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Principles of Sociology

Marianne Ryan4Go Navada (2009).

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Principles of Sociology
Navada, Marianne Ryan4Go. 2009. Principles of Sociology.

Chapter 1 : Introduction to Sociology

Sociology, by definition is the scientific study of social behavior, human
interactions, social groups, and social change. But like any other academic
disciplines, what sociologists try to do is to explain phenomena in society. For
example, a person is clinically diagnosed as mentally ill by a licensed
physicianHHeach discipline will have its own specialized approach in explaining the
situation. A psychologists will probably look at a person's past and personal
history to explain the patient's condition; someone in the biological sciences
might look at genetics and chemical imbalances; a sociologist, on the other hand,
will look at a person's social category (race, social class, gender, religious
affiliation just to name a few) and social environment (culture and social
beliefs). A sociologist will also probably try to assess what it means to be crazy
in that person's society. How do different societies and cultures define crazy? Will
a crazy person in one culture be labeled as sane in another? Thus, sociology is
just one of the many ways in which situations are explained. The sociological
approach looks at certain individuals and groups, and provides an explanation by
analyzing the social context in which an event happens.

The Study of Sociology

One of the central tenets of sociology is that individual and group behavior is
linked to society. There are patterns in behavior that do not happen by chance,
since they occur consistently and in relatively similar conditions. For example,
homelessness is an unfortunate condition in the United States. It is a pattern,
since it happens consistently and is present in almost all parts of the country and
the world. When looking at demographic data on homelessness, we realize that
there are certain groups of people that are more vulnerable to being homeless:
males, poor, the mentally ill, those with substance abuse problems, history of
incarceration, those that were physically/sexually abused by family members,
and chronic physical problems. Overall economic growth and social policies also
affect levels of homelessness. When the country sees a decline in economic
productivity, the levels of homelessness increase. When housing markets,

especially for lowHincome and the poor are inflated in price, then the number or
people taking advantage of shelters increases. Given these associations,
sociologists believe that homelessness, as a condition, cannot just be explained
by a person's history (person is homeless because he is lazy and he is not
motivated)rather, larger social phenomenon are at play and need to be
analyzed. Certain groups are more likely to be homeless, and factors such as the
economy and government policies, which are for the most part beyond the
control of an individual, are influencing a person's life.

Sociology and the Individual

Based on our explanation of how sociology analyzes human behavior, it is
easy to fall prey to the idea that sociology is about blaming the world for a
person's troubles and not holding people

accountable for their actions. This is neither the goal nor the intention of
sociology. Keep in mind that unlike psychology, sociology looks at social issues
and groups as points of explanations and reference. We want to understand why
homelessness exists by looking at which social categories and groups are more
likely to become homeless and in what social conditions, so we can better
understand WHY people become homeless. Imagine you were a policy maker and
your job is to address the level of homelessness in your community. If you knew
more about the demographics of homelessness, the reasons why people become
homeless, and the government and social policies that negatively or positively
affect levels of homelessness, then you can design programs that specifically
target the groups that are most vulnerable to losing their homes and create a
society can best handle these problems.
Another example of understanding social behavior through sociology is how
we view education in contemporary times. It is only in the latter half of the 20
century where going to a 4H year college has become the norm. In hunting and
gathering societies, schoolsas formal institutions did not exist. In agricultural
societies, people learned their basic skills at home or would do apprenticeships to
learn their trade. If you wanted to learn how to be a cobbler, a watchmaker, or a
dressmaker, you learned by having a mentor. Moreover, what we now consider as
formal education through institutions was reserved for the rich, the privileged,
and males. This type of arrangement continued on until the industrial revolution,
but has slowly changed since then. As jobs become more
specified and more complex, professional careers such as those in the medical
field, law, academics, and science and engineering require formal training.
Currently, our job market requires most employees to have at least a high school
diploma, but the most coveted and higher paying jobs require a 4Hyear college
education if not more. This example on education shows how a collective
behavior (attaining an education) is highly influenced by changes in technology,
social patterns, and economic structures (social environment). Sociology allows us
to understand behavior that we consider normal and makes us realize that what
is normal changes through time and across culture. Imagine, the reason you are
now reading this book, taking an introduction to sociology course with the hopes
of getting a college degree is more than a personal decision!
Sociology challenges the concept of innateness when it comes to social
behavior and social change. We do things not because it is natural for humans,
but that actions and what we believe is right or wrong are learnedeither taught
to us explicitly or implicitly. Social rules develop for a number of reasons. These
rules are not finite and are mutable and vary across culture and history.
Take slavery for example. Slavery was considered normal in our country and in
some parts of the world throughout history, and those who fought against it
were considered wrong. Even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation
in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, the concept of human beings as being unequal


persisted in the US. In fact, it still persists in other parts of the world in the 21
Of course, in contemporary times in the US, slavery is considered
inhumane and illegal, but this was not the case before. Murder is another
example. Societies sanction and even glorify the killing of another human being
(i.e. war), in certain circumstances, but frowned upon in another context. For
sociologists, this is a sign that these beliefs are cultural and socially
constructed. People are not programmed, through their nature, to think that
the act of killing and slavery is wrong in principle; rather, we have to be taught
to comprehend that these acts are immoral. Sociology is not saying that either
murder or slavery is right, but what it does is to challenge what we believe is
common sense. In essence, sociology gives an alternative way of looking at
ourselves and the world around us. It allows us to understand our basic values
and actions from a sociological perspective.

The Sociological Imagination

The sociological way of thinking, the sociological perspective, or
sociological imagination was first elaborated by C. Wright Mills. The concept,
sociological imagination, is the awareness of the link between the public and the
personal sphere. This worldHview encourages us to understand what is happening
to us from a personal level, is a product of public forces. Our examples on
homelessness, slavery, murder, and marriage all make use of the sociological
imagination. Here is another example in contemporary times. 2008 has been
marked by an economic downturn in the United States with the housing market
crash and banking collapse. If you worked as a stock broker at Wall Street or you
were a waitress in a restaurant in downtown New York City and you lost your job,
what has happened to you is a consequence of larger historical and economic
change. Thus, these personal troubles (losing your job) is a product of larger
forces (economic depression).

The Public Sphere

As personal troubles are affected by what is happening in society, collective
personal troubles will also shape the public sphere. Using our 2008 economic
collapse example, the lost of jobs means the government will most likely provide
more resources for the unemployed and the poor. During an economic downturn,
enrollments in trade and professional schools go up as more people use their time
unemployed to gain new skills. Historical data shows that during economic
hardships, marriage rates go down (Coltrane 2001). It is believed that people get
married when they feel secure financially and emotionally. With jobs hard to find
and job security tenuous, people are less likely to get married. These correlations
show a level of interdependence among people's lives, history, and society.
The sociological way of thinking has another implication. If social occurrences and
problems are a
product of larger forces, then solutions are beyond the personal. The sociological
imagination tells us
that change has to first happen in the social level by changing institutions and
policies, and in turn,
these personal problems will be corrected.

Required Reading:

Mills, C. Wright. 1959. Chapter One: The Promise. in The

Sociological Imagination.
Here is an excerpt from Mill's book The Sociological Imagination. Read the text
and familiarize yourself with the concept of sociological imagination. Use these
questions to help you understand the reading.
1. What is the promise of the sociological imagination according to Mills?
2. What does Mills mean when he states that the sociological imagination
enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the
two within society?
3. Mills gives a couple of examples on interpreting events using the
sociological imagination. What are they?

Sociological Perspectives
Another aspect of the sociological thinking is being able to assess
situations from various perspectives. Being able to think outside of your own
belief system is a critical skill sociology develops. As sociologists, we attempt to
strip ourselves of our identities and try to think outside of our selves. Let's take
Iran's nuclear program and apply the sociological imagination. With the help of
United States in the 1950s under the Atoms for Peace program, Iran started to
develop a nuclear program for energy purposes. The Atoms for Peace program
was proposed by President Eisenhower in the 1950s with the aim of curtailing
the spread of nuclear weapons. Guided by an optimistic worldview, Eisenhower
believed that the spread of peaceful nuclear technology would control the
arms race (Reiss, 2003).
With the end of the Cold War and the soured relationship between the US
and Iran, the US has accused Iran of violating the Nuclear NonHProliferation Treaty
and using nuclear technology for military purposes. On the other hand, Iran has
insisted that their development is strictly a means of alternative energy given
their booming population and industrialization. The recent findings of The
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran was developing nuclear
technology for civilian and not military purposes has been dismissed by the some
European countries and the US (BBC 10/30/2007).
The thought of having a nuclear capable Iran can be viewed from various
Americans are disapproving of a nuclear Iran because of US ties to Israel and how
a nuclear Iran might encourage other countries in the Middle East to acquire
nuclear technology. Iranians, on the other hand, might see a benefit in having
nuclear weapons. Given its foreign policy under George W. Bush, the US has been
less likely to use military force against nuclear countries such as North Korea,
Pakistan, and Russia. Thus, from an Iranian standpoint, having witnessed a
neighboring country without nuclear weapons, Iraq, invaded by the US, a nuclear
weapon for some might seem to be a rational choice to deter military threat from
the US. While Iran thinks it is acting defensively by acquiring nuclear weapons, the
US is interpreting Iran's alleged nuclear development as an offensive act against
national security. In this case, the lines between what is offensive and defensive
have been blurred. In using the sociological way of thinking, situations are not as
clearHcut as they seem. In understanding the other perspective, we are able to
gain a more thorough assessment of other people's action. To claim that Iran
wants nuclear weapons because they are simply violent is a misconception if one
uses the sociological imagination and acknowledges the rational behind their
actions. On the other hand, the US' position cannot be dismissed as simply
paranoid given their fear of nuclear proliferation.

Notice how in this example, I am not making a claim on whether or not

Iran is right or wrong, or if the US is right or wrong. Rather, in using the
sociological way of thinking to assess the situation, there is an attempt to
eliminate subjectivity. Our goal in studying sociology is to analyze situations
objectively. To learn how to put aside our personal biases in assessing events.

Sociology and Common Sense

One misconception one might have of sociology is that the discipline does
nothing more than point out the common sense or maybe even reinforce
stereotypes. Some would argue that we do not need sociology to point out that
the likelihood of losing one's job increases during economic depression, since
this is general knowledge. On the contrary, the research methods used, the
importance placed on data collection, and the discipline's attempt to eliminate
biases has helped

deconstruct certain misconceptions about people and the world. Sociology

reminds us not to be deceived by what we consider true or a given, since
societies and situations are not as simple as they may seem.
An example of how sociological research has resulted to findings contrary to
popular beliefs is the study by Laud Humphreys and homosexuality. Humphreys
conducted a field research on casual homosexual acts in public restrooms. The
common belief what that people who participated in these acts were
homosexuals. Until his work, impersonal sex in public restrooms was known, but
not studied in depth. In his book, Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places
(1975), Humphreys data showed that the men who participated in these acts
were of different backgrounds: married, unmarried, and heterosexuals and
homosexuals alike. The number of heterosexual married males in his study was
astounding. Through interviews and observation, he concluded that heterosexual
men especially resorted to these behaviors because of society's persecution of
homosexual behaviors.
These men felt the need to have normal family lives because of social pressure
and these Tearooms were a part of their secret life. His findings were clearly
against the prevalent belief in the 70s that men who participated in these acts
were the selfHproclaimed and publicly known homosexuals.
Sociology also helps us understand the break in social patterns and the
unexpected. Analyzing events that do not occur often such as school shootings,
infanticide, revolutions, and terrorist attacks remind us that generally, most
societies have social cohesion. These rare events provide sociologists with case
studies in studying the breakdown of social order and change.

Why Study Sociology?

Sociology provides us with a more dynamic perception of the world. It allows
us to look at behavior from the other perspective. It reminds us that actions are
not randomrather they are
guided by larger social forces. This frame of mind gives meaning to the mundane
and to what is foreign or different. Sociology reminds us that what is normal is
relative and that what is truth and good have changed throughout history
and across cultures. In essence, the discipline leads to a level of tolerance and
creates a platform for dialog between people and cultures.
Aside from allowing us to understand the other, sociology also allows us
to reflect on our own actions. By highlighting our identities, whether it be social
class, age, gender, race, or religion, we can better explain our own actions and
trajectories. This awareness makes us question why we do things rather than
blindly following traditions and expectations. Given the chance to question and

challenge our own convictions, we either decide to change or maintain the status
quo. Sociology does not judge nor does it promote the need to change. Rather, it
encourages us to think and decide for ourselves what we deem is right or wrong.
The basic premise of sociology is that we are all a product of our social
environment. By questioning what society tells us, we take control of ourselves
and our lives.
So far, the reasons mentioned as to the importance of sociology relate to
the abstract and the personal. There are practical uses to sociology. For policy
purposes, studies on social change and groups behavior are the central tenets of
policy making. The research methods used in the discipline, such as surveys,
statistical analysis, economic data, and fieldwork gives policy makers the data
and the analytical tools to better address social problems and formulate laws and
policies. In marketing and advertising, the art of deciphering social behavior and
convincing the public to buy products relies a great deal on the principles of
sociology. The argument is: if people are a product of their environment, then
manipulating the environment can change people's behavior. People interested in
social work also make use of sociological studies in assessing poverty, education,
and employment.


What I have enumerated are specific career niches where sociology is used
overtly. However, the tolerance and holistic perspective that sociology offers in
the study of society touches all fields of interest. A nurse or a doctor would better
serve their patients if aware of cultural differences and its implications in
medicine. A family lawyer can better handle clients if knowledgeable of the social
aspects of why divorce happens and its personal and social consequences. An
engineer can design better cars if possessed of the knowledge of who will buy
which types of cars and why.

Required Reading
Chambliss, Daniel F. 1989. The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report
on Stratification and
Olympic Swimmers.
Here is a reading that points to how environment shapes individuals. Use the
questions to better understand the reading.
1. What is Chambilss' main argument in this essay? What is his point in writing
the essay?
2. Why is excellence mundane according to the author?
3. What does it take to train Olympic level swimmers according to the article?

The Development of Sociology

In explaining certain behaviors and what social forces systematically
causes these actions, sociologists develop and work with certain sets of
theories. Theories in sociology are attempts to explain events, forces,
materials, ideas, or behavior in a comprehensive manner (Schaefer 9, 2007) .
Unlike the sciences and mathematics, however, theory in sociology is less finite
and not as precise.
This is understandablethe science of human behavior cannot explain 100%
why people behave the way they do, but we can make certain assumptions,
correlations, and statistical claims with our findings.
Early European Theorists
Although there are early sociologists that are not from Europe, Ibn Khaldun
(1332H1406) of Tunisia for example, our focus will be on European sociologists
and its development in the west. The 18 and 19 century were socially

tumultuous for most of Europe, with the development of industrialization and

capitalism. In the previous century, people started challenging the traditional
medieval period's belief systems about the role of religion and politics with the
Protestant Reformation under the influence of Martin Luther and John Calvin. In
1789 the French Revolution led to the overthrow of the French monarchy. It was
under these social uncertainties that sociology developed. Sociologists tried to
find a scientific way in uncovering how societies workedwhat led societies to
chaos and stability. Some of the early theorists are Auguste Comte (1798H1857),
Harriet Martineau (1802H1876), Herbert Spencer (1820H1903), Emile Durkheim
(1858H1917), Max Weber (1864H1920), and Karl Marx (1818H1883).


We will not go into detail on each theorist, but will refer to them when
necessary throughout the text. To explain more the role of theory and how it is
applied in sociology, we will be using Durkheim's work on suicide.

An Example of Theory: Durkheim and Suicide


In the United States 32,637 committed suicide in 2005. Suicide is the 11

cause of death for adults and the 3 for the young in the country. Among those
who committed suicide, white males had the highest rate of suicide at 19.7
followed by nonwhite males at 9 . A majority of those who committed suicide use
firearms (American Association of Suicidology). In Japan, internet suicide clubs,
where strangers meet up to die together has seen a growth in popularity.
According to a 2003 statistic, nearly 100 people take their own lives DAILYthat is
roughly one suicide every fifteen minutes (Asia Times, 7/28/2004). Although
suicide rates have remained constant, demographers saw a 35% increase in rates
in 1998 and has not declined since. In November 2008, Abraham Briggs
committed suicide on the internet as viewers commentedsome encouraging
him to do it, others begging him not to. His video cam was still on as police
entered his room. In October 2007, a 14Hyear old student shoots 4 people and
kills himself in his school near downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Individual assessments
of suicide, whether these people were depressed, frustrated, or suffering from
psychological problems, does not tell us why certain groups commit more suicide
than others, why some people choose to do it in groups, why others feel the need
to kill before committing suicide, or the trends in the number of suicides. This is
where sociology comes into play.
Durkheim wrote Suicide (1897), and theorized on the sociological conditions
that lead to different types of suicides. He collected data on rates of suicides
among various social groups in Europe. He compared current and historical data
on rates of suicide and looked for patterns and changes in suicide rates. The
argument is that, if depression and personal reasons determined suicide rates,
then he did not expect to find any noticeable patterns in his data, but if certain
groups or time periods were different, then social factors contributed to suicide
rates. Based on his findings, Durkheim created a typology for suicide.
Durkheim distinguished between four types of suicides. Anomic suicide
occurs when a person's life is suddenly disrupted by major social events, such as
war, famine, or economic depression. When people experience such drastic
changes and disruptions to their life, a sense of disconnect and frustration sets
in. Although Japan has always been labeled as a suicide nation, the jump in
rates since the late 1990s has been interpreted by sociologists as a result of
economic stagnation in Japan. In the past 2 decades, Japan's policy of lifetime
employment' that provided job security and recession has led to unemployment

and uncertainties. In fact, 12.1% of the suicide rates in 2002 were

moneyHrelated suicides (Asia Times, 7/28/2004).
Based on the data collected in Europe, Durkheim found that suicide rates
were consistently higher for the widowed, single, divorced, childless, and for
Protestants. Those who were married, with children, and Catholics had lower
suicide rates. He refers to this as egotistic suicide. When families, groups, and
community ties are weak or unimportant, people will feel alone and depressed. In
comparing the Catholics with the Protestants, Catholics emphasize community
and congregation as an important aspect of salvation. On the other hand,
Protestants focus on individualism and and personal responsibility as a way to
God. Individualism is an important aspect of contemporary American society.
People play video games, surf the web, or watch TV instead meeting with friends.
With ipods,

personal interaction on the streets is discouraged. In the urban sprawls, the

freeway and are cars prevent us from having face to face human contact. In fact,
suicide rates in the US are the highest in Montana (22), Nevada (19.9), Alaska
(19.7), and New Mexico (17.7), where population density is low.
Suicide rates can also increase when social and community ties are very
strong. In an altruistic suicide, a person subsumes his individuality with the
collective identity. An example would be the Kamikaze bombs during WWII. During
the war, Kamikaze pilots would intentionally crash their aircrafts, often with a full
fuel tank and laden with explosives for the cause of war. Japanese military culture
emphasized the honor of death in war and the shame of defeat and capture. The
samurai code encouraged seppuku, a ritual suicide by disembowelment, if a
samurai committed mistakes that would cause shame or if in danger of falling into
the hands of the enemy.
Lastly, fatalistic suicide occurs when people prefer to die than live in an
overly oppressive community. A example would be the suicide attempts of those
imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay under the Bush Administration. After the US
invaded Afghanistan, the US used Guantanamo Bay to detain people suspected of
association with the Taliban. Most of these people have been detained since 2001
without being charged with a crime. Hunger strikes have been common in the
prison and the military is forceHfeeding prisoners to prevent them from dying. The
US military has been accused of inaccurately reporting suicides. Jumah Dossari's
attempted to commit suicide while outsiders were present is believed to be a sign
of desperation from the prisoners. Dossari, while visited by his lawyer, pleaded to
go to the restroom and did not come back. He was seen hanging from a noose
tied to the ceiling (Washington Post 11/1/2005). Uncertain if they will ever leave
Guantanamo or receive a trial, with some prisoners believed to be in isolation for
years, the environment in Guantanamo has led to the suicides.
Theories on suicide helps us breakdown the sociological reasons for suicide
and provide a framework of analysis. Solid and wellHresearch theories allow us to
decipher patterns in society. Sociology reminds us that as individuals, we cannot
be separated from the larger world around us. These patters and
interconnectedness remind us how vulnerable we are to social changes and
decisions made outside of our purview. Sociology encourages us to be more
aware of our society and the world around us. What happens a thousand miles
away from us, will eventually affect us indirectly.

Studying sociology requires being aware of what is going on in your society.
Society can have different levels. It can refer to your neighborhood, your city,
state, country, even the world! Find a legitimate newspaper and look for current

events. Try to explain the event using your sociological imagination. What is the
issue? Which social categories are involved in the issue? How would various groups
interpret the event?

Key Concepts

Altruistic suicide
Anomic suicide
Common sense
Egotistic suicide
Emile Durkheim
Fatalistic suicide
e Nature vs.
Nurture Patterns
in behavior
Public sphere
Social category
Social cohesion

Chapter 2 : Social Components and Social Structures

This chapter explains the units of analysis that make up the study of
sociology. What are some of the social components that sociologists study when
studying groups? What are the important factors to consider when looking at
interactions and behavior?
A society consists of a number of people living in a specific geographical
territory that share the same culture, have a sense of common identity, and
abide by the same rules and authority.
Society does not necessarily mean homogeneity. People living in a society can
have different religions, race, ethnic identities, and languages and belong to
different groups and institutions. The relationships between these various
groups, social categories, and institutions are referred to as social structures.
Social structures organize society into predictable categories. These structures
allow members of society to communicate with each other, have a shared sense
of belonging to the group, and provide stability in groups. Following are the
important components of social structures:

Status refers to any socially defined position in society. Such as a mother, lawyer,
professor, president of a country, inmate, rapist, Cuban, beggar etc. A person can
occupy many statuses at once. There are 2 different types of status: ascribed and
achieved. Ascribed status refers to a social position that is acquired at birth or
later in life beyond our control: sex, age, the status as a daughter for example.
These ascribed statuses can change through time: In the US, when a person
reaches 65 and becomes a senior citizen. In contrast, achieved status are
positions we acquire through our own efforts. Being a college graduate, mother,
and a dentist all require work. The level of prestige society places on these
statuses can mean differently across cultures. In India, Sadhus or ascetics are
people who give up worldly pleasures and the everyday routines of society and
devote their lives to prayers. Their lifestyle may vary, either living in mountains in
isolation, in ashrams or temples, or others become nomads. In India, sadhus are
commonly referred to as baba which means means father or uncle as a sign of
respect. The reverence granted to sadhus in Indian culture may not be mimicked in
another culture.
Imagine if in the US, a person gives up their job and family, may have to rely on
the good graces of strangers for food, and lives on the streetswould that person
be respected or ostracized as lazy and irresponsible? Also, our achieved status is
in some level dependent on our ascribed status. For example, in the US, a female
is more likely to become a nurse than a male.

Since an individual can hold multiple statuses, The master status is the
status that is the most salient of all the statuses and as a result is the status that
people will mostly associate with. For example, OJ Simpson was an accomplished
running back in American football, but he will probably will be most remembered
for his status as one acquitted of double murder. In US society, race plays a very
important part in determining a person's status. During the 2008 presidential
race, President Barak Hussein Obama's African heritage was highlighted. Notice
however that Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain's race was
not the focal point; rather, it was his age. Thus, in the US, more than race, it is the
statuses that are the least expected in a given situation that dominate attention.
In short, circumstances matter in terms of which status will become the master
Generally, when a person occupies a status that is unexpected in a given
situation, that status becomes the master status. Given that most presidents have
been white, Obama's race stood out. Another example is the rapper Eminem. In a
niche in the music industry dominated by blacks, his race became his mater

Social Roles
Social roles are what is expected of people given a certain status. Doctors
are expected to have the knowledge to diagnose symptoms; students are
expected to respect their teachers; parents are expected to care for their children
and provide basic needs. Roles can be fulfilled in various ways, but the general
expectations are constant. Failure to fulfill a role is seen as a form of deviance in
most cases. Expectations differ across cultures. For example, in Asian cultures,
children are expected to take care of their parents when their elders reach a
certain age. Role conflict happens when a person, occupying two ore more
statuses is faced with competing expectations from society. On May 6, 2008, a
former Navy SEAL refused to testify against his boss, computer chip billionaire
Henry T. Nicholas, coH founder of Broadcom, who was accused of improperly
backdating stock options in his own company. Stephen Otter Otten refused to
testify against Nicholas claiming emotional ties to the Nicholas family, which he
considered family members (LA Times 5/6/2008). The judge in the case claimed
that there were no legal grounds to excuse family members from grand jury
testimony and sent Otten to jail. Otten's social role as a faithful employee and
family member conflicts with his role as a law abiding citizen. Role conflict also
happens when a person's ascribed status conflicts with a person's achieved
status. For example, a female becoming a fire fighter.

Sociologists use the concept of a group to refer to two or more people who
interact with one another on a regular basis, are aware of themselves as
belonging to a group, and share similar goals and values. Examples are a book
club, a sports team, a church, and a choir. With the internet and the proliferation
of online networks, the need for faceHtoHface interaction has redefined the
meaning of a group in sociology. Being a member of an online community is
being a part of a group.
A number of people in an elevator is NOT a group, since people in an
elevator rarely interact with one anothernotice how people in an elevator face
the door and not each other? Even if the people in the elevator are going in a
similar direction (similar goal), the lack of constant interaction disqualifies these
people as a group in sociological terms. Most individual dayHtoHday interaction
happens within groups, so groups are crucial units of analysis in sociology and
are important components of social structure.
How a group is structured dictates the types of interactions and relationships
among members. For example, a group can be egalitarian or hierarchical.
Egalitarian groups foster equality among members, while hierarchical groups

have a more rigid power structure. The size of a group also matters in
determining interactions among members, with a dyad being the smallest unit
with two members. Marriage is an example. Georg Simmel (1858H1918), a
prominent German sociologist, claims that dyads generate the most intense and
emotional groups. Since there are only two members, dyads tend to be the most
fragile. If one member leaves, the group will most likely disintegrate. A triad
consists of three members and are more stable. If one person leaves, you are still
left with a dyad. In a triad, situations are dealt with differently compared to a
dyad. Coalitions and alliances are common. For example, two individuals might
form a coalition against the other member.
The type of interaction in a group is also influenced by the level of contact
we have with members. A primary group is made of members that have direct
and frequent contact and longevity. A secondary group is characterized by
impersonal relationships among its members with less emotional ties and
investment. An example would be coHworkers or classmates. Finally, our statuses,
both ascribed and achieved, influence which groups we will belong to. This is an
important point,

since our social networksthe people we know and the connections we will
established our heavily influenced by our groups. This means that there are
certain people that you might never meet or bump into as a result of your status
and group affiliation.

Organizations are characterized by groups formed for specific purposes,
wherein membership is most likely to be voluntary. Sierra Club is an organization
whose members are concerned about a specific cause: protecting the
environment. Sierra Club has been around since 1892 and currently has
1.3 million members. Founded by John Muir (1838H1914), with prominent members
such as Theodore Roosevelt (1858H1919), Sierra Club is responsible for the
creation of the great parks in the US such as Yosemite, Sequoia, and the Grand
Canyon. Another example of an organization is a corporation, with the employees
as members. Most corporations have a distinct goal: profit, and every member is
working towards this goal. While the Sierra Club and corporations in general are
an examples of stable and permanent organizations, there are organizations that
do not have longevity. For example, during elections, organizations for a specific
candidate are formed and will most likely disband after elections.

Social Institutions
Social Institutions are the foundations of societies. The family, economy,
government, media, healthcare system are examples of institutions. These
institutions continue to evolve and have changed their functions throughout
history. Also, keep in mind that different societies may allocate different functions
and goals for the same institutions. The book will touch upon each institution in
more detail in the following chapters. What is important to understand at this
point is that institutions are organizational units in a society. Analyzing a particular
institution's role in society reveals a great deal about how a society functions.

Culture and the Unspoken Rules

Aside from social institutions, the study of societies must also take into
account culture.
Culture can translate itself in tangible (objects) and intangible forms (values,
norms). In sociology, culture refers to the beliefs, knowledge, language, objects,
and behavior, that are learned and socially transmitted. By learn, we are not
necessarily referring to something that has to be taught in a classroom. Rather
these unspoken beliefs and rules are learned through interaction. When you are
learning culture, no one is going to tell you that you are learning a culture, you
just do it. For example, children in either Japan, China, or Korea, you are given a
pair of chopsticks at an early age these children are tacitly learning the culture.
In the US, when you see your parents wait in line to pay in the grocery store or buy
movie tickets, you are learning culture. Keep in mind that in sociology, culture does

not mean refinement or a taste for classical music or art. Meaning, people who
listen to classical music and go to art shows are not more cultured than people
who listen to contemporary music and incognizant of famous artists. This is NOT
the way culture is used in sociology. Culture has very little to do with taste; rather,
culture in sociological terms refer to all aspects of a society that deal with ideas,
norms, values, and objects.
This chapter has introduced you to the central components of society. These
social structures are the units of analysis in sociology. Meaning, these are the
aspects of society that sociologists analyze and study. How individuals interact
with society (statuses and roles), how groups function, and

the role of groups and culture in society at large are the dynamics of social life.

Familiarize yourself with social structures mentioned in this chapter and identify
the different statuses
you belong to and your master status. What are the social roles expected of you
and your statuses? Which groups do you belong to? What is the relationship
between your statuses and groups? Do you belong to any organizations? What are
the institutions in your neighborhood or country? What role to they have in
maintaining stability?

Key Concepts
y Master
s Primary
group Role
Secondary group
Social institutions
Social role
Social structures

Chapter 3 : The Perspectives, the Individual, and

There are three sociological perspectives used in the discipline. The
difference between perspective and theory is that, while theories attempt to
explain a phenomenon by providing specific answers based on observation and
experiment (think back to our Durkheim example), perspectives are ways of
looking at a phenomenon. Perspectives provide a framework to analyze a
situation and helps students of sociology eliminate personal bias in their
assessments. The perspectives prevent sociologists from judging social behavior
as either right or wrong and instead provide three competing but complimentary
views about society and the role people play.

Functionalist Perspective or Structural Functionalism

The Functionalist perspective views society as a cohesive and relatively
stable and orderly system where each group has a role to play. Functionalists
emphasize the importance of consensus in maintaining social order. Theorists
association with this perspective are Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Talcott
Parsons, and Robert K. Merton. Comte believed that the job of the science of
sociology is uncover the laws that governed societies and to establish order. Keep
in mind that he was writing in the early 19 century in the aftermath of the French
Revolution. He distinguished between social statics and social dynamics.
Statics is the study of social order and dynamics the study of social change and
progress (Collins and Makowsky 22, 2005). Comte likened society to biological
organisms such as the human body. A human body is composed of various parts
(heart, lungs, kidneys) and each part must work in order for the whole to exist.
Moreover, each part has a role to play in maintaining the life of the body. For
Comte, the same is true for societies. Societies are made up of parts (family,
government, religion, statuses, social roles), and each part has a role to play in
keeping society ordered and stable. When all the parts fit and each plays its
respective role, then consensus and harmony is achieved. This consensus is
achieved when most members of society share the same beliefs and are
accepting of their roles in society.
A sociologists, which you were already introduced to in Chapter 1 who is
associated with the functionalist perspective is Emile Durkheim, who expands on
Comte's concepts. For Durkheim, cooperation, agreement, and consensus keep
societies together. An important concept he introduces is the collective
consciousness, which refers to the shared beliefs and moral attitudes of a
community. These communal beliefs are responsible for unifying society and
forming solidarity. In his 1893 work The Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim
differentiates between two types of solidarity: mechanical and organic.
Mechanical solidarity exists in societies that are isolated and homogeneous.

People in the society shared similar beliefs and norms. These societies are
relatively small and social ties are based on custom, family, and emotions. Social
relationships are long lasting. In contrast, Organic Solidarity happens in larger
societies and complex division of labor forms the basis of solidarity and
independence. Rather than kinship or familial ties, individual status in society is
determined by occupation and individual achievement. In essence, mechanical
solidarity is associated with traditional societies and organic with contemporary
societies. For example, in most tribal societies, community members will most
likely share the same religion and have the same belief systems. Their
relationships are based on emotions and historical bonds, which are rarely broken.
On the other hand, in modern day societies, relationships are fleeting. For
example, we change our jobs often and have very little emotional attachments to
our coHworkers and bosses. Our societies are diverse and social cohesion is
achieved because of our diversity and division of labor. Division of labor refers
to how each group in society has a specific role to play in order for society to
function. These specialized

roles are an integral quality of division of labor. Teachers teach, nurses assist
doctors, parents take care of children etc. Division of labor can best be visualized
in a car manufacturing plant. In making a car, workers have a specialized task.
There are groups of people in charge of putting the doors, people in charge of
installing the steering wheel and so on. Just as the car must go through each level
of manufacturing to be complete, for the functionalist perspective, each group in
society has a role to play in order for society to exist in stability.
Robert K. Merton distinguishes between two types of functions: manifest
and latent. Manifest functions are the functions that are intended by society.
Latent functions are indirect consequences. Merton used the Hopi Tribe of
Arizona and New Mexico rain dance to distinguish between these two functions.
The Hopi believe that performing the rain dance will bring rain for harvest
(manifest), but Merton claims that the rain dance also also has the effect of
promoting the cohesion of the Hopi society (latent function) (Giddens 19).
Another example is school. The manifest function of school is for students to
learn. The latent function is it provides a place for young people to congregate
and make friends with adult supervision. Schools also provides jobs for teachers
and staff.
Merton also distinguished between functions and dysfunctions.
Dysfunctions are what disrupts order in society. In Merton's words a social
dysfunction is any process that undermines the stability or survival of a social
system (96, 1996). War and terrorism are examples. However, dysfunctions are
not always be disadvantageous for all of society. In some cases, social actions that
seem dysfunctional may actually be functional for other groups in society. The
melting of the icecaps as a result of global warming may threaten the earth, but
for oil producers, the oil deposits discovered in the arctic are beneficial to their
business. Slavery may have been dysfunctional for slaves and Blacks, but
functional and quite beneficial for slave owners, wealthy plantation owners, and
the American economy (Rivoli 2005). For the functionalists, the social institutions
mentioned in the previous chapter, if properly implemented, help perpetuate the
status quo. As discussed, ones' status in society help determine which groups
that person will belong to. And since group membership influence ones' social
networks, a status prevents people from venturing out of their position in society.
You might be shaking your head and thinking, slavery and global warming
may be functional for certain groups of society, but these are wrong! This is true,
but inherent in the concept of division of labor is difference and at a certain level,
inequality. Another analogy of division of labor are sports teams. In basketball,
there is the center, forwards, the guards, and the head coach as the central
characters. Imagine if the coach decides to start playing himself. The center
decides to play the part of the guard, and the forwards decide they want to be the

coach. The team would most surely lose. Or how about in the middle of the battle
field the private start issuing orders and starts ignoring the hierarchy in the
military. For the functionalist perspective, this is when disorder happenswhen
people or groups do not play their part. A unified system, which is society, needs
every part of the whole to do its part.
For the functionalist perspective, these roles can change and alter through
time, but what is important is for groups to adapt to these changes in order to
maintain cohesion. Failure to adapt means a breakdown of social order and chaos.
In general, change from the functionalist perspective is viewed with caution. Since
the parts of the system are interconnected, a change in one aspect can greatly
alter the whole. Thus, fear often stymies change. One can point to slavery and
argue against the functionalist perspective. Sure the abolition of slavery led to
war and social disorderbut isn't it worth it?


Conflict Perspective
Unlike the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective believes that
societies can best be understood by looking at power and the various power
struggles among groups in society. For the conflict perspective, society is made of
various interests and groups competing for power. Power is seen as a zero;sum
game, meaning, one's gain is another's loss. Conflict also arises because of
groups competing for scarce resources. The end results is not stability, but
inequality and constant tension.
The theorist most associated with the conflict perspective is Karl Marx. Writing in
19 century
Western Europe, where industrialization and capitalism has disrupted the
existing organization of society under a feudal system, Marx saw the existing
social class system as divided by the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The
bourgeoisie make up the capitalist class. This group owns capital and exploits the
proletariat or the working class. A thorough investigation of Marx's ideas will be
analyzed in our chapter on class systems. For now, what is important to note is
that Marx analyzed how capitalism in its very core is a system of exploitation, not
just in economic terms, but in all aspects of social life.
With control of the economy, the bourgeoisie also has taken control of politics
and socioHcultural beliefs. Thus, social structures and social institutions exists to
serve the needs of the ones in power. Marx does not think that human nature or
individuals are inherently greedy and evil; rather, the established economic
system makes inequality beneficial for others, which causes groups to act in
such a combative manner.
Beyond Marx, the conflict perspective does not limit itself to the economy
and social class in assessing power struggles between groups. Conflict exists
between gender, age groups, developed and underdeveloped countries, and cities
vs. rural areas, just to name a few. Thus, conflict is present in all aspect of social
life. When one assess a situation using this perspective, one is interested in how
the relationship leads to an advantage for one group and a disadvantage for
another. A branch of conflict perspective which focuses on a specific group
struggle is the feminist perspective. Some influential feminist scholars are
Abigail Adams (1744H1818), Ida WellsHBarnett (1862H1931), and Gloria Steinem
(1934). This branch of conflict perspective concentrates on inequality based on
Unlike functionalism, conflict perspective sees change as inevitable and a
basic feature of society. As a result of inequality and the battle for power, each
group is always trying to be on top of the hierarchy. Stability and cooperation are
not a basic feature of societies. Social order is maintained, not through the unified
functioning of the whole, but through coercion and power. While functionalism is

criticized for highlighting social cohesion, the conflict perspective is criticized for
overlooking events and elements of society wherein competing groups have come
together for a common cause.

Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

Both the functionalist and the conflict perspective have one thing in
common, both assess society at the macro;level. They look at social structures
and the relationships between the various groups in society. In contrast, the
symbolic interactionist perspective analyzes society from the micro; level. This
means that the symbolic interactionist perspective observes interactions
between people through their means of communication. From these personalized
negotiations, they attempt to explain society as a whole. For this perspective,
society is considered to be socially constructed through human interpretation
(Andersen 22, 2006). Unlike the first 2 perspectives we have discussed,
interactionism takes the level of analysis to individuals and smaller groups.
Symbols are particularly important for this perspective. Symbols can include
material objects,


words, actions, gestures, and facial expressions that have a shared meaning for a
group of people. A ring band is a symbol of marriage for most western societies
while in parts of India, a necklace is worn instead. Nonverbal communications
are also symbolsthese are actions which are culturally understood. For example,
asking a waiter for the bill is communicated differently across societies. In the
Philippines, the customer can outline a rectangle with the index fingers, while in
Japan, the index fingers are crossed to form an X. Facial expressions are also forms
of symbols and are cultural. In a research done by the University of Alberta,
Canada on facial emotions between Japanese and Americans, researchers found
that Americans focus more on the mouth when it comes to interpreting emotions
whereas the Japanese focus more on the eyes. The study compared how
Americans and Japanese interpreted images, which showed different emotions.
Their findings are also supported by the way Americans and Japanese use
emoticons or the symbols used to convey emotions in an email or through text
messaging. Americans use these emoticons as a symbol of happy face :) or :H)
and :( or
:H( for sad face. The mouth changes in these emoticons. Contrastingly, in Japan,
(^_^) represents a
happy face and (;_;) a sad face (Science Daily, 4/5/2007).
Symbolic interactionists consider interaction, symbols, and the tacit and
overt rules and meaning we attach to them as the basis of social order and society
itself. Through these everyday interactions and exchanges we construct society.
Erving Goffman (1922H1982) and his dramaturgical approach captures some of
the essence of the interactionist perspective. For Goffman, people are similar to
actors on a stage. People put on a different face depending on the situation. We
present a different self in front of our family, another face if with friends and so on.
Like the other two perspectives, symbolic interactionist has its share of criticisms.
The focus on everyday interactions lends itself to subjective interpretation of
social relations and does not capture the overall structure of society. Although it
explains how social order is maintained, it does not address the larger social
institutions that make up societies.

Choose an article from the following news agencies and interpret the event
using the three perspectives. How would each perspective interpret the
situation? What is the unit of analysis for each perspective? What are the
social structures involved in the article?
In choosing an article, refrain from sensational journalism and crime reporting.
For example, do not choose an article that talks about a shooting or if a storm is

approaching. Choose articles that will allow you to use the concepts we have
been studying. You can choose articles with a political and economic slant, or
pop culture. You do not have to limit yourself to the US. Choose global issues or
events from other countries if you wish.
News Agencies: Choose from the following news agencies If possible
The New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, AlGJezeera, The New Yorker,
Los Angeles Times.

Key Concepts

Conflict perspective
Division of labor
Feminist perspective
Feudal system
Latent function
Mechanical solidarity
Nonverbal communications
Organic solidarity
Social statics
roles Status
Symbolic interactionist
perspectiv Zero?sum game

Chapter 4 : Sociological Research

What makes sociology part of the social sciences is the scientific process
involved in the research. What unites science are its objectives, its
presuppositions, its general methodology, and it's logic (Singleton 14, 2005).For a
person to go on a week vacation in Acapulco, Mexico, stay in a hotel, and claim to
have conducted legitimate sociological research is unacceptable. The scientific
method involves a series of steps and processes with the goal of objectivity,
accuracy, and reliability in analyzing a research question. By definition, research
is the process of systematically collecting information for the purpose of testing an
existing theory or generating a new one (Kendall 21, 2006)

The Research Process

The first step to starting a sociological research involves asking and
defining a research question. You are interested in understanding a social
phenomenon and you want to find the sociological explanation for your question.
Examples of sociological research questions are: Does the US have a better health
care system than Canada? Does having tighter gun control decrease violence? Is
income inequality increasing or decreasing as a result of globalization? Do women
have different career opportunities compared to men? Is there an educational
achievement gap between racial groups? Have divorce rates increased or
decreased in the past decade, and why? How will longer life expectancy change
the lifestyles of retired citizens and their families?
Once you have a research question, you need to be able to define your
research question and recognize the variables involved. Taking the question
Does the US have a better health care system then Canada? example, the
variables involved are the two health care systems and the health of the
populations. Your unit of analysis is countriesCanada and the US. The next step
is to figure out how to measure your variables. Measuring in social science
research entails converting abstract concepts into a concrete and measurable
concept (76). To conceptualize whether or not a health care system is better
involves defining what a good health care system results to. This process of
operationalization involves figuring out a way to measure your abstract
concept. In this case, better can be measured by infant mortality rates, the
percent of people having access to affordable health care, average life
expectancy, and people's level of satisfaction with the system, and doctorHpatient
ratio. These are indicators of the quality of health of a population. By looking at
this data, one can better asses the general level of the population's health. In
conceptualizing the health care system, an important aspect to define is the level
of government involvement, the role of private corporations and pharmaceutical

companies. These points can then be measured by looking at each country's

budget allocated to health care, laws and the constitution regarding health care
Second step in the process is to review previous research or a
literature review. This involves reading what other scholars have written about
your topic and their findings. In conducting a literature review one has to take
note of the legitimacy and accuracy of the sources. For example, if one is
reviewing the literature on US health care and came across an article written by
the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, one has to take into account the writer's
position and possible personal biases. If your research question is Does having
tighter gun control decrease violence? reviewing a literature by a prominent
supporter of the NRA (National Rifle Association) is going to have certain biases,
which the researcher has to take into account.
Third step is the formulate a testable hypothesis. A hypothesis is a
statement of the predicted relationship between variables. A variable is a
measurable condition or characteristics that is subject to change under different
conditions (Schaefer 30, 2007). In our research question, Does having

tighter gun control decrease violence? you are dealing with two variables, gun
control and violence. To operationalize violence we can look at crime rates in the
country per state. An example of a hypothesis is: having tighter gun controls
decrease the amount of violence. You are hypothesizing on a relationship between
the two variables. Formulating a hypothesis also involves defining your
dependent variable or response variable and independent variable or
explanatory variable. In this case, you are testing if the level of violence is
dependent on gun control. So, violence is the dependent variable and gun control
the independent variable. You are hypothesizing that level of gun control explains
Fourth step in the research process is to design of the research and
collect the data. In designing the research, you have to decide whether you are
going to conduct a qualitative or a quantitative research. Quantitative research
deals with more statistical methods and focus is on data and variables that can be
reduced to numbers. For example, variables such as income, GDP, number of
children, and crime rates can be used for a quantitative analysis. On the other
hand, qualitative research focuses on interpretive descriptions (Kendall 23,
2006) and data that cannot be easily converted to numbers. In our sample
research comparing the health care systems of Canada and the US. Looking at
laws and the constitution in deciphering the type of health care system a country
has involves a quantitative analysis. Contrastingly, looking at average mortality
rates and life expectancy to operationalized the population's health is
quantitative. Thus, when choosing a research design, one does not have to be
restricted to either a quantitative or qualitative analysis. A combination of the two
is possible. The type of design you choose is dictated by the variables you choose
and the best way to operationalize them.
Also, the method of collecting data is also influenced by your variables and
your research question. This is the art of research design. There are no set ways
to designing a research; rather, the sociologist needs to use the tools available
that best fit their questions and hypothesis. In collecting data, one needs to be
aware of the validity and reliability of the data. Validity refers to the degree to
which the indicator is accurately measuring a concept. In our research question,
Does having tighter gun control decrease violence? gun control can be
operationalized or measured by looking at gun laws. But what if even though laws
are in place, they are not enforced? Are gun laws then still a good measure of gun
control? In our health care example, what if we measured the quality of health
care based on people's opinion on their doctors only? Is having a good or bad
opinion indicative of the quality of health of the population? What if people have
high opinions of their doctors, but there are only a few people in the country that
have access to health care? Is this a valid measurement in this case? Reliability

refers to the extent to which the measurement methods yield consistent results
when applied over time and to different subjects. For example, a ruler is a reliable
tool for measurement since if you measure the length of the same object over and
over again, granted that the object being measure was not manipulated in any
way, you will yield consistent results. For example, in our research question on
gun control and violence, we operationalized violence by looking at crime rates.
However, what if some states only included violent crimes in their data, while
others included all types of crimes. Thus, your method of data collection on crime
rate is not reliable, since each state has a different way of measuring crime.
Another aspect of data collection is the method of selecting the sample. A
sample is a subset of the whole population that is statistically representative of
the whole population. If conducting research on gun ownership in the US, it would
be expensive and inefficient to ask each person in the US if they had a gun, thus a
sample is used. However, you want your sample to mirror your population. For
example, in 2006, the US has a population of 300 million and 50.7% are females.
If you want a

sample that is representative of the US, you would want to make sure that at
least half of your sample is female. Gender is just one component to take into
account, but a representative sample is crucial to have valid results.
With the internet, downloading datasets has become easier. The US Census
Bureau, the General Social Survey (GSS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS),
and the United Nations (UN) are just a few institutions that have a wealth of data
that is free to the public. Data is usually compatible with the following statistical
packages: R, Stata, SAS, and SPSS. Numbers are data are an integral part of
statistical research. Sociology and statistics have become inseparable and is a
requirement for most undergraduate programs in sociology.

Type of Data Collection

Surveys can come in the form of a paper or electronic questionnaire, telephone
or internet poll, and personal or online interviews. Questions in a questionnaire
can be close;ended, where respondents have to choose from a list of answers,
or open;ended, when respondents are allowed more freedom in answering the
question. Keep in mind that surveys can involve qualitative and quantitative

Sample of a closeRended question in a survey:

How old are you?
1. 18 and
under 2. 19
to 24
3. 25 to 35
4. 36 to 56
5. 56 and above
Sample of an openRended question in a survey:
What do you think about the 2008 presidential debates?
Data gathered through observation usually involves qualitative research.
Researchers opting observation as a method of data collection are involved in
field work and need to physically be with the groups of people they want to study.
Researcher can either choose to be an active participant of the group or a mere
observer. Participant observation would require the researcher to interact and
engage with the subjects, whereas an observer does not. For example, in
researching her book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara

Ehrenreich investigates the impact of the 1996 welfare reform on the working
poor in the US. She worked with the people she was analyzing and lived their
lives to better understand them.
Another example is the 2004 documentary by Morgan Spurlock, Supersize
Me. Wanting to understand the psychological and physical effects of eating fast
food, he embarks on a 30Hday journey eating only McDonald's food. There are
risks to being a participant researcher. Spurlock, who started off the study as a
fairly healthy 32Hyear old gained 24 lbs, suffered from mood swings, sexual
dysfunction, and liver damage. An example of observation is the 2006
documentary by Eric Steel, The Bridge. The film captures people committing
suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Although

he combines his findings with interviews of the family members who committed
suicide, Steel did not
try to prevent the people from taking their lives.
Observations can either by reactive or unobtrusive. An example of
unobtrusive observation is the one conducted by Humphreys on impersonal sex
discussed in Chapter 3, where the subject were not aware of the study being
conducted. In contrast, reactive studies occur when the subjects are aware of the
presence of the researcher. As the term suggests, these studies may generate a
reaction from the subjects that is motivated by the presence of the researcher.
Referred to as the Hawthrone effect, there is a temporary change in behavior
when people are aware of being observed. The term refers to Hawthrone Works, a
factory where researchers were conducting a study on how to improve
productivity from 1924 to 1932. As the researchers tried different strategies to
increase productivity such as manipulating the lighting, salaries, when to provide
breaks, and changing work timings, they realized that productivity increased
regardless of what they did. Generally, the subject will react in a way that they
think will be agreeable to society and to the researcher when they know they are
being observed.
In an experiment, sociologists place subjects in a controlled environment.
The setting is manipulated and reactions and behavior are recorded and analyzed.
Researchers assign subjects to either the experimental group or control group. For
example, if one is testing the effect of a new drug, the experimental group would
receive the treatment or the drug, and the control group would receive a
An example of a sociological experiment is one conducted by Rosenthal and
Jacobson involving student achievement and teacher expectation. The purpose of
the experiment was to test the hypothesis on whether ones' achievement is
influenced by the society's expectations. In the experiment, the researchers gave
the teachers a list of students who did well on an administered test they gave the
students the beginning of the school year. The teachers were told that the The
Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition test given to their students is a measure of IQ,
and a student's ability to learn. What the teachers did not know is that Rosenthal
and Jacobson randomly picked the names on the list, thus, the list did not exactly
reflect the test results. At the end of the year, a test was again administered to the
students and on average, the students in the list saw an increase of 12 points in
their scores, while the rest of the class had a lower average of increase. Other
tests that were graded by the teachers and considered subjective tests such as
writing and reading showed similar results.

Rosenthal and Jacobson theorized that the Pygmalion effect was responsible for
the unequal increase in scores. With higher expectation, teachers give more
attention to students they believe are smarter (Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968).
Another famous sociological experiment is the Stanford Prison Experiment
headed by Philip
Zimbardo at Stanford University in 1961.

Staford Prison Experiment:

In all these types of data collection, there are ethical issues to take into account.
Whether or not you are invading someone's privacy or endangering their safety,
social scientists have a responsibility to their subjects. The American Sociological
Association has a code of ethics that sociologists follow when conducing research.
What matters is that the research question guides the type of research and data
collection to use and that sociologists understand the pros and cons of their
methods of choice.

Now that you have read the various modes of research in sociology, develop a
sociological study:
Explain the situation you want to research on. Is there an event or issue
in society that you have a question about, which can be answered
Identify the methods you are going to use for this study and explain why you
chose them.
What is your dependent and independent variable? What type of data
collection are you going to use.
Do you think you will encounter ethnical problems such as the conducted by
Humphreys in the Tearoom Sex Study or the US government in the Tuskegee
Report? Why? Why not?

Key Terms:

on Indicators
Dependent or response
variable Independent or
explanatory variab
Research design
Data collection
Quantitative research
Qualitative research
Reactive or Unobtrusive
observati Hawthrone effect

Stanford Prison Experiment

Chapter 5 : Culture
In Chapter 2 we referred to culture as one of the social components of
society. Culture acts as the social glue that binds members of society together.
Culture can come in the form of tangible objects (material culture) or actions
and ideas (non;material culture). A society's values, norms, language,
symbols, and the objects they use and revere are all part of culture. In essence,
instead of following our instincts in our interaction with the world, our culture
programs us on how to behave. For example, you are about to have a
Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. You are extremely hungry and want
to eat, but the host decides to say a prayer of thanks before eating. Would you
wait until the prayer is over or eat as soon as you sat down on the table during
the prayer? Most people would wait. Thus, even though your brain is telling you
that you are hungry and your natural reaction is to eat, your culture would tell
you to wait. Culture tells you that to not wait is rude. Another example of how
culture plays a part in placing value on objects is the connection between love
and diamonds. Read this article and learn about how and when diamonds started
to represent love in society.

Required Reading
Meghan O'Rourke: Diamonds Are a Girl's Worse Friend: The trouble with
engagement rings.

Societies and Culture

When Columbus arrived in the Americas, Native American culture was seen
as primitive and compared to the modern European culture. In studying culture,
we refrain from making moral adjustments on whether one is more advanced that
the other. Cultures are not seen as developing in a trajectory, wherein cultures go
through evolutionary stages and other cultures are more evolved that the other.
Remember that the Spaniards committed genocide in the Americasis this a sign
that they are more advanced? The two World Wars started in Europedoes this
make the continent more modern? In sociology, we analyze culture based on
fundamental differences, and not whether one culture is right, wrong, or better
than the other.
In understanding culture, values refer to society's ideas and principles.
Values are what a society deems moral and correct. Sociologist Robin Williams, in
American Society: A Sociological Interpretation (1970), outlined the values of

American society. He claimed that Americans tend to be individualistic. Individuals

are seen as responsible for their own actions and whether it is success or failure.
Achievement and success are an individual's personal goals and anything can be
achieved through hard work. Efficiency and practicality are the preferred ways to
achieve goals. Material comfort is the core of the American dream and equal
opportunity not equality is the ideal. US society tends to believe that the US has
the best values compared to other countries. There is also a tendency for racist
and group superiority. Groups tend to value their racial or ethnic identity above all
others and this may lead to discrimination. Do you agree with Williams'
assessment? Williams what writing in the 60s, is the US still the same society as
when he was writing?
Compared to values, which are abstract and ideals, norms are concrete
principles or rules that people are expected to follow in society. There are two
types of norms: implicit norms are those that do not need to be written into law
or enforced on people, since people will follow them. Explicit

norms are the ones that need to be formally enforced or communicated. In the
US, an example of implicit norm would be waiting in line. Explicit norm is
recycling. Americans need to be given incentives or told repeatedly to recycle and
conserve. It is not enough to just realize that having a clean planet is good for
There are two different types of norms: mores (MOREHayz) and folkways.
Mores are explicit norms that are taken very seriously be society. For example, in
a park, not following the sign please curb your dog can lead to a fine. On the
other hand, folkways are rules that society frowns upon but does not lead to
serious punishment. Not flushing the toilet in a public restroom might result to a
dirty look to the person using it next, but you are not going to be banned from
using public restrooms.
One of the major characteristics of culture is its malleability and dynamism.
Culture is transmitted and there is no such thing as a pure cultureone
unaffected by other cultures. For example, yoga has become a popular American
form of exercise and relaxation. Yoga is originally from India with roots from the
Vedic traditions, but has been adopted by US society and has sine been
Americanized in the US. As culture is transmitted, its meaning can change. Yoga
in India is part of a the Hindu religious lifestyle. On the other hand, the fact that
yoga can be practiced in gyms in the US, shows that yoga is more a physical
activity rather than a spiritual one in the East In Hawaii, you can order a spam
musubi, which consists of fried egg and spam on rice, held together by a
seaweed wrap. Spam, an American canned meat is popular in Hawaii and the
Philippines. During World War II, soldiers ate Spam, since fresh meat was rare and
difficult to transport. Eventually, the locals started eating Spam and adding their
own variety. The spam musubi of Hawaii is an example of how American and
Japanese culture have influenced Hawaiian cuisine.

Global Cultures
Globalization, the rapid integration of the world as a result of technological
advance is increasing the pace and level of cultural fusion. As companies go
global and with the force of the internet, people all over the world are eating,
buying, listening, and viewing the same content. As a result, a global culture
emerges. Because of the internet, English has become even more widely
understood. In countries that were originally tea drinkers such as Japan and
China, will Starbucks turn the tea culture to a coffee culture? Sociologists are
divided as to whether the world is becoming one culture or if other cultures
maintain their own identity even with the infiltration of a global culture dominated
by the west.

In his ethnographic book on how McDonald's has been localized in Asia,

Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia, James Watson claims that even
though McDonald's has infiltrated the Asian diet and eating culture, these
restaurants have been integrated into the local culture and have modified what
McDonald's represent. McDonald's is not just a place to get food fast, efficiently,
and cheaply. For example, in Japan where the houses are generally small,
McDonald's has become a common party venue for kids' birthdays. The menu has
also been modified: teriyaki burgers are still Japanese and the Maharaja Mac is
still Indian. Thus, these countries have modified what McDonald's represents.
Although there are aspects of American culture that have been implemented such
as clean bathrooms that used to be a rarity in Hong Kong, or waiting in line,
Watson claims that this only served to improve the standards for other
While Watson paints a rosy picture of the globalization of culture, others are
less optimistic and highlight the dangers of promoting certain cultural practices.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) for years has tried to stop
Nestl's alleged aggressive tactics to promote powdered


baby milk in underdeveloped countries. With advertisements glorifying the

benefits of powered baby formula, women who traditionally breastfed in
underdeveloped countries started using powered milk, which led to serious
medical problems and death to infants. Firstly, formula is mixed with water, since
it was expensive, and in some cases mothers were unaware that they were mixing
the formula with contaminated water. These mothers, to save money, also used
less than the required formula, thus infants were not receiving adequate vitamins
and nutrients. Illiteracy also made it difficult for some mothers to read the
instructions and were unaware of the proper servings. Nestl is accused of giving
money to heath officials and hospitals to promote their products. While in the
hospital, mothers are given Nestl formula and their lactation is disrupted by the
formula, thus forcing them to rely on the formula after they leave the hospital. In
the US, doctors and medical professionals are coming to a consensus that
breastfeeding provides benefits for both baby and mother that is lacking in
Currently the US government encourages women to breastfeed if medically
and physically possible (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Thus,
as the culture of infant formula is losing its appeal in the West, baby formula
corporations are looking to other markets to sell their products.

Cultural Imperialism and Hegemony

Evident from our examples, corporations and developed countries have a
huge impact in transmitting culture. The concept cultural imperialism was
proposed by Herbert Schiller (1919H2000). It refers to how multinational
corporations (MNCs) and the media of developed countries dominate and
manipulate cultures of underdeveloped countries. Cultural hegemony, on the
other hand, was a term coined by Antonio Gramsci (1891H1937), which alludes to
how one group can dominate a culture by making the group's view common
sense or the only truth. Thus, when women demand an engagement ring or men
feel the need to give an engagement ring, these norms have become common
sense. Women have stopped questioning why they want a diamond engagement
ring or why men are willing to pay so much money for themthey just want it
because, it's the way it's supposed to be, or it's tradition. In reality, the price of
diamonds is quite irrational. We do not need diamonds to survive, yet we seem to
value it more than water or food. At the end of the day, diamonds are hard stones.
Sociology reminds us that cultures and traditions are constructedwe make up
our truths what we think is right, beautiful, and valuable. If we never questioned
tradition, women might still be wearing chastity belts!
It is not surprising, however, that people unknowingly follow culture.
Assimilation is an integral process of building a society. There are various ways

members of a society are assimilated into the mainstream culture. Institutions

such as schools, places of worship, government have have rules and laws that
enforce cultural beliefs. Institutions and society normally reward those who
conform and punish those who do not. These sanctions can either be formally
imposed (formal sanctions) such as imprisonment where you are taken out of
society and denied privileges or informally enforced (informal sanctions), such
as being ridiculed or covertly denied opportunities available to those who
conform. Sanctions can be negative, when unacceptable behavior is punished,
or positive, when good behavior is rewarded.
Cultural Relativism
We started the chapter with the philosophical framework that we should
not place moral judgments on culture or be ethnocentric. The concept of
cultural relativism is the view that beliefs are neither right or wrong and that
truth is relativethat we should not judge cultures or societies based on our
standards, but analyze them objectively. Although cultural relativism has its
wisdom, it


can be difficult to judge certain actions and events as simply culture. The Jewish
Holocaust, the near extermination of the American Indians, African slavery, the
current genocide in Darfur, are but a few examples where cultural relativism
seems inadequate and inappropriate.

Culture and Sociological Awareness

In studying culture, applying the sociological imagination encourages us to
understand the wider social impact of our actions. This is part of understanding
the interdependence of cultures and societies. Taking the cultural relativism
approach, we can argue that diamond engagement rings and their symbolic
values as a testament of love and longevity may be an idea constructed by De
Beers, but if it makes someone happy, there is nothing wrong with them. What
are some of the social impacts of diamond engagement rings?
4. Financial: on average, the cost of a diamond engagement ring is roughly
equal to two months'
5. Conflict Diamonds: The colonialization of Africa
has been partly motivated by diamonds.
Moreover, the sale of diamonds has been used
to fund the civil wars and atrocities in Africa.
The famous picture of a boy whose hands were
hacked off by rebels with a machete is a
testament to the social repercussions of
conflict diamonds.
6. Environmental: Mineral extraction in general
has severe environmental impacts. Land
disturbance, the use of dynamites in some
cases, the waste produced, the energy
consumed, and the impact on biodiversity are
of great concern for human and planetary

Figure 5H1: Mining Boy Without Hands

Photo of boy is from:

Within larger societies, multiculturalism or cultural diversity
exists, much as in the US. There are also subcultures within a larger
culture. These are small groups of people who refuse to assimilate or
attempt to change mainstream. In the US, examples of subcultures are
the hippies, vegetarians, the Amish, and skinheads. These subcultures
are part of countercultures since they reject the traditional norms and
beliefs of society. Countercultures however, can eventually become
mainstream culture. An example were the civil rights activists in the
1960s. Leaders such as Martin Luther King and the men and women
who defied the existing laws and protested against segregation and
staged sitHins were considered part of the subculture in the 60s. The
believed in equality and antiHdiscrimination. In contemporary US
society, at least when it comes to race and gender, their ideas have
become the mainstream values. By questioning tradition and the
norms, these people changed culture.

Cultural Universals
In all human societies, there are commonalities in cultures.
These cultural universals are certain cultural aspects that are found
in all human societies. All societies possess a complex language
pattern and marriage and family are common institutions. Of course,
what characterize marriage and family is different among cultures.
Marriages can be monogamous, polygamous and who we consider as
family is different across societies.

Culture Applied:
My goal in choosing the examples in this chapter on culture is to
take the common sense and try to analyze these ingrained beliefs from
a sociological perspective. Our idea of love, table manners and food,
and our conception of equality have evolved through time. These are
aspects of our lives that we probably pay little attention to, and the fact
that we don't pay attention to them is a sign of the power of culture. De
Beers does not threaten our lives if we do not buy or demand an
engagement ringtheir message is powerful enough that we have
embraced their belief without the threat of sanctions.

Other aspects of society that most people follow without

question are diseases and treatments. In 1980, Attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD) became an official disorder with the National Institute
of Mental Health. In the past, children having emotional or behavioral
problems would talk to parents and was seen as a phase of
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2005, nearly
88% of the children prescribed with medication for emotional or
behavioral difficulties were diagnosed with concentration,
hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Too much energy (in some countries, this
is a sign of good health), is a condition in the US that needs to be
cured. Figure 1 is a graph showing the prevalence of professional
medical treatment for


In Japanese, they have a term for death from overwork or
Karoshi. Karoshi is caused by workHrelated stress such as heart attack
and stroke. People who die of Karoshi are relatively young and did not
display and signs of previous illnesses. Karoshi was first reported in
1969 and the number of deaths from Karoshi has increased especially
during Japan's economic troubles in the 1980s.

Simpson GA, Cohen RA, Pastor PN, Reuben CA. U. S. children 4-17 years of age who
received treatment for emotional or behavioral difficulties: Preliminary data from the
2005 National Health Interview Survey. Health E-Stats. National Center for

Health Statistics. Released February 16, 2006.

If diseases can be cultural, the use of medication is also part of

society's values. The US is considered a society that is drugHhappy.
We have medications for restless legs syndrome, people who are

overweight, and men who want a more active sex life. US medical
treatment tends to be more aggressive when it comes to drugs and

surgery (Newman 116, 2006). This is compared to other European

countries. Comparing the East and the West, there are also
philosophical differences in Eastern and Western medicine in diagnosis
and treatment. Eastern medical treatments such as acupuncture and
Ayurveda is are less invasive. These types of treatment are now gaining
popularity in the US and an attempt to combine the two different
approaches. The UCLA Center for EastHWest Medicine is an example of
these collaborations.
Lastly, one interesting cultural aspect of societies is its treatment
of animals. Societies have selectively chosen, for historical reasons,
which animals are deemed edible and those which are not. In France,
Belgium, and Japan, horses are a form of delicacies. Interestingly most
of the horse meat comes from the US even though it is taboo to eat
horse meat in the US, although not illegal. Interestingly, most people
can't tell what kind of meat they are eating, it is cultural norms that is
guiding their taste and level of tolerance over which type of meat to
In the Philippines, dog and pigeon meat is eaten. In Islam, pork is
forbidden, and among Hindus, beef is not eaten. In parts of India, some
people are vegan and do not eat meat or its by products. US society's
love affair with animals, from a sociological perspective is interesting.
Americans love their pets, but animal cruelty is prevalent in slaughter
houses and animals cages. Americans are also consume the most meat
(, more than China with 1.3 billion people and India
with 1.1 billion. In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the media made
a big deal about Chinese delicacies, such as star fish, scorpions, and
pig intestines just to name a few. Why is it inappropriate to eat these
living creatures in the US and the West, but quite the norm to eat a pig,
beef, and salmon? Have you ever wondered what exactly is in a
hotdog? Sociology would answer that all these norms are guided by
culture. It is not that the animals our society eats are more delicious or
cleaner, in fact, if you read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: The
Dark Side of the All American Meal or watch the movie (Directed by
Richard Linklater), you will realize just what happens when a cattle is
slaughtered, what goes into our hamburgers, and the social effects of
the meat packing industry.
Using our sociological imagination, meat consumption has health,
migration, and environmental consequences. In terms of the

environment, livestock emit methane and other greenhouses gases

through excrement and belching. In fact, research by the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that cow manure and flatulence is
responsible for 18% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions. The article
by the Maynard Institute gives a detailed explanation of how the meat
packing industry is affecting migration patterns (see required meeting
For most of us, ignorance is bliss. We see our meat either sliced
and packed or cooked. Not knowing what happens in slaughter
houses shields us from what is really behind our meat. Watch these
two videos from YouTube (see links below). Sociology is not telling us
to stop eating meat, but part of studying sociology is awareness.


Read the following article and interpret its significance. What is Miner's
goal in writing
this essay? What type of society is Miner referring to? Does the society
sound familiar?
Require Reading:
Miner, Horace. 1956. Body Ritual of the Nacirema.

Choose one aspect of your culture and conduct a miniHonline

research about how the practice started and the larger implications of
the cultural practice. For example, coffee has become an important
beverage in the US. Where did coffee originate? Where is the coffee
you buy harvested? How does coffee drinking influence social
interaction? Where did coffee shops originate? What are the
environmental impacts of harvesting coffee beans? What is the
average wage of a coffee farmer? What is the average wage of a
person who works in a coffee shop in the US?

Key Concepts
Material Culture
Culture Instincts

Common sense
Formal sanctions
Cultural diversity

Chapter 6 : Socialization
In the previous chapter, we discussed that culture is transmitted
within and between societies through interaction. Another way of
learning culture is through the process of socialization. Human
beings are born without culture. Through socialization we learn how to
behave according to the norms of the society we live in. Central to the
study of socialization is the nature vs. nurture debate. Nature refers
the innate qualities of individuals and nurture what is learned. Are
people born with certain qualities predetermined at birth? Is there such
a thing as a common human nature? Are people inherently good or
evil? Is nature different for each individual? Can nurture override
nature? These are all philosophical questions that philosophers from
Mencius (372H289 BC) and Socrates (469H399 BC), social scientists, and
biologists have tried to answer. With the advance of genetics, and the
work of the Human Genome Project, genes have become the window to
our innate traits. Genetic technology can pinpoint genes that cause
baldness, anxiety, obesity and other traits.

The idea of human beings born with certain characteristics that
are either superior on inferior has been the motivation for eugenic
movements. Eugenics is derived from the Greek word eu meaning
good or well. Sir Francis Galton (1822H1911) defined it as 'the study of
all agencies under human control that may improve or impair...future
generations either physically or mentally (Coltrane 328, 2001).' The
goal of eugenics was to improve the human race by studying genetic
traits and to eliminate the undesirable traits. In the 20 century, the
most brutal result of eugenics was Adolf Hitler and his goal to breed a
Master Race through sterilization, breeding, and extermination of
people who were not considered a part of the Aryan race. In the US,
forced sterilization of the developmentally disabled were mostly
foreignHborn and unskilled laborers (Ibid.,328). After World War II,
Hitler's policies turned the Western world away from the concept of a
superior human nature, and during the next two decades after the
war, the nurture argument gained popularity (Newman 134, 2006).
This trend, however, is changing. Currently, the Human Genome
Projects and the increasing ability to determine a person's traits have
renewed our interest in genetics; some fear that this may lead to a new
form of eugenics. Expectant parents can choose to see if their unborn
child has any anomalies and manipulate their genes.

Most sociologists would not reject the role of nature in the

process of socialization and in acquiring our self. The discipline
acknowledges the interaction between genetics and environment. Most
sociologists recognize this interaction and the falsity in claiming that
only nurture or only nature shapes our being. They support their claim
with the study of twins. Launched in 1979, psychologist Thomas
Bouchard of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues conducted
a study of 60 pairs of identical twins raised separately. Their findings
and other studies conducted on twins shows the role of nature and
nurture in developing our personalities.

Feral Children
Sociologists also point to feral children in highlighting the
importance of socialization in learning culture. Feral children are
children who were deprived of human interaction from a very young
age. Without parents or family to teach them social behavior or provide
emotional security, these children suffer from underdeveloped
language acquisition, social, and mental skills. Unfortunately, there are
far too many stories of feral children. In the US, the most infamous and
heartbreaking story of a feral child is Genie, who is now an adult from
California. When Genie was twenty months old, her father, thinking
that she had developmental problems locked her in a room without
light and with the door shut. The only human interaction she had was
with her brother and mother when they fed her. Day and night, Genie
was either tied to her potty chair or wither her arms immobile in a
sleeping bag. She never developed language or social skills expected
even after rehabilitation. Genie frequently masturbated in public.
Although Genie's story and behavior is not completely representative of
feral children,
her case is an example of what happens when humans are not taught
Another feral child, Oxana Malaya of Ukraine, provides another
case where a child is isolated from human interaction, but found
company with dogs. Unlike Genie, Oxana's socialization is with
animals, and she adapted behavioral habits similar to dogs. As of
2008, Oxana is 25 and can speak, but lives in an institution for the
mentally disabled. Children have a window of acquiring language and
other human skills required to live in current society. These feral
children are a testament to the importance of interaction, and to those
who are reading this book, the role families play in the initial stage of
the socialization process. Without the attention given to us by our
families from birth, we probably would not acquire the skills to read!

Required Online Videos:

Ukranaian Girl Raised by Dogs.
James, Susan Donaldson. 2008. Wild Child Speechless After Tortured
Life: Abandoned by Doctors and Mother, Abused in Foster Care, 'Genie'

id=4804490&page=1 th/Story?

Socialization and the Self

Symbolic Interactionist
For sociology, our idea of who we are is tied with the the process
of socialization. Who we are is defined by what surrounds us and our
interaction with society. The three theoretical perspectives have
distinct ways of analyzing how the concept of self develops. George
Herbert Mead (1863H1931) takes on the symbolic interactionist
perspective. For Mead our sense of self develops based on
communication, through

language, play, and game. It is through our interactions that we

realize who we are. Our selves are reflective in the sense that our
reactions and experiences with others are part of what makes us who
we are. In language, play, and game, the key to being aware of who we
is the
how young
In the
taking on various
roles, children
a play,
take on different
roles (mother, father, cook, nurse) and learn how
to be the other person.

communication skill they use in the play stage is reflected in their

everyday interactions: children become aware when they are dealing
with friends, if they are dealing with mom, or dad. The child learns how
to present a self depending on who they are communicating with. They
know not to ask for milk from their playmate, that is either mom or
dad's role. For Mead, the way children play provide social and
psychological insights into how they their perception of self is
After the play stage, children develop a more social self in the
game stage. Unlike the play stage, the game stage is where children
have a more complex form of roleH playing. At this stage, children are
not just aware of who they are in a given situation and the one person
they are communicating with, but they understand the roles of ALL
other players in a game. This is where children start playing more
organized sports (soccer, basketball). In soccer for example, they
distinguish between the goal keeper, the forward, their teammates etc.
Aware of the rules of the game, the child acts and reacts accordingly.
Applying the game stage to everyday life, the child learns to act not
just in front of friends or mom and dad, but the child realizes that there
are certain behaviors that are not just unacceptable for mom or dad,
but they are not acceptable period. The same is true for behaviors that
are rewarded and acceptable. For example, a child learns that when
mother tells him/her to wipe the mouth when there is food is not just
mom's point of view, but is a general point of view. Mead calls this the
development of the generalized other. The child is now aware of how
various social settings and society as large expect people to behave,
not just mom.

Self and Societies


While Mead focuses on how the self develops, it is important to

highlight that how the self relates to society varies across cultures and
groups. In individualistic societies such as the US, who we are is
related to what we have achieved as individuals. We introduce
ourselves by our first names (not our last names), and our professions.
In contrast, subcultures such as gangs have a collectivist culture. A
gang acts as a unified unit. If you are a member of a gang, the gang's
rivalries are your enemies whether or not they offended your directly or
personally. Your identity is tied with the gang. In Pakistan where
individuals are tied to family, the case of Mukhtar Mai shows how a
woman paid for her brother's actions. Mai is from a remote village in
Pakistan. Her brother allegedly had a affair with a girl from another
more influential tribe. The girl's action caused the family their honor,
and to avenge the family name, the village court or jirga, ruled that Mai
would be gang raped. Traditionally, women raped in Pakistan were
expected to commit suicide because of shame, but Mai defied tradition
and instead took the men to


court. Mai is now a social activist and is the voice for equal rights for
women in Pakistan. Even though uneducated herself, she built her own
school with the money she has received from the lawsuit and with the
help of international donors. Honor rapes, and in some cases honor
killings, are examples of how a family member's crime or shame,
becomes a familial affair. In collectivists societies, our selfHidentities are
tied to our larger social networks.

Agents of Socialization
For the functionalist perspective, socialization is an important
aspect of stabilization. Through socialization we learn our place in
society. Different social categories, whether it is social class, race,
ethnicity, or religion, are socialized distinctively. Social institutions are
the purveyors of social norms and it is in these setting where people
learn their place in society. On the other hand, for the conflict
perspective, social institutions only help foster the existing inequality
present in society. Institutions exists to preserve the status quo.
The family is considered to be the main agent of socialization.
Families are not homogeneous and different families offer different
types of socialization. For example, a child growing up in a
singleHparent home will have a different socialization experience if
living in family with both parents. Lower, middle, and upper class
families also have competing beliefs when it comes to family values,
which affects socialization. For the functionalist perspective, families
are influential in shaping our career and future decisions. Imagine, if
your mother was an astronomer, you would probably get an elaborate
and scientific answer if you asked her about the stars. This in turn
would pique your curiosity and will most likely lead you to a career in a
similar field. The principle holds for kids whose fathers are musicians,
athletes, and other professions. Parents who have college degrees or
professional degrees are also more likely to encourage their kids to
attend college. Some children are afraid to end up like their parents,
but the socialization process makes this a legitimate fear.
Unlike families, rules and guidelines in schools are codified and
children are socialized introduced to formal disciplining. Children learn
to ask permission to talk and go to the bathroom. Children learn the
concept of time and obedience. For the functionalist perspective, not

only does school teach us our subjects (math, science, reading,

writing), but in school we learn to become passive and wellHbehaved
employees. This is the latent function of schools.

Mass Media
With working parents and busy schedules, the TV and the
internet have become an important source of information and values
in building our selfHidentity. In Born to Buy (2004), Juliet B. Schor
discusses the commercialization of childhood and the


influence of advertisements in our kids lives. From commercials that

encourage kids to pester moms for unhealthy food to the aggressive
advertising campaigns that glorify money (87), kids are overstimulated
and alarmingly more depressed that ever. Our identities are tied with
commercialization and the need to buy. If you want to be a rebel, you
buy a Che Guevarra THshirt. If you want to be Goth, you buy black
clothes. What the media tells us is that clothes make up our
selfHidentity. Stuff seems to speak louder than actions.
Unlike family, most people get to choose their own friends.
However, if the central tenets of socialization are applied, we may think
we choose our friends, but our statuses (ascribed and achieved) have
already, at some level, predetermined the people we are going to
interact with. For example, it is highly unlikely that a lower class person
will ever be friends with someone of Bill Gates stature. A fiveHyear old
will most likely be friends with people of the same age range than a
teenager. It is not impossible, but highly unlikely. Unlike family, our
friends and their makeHup may also change depending on our
selfHidentity. Keep in mind that selfHidentity is not static and change
through time. It is possible that only after our selfHidentities are formed
do we look for friends whom we are compatible with. If we decide to
have a change of selfHidentity, we may also decide to start hanging out
with different groups of people.

Gender Socialization
One aspect of our identity that requires socialization is gender.
For sociologists, what we associate with being a female (pink, dolls,
skirts) and male (blue, trucks, neckties) have to be learned as part of
culture. The sociological conception of gender has been researched by
neurological, psychological, and biological researchers alike. An
example is the study conducted by neuroscientists Anya Hulber and
Yazhu Ling of Newcastle University in Great Britain. Published in 2007,
Biological Components of Sex Differences in Color Preference is a
study conducted to test whether there are certain colors preferred by
females and males. Researchers had 203 subjects ages 20 to 26.
While most were British, 37 of the subjects were of Chinese origin
and raised in China. They included these in their sample in order to
do a cross cultural comparison and see whether it was being female
or culture that cause color preferences.

In the study, subjects were given a variety of mixed colors to

choose from, and their results showed that women tended to prefer
colors that moved away from the blue and more towards the red. This
was true for both the British and Chinese females, so researchers
claimed that it was femaleness and not culture that dictated the
In their conclusion, however the neuroscientists still relied on
evolutionary theory to explain the differences. They speculated that
the sex difference may have been a result of evolutionary division of
labourHHthus, the difference we see is still a product of the
environment. Hulber and Ling reported that the hunterHgatherer
theory proposes that female brains should be specialized for
gatheringHrelated tasks and is supported by studies of visual spatial
abilities...adaption in primate evolution thought to

have evolved to facilitate the identification of ripe, yellow fruit or

edible red leaves embedded in green foliage. In general, however,
both males and females seem to prefer blue in general, and the
researchers believe that girls' preference for pink may have evolved
on top of a natural, universal preference for blue (R624HR625). The
universal preference for blue may evolve from the preference for blue
skies, which is a sing of good weather or good water source. The pink
phenomenon has been a puzzle for social scientists. Historically, it was
only in the 1920s when started dressing their children in colors. In an
ironic twist, the colors were reversed: pink was for boys and blue for
girls. Blue was associated with delicate and dainty and pink a
stronger color (Guardian 8/25/07). Prior to the 20s, children wore
white and both girls and boys wore what we would now consider as

Socialization is a dynamic process and members of societies are
continuously socialized into different groups. For example, a man who
goes to prison needs to learn how to live in prison. Similarly, an
inmate released from prison has to relearn the implicit social rules in
society. Even changing jobs or acquiring a new career requires some
level of socialization. For example, doctors have to be socialize to deal
with death and sickness in a different way compared to the rest of

Think about how you were socialized and assess how your type of
socialization has affected your life now? How do different do you think
your life would be if you belonged to a different gender, race, or social
class, or born in a different country? If you had children, how would you
socialize them?

Key Concepts

Agents of
culture Eugenics
Feral Children
Game stage
Generalized other
societies Master
Nature vs.
nurture Play
Play stage
g Social

Chapter 7 : Groups and Organizations

In Chapter 2 we briefly discussed social groups a parts of social
structure. Students learned about the size of a group (dyad, triad), and
the level of intimacy (primary, secondary). In this chapter, students will
gain a more detailed understanding of how groups operate and how
they influence individuals. To emphasize, sociologists distinguish
between social aggregates, social groups, and social categories.
Social categories refer to people sharing a common characteristic or
feature (race, gender); social aggregates are people who happen to
be at the same place at the same time (people in the elevator).
Sociologists limit their categorization of social groups to people who
interact with each other on a regular basis, share similar goals and
values, and are aware of belonging to a group such as a sports team,
religious group, knitting club etc.
As we discussed in Chapter 2, groups are differentiated between
primary and secondary. The very idea of forming a group is the idea of
belonging and membership. Thus, a delineation between who belongs
to the group and who doesn't is an important aspect of groups.
In;groups are groups in which people feel they have an affiliation with
or belong to and Out;groups are groups that people feel they do not
belong to. There are cases when groups are formed for the sole
purpose of discriminating against other groups, the Ku Klux Klan is an
Groups, especially as they grow in size often are organized in a
hierarchical system. Groups can have leaders and members or
followers. Leaders can either be formally or informally placed in
power. Formal leadership happens when there is some codified
process or traditional method for choosing a leader, such as elections.
On the other hand, informal leadership occurs when a person or a
group of people have control, but their positions of power were not
achieved through a formal process. An example would be a group of
five friends. Without anyone declaring a formal leader, there might be
person or two whose decisions are regularly followed without a
formalized process.
One aspect of belonging to a group is conformity. William H.
Whyte, Jr (1917H 1999) coined the term groupthink, and Irving Janis
(1918H1990) expatiated on the concept. Janis defines groupthink as a
mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved
in a cohesive inHgroup, when the members striving for unanimity

override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of

action (Janis, 8, 1977). The concept of groupthink has been used to
assess the disastrous launch of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986
(Moorhead et. Al 1991). The Challenger space shuttle exploded 73
seconds after take off, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
Even though some engineers feared that the high crosswinds at the
launch site on the scheduled take off, the shuttle was nonetheless
launched. Researchers believe that cohesive group, leader
preference, and insulation from experts were the antecedent
conditions for group think. People are less likely to challenge the
group with cohesion. Leaders may have a preference for certain
decisions and will promote and listen to advisers whom they already
agree with, and hierarchy and structure may insulate those who are
making the top decisions from the people in the bottom doing the
daily work. Pressure to dissent within the group, specifically against
the top level

management of NASA, led engineers to conform, and the feeling of

invulnerability in their work led the top engineers to ignore the
opinions of the lowerHlevel engineers.
Experiments of groupthink and conformity, where the
environment is controlled, has to disturbing results. Solomon Asch
(1907H1996) was a social psychologist interested in analyzing the
effects of social pressure on an individual. Subjects were told that they
were participating in an experiment testing visual perception. Cards
such as the one in figure 1 was shown to the subjects in a group of
eight to ten people. Each person in the group was asked which one of
the three lines matches the single line. What the subject did not know
is that the other people in the group were confederates, or an
accomplice of the experimenter. They were told to choose a wrong line.
Each person in the group had to say out loud their answer, and the
subject was strategically placed so he/she would say his answer after
most of the people in the group had spoken. Each group had 18 trials,
so each subject gets a chance to compare the cards 18 times. So the
subject is left with a dilemma: it is easy to see which of the three lines
corresponds to the single line, but if everyone in the group is answering
unanimously against your better judgment, would you trust your self or
conform? 74% of the subjects conformed to the majority at least once
during the experiment and 33% of the subjects conformed or gave the
wrong answer at least 9 times during the 18 trials. Trying to understand
how group characteristic influences conformity, Asch varied the size of
the group. However, the level of conformity was not significantly
different for large and small groups. What did affect the level of
conformity was alliance. If some of the confederates gave the correct
answer, then the subject was more likely to not conform.

Figure 7H1: Asch's Experiment

The card on the left is the reference line and the subjects were asked
to choose which one of the comparison lines on the card with the
letters. Subjects were asked which one of the lines (A, B, or C) was the
most similar to the line on the left.

The concept of bureaucracy in sociology was developed by Max
Weber (1864H 1920), pronounced (VAYHber). Bureaucracy refers to
the structures and regulations of large groups in societies. As
societies grown, there is a need for a more systematic and rational
way of regulation, and the bureaucratic structure, according to
Weber, is the most rational and efficient way to address the
complexities and size of industrial and modern societies. Previous
societies organized their societies based on traditional or charismatic
domination. An example are monarchies. Power is passed down
based on lineage. On the other hand, authority in bureaucracy is less
familial and personal, and more institutional. Our discussion of
Weber's bureaucracy is an ideal type. Specific cases may not fit the
description in detail, but the basic principle remains.
Characteristics of a Bureaucracy:
Division of Labor: We have encountered this concept in Chapter 3 in our
discussion of functionalist perspective. Bureaucracies are organized in a
way that workers are specialized to do a particular task.

Hierarchy or authority: authority in bureaucracies is attached to the

position one occupies and not necessarily to the person. For example,
when George W. Bush finishes his second term as the President of the
US, the next president will gain the authority of the presidency. The
position of presidency will not be revoked after Bush leaves office.
Thus, the power is in the position and not the person. Authority is also
needed in order to maintain control over the organization.
Competence: There is a level of impersonality in bureaucracies. Rules
and laws govern the interaction between people and not love or
emotions, at least in theory. For example, in a corporation, employees
are hired based on their qualifications, and not because someone is a
family member or a friend. The members of the bureaucracy are also
required to perform their task based on the rules of the institution. If
someone works as a claims agent for an insurance company, pleading
with the agent to approve your case out of sympathy will lead to a
violation of the company rules. Regardless of age, personal stories, or
moral obligationsrules are rules.
The bureaucratic structure is in some ways efficient and
consistent. There is an attempt to clear the lines of communication
among the members, and tasks are accomplished more quickly. In
general however, bureaucracies are rigid ins structure. Although they
provide order and consistency in their everyday functions, tits structure
is inflexible. Bureaucracies are prone to ritualism, where rules are
upheld at any coast, even in cases where another solution might be a
better one for the organization as a whole (Giddens 143,2005). For
example, you want to buy a particular car but the color

you want is currently not available. The dealership has a painter in

the shop that can easily repaint your car in one day, but to do so, the
painter needs an approval from the manager, and the manager is on
vacation. You decide to just buy the car elsewhere, since you need the
car this week. Thus, even though the goal of the dealership is to make
profit and serve its customers, paper work and red tape has
prevented it from doing so. The painter could have still painted the
car, but breaking the rules in a bureaucracy can lead to negative
consequences. Making decisions that your position does not allow you
to make can lead to termination.
Bureaucracies can also lead to routinization of work.
Specialization and being assigned to a specific task prevent people from
being creative and making intelligent judgments. In a garment factory,
clothes go through an assembly line. A person does one specific task
(sewing the sleeves for example) and may never see the finished
product. In this case, routine and impersonalization prevent workers
from any enthusiastic involvement in the company and will most likely
not contribute their ideas.
In terms of leadership and power structure, bureaucracies are
far from democratic. In fact, concentration of power in terms of
decision making and the execution of everyday tasks is part of their
efficiency. Even with all its merits, to get things done in a democracy
requires consensus. As a result, decision making and execution
processes are slow . Just think of how laws are passed in the US! Bills
have to pass through the Senate and Congress and then approved by
the president. We complain about how slow Washington is, but that is
the central tenet of democracy. This process prevents a few people or
groups from holding complete power. This is our system of checks and
balances. In contrast, bureaucracies are established to be efficient, and
this means concentration of power. Imagine how easy it is to get laws
passed in an authoritarian regime. If the leader wants something done,
all he/she has to do is command it.
In Chapter 3, we used the military as an example of how the basic
principles of bureaucracy allow the military to execute its function.
Although the rigid hierarchy and structure has its advantages, the
infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War is a testament to
how impersonalization and hierarchy can lead to mindless obedience.

These questions are meant to help you understand the article and relate
it to our
Why is the My Lai Massacre considered a bureaucratic failure?
What are some of the concepts of bureaucracies you have learned
that you can
apply to event?
What are the lessons learned from the massacre?
How could the massacre have been prevented?

Required Online Reading: 1969. The My Lai Massacre. Time Online, November 28,9171,840403H1,00.h

Think of a group you belong to and circumstances in which you had
to conform to the majority. Why do people feel the need to conform?
Has learning about the various experiments on conformity, changed
your attitude about obedience? Why? Why not?
If you were to design an experiment on conformity, how would you do

Key Concepts

Divisio of
labor Division
of labor
Hierarchy of
authority ideal
Social groups

Chapter 8 : Deviance
In the previous chapter, we focused on conformity as a
consequence of belonging to a group. In Chapter 8, we will explore
what it means to not conform and defy society. By definition, deviance
is the rejection of the existing norms and status quo. Since norms and
social beliefs can change, what is considered deviant is relative to the
social and historical context of when the action was undertaken or a
belief advocated. On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, a
black woman arrested and fined for refusing to give a White man her
seat in front of the bus. When the bus driver asked her to move back
to make room for the White passenger, she defied the city ordinance
that gave bus drivers the authority to assign seats and segregation
In 1634, the Catholic Church arrested and put on house arrest
until his death a man found suspect of heresy. The man believed in
heliocentrism, the belief that that the sun was the center of the solar
system, and challenged the existing geocentric view of the worldthe
belief that the earth was the center of the universe. A carpenter who
now lives in what we refer to as the Middle East started telling people
that he was the son of God and King of the Jews; he was considered
deviant and was murdered for his claims and beliefs. A man believed in
equality for all regardless of race and religion and he as sentenced to
prison for 27 years and was considered by the US a terrorist. Do you
know who these deviants are?

Deviants to Heroes
Rosa Parks (1913H2005), Galileo Galilei (1564H1642), Jesus
Christ, and Nelson Mandela (1918)HHthe examples mentioned point to
the relativity of what is considered deviant in society. Social and
historical context and power distribution dictate how deviance
is defined in society. Culture dictates beliefs and norms, and as
culture is redefined and these beliefs change, so too the acts,
thoughts, and people, which are considered deviant.
How power is distributed in society is crucial to understanding
how deviance is defined. In essence, those in power dictate what
deviance means. What is interesting about our examples is how
people who were once considered deviants eventually become heroes
in their own right. Currently, Parks is a celebrated figure for equality,
Galileo a respected pioneer of the scientific revolution, Mandela

became the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully

representative democratic election and a Nobel Peace Price recipient,
and Jesus Christ has become the bedrock of one of the largest
religions of the world. Think of Milgram's experiment on authority and
Asch's experiment on conformitythese people challenged authority
and did not conform. Do you know of a person we currently considered
deviant, but may in the future be celebrated a hero?
In analyzing deviance, it is not just a difference in time period
that shows the relativity of deviance, but competing perceptions
exists within society. Gay marriage and abortion are examples. Some
people believe that gays and lesbians do not deserve equal rights,
while others do. Some people believe that marriage should be
between a man and a woman only. Interestingly, up until 1967,
interHracial marriages or


miscegenation was considered illegal n the US. AntiHmiscegenation

laws were also in place during Nazi Germany and during apartheid in
South Africa. Since racial inferiority, or the belief that other races are
inferior to another was common during that time, miscegenation was
believed to be wrong. Nowadays, the popular belief in the US is that
marriage should be between two people who are sexually male and
female is the norm and anything other than that is wrong. Thus,
marriage itself is not wrong, but if done in certain circumstances (who,
what, and where) it is. This logic is similar to the killing of another
human being. In the US and in most societies, whether or not the
killing of another human being is wrong has to be defined by the
courts (for example whether or not the act was done in self defense).
In situations such as war, the killing of another human being IS the
goal. In times of war if nonHcombatants are killed, the act is still lawful,
since these are, in military jargon, collateral damages and justified by
the mission.
Sociologists look at the antiHmiscegenation laws and the current
laws against gay marriage as similar cases. Deviance is socially
constructed, since norms are socially constructed. The examples I
mentioned have led to formal punishment or formal sanctions of
deviant behaviors, such as imprisonment or in the case of Jesus Christ,
the death penalty. These are examples wherein institutions or groups
of people execute the punishment in some sort of systematic way. But
there are more mundane ways to be deviant that do not necessarily
lead to formal punishment. In the US, eating with the hands is
acceptable in some cases (french fries, hamburgers, pizzas), but not in
other cases (rice, mashed potatoes). Defying these social norms may
not lead to incarceration, but one might be ostracized by the people
around them, which are referred to as informal sanctions.

Perspectives and Deviance

One of the central aspects of punishment is publicity. Public
executions, public trials, and parading those accused of crime on the
streets or displaying them in the pillory have been the common
practice throughout history. In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the
Prison (1977), Foucault begins the book with the gruesome public and
torture of RobertHFrancois Damiens, who was convicted of regicide in
the 18 century. The last person to be executed in France, Damiens
was dismembered for his crime.

According to Foucault, physical or corporeal punishment and torture

as practiced before was haphazardly implemented and were
ineffective uses of the body. In the 18 and 19 century, these types
of punishments have since been replaced with a more controlled,
individualized, and refined forms of discipline. In prison, the body is
regulated as to when to sleep and eat. These docile bodies were
regulated through observation and regiment.
The panopticon, a type of prison architecture that allows an
observer to to observe all of the prisoners, without being detected by
the prisoners is a type of domination and control. Prior to the 18
century, the threat of physical bodily punishment prevented people to
conform, while in most contemporary societies, the


threat of imprisonment and the loss of freedom is the fear that

regulates deviant behavior. There are still places, however, than legally
sanctions corporeal punishment. In the US, the death penalty is legal,
although physical pain is not the intention. In Saudi Arabia,
amputations of either hands or feet are the punishments for robbery.

Required Online Reading:

Foucault, Michel Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Pp.
3H8 in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York:

The Perspectives and Deviance

Functionalist Perspective
For the functionalist perspective, the use of sanctions against
deviance is necessary. By punishing people who commit deviance,
especially done in public, other members of society are more likely to
conform, thus preserving social order. Cultural norms and values are
reaffirmed by clearly, legally, and at times, brutally punishing those
who deviate from the expected behavior. Functionalist perspective cites
a person's inability to cope with social change as a cause for deviance.
In an economic downturn, a person who losses his job may need to
resort to other means in order to survive.
Robert Merton uses the functionalist tradition to explain why
people become deviant. He introduces strain theory in explaining
deviance. According to Merton, deviance occurs because society is
structured to have certain goals or definitive definition of what it means
to succeed, but members of society may not share these goals, or may
not have the necessary knowHhow or means to pursue these dreams.
Merton believes that there are five ways for people to cope with strain
caused by social expectations. Conformity is the most common,
wherein people accept both the goals and the means for achieving
success. In the US, success is defined by monetary wealth, so a person
who has decided to go to school and work has conformed to the goals
and the means. Innovation occurs when a person accepts the goals
(in this case, money), but is not capable of achieving the goals through
legitimate ways, so they innovate their own means. A person who
decides to rob a bank to get rich is a person who belongs to this
category. Ritualism refers to when an individual abandons the goal,

but continues to act according to accepted behavior. A person who

maintains a decent living, pays the rent, but does not have any dreams
of ever having financial wealth is a ritualist. Retreatism occurs when a
person gives up the goals and the means. A person who gives up their
job and live on the streets without any ambition to change the situation
is a retreatist.
Lastly, Rebellion happens when the goals and the means are
challenged. Unlike retreatism, the person or group makes an effort
to change the system. The civil rights movement in the US in the
60s, the Cuban Revolution are examples.
Merton's Deviance Typology
Institutionalized Means








New Means
New Goals


Conflict Perspective
The conflict perspective on the other hands looks at deviance as
a manifestation of the power struggles in society. The values and
norms of those in power are upheld and are legitimized since the same
people control the laws in society. An analysis of how the justice
system treats corporate vs. street criminals is an example. Martha
Stewart was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and
making false statements in 2004 during an insider trading
investigation. Insider trading, the sale or trading of stocks or securities
based on private information is illegal in the financial world. She was
found found guilty of lying to authorities about her sale of ImClone
Systems stock in late 2001. Martha Stewart's broker at Merrill Lynch,
Peter Bacanovic, was accused of ordering his assistant to notify
Stewart that the CEO of ImClone System was selling his company

stocks, since it was believed that the Federal Drug Administration

(FDA) would reject the company's new cancer drug (CNN Money
7/20/08). Stewart sold $228,000 worth of stocks before stock prices of
ImClone Systems dropped.
Martha Stewart was involved in a crime that involved tens and
thousands of dollars, and she is sentenced to five months of home
confinement and two years of supervised probation. In the US, the
median time spent in prison for someone convicted of car theft is 21
months and the median sentence for robbery is 71 months. One of the
arguments for a more lenient sentencing of corporate crime is the lack
of a direct victimbut are corporate crimes truly victimless?
In 2001, Enron, an energy company based in Houston, TX filed
for bankruptcy in 2001. Former CEOs of Enron, Kenneth Lee Lay
(1942H2006) and Jeff Skilling (1953) were accused of a number of
securities fraud, federal felony, and related charges. While Lay died
before his scheduled sentencing while vacationing in Colorado, Skilling
is currently serving a 24Hyear, 4Hmonth prison sentence. Skilling was
found guilty of insider trading. He sold $60 million worth of his shares
in the company leading prosecutors to believe

that he sold them with the knowledge of the impeding bankruptcy of

Enron. The Enron scandal has changed the public sentiment towards
corporate crime. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was also found
guilty of obstructing justice by shredding documents relating to the
Enron scandal and their questionable accounting allowed Enron to
hide millions of dollars of debt (BBC 6/12/2002). Former employees lost
their pensions funds and retirement saving with the Enron.
Investigation into Enron's role in the California energy crisis in
2006 has also showed how aside from the insider trading and federal
counts of fraud that the CEOs were found guilty of, audiotapes also
showed how Enron asked power companies to take plants offline at
the height of the California energy crisisin order to make money
( After California deregulated its energy market in
2000, a trader from Enron was taped as rejoicing about forest fires,
which cut power supplies and raised energy prices. Traders were
caught on tape telling power producers to go ahead and shut her
down, meaning the plants in order to drive up prices (CBS 6/1/2004).
Is it a crime to artificially increase prices of electricity? Did Enron
steal money from Californians? One of the interesting aspects of
corporate crime and victims is the indirect consequences of corporate
crimes. Unlike a street crime such as robbery wherein the crime is
more clearHcut, corporate crimes are more complex in measuring the
level of damage done. For the conflict perspective however, corporate
crimes are not victimless.

Politics and Crime

Another example of how power and culture dictate what is considered
wrong in society is terrorism and war. Read the following excerpt from
Eqbal Ahmad's (1999) speech at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Keep the following questions in mind when reading the speech.
7. What is terrorism according to Ahmad? How does be define
8. What are the different types of terrorism?
9. In his definition of terrorism, which groups of people can be
considered terrorist?

Why is terrorism relative according to the author?

Required Online Reading:

Ahmad, Eqbal. 1998. Terrorism: Theirs and Ours.

Symbolic Interactionist Perspective

An example of a symbolic interactionist perspective
interpretation of deviance is labeling theory. Developed by Howard
Becker (1928) labeling theory looks at deviance through the
interaction between those who are committing an action and those

find that action deviant. Thus, it is not insider trading as a form of

deviance that is important, but it is how people react to it that makes it
deviant. When the public got a hold of Paris Hilton's sex tape, her
career and fame sky rocketed. Imagine if a person of less prominence
had a sex tape distributed to the public? Would that person get the
same benefits? If a group of teenagers are hanging out in a parking lot
in an affluent neighborhood and listening to music, passersby would
probably not think of these kids as delinquents. Take the same
situation but change the setting. For example, the same group of
teenagers doing the same thing, but hanging out in the middle of a
poor neighborhood. These kids would probably be considered a
menace. Setting is important in determining whether an action or
people are delinquent or not.
In a vicious cycle, once a person is associated with a certain
deviant behavior, he/she will be treated with skepticism by those
around, which will then further perpetuate deviant behavior. In his work
on mental illness, David L. Rosenhan in On Being Sane In Insane
Places best captures how our assessment of deviance is guided by our

Required Online Reading:

Use the following questions, to help guide you in reading the article:
4. Why was the experiment conducted? What are the strengths and
weaknesses of
the experiment?
5. Based on the reading, what is considered insane in society?
6. How is our perception of insane influenced by our preconceived
notions about
Rosenhan, David. 1973. On Being Sane in Insane Places .


What are some of the actions that are deemed deviant in your
society that you believe are not. Why do you think society has labeled
them as deviant? Who is deciding what or who is deviant in your
society? What does this say about power relations?
Read a newspaper article from a different country (this is easily
done online), and compare and contrast what that society view as
deviant. How is different from your society's construction of deviance?

Key Concepts:

Corporeal punishment
Formal punishment/sanctions
Informal punishment/sanctions

Chapter 9 : Stratification: Social Class

Even in the twenty first century where the protection of human
rights has been codified by the United Nations (UN), inequality and
stratification still exists in various levels. Stratification refers to the
inequalities among individuals and groups within societies. There are
different types of stratification systems. Some are based on ascribed
and some on achieved status, and some are less rigid than others. As
individuals, our selfHidentity is tied to categories or groups in society.
These affiliations define whether or not we are on top or on the bottom
of the stratification system.

The most extreme for of inequality, slavery, is a type of
stratification where a person is the property of another. In ancient
Greece, defeat in war could mean slavery for those conquered.
Although a person is born free, a person's status might change
depending on outcomes of war (Schaefer 183, 2007). In the US and
parts of Latin America, slavery was associated with race more than
victory in war.
Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bans
slavery, slavery still exists clandestinely and in different forms. Unlike
the transatlantic slave trade, the modern slaves are not shipped from
one country to another in a ship and sold in the market. Rather,
modern slaves are those that involve bonded servitude, human
trafficking, child labor or children used for warfare, inherited slavery,
or female children forced in marriage. Because of its clandestine
operation, it is difficult to get an accurate count of the number of
slaves in contemporary times, however, the International Labor
Organization (ILO) estimates that around 200 million children are used
as child labor (

In a caste system, one's status is ascribed and unchangeable,
thus it is a closed
system. An example of a caste system is in India. Hinduism is the
predominant religion in India, and in the Hindu caste system, groups
are formed based on occupation. Notice how unlike the US, race is not
a major part of their stratification system. There are four castes that

one is born into: Brahmins (scholars and religious leaders), Ksyatriyas

(soldiers and political leaders), Vaisyas (merchants and farmers), and
the Shudras (workers and artists). A marginalized group outside of the
caste system are the Dalits or the untouchables. Intermarriage is very
uncommon between the groups. Reservation in India is a form of
affirmative action for the underrepresented caste in government,
education, and the workforce (IPS 3/28/2006). Some believe that
globalization and India's integration into the world market is changing
the rigid caste system (WSJ 6/23/07). As companies seek talent and
skills, caste is less relevant and individual achievement more
Other examples of caste systems are the apartheid government in
South Africa
and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the American South.

Estate system or feudalism were prevalent during the
European Middle Ages and
for agricultural economies. The peasants or serfs lived and worked on
land that was owned by a lord. They were also the lowest rank in
society. Being a peasant or a lord was for the most part an ascribed
status and mobility was uncommon. Peasants did not own land and it
was uncommon for peasants to change their allegiance to another lord.
The lords belonged to the aristocracy or elites and occupied the highest
strata in the system. They not only owned property but had monopoly
of political and economic power.
Below the aristocracy is the clergy. They commanded respect because
of their religious
authority and the Catholic Church's ownership of significant amount of

Social Class
The shift from agricultural to industrial production also marked the shift
from estate to social class system in Europe. Social class systems
are based on one's economic position in society, measured by wealth,
income, and prestige. Wealth refers to a person's assets (savings,
investments, properties) while income accounts for wages and
salaries. Unlike the two previous systems, social class offer more
chances for social mobility, which qualifies it as an open system.
According to studies, it takes five to six generations to erase the
advantages or disadvantages of a person's economic origins
(Newman 330, 2006). Thus, although changing one's social class is
possible, it is not always easy. One's social class can be determined by
both ascribed (gender, race, ethnicity) and achieved (occupation,
education) status.
Although economics is an important factor of one's social class,
social networks are also an important component (Domhoff 4, 2006).
It is not just our wealth and income that determine our class, but the
people we associate with help determine our social class. These
networks are normally influenced by our education and type of
occupation. Educational attainment is measured by the years of
education completed and types of degree garnered, while income and
level of occupational prestige is used to measure occupation. The
Occupational Prestige Scale measures how much respected and

coveted an occupation is based on how society's deems it worth and

Based on surveys, physicians, lawyers, college professors are at
the top of the scale, while waiters/waitresses and garbage
collectors are at the bottom. Combining occupational prestige,
income, and education is a person's socioeconomic status.

Weber on Social Class

In Max Weber's (pronounced VAYHber) assessment of social class,
he analyzed life chances or the opportunities available to certain
groups as a determining factor of class. Access to health care,
education, employment are all determined by one's social class.
Belonging to a certain class also entails certain privileges and
advantages. A blatant example of how social class inequality manifests
itself in everyday life is in the airplane. The difference in treatment
between economy class, business class, and first class is a good
example of these privileges. More than comfort, people who sit in
economy class

are more at risk of Traveller's Thrombisis, or Economy Class Syndrome.

In 2000, a 28 yearHold woman died of deepHvein thrombosis (DVT) after
a flight from Sydney to London. DVT, a pulmonary embolism or blood
clot which forms in a vein, and usually in the legs, works its way in to
the heart or lungs causing sudden death (BBC 10/23/00). Doctors
believed that it was sitting in a cramped plane for a long period of
time, which caused DVT.
There is a correlation between health, life expectancy, and
socioeconomic status. The more education and income people have,
the less likely they are to have and die of heart disease, strokes,
diabetes, and many types of cancer (NYT 5/16/05). A 2008 study by
Gopal K. Singh, a demographer at the Department of Health and
Human Services, has found a 'widening socioeconomic inequalities in
life expectancy' at birth and at every age level (NYT 3/23/08). Dr.
Sigh's study showed that in 1980H82, people in the most affluent
group could expect to live 2.8 years longer than people in the most
deprived group (75.8 versus 73 years). By 1998H2000, the difference in
life expectancy had increased to 4.5 years (79.2 versus 74.7 years)
(NYT 3/23/08). In the graphs below (Graph 1) from The New York
Times, the steeper lines show how for men and women, the life
expectancy of those most deprived have not increased as much as
those in the least deprived category.

Figure 9H1: Life Expectancy, Social Class, and Gender from NYT

Marx on Social Class

Karl Marx (1818H1883) is an political economist, sociologists,
humanist, and revolutionary. He is credited for the ideological
formation of communism and for analyzing the sociological effects of
capitalism. Marx is an economic determinist. He believed that
economist structures determine social relations. It is important to
keep in mind that communism is an economic structure and not a
political one. There is a tendency for people to equate Marxism with
dictatorships and the USSR. This is erroneous. Communism and
capitalism are forms of economic organization not political

Historical Context of Marxist Thought

Marx was writing during a critical economic transition in Europe.
The shift from and agricultural and feudal society to capitalist industrial
one resulted to unprecedented social change. Stratification in feudal
societies was based on an estate system. Peasants worked on land
owned by the lords and there was little social or geographic mobility.
Feudal markets operated on subsistence economy, meaning,
peasants harvested and produced food for their own needs a not
necessarily to sell (Crone 21, 2003). Land ownership was also
concentrated within the aristocracy. Peasants were tenants or serfs

were tied to their land for sentimental reasons, either their families
have worked on the particular land for generations and have an
allegiance to their masters. Land was also not seen as a commodity
or a material good that could be sold. Currently, we have very little
attachment to land and view real estate as a way to make money. In
feudal times, this was not the case. Land properties did not have the
same economic and cultural values that we have now. There were
familial attachments to land and not to mention that the value of land
depended on its use. In contemporary US society, land values can
increase or decrease independent of what can be produced in the land.
Real estate prices are not exactly dependent on how much agriculture
can be produced by a certain plot of land.
In terms of labor, feudal society relied heavily on ascribed status
rather than acquired status such as education or skill. Concepts such
as ancestry were important in determining one's place in life. This type
of labor is contingent on the fact that peasants were tied to land. In
essence, descent rather than market forces determined who should
do what: work has been allocated in advance to the social group into
which one was born (Ibid., 29). Labor was also tied to the household.
Household and villages were generally selfHsufficient, so there was
very little economic integration and interdependence. The peasants
learned their trade at home and skills were passed down from parents
to children.
Industrialization and capitalism disrupted the ordered society
during under feudalism. Industrialization is the process by which
societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture and
handmade products to emphasis on manufacturing and related
industries. This process occurred first during the Industrial Revolution
in Britain between 1760 and 1850 (Kendall 8 2005). Industrialization
changed people's relationship to the market, land, and labor. It also
changed the role of the government


and the household in society. The growth and mechanization of the

textile industry was the first step towards industrialization. Textiles
made of wool resulted to the transformation of arable land into
pastures for sheep grazing (Kloby 27 2004). This meant the
displacement of the peasants who have worked on the same land for
the same lord throughout feudalism. During feudal times, common
lands or lands that were owned privately, but wherein other people
had traditional rights to use land for livestock and farming were also
closed off because of the enclosure acts. This social disruption and
inhuman treatment of the peasants did not go unnoticed. In Capital,
Volume 1, Marx wrote how:
From 1814 to 1820 these 15,000 inhabitants, about 3,000 families,
were systematically hunted and rooted out. All their villages were
destroyed and burnt, all their fields turned into pasturage. British
soldiers enforced this eviction, and came to blows with the inhabitants.
One old woman was burnt to death in the flames of the hut, which she
refused to leave... (Chapter 27, Capital, Vol. 1).
With nowhere else to go, these displaced peasants flocked the
urban areas, and were transformed into the wage laborers of the
capitalist economic system, or the proletariats. Capitalism is an
economic ideology in which profit, the acquisition of wealth, and
supply and demand dictate the exchange of goods. In capitalism, the
means or modes of production (MOP) are privately owned by the
bourgeoisie or the capitalist class. The means of production are the
tools and materials used by labor to make and produce their products.
For example, the MOP of a factory worker making shirts are: sewing
machine, the building and land where the factory is located, thread,
cloth and other materials she needs to execute her job. These
materials are owned by the capitalist or the bourgeoisie. Notice how
the proletariat uses these materials, but they do not own them.
Another example is a receptionist working in an office. The telephone,
computer, desk, office space, building are the secretary's MOP and
these are not owned by the secretary or the proletariat. For Marx, one
of the key differences between communism and capitalism is the
ownership of the MOP. In communism, the MOPs are communally
In a feudal society, labor is based on heritage and at a certain
level, the peasants worked for themselves. In capitalism, laborers sell

their work for wages to the bourgeoisie. Skills and education

become an important criteria for employment and there is more room
for social mobility. For the bourgeoisie, however, they can multiply
their wealth without the necessary skills for the task. For example, a
bourgeois can invest in a restaurant without learning how to cook.
Moreover, he/she can accumulate wealth from the restaurant without
having to work in the restaurant or be there physically. The possibility
of accumulation of wealth is without limit, since money can
exponentially grow, at least for the capitalist class.
In a nutshell, the shift from agricultural and feudal to industrial
and capitalism economies meant that people had to leave their
homes to work in factories. During agricultural times, people
produced their food, now they had to work and buy food in order to
subsist. This was a major sociological change. People now had to
work for


wages. There is now the risk of getting fired from the job and not
having enough money to buy food. In theory, people in the feudal
system had more security because they produced their own food and
were not forced to migrate to find jobs. Tradition dictated social
relations, not the unpredictability of market forces. The shift turned
peasants to laborers and from producers of their own subsistence to

Capitalism relies on the market forces of supply and demand and
competition as the basis for innovation and wealth. In The Wealth of
Nations, Adam Smith talked about the invisible hand of the economy.
Smith states that in order for capitalism to reach its potential, the
market should be left alone by the government or any exogenous
interference. The invisible hand refers to Smiths analysis that the
market is self; regulating. This is sometimes referred to as the
survival of the fittest economic mentality. For example, in a
capitalist system, if a corporation is not making profit, governments
should not try to give the company incentives for it to stay afloat;
rather, if the company is not profitable, it simply means that it has to
dissolve. The same can be applied to people. If a person does not have
the foresight to acquire skills that are needed for the future and finds
their job outsourced, then society is not responsible for the worker's
situation. In theory, this weeding out process is believed to result in
efficiency and competition among producers and workers. In the end,
competition will benefit the consumers and all of societyHHproducts will
improve and prices competitive. The current economic crisis is
challenging the notion of leaving our economic future to the
uncertainties of the market. The bailout of the auto industries and
banks in the US is in essence, protecting society from the forces of
markets. Can you relate the current economic crisis to our discussion
of capitalism?

The US and Capitalism

Smith was writing about capitalism as an ideology. In reality, the
impersonalized and unforgiving qualities of capitalism does not bode
well for labor and capital alike. The United States has a highly
capitalistic economy, but the US market is not free from government

interference. The invisible hand needs a little nudge from time to time.
The 2008 $700 billion bail out is an example. The Wall Street bail out
was a highly publicized one, but there are various and less conspicuous
ways a government can interfere in the economy:
Subsidies: these are grants given by the government to companies in
order to reduce the cost of production and/or reduce the prices. This is
sometimes referred to as Corporate Welfare. One industry in the
United States that receives a significant amount of subsidies are the
agricultural producers. In order to compete with cheap food prices from
other countries, the US subsidizes US farmers. In US society, there is a
stigma against people who receive money from the government if
unemployed or unable to provide for their needs. Corporations,
however, do not seem to share the

same disdain. The federal government gives out $125 billion a year in
corporate welfare (Barlett and Steele 104, 1998). Generally, corporate
welfare is seen as a public good by giving money to corporations,
since they can provide jobs and essential for development. On the
other hand, giving money to private individuals in need, even though
they end up spending the money (whether to buy necessity items or
luxury goods), which in turn stimulates the economy is considered a
hand out.
The notion that corporate welfare creates jobs and is now
being challenged. In Barlett and Steele's expose on corporate
welfare, they provide examples of huge tax breaks and incentives
initiated by cities and states, which did not result to the profit
anticipated. Here is one example:
In 1993, the state of Kentucky granted $19 million in income tax breaks
over 10 years for General Electric Co. when GE threatened to close
their plants unless certain concession by the state and the workers
were made. Even with these tax breaks and incentives however, GE
announced job cuts of 1,500 and that they were planning to move their
production to Georgia and Mexico. Authors noted that a year before, GE
had a revenue of $91 billion (110H111). For Smith, government
incentives are inefficient and inimical to the free market, but the idea
of companies going to different places to find efficient and cheap labor
is an integral part of the market system.
Tariff Barriers: Tariffs are taxes imposed on imported goods. This is a
strategy used to protect domestic industries. For example, Vietnam
makes cheap shoes that sell for $10 a pair wholesale. The US
government will impose high tariffs on these shoes so that prices will
increase, thereby protecting the domestic shoe industry. It would be
impossible for a US company that gets its materials and makes the
shoes in the US to charge $10 for shoes wholesale because of the
higher standard of living in the country. As a consequence, consumers
pay more. Some see this however, as a way to protect US jobs. For
Smith, tariff barriers are disincentives for US companies. In the end,
the the decrease in level of competition will compromise quality and
increase prices.


In the capitalist economic mentality, lay offs, the firing or

employees, bankruptcy, are not the central concerns. The rational is
that another company or industry will fill the void left behind by a
company that tanked. Thus, social services that serve the unemployed
or those that have been victimized by the harsh competition of the
market are unnecessary and inefficient and will make people reliant on
Inequality is also an inherent component of the system. To keep
up with certain lifestyle, cheap labor is necessary.
It was the level of inequality and system of exploitation that led
Marx to believe that capitalist, as an economic system was too
destructive to survive. Marx concluded that inherent in capitalism is a
class struggle between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, which will
eventually lead to a communist revolution. The core difference

capitalism and communism is the ownership of the means of

production and capital. In a communist structure, MOP and capital are
communally owned.
Marx believed that the proletariat would become aware of their
oppression and would eventually overthrow the existing system.
Unlike capitalism, the goal in communism is not profit, but
equality and the elimination of exploitation. Interestingly, the idea of
public ownership has materialized within contemporary capitalist
system. The Open Source Software Movement was a reaction to
proprietary software where source codes were protected and privately
owned. In open source software (OSS), the source codes are available
to the public. An example is Open Office. This is an alternative to
Microsoft Office, which includes versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint,
etc. This can be downloaded free of charge online. Open source can
also be free in a sense that development is made in a collaborative
and collective manner. Users all over the world can help improve
existing software applications and develop features. An example of this
is Firefox and Wikipedia. Firefox is an alternative to Microsoft's Internet
Explorer (IE) and Apple's Safari and. Like Open Office, Firefox can be
installed free of charge and I'm sure most students know that
information from Wikipedia is free of charge as well.
Marx's idea of equality and vision of cooperation motivated
communist revolutions all over the world. In the late 80s with the fall
of the USSR, capitalism seemed to have triumphed over communism.
There are various reasons why communism has not taken root as Marx
envisioned. Firstly, the US offensive line against communism during
the Cold War has stunted the spread of the ideology. Also, Marx did not
anticipate, in conceptualizing class division, the rise of the middle
class. The middle class helped balance the inequality within society
and helped preserve the status quo.

Required Online Reading:

Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. 1848. Manifesto of the Communist


One development in our understanding of capitalism is Fordism.

The basic concept of Fordism is to adapt to the increased ability to
mass produce with mass consumption. With technological advance, it
has become faster and cheaper to produce goods. Factory production,
characterized by division of labor, specialization, and standardization
has allowed companies to produce goods in a short span of time. The
ability to mass produce, however, is meaningless if markets did not
expand accordingly. Thus, one of the central tenets of Fordism is to
increase wages so that employees are able to but goods as well. By
paying workers more, their ability to buy goods makes mass production

NeoRMarxist Class Divisions

Building on Marx's dichotomous class system (proletariat and
bourgeoisie), neoH Marxist philosophers have added other class
systems. The petty bourgeoisie and lumpenproletariat are subdivisions
of the 2 classes. The petty bourgeoisie includes small business
owners and managers. Managers are not owners of the MOPs, but may
share the same interest as capitalists class. The lumpenproletariat,
on the other hand, refers to workers who have been rejected by the
system and have become unnecessary (Andersen 216) either due to
technological advance or some form of downsizing. The presence of
people who are unemployed or looking for jobs has diminished the
bargaining power of the working class. These reserve army of labor
are always ready to fill in the jobs of the proletariat who threaten the
status quo. There are always people willing to work for lesser pay and
in more dire conditions.
Our current understanding of how capitalism affects society
and individuals is still greatly influenced by Marx. Read the
Manifesto of the Communist Party and use these questions to
better understand the arguments. Keep in mind that Marx is quite
poetic and at times abstract in his writing, so take your time in
reading this piece.
Why is capitalism inimical to society according to Marx?
What is the class struggle? Why is there a class struggle?
Who are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat?
Why is Marx critical of the nexus of cash payment? What
does this mean?
What does Marx mean by the instruments of production?
Why do markets need to constantly expand in capitalism?
Why does capitalism inevitably lead to communism
according to Marx? What is the role of the proletariat in this

Compared to communism, socialism's goal is not the elimination
of private ownership; rather equal access to basic needs such as food,
shelter, and health care are the end goal. Socialism, like communism
however, rejects an outright acceptance of the free market system and
believes in the role of government in cushioning individuals and
companies against the vicissitudes of capitalism. Examples of socialist

countries are Western European countries such as Norway, Finland,

Great Britain, France, and Japan and China. These countries have
universal health care systems, a generous welfare state, and
government owned and run companies. For example, in France, the
government still owns a majority (85%) of shares in the largest
electricity company, Electricit de France.
As mentioned in our assessment of capitalism, the US, although
a capitalist, is not free from government intervention or socialist
principles. The concept of Medicare, health insurance for senior
citizens, are socialist projects. In an ironic twist, these social programs
and initiatives such as the public school system, Medicare, Medicaid,
and Social Security although contrary to pure capitalism actually help
preserve capitalism in the US. These programs help soften the
negative social consequences of capitalism,

which allows capitalism to thrive.

Max Weber's view of Social Class and Stratification

Unlike Marx, Weber's conceptualization of social class is not limited
to the means of production. Weber moves from a strictly economic
determinist definition of social class. Weber added to Marx materialist
and economic analysis of class by including status, prestige, and
political power as determinants of social class. For Weber, material
wealth and economic power is only one of the three sources of power.
Weber classified three types of power and prestige:
7. Political power but no wealth: An example would be Martin
Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. These two political leaders
and social activist were not wealthy in financial terms, but they
exercised a great deal of political influence.
8. Prestige but no wealth: Mother Theresa is an example. She
was known for her charity work, but was not monetarily rich or
politically influential.
9. Wealth but no political power: Paris Hilton is an example. She
may be financially wealthy, but she has very little political clout.

The US Social Class System

One's socioeconomic status determines one's access to cultural,
political, and economic power in society. In the US, it is taboo to talk
about social class since our idea of the American Dream and the
notion that through hard work and individual achievement anyone can
rise to the top of the social strata. As mentioned previously, however, it
is not that easy shifting from one social class to another. As much as
we would like to think that hard work is all it takes, the Horatio Algers
stories are possible, but rare. The bubble in the late 90s and
early 2000 has catapulted a number of young tech savvy computer
programmers and entrepreneurs such as Google's Larry Page and
Sergey Brin and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. In their success it is easy
to forget that Page and Brin were graduate students at Stanford
University, and Zuckerberg went to school at Harvard. Bill Gates also
went to Harvard and Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang also went to Stanford.
Not only are these success stories rare, but these men were by no
means from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Thus, although
these people may have changed their social status dramatically, they
were most likely in the upper middle or even upper class to begin with.

Upper Class
In Domhoff's Who Rules America? Power, Politics, and Social
Change, he chronicles that the upper class not just as an economic
group, but an interlocking network, which controls politics, military,
and culture in the US. Among other industrialized countries, the US has
one of the most unequal distribution of wealth. The Table (Tables 1 and
2) below shows compares the amount of wealth the top 1% of society
owns from 1983 to 2001. The graph (Graph 2) provides a more visual
representation of the distribution of wealth in the US in 2001. The top
1% of the

population own 39.7% of the total wealth in the country, while the
bottom 80% of the population own a mere 8.8% of the total wealth. This
means that 20% of the population own 91% of the wealth in the US.
Table 9H1: Total Net Worth in the US from 1983 to 2007 from Domhof

Total Net Worth


Top 1

Next 19

Bottom 80






















Financial Wealth


Top 1

Next 19

Bottom 80






















Total assets are defined as the sum of: (1) the gross value of
ownerH occupied housing; (2) other real estate owned by
the household; (3) cash and demand deposits; (4) time
and savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money
market accounts; (5) government bonds, corporate bonds,
foreign bonds, and other financial securities; (6) the cash
surrender value of life insurance plans; (7) the cash
surrender value of pension plans, including IRAs, Keogh,
and 401(k) plans; (8) corporate stock and mutual funds;
(9) net equity in unincorporated businesses; and
(10) equity in trust funds.
Total liabilities are the sum of: (1) mortgage debt; (2)
consumer debt, including auto loans; and (3) other
debt. From Wolff (2004, 2007, & 2010).

For conservative economists, the concentration of wealth is

advantageous for the economy. President Ronald Reagan's economic
policy or what is referred to as reaganomics rests on the fundamental
ideology of trickle down economics. The idea is that with
concentration of wealth, there is an increase in capital, which is
necessary for businesses to grow. As businesses thrive with the
availability of capital, wealth will trickle down. Reagan also promoted
the deregulation of the economy and lowering taxes and government
spending. The housing meltdown and credit crisis of 2008, however
has made government rethink its policy of deregulation and capital
concentration. The excessive CEO salaries , low interest rates, and
predatory lending that were prevalent in the 80s and onwards were
instrumental in causing the crisis (Morris 2008). As a result of
concentration of wealth, too few people had too much money to put in
the bank and too many people relied on loans. Generally, people with
limited resources spend their money when they get it and rich people
that already have enough to survive invest or save it. The excess of
money in the banks was partly responsible for the negligible lending

Required Reading
Domhoff, William, Wealth, Income, and Power. (July 2011).

Middle Class
In Media Magic: Making Class Invisible (1995), Mantsios observes
how the media has made the middle class the universal class.
According to Mantsios, the media rarely acknowledges the existence of
the poor, and in their rare coverage, the poor are usually blamed for
their plight. In ignoring the lower class and lumping the working class,
the middle class, and the upper class as one category, Mantsios claims
that the middle class has come to represent a majority of Americans,
which is a myth. People who claim to belong to the middle class do not
seem to reflect reality in terms of income and wealth. What Mantsios is
pointing to is that what it means to be a middle class is a state of
mind. In a Pew Research Center study released on April 9, 2008 on the
middle class, more than half (53%) of Americans are selfHproclaimed as

middle class, a number that has been consistent for the past decades.
However, what the research has found is that for those who claimed to
belong to the middle class, what it means to be middle class varies by
age, race, gender, education, location, and work status.
According to the Pew Research, median family income for
whites who say the are middle class is just over $56,000nearly
$10,000 more than for selfHidentified middle class blacks. Even bigger
income disparities occur along generational lines. Adults between the
ages of 30 and 49 who say they are in the middle class earn slightly
more than $65,000, nearly double the median family income for those
older than 65 and about $27,000 more than the median for those
under the age of 30 (31). Americans

seem to have a distorted view of the middle class. In the study, people
who consider themselves as a part of the middle class have diverse
incomes and incompatible definition of what constitute a middle class.
Not having a more consistent
definition of the middle class as a
group has social repercussions such
as voting patterns. In What's the
Matter with Kansas: How
Conservatives Won the Heart of
America (2005), Thomas Frank
explores why middle class and poor
Americans are for politicians that are
contrary to their interests as middle
and working class. The traditional
Republican economics consistent
with reaganomic (tax cuts,
deregulation) benefit the rich, and
Frank questions why the middle and
working class are voting for policies
and for a party that is inimical to
their class interests. He realized that
these voters are not voting on their
economic or class interest, but on
their religious affiliation.

The Middle Class in

The buying power and lifestyle
of the middle class has declined
compared to other groups.
Comparing household income by
income group in 1969 and 2006, the
upper class saw a 50% increase in
median income, while the middle
class and the lower class saw an
increase of about 40%. This shows
how the middle and the lower class

Figure 9H2: Middle Class Variation

income groups are experiencing a

slower growth rate compared to the
upper class.

Comparing debtHto
asset ration, from 1983,
1992, and 2004, the
middle has also seen an
increase in their debt from
0.25 in 1983, 0.30 in 1992,
and 0.40 in
2004. This means that the
middle class owes more
money relative to how
much they own. Reports
show that this increase in
debtH toHasset ratio is
correlated to the increase
is size and value of
houses. For 78% of debt of
the middle income
families between 1983 to
2004 was due to debt
secured by their primary
residence (24).

Figure 9H3: Median Household Income, by Income Group, 1969

to 2006

Statistically, the middle class does not seem to enjoy the same
benefits it used to compared to previous decades. The shrinking
middle class is the fear that US class system will be polarized
between the upper and the lower class as the rich becomes richer and
the poor poorer. As the gap widens, the middle class will disappear.
following articles from Time
Magazine and The New York Times
presents contrasting views on the
phenomenon. The Time article was
written in 1986 and a bit outdated,
but it provides a good assessment
of what it means to be middle class
and the struggles faced by the
group. The NYT article looks at how

New York City is losing it middle

class residents because of
increasing cost of living. The author
explores the pros and cons of the
middle class flight.

The main difference between the
middle and the working class in
their educational attainment and
the types of jobs they occupy as a
result. The middle class is mostly
collegeHeducated while the working
class perform manual labor.

Figure 9H4: The Median DebtHtoHAsset Ratio


Lower Class or the Poor

The lower class or poor in the US are mostly employed partHtime or are
lower than subsistenceHlevel wages (Schaefer 194). People who belong
to this class are in and out of poverty. Most lower class are females and
single mothers. As seen from the graphs, the lower class, just like the
middle class, has not fared so well in the past couple decades. In 2004,
there were 37 million people in poverty (12.7%) and in 2006, 12.3% of
the population was considered to be impoverished. Poverty is
measured using the poverty line. The US determines the poverty rate
using the threshold as specified by the Census Bureau (This shows how
the number of people impoverished can be manipulatedif you lower
the poverty line, the less people will be under the poverty status. The
US poverty threshold is measured according to the US Census Bureau
Poverty Threshold as specified in Table 3. The guidelines takes into
account which
if a person
is below
65 and
the number 2007
of people living
U.S. Census
in a household. According to the 2007 estimates, a family unit with
three members earning $16,530 annually is the threshold. Whether or
not these measures are a reflection of what it means to be
impoverished is debatable.

Size of Family Unit

One person (unrelated
Under 65 years


65 years and over


Two people


Householder under 65
Householder 65 years and
Three people


Four people



Five people
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Weighted Average Poverty Thresholds 2007.
Six people
Seven people


Eight people


Nine people or more



Figure 9H5: Poverty Thresholds, 2007

The US Health and Human Services (HHS) comes up with its own
version of measuring poverty referred to as the poverty guideline.
This HHS guidelines are the ones used in measuring financial eligibility
of federal programs while the UC Census Bureau threshold is used for
calculating official country statistics on poverty.
Table 9H2: US Health and Human Services (HHS) and Poverty Measurement

Persons in Family Unit 48 Contiguous States Alask Hawai

and D.C.
$13,00 $11,96
$17,50 $16,10
$22,00 $20,24
$26,50 $24,38
$31,00 $28,52
$35,50 $32,66
$40,00 $36,80
$44,50 $40,94
For each additional
$4,500 $4,140
Register, Vol. 73, No. 15, January 23, 2008, pp. 3971

Class Consciousness
Among the various social classes, the upper class seem to have
the most salient class consciousness. Class consciousness refers to
one's sense of belonging to a particular social group. The upper class
are aware of their power as a group and have formed social network
ties that represent their interests (Domhoff 2006). According to
Domoff, through private schools, exclusive social clubs such as the
Bohemian Club, and charities, the rich have formed networks in politics
and business that are beyond the reach of those outside of their
circles. Domhoff takes on a conflict perspective on power and views
these exclusive channels as undemocratic. The upper class understand
what it means to have networks within their group and through these
ties they solidify their power.

Compared to other industrialized country, American middle class

have a weak class consciousness. As discussed previously, the middle
class are polarized as a group and the concept of the American Dream
and social mobility makes middle class a less cohesive group. In the
2008 elections, no one has embodied this concept more than Joe The
Plumber. During the campaign, Joe the Plumber was a metaphor for
middle class America. His real name, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, got
his first spot in the limelight

when he questioned Obama about his plan to increase taxes for people
making more than $250,000. Apparently, Joe the Plumber was trying to
buy his own plumbing business and was concerned about his tax
increase under Obama's plan IF he ends up making more than
$250,000 annually. Investigative reports soon revealed that
Wurzelbacher owed $1,200 in unpaid taxes and a second lien was filed
for $1,261 that he owes St. Charles Mercy Hospital (ABC 10/16/08). In
his interviews, Wurzelbacher expressed his opposition to Social
Security (US News 10/16/08). In his own words, Social Security is a
joke...You know, let me take my money and invest it how I please.
Social Security I've never believed in, don't like it. I hate that it's forced
on me. Wurzelbacher also believes that taxation is a punishment for
hard work. When asked by Diane Sawyer about progressive tax
policies, a tax policy that is based on income (the higher the income
the higher the taxes), Wurzelbacher claims that the rich should not be
penalized for being successful (ABC 10/16/08).
Government run resources such as public schools, parks, police
force, fire departments are public services that everyone, but especially
the middle and lower class take advantage of. Tax cuts and lower
government spending affects these public sources. From the conflict
perspective, Joe the Plumber's opposition to these services is seen as
form of false consciousness. Marx did not explicitly use the term, but
it refers to the concept when members of the subordinate class are
unaware of the repression and exploitation that they are suffering from.
For Marxist, Joe the Plumber has been successfully convinced by society
that his interests are in line with the ruling class.
Whether or not this is the case depends on the economic philosophy
you adhere to. If you believe in trickle down economics, such as
economists Thomas Sowell (1930), Joe the Plumber will eventually
benefit from concentration of wealth, but liberal economists, such as
Paul Krugman (1953) would disagree. For the functionalist perspective,
Joe the Plumber is an example of a person knowing their place in
society, which helps maintain the status quo.

How would you assess your class consciousness? Does your lifestyles
mask the social class you belong to? Meaning, do you go out of your
way to show people that you belong to a different social class? Why do

you think you do or do not? What does that say about the connection
between individuals and society?
Why is there such a large inequality gap in the US? Do you think that
the current economic depression is making US society rethink its policy
of trickle down economics? Why? Why not?

Online Sources:
2000. MP Calls for Long Haul Flight Warnings. BBC News, October 23

2008. Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life. Pew
Research Center /pubs/706/middleHclassHpoll.
Erbe, Bonnie. n.d. Joe the Plumber: Social Security Is a 'Joke' and
Liberal Conspiracy Theories. US News and World Report.
ocialH securityHisHaHjokeHandHliberalHconspiracyHtheories.html
Ibanga, Imaeyen, and Russell Goldman. 2008. America's Overnight
Sensation Joe the Plumber Owes $1,200 in Taxes. ABC News
Marx, Karl. 1999. Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the
Land. in Capital
, vol. 1. /archive/marx/works/1867Hc1/ch27.htm
Tapper, Jake. 2008. Political Punch. Joe the Plumber Eligible for Obama
Tax Cut?.

Key Concepts

Closed system
Open system
action Estate
system Social
class system
Occupational Prestige
Scale Socioeocnomic
Status (SES) Life
Capitalism Feudal
societies Markets
t Common
acts Wage
Means of production (Mop)
Capitalist class
welfare Tariff
Open Source Sofrware
Management Middle class
NeoJMarxist class
division Petty
Reserve army of

s Poverty
Class consciousness

Chapter 10 : Stratification: Race and Gender

When Barak Obama (1961) won the 2008 presidential election in
the US, he was considered the first Black president. Actress Halle Berry
won the Oscar best actress category in 2002; society considered her
the first Black woman to win the award. What these two have in
common is that even though one of their parents is White, they are
still categorized by society as racially Black. The US' one drop of blood
rule states that anyone with a trace of African ancestry is considered
black. Keep in mind that blood has nothing to do with racethere is no
such thing as blood type A White or B Asian. But the use of the term
blood signifies how as a society, we associate race with biology.
The idea of White being an exclusive race also has political
consequences. The fear of a white minority is a result of the one drop
of blood rule. Imagine if people with Obama and Berry's race were
considered white instead of blackwouldn't that increase the number
of whites in the country? This just goes to show that the racial
makeHup of a country is very much influenced by how we define the
It is true that our construction of race is based on phenotypes.
Phenotypes are the observable physical characteristics as a result of
genes and environment. Almond eyes are associated with Asians,
blonde hair with Whites, and black skin with Blacks. But these
phenotypes are not as clear cutwhat about brown skin? What racial
category is that associated with? Southeast Asians? Latinos? What
about South Asians who have dark skin? Are they blacks too? Or do we
categorize them as Asians because of geography? The Australian
aboriginals have dark skin, but blondish hair? What racial category
would you classify them? The categorization of these stereotypes is
where culture comes to play. Although there are genetic and biological
explanations for certain physical characteristics, society's
categorization of race is based on culture. The fact that we have rules
and laws that define our racial categories mean that race is socially
constructed. This means that what it means to be Black, White, Asian
or whatever racial category a society has, is based on culture. Here are
the reasons why race is culturally constructed.

Racial categories are different between cultures. The US has a

rigid racial categorical system compared to Latin American countries.
In our example of President Obama and Halle Berry, their white
parents are ignored in their racial category and they are considered
Blacks. Latin America has a more complex system. Here are the racial
categories in colonial Peru:
From Indian and Spaniard parents, the child is mestizo
From Spaniard and Mestizo parents, the child is Quadroon,
From Spaniard and Black parents, the child is mulatto
From Spaniard and Mulatto parents, the child is Quadroon,

From Mestizo and Indian parents, the child is Cholo

From Mulatto and Indian parents, the child is Chinese

From Spaniard and Chinese parents, the child is Chinese Quadroon

From Black and Indian parents, the child is Zambo

From Black and Mulatto parents, the child is Zambo

Mexico, former colonies under the French in the Caribbean, and Brazil
all have distinctive racial categories. Unlike the US, the child' s race
may not be like the father or mother in Latin America.
Racial categories have changed throughout history. In the 1790
US Census, there were six categories: Free White Males, Free White
Females, and All Other Free Persons, and Slaves (Lee 1993). Our
categorizations reflect society's concerns during that time.
Since one's status as being free or not was an central organizing factor
in society, race was tied in with status as a free person. These
categories have gone through a number of revisions with the latest
one in 2000. In the current census, there are 5 racial categories:
American Indian or Alaskan native; Black of African American; Native
Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White. There are also two
minimum categories of ethnicity added: Hispanic/Latino or
NotHHispanic/Latino. Note that Hispanics and Latinos maybe of any
race. An important change is that people can actually identify with one
or more racial category. The concept of race as used by the Census
Bureau reflects selfHidentification by people according to the race or
races with which they most closely identify. These categories are
socioHpolitical constructs and should not be interpreted as being
scientific or anthropological in nature. Furthermore, the race categories
include both racial and nationalHorigin groups. The racial classifications
used by the Census Bureau adhere to the October 30,1997, Federal
Register Notice entitled, "Revisions to the Standards for the
Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity" issued by the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This is the official US Census
racial classification.
Table 10H1: US Census Racial Classification

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who i

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate

American Indian and Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (inclu

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including

Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes "Asian Indian," "Chinese," "Filipino," "Korean," "Japanese

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Haw

Some other race: Includes all other responses not included in the "White", "Black or African American", "Am
Two or more races: People may have chosen to provide two or more races either by checking two or more
Comparability: The data on race in Census 2000 are not directly comparable to those collected in previous

Scope and Methodology:

The data on race were derived from answers to the question on race that was asked of all people in Census 2

While race refers to phenotypes, ethnicity refers to
nonHphenotypical traits that relate to culture, shared ancestry,
language, and beliefs. Kurdish, Cuban, Italian, Hmong are all examples
of ethnicity. Notice how in most cases, ethnicities are tied to
nationalities or citizenship, but not all ethnic groups belong to a
specific country or have a country. The Kurds are an example. The
Kurdish people inhabit a region that is internationally recognized as
belonging to Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey. The Kurds have long
been fighting to establish their own country, Kurdistan, and for these
ethnic enclaves to be a part of Kurdistan. Currently, only Iraqi
Kurdistan is internationally recognized as an autonomous entity.
People belonging to the same ethnic group do not have to share
the same race. NipoHbrasileiro or Brazilian citizen of Japanese origin are
an interesting group of people especially when they migrate to other
countries, for example the US. Although they are technically Asian in
US categories, they are most likely ethnically Brazilians. There are an
estimated 1.5 million NipoHbrasileiro. The Japanese migrated to Brazil
during the early 20th century to work in the coffee plantations.

In South Africa, there are three racial categories, Black, White,

Colored, and Indian. There are an estimated 1 million South Africans
from India, and having a racial category based on the country is a sign
of how these categories reflect social and cultural relations. Recently,
the ethnic Chinese in South Africa have been legally

reclassified as Blacks. This is again an example of how race means

differently for different cultures. Blacks from the US or African
Americans who visit Africa are surprised to learn that African Blacks
consider them Whites (Newman 379, 2006). They are Whites not
because of phenotypes, but because of status.

Racism is the basis of stratification based on race. Racism is the
idea that there are superior and inferior races. Racism exists in two
levels: personal and institutional. Personal racism occurs when an
individual acting on prejudice and stereotypes discriminates against
another human being based on race. For example, a person hiring a
construction worker would give the job to a Hispanic than the White
counterpart, since he/she believes that Hispanics are more
hardworking than Whites. That person is racist against Whites.
Prejudices are the beliefs held by one group towards another.
Prejudices can either be negative or positive. Blacks are great dancers,
and Asians can't drive.
Prejudices are generally guided by stereotypes. One stereotypes when
the person has generalized belief about a certain group. Statements
such as all Irish go to the pub and drink excessively. All Asian parents
are strict. Discrimination occurs when certain benefits are denied a
certain group. Denying someone their vote is an example. During the
2005 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, a comparison of these two
news reports shows how the manifestation of stereotypes, prejudices,
and discrimination may not be so blatant. Read the two captions and
pay careful attention to how the two sets of Katrina victims were
described. Institutional racism, on the other hand, is the belief that
racism is built in to social structures. It is not the individuals, per se,
that are racist, but the institutions that organize societies (Giddens
318, 2005). Examples of institutional racism are the apartheid in South
Africa, Jim Crow laws, and the Japanese internment camp in the US
during World War II. These are situations wherein discrimination is
codified into laws. In some cases, however, institutional racism is not
overtly practiced, but exists nonetheless. The example about the
media and Katrina is an example.
Discrimination in the real estate industry, motivated by housing
prices is also another example. Housing prices are still very much
influenced by the racial makeHup of a neighborhood. To keep housing
values at a certain price entails keeping certain groups of people out of

a neighborhood. Redlining refers to the practice of delineating and

labeling certain areas that are conducive to investment. The National
Housing Act of 1934 during the great depression created the Federal
Housing Administration (FHA) and the Federal Savings and Loan
Insurance Corporation in order to help homeowners.
Under FHA, residential maps were created based on their viability for
realHestate investments. As a result, poor neighborhoods, which are
mostly inhabited by the minorities were discriminated against for bank
and business loans. It was a classic policy of rich neighborhoods
receiving more opportunities and the neighborhoods that were in most
need of help ignored. These policies led to a further deterioration of
inner city neighborhoods and furthered segregation. With the real
estate boom of the 90s, US lenders have started lending to poor
neighborhoods, albeit with subHprime loans and higher than average
interest rates, but the housing market bust is redefining redlining and
discrimination in lending practices. Read about how the US housing
collapse is

resurrecting discrimination.

The Case for Affirmative Action

One of the central tenets of affirmative action is that since
individuals have a tendency to be racist, institutions and laws need to
be in place in order to prevent them from being racist. Keep in mind
that affirmative action is not just based on race, but also gender. The
basic premise is that without laws, people will stick to their own kind
and diversity would be a myth. Read an excerpt from the Online
Stanford Encyclopedia about the US Supreme Courts and affirmative
action. Only read the short introduction and Part 4 of the text titled
Real World Affirmative Action: The Workplace.

Required Reading:
2001. Real World Affirmative Action: The Workplace. in Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University

Interracial Relations and Changing Attitudes?

Up until the late 1960s, antiHmiscegenation laws were still in place
in the US. The graphs below however, show how US attitudes towards
interHracial marriage laws have changed in the past four decades by
race. Although discrimination still exists, there has been a change in
attitudes towards tolerance, at least with racial intermarriages. Of
course, the election of Obama, as the first AfricanHAmerican President is
also changing racial relations in the country.

Table 10H2: Four Figures Attitudes Towards Interracial Marraige,

1970s to 2000








Race and Gender

One important point to keep in mind is the interrelation
between the various forms of categories in society in analyzing
stratification. In the previous chapter, we discussed how health and
life expectancy is affected by one's social class. Life expectancy in
the US is also influenced by race and gender. In fact, social class as
a stratification system cannot be divorced from society's racial
stratification. Below is a graph of life expectancy based on race and

Race Relations
Because of its history and diversity, race has always played a
major role in US politics, culture, and society. Compared to other
industrialized countries, race plays a larger role in US identity than
social class. Our history of slavery and lack of a aristocratic class has
made race and ethnicity salient factors in framing our social issues. As
the US becomes more racially diverse, it is interesting how our racial
categories and race relations will evolve.
The concept of a melting pot refers to how the amalgamation
of diverse cultures will lead to another culture that is a mixture of
different elements. Assimilation, on the other hand, refers to how the
minority groups will abandon their own cultures, and will adapt to the
dominant culture. For example, first generation children of immigrants
speaking English, or having family values that are more American than
their parents. Lastly, multiculturalism is based on various cultures

coexisting, where minority groups are able to have its distinct culture.
However, in a multicultural society, a type of segregation can exists.
Thus, even though minority groups practice their own culture, they may
not necessarily interact with the the majority group.

In our Chapter on socialization, students learned the social
construction of gender. Much like race, society's expectations of how a
female and male should behave are dictated by social norms.
Sociologists make a distinction between sex, which refers to the
biological differences such as chromosomes, hormones, and genitals,
and gender, which are the culturally defined characteristics of what is
feminine and masculine.
Through socialization, we learn gender roles and what is expected of
females and males in society. Society's fear or hatred of homosexuals
or homophobia is what makes members of society adhere to gender

Gender Roles
Family, school, friends, and the media all contribute to one's
development of selfHidentity based on gender. It is obvious that these
gender roles have changed throughout history. In the late 20th century,
the stigma against women in sports, single mothers, stayHatHhome dads,
men wearing makeHup are not as pronounced as they used to be. In a
2002 nationwide survey, 69% of respondents said that if one parent
stays home with the children, it makes not difference whether that
parent is the mother or father (Schaefer 259, 2007). However, even as
attitudes have changed, the majority of stayHatHhome parents are still
For the functionalist perspective, having different gender roles is
necessary for the stability of societies and institutions. For example,
the rising divorce rates in the US might be explained by women
relinquishing their traditional roles. As women become more
individualistic and have the ability to be financially independent,
women are less likely to stay in unhappy marriages. For the
functionalist perspective, the changing roles of women has
compromised the family structure. There seems to be a correlation
between the rise of female liberty in the 1920s and individualism in
the 1980s and divorce rates (Coltrane 507H511, 2001).
However, this women's liberation is not the only explanation
sociologists point to in their assessment of divorceeconomic
depression, wars, laws, religion, age of marriage, and social class seem
to contribute to divorce rates. The functionalist perspective may see
the change in women's traditional identity as destabilizing society, but

the term traditional is nebulous. For example, in hunting and

gathering societies, which is the earliest form social structure, gender
relations are egalitarian or equal.
Hunter gatherers are characterized by foraging. They are mobile
communities since they hunt for food rather than plant food their own
food. Sociological analysis of existing hunting and gathering societies
such as the Bushmen of Africa show how because women and men
share the task of providing food for the family, gender relations are
equitable (Kendall 319, 2006). In fact, it is believed that only in
agricultural societies when gender inequality became institutionalized
did the inequality between gender persisted (321). Since farming and
agrarian production of food required manual labor, men tended to
dominate food production, thus power over women. Thus, what is
traditional is subjective. Thus, the functionalists' subjective definition
of traditional weakens their argument. Is traditional gender relation
egalitarian or unequal?

Gender Stratification
For the conflict perspective, it is the unequal value placed on
gender roles that is important for sociologists to consider. For example,
in society, it is acceptable for a girl to play with masculine toys such
as trucks and cars, but quite the opposite is true if boys start playing
with dolls. Society also places greater respect and monetary
compensation for male occupational roles compared to female's. In the
medical field, doctors are associated with men and nurses with women.
The graph below, shows how the percent of females living below
poverty level is higher compared to males in all four decades and in
2007. This also shows that the percent of people living below poverty
has increased from the 1970s to the 1990s, but dipped in 2000. But we
see a rising trend in 2007.

Figure 10H1: Percept of People Living Below Poverty Level by Gender (1970H 2007)

What I hope you have learned now in sociological analysis is that

different variables have to be taken into accounting in studying society.

In the previous charts, we have taken into account historical changes

(comparing poverty levels from the 70s to the present), and race (wage
gaps) in analyzing gender stratification. Andrew A. Beveridge, a
demographer from Queens College, compared gender wage gaps not
just between race, but also between occupational status and compared
cities and the suburbs and came up

with surprising results. Read his findings online:

Required Online Reading:

Roberts, Sam. 2007. For Young Earners in Big City, a Gap in
Women's Favor. The New York Times, August 3

Gender and Culture

Since gender roles and responsibilities are socially constructed,
different societies have contrasting views of women's rights. The
headscarf used by some Muslim women is an example. In Egypt and in
Turkey, the ban on women's use of headscarf has mobilized women for
their right to wear the headscarf. Whereas most Western women view
the headscarf as a form of oppression, some women fighting for their
right to wear the headscarf are seeing it as women's right and a part of

Use the two perspectives (functionalist and conflict) and explain the role
of race in
What is the function of society?
Why does race lead to inequality?
With increasing diversity, how do you think race relations in the
US will look like
in 20 years? 50 years?
How do you having a Black president will change race relations?

Key Concepts:
on Ethnicity
racism Melting

One drop of blood
rule Personal
racism Phenotypes
on Sex
Social construction of
race Stereotypes

Chapter 11 : Globalization and Social Change

Social change refers to the cultural, technological, institutional,
and ideological changes a society goes through over time. Global
warming and environmental, demographic, and globalization are
examples of changes we have gone through and continue to go through
as a society. In this chapter, we will be exploring these changes and how
it is affecting the individual, societies, and the world.
Globalization refers to the increased interconnectedness between
people, nations, and cultures as a result of technological advance.
There are many factor that contribute to globalization. The phrase,
compression of time and space is used to describe how the
increase in speed in transportation and communication has shrunk the
world. With these technologies, it has become easier and faster to
reach other parts of the world. Travel time has shortened and modes of
communications more accessible.
Imagine how long it took for Europeans to travel to the US using the
steam boat and
compare that with the jet engine.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when globalization started. One
can argue that Marco Polo's travels or Columbus' contact with the New
World was a sign of globalization. Some scholars consider the last for
decades as the start of globalization (Steger 18, 2003). In Steger's
assessment of globalization, he considers five distinct periods in world
history that contributed to the level of interconnectedness we have
The Premodern Period (3,500 BCE 1,500 CE): The invention
of the wheel in
Southwest Asia, the invention of Writing In Mesopotamia and the
The Prehistoric Period (10,000 BCE 3,500 BCE): This long
period was marked by social interaction among hunterHgatherers
and the Chinese Empire. The Chinese Empire contributed some
of the major technological innovations in engineering, farming,
textile, and metal works. Politically, the codification of law, the
fixing of weights and measures, the standardization of cart
axles and roads allowed Chinese merchants for the first time to
make precise calculations as to the desired quantities of
imported and exported goods (24H25). The Silk Road linked
China with traders from Europe, Africa, and other parts of Asia.

These economic routes led to cultural exchange and migration.

With the movement of people and goods also came religious
clashes and the spread of diseases (26).
The Early Modern Period (1500 1750): This period is
associated with 18 century Europe and the Enlightenment and
the scientific revolution. The need to rationalize the world and
the rejection of religious and mythical explanation to social and
scientific phenomenon led to technological innovations.
Ideologically, there was a shift to individualist ideals and
economically, the beginnings of capitalism. This was also the
age of colonialization in Asia and in the Americas (28).
The Modern Period (1750 1970): This was a period of
increased world trade,
lowered transportation costs with the railways, mechanized

intercontinental air transport. There were also information in

communication technologies such as the telegraph in 1866,
which was the origin of the telephone, wireless radio
communication, films, circulation of magazine and
newspapers are helped shrink the world (33).
The period was also marked by two World Wars that started in
Europe and population increase. In 1750, world population was
at 760 million. It reached 3.7 billion by 1970 with advances in
medicine. After World War II, former colonies were given their
independence, which led to an increase in the number of states
in the world (please note that in international political
terms, states mean countries or nations). Towards the end
of the world war also marked the creation of the United Nations
(UN) and the establishment of laws and international governing
body under the UN. The creation of a World Court, International
Monetary Fund (IMF), and the General Agreement on Trade and
Tariff (GATT), which was eventually replaced by the World Trade
Organization (WTO).
The Contemporary Period (from 1970 onwards): The fall of
the Soviet Union, the opening of China's market, the computer,
and the internet are but a few of the innovations in the late 20
century. Capitalism has been the predominant economic
structure from the 80s onward. The internationalization of trade
and finance has been instrumental in creating a more
interdependent world. The creation of trade agreements such as
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have helped
breakdown trade barriers.

Economic Globalization
The Bretton Woods system signed in 1944 was put in place
in order to stabilize the monetary system and the commercial and
financial relations in the world. In retrospect, the world leaders
believed that economic depression and lack of governing body were
some of the fundamental causes of World War II. With the US leading
the world, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
was created with the goal of postwar reconstruction of Europe.
Capitalism or neo;liberalism became the predominant
economic ideology during this time. The deregulation of financial and

trade relations meant freeing capital investments. Investors had more

confidence to invest in different parts of the world. The ideological belief
that markets were selfHregulating and that they needed to be left alone
made way for laissezGfaire trade relations. Transnational Corporations
(TNCs) or Multinational Corporations (MNCs) became powerful players in
international relations. Companies such as Walmart, Samsung, Honda,
and General Electric expanded their markets and production to various
parts of the world. The competition for cheap labor and
corporateHfriendly environment were incentives for MNCs to shift
production and in some cases research and development outside of
their home countries. Home countries refer to the TNC's country of
origin and the host country, the state the TNC ventures to

operate. For example, Sony, an MNC associated with Japan, the home
country, moves
some of its production in Mexico, the host country.
What globalization has done to MNCs is to blur the lines
between countries and corporations. Ownership of companies has
become more global. Jaguar, a car brand associated with Great Britain
was sold to Ford in 1989, an American company, which was eventually
sold to Tata Motors, an Indian MNC. One of the major share holders of
Citigroup is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud from Saudi Arabia.
The interconnectedness of finance and trade means that
economic boom and busts have become global. The 2008 real estate
collapse in the US has affected banks all over the world. At the same
time, the failure of Iceland's banks has affected 420,000 British and
Dutch customers, and has frozen assets from these countries, including
the London's police force (Bloomberg News 10/9/08). In general,
capitalism, as an economic system, is conducive to globalization. The
need to expand markets, the search for raw materials, and cheap labor
leads to the breakdown of economic and political barriers.

Commodity Chains
Commodity chains, refers to the process of producing goods. In
Travels of a TGshirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the
Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade (2006) by Rivoli traces the
life a tHshirt from the cotton to the sewing, the production, and the
shipment of the end product. Rivoli illustrates the connection between
textile producers and sweatshops and the benefits and rationality of
division of labor. Commodity Chains and Marketing Strategies: Nike
and the Global Athletic Footwear Industry by Miguel Korzeniewicz
traces the success of Nike in marketing and advertising and how it has
used globalization and the flexibility in shifting production to its
These commodity chains and trade relations has changed the
way business is done. For example, a Dell assembles computers but
does not necessarily produce the parts of the computer. Open up a Dell
computer and the motherboard, the processor, and all the other
components are made by different manufacturers. What Dell does is
put these parts together! In essence, globalization has led to the
decentralization of production and manufacturing. From a sociological

point of view, these changes have major impacts in various aspects of

life. Jobs, The types of jobs that will be available and skills required are
going to change and part of sociology how these changes are going to
affect other parts of society.

Political Globalization
There are also a number of political changes that mark a
globalized world. The financial and political integration of the European
Union (EU) bas helped breakdown trade and migration barriers in the
region. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the former states of the Soviet
bloc such as Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania are adopting a capitalist
economy. The creation of the UN and other international organizations
(IGOs) and international nonHprofit organizations (INGOs) has fostered
a sense of a global society.

INGOs such as Greenpeace, International Red Cross are examples of a global

effort to solve problems that affect world citizens.
Some believe that the rise of international institutions has shifted
power from nationRstates. The loss of sovereignty is a concern for
countries. For example, under George W. Bush, the US withdrew from
the Treaty of Rome of 1998 that created the international criminal
court (ICC). The ICC, was signed by Bill Clinton, but the fear of the US
military subjected to the justices of the international court has led to
the withdrawal. The US, although a superpower, is notorious in the
international community for safeguarding its sovereignty at the
expense of establishing international laws. The US has also refused to
sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that aims to
reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Even though 180 states have
since signed the agreement, the US, afraid of international regulations
imposed on US corporations has refused to join the effort to address
climate change.

Globalization and culture

Theories on globalization are divided between two camps: the
skeptics and the hyperglobalizers. Skeptics believe that the level of
interconnectedness we are experiencing is nothing new and that
globalziation is not compromising the old world order of the nation
state as the organizing element of the world community and not
international organizations. Skeptics focus on the example above, such
as the US protecting its sovereignty as proof that resistance to
globalization prevents the complete breakdown of trade and political
barriers. In general, globalization is seen as a more limited and
uneven process (Steger 15). Only certain regions of the world are
integrated into the world economy and globalization is headed by a
handful of regions and countries, mainly those in Europe, North
America, and East Asia. Skeptics might point to the chart and graph
below as proof to the uneven integration of the world.
Statistics on internet usage relative to population shows how
Asia, Europe, and North America leads the world in internet usage,
while Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and Oceania continue to lag


World Regions


( 2008 Est.)

Internet Users
Dec/31, 2000

Internet Usage,
Latest Data

% Population
( Penetration )

% of





5.3 %

3.5 %

1,031.2 %




15.3 %

39.5 %

406.1 %





48.1 %

26.3 %

266.0 %

Middle East




21.3 %

2.9 %

1,176.8 %

North America




73.6 %

17.0 %

129.6 %





24.1 %

9.5 %

669.3 %




59.5 %

1.4 %

165.1 %




21.9 %

100.0 %

305.5 %


Oceania /

NOTES: (1) Internet Usage and World Population Statistics are for June 30, 2008. (2) CLICK on each world region name for detailed regional usage information. (3) Demographic

US Census Bureau . (4) Internet usage information comes from data published by
Nielsen//NetRatings, by the International Telecommunications Union, by local NIC, and other reliable sources. (5) For
definitions, disclaimer, and navigation help, please refer to the Site Surfing Guide, now in ten languages. (6) Information in this site may be cited, giving the due
credit to Copyright 2001 - 2008, Miniwatts Marketing Group. All rights reserved worldwide.
(Population) numbers are based on data from the

Figure 11H1: World Internet Usage and Population Statistics (2008)2

On the opposite side of the spectrum are the hyperglobalizers,

a group which believes that globalization is deconstructing the world
order and creating a borderless world (Ohmae 1995). Hyperglobalizers
also believe that a global culture is emerging, a culture dominated by
the West. As MNCs infiltrate local economies, the internet is
homogenizing information and language, and establishments such as

McDonald's are spreading Western values of efficiency, individualism,

and capitalism, local culture is replaced by Western ideals.
Scholars such as Benjamin Barber (1995) and pundits like
Thomas Friedman (2000) point to the violent reaction to the
westernization of the world. In Jihad vs. McWorld, Barber sees McWorld,
or the infiltration of Western ideals as a form of cultural imperialism
that brings with it the inequalities of capitalism. As people are exposed
to the harsh realities of capitalism and Western pop culture, resistance
becomes violent, such as the emergence of fundamentalism or the
return to tradition. The rise of terrorism and the proliferation of
socialist democratically elected leaders in

Latin America such as Evo Morales of Bolivia, Hugo Chavez of

Venezuela, and Rafael
Correa of Ecuador are signs of the rejection of the Westernization of the
Lastly, transformationalist take the middle road in their
analysis of globalization. Unlike hyperglobalizers, transformationalist
do see globalziation as a oneHway process, rather, where the rest of
the world is a victim of Western imposition. NonHwestern countries are
not powerless in the current world system. Moreover, globalization
leads to a form of glocalization, wherein a fusion of a myriad of
cultures merge to form a hybrid culture. This culture does not
completely eliminate the local culture, but compliments it with foreign

Global Inequality
The concept of stratification is not just within countries as
discussed in the previous chapters, but also between countries. In
talking about states, we distinguish between developed and
underdeveloped, industrial and industrializing. Development, of
course, is a relative concept. The predominant measurement deals
with a country's monetary wealth, typically measured by Gross
Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is the total value of goods and
services produced in a state in a year. Using GDP as a measure of a
country's wealth has its limitations since it does not tell us how wealth
is distributed. For example, a country can have a high GDP, but if
only a limited number of people own the wealth, does that make that
country developed? To supplement GDP, social scientists use the
Human Development Index and the Gini coefficient to measure
distribution of wealth. The Gini coefficient is a ratio with values from 0
to 1, with 0 meaning perfect equality and 1 perfect inequality. HDI, on
the other hand, measures literacy rates, mortality rates, life
expectancy and GDP per capita. Below is a table of countries with their
Gini coefficient and HDI rank. There is a positive correlation between
HDI and Gini coefficient. Meaning, countries with low HDI ranking
(having a low HDI ranking in this sense is positive), also have a lower
Gini coefficient. Notice
however, that this is not a perfect correlation. For example, even though
the US is 12 in
HDI ranking, it has a relatively high Gini coefficient at 40.8 (high levels
of inequality). Most Western European countries and Japan have

relatively lower Gini coefficients (more equality) and high HDI ranking
(high rates of literacy and low rates or mortality). For example, Sweden
is 6 in HDI and has a Gini of 25. Japan is ranked 8 in HDI with a Gini
of 24.9.
The graph below compares Mexico and Saudi Arabia's GDP per
capita and HDI. This shows how even though Saudi Arabia and Mexico
have HDIs in very close range, Saudi Arabia's GDP per capita is quite
higher than Mexico's. This shows how important it is to combine
different types of measurements in determining what it means to be
developed and which countries are developed.
Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008


Table 1: Mexico and Saudi Arabia Human Development Index and GDP
per Capita (2007H

Figure 11H2: Mexico and Saudi Arabia Human Development Index and GDP per Capital (2007H

Bhutan and a New Approach to Development

Bhutan, a Buddhist state in Asia rejected what they think is a
oneHsided view of development and has proposed its own measurement
of development. The former King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck,
in 1972 coined the term Gross National Happiness (GNH) to
measure quality of life. The philosophy is that true development cannot
be measured in financial terms, but by spiritual development. The
approach calls for a more egalitarian and sustainable economic
development that promotes the environment, compassion, and

World Systems Theory

Immanuel Wallerstein (1930) developed the World Systems
theory, which conceptualized the division of labor at the global level.
According to Wallerstein, the worldis divided into three economic

zones, the core, semiRperiphery, and periphery. The core

countries, which are the industrialized countries dominate trade and
own the bulk of world capital. Core countries include the US, Japan, and
Great Britain. The semiH

periphery countries are int transition. They are semiHindustrial with

moderate incomes per capita. Countries such as South Korea, Brazil,
Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are examples. Lastly are the
peripheral countries, which are mostly agricultural and raw material
exporters. Examples are Bolivia, Nigeria, and Cambodia. In lieu to the
conflict perspective, the world systems theory posits that inequality
and exploitation is a main feature of world relations.

Efects of Globalization
The effects of globalization are complex and dynamic. It is easy
to fall prey to a dichotomous view of the social effects of globalization
as being good or bad, but in reality, the effects are quite complicated
and relative. A person's view of whether or not globalization is
advantageous or not for society depends on a person's occupational
status, place of residence, social class, and skills. A radiologist in the
US who sees his/her job outsourced to the Philippines and a clerk who
gets laid off because of automation might have a negative view of
globalization, but an Indian engineer who works as a programmer for
google in India and an American architect who designs buildings for the
rising middle class in China might not have such a negative view of
Friedman's adroit assessment of the effects of globalization in The
World is Flat (2007), shows how understanding how globalization
works and how it will affect society and individuals is key to preparing
for a global world. Corporations are not governments and they do not
have allegiance to their citizens. Like proper capitalist entities, their
allegiance is to profit. It is important to keep in mind that companies
will seek out the most efficient and talented workers and citizenship is
not necessarily a criteria. This is one of the harsh realities of
globalization, capitalism, and technological change.
In the United States, there has been a backlash by labor against
outsourcing and offshoring. Offshoring is a process wherein a company
relocates its business to another country. On the other hand,
outsourcing refers to when a company subcontracts and division of
its production process to another company. For example, Gap hiring a
Vietnamese factory to sew its shirts is an example of outsourcing, while
Qualcomm opening a research design office in Ukraine is an example of
offshoring. Read the articles below to get a better understanding of the
follies of thinking of globalization and outsourcing in black and white.

Required Online Readings:

Mitra, Sramana. 2008. The Coming Death of Indian Outsourcing., February 29
Timmons, Heather. 2008. CostHCutting in New York, but a Boom in
India. The New York Times, August 11
.html?partne r=rssnyt&emc=rss

Social Change
The Environment and Globalization
Capitalism and the production of goods means the increased
exploitation of natural resources and increased consumption. The
ability to produce goods at an accelerated pace means the need for a
larger market to sell goods. The growing middle class in China, India,
and Brazil means more people buying cars, computers, clothes, and
other goods. As China has taken on the role of the world's factory,
pollution has become a major problems. The dyes used for each piece
of clothing made, the coal, oil, and energy used to produce goods, the
energy used to transport the goods are all contributing to pollution and
global warming. As globalization is changing our world, we are also
drastically changing our environment. The Great Pacific Garbage
Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex is a huge patch of the ocean as big
as Texas that is filled with tons of garbage and plastics. This is just one
of the environmental disasters that has led to the reusableHbag
movement, that has led to the banning of the use of plastic bags in
Ireland, China, and some cities in the US such as San Francisco.

Required Online Reading:

Marks, Kathy, and Daniel Howden. 2008. The World's Rubbish Dump:
A Garbage Tip that Stretches from Hawaii to Japan. The Independent.
aHgarbageHtipH thatHstretchesHfromHhawaiiHtoHjapanH778016.html
Trash and chemicals in our oceans is not just contaminating our
oceans and killing animal life, but compromising our food supply that is
affecting our health. There is an interconnectedness in our ecosystem
that is at the heart of sociological thinking. The high levels of mercury
in tuna is an example. Here is a consumer report on safety concerns
regarding tuna. This article is optional to read, but if you eat Tuna or
know people who do, it might be a good idea to read it.

Global Warming
Global warming is the increase in the earth's average temperature as a
result of the greenhouse effect. The more we consume the more
energy is needed to satisfy our needs. One aspect of climate change

and pollution is that it affects all of us. Pollutants cross national

borders, which makes environmental problems a collective problem.
Pollution in China does not stay within China's borders, but crosses the
Pacific and
affects air quality in the Western part of the US (NPR Climate Change
Series). Contaminated waters, the hole in the ozone layer, and poor air
quality our affecting our everyday lives and our health. The
sustainability of our way of life maybe the greatest challenge of the
21 century.

Required Online Radio Program:

2006. Global Warming Endangers California Wine Industry.

Responses to Social Change

Some resort to violence and some to democratic and peaceful
means to either resist or usher in change. Following Barber's (1995)
argument, violence, war, and terrorism can be a reaction to change.
One can argue that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction
against the Westernization of of the Middle East and South Asia. In
Cuba, to oust the dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar (1901 1973),
Che Guevarra and Fidel Castro started a revolution. To bring about
change in Iraq, the US invaded the country and toppled Saddam
Hussein. These are examples of violent actions to address change.
Social movements are another way to respond to change.
Social movements are a collective reactions to either resisting or
bringing about change. The Civil Rights Movement, The AntiHVietnam
War, The Mother's of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, the Velvet Revolution
in Georgia in 2003 that peacefully ousted President Eduard
Shevardnadze, and Gandhi's nonHviolent movement to liberate India
from the British are examples of a social movements. President
Obama's campaign and eventual victory during the 2008 presidential
election can be considered a social movement. The donations, number
of volunteers, and the sense of collective action his victory has brought
has made his victory a movement according to McAdam, a sociology
professor at Stanford University (Medill 10/20/08).
The New Social Movements, in contrast, are organizations
and collective action based on common ideals and values. For
example the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a group that has
come together to protect the oceans. Their membership is not based
on citizenship but on an ideal: to protect the environment. Their
recent task has been to protect the whales from Japanese hunters.
Whale meat is a delicacy in Japan and the country is the number one
consumer of fish.
Social movements can either be peaceful or can become violent.
With the internet and ease in communicating with the world, social
movement are becoming more global. The talk of a global society is

made possible as lines of communication are freed; issues such as

global warming require an international response, and the movement
of goods and people through trade and migration have become more
common. Understanding one's place in this changing world is one of
the goals of sociology. As we are faced with new challenges and
problems, sociology allows us to analyze how and why these changes
are occurring, and what we can do as a community and as individuals
in the process. It is this awareness and ability to analyze events from a
broad and layered perspective that sociology offers to us.

Do this little experiment and answer the questions and get a
understanding of how you and the products you consume are related to
the world:
Choose something you bought the past month (it can be
clothing, a piece of fruit, flowers, electronics), and do a miniHresearch
online and figure out what the product is made of (the raw materials
used to make the product if it's an assembled product such as a
telephone) and where these products are from. Who made your
product? How much do you think the person got paid to do it? Where
did the product have to travel to get to you? Are there any toxic
chemicals in your product? What happens when you no longer need it?
Do you throw it away? Where does it go after you throw it? How long
will it take for the product to disintegrate? Will it disintegrate?
If you choose an agricultural product, find out from your local
grocery where they get that certain produce and do a research online
about the issues involved in harvesting that product. What kind of
carbon foot print did the product leave in order to get to you?

Key Concepts:

Bretton Woods
System Capitalism
Collective Problem
Commodity chains
Compression of time and
space Core
imperialism Gini
Global inequality
Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Pacific Trash
Vortex Gross Domestic Product
Gross National
Hapiness Home
Host country
Human Development
Index Hyperglobalizers
New social
Social Change
World Systems theory

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