same period. Understanding the age composition of a population can indicate specific social and cultural factors and can help governments and societies plan for future social and economic challenges.

Sociological studies of aging can help explain the difference between Native American age cohorts and the general population. While Native American societies have a strong tradition of revering their elders, they also have shorter life expectancies due to lack of access to health care and the high levels of mercury in fish, which is a traditional part of their diet.

Age Groups: Young-Old, Middle-Old, and Old-Old In the United States, anyone over the age of eighteen is considered an adult, but there is a big difference between a person who is twenty-one and a person who is forty-five. More specific descriptions such as "young adult" and "middle-aged adult" are helpful. Likewise, groupings are useful for understanding seniors. O

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Seniors are often grouped so that all are over 65 years of age. But the life experience of a sixty-five year old is very different from that of a ninety year old.

The older adult population of the United States can be divided into three life-stage subgroups: the young (about sixty-five to seventy-four years old), the middle-aged (seventy-five to eighty-four years old), and the old (over eighty-five years old). Today's group of young and old is generally happier, healthier and financially better off than the youth of previous generations. In the United States, people are better able to prepare for aging because resources are more widely available.

In addition, many people make proactive decisions about quality of life in old age from a young age. Historically, when a senior reached a health crisis, family members made caregiving decisions, often leaving the senior with no choice as to what would happen. Older people can now, for example, choose an apartment that allows them a certain degree of independence and at the same time provides care if necessary. Living wills, retirement provisions and powers of attorney are other concerns that are increasingly being addressed in advance.

America is aging

Figure 13.4 As seniors make up a larger percentage in the United States, the organizations that support them become stronger. (Photo courtesy of Congressman George Miller/flickr)

What does it mean to be old? Some define it as a physical health issue, while others define it simply by chronological age. For example, the US government typically classifies people age 65 and older as seniors, at which point citizens are eligible for federal benefits such as Social Security and Medicare. The World Health Organization has no standard, apart from the fact that sixty-five years is the commonly accepted definition in most core nations, but suggests a threshold of between fifty and fifty-five years for semi-peripheral nations such as those in Africa (World Health Organization World Health 2012). The AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) lists fifty as the minimum age for membership. The name change of the AARP is interesting; By removing the word "retiree" from its name, the organization can expand its base to include all older people in the United States, not just retirees. This is especially important as many people work well into their 70s and beyond.

There is an element of social construction, both local and global, in how individuals and nations define who is old; That is, the common meaning of the concept of older people arises through interactions between people in society. This is illustrated by the truism that you are only as old as you feel.

Demographically, the U.S. population over 65 increased from 3 million in 1900 to 33 million in 1994 (Hobbs 1994) and 36.8 million in 2010 (U.S. Census Bureau 2011c). This is a more than tenfold increase in the elderly population compared to a mere tripling of the total population and the population under 65 (Hobbs 1994). This increase has been dubbed "the aging of America," a term used to describe the phenomenon of an increasing percentage of the population aging. There are several reasons why the United States is aging so rapidly. One of them is life expectancy: the average life expectancy of someone born today. In 2010, there were an estimated 80,000 centenarians in the United States alone. They represent one of the fastest growing population groups (Boston University School of Medicine 2014).

People over 90 now make up 4.7% of the older population, defined as 65 or older; this percentage is expected to reach 10% by 2050 (US Census Bureau 2011). As of 2013, the US CensusBureau reported that 14.1 percent of the total US population is age 65 or older.

Interestingly, not all people in the United States age the same way. The difference between men and women is greater; As Figure 13.5 shows, women have a longer life expectancy than men. In 2010 it was 965 years

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old men for every hundred and sixty-five women of age. However, there were only 80 75-year-old men for every 100 75-year-old women and 60 85-year-old men for every 185 185-year-old women. However, as the chart shows, the sex ratio has actually increased over time, suggesting that men are closing the gap between their life expectancy and that of women (U.S. Census Bureau 2010).

Figure 13.5 This US Census chart shows that women live significantly longer than men. However, over the past two decades, males have reduced the percentage of females who outlive them. (Chart courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau)

Baby Boomers Of particular interest to gerontologists today is the baby boomer population, the cohort born between 1946 and 1964 and now entering their 60's. Coming of age in the 1960s and early 1970s, the baby boom generation was the first group of children and young people to have their own purchasing power and thus their own marketing power (Macunovich 2000). As they got older, this group redefined what it meant to be young, middle-aged, and now old. Boomer people don't want to grow old like their grandparents; The result is a wide range of products designed to ward off the effects - or signs - of aging. Previous generations of people over 65 were “old”. Baby boomers are in “advanced life” or “old age” (Gilleard and Higgs 2007).

The baby boomer generation is the cohort responsible for much of the dramatic increase in the over-65 age group. Figure 13.6 shows a comparison of the US population by age and sex between 2000 and 2010. The largest bulge in the pyramid (representing the largest demographic group) increases in the pyramid over the decade; in 2000 the largest population group was between 35 and 55 years old. In 2010, this group was 45 to 65 years old, meaning that the oldest baby boomers reached the age at which they are considered older according to the US Census. In 2020, we can predict the baby boom will continue to push the pyramid up, making the 65-85 year olds the largest demographic in the US.

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Figure 13.6 In this US Census pyramid chart, the baby boom bulge in 2000 was between 35 and 55 years old. In 2010, they were between 45 and 65 years old. (Chart courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau)

This aging of the baby boom cohort is having a serious impact on our society. Health is one of the areas most affected by this trend. For years there have been many concerns about the additional burden the Boomer cohort would place on Medicare, a federally funded program that provides health care services to people over 65. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office's Long-Term Outlook Report for 2008 shows that Medicare spending is projected to increase from 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009 to 8% of GDP in 2030 and 15% in 2080 (Congressional Budget Office 2008).

As baby boomers get older, they will certainly place an increasing burden on the entire US healthcare system. A 2008 study indicates that medical schools are not producing enough medical professionals who specialize in treating geriatric patients (Gerontological Society of America 2008). However, other studies suggest that older boomers will bring economic growth to the healthcare industry, particularly in areas such as pharmaceutical manufacturing and home health services (Bierman 2011). Additionally, some would argue that many of our medical advances over the past several decades have been driven by boomer health demands. Unlike the seniors of previous generations, Boomers don't expect that turning 65 will mean the end of their working lives. They are unwilling to give up work or leisure activities, but may need more medical support to lead a vital life. This desire from a large group of over-65s to continue high levels of activity is driving innovation in the medical industry (Shaw).

The economic impact of older boomers also worries many observers. While the baby boomer generation earned more than previous generations and enjoyed higher living standards, they were also lavish and under-prepared for retirement. According to a 2008 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, approximately two-thirds of early boomer families did not accumulate enough savings to fund their lifestyle. This will affect the economy as boomers work and spend less (Farrel et al. 2008).

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Just as some observers are concerned about Medicare's possible overload, Social Security is viewed as a risk. Social Security is a state pension program funded primarily through payroll taxes. If enough people pay for the program, there should be enough money for retirees to withdraw. But with an aging Boomer generation beginning to receive Social Security benefits and fewer workers paying into the Social Security trust fund, economists warn the system will collapse in 2037. A similar warning came in the 1980s; In response to the Greenspan Commission's recommendations, the retirement age (the age at which people can begin receiving Social Security benefits) was raised from 62 to 67 and the payroll tax increased. A similar increase in the retirement age, perhaps to seventy, is a possible solution to the current threat to social security (Reuteman 2010).

aging in the world

Figure 13.7 Cultural values ​​and attitudes can shape people's aging. (Photo courtesy of Tom Coppen/flickr)

From 1950 to around 2010, the world population of people aged 65 and over increased by 5% to 7% (Lee 2009). This percentage is expected to increase and have an enormous impact on the dependency ratio: the number of unproductive citizens (young, disabled or elderly) to productive working citizens (Bartram and Roe 2005). One country that will soon face a severe aging crisis is China, which is on the brink of an "ageing boom" - a time when its elderly population will increase dramatically. The number of people over 60 in China today is around 178 million, which corresponds to 13.3% of the total population (Xuequan 2011). By 2050, almost a third of China's population will be aged 60 or older, placing a significant strain on the labor force and hampering China's economic growth (Bannister, Bloom, and Rosenberg 2010).

As health care improves around the world and life expectancy increases, caring for the elderly is becoming an increasingly important issue. Wienclaw (2009) points out that the cost of elder care will increase when fewer working-age citizens are available for home care and long-term supervised care.

Across the world, expectations about the level and type of care provided to older people vary from culture to culture. For example, in Asia, responsibility for caring for the elderly rests firmly with the family (Yap, Thang and Traphagan 2005). This differs from the approach in most Western countries, where older people are considered independent and are expected to fend for themselves. It is not uncommon for family members to step in only when the elderly loved one needs help, often because of health problems. Nonetheless, caring for the elderly is considered voluntary. In the United States, decisions to care for an elderly relative are often based on promises of future earnings, such as B. inheritance or, in some cases, the amount of support that the elderly person has provided to the caregiver in the past (Hashimoto 1996).

These differences are based on cultural attitudes towards aging. In China, several studies have found that the attitude of filial piety (reverence and respect for parents and ancestors in all things) defines all other virtues (Hsu 1971; Hamilton 1990). Cultural attitudes in Japan before about 1986 supported the notion that older people deserve care (Ogawa and Retherford 1993). However, seismic changes in key social institutions (such as family and economy) have led to an increasing demand for community and state care. For example, the increase in women working outside the home has made home care for elderly parents more difficult, leading to an increased need for government-supported facilities (Raikhola and Kuroki 2009).

In the US, on the other hand, many people find caring for the elderly a burden. Even when a family member is able and willing to care for an elderly family member, 60% of family caregivers work outside the home and cannot provide the necessary support. At the same time, however, many middle-class families cannot afford the financial burden of “outsourcing” professional health care, leading to gaps in coverage (Bookman and Kimbrel 2011). It's important to note that even in the United States, not all demographic groups treat aging in the same way. Although most people in the United States are reluctant to place their elderly members in assisted care outside of the home,

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Demographically, the least likely groups are Latino, African American, and Asian (Bookman and Kimbrel 2011).

Globally, the United States and other core nations are quite well equipped to meet the demands of an exponentially growing elderly population. However, peripheral and semi-peripheral countries without comparable resources face a similar increase. Poverty in old age is a problem, particularly among older women. The feminization of the older poor that is evident in peripheral countries is directly related to the number of older women in these countries who are single, illiterate and not part of the labor force (Mujahid 2006).

In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Aging was held in Madrid, Spain, which resulted in the Madrid Plan, an internationally coordinated effort to create comprehensive social policies to meet the needs of the world's aging population. The plan identifies three guiding themes for international aging policy: 1) public recognition of the global challenges posed by a growing world population and the global opportunities; 2) Empower older people; and 3) linking international aging policies with international development policies (Zelenev 2008).

The Madrid plan has not yet achieved all of its goals. However, it has raised awareness of the various issues related to the aging of the world population and raised international awareness of how the factors affecting the vulnerability of older people (social exclusion, prejudice and discrimination, and lack of social legal protections) intersect with other development issues (basic human rights, empowerment and participation), leading to an increase in legal protection (Zelenev 2008).

13.2 The aging process As people grow older, they go through different life phases or phases. It is helpful to understand aging in the context of these stages. A resume is the period from birth to death, including a sequence of predictable life events such as physical maturation. Each stage comes with different responsibilities and expectations, which of course vary by person and culture. Children love to play and learn, they are eager to become teenagers. When teens start testing their independence, they look forward to becoming teenagers. Teenagers anticipate the promises and challenges of adulthood. Adults focus on raising families, building careers, and experiencing the world as independent individuals. After all, many adults look forward to old age as a wonderful time to enjoy life without the pressures of work and family. Work commitments decrease, old age can be a time to explore hobbies and activities that there was no time for before in life. But for other people, old age is not a phase they look forward to. Some people fear old age and do everything they can to "avoid" it, seeking medical and cosmetic solutions to the natural effects of aging. These different views about the life course are a result of the cultural values ​​and norms into which people are socialized, but in most cultures age is an important status affecting self-concept and social roles and interactions.

Degrees of dependency and independence change over the course of life. At birth, newborns are dependent on caregivers for everything. As babies become toddlers and little children become teenagers and then teenagers, they increasingly assert their independence. Gradually, children become adults who are responsible for their own lives, although the point at which this happens varies greatly between individuals, families and cultures.

As Riley (1978) states, aging is a lifelong process and involves maturation and change at physical, psychological and social levels. Age, like race, class and gender, is a hierarchy in which some categories have more value than others. leads to a negative view of aging. This in turn can lead to widespread segregation between old and young at institutional, social and cultural levels (Hagestad and Uhlenberg 2006).

Physician Ignatz Nascher and the Birth of Geriatrics In the early 1900s, a New York physician named Dr. Ignatz Nascher coined the term geriatrics, a medical specialty that focuses on the elderly. He created the word by combining two Greek words: geron (old) and iatrikos (medical treatment). Nascher based his work on his observations as a young medical student when he saw that many seriously ill elderly people were simply misdiagnosed as "old people". The professors explained that medicine could do nothing against the "old age syndrome".

Nascher refused to accept this disparaging view, regarding it as medical malpractice. He believed it was the physician's duty to prolong life and alleviate suffering whenever possible. In 1914 he published his views in his book Geriatrics: The

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Diseases of old age and their treatment (Clarfield 1990). Nascher saw the practice of caring for the elderly as distinct from the practice of caring for young people, just as pediatrics (child care) is distinct from adult care (Clarfield 1990).

Nascher had high hopes for his pioneering work. He wanted to treat the elderly, especially those who were poor and had no one to take care of them. Many of the old poor were sent to “asylums” or public retirement homes (Cole 1993). Bad conditions often prevailed in these nursing homes, into which the elderly were often sent and simply forgotten.

As hard as it is to believe today, Nascher's approach was once considered unique. At the time of his death in 1944, he was disappointed that geriatrics had not made major advances. To what extent are older people better off today than they were before Nascher's ideas were accepted?

biological changes

Figure 13.8 Aging can be a visible and public experience. Many people recognize the signs of aging and, because of the importance that culture places on these changes, believe that aging is a physical decline. However, many seniors remain healthy, active, and happy. (Photo courtesy of Pedro Ribério Simões/flickr)

Everyone experiences age-related changes that are based on many factors. Biological factors such as molecular and cellular changes are referred to as primary aging, while aging that occurs due to controllable factors such as lack of exercise and poor diet is referred to as secondary aging (Whitbourne and Whitbourne 2010).

Most people begin to see signs of aging after their 50s as they start noticing the physical signs of aging. The skin becomes thinner, drier and less elastic. Wrinkles form. The hair begins to thin and become gray. Men who are prone to balding begin to lose hair. The difficulty or relative ease with which people adapt to these changes depends in part on the importance attached to aging in their particular culture. A culture that values ​​youth and beauty above all else leads to a negative perception of aging. On the other hand, a culture that honors older people for their life experience and wisdom contributes to a more positive perception of aging.

The effects of aging can seem daunting, and sometimes the fear of physical changes (such as loss of energy, food sensitivities, and hearing and vision loss) is more difficult to manage than the changes themselves. How people perceive physical aging is largely dependent on how they socialize became. When people can accept the changes in their bodies as a natural part of aging, they don't seem so scary.

According to the Federal Administration of Aging (2011), in 2009 fewer people over the age of 65 rated their health as “excellent” or “very good” (41.6%) than the 18 to 64 year olds (64.4%). Analysis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Administration on Aging found that from 2006 to 2008, the most common health problems reported by people over 65 were arthritis (50 percent), high blood pressure (38 percent), heart disease (32 percent) and cancer (22 percent). About 27% of people over the age of 60 are considered obese by current medical standards. Parker and Thorslunf (2006)

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found that while there has been a trend towards steady improvement in most measures of disability, there has been a parallel increase in functional impairment (disability) and chronic disease. At the same time, medical advances have reduced some of the disabling effects of these diseases (Crimmins 2004).

Some effects of aging are gender specific. Some of the disadvantages that older women face stem from long-established social gender roles. For example, Social Security favors men over women in that women do not receive Social Security benefits for the unpaid work they do (usually at home) as an extension of their gender roles. In the health field, older women patients are more likely than older men to see their health problems (Sharp 1995) and are more likely to be labeled as psychosomatic (Munch 2004). Another specific aspect of female aging is that mainstream media often portrays older women with negative stereotypes and as less successful than older men (Bazzini & McIntosh, 1997).

In men, the aging process - and the societal response and support for that experience - can be very different. The gradual decline in male sexual performance that occurs as a result of primary aging is medicalized and interpreted as requiring treatment (Marshall and Katz 2002) in order for a man to maintain a sense of youthful masculinity. On the other hand, older men have fewer opportunities to assert their masculine identity in the company of other men (e.g. by participating in sports) (Drummond, 1998). And some social scientists have noted that the aging male body is portrayed as genderless in the western world (Spector-Mersel 2006).

Figure 13.9 Aging is accompanied by a variety of biological, social, and psychological changes. (Photo courtesy of Michael Cohen/flickr)

Social and psychological changes Whether male or female, aging means facing the psychological problems that arise when entering the last phase of life. Young people entering adulthood assume new roles and responsibilities throughout their lives, but a reverse arc can be observed in old age. What are the hallmarks of social and psychological change?

Retirement - retiring from paid work at a certain age - is a relatively recent idea. By the late 19th century, people worked about sixty hours a week until they were physically unable to continue. After the American Civil War, retired veterans were able to retire and the number of working older men began to decline. A second major decline in the number of workers began in the aftermath of World War II, likely due to the availability of Social Security, and a third major decline in the 1960s and 1970s was likely due to the increased social assistance offered by Medicare and Social Security benefits (Munell 2011).

In the 21st century, most people expect to eventually stop working and enjoy the fruits of their labor. But do we long for this time or do we fear it? When people withdraw from their usual work routines, some easily

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are looking for new hobbies, interests and leisure activities. Many find new groups and explore new activities, but others may find it harder to adjust to new routines, lose social roles, and lose self-esteem in the process.

Every phase of life has challenges that are associated with potential for fear. In his view of socialization, Erik H. Erikson (1902-1994) divided the typical life cycle into eight phases. Each phase represents a special challenge that needs to be mastered. In the final phase, old age, the challenge is to embrace integrity rather than despair. Some people are unable to successfully complete the challenge. You may have to deal with regrets, such as B. Disappointment with the life of their children or perhaps with their own life. They may have to accept that they will never achieve certain career goals. Or they have to come to terms with what their professional success has cost them, such as time with family or declining personal health. Others, on the other hand, manage to gain a strong sense of integrity and embrace the new phase of life. When that happens, there is tremendous potential for creativity. You can learn new skills, engage in new activities, and peacefully prepare for the end of life.

For some, overcoming despair may mean remarrying after the spouse dies. A study conducted by Kate Davidson (2002) reviewed demographics suggesting that men were more likely to remarry after the death of a spouse and suggested that widows (the surviving spouse of a deceased partner) and widowers (the surviving spouse of a deceased Woman). ) partners) experience their life differently after marriage. Many female survivors enjoyed a new sense of freedom as they lived alone for the first time. For the male survivors, on the other hand, the feeling of having lost something was stronger because they were now deprived of a constant source of care and the focus of their emotional lives.

Aging and Sexuality

Figure 13.10 In Harold and Maude, a 1971 cult classic, a young man in his 20s falls in love with a 79-year-old woman. The world reacts with disgust. What do you think of this picture, considering that the two are supposed to be lovers, not grandma and grandson? (Photo courtesy of luckyjackson/flickr)

It's no secret that Americans are squeamish about sex. And when it comes to the sexuality of older people? Nobody wants to think about it or even talk about it. That fact is part of what makes 1971's Harold and Maude so provocative. In this cult film, Harold, an estranged young man, meets and falls in love with Maude, a 79-year-old woman. What is so revealing about the film is the reaction of her family, a priest and a psychologist, who express disgust and horror at such a marriage.

While it is difficult to have an open national public dialogue about aging and sexuality, the reality is that our sexual selves do not disappear after the age of 65. People enjoy sex – and not always safe sex – well into old age. In fact, some research suggests that up to one in five new cases of AIDS occurs in adults over the age of 65 (Hillman 2011).

In a way, old age can be a time to enjoy sex more, not less. For women, the older years can bring a sense of relief as the fear of unwanted pregnancy is removed and the children are grown and fending for themselves. Although we have expanded the range of psychiatric drugs to treat sexual dysfunction in men, it is only recently that medicine has recognized the existence of sexual dysfunction in women (Bryant 2004).

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Aging “outside”: LGBT seniors

Figure 13.11 As same-sex marriage becomes possible, after decades of waiting, many gay and lesbian couples can finally marry—sometimes as seniors. (Photo courtesy of Fibonacci Blue/flickr).

How do different groups in our society experience the aging process? Are there universal experiences or do different populations have different experiences? An emerging area of ​​study is examining how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experience the aging process and how their experiences differ from those of other groups or the dominant group. This problem is widening as the baby boomer generation ages; older boomers not only represent a large increase in the general older population, but the number of LGBT seniors is expected to double by 2030 (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al. 2011).

A recent study, The Aging and Health Report: Disparities and Resilience between Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults, finds that LGBT seniors suffer from disabilities and depression at higher rates than their heterosexual peers. They are also less likely to have a support system appropriate for caring for the elderly: a supportive partner and children (Fredriksen-Goldsen et al. 2011). Even for married LGBT seniors, some states do not recognize the legal relationship between two people of the same sex, limiting their legal protections and financial options.

In making the transition to assisted living facilities, LGBT people have the added burden of “disclosure management”: the way they share their sexual and relationship identities. In one case study, a 78-year-old lesbian woman lived alone in a long-term care facility. She had been in a long-term relationship for thirty-two years and had been visibly active in the gay community early in her life. However, in long-term care, she has been much quieter about her sexual orientation. She has “selectively disclosed” her sexual identity and felt safer through anonymity and silence (Jenkins et al. 2010). A study by the National Senior Citizens Law Center reports that only 22% of older LGBT adults expect to be able to speak openly about their sexual orientation or gender identity in a long-term care facility. Even more revealing is the finding that only 16% of non-LGBT seniors expected LGBT people to be open with institutional officials (National Senior Citizens Law Center 2011).

Same-sex marriage - a civil rights battleground fought in many states - could have a major impact on the aging of the LGBT community. With marriage comes the legal and financial protection afforded to opposite-sex couples, as well as less fear of exposure and a reduced need to “go back in the closet” (Jenkins et al. 2010). Changes in this area are slow to come, while proponents have many policy recommendations on how to improve the aging process for LGBT people. These recommendations include increased federal research on LGBT seniors, expanding (and enforcing) existing antidiscrimination laws, and amending the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to cover LGBT carers (Grant 2009).

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death and dying

Figure 13.12 A young man sits on his great-grandmother's grave. (Photo courtesy of Sara Goldsmith/flickr)

For most of human history, living standards were significantly lower than they are today. People struggled to survive with few amenities and very limited medical technology. The risk of death from illness or accident was high at every stage of life, and life expectancy was low. As people began to live longer, death became associated with old age.

For many teenagers and young adults, the loss of a grandparent or other elderly relative can be the first loss of a loved one they experience. It can be the first encounter with grief, a psychological, emotional, and social response to the feelings of loss associated with death or a similar event.

People tend to perceive death, their own and that of others, based on the values ​​of their culture. While some see death as the natural conclusion to a long and fruitful life, others may find the prospect of death daunting. People tend to have strong resistance to imagining their own death and strong emotional responses to the death of loved ones. Viewing death as a loss, as opposed to a natural or smooth transition, is often considered normal in the United States.

What is surprising is how few studies of death and dying were conducted before the 1960s. Death and dying were areas that received little attention until a psychologist named Elisabeth Kübler-Ross began observing people as they died. As Kübler-Ross witnessed people's transition to death, she found some commonalities in their experiences. She found that the process had five distinct phases: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. She published her findings in a 1969 book entitled On Death and Dying. The book remains a classic on the subject to this day.

Kübler-Ross found that a person's first reaction to the prospect of dying is denial: this is characterized by the person not wanting to believe they are dying, with frequent thoughts such as "I'm fine" or "That doesn't really happen to me". "..." The second stage is anger, when the loss of life is seen as unfair and unjust. The person then resorts to the third stage, negotiation: attempting to negotiate with a higher power to postpone the inevitable by reforming or changing their way of life. The fourth stage, psychological depression, allows for resignation when the situation seems hopeless. In the final phase, the person adjusts to the idea of ​​death and achieves acceptance. At this point, the person can face death honestly, see it as a natural and inevitable part of life, and make the most of the time left.

Kübler-Ross' work was instructive when it was presented. He was innovative, opening the door for sociologists, social workers, health professionals, and therapists to study death and help those who faced it.

Of particular interest to thanatologists is the concept of "dying with dignity". Modern medicine includes advanced medical technology that can extend life without compromising the quality of life you can experience. In some cases, people do not want to continue living if they are in constant pain and no longer enjoy life. Should patients have the right to die with dignity? The doctor. Jack Kevorkian was an outspoken proponent of physician-assisted suicide: the voluntary or physician-assisted use of deadly drugs administered by a physician to end someone's life. This right of a doctor to help a patient die with dignity is controversial. In the United States, Oregon was the first state to pass legislation allowing physician-assisted suicide. In 1997, Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act, which required the presence of two physicians for legal assisted suicide. This law was successfully challenged by US Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001, but the appeal process ultimately upheld Oregon's law. Subsequently, both Montana and Washington passed similar legislation.

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The controversy surrounding the death with dignity laws is emblematic of how our society tries to distance itself from death. Health institutions built facilities to comfortably accommodate the terminally ill. This is seen as an act of compassion and helps relieve the bereaved of the burden of caring for the dying loved one. However, studies almost universally show that people prefer to die in their own homes (Lloyd, White, and Sutton 2011). Is it our social responsibility to care for elderly family members until death? How do we balance the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative with our other responsibilities and duties? As our society ages and new medical technologies continue to extend life, the answers to these questions will evolve and change.

The change in the concept of hospice is an indicator of the changed view of death in our society. Hospice is a form of health care that treats people with terminal illnesses when "cure-oriented treatments" are no longer an option (Hospice Foundation of America 2012b). Hospice doctors, nurses and therapists receive special training in end-of-life care. The focus is not on improving or curing the disease but on leaving this life in comfort and peace. Palliative care centers exist as places where people can die comfortably, and palliative care services are increasingly promoting home care so that someone has the comfort of dying in a familiar setting surrounded by family (Hospice Foundation of America 2012a). While many of us would probably prefer not to think about the end of our lives, we can take comfort in the thought that we are approaching death in palliative care in a familiar and relatively controlled environment.

13.3 Challenges of older people Aging brings with it many challenges. Loss of independence is a potential part of the process, as is reduced physical capacity and ageism. The term senescence refers to the aging process, including biological, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual changes. This section discusses some of the challenges we encountered during this process.

As previously mentioned, many seniors remain highly self-sufficient. Others need more care. Since seniors are typically out of jobs, finances can be a challenge. And because of cultural misunderstandings, seniors can be the target of ridicule and stereotypes. Seniors face many challenges as they age, but they don't have to age without dignity.




Figure 13.13 While old-age poverty rates have trended upward for decades, the 2008 recession changed the financial future of some seniors. Some who planned to retire late risked being helpless in their old age. (Photo (a) courtesy of MichaelCohen/flickr; Photo (b) courtesy of Alex Proimos/flickr)

For many people in the United States, aging meant living on less income. In 1960, nearly 35 percent of seniors were living on poverty-level incomes. A generation ago, the country's elderly population was most at risk of poverty.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the elderly population ended this trend. For people age 65 and older, the poverty rate fell from 30% in 1967 to 9.7% in 2008, well below the national average of 13.2% (U.S. Census Bureau 2009). But how are older people affected in the ensuing recession, which severely reduced retirement provision for many while straining public benefit systems? According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the national poverty rate among older people rose to 14% in 2010 (Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission 2010).

What had changed before the recession to reduce poverty in old age? Which social patterns contributed to the change? In recent decades, more and more women have entered the labor market. more couples

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earned twice as much income during their working years and saved more money for retirement. Private employers and governments began offering better pension programs. In 1990, seniors reported earning an average of 36% more income than in 1980; this was five times the rate of increase for those under age 35 (U.S. CensusBureau 2009).

In addition, many people gained access to better health care. New trends have encouraged people to lead healthier lifestyles that emphasize exercise and diet. There was also better access to information about the health risks of behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use and drug use. Because they are healthier, many seniors are working past the typical retirement age, providing more opportunities to save for retirement. Will these patterns return when the recession ends? Sociologists will watch to see. They are now seeing the immediate impact of the recession on poverty in old age.

During the recession, seniors lost some of the financial benefits they had gained in the 1980s and 1990s. From October 2007 to October 2009, retirement account values ​​for people over fifty lost 18% of their value. The sharp drop in stock markets also forced many to postpone retirement (Administration on Aging 2009).

age discrimination

Figure 13.14 Are these street signs funny or obnoxious? What common assumptions make them funny? Or is memory loss too serious to poke fun at? (Photo courtesy of Tumbleweed/flickr)

While driving to the supermarket, 23-year-old Peter got stuck behind a car on a four-lane artery that runs through his city's business district. The speed limit was fifty-five kilometers per hour, and although most drivers were driving at forty or forty kilometers per hour, the driver in front of them was driving at the minimum speed. Peter sounded the horn. He overtook the driver. Eventually Peter had the chance to overtake the car. He looked over. Sure enough, thought Peter, a gray-haired old man guilty of "DWE" and driving a car in old age.

In the supermarket, Peter waited at the checkout behind an elderly woman. She paid for groceries, put the grocery bags in the cart, and staggered to the exit. Peter, guessing she must be in her eighties, was reminded of her grandmother. He paid for his purchases and caught up with them.

"Can I help you with your shopping cart?" he asked.

"No thanks. I can get it myself," she said, marching to her car.

Peter's responses to the two older people, the driver and the buyer, were biased. In both cases he made unfair assumptions. He assumed that the driver was driving carefully just because the man was older, and he assumed that the shopper needed help carrying her purchases just because she was an older woman.

Reactions like Peter's regarding older people are quite common. He didn't want to treat people differently because of personal or cultural bias, but he did. Ageism is discrimination (when someone acts with prejudice) based on age. dr Robert Butler coined the term in 1968, noting that ageism exists in all cultures (Brownell). Attitudes and age prejudices based on stereotypes reduce older people to subordinate or restricted positions.

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Age discrimination can take different forms. Peter's attitude is likely to be considered quite mild, but condescension towards seniors can be offensive. When age discrimination is reflected in the workplace, healthcare and care homes, the impact of discrimination can be more severe. Age discrimination can leave seniors feeling afraid of losing their jobs, feeling fired by a doctor, or a lack of power and control in their daily life situations.

In early societies, older people were respected and revered. Many pre-industrial societies observed gerontocracy, a type of social structure in which power is exercised by the oldest members of a society. In some countries older people still have influence and power and their vast knowledge is respected. Reverence for the elderly is still present in some cultures, but has changed in many places due to social factors.

However, in many modern nations, industrialization has contributed to lowering the social standing of the elderly. Wealth, power and prestige are now also in the hands of the youngest. The average age of corporate executives in 1980 was 59. In 2008, the median age dropped to 54 years (Stuart 2008). Some older workers felt threatened by this trend and feared that younger workers in higher positions would force them out of the labor market. Rapid advances in technology and media have required new skills that older workers are less likely to have.

There have been changes not only at work, but also at home. In agrarian societies, a married couple cared for their elderly parents. Elderly family members contributed to the household by doing chores, cooking, and helping with childcare. As the economy shifted from agriculture to industry, younger generations moved to cities to work in factories. Old people were seen as an expensive burden. They lacked the strength and stamina to work outside the home. What began during industrialization, a tendency for the elderly to live apart from adult children has become commonplace.

Mistreatment and abuse Mistreatment and abuse of older people is a major social problem. As expected, with the biology of aging, the elderly sometimes become physically frail. This frailty makes them dependent on others to care for them - sometimes for small needs like housework and sometimes for assistance with basic functions like eating and using the toilet. Unlike a child who also needs someone else to take care of, an elder is an adult with a lifetime of experience, knowledge, and opinions—a more evolved person. This makes the nursing situation more complex.

Elder abuse occurs when a caregiver intentionally withdraws care from an elderly person or injures the person in their care. Caregivers can be family members, relatives, friends, healthcare professionals or nursing homes, or nursing home workers. Older people can be subject to many different types of abuse.

In a 2009 study on the subject by Dr. Ron Acierno, the research team identified five main categories of elder abuse: 1) phy