CHAPTER 1

 

THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

 


KEY TERMS

 

applied sociology: the use of sociology to solve problems—from the micro level of family relationships      to the macro level of crime and pollution (p. 12)

basic (or pure) sociology: sociological research whose purpose is to make discoveries about life in             human groups, not to make changes in those groups (p. 12)

class conflict: Marx’s term for the struggle between capitalists and workers (p. 7)

closed-ended questions: questions followed by a list of possible answers to be selected by the respondent   (p. 25)

conflict theory: a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as being composed of groups    competing for scarce resources (p. 18)

control group: the group of subjects not exposed to the independent variable (p. 28)

dependent variable: a factor that is changed by an independent variable (p. 28)

documents: in its narrow sense, written sources that provide data; in its extended sense, archival material     of any sort, including photographs, movies, and so on (p. 28)

experiment: the use of control groups and experimental groups and dependent and independent variables   to test causation (p. 28)

experimental group: the group of subjects exposed to the independent variable (p. 28)

functional analysis: a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of various parts,         each with a function that, when fulfilled, contributes to society’s equilibrium; also known as       functionalism and structural functionalism (p. 16)

hypothesis: a statement of the expected relationship between variables according to predictions from a        theory (p. 20)

independent variable: a factor that causes a change in another variable, called the dependent variable (p.    28)

macro-level analysis: an examination of large-scale patterns of society (p. 18)

micro-level analysis: an examination of small-scale patterns of society (p. 19)

nonverbal interaction: communication without words through gestures, space, silence, and so on (p. 19)

open-ended questions: questions that respondents are able to answer in their own words (p. 25)

operational definitions: the ways in which variables in a hypothesis are measured (p. 20)

participant observation (or fieldwork): research in which the researcher participates in a research   setting while observing what is happening in that setting (p. 28)

population: the target group to be studied (p. 24)

positivism: the application of the scientific method to the social world (p. 6)

random sample: a sample in which everyone in the target population has the same chance of being             included in the study (p. 24)

reliability: the extent to which data produce consistent results (p. 21)

replication: repeating a study in order to test its findings (p. 30)

research method (or research design): one of six procedures sociologists use to collect data: surveys,         participant observation, secondary analysis, documents, experiments, and unobtrusive measures            (p. 21)

respondents: people who respond to a survey, either in interviews or by self-administered questionnaires    (p. 25)

sample: the individuals intended to represent the population to be studied (p. 24)

science: requires the development of theories that can be tested by research (p.5)

secondary analysis: the analysis of data already collected by other researchers (p. 25)

 

social integration: the degree to which people feel a part of social groups (p. 8)

social interaction: what people do when they are in one another’s presence (p. 19)

social location: the group memberships that people have because of their location in history and society      (p. 4)

society: people who share a culture and a territory (p. 4)

sociological perspective: understanding human behavior by placing it within its broader social context (p.   4)

sociology: the scientific study of society and human behavior (p. 6)

survey: the collection of data by having people answer a series of questions (p. 22)

symbolic interactionism: a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as composed of symbols        that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one         another (p. 14)

theory: a general statement about how some parts of the world fit together and how they work; an   explanation of how two or more facts are related to one another (p. 14)

unobtrusive measures: ways of observing people who do not know they are being studied (p. 29)

validity: the extent to which an operational definition measures what was intended (p. 21)

value free: the view that a sociologist’s personal values or biases should not influence social research (p.    30)

values: the standards by which people define what is desirable or undesirable, good or bad, beautiful or      ugly (p. 30)

variables: factors thought to be significant for behavior, which vary from one case to another (p. 20)

 

 

KEY PEOPLE

 

Jane Addams: Addams was the founder of Hull House—a settlement house in the immigrant community of Chicago. She invited sociologists from nearby University of Chicago to visit. In 1931 she was a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mario Brajuha: During an investigation into a restaurant fire, officials subpoenaed notes taken by this sociologist in connection with his participant observation research on restaurant work. He was threatened with jail but would not turn over his notes.

Auguste Comte: Comte is often credited with being the founder of sociology, because he was the first to suggest that the scientific method be applied to the study of the social world.

Lewis Coser: Coser pointed out that conflict is likely to develop among people in close relationships because they are connected by a network of responsibilities, power, and rewards.

W. E. B. Du Bois: Du Bois was the first African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. For most of his career, he taught sociology at Atlanta University. He was concerned about social injustice, wrote about race relations, and was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Emile Durkheim: Durkheim was responsible for getting sociology recognized as a separate discipline. He was interested in studying how social forces shape individual behavior.

Laud Humphreys: The sociologist carried out doctoral research on homosexual activity. In order to obtain information, he misrepresented himself to his research subjects. When his methods became widely known, a debate developed over his use of questionable ethics.

Harriet Martineau: An Englishwoman who studied British and United States social life and published Society in America decades before either Durkheim or Weber was born.

Karl Marx: Marx believed that social development grew out of conflict between social classes; under capitalism, this conflict was between the bourgeoisie—those who own the means to produce wealth—and the proletariatthe mass of workers. His work is associated with the conflict perspective.

Robert Merton: Merton contributed the terms manifest and latent functions and latent dysfunctions to the functionalist perspective.

C. Wright Mills: Mills suggested that external influences—or a person’s experiences—become part of his or her thinking and motivations and explain social behavior. In the 1950s he urged United States sociologists to get back to social reform. He argued that research without theory is of little value, simply a collection of unrelated facts, and theory that is unconnected to research is abstract and empty, unlikely to represent the way life really is.

Talcott Parsons: Parsons’ work dominated sociology in the 1940s-1950s. He developed abstract models of how the parts of society harmoniously work together.

Herbert Spencer: Another early social philosopher, Spencer believed that societies evolve from barbarian to civilized forms. The first to use the expression “the survival of the fittest” to reflect his belief that social evolution depended on the survival of the most capable and intelligent and the extinction of the less capable. His views became known as social Darwinism..

Max Weber: Among Weber’s many contributions to sociology were his study of the relationship     between the emergence of the Protestant belief system and the rise of capitalism. He believed that           sociologists should not allow their personal values to affect their social research and objectivity        should become the hallmark of sociology.


PRACTICE TEST

 

1.       ________________ opens a window onto unfamiliar worlds and offers a fresh look at familiar worlds:

a.       The Sociological Perspective                     c. The Social Imperative

b.      Social Solidarity                                         d. The Sociological Framework

 

2.      Which of the following refers to a group of people who share a culture and a territory?

a.       social location                                            c. America

b.      society                                                      d. religious group

 

3.      Who claimed that the sociological imagination enables us to grasp the connection between history and biography?

a.       Emile Durkheim                                       c. Karl Marx

b.      Auguste Comte                                         d. C. Wright Mills

 

4.      ____________ requires the development of theories that can be tested by research.

a.       Science                                                      c. Sociology

b.      Philosophy                                                d. Elitism

 

5.      Which of these uses objective, systematic observations to test theories?

a.       research processes                                                 c. the scientific method

b.      socialism                                                   d. participant observation

 

6.      Who first proposed the concept of positivism?

a.       Emile Durkheim                                        c. Karl Marx

b.      Auguste Comte                                         d. C. Wright Mills

 

7.      Karl Marx believed that the engine of human history is:

a.       religion.                 b. economics.              c. politics.        d. class conflict.

 

8.      The sociologist who studied social life in both the United States and Great Britain and documented the results in the book Society in America was:

a.       Herbert Spencer .                                       c. Talcott Parsons.

b.      Harriet Martineau.                                      d. Jane Addams.

 

9.      The social reformer who founded Hull House and later won a Nobel Prize was:

a.       Margaret Sanger                                         c. Jane Addams

b.      Harriet Martineau                                       d. Sue Ellen Butler

 

10.  The first African American to earn a doctorate degree at Harvard University was:

a.       Booker T. Washington                               c. Benjamin Anthony Quarles

b.      George Washington Carver                                    d. W. E. B. Du Bois

 

11.  The term C. Wright Mills used for the top leaders of business, politics, and the military who, together, comprised an intimate threat to freedoms was:

a.       the Silent Majority.                                                c. the Fortune 500 Club.

b.      the Middle Class.                                       d. the Power Elite.

 

 

 

12.  The use of sociology to solve problems is referred to as:

a.       theoretical sociology.                                 c. applied sociology.

b.      pure sociology.                                          d. positivist sociology.

 

13.  A _________ is a general statement about how some parts of the world fit together and how they work.

a.       theory

b.      proposal

c.       concept

d.      variable

 

14.  The underlying principle of symbolic interactionism is:

a.       how society uses sanctions to control behavior.

b.      that behavior is determined by factors beyond one’s control.

c.       the history of man as a study of class conflict.

d.      how one’s behavior depends on the way one defines oneself and others.

 

15.  When people change their ideas and behavior about an issue, such as divorce, based on a changing image of that issue and what it means, it is example of:

a.       structural functionalism.                            c. neo-conflict perspective.

b.      symbolic interactionism.                            d. the conflict perspective.

 

16.  The sociological perspective sees society as a whole unit, made up of interrelated parts that work together is:

a.       Symbolic Interactionism.                           c. Classical Naturalism.

b.      Functional Analysis.                                  d. Conflict Theory.

 

17.  An intended outcome or consequence that helps keep society in equilibrium is referred to as:          

a.       latent                                                          c. manifest

b.      dysfunctional                                             d. symbolic

 

18.  What theory was developed by Karl Marx to explain the relationship between the social classes?


a.       social integration theory

b.      functional analysis

c.    ethnomethodology

d.   conflict theory


 

19.  According to Karl Marx, in each society some small group controls _______________ and exploits those who are not in control.

a.       the means of production

b.      religion

c.       symbolic meaning

d.      educational forces

 

20.  A statement of what a researcher may expect to find according to predictions based on a theory is a/an:

a.       correlation.                                                            c. paradigm.

b.      operational definition.                               d. hypothesis.

 

21.  _____________ means that if other researchers use your operational definitions, their findings will be consistent with yours.


a.       Validity

b.      Consistency

c.    Reliability

d.   Truth


 

22.  If you were to analyze data that someone else has already collected, you would be doing:


a.       an experiment.

b.      participant observation.

c.    secondary analysis.

d.   survey research.


 

23.  A variable that causes a change in another variable is referred to as:


a.       a dependent variable

b.      an independent variable

c.    an operational definition

d.   a secondary analysis


 

24.  Ethics in sociological research:

a.       forbids the falsification of results.

b.      condemns plagiarism.

c.       requires that sociologists protect the anonymity of people who provide information.

d.      all of the above

 

25.  Max Weber’s insistence that sociology be value free, focuses on:

a.       religious freedom.

b.      sociologists having no individual values of their own.

c.       society’s accepting all values without showing favoritism towards a particular value.

d.      objectivity in research.

 


PRACTICE TEST — ANSWER KEY

 


  1. A (page 4)

  2. B (page 4)

  3. D (page 4)

  4. A (page 5)

  5. C (page 5)

  6. B (page 6)

  7. D (page 7)

  8. B (page 9)

  9. C (page 9)

10. D (page 10)

11. D (page 12)

12. C (page 12)

13. A (page 14)

14. D (page 15)

15. B (page 15)

16. B (page 16)

17. C (page 16)

18. D (page 18)

19. A (page 18)

20. D (page 20)

21. C (page 21)

22. C (page 28)

23. B (page 28)

24. D (page 29)

25. D (page 30)