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Term
Description
Alienation
The sense of dissatisfaction the modern worker feels as a result of producing goods that are owned and controlled by someone else, according to Marx (page 23)
Anomie
"Normlessness"; term used to describe the alienation and loss of purpose that result from weaker social bonds and an increased pace of change (page 20)
Antithesis
The opposition to the existing arrangements in a dialectical model (page 24)
Beginner's mind
Approaching the world without preconceptions in order to see things in a new way (page 11)
Bourgeoisie
Owners; the class of modern capitalists who own the means of production and employ wage laborers (page 23)
Bureaucracies
Secondary groups designed to perform tasks efficiently, characterized by specialization, technical competence, hierarchy, written rules, impersonality, and formal written communication (page 25)
Capitalism
An economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and characterized by competition, the profit motive, and wage labor (page 22)
Class consciousness
The recognition of social inequality on the part of the oppressed, leading to revolutionary action (page 23)
Collective conscience
The shared morals and beliefs that are common to a group and which foster social solidarity (page 20)
Collective effervescence
An intense energy in shared events where people feel swept up in something larger than themselves (page 20)
Communism
A political system based on the collective ownership of the means of production; opposed to capitalism (page 22)
Conflict
Generated by the competition between different class groups for scarce resources and the source of all social change, according to Karl Marx (page 22)
Conflict theory
A paradigm that sees social conflict as the basis of society and social change, and emphasizes a materialist view of society, a critical view of the status quo, and a dynamic model of historical change (page 22)
Conversation analysis
A sociological approach that looks at how we create meaning in naturally occurring conversation, often by taping conversations and examining them (page 31)
Critical theory
A contemporary form of conflict theory that criticizes many different systems and ideologies of domination and oppression (page 24)
Culture shock
A sense of disorientation that occurs when you enter a radically new social or cultural environment (page 13)
Deconstruction
A type of critical postmodern analysis that involves taking apart or disassembling old ways of thinking (page 34)
Dialectical model
Marx's model of historical change, whereby two extreme positions come into conflict and create some new third thing between them (page 23)
Disenchantment
The rationalization of modern society (page 26)
Dramaturgy
A theoretical paradigm that uses the metaphor of the theater to understand how individuals present themselves to others (page 30)
Dysfunction
A disturbance to or undesirable consequence of some aspect of the social system (page 21)
Empirical
Based on scientific experimentation or observation (page 20)
Ethnomethodology
The study of "folk methods" and background knowledge that sustains a shared sense of reality in everyday interactions (page 31)
Eurocentric
The tendency to favor European or Western histories, cultures, and values over other non-Western societies (page 28)
False consciousness
A denial of the truth on the part of the oppressed when they fail to recognize the interests of the ruling class in their ideology (page 23)
Feminist theory
A theoretical approach that looks at gender inequities in society and the way that gender structures the social world (page 24)
Ideology
A system of beliefs, attitudes, and values that directs a society and reproduces the status quo of the bourgeoisie (page 23)
Iron cage
Max Weber's pessimistic description of modern life, in which we are caught in bureaucratic structures that control our lives through rigid rules and rationalization (page 26)
Latent functions
The less obvious, perhaps unintended functions of a social structure (page 21)
Macrosociology
The level of analysis that studies large-scale social structures in order to determine how they affect the lives of groups and individuals (page 15)
Manifest
Functions the obvious, intended functions of a social structure for the social system (page 21)
Means of production
Anything that can create wealth: money, property, factories, and other types of businesses, and the infrastructure necessary to run them (page 22)
Mechanical solidarity
Term developed by Emile Durkheim to describe the type of social bonds present in premodern, agrarian societies, in which shared traditions and beliefs created a sense of social cohesion (page 18)
Microsociology
The level of analysis that studies face-to-face and small group interactions in order to understand how they affect the larger patterns and institutions of society (page 14)
Midrange theory
An approach that integrates empiricism and grand theory (page 34)
Modernism
A paradigm that places trust in the power of science and technology to create progress, solve problems, and improve life (page 33)
Organic solidarity
Term developed by Emile Durkheim to describe the type of social bonds present in modern societies, based on difference, interdependence, and individual rights (page 20)
Paradigm
A set of assumptions, theories, and perspectives that make up a way of understanding social reality (page 17)
Positivism
The theory, developed by Auguste Comte, that sense perceptions are the only valid source of knowledge (page 17)
Postmodernism
A paradigm that suggests that social reality is diverse, pluralistic, and constantly in flux (page 33)
Pragmatism
A theoretical perspective that assumes organisms (including humans) make practical adaptations to their environments. Humans do this through cognition, interpretation, and interaction (page 29)
Praxis
Practical action that is taken on the basis of intellectual or theoretical understanding (page 25)
Profane
The ordinary, mundane, or everyday (page 20)
Proletariat
Workers; those who have no means of production of their own and so reduced to selling their labor power in order to live (page 23)
Queer theory
A paradigm that proposes that categories of sexual identity are social constructs and that no sexual category is fundamentally either deviant or normal (page 24)
Rationalization
The application of economic logic to human activity; the use of formal rules and regulations in order to maximize efficiency without consideration of subjective or individual concerns (page 25)
Sacred
The holy, divine, or supernatural (page 20)
Scientific method
A procedure for acquiring knowledge that emphasizes collecting concrete data through observation and experiment (page 17)
Social Darwinism
The application of the theory of evolution and the notion of "survival of the fittest" to the study of society (page 18)
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