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Glossary

  • Page ID
    71965
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    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    Antipositivism the view that social researchers should strive for subjectivity as they worked to represent social processes, cultural norms, and societal values        
    Conflict Theory a theory that looks at society as a competition for limited resources        
    Constructivism an extension of symbolic interaction theory which proposes that reality is what humans cognitively construct it to be        
    Culture a group's shared practices, values, and beliefs        
    Dramaturgical Analysis a technique sociologists use in which they view society through the metaphor of theatrical performance        
    Dynamic Equilibrium a stable state in which all parts of a healthy society work together properly        
    Dysfunctions social patterns that have undesirable consequences for the operation of society        
    Figuration the process of simultaneously analyzing the behavior of an individual and the society that shapes that behavior        
    Function the part a recurrent activity plays in the social life as a whole and the contribution it makes to structural continuity        
    Functionalism a theoretical approach that sees society as a structure with interrelated parts designed to meet the biological and social needs of individuals that make up that society        
    Generalized Others the organized and generalized attitude of a social group        
    Grand Theories an attempt to explain large-scale relationships and answer fundamental questions such as why societies form and why they change        
    Hypothesis a testable proposition        
    Latent Functions the unrecognized or unintended consequences of a social process        
    Macro-level a wide-scale view of the role of social structures within a society        
    Manifest Functions sought consequences of a social process        
    Micro-level Theories the study of specific relationships between individuals or small groups        
    Paradigms philosophical and theoretical frameworks used within a discipline to formulate theories, generalizations, and the experiments performed in support of them        
    Positivism the scientific study of social patterns        
    Qualitative Sociology in-depth interviews, focus groups, and/or analysis of content sources as the source of its data        
    Quantitative sociology statistical methods such as surveys with large numbers of participants        
    Reification an error of treating an abstract concept as though it has a real, material existence        
    Significant Others specific individuals that impact a person's life        
    Social Facts the laws, morals, values, religious beliefs, customs, fashions, rituals, and all of the cultural rules that govern social life        
    Social Institutions patterns of beliefs and behaviors focused on meeting social needs        
    Social Solidarity the social ties that bind a group of people together such as kinship, shared location, and religion        
    Society a group of people who live in a defined geographical area who interact with one another and who share a common culture        
    Sociological Imagination the ability to understand how your own past relates to that of other people, as well as to history in general and societal structures in particular        
    Sociology the systematic study of society and social interaction        
    Symbolic Interactionism a theoretical perspective through which scholars examine the relationship of individuals within their society by studying their communication (language and symbols)        
    Theory a proposed explanation about social interactions or society        
    Verstehen a German word that means to understand in a deep way        
    Validity the degree to which a sociological measure accurately reflects the topic of study        
    Secondary Data Analysis using data collected by others but applying new interpretations        
    Samples small, manageable number of subjects that represent the population        
    Random Sample a study’s participants being randomly selected to serve as a representation of a larger population        
    Qualitative Data comprise information that is subjective and often based on what is seen in a natural setting        
    Population a defined group serving as the subject of a study        
    Operational Definitions specific explanations of abstract concepts that a researcher plans to study        
    Meta-analysis a technique in which the results of virtually all previous studies on a specific subject are evaluated together        
    Interview a one-on-one conversation between the researcher and the subject        
    Independent vVriables variables that cause changes in dependent variables        
    Hawthorne Effect when study subjects behave in a certain manner due to their awareness of being observed by a researcher        
    Experiment the testing of a hypothesis under controlled conditions        
    Empirical Evidence evidence that comes from direct experience, scientifically gathered data, or experimentation        
    Correlation when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable, but does not necessarily indicate causation        
    Code of Ethics a set of guidelines that the American Sociological Association has established to foster ethical research and professionally responsible scholarship in sociology        
    Xenocentrism a belief that another culture is superior to one’s own        
    Symbols gestures or objects that have meanings associated with them that are recognized by people who share a culture        
    Society people who live in a definable community and who share a culture        
    Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis the way that people understand the world based on their form of language        
    Real Culture the way society really is based on what actually occurs and exists        
    Norms the visible and invisible rules of conduct through which societies are structured        
    Mores the moral views and principles of a group        
    Language a symbolic system of communication        
    Innovations new objects or ideas introduced to culture for the first time        
    Ideal Culture the standards a society would like to embrace and live up to        
    Globalization the integration of international trade and finance markets        
    Folkways direct, appropriate behavior in the day-to-day practices and expressions of a culture        
    Discoveries things and ideas found from what already exists        
    Culture Shock an experience of personal disorientation when confronted with an unfamiliar way of life        
    Culture shared beliefs, values, and practices        
    Cultural Relativism the practice of assessing a culture by its own standards, and not in comparison to another culture        
    Countercultures groups that reject and oppose society’s widely accepted cultural patterns        
    Thomas Theorem how a subjective reality can drive events to develop in accordance with that reality, despite being originally unsupported by objective reality        
    Society a group of people who live in a definable community and share the same culture        
    Self-fulfilling Prophecy an idea that becomes true when acted upon        
    Role-set an array of roles attached to a particular status        
    Role Performance the expression of a role        
    Rationalization a belief that modern society should be built around logic and efficiency rather than morality or tradition        
    Pastoral Societies societies based around the domestication of animals        
    Mechanical Solidarity a type of social order maintained by the collective consciousness of a culture        
    Iron Cage a situation in which an individual is trapped by social institutions        
    Information Societies societies based on the production of nonmaterial goods and services        
    Hunter-Gatherer Societies societies that depend on hunting wild animals and gathering uncultivated plants for survival        
    Habitualization the idea that society is constructed by us and those before us, and it is followed like a habit        
    False Consciousness a person’s beliefs and ideology that are in conflict with her best interests        
    Class Consciousness the awareness of one’s rank in society        
    Bourgeoisie the owners of the means of production in a society        
    Anomie a situation in which society no longer has the support of a firm collective consciousness        
    Agricultural Societies societies that rely on farming as a way of life        
    Socialization the process wherein people come to understand societal norms and expectations, to accept society’s beliefs, and to be aware of societal values        
    Resocialization the process by which old behaviors are removed and new behaviors are learned in their place        
    Nurture the role that our social environment plays in self-development        
    Moral Development the way people learn what is “good” and “bad” in society        
    Generalized Other the common behavioral expectations of general society        
    Anticipatory Socialization the way we prepare for future life roles        
    Triad a three-member group        
    Secondary Groups larger and more impersonal groups that are task-focused and time limited        
    Primary Groups small, informal groups of people who are closest to us        
    Normative or Voluntary Organizations organizations that people join to pursue shared interests or because they provide some intangible rewards        
    McDonaldization of Society the increasing presence of the fast food business model in common social institutions        
    Leadership Function the main focus or goal of a leader        
    Iron Rule of Oligarchy the theory that an organization is ruled by a few elites rather than through collaboration        
    Violent Crimes crimes based on the use of force or the threat of force        
    Street Crime crime committed by average people against other people or organizations, usually in public spaces        
    Social Order an arrangement of practices and behaviors on which society’s members base their daily lives        
    Social Control the regulation and enforcement of norms        
    Secondary Deviance deviance that occurs when a person’s self-concept and behavior begin to change after his or her actions are labeled as deviant by members of society        
    Primary Deviance a violation of norms that does not result in any long-term effects on the individual’s self-image or interactions with others        
    Positive Sanctions rewards given for conforming to norms        
    Nonviolent Crimes crimes that involve the destruction or theft of property, but do not use force or the threat of force        
    Master Status a label that describes the chief characteristic of an individual        
    Labeling Theory the ascribing of a deviant behavior to another person by members of society        
    Hate Crimes attacks based on a person’s race, religion, or other characteristics        
    Differential Association Theory a theory that states individuals learn deviant behavior from those close to them who provide models of and opportunities for deviance        
    Cultural Deviance Theory a theory that suggests conformity to the prevailing cultural norms of lower-class society causes crime        
    Crime a behavior that violates official law and is punishable through formal sanctions        
    Corrections System the system tasked with supervising individuals who have been arrested for, convicted of, or sentenced for criminal offenses        
    Control Theory a theory that states social control is directly affected by the strength of social bonds and that deviance results from a feeling of disconnection from society        
    Instrumental Function being oriented toward a task or goal        
    Impersonality the removal of personal feelings from a professional situation        
    Group any collection of at least two people who interact with some frequency and who share some sense of aligned identity        
    Expressive Leader a leader who is concerned with process and with ensuring everyone’s emotional wellbeing        
    Explicit Rules the types of rules in a bureaucracy; rules that are outlined, recorded, and standardized        
    Democratic Leader a leader who encourages group participation and consensus-building before moving into action        
    Coercive Organizations organizations that people do not voluntarily join, such as prison or a mental hospital        
    Category people who share similar characteristics but who are not connected in any way        
    Authoritarian Leader a leader who issues orders and assigns tasks        
    Utility Patents patents that are granted for the invention or discovery of any new and useful process, product, or machine        
    Technology the application of science to solve problems in daily life        
    Technological Diffusion the spread of technology across borders        
    Planned Obsolescence the act of a technology company planning for a product to be obsolete or unable from the time it’s created        
    Oligopoly a situation in which a few firms dominate a marketplace        
    Net Neutrality the principle that all Internet data should be treated equally by internet service providers        
    Media Globalization the worldwide integration of media through the cross-cultural exchange of ideas        
    Media all print, digital, and electronic means of communication        
    Gatekeeping the sorting process by which thousands of possible messages are shaped into a mass media-appropriate form and reduced to a manageable amount        
    E-readiness the ability to sort through, interpret, and process digital knowledge        
    Design Patents patents that are granted when someone has invented a new and original design for a manufactured product        
    Wealth the value of money and assets a person has from, for example, inheritance        
    Structural Mobility a societal change that enables a whole group of people to move up or down the class ladder        
    Standard of Living the level of wealth available to acquire material goods and comforts to maintain a particular socioeconomic lifestyle        
    Social Mobility the ability to change positions within a social stratification system        
    Meritocracy an ideal system in which personal effort—or merit—determines social standing        
    Intergenerational Mobility a difference in social class between different generations of a family        
    Global Stratification a comparison of the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries as a whole        
    Endogamous Marriages unions of people within the same social category        
    Davis-Moore Thesis a thesis that argues some social stratification is a social necessity        
    Class Traits the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class (also called class markers)        
    Class a group who shares a common social status based on factors like wealth, income, education, and occupation        
    Underground Economy an unregulated economy of labor and goods that operates outside of governance, regulatory systems, or human protections        
    Subjective Poverty a state of poverty composed of many dimensions, subjectively present when one’s actual income does not meet one’s expectations        
    Second World a term from the Cold War era that describes nations with moderate economies and standards of living        
    Peripheral Nations nations on the fringes of the global economy, dominated by core nations, with very little industrialization        
    Gross National Income (GNI) the income of a nation calculated based on goods and services produced, plus income earned by citizens and corporations headquartered in that country        
    Global Inequality the concentration of resources in core nations and in the hands of a wealthy minority        
    GINI Coefficient a measure of income inequality between countries using a 100-point scale, in which 1 represents complete equality and 100 represents the highest possible inequality        
    First World a term from the Cold War era that is used to describe industrialized capitalist democracies        
    Deindustrialization the loss of industrial production, usually to peripheral and semi-peripheral nations where the costs are lower        
    Debt Accumulation the buildup of external debt, wherein countries borrow money from other nations to fund their expansion or growth goals        
    Chattel Slavery a form of slavery in which one person owns another        
    Absolute Poverty the state where one is barely able, or unable, to afford basic necessities        
    Subordinate Group a group of people who have less power than the dominant group        
    Social Construction of Race the school of thought that race is not biologically identifiable        
    Sedimentation of Racial Inequality the intergenerational impact of de facto and de jure racism that limits the abilities of black people to accumulate wealth        
    Redlining the practice of routinely refusing mortgages for households and business located in predominately minority communities        
    Racial Steering the act of real estate agents directing prospective homeowners toward or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race        
    Prejudice biased thought based on flawed assumptions about a group of people        
    Model Minority the stereotype applied to a minority group that is seen as reaching higher educational, professional, and socioeconomic levels without protest against the majority establishment        
    Intersection Theory theory that suggests we cannot separate the effects of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other attributes        
    Genocide the deliberate annihilation of a targeted (usually subordinate) group        
    Ethnicity shared culture, which may include heritage, language, religion, and more        
    Discrimination prejudiced action against a group of people        
    Colorism the belief that one type of skin tone is superior or inferior to another within a racial group        
    Amalgamation the process by which a minority group and a majority group combine to form a new group        
    Social Construction of Sexuality socially created definitions about the cultural appropriateness of sex-linked behavior which shape how people see and experience sexuality        
    Sexual Orientation a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and sexual attraction to a particular sex (male or female)        
    Sex a term that denotes the presence of physical or physiological differences between males and females        
    Homophobia an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals        
    Gender Role society’s concept of how men and women should behave        
    Gender Dysphoria a condition listed in the DSM-5 in which people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with. This condition replaces "gender identity disorder"        
    Double Standard the concept that prohibits premarital sexual intercourse for women but allows it for men        
    Doing Gender the performance of tasks based upon the gender assigned to us by society and, in turn, ourselves        
    Thanatology the systematic study of death and dying        
    Subculture of Aging Theory a theory that focuses on the shared community created by the elderly when they are excluded (due to age), voluntarily or involuntarily, from participating in other groups        
    Senescence the aging process, including biological, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual changes        
    Secondary Aging aging that occurs due to controllable factors like exercise and diet        
    Physician-assisted Suicide the voluntary use of lethal medication provided by a medical doctor to end one’s life        
    Life Expectancy the number of years a newborn is expected to live        
    Hospice healthcare that treats terminally ill people by providing comfort during the dying process        
    Gerotranscendence the idea that as people age, they transcend limited views of life they held in earlier times        
    Gerontocracy a type of social structure wherein the power is held by a society’s oldest members        
    Filial Piety deference and respect to one’s parents and ancestors in all things        
    Elder Abuse the act of a caretaker intentionally depriving an older person of care or harming the person in their charge        
    Dependency Ratio the number of nonproductive citizens (young, disabled, elderly) to productive working citizens        
    Cohort a group of people who share a statistical or demographic trait        
    Baby Boomers people in the United States born between approximately 1946 and 1964        
    Age Stratification Theory a theory which states that members of society are stratified by age, just as they are stratified by race, class, and gender        
    Unilateral Descent the tracing of kinship through one parent only.        
    Polygyny a form of marriage in which one man is married to more than one woman at one time        
    Polyandry a form of marriage in which one woman is married to more than one man at one time        
    Patrilineal Descent a type of unilateral descent that follows the father’s line only        
    Monogamy the act of being married to only one person at a time        
    Matrilineal Descent a type of unilateral descent that follows the mother’s side only        
    Kinship a person’s traceable ancestry (by blood, marriage, and/or adoption)        
    Family of Procreation a family that is formed through marriage        
    Family Life Cycle a set of predictable steps and patterns families experience over time        
    Family socially recognized groups of individuals who may be joined by blood, marriage, or adoption and who form an emotional connection and an economic unit of society        
    Cohabitation the act of a couple sharing a residence while they are not married        
    Bigamy the act of entering into marriage while still married to another person        
    Totemism the belief in a divine connection between humans and other natural beings        
    Religious Rituals behaviors or practices that are either required for or expected of the members of a particular group        
    Religious Beliefs specific ideas that members of a particular faith hold to be true        
    Polytheism a religion based on belief in multiple deities        
    Megachurch a Christian church that has a very large congregation averaging more than 2,000 people who attend regular weekly services        
    Established Sects sects that last but do not become denominations        
    Denomination a large, mainstream religion that is not sponsored by the state        
    Atheism the belief in no deities        
    Universal Access the equal ability of all people to participate in an education system        
    Sorting classifying students based on academic merit or potential        
    No Child Left Behind Act an act that requires states to test students in prescribed grades, with the results of those tests determining eligibility to receive federal funding        
    Hidden Curriculum the type of nonacademic knowledge that people learn through informal learning and cultural transmission        
    Grade Inflation the idea that the achievement level associated with an A today is notably lower than the achievement level associated with A-level work a few decades ago        
    Education a social institution through which a society’s children are taught basic academic knowledge, learning skills, and cultural norms        
    Cultural Capital cultural knowledge that serves (metaphorically) as currency to help one navigate a culture        
    Traditional Authority power legitimized on the basis of long-standing customs        
    Representative Democracy a government wherein citizens elect officials to represent their interests        
    Power Elite a small group of powerful people who control much of a society        
    Politics a means of studying a nation’s or group’s underlying social norms as values as evidenced through its political structure and practices        
    One Person, One vVte a concept holding that each person’s vote should be counted equally        
    Monarchy a form of government in which a single person (a monarch) rules until that individual dies or abdicates the throne        
    Democracy a form of government that provides all citizens with an equal voice or vote in determining state policy        
    Charismatic Authority power legitimized on the basis of a leader’s exceptional personal qualities        
    Anarchy the absence of any organized government        
    Xenophobia an illogical fear and even hatred of foreigners and foreign goods        
    Subsistence Farming farming where farmers grow only enough to feed themselves and their families        
    Socialism an economic system in which there is government ownership (often referred to as “state run”) of goods and their production, with an impetus to share work and wealth equally among the members of a society        
    Polarization a practice where the differences between low-end and high-end jobs become greater and the number of people in the middle levels decreases        
    Organic Solidarity a form of social cohesion that arises out of the mutual interdependence created by the specialization of work        
    Money an object that a society agrees to assign a value to so it can be exchanged as payment        
    Mechanical Solidarity a form of social cohesion that comes from sharing similar work, education, and religion, as might be found in simpler societies        
    Global Commodity Chains internationally integrated economic links that connect workers and corporations for the purpose of manufacture and marketing        
    Economy the social institution through which a society’s resources (goods and services) are managed        
    Convergence Theory a sociological theory to explain how and why societies move toward similarity over time as their economies develop        
    Capitalism an economic system in which there is private ownership (as opposed to state ownership) and where there is an impetus to produce profit, and thereby wealth        
    Automation workers being replaced by technology        
    Underinsured people who spend at least 10 percent of their income on healthcare costs that are not covered by insurance        
    Stigmatization the act of spoiling someone's identity; they are labeled as different, discriminated against, and sometimes even shunned due to an illness or disability        
    Socialized Medicine when the government owns and runs the entire healthcare system        
    Sick Role the pattern of expectations that define appropriate behavior for the sick and for those who take care of them        
    Private Healthcare health insurance that a person buys from a private company; private healthcare can either be employer-sponsored or direct-purchase        
    Mortality the number of deaths in a given time or place        
    Mood Disorders long-term, debilitating illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder        
    Medicalization the process by which aspects of life that were considered bad or deviant are redefined as sickness and needing medical attention to remedy        
    Legitimation the act of a physician certifying that an illness is genuine        
    Impairment the physical limitations a less-able person faces        
    Disability a reduction in one’s ability to perform everyday tasks; the World Health Organization notes that this is a social limitation        
    Contested Illnesses illnesses that are questioned or considered questionable by some medical professionals        
    Anxiety Disorders feelings of worry and fearfulness that last for months at a time        
    White Flight the migration of economically secure white people from racially mixed urban areas toward the suburbs        
    Urban Sociology the subfield of sociology that focuses on the study of urbanization        
    Sex Ratio the ratio of men to women in a given population        
    Population Pyramid a graphic representation that depicts population distribution according to age and sex        
    Pollution the introduction of contaminants into an environment at levels that are damaging        
    Mortality Rate a measure of the number of people in a population who die        
    Megalopolis a large urban corridor that encompasses several cities and their surrounding suburbs and exurbs        
    Internally Displaced Person someone who fled his or her home while remaining inside the country’s borders        
    Gentrification the entry of upper- and middle-class residents to city areas or communities that have been historically less affluent        
    Fertility Rate a measure noting the actual number of children born        
    Environmental Sociology the sociological subfield that addresses the relationship between humans and the environment        
    E-waste the disposal of broken, obsolete, and worn-out electronics        
    Demographic Transition Theory a theory that describes four stages of population growth, following patterns that connect birth and death rates with stages of industrial development        
    Concentric Zone Model a model of human ecology that views cities as a series of circular rings or zones        
    Carrying Capacity the amount of people that can live in a given area considering the amount of available resources        
    Asylum-seekers those whose claim to refugee status have not been validated        
    Value-added Theory a functionalist perspective theory that posits that several preconditions must be in place for collective behavior to occur        
    Social Movement Organization a single social movement group        
    Social Movement a purposeful organized group hoping to work toward a common social goal        
    Revolutionary Movements movements that seek to completely change every aspect of society        
    Resistance Movements those who seek to prevent or undo change to the social structure        
    Reform Movements movements that seek to change something specific about the social structure        
    Prognostic Framing social movements that state a clear solution and a means of implementation        
    New Social Movement Theory a theory that attempts to explain the proliferation of postindustrial and postmodern movements that are difficult to understand using traditional social movement theories        
    Modernization the process that increases the amount of specialization and differentiation of structure in societies        
    Frame Alignment Process using bridging, amplification, extension, and transformation as an ongoing and intentional means of recruiting participants to a movement        
    Expressive Crowds crowds who share opportunities to express emotions        
    Diagnostic Framing a social problem that is stated in a clear, easily understood manner        
    Crowd a fairly large number of people who share close proximity        
    Collective Behavior a noninstitutionalized activity in which several people voluntarily engage        
    Assembling Perspective a theory that credits individuals in crowds as behaving as rational thinkers and views crowds as engaging in purposeful behavior and collective action        
    Acting Crowds crowds of people who are focused on a specific action or goal        
    Alternative Movements social movements that limit themselves to self-improvement changes in individuals        
    Casual Crowds people who share close proximity without really interacting        
    Conventional Crowds people who come together for a regularly scheduled event        
    Crowdsourcing the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people        
    Emergent Norm Theory a perspective that emphasizes the importance of social norms in crowd behavior        
    Flash Mob a large group of people who gather together in a spontaneous activity that lasts a limited amount of time        
    Mass a relatively large group with a common interest, even if they may not be in close proximity        
    Motivational Framing a call to action        
    NGO nongovernmental organizations working globally for numerous humanitarian and environmental causes        
    Public an unorganized, relatively diffuse group of people who share ideas        
    Religious/Redemptive Movements movements that work to promote inner change or spiritual growth in individuals        
    Resource Mobilization Theory a theory that explains social movements’ success in terms of their ability to acquire resources and mobilize individuals        
    Social Change the change in a society created through social movements as well as through external factors like environmental shifts or technological innovations        
    Social Movement Industry the collection of the social movement organizations that are striving toward similar goals        
    Social Movement Sector the multiple social movement industries in a society, even if they have widely varying constituents and goals        
    Sustainable Development development that occurs without depleting or damaging the natural environment        
    Cancer Cluster a geographic area with high levels of cancer within its population        
    Climate Change long-term shifts in temperature and climate due to human activity        
    Cornucopian Theory a theory that asserts human ingenuity will rise to the challenge of providing adequate resources for a growing population        
    Demography the study of population        
    Environmental Racism the burdening of economically and socially disadvantaged communities with a disproportionate share of environmental hazards        
    Exurbs communities that arise farther out than the suburbs and are typically populated by residents of high socioeconomic status        
    Fracking hydraulic fracturing, a method used to recover gas and oil from shale by drilling down into the earth and directing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and proprietary chemicals into the rock        
    Human Ecology a functional perspective that looks at the relationship between people and their built and natural environment        
    Malthusian Theory a theory asserting that population is controlled through positive checks (war, famine, disease) and preventive checks (measures to reduce fertility)        
    Metropolis the area that includes a city and its suburbs and exurbs        
    NIMBY “Not In My Back Yard,” the tendency of people to protest poor environmental practices when those practices will affect them directly        
    Population Composition a snapshot of the demographic profile of a population based on fertility, mortality, and migration rates        
    Refugee an individual who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster        
    Suburbs the communities surrounding cities, typically close enough for a daily commute        
    Urbanization the study of the social, political, and economic relationships of cities        
    Zero Population Growth a theoretical goal in which the number of people entering a population through birth or immigration is equal to the number of people leaving it via death or emigration        
    Commodification the changing of something not generally thought of as a commodity into something that can be bought and sold in a marketplace        
    Demedicalization the social process that normalizes “sick” behavior        
    Epidemiology the study of the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases        
    Individual Mandate a government rule that requires everyone to have insurance coverage or they will have to pay a penalty        
    Medical Sociology the systematic study of how humans manage issues of health and illness, disease and disorders, and healthcare for both the sick and the healthy        
    Medicalization of Deviance the process that changes “bad” behavior into “sick” behavior        
    Morbidity the incidence of disease        
    Personality Disorders disorders that cause people to behave in ways that are seen as abnormal to society but seem normal to them        
    Public Healthcare health insurance that is funded or provided by the government        
    Social Epidemiology the study of the causes and distribution of diseases        
    Stereotype Interchangeability stereotypes that don’t change and that get recycled for application to a new subordinate group        
    Stigmatization of Illness illnesses that are discriminated against and whose sufferers are looked down upon or even shunned by society        
    Universal Healthcare a system that guarantees healthcare coverage for everyone        
    Bartering a process where people exchange one form of goods or services for another        
    Career Inheritance a practice where children tend to enter the same or similar occupation as their parents        
    Depression a sustained recession across several economic sectors        
    Global Assembly Lines a practice where products are assembled over the course of several international transactions        
    Market Socialism a subtype of socialism that adopts certain traits of capitalism, like allowing limited private ownership or consulting market demand        
    Mercantilism an economic policy based on national policies of accumulating silver and gold by controlling markets with colonies and other countries through taxes and customs charges        
    Mutualism a form of socialism under which individuals and cooperative groups exchange products with one another on the basis of mutually satisfactory contracts        
    Outsourcing a practice where jobs are contracted to an outside source, often in another country        
    Recession two or more consecutive quarters of economic decline        
    Structural Unemployment a societal level of disjuncture between people seeking jobs and the jobs that are available        
    Underemployment a state in which a person accepts a lower paying, lower status job than his or her education and experience qualifies him or her to perform        
    Absolute Monarchies governments wherein a monarch has absolute or unmitigated power        
    Authority power that people accept because it comes from a source that is perceived as legitimate        
    Constitutional Monarchies national governments that recognize monarchs but require these figures to abide by the laws of a greater constitution        
    Dictatorship a form of government in which a single person (or a very small group) wields complete and absolute authority over a government or populace after the dictator rises to power, usually through economic or military might        
    Oligarchy a form of government in which power is held by a small, elite group        
    Patrimonialism a type of authority wherein military and administrative factions enforce the power of the master        
    Power the ability to exercise one’s will over others        
    Rational-legal Authority power that is legitimized by rules, regulations, and laws        
    Totalitarian Dictatorship an extremely oppressive form of dictatorship in which most aspects of citizens’ lives are controlled by the leader        
    Credentialism the emphasis on certificates or degrees to show that a person has a certain skill, has attained a certain level of education, or has met certain job qualifications        
    Cultural Transmission the way people come to learn the values, beliefs, and social norms of their culture        
    Formal Education the learning of academic facts and concepts        
    Head Start Program a federal program that provides academically focused preschool to students of low socioeconomic status        
    Informal Education education that involves learning about cultural values, norms, and expected behaviors through participation in a society        
    Social Placement the use of education to improve one’s social standing        
    Tracking a formalized sorting system that places students on “tracks” (advanced, low achievers) that perpetuate inequalities        
    Animism the religion that believes in the divinity of nonhuman beings, like animals, plants, and objects of the natural world        
    Cults religious groups that are small, secretive, and highly controlling of members and have a charismatic leader        
    Ecclesia a religion that is considered the state religion        
    Liberation Theology the use of a church to promote social change via the political arena        
    Monotheism a religion based on belief in a single deity        
    Religion a system of beliefs, values, and practices concerning what a person holds to be sacred or spiritually significant        
    Religious Experience the conviction or sensation that one is connected to “the divine”        
    Sect a small, new offshoot of a denomination        
    Ambilineal a type of unilateral descent that follows either the father’s or the mother’s side exclusively        
    Bilateral Descent the tracing of kinship through both parents’ ancestral lines        
    Extended Family a household that includes at least one parent and child as well as other relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins        
    Family Life Course a sociological model of family that sees the progression of events as fluid rather than as occurring in strict stages        
    Family of Orientation the family into which one is born        
    Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) violence that occurs between individuals who maintain a romantic or sexual relationship        
    Marriage a legally recognized contract between two or more people in a sexual relationship who have an expectation of permanence about their relationship        
    Matrilocal Residence a system in which it is customary for a husband to live with the his wife’s family        
    Nuclear Family two parents (traditionally a married husband and wife) and children living in the same household        
    Patrilocal Residence a system in which it is customary for the wife to live with (or near) the her husband’s family        
    Polygamy the state of being committed or married to more than one person at a time        
    Shaken-baby Syndrome a group of medical symptoms such as brain swelling and retinal hemorrhage resulting from forcefully shaking or impacting an infant’s head        
    Activity Theory a theory which suggests that for individuals to enjoy old age and feel satisfied, they must maintain activities and find a replacement for the statuses and associated roles they have left behind as they aged        
    Ageism discrimination based on age        
    Centenarians people 100 years old or older        
    Continuity Theory a theory which states that the elderly make specific choices to maintain consistency in internal (personality structure, beliefs) and external structures (relationships), remaining active and involved throughout their elder years        
    Disengagement Theory a theory which suggests that withdrawing from society and social relationships is a natural part of growing old        
    Exchange Theory a theory which suggests that we experience an increased dependence as we age and must increasingly submit to the will of others, because we have fewer ways of compelling others to submit to us        
    Geriatrics a medical specialty focusing on the elderly        
    Gerontology a field of science that seeks to understand the process of aging and the challenges encountered as seniors grow older        
    Grief a psychological, emotional, and social response to the feelings of loss that accompanies death or a similar event        
    Life Course the period from birth to death, including a sequence of predictable life events        
    Modernization Theory a theory which suggests that the primary cause of the elderly losing power and influence in society are the parallel forces of industrialization and modernization        
    Primary Aging biological factors such as molecular and cellular changes        
    Selective Optimization with Compensation Theory a theory based on the idea that successful personal development throughout the life course and subsequent mastery of the challenges associated with everyday life are based on the components of selection, optimization, and compensation        
    Social Gerontology a specialized field of gerontology that examines the social (and sociological) aspects of aging        
    Supercentenarians people 110 of age or older        
    Biological Determinism the belief that men and women behave differently due to inherent sex differences related to their biology        
    DOMA Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 U.S. law explicitly limiting the definition of “marriage” to a union between one man and one woman and allowing each individual state to recognize or deny same-sex marriages performed in other states        
    Gender a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions of behaviors that are considered male or female        
    Gender Identity a person’s deeply held internal perception of his or her gender        
    Heterosexism an ideology and a set of institutional practices that privilege heterosexuals and heterosexuality over other sexual orientations        
    Queer Theory an interdisciplinary approach to sexuality studies that identifies Western society’s rigid splitting of gender into male and female roles and questions its appropriateness        
    Sexism the prejudiced belief that one sex should be valued over another        
    Sexuality a person’s capacity for sexual feelings        
    Transgender an adjective that describes individuals who identify with the behaviors and characteristics that are other than their biological sex        
    Assimilation the process by which a minority individual or group takes on the characteristics of the dominant culture        
    Culture of Prejudice the theory that prejudice is embedded in our culture        
    Dominant Group a group of people who have more power in a society than any of the subordinate groups        
    Expulsion the act of a dominant group forcing a subordinate group to leave a certain area or even the country        
    Institutional Racism racism embedded in social institutions        
    Minority Group any group of people who are singled out from the others for differential and unequal treatment        
    Pluralism the ideal of the United States as a “salad bowl:” a mixture of different cultures where each culture retains its own identity and yet adds to the “flavor” of the whole        
    Racial Profiling the use by law enforcement of race alone to determine whether to stop and detain someone        
    Racism a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices that are used to justify the belief that one racial category is somehow superior or inferior to others        
    Scapegoat Theory a theory that suggests that the dominant group will displace its unfocused aggression onto a subordinate group        
    Segregation the physical separation of two groups, particularly in residence, but also in workplace and social functions        
    Stereotypes oversimplified ideas about groups of people        
    White Privilege the benefits people receive simply by being part of the dominant group        
    Capital Flight the movement (flight) of capital from one nation to another, via jobs and resources        
    Core Nations dominant capitalist countries        
    Debt Bondage the act of people pledging themselves as servants in exchange for money for passage, and are subsequently paid too little to regain their freedom        
    Dependency Theory a theory which states that global inequity is due to the exploitation of peripheral and semi-peripheral nations by core nations        
    Fourth World a term that describes stigmatized minority groups who have no voice or representation on the world stage        
    Global Feminization of Poverty a pattern that occurs when women bear a disproportionate percentage of the burden of poverty        
    Global Stratification the unequal distribution of resources between countries        
    Modernization Theory a theory that low-income countries can improve their global economic standing by industrialization of infrastructure and a shift in cultural attitudes towards work        
    Relative Poverty the state of poverty where one is unable to live the lifestyle of the average person in the country        
    Semi-peripheral Nations in-between nations, not powerful enough to dictate policy but acting as a major source of raw materials and an expanding middle class marketplace        
    Third World a term from the Cold War era that refers to poor, unindustrialized countries        
    Caste System a system in which people are born into a social standing that they will retain their entire lives        
    Class System social standing based on social factors and individual accomplishments        
    Conspicuous Consumption the act of buying and using products to make a statement about social standing        
    Downward Mobility a lowering of one’s social class        
    Exogamous Unions unions of spouses from different social categories        
    Income the money a person earns from work or investments        
    Intragenerational Mobility a difference in social class between different members of the same generation        
    Primogeniture a law stating that all property passes to the firstborn son        
    Social Stratification a socioeconomic system that divides society’s members into categories ranking from high to low, based on things like wealth, power, and prestige        
    Status Consistency the consistency, or lack thereof, of an individual’s rank across social categories like income, education, and occupation        
    Upward Mobility an increase—or upward shift—in social class        
    Cyberfeminism the application to and promotion of feminism online        
    Digital Divide the uneven access to technology around race, class, and geographic lines        
    Evolutionary Model of Technological Change a breakthrough in one form of technology that leads to a number of variations, from which a prototype emerges, followed by a period of slight adjustments to the technology, interrupted by a breakthrough        
    Knowledge Gap the gap in information that builds as groups grow up without access to technology        
    Media Consolidation a process by which fewer and fewer owners control the majority of media outlets        
    Neo-Luddites those who see technology as a symbol of the coldness of modern life        
    New Media all interactive forms of information exchange        
    Panoptic Surveillance a form of constant monitoring in which the observation posts are decentralized and the observed is never communicated with directly        
    Plant Patents patents that recognize the discovery of new plant types that can be asexually reproduced        
    Technological Globalization the cross-cultural development and exchange of technology        
    Technophiles those who see technology as symbolizing the potential for a brighter future        
    Aggregate a collection of people who exist in the same place at the same time, but who don’t interact or share a sense of identity        
    Bureaucracies formal organizations characterized by a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor, explicit rules, and impersonality.        
    Clear Division of Labor the fact that each individual in a bureaucracy has a specialized task to perform        
    Conformity the extent to which an individual complies with group or societal norms        
    Dyad a two-member group        
    Expressive Function a group function that serves an emotional need        
    Formal Organizations large, impersonal organizations        
    Hierarchy of Authority a clear chain of command found in a bureaucracy        
    In-group a group a person belongs to and feels is an integral part of his identity        
    Conflict Theory a theory that examines social and economic factors as the causes of criminal deviance        
    Corporate Crime crime committed by white-collar workers in a business environment        
    Court a system that has the authority to make decisions based on law        
    Criminal Justice System an organization that exists to enforce a legal code        
    Deviance a violation of contextual, cultural, or social norms        
    Formal Sanctions sanctions that are officially recognized and enforced        
    Informal Sanctions sanctions that occur in face-to-face interactions        
    Legal Codes codes that maintain formal social control through laws        
    Negative Sanctions punishments for violating norms        
    Police a civil force in charge of regulating laws and public order at a federal, state, or community level        
    Power Elite a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society who hold the power and resources        
    Sanctions the means of enforcing rules        
    Self-report Study a collection of data acquired using voluntary response methods, such as questionnaires or telephone interviews        
    Social Disorganization Theory a theory that asserts crime occurs in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control        
    Strain Theory a theory that addresses the relationship between having socially acceptable goals and having socially acceptable means to reach those goals        
    Victimless Crime activities against the law, but that do not result in injury to any individual other than the person who engages in them        
    Instrumental Leader a leader who is goal oriented with a primary focus on accomplishing tasks        
    Laissez-faire Leader a hands-off leader who allows members of the group to make their own decisions        
    Leadership Style the style a leader uses to achieve goals or elicit action from group members        
    Meritocracy a bureaucracy where membership and advancement is based on merit—proven and documented skills        
    Out-group a group that an individual is not a member of, and may even compete with        
    Reference Groups groups to which an individual compares herself        
    Total Institution an organization in which participants live a controlled lifestyle and in which total resocialization occurs        
    Utilitarian Organizations organizations that are joined to fill a specific material need        
    Degradation Ceremony the process by which new members of a total institution lose aspects of their old identities and are given new ones        
    Hidden Curriculum the informal teaching done in schools that socializes children to societal norms        
    Nature the influence of our genetic makeup on self-development        
    Peer Group a group made up of people who are similar in age and social status and who share interests        
    Self a person’s distinct sense of identity as developed through social interaction        
    Achieved Status the status a person chooses, such as a level of education or income        
    Alienation an individual’s isolation from his society, his work, and his sense of self        
    Ascribed Status the status outside of an individual’s control, such as sex or race        
    Capitalism a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government        
    Collective Conscience the communal beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society        
    Feudal Societies societies that operate on a strict hierarchical system of power based around land ownership and protection        
    Horticultural Societies societies based around the cultivation of plants        
    Industrial Societies societies characterized by a reliance on mechanized labor to create material goods        
    Institutionalization the act of implanting a convention or norm into society        
    Looking-glass Self our reflection of how we think we appear to others        
    Organic Solidarity a type of social order based around an acceptance of economic and social differences        
    Proletariat the laborers in a society        
    Role Conflict a situation when one or more of an individual’s roles clash        
    Role Strain stress that occurs when too much is required of a single role        
    Roles patterns of behavior that are representative of a person’s social status        
    Social Integration how strongly a person is connected to his or her social group        
    Status the responsibilities and benefits that a person experiences according to his or her rank and role in society        
    Beliefs tenets or convictions that people hold to be true        
    Cultural Imperialism the deliberate imposition of one’s own cultural values on another culture        
    Cultural Universals patterns or traits that are globally common to all societies        
    Culture Lag the gap of time between the introduction of material culture and nonmaterial culture’s acceptance of it        
    Diffusion the spread of material and nonmaterial culture from one culture to another        
    Ethnocentrism the practice of evaluating another culture according to the standards of one’s own culture        
    Formal Norms established, written rules        
    High Culture the cultural patterns of a society’s elite        
    Informal Norms casual behaviors that are generally and widely conformed to        
    Inventions a combination of pieces of existing reality into new forms        
    Material Culture the objects or belongings of a group of people        
    Nonmaterial Culture the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of a society        
    Popular Culture mainstream, widespread patterns among a society’s population        
    Sanctions a way to authorize or formally disapprove of certain behaviors        
    Social Control a way to encourage conformity to cultural norms        
    Subcultures groups that share a specific identification, apart from a society’s majority, even as the members exist within a larger society        
    Values a culture’s standard for discerning what is good and just in society        
    Case Study in-depth analysis of a single event, situation, or individual        
    Content Analysis applying a systematic approach to record and value information gleaned from secondary data as it relates to the study at hand        
    Dependent Variables a variable changed by other variables        
    Ethnography observing a complete social setting and all that it entails        
    Field Research gathering data from a natural environment without doing a lab experiment or a survey        
    Hypothesis a testable educated guess about predicted outcomes between two or more variables        
    Interpretive Framework a sociological research approach that seeks in-depth understanding of a topic or subject through observation or interaction; this approach is not based on hypothesis testing        
    Literature Review a scholarly research step that entails identifying and studying all existing studies on a topic to create a basis for new research        
    Nonreactive Research using secondary data, does not include direct contact with subjects and will not alter or influence people’s behaviors        
    Participant Observation when a researcher immerses herself in a group or social setting in order to make observations from an “insider” perspective        
    Primary Data data that are collected directly from firsthand experience        
    Quantitative Data represent research collected in numerical form that can be counted        
    Reliability a measure of a study’s consistency that considers how likely results are to be replicated if a study is reproduced        
    Scientific Method an established scholarly research method that involves asking a question, researching existing sources, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting a study, and drawing conclusions        
    Surveys collect data from subjects who respond to a series of questions about behaviors and opinions, often in the form of a questionnaire        
    Value Neutrality a practice of remaining impartial, without bias or judgment during the course of a study and in publishing results        
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