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2: Sociological Theories and Patterns of Intergroup Relations
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- 2.1: What is a Theory?
- Sociologists study social events, interactions, and patterns, and they develop a theory in an attempt to explain why things work as they do. In sociology, a theory is a way to explain different aspects of social interactions and social structures as well as to create a testable proposition, called a hypothesis, about society.
- 2.2: Sociological Theoretical Perspectives
- We can examine issues of race and ethnicity through five different sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, intersection theory, and critical race theory. As you read through these theories, ask yourself which one makes the most sense and why. Do we need more than one theory to explain racism, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination?
- 2.3: Patterns of Intergroup Relations
- A variety of patterns, or consequences, characterize race-ethnic intergroup contact, including disparities in power. Ethnic and racial groups come into contact through different social processes, such as migration (both voluntary and involuntary), conquest, and expansion of territory.