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Sociology Notes

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Sociology: is the scientific study of social behavior or society, including its origins, development,
organization, networks, and institutions. It studies those aspects of human behaviors that result
from our being members of the group and the fact that we live together with other people.

 Sociological perspective- seeing the general in the particular. This definition tells us that
sociologists look for general patterns in the behavior of particular Poole
o P6- we see that many things that are specific to ourselves, such as getting fired, is really
applicable and relevant to everyone and part of society- globalization and moving tech
work to india
o People need to see themselves within the larger world that they live in. unique personal
problems are really shared with other workers and part of the greater society
o Sociological imagination- seeing oneself within the context of the larger world

But are there aspects of human behavior that are not affected by our surroundings?

- Of course! There is the age old debate of nature versus nature. We think about our
relationship to the group and how we are raised but at the same time we are composed of
hormones, glands, secretions, bio chemistry.

Cesare Lombroso 1875- Applied the scientific method to the study of criminology. He studied the
physical characteristics of inmates in Italy and identified physical characteristics that were not present in
the non-criminal population. So then there must be a relationship between those characteristics and
rates of crime. Perhaps people who have certain characteristics identified people who are predisposed
to crime because he said that they were throwbacks to the atavistic personality- primitive man. He was
very influenced by Darwin and evolution.

Wiliam Sheldon- discussed the relationship between body type and personality and juvenile delinquency
and body type.  Endomorph, ecodomorph, mesopmorph.

These are both innate and intrinsic characteristics of individuals which affect their behavior. Sociology
would focus on their relationships and interactions with other people. Some people are socialized into
performing crime as an acceptable behavior- they are raised being told that it is a way of life that is
Sociology Notes

“Scared Straight” was a program where juvenile delinquents were brought to a maximum security prison
and given a tour by the inmates, and had the kids sit in cells and slam the doors. They would have an
incounter session with inmates. Each inmate would stand up and talk about different aspects of life in
prison. They spoke about rape and homosexuality and murder and verbal assault. It won an Emmy.
They made 2 follow up documentaries ten and twenty years later.

Langer studied participation in the program and the rates of future re-arrest and reduction in
delinquency. He studied a sample and studied delinquency by reading police reports for two years.

The critics of sociology said that we believe that human behavior is too erratic and not subject to
scientific study because the same thing will not happen every single permutation. But sociologists say
that group behavior would be impossible if group behavior was not predictable. There is a general
understanding that everyone is going to respect everyone else’s personal space, and pay attention and
be on time. Terror and terrorism has the goal of shattering your predictability of every day life.

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He was able to conclude based on his study that the program had a positive effect on the kids who went.
And we knew this based on the increase or decrease in crime and arrests their delinquency by the
experimental group as compared to the control group which should have been equal when they started.
Someone did a similar study and found a totally opposite result- they could have used a different
sample size. He did in fact only study the group and material for 6 months

The Father sociology was Auguste Comte 1798-1857. He was the first person to conceive of sociology as
the scientific study of society

Emile Durkeim- 1858-1917 French sociologist. The first of the empirical sociologists- posivism. He studies
suicide, his book is translated from French to English.

If suicide was so individualistic, it would appear randomly in the population and in every demographic.
But there are relationships between suicide and age, marriage, income, social class. So clearly it is not an
individualistic thing, but it is based on demographic. Jews have the lowest rates of suicide than
protestants and Catholics. He says that there is an inverse relationship between suicide and social
integration- the more involved you are in society the less likely you are to commit suicide.

 Positivism- the scientific approach established by Comte to knowledge based on “positive” facts
as opposed to mere speculation.
Sociology Notes

o He believed that knowledge based on tradition or metaphysics was really only

speculation, but a positivist approach to knowledge is based on science. He believed that
society operates according to certain laws, just as the physical world operates according
to gravity and other laws of nature. He explained that by using science, people could
come to understand the laws not only of the physical world but of society as well p9
o Positivist sociology is the study of society based on scientific observation of social
o Durkehim- father of criminiology
 Suicide- has an inverse relationship with social integration. The greater the
group cohesiveness, the less occurrence of suicide
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 Structural-functional approach- a frame work for building theory that sees society as a complex
system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability p10
o Society is an organism with different parts that all contribute to the greater overall
working of the society. Look at the Macro systems
Merton Discusses two functions of society:
o Manifest functions- The recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern
 The obvious function of the country’s system of higher education is to give young
people the information and skills they will need to hold jobs after graduation
o Latent functions – the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern
 College also functions as a “marriage broker” bringing together young people of
similar social backgrounds
 Conflict approach- Marx, society is a product of conflicting groups between those who have and
those who don’t have. How laws are there to protect the few, but we don’t punish corporations
but we do punish the poor. Look at the micro level- the people’s interaction in small groups and
seeing society as a result of the everyday interactions between people p 14

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Sociology Notes

- Functional does not mean good! It means that it has

Durk: Deviance is normal in a healthy society (in controlled quantities) and functionally necessary
because it strengthens, reinforces, reaffirms, and reestablishes that which is considered normal

Prostitution is illegal everywhere in the US except for rural places in Nevada

 Social dysfunction- any social patterns that may disrupt the operations of society p11
o Globalization of the economy, a rising flow of immigrants, and increasing inequality of
income are all factors that in the eyes of some people disrupt existing social patterns
 Symbolic-interaction approach- a framework for building theory that sees society as the product
of everyday interactions of individuals p14
 Empirical evidence- information we can verify with our senses
o Positivist sociology is often called empirical sociology because it is based on empirical
 Independent variable
 Dependent variable
 Interpretive sociology- the study of society that that focuses on the discovering the meanings
people attach to their social world p19
 Gender- the personal traits and social positions that members of a society attach to being
female or male. Gender can affect sociological research in five different ways
o Androcentricity-approaching an issue from a male perspective
o Overgeneralizing – when data is gathered only from men and then that information is
used to draw conclusions about all people
o Gender blindness- failing to consider gender at all
o Double standards- judging men and women by different standards
o Interference- if the subject reacts to the sex of the researcher, interfering with the
research operation
Vershtein- Max Weber, having a real understanding of the society around you

 Hypothesis
 Participant observation- a research method in which investigators systematically observe people
while joining them in their routine activities p24
Sociology Notes

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Ethnocentrism- to devalue that which is foreign to you and to view your own culture as superior. We use
anthropology to learn about the nuances of other cultures

Tempocentrism-the tendency to view the world within the context of my own country and time period
and era; failure to see the relationship between the past and the present and the present and the future

- We learn and become sensitive to tempocentrism by learning history

- Culture- the ways of thinking, acting and material objects that together form a people’s way
of life- a shared way of life or social heritage. While society refers to people who interact in a
defined territory and share a culture p36
o Configuration of learned behavior and results of behavior whose component
elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a society

- Nonmaterial culture- consists of the ideas created by members of a society, from art to Zen
- Material culture- the physical things created by members of a society, everything from arm
chairs to zippers
- Culture shock- personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life p38
- Symbol- anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share a
culture p40
- Cultural transmission- the process by which one generation passes culture to the next p41
- Sociobiology- the theoretical approach that explores ways in which human biology affects
how we create culture p55
- Values- culturally defined standards that people use to decide what is desirable, good, and
beautiful and that serve as broad guidelines for social living p 41
- Popular culture- cultural patterns that are widespread among a society’s population p48
- Subculture- cultural patterns that set apart some segment of society’s population p48
- Counterculture- cultural patterned that strongly oppose those widely accepted within
society, outright rejection of the current culture. 1970s, the hippies rejected mainstream
conservative culture and created a new group
- Eurocentrism – the dominance of European (especially English) cultural patterns
Sociology Notes

- Cultural lag- the fact that some cultural elements change more quickly than others,
disrupting a cultural system
o What happens to the traditional family model of mother and father when a woman
uses a surrogate to have a child, or has a baby on her own via sperm donor?
- Cultural relativism- the practice of judging a culture by its own standards, which is the
alternative to ethnocentrism, which is the practice of judging another culture by the
standards of one’s own culture p51
- Cultural universals- Murdock- traits that are part of every known culture. There are dozens
of examples, such as family, which functions everywhere to control sexual reproduction and
to oversee the care of children

Personality-the dynamic organization within the individual with those psychophysical systems that
determine her unique adjustments to her environment

- The more or less organized ways of behavior that characterize an individual including her
patterns of thought, feeling, and action

Sources of Personality

1) Biological determinism
a. The factors that determine
b. There are no two people who have the same biochemical composition and there’s a
relationship between glandular functioning and certain traits of personality such as
c. Abe Maslow and the Hierarchy of needs- under Biological determinism because the first
stage is biological needs

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i. Satisfy one stage and move onto the next

1. Physiological needs- need for food, air, water
2. Safety- need to be free from pain and disturbing stimuli- physical
3. Belongingness-need to be part of- to have comfort and love. Some
people satisfy this in conventional ways, and others in deviant way- by
joining a religious cult
Sociology Notes

4. Esteem- self-esteem and self-respect- the ability to evaluate yourself in

a positive way and respect yourself, and how you think others perceive
5. Self- actualization- the realization of one’s potential, self-fulfillment
d. Lombrozo
e. William Sheldon- Theory of Somatotypes- relationship between body type and
i. Body types
1. Endomorph- softish, roundish body type- someone who seeks out social
approval and comfort
2. Ecdomorph- skinny body type, restrained and inhinibited
3. Mesomorph- muscular body type, forward, direct mannerism
2) Cultural determinism- deals with the extent to which we are a reflection of the culture in which
we live
a. Intercultural differences between people
b. Sub cultures
3) Behaviorism- John Watson; we are a product of that what we learn
a. Tabula-rasa: a child is a blank slate at birth
4) Psychological theory-freud- psychoanalysis- dream analysis, thought that all problems could be
solved by looking into early childhood
a. The key to understanding motivation behind behavior is by searching the realm of the
unconscious and going back to early childhood experience- it is the beginning! And the
source of everything- that’s where the personality is shaped
b. Through the process of free association
c. He believes that we are primitive storehouses filled with energy and throughout our life
we release that primitive sexual aggressive energy and we redirect it hopefully in ways
that are socially acceptable and not harmful to other people. But sometimes its released
in primitive ways that do harm others- because the id, ego, and super ego were not
properly balanced
d. 3 component parts of the personality
i. Id- born with id, it is the source of gratification for the basic primitive sexual
and aggressive drive of the individual. It is primitive, crude, impulsive, and
Sociology Notes

irrational. Operates on a pleasure principle, it does not care about what is

socially acceptable
ii. Ego- it is the agent of control. The ego wil perceive, plan and think about what
to do with the energies of the id based on its access to reality. Agent of
control, direction and re-direction. Funnels the energies to the id. Where is the
reality? Is it in the personality?
iii. Super ego- total system of forces that restrain and curtail the basic impulses of
the id. It is the internalization of reality- to take the reality and make it a part of
who you are. Our conscience
e. It is a big fight, a state of tension
i. Wanting to have a cookie before dinner, the id wants it, and super ego says no
those are for dessert! The ego will redirect the energies towards something else
to prevent or change the behavior

Psychosocial development

1) Oral Stage: Birth to 1 ½

- Child is pleasure bent on receiving gratification from oral stimulation
2) Anal Stage: 1 1/2 – 3
- Child receives gratification from anal stimulation such as retention and elimination
- Toilet training
3) Phallic stage: 3-6
- Child becomes aware of their sex organs and receives gratification from activities associated
with their manipulation
- Two important complexes occur
o Oedipus complex- boy has erotic feels towards his mother and hostility towards his
o Electra complex- has erotic feelings for her father and hostility towards her mother
4) Latency period: 6-adolecense
- Cooling off period, no new direction of energy
- Nothing new is happening in terms of energy direction
5) Genial phase: 11-
- Emergence of puberty and the adult sexual drive
Sociology Notes

- Sexual energy is directed towards someone else

If you do not fully master a stage, then you do not take all of your energy to the next stage – then you
have a fixation, which results from insufficient gratification

- The result of a fixation is that later on in life, the person may have certain traits of
personality that are characteristic of the stage in which the fixation occurred

Defense Mechanisms :One way we cope with anxiety is employing defense mechanisms

- Rationalization- explaining ones behavior to oneself in order to maintain self esteem

- Repression- motivated forgetting because it creates anxiety- a tendency or a trait
- Reaction formation- you do the exact opposite of that which you repress
o If you have homosexual feelings you will lead a crusade against gay people
- Projection: we attribute to others our own undesirable traits, feelings, wishes, desires

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Why people are unique according to Freud

o We redirect energies differently- id, ego, super ego

o They fixate differently based on their development
o We employ defense mechanisms differently

- Socialization- the lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential
and learn culture p64
- Personality- a person’s daily consistent patterns of acting, thinking, and feeling. We build a
personality by internalizing and taking in our surroundings p64
- Piaget- know 4 stages
o Sensorimotor- he children experience the world through movement and their five
senses. During the sensorimotor stage children are extremely egocentric,
meaning they cannot perceive the world from others' viewpoints
o Preoperational stage- the stage children enter at age 2, the level of human
development at which individuals first use language and other symbols. Now
children begin to think about the world using their imagination. They can attach
meaning only to specific experiences and objects. They cannot judge size, weight, or
Sociology Notes

volume pouring water from narrow beaker into wider beaker, children think the
narrow beaker has more water in it even though they saw that the two original
beakers had the same amount of water. p67
o Concrete operational- from ages seven to eleven. Children can now conserve and
think logically (they understand reversibility) but are limited to what they can
physically manipulate. They are no longer egocentric. During this stage, children
become more aware of logic and conservation, topics previously foreign to them.
Children also improve drastically with their classification skills
o Formal operational- from age eleven to sixteen and onwards (development of
abstract reasoning). Children develop abstract thought and can easily conserve
and think logically in their mind. Abstract thought is newly present during this
stage of development. Children are now able to think abstractly and
utilize metacognition. Along with this, the children in the formal operational stage
display more skills oriented towards problem solving, often in multiple steps.
- George Herbert Mead- development of the self- because of limited experience infants can
only do imitation, and play, and play is restricted to significant others
o Immitaton play  games
- Looking glass self- coined by Charles H Cooley, meaning the a self-image based on how we
think others see us p69
- Agents of socialization p71
o Family
o School
o Peer group
o Mass media
- Significant others- people, such as parents, who have special importance for socialization.
During play, children learn to use language and other symbols and in doing so, the self
emerges. Play involves assuming roles modeled on significant others. Playing “mommy and
daddy” begins to teach children to imagine the world from a parent’s point of view p 70
- Generalized- the widespread cultural norms and values we use as reference in evaluating
others p70
- Anticipatory socialization- learning that helps a person achieve a desired position- people
are influenced by peer groups that they would like to join. In school, young people may copy
Sociology Notes

the styles and slang of a group they hope will accept them- having a young child prepare at a
young age for taking over a certain career. p73
- Ageism- prejudice and discrimination against older people p79
- Total institution- Irving Goffman- a setting in which people are isolated from the rest of
society and controlled by administrative staff. This is often a setting where people are being
confined against their will in prisons or mental hospitals. They have three important
o Staff members supervise all aspects of daily life including where residents eat, sleep,
and work
o Life in a total institution is controlled and standardized, with the same food,
uniforms, and activities for everyone
o Formal rules dictate when, where and how inmates perform their daily routines p80
- Resocialization- radically changing an inmate’s personality by carefully controlling the
environment. These institutions affect people in different ways. Some inmates may end up
“rehabilitated” or “recovered” but others may change little, and still others may become
hostile and bitter. It is a two part process
o the staff breaks down a new inmate’s existing identity. The inmate must surrender
personal possessions, including clothing and grooming articles used to maintain a
distinctive appearance and the staff provides standard issue clothing so everyone
looks alike. The staff subjects new inmates to mortification of self which can include
searches, medical examinations, head-shaving, fingerprinting, and assignment of a
serial number
o The second part is that the staff tries to build a new self in the inmate through a
system of rewards and punishments. They use simple and minor pleasures as
motivation to conform.

5) Sociological and social psychological theory: George Herbert Mead

a. Wrote the book Mind, Self and Society- His students put together his lectures and
published it for him. The emergence of the mind and the self is a product of social
interaction and communication. The mind and the self evolve in a process of social
Sociology Notes

interaction and communication with the society. The pre-requisite for the emergence of
the mind and the self is social interaction and communication.
i. Social interaction  mind and self
ii. But How can you have social interaction without the mind? It is not fully
developed- it is at its most basic level, and we develop it over time
iii. When does social interaction begin? Immediately when you are born! Very
primitive and non-verbal communication, which you must have in order to build
up to the more advanced levels of communication.
iv. We must have the primitive levels of language- one word, then you can string
them together and you have an idea, and then you can have higher levels of
v. Being aware of who you are in relation to other people-self conscious
1. We need to teach children to interact with each other they are ego
centric and need to be taught to not only think of their own immediate
needs. The child needs to be taught how to play and work with others
and how to share their toys, even if they don’t want to
2. Cooley’s the Looking Glass Self- very similar to Mead’s presentation. You
see yourself from the vantage point of others
a. Role playing- stepping out of yourself and looking at the world
from someone else’s perspective
b. Mead talks about the
i. “I” spontaneous, creative, unique sense of individuality
1. At birth, the child is selfish and does not have the ability to see itself in
relation to other people because it cannot see it self in relation to the
2. We still have unique parts of the individual
ii. “Me”  conventional, passive part of self that reflects the expectations of the
other (the group)
1. The fact that we are wearing clothing is a reflection of the “me” but we
have the ability to choose what kind of clothing we wear. But if you are
forced to wear a uniform, you are not able to express your “I.”
Mortification process- In prison, the inmates clothing is replaced by a
Sociology Notes

uniform and their hair is cut in order to break down your basis of
identification so that you can be controlled- it is very difficult to control
a collection of individuals, but a lot easier if you can make them a
collective and not individuals. In the Marines you cant have pictures of
your family for 6 months because they want to break down your prior
identity in order to re-create you in a different way.
2. In many places in the world, you must conform to the beliefs of the
society and the society is so repressive that your ideas of race and
religion are completely managed by the community. If you express your
own identity then you will be killed. If the Me dominates, then the I is
completely suppressed because the person is prevented from defining
their own sense of identity
3. You must be an object to the other person, but you also must be an
object to yourself- you do this by being able to reflect on yourself and
putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and you then see yourself from
the perspective of others

Specialized or Specific Others- the “me” reflects the expectations of the group- as your world expands
and you are open to more ideas and concepts, you enter into the world of the “generalized other”
you have a larger group to compare yourself to. When you are very young you only compare yourself to
the small group that you know- your interaction is restricted to a small group, and your world is a


1) Primitive non-verbal communication

2) Words
3) Idea (thinking)
4) Mind development
5) Thinking about one’s self

Society and Culture

Society- Structure and Process

Sociology Notes

People in geographical boundaries are brought together because of mutual needs, and that is the
beginning of society. But there must be flexibility and a process to transform the society from structure
into process

Society- complex system of relationships between individuals and groups based on shared symbolic
values, common beliefs, and norms; that is on culture

Culture: Configuration of learned behavior and results of behavior whose component elements are
shared and transmitted by the members of a society

- The distinctive way of life of a group of people; their complete design for living
o Economic institutions, food, educational institutions

Material culture- the tools of our culture is at odds with the non-material culture due to cultural lag-
when one aspect of a culture is significantly more advanced than

Norms- blueprint for behavior, rule of behavior, guideline for behavior, that specifies that which is
appropriate and inappropriate

William Graham Sumner- wrote book Folkways, identifies different kinds of norms. Some norms are
reinforced harshly, but some norms being violated are not such big deals. Some norms are a threat to
the group when violated, and others are not. In the book he classifies different kinds of norms.

Norms that governs most of our daily routine and ordinary contacts with other people. They define that
which is socially correct and incorrect, that which is proper and improper.

1) Folkways- Violations of Folkways are not considered to be a violation to the group and they are
informally enforced
- Informal social control- when people stare at you or talk about you- this doesn’t actually
hurt you but nobody want that
2) More (Moray) they define that which is moral and immoral, that which is right and wrong. They
are obligatory and not simply proper; violation of the More is considered to be a threat to the
group. You are obliged to abide by them. How do we enforce them?
3) Law- an institutionalized More
Sociology Notes

4) Fashion- highly transitory pattern of behavior usually associated with an intense fascination with
a given thing at a given time
a. Fad-ephemeral- short lived, than a fashion

Social Group- an organization of two or more individuals who are united both by ties of mutual
dependence and by a system of shared behavioral standards

Social category- an aggregate of people who possess a common identifying characteristic but who lack
either the ties of mutual dependence or system of shared behavioral standards

- All divorced women, all students in America, all athletes

What gives a group structural organization?

- We all occupy positions in the social behavior that come with positions
- Status- the position you occupy in the social structure. Assigned to every position is a role,
which is the pattern of behavior associated with a distinctive social position
o The role defines the obligations and privileges associated with the position
o Multiple status- the fact that we occupy multiple positions
o Master Status/Key Status- the status you most often identify with
 In the USA, the most common master status is your occupation
o Role conflict- when one of your roles comes into conflict with your other roles
 Working mother- tension when child is sick and have to go to work
o Role strain-conflicting demands of in the same role
 Zimbardo- wanted to continue his research in the prison but he had to stop
because his students were in danger
o Ascribed status- a status that is imposed on you because you are born into it.
 Being royal, or a cohen, or in the cast system

Chapter 4
 Role exit- p91
 Symbolic interaction- shaping____
 Dramaturgical anaylsis- Goffman, we are actors in the play of life, we modify our behavior
depending of on the setting and relationships we are in p94
Chapter 4
Sociology Notes

- Social Interaction— the process by which people act and react in relation to others.
- Master Status— A status that as special importance for social identity, often shaping a person’s entire
- Role Set— A number of roles attached to a single status.
- Social Construction of Reality— The process by which people creatively shape reality through social
- Ethnomethodology— Harold Garfinkel’s term for the study of the way people make sense of their
everyday surroundings.
- Dramaturgical Analysis— Erving Goffman’s term for the study of social interaction in terms of
theatrical performance.Presentation of Self— Erving Goffman’s term for a person’s efforts to create
specific impressions in the minds of others.

Chapter 5
 Social group- two or more people who identify with and interact with one another p108
 Primary group- according to Cooley- a small social group whose members share personal and
lasting relationships. People who share primary relationships spend a great deal of time
together, engage in a wide range of activities, and feel that they know one another pretty well.
The family is every society’s most important primary group p109
 Secondary group- a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or
activity. Secondary relationships involve weak emotional ties and little personal knowledge of
one another. These groups exist for only a short period of time beginning and ending without
particular significance- students taking the same class one semester but who may not see each
other after the semester are part of a secondary group- these groups are goal oriented instead of
personally oriented p109
 Leadership Roles:
 Instrumental leadership- group leadership that focuses on the completion of task. Usually have
formal, secondary relationships with other members they give orders and reward or punish
people according to how much they contribute to the group’s effort. Successful instrumental
leaders enjoy more respect from members p 110
 Expressive leadership- group leadership that focuses on the group’s well-being. These leaders
take less interest in achieving goals and focus on promoting the well-being of members and
minimizing tension and conflict among members. Build more personal, primary ties. They offer
Sociology Notes

sympathy to members going through tough times, keep the group unified, and lighten serious
moments with humor. Expressive leaders typically receive more personal affection from
members p110
 Group Authority and conformity
o Asche’s line study
o Milgram electric shock study
 Reference group- a social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and
decisions- a young man who imagines his family’s response to a woman he is dating is using his
family as a reference group p111
 Network- web of weak social ties- a fuzzy group containing people who come into occasional
contact but lack a sense of boundaries and belonging p113
 Formal organization- Etzioni-large secondary groups organized to achieve their goals efficiently.
Formal organizations such as corporations and government agencies, differ from small primary
groups in their impersonality and their formally planned atmosphere. There are three types
o Utilitarian-in pursuit of getting paid- doing your job
o Normative-you join a voluntary organization in the pursuit of doing something for other
o Coercive- not your choice!
o p 115
 Bureaucracy- an organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently.
Bureaucratic officials regularly create and revise policy to increase efficiency
 McDonaldization- includes four basic organizational principles- the spread of consumerism
o Efficiency- we tend to think that anything that is done quickly is for that reason alone,
good. The company’s leading item is entire breakfast packaged into one single
sandwich. In the restaurant, customers pick up their orders at the counter, dispose of
their own trash, and stack their trays as they leave
o Predictability- an efficient organization wants to make everything it does as predictable
as possible. All of McDonald’s foods are prepared using a set formula. Company policies
guide performance of every job
o Uniformity- the food that McDonald’s produces is measured and standardized, and our
living conditions are more standardized than ever- traveling the nations interstates and
sitting at home watching nationally-aired TV shows
o Control-
Sociology Notes

 Characteristics of bureaucracy- bureaucratic organization promotes efficiency by carefully hiring

workers and limiting the unpredictable effects of personal taste and opinion
o Specialization- bureaucracy assigns individuals highly specific and specialized jobs
o Hierarchy of offices- bureaucracies arrange workers in a vertical ranking. Each person is
supervised by someone “higher up” in the organization while in turn supervising others
in lower positions. Usually with fewer people on top and many on the bottom,
bureaucratic organizations take the form of a pyramid
o Rules and regulations- rationally enacted rules and regulations guide a bureaucracy’s
operation. Ideally, a bureaucracy seeks to operate in a completely predictable way
o Technical competence- bureaucratic officials have the technical competence to carry out
their duties. Bureaucracies typically hire new members according to set standards and
then monitor their performance. People are evaluated based on their skills, not their
o Impersonality- bureaucracies put rules ahead of person whim so that both clients and
workers are all treated in the same way
o Formal, written communications- bureaucracies depend on formal, written memos and
reports , which accumulate into vast files
 Coercive organization- have involuntary membership. People are forced to join these
organizations as a form of punishment (prisons) or treatment (psychiatric hospitals). These
organizations have special physical features, such as locked doors and windows and are
supervised by security personnel
Format of Exam: pen and pencil
100 multiple choice and True False
10 fill ins, short answer


Chapter 8:

Social stratification – the study of inequality; the study of how unequal people are, it is also the study of
distribution of power in society.
Sociology Notes

Stratify – literal translation: the hierarchical ordering of individuals into social positions according to the
values and attributes deemed most important by that particular society.

If you are having a conversation about stratification you are also talking about the nature of the society.

USA – is there free movement that exists in our social stratification? Can people go up in the
stratification of our society?

Social mobility – the ability to change your social position

 Sometimes there may be very little social mobility or a lot. It depends on the society
 Up and down or sideways
o Vertical mobility going up
o Horizontal mobility – trying to get to a higher point but the track that your on has
people in the way so you move horizontally to a different track so you can go up in that
because there’s no one in the way
 This is called lateral mobility = horizontal mobility

Three classical systems of stratification

1. The first one exists in India – cast system

a. Social positions in India are called casts
b. What determines your cast in the Indian culture is birth – you are born into your cast. You
work, live, grow, marry in your cast. It has been officially outlawed but it still exists. This
is an example’s of ascribed status.
c. Casts = varnas
d. There are hundreds of casts and sub - casts
e. The cast system in India, the higher cast would wear bells so the people in the lower class
know that they are coming
f. NO mobility - you even marry within the same cast
i. Endogamous = marrying within the same group
2. Second system exists in the middle ages in a feudal society
a. Called estates = social position/status
b. What determines your estate? – Possession of land, land tenure
c. Mobility – limited
i. You could marry someone from a different estate – it wasn’t the norm but it could
3. Social classes – USA
3/16/2016 9:23 AM

a. Income, occupation, education three main indicators of social class

Sociology Notes

b. Sex-women make 74% on the dollar to men; religion; race

c. Not ranked in casts, but rather by social class
d. 35% of people a sociologist asked said they didn’t know what social class they were in
i. A different gave people 4 options- and 5% said “don’t know” concluded that
people are very class conscious
e. Can be in a higher circle but have less money than someone
f. Old money- upper crust, white Anglo Saxon Protestant, third generation inherited
4. Crystallization- denotes sharp lines sharp lines of demarcation and difference between social
a. Formula to measure the crystallization; The degree to which people who occupy one
position on one rank system also occupy the same or similar positions on the other rank
system is the degree to which a society is crystallized
i. A Supreme Court Justice is ranked highest in prestige of occupation, but only
make $275,000 they do not occupy the same rank
ii. But if I rank high because of income, have a prestigious job, and have an MBA,
that shows
3/28/2016 9:31 AM
Lyod Warner- sociologist, wrote book called Yankee City= fictitious name given to a sleepy town in
Massachusetts, Newbury Court, wanted to know what social class people thought they were in
Found 6 classes, did a combination of reputational and objective
Found that people in the lower upper class had more money than the upper-upper class. Because the
Upper upper was the WASP community, 3rd generation American with old money, and Noveau riche-
money made in your own lifetime. The aristocracy saw the new rich as glitzy and tacky
1) Subjective approach- asking the person what class they are in
2) Reputational approach- asking what social class are other people in
a. Familiar stranger- someone you know a lot about but have never spoken to
3) Objective approach- find out what is important in the town, and then you go out and ask people
about that, and then you find out what class they are in by making these social classes
Carl Marx-
3/30/2016 9:29 AM

According to Karl, the history of the world has been one long continuous
struggle/conflict between two opposing groups of people- the haves and the have nots
aka the owners and the workers aka the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
They are fighting over the ownership of the means of production
- The owners want to consolidate and perpetuate their ownership at the expense of the workers.
They are not interested in the redistribution of wealth
- The workers want to get in on the action
- This tension has been going on through every century
Sociology Notes

The central theme in his theory is economic determinism –

1) The economic institutions are the pivotal institutions around which everything evolves in the
society- economic institutions are in the direct center and foundation of society and every
revolves around it
2) When the owners go home, they take their work home with them- the workers and owners
would share with each other common beliefs, values, and affiliations as a direct result of their
3) Work is an extension of ones self- work is an appendage to the person’s body. The person’s
identity and sense of self is grounded in their work- the person’s whole sense of who they are
is grounded in what they do
Marx predicted that we would move into the industrial society and capitalistic economy, 1830s, and we
move into the cities with urbanization, he predicts even worse tension and conflict between the owners
and workers. He predicts that the workers will get together and revolt and capitalism will self destruct.
- Alienation- to be estranged from- physical distance, but also a feeling of powerlessness, loss
of control of ones destiny
- According to marx, in the industrial revolution, the alienation would get so intense that
there would be a revolution and overthrow the owners
4/4/2016 9:21 AM
The alienation became so horrific in the industrial society because people were so connected to who
they were, and then their work was able to be replaced and replicated for much cheaper and much
faster- so these people were no longer in charge of their labor and destiny, and they were just part of
the huge production machine. Alienation was a big deal because people so strongly identified with their
In order for the revolution for to occur, there had to be class consciousness, where you have a group of
people who know that they feel the same way.
- The awareness that my own individual feeling of alienation is shared or common to my
fellow worker (i.e. Thanksgiving table – worker invites his other worker friends over, and
they become aware of each others’ ailments  find that each have a common feelings
The definition of class consciousness: the awareness that my own individual feeling of alienation is
shared or common to my fellow workers
- If people are all communicating with each other, then social movements can really evolve
and take hold
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - 1911, workers were Italian and Jewish immigrants, there was a fire and
the doors were sealed shut to avoid pilfering. 146 women were killed, and afterwards the International
Womens Garment Union (IWGU)
- Because of unions, plight of the worker is definitely better (food stamps, welfare, safety
Q: But where is the revolution that Karl Marx was talking about would happen to a capitalistic society?
Sociology Notes

A: Think about stratification! Social class in the US – main critique of Marx’s theory is that he failed to
predict the emergence of the middle class in our society (and all the rest of the classes). There is no
common alienation between someone in the upper middle class and someone in a lower class
But the main critique of Marx’s theory is the number of classes he analyzes- we don’t just have two! So
if there is more than two classes, then there is less class consciousness- the people in each class are
different and go home to different places and communities; and everyone reinforces themselves by
stepping on the heads of people lower than them.
- He failed to predict the emergence of the middle class in society - all the social classes would
Segway from social stratification to deviance
4/11/2016 9:12 AM
chapter 7- deviance
levels of diveance-
social control
informal social control
deviance- straying from the norm
deviant- behavior
we determine what the norm is, and sociologists study the people and deterimine the pulse of the
people and understand what the beliefs and thoughts of the group is
Robert Merton- manifest and latent functions, spoke about Deviance in the US, the Theory of Anomy,
Emile Durkheim, in context of suicide
- Anomie- normlessness, without norms, a situation of breakdown in the regulatory
functioning of the norms in society (overemphasis on goals, under emphasis on means)
o 5 modes of adaptation: most common is adaptation
- American culture is anomic- overemphasis on the goals and an underemphasis on the
means. There is a disjunction between the culturally prescribed goals and the societal
means of attaining them
o Legitimate means in society are differentially distributed – means
o What is the yardstick used for achievement? How do we measure success?
 In America, it is the accumulation of material goods
Merton says that we cannot escape this advertising and goal, but we don’t teach them how to get to the
means. The avenues for getting them are not equitably distributed
Vince Lombardi- winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing
Anomie is a sociological concept used to describe a condition of the society. Alienation is a psychological
concept used to describe an experience or feeling
Merton identifies 5 different modes of adaptation- something about the acceptance or rejection of the
condition (retreatism is alienation personified)
Sociology Notes

Means Goals Which class?

+ (you accept that + (you
the means to accept accept the
the means should be goal)
the means
1) Conformity + + Any!

2) innovation - + The lower class has the least access

If I can’t get there to the means, they would be the
legitimately, I’ll get most likely to engage in innovate
there illegally- con means
artist, drug selling, - but even people of higher means
stealing. will engage in illegal means to
make more money because the
emphasis on the accumulation
of material means is never
3) retreatism- Feels so alienated, so Personifies alienation
someone estranged and
who is really powerless, that he
alienated retreats to Drug
addiction, alcohol,
4) rebellion +_ +_ The rebel rejects the goals, and
rejects the Gets a plus plus rejects the notion that some people
premise, and because he offers a can have and others cant, but the
the goals, the substitute of means rebel offers an alternative- lets be
means of the socialist or go to a commune
5) ritualism- + -
Becomes obsessed
with the means that
they lose sight of the

Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin studied delinquencies

In the 1950s and 60s, there was a class bias on delinquencies, (focused on lower class
delinquency) people only talked about lower class delinquencies- no one talked about white
collar crimes
Identified three delinquent gangs/subcultures
1) Criminal gang
a. gang involved in crime, typical criminality. i.e. Steal merchandise and extortion
2) Conflict gang
a. Bopping gangs – got rep from physical and fighting skills
3) Retreatist gang
a. “Double failures” don’t make it in conforming world, criminal world, or conflict
world – so they retreat to the world of drugs
Sociology Notes

- They agreed with Merton that legit means were differentially distributed, but illegitimate
means were also differentially distributed, and this explains why some kids end up in
criminal gangs, others in conflict gangs, and others in retreatist gangs. Depends on what is
made available to you in your community. If crime is available to me easily, then maybe I’ll
be more likely to fall prey to it- but that is all based on my circumstances
- There are other influences, not just availability, that help facilitate movement into these
gangs. This is why Cloward and Ohlin agree with Merton
Two sociologist criminologist Gresham Sykes and David Matzah identify techniques of neutralization
(just talking about juveniles)
1) Denial of Responsibility
a. The kid shifts the focus of attention away from himself as an actor to himself as
someone who has been acted upon by forces beyond his control- it’s not his fault
because of forces beyond his control
b. The kid shifts the focus of attention away from himself as an actor to himself as
someone who has been acted upon by forces beyond his control
i. Makes a shift in his brain – talking to himself
c. excuse: I was on drugs or abused as a child, im a victim of circumstance
2) Denial of Injury – I take full responsibility for what I did, but it wasn’t wrong
a. Example on exam: Vandalism is seen by the kid as simply mischievous behavior
b. nobody got hurt, it’s no big deal
c. justification: no one got hurt… didn’t steal the car, just borrowed it
3) Denial of the Victim (like the guy from HONY)
a. Example from exam: stealing from a crooked store keeper
b. The victim is not innocent! And victims are people who are innocent and the person is
avenging the person who deserves to be punished
c. Taking away status of innocence of victim – like Robin Hood
d. Justification: I did it, but the guy deserved it
4) The Appeal to Higher Loyalty
a. kid sacrifices the demands of the larger society for those of his intimate primary group
b. I need to go to the fight even though society tells me not to because I need to protect
my friend who’s in my gang
c. Justification: I accept responsibility but my loyalty to the gang is greater than my loyalty
to the society
5) Condemnation of the Condemners
a. kid seeks to condemn those who try to condemn him
b. who is going to condemn me? My parents? They are no better than me! And neither are
the police!
c. The kid is changing the conversation- let’s not talk about my behavior, lets talk about
d. No justification or excuse of his behavior  not talking about himself
(Chapters 8,7,11,14 on exam)
This is not a kid who is inherently delinquent or part of a delinquent sub-culture – he’s sitting on the
fence between worlds of conformity and basic delinquency. He knows what he is doing is wrong, but to
him, the norms don’t apply. Reconstruct events in a way where you don’t look so bad. Where is he
getting this scaled value of norms from?
Sociology Notes

The kid knows that he did something wrong, and he is explaining why the norms do not apply- the
constraints of the norm that would prohibit him from such actions are suspended due to extraordinary
circumstances. He recognizes that he did something wrong so he has to explain why it’s fine!
Albert Cohen – also discusses delinquency (p. 204)
A juvenile gang emerges in a process of social interaction and communication between kids who find
themselves in similar circumstances.
The Similar Circumstances
1) Same social class (lower class)
2) Common inability to meet the standards and expectations of the middle class value system
3) As a result, they experience status frustration ( Cohen’s own term)
4) Juvenile gang becomes an alternative status sytem – kids reaffirm self-esteem and self-respect,
AND justify their hostility towards the middle class, which excluded them
According to Cohen, these kids have not been properly socialized to meet the standards set by the
middle class – the gang itself becomes a new system
Walter Miller – also wrote about “lower class culture”
- Lower class culture as the generating milieu of delinquency (one’s surroundings)
- According to Cohen, kids create the gang in response to the expectations they can’t meet of
the middle class.
- According to Miller, kids don’t have to create anything because in the lower class culture,
there are focal concerns which are naturally in conflict with middle class values. Kids just
have to conform to those already existing norms, which are conducive to delinquent
activity, so then the kids are delinquent.
3 Focal Concerns Unique to Lower Class Cultures
1) Excitement
a. Such a drab existence, so they have to enliven it. Pursue exciting activities, like
gambling, drinking, sexual adventure, and fighting
2) Smartness
a. Ability to be street-savvy, ability to con
3) Toughness
a. Physical prowess
But upper class and middle class do the same things over the weekend – look for excitement in bars –
smartness, appreciate school smarts over cunning, and toughness, you want a tough lawyer or student –
critique of Miller’s theory, because it’s in every class
Prejudice and Discrimination
Not the same things. Prejudice is an attitude and discrimination is action.
Prejudice is a negative attitude, the content of which may be hate, fear, disgust, threat, hostility, etc.
Discrimination: deliberate action which is taken to impede or curtail the equal movement or access of
another individual or group
Sociology Notes

Minority group: Any group of individuals who, because of a unique characteristic it possesses, is the
subject and object of prejudice and discrimination
Major Sources of Prejudice
1) Power conflict
a. Selfish struggle for control over scarce resources in society (i.e. land, oil, jobs, housing,
etc.) Selfish because not about values – about “this is mine, and you can’t take it.”
2) Ideological conflict
a. Struggle for the supremacy or maintenance of a given way of life or belief system over
another. “My ideology is right, and yours is wrong.”
3) Racism
a. Desire to maintain what is believed to be racial superiority, biological purity, and cast
separation. “My race is superior, and your race is innately inferior.”
4) Social structural factors
a. Mechanisms of the social structure which are used to create or intensify already existing
prejudice. Mechanisms of social structure = media use to denigrate other people and
raise your own  propaganda
5) Psychological theories
a. Projection – we attribute those which we see in ourselves onto other people
b. Frustration aggression – frustration triggers mechanisms of aggression
i. Displaced aggression – wait till you get home and choose the most vulnerable
and weak people (wife, husband, child)
ii. For a whole nation (like Germany) to blame a minority group (like Jews)
c. Scapegoating – blaming somebody else
d. Generalization – bad experience with minority group, so you generalize to the whole
group (xenophobia)
Optimal contact (contact hypothesis) – create a situation where there can be interaction between
people on eqaual bases. Strip differences by allowing people to interact with one another (like done
with busing, and equal housing – “Oh! We aren’t that different, you and I.”)
Pluralism, Assimiliation, and Amalgamation
- Pluralism: peaceful coexistence – maintain your own identity (A+B+C=A+B+C)
- Assimilation: When minority groups becomed subsumed/absorbed by majority group/s
- Amalgamation:
Scared straight
How do you evaluate progress and measure deliquency?
- Look at police records before and after the kids go through the program
Must look at severity of the crime 5 time possession of marijuana or 1 time rape?
Had to find comparable groups, so have to find groups that are not significantly statistically different. If
the experimental group is statistically more different than the control group, then there’s no study
Sociology Notes

Experiment Control Experiment Control

Delinquency 2.0 2.2 2.0 3.0

before Level of delinquent (not significantly Before
program activity before the different from program
participation program 2.0) participation
13.5 average

Delinquency 2.2 4.0 At 10 months 2.8 3.0

after But the increase in Average age
program delinquency from 14.5
participation 2.0 to 2.2 is not
2 years later statistically
(22 months) significant.
Average age
The program had a positive effect on the kids who went to it because the slight increase in delinquent
activity that they had over 2 years is a lot less that what would have happened had they not gone to the
program. Participation in program accelerated maturational reform
Q: Why was there such a surge at ten months?
- AGE - predictable rise in delinquent behavior and activity, peaks at 16 and then goes down
- Sharp decline in delinquency at 17 has been attributed to maturational reform, and the kid
is now treated as an adult and takes their own actions more seriously. Most juvenile
delinquents do not become adult criminals! They grow out of it
- The kids were studied from ages 13.5-15.5, which are years of predictable delinquent
behavior increase. We see such an increase at 10 months, but then it really goes back down
for the second half!
 When kids enter the program they are 3.5 years away from maturation, headed
for a steep increase in D behavior
 10 months they are still far away from maturational reform
 Suggested that participation in the program accelerated maturational reform

 Reality of adult prison: When the kid gets to the program, he realistically isn’t
going to go to a maximum security prison for adults! But then that reality gets
more and more possible as he gets older
- Fear arousing communication studies (like showing smokers images of cancers you can get)
o What’s better, fear or non-fear arousing studies? All the studies are inconclusive
o In fear arousing communication, we often see a long term effect and not a short term
 Sleeper effect
 Effect lies dormant, and then hits you later
- If a teenager is visiously told that he is going to be raped and abused in prison, hes going to
use defense mechanisms and reject that information, and have hostility to the
communicatory. But maybe long term, the message sinks in.
Sociology Notes

o Perhaps in scared straight there was a long term sleeper effect. (explanation 3 to
account for short term and long term findings, along with AMR and reality of adult