Sociology Chapters 1, 2, and 3 Vocabulary Only

Term Definition
Sociology The systematic study of the relationship between the individual and society and the consequences of difference
Sociological Imagination Our recognition of the interdependent relationship between who we are as individuals and the social forces that shape our lives
Private Troubles Problems we face in our immediate relationships with particular individuals in our personal lives
Public Issues Problems we face as a consequence of the positions we occupy within the larger social structure
Agency The freedom individuals have to choose and act
Social Inequality A condition in which members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, or power
Science The body of knowledge obtained by methods based on systematic observations
Natural Science The study of the physical features of nature and the ways in which they interact and change
Social Science The study of the social features of humans and the ways in which they interact and change
Theory A set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behaviors
Anomie A weak sense of social solidarity due to lack of agreed-upon rules to guide behavior
Macrosociology Sociological investigation that concentrates on the large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations
Microsociology Sociological investigation that stresses the study of small groups and the analysis of our everyday experiences and interactions
Functionalist Perspective A sociological approach that emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability
Conflict Perspective A sociological approach that assumes social behavior is best understood in terms of tension between groups over power or the allocation of resources
Interactionist Perspective A sociological approach that generalizes about everyday forms of social interaction in order to explain society as a whole
Personal Sociology The practice of recognizing the impact of our individual position has on who we are and how we think and act, and taking responsibility for the impacts our actions have on others
Applied Sociology The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of yielding practical applications for human behavior and organizations
Clinical Sociology The use of the discipline of sociology with the specific intent of altering organizations or restructuring social institutions
Globalization The worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and the exchange of ideas
Scientific Method A systematic organized series of steps that ensure maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem
Variable A measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions
Operational Definition Transformation of an abstract concept into indicators that are observable and measurable
Hypothesis A testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables
Casual Logic A relationship exists between variables in which change in one brings about change in another
Independent Variable The variable in a casual relationship that causes or influences a change in the second variable
Dependent Variable The variable in a casual relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable
Correlation A relationship between two variables in which a change in one coincides with a change in the other
Sample A selection from a larger population that is statistically representative of that population
Random Sample A sample for which every member of an entire population has an equal chance at being selected
Validity The degree to which a measure or scale truly reflects the phenomenon under study
Reliability The extent to which a measure produces consistent results
Control Variable A factor that is held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable
Research Design A detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically
Survey A study, generally in the form of an interview or questionnaire, that provides researchers with information about how people think and act
Interview A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information
Questionnaire A printed, written, or computerized form used to obtain information from a respondent
Quantitative Research Research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form
Qualitative Research Research that relies on what is seen in field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data
Ethnography The study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation
Experiment An artificially created situation that allows a researcher to manipulate variables
Experimental Group The subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher
Control Group The subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher
Hawthorne Effect The unintended influence that observers of experiments can have on their subjects
Secondary Analysis A variety of research techniques that make use of previously collected and publicly accessible information and data
Content Analysis The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale
Code of Ethics The standards of acceptable behavior developed by and for members of a profession
Value Neutrality Max Weber's term for objectivity of sociologists in the interpretation of data
Culture Everything humans create in establishing our relationships to nature and with each other
Society The structure of relationships within which culture is created and shared through regularized patterns of social interaction
Cultural Universal A common practice or belief shared by all societies
Sociobiology The systematic study of how biology affects human social behavior
Innovation The process of introducing a new idea or object to a culture through discovery or invention
Discovery The process of uncovering an existing aspect of reality
Invention The combination of existing cultural artifacts to create something new
Material Culture Our physical modification of the natural environment to suit our purpose
Cultural Lag A period of adjustment when the nonmaterial culture is still struggling to adapt to new material conditions
Cognitive Culture Our mental and symbolic representations of reality
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis The structure and vocabulary of language shapes our perception of reality and therefore also our actions
Normative Culture Consists of the ways we establish, abide by, and enforce principles of conduct
Norm An established standard of behavior maintained by society
Folkways Norms governing everyday behavior, whose violation raises comparatively little concern
Mores Norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of society
Formal Norm A norm that generally has been written down and that specifies strict punishments for violators
Informal Norm A norm that is generally understood but not precisely recorded
Sanction A penalty or reward for conduct concerning a social norm
Dominant Ideaology A set of cultural beliefs and practices that legitmates existing powerful social, economic, and political interests
Subculture A segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society
Argot Specialized language used by members of a group or subculture
Counterculture A subculture that deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture
Culture Shock The feelings of disorientation, uncertainty, and even fear that people experience when they encounter unfamiliar cultural pracitces
Ethnocentrism The tendency to assume that one's own culture and way of life represent what's normal or are superior to all others
Cultural Relativism The viewing of people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture

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