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Sociology Midterm Study Guide

By mimi098 Feb 23, 2014 1114 Words
Midterm Study Guide/Sociology 102/Winter 2014

Use this outline of concepts in conjunction with the lecture outlines, your lecture notes, and the assigned reading in the Ritzer textbook to prepare for the exam. A supplemental guide including study questions for the discussion section articles will be posted in a few days.

I. Structural Functionalism
A. Basic Assumptions
1. Society as a consensus on values
a. social structures, institutions, organizations, and roles all embody these common values and serve to preserve them. A function is vital to the extent it supports the dominant value system. 2. Organicism - Society as a system

a. Society is made up of parts that are inter-connected, interdependent, and purposeful. No matter how small, every unit exists to fulfill a positive function in the system; to contribute to the maintenance of the social order. B. The positive social functions of social inequality - Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore 1. Society must grant greater rewards to individuals who serve the most vital social roles in order to ensure these roles are occupied by the most qualified people. 2. Contrast with a Marxist explanation of inequality

C. Achieving value consensus through socialization processes: internalization, and social control - rewards and punishments 1. internalization - society motivates its members to want to fulfill its most vital functions. Teach them to believe that their society's values are just, moral, and universal. Proper internalization will make the needs of the individual congruent with the needs of society. 2. Rewards: People serve society because they expect to be rewarded with prestige. The most important or functional roles in society have the most prestige attached to them to make them the most desirable (i.e., the more prestigious a role, the more necessary a role). The conclusion is that the unequal distribution of fame, fortune and power is necessary because "society" rewards those roles that are most crucial to its maintenance and stability.

B. Talcott Parson's Functionalist Theory
1. The "motivational problem" of social order: Individuals must be socialized to serve society; to carry out social roles; at the same time, society must meet the biological and psychological needs of its individuals. 2. AGIL model of functional requirement: adaptation, goal formation, integration, latent pattern maintenance a) Institutions, or subsystems that correspond to these functional requirements and that carry these functions out in society: economy, polity, family/church/schools, family, family/friends. 3. Four action systems: social system, cultural system, personality system, and behavioral system. Parsons treated the latter two systems as effects of the former two; that culture and society molded the personality and regulated and channeled needs of the biological organism. Thus, personality and human biological drives were not primary causes of human action. As Ritzer states, Parsons viewed a culture (values) and the primary basis of social action. 4. Social change driven by occupational specialization. Positive effects: a) society must become more tolerant and inclusive in order to fill these roles with the most qualified individuals b) values become more diluted, generalized & relative.

C. Robert Merton
1. dysfunctional social patterns; what is functional for one social group may be dysfunctional for another, or for the broader society. a. dysfunctions at the individual level - role conflict
b. short-term v. long term dysfunctions; the latter eventually become defined as social problems and are combated by government policy and programs, which, in some cases, backfire, or become dysfunctional (i.e., the cure is worse than the sickness) 2. the distinction between the subjective motives of behavior - the manifest function - and the objective consequences - the latent functions - of behavior. 3. anomie - disjuncture between cultural values and structural opportunity to achieve these values a. poverty breeds anomie but only in stratified societies, composed of haves and have-nots. b. crime as a response to anomie: “innovation” or illegitimate means to achieve legitimate ends c. other responses to anomie: conformity, ritualism, retreatism, rebellion 4. Reference groups

D. Lewis Coser
1. The positive function of social conflict (enhances internal group solidarity) a. inter-group conflict: external threats and attacks bring the group closer together; the exaggeration and invention of threats by leaders; scape-goating b. the larger and more diverse the group, the more difficult it is for leader to mobilize its members against real or perceived threats c. intra-group conflict: the closer the relationship, the greater the emotional investment, the greater the tendency to suppress rather than express hostile feelings; differences in conflict resolution between primary and secondary groups.

II. Conflict Theory
A. Opposing assumptions of Conflict Theory and Functionalism 1. Functionalism
a. Every society is a relatively persistent, stable structure of elements. b. Every society is a well-integrated structure of elements. c. Every element in society has a function, or contributes to the maintenance of the social system. d. Every functioning social structure is based on a consensus of values among it members 2. Conflict Theory

a. Every society is always subject to processes of change; social change is a natural and constant feature of society. b. Every society always exhibits dissensus and conflict. Conflict is an inherent part of society. c. Every element of society contributes to its disintegration and change. d. Every society is based on the coercion of the majority by the minority. Social conformity is not achieved through a value consensus, but through force and the threat of force.

B. C.W. Mills and the Power Elite
1. Following the Weberian three dimensional model of stratification: class, status and power 2. The Ruling Triumvirate of economic, political, and military elites 3. Interlocking directorates and the revolving door

4. social and cultural ties
5. Role of the mass media

C. Ralf Dahrendorf
1. The inevitability of both authority and conflict
2. critique of Marxism
3. distinction between power and authority
4. The root of all social conflict is authority relations.
5. the dichotomous nature of conflict: between those who have authority and those who do not. 6. latent interest and manifest interests
7. quasi groups, interest groups, conflict groups
8. Under what conditions do quasi groups evolve into interest groups: technical conditions, political conditions, and social conditions. 9. The counteracting effects of social mobility on interest group formation

D. Randall Collins
1. Micro Theory of Stratification
a. Society as the repetition of interaction patterns, that are constantly being negotiated and redefined. b. Society is characterized by unequal control of the means of material production (e.g., Marx), mental production (education), emotional production (religion, culture), and coercion (force). The first three forms of production ultimately rest on control of the means of coercion. c. Rituals that dramatize one's position in the system of stratification. d. three-way model of occupational stratification: lower, middle, and upper class. The extent to which you give or take orders has powerful influence on one's self image, and one's attachment to the social order. e. status groups - ritualistic exhibition of equality and superiority

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