Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

Glossary

  • Page ID
    71969
  • Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix https://bio.libretexts.org/ CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    achieved status A status achieved at some point after birth, sometimes through one’s own efforts and sometimes because of good or bad luck.
    activity theory The view by social gerontologists that older people will benefit both themselves and their society if they remain active and try to continue to perform the roles they had before they aged.
    adult literacy Percentage of people 15 and older who can read and write a simple sentence.
    Affirmative action The preferential treatment of minorities and women in employment and education.
    ageism Negative views about, and prejudice and discrimination toward, various age groups, especially the elderly.
    Agricultural societies Societies that cultivate large amounts of crops with plows and other relatively advanced tools and equipment.
    androgynous Containing aspects of both femaleness and maleness, or of both femininity and masculinity.
    anomie Normlessness, a state in which social norms are unclear.
    artifacts The material objects that constitute a society’s material culture.
    artifacts The material objects that constitute a society’s material culture.
    ascribed status The status that someone is born with and has no control over.
    ascribed status The status that someone is born with and has no control over.
    authoritarian personality A personality emphasizing such things as obedience to authority, a rigid adherence to rules, and low acceptance of people not like oneself and said to help account for racial and ethnic prejudice.
    authoritarian personality A personality emphasizing such things as obedience to authority, a rigid adherence to rules, and low acceptance of people not like oneself and said to help account for racial and ethnic prejudice.
    background assumptions Our understanding of the roles expected of people in a given encounter.
    background assumptions Our understanding of the roles expected of people in a given encounter.
    blaming the system The belief that personal difficulties stem from problems in society.
    blaming the system The belief that personal difficulties stem from problems in society.
    bureaucracies A formal organization with certain organizational features designed to achieve goals in the most efficient way possible.
    bureaucracies A formal organization with certain organizational features designed to achieve goals in the most efficient way possible.
    bureaucratic ritualism In a bureaucracy, a greater devotion to rules and regulations (red tape) than to organizational goals.
    bureaucratic ritualism In a bureaucracy, a greater devotion to rules and regulations (red tape) than to organizational goals.
    capital flight The moving of manufacturing companies from U.S. cities to sites in the developing world in Asia and elsewhere.
    capital flight The moving of manufacturing companies from U.S. cities to sites in the developing world in Asia and elsewhere.
    Capitalism An economic system in which the means of production are privately owned.
    Capitalism An economic system in which the means of production are privately owned.
    caste system A stratification system based on rigid placement at birth into unequal groups based on one’s parents’ status, with no chance of moving out of these groups.
    caste system A stratification system based on rigid placement at birth into unequal groups based on one’s parents’ status, with no chance of moving out of these groups.
    Charismatic authority Authority that stems from an individual’s extraordinary personal qualities and from that individual’s hold over followers because of these qualities.
    Charismatic authority Authority that stems from an individual’s extraordinary personal qualities and from that individual’s hold over followers because of these qualities.
    child mortality The number of children who die before age 5 per 1,000 children.
    child mortality The number of children who die before age 5 per 1,000 children.
    civil religion The devotion of a nation’s citizens to their society and government.
    civil religion The devotion of a nation’s citizens to their society and government.
    civil war War within nations.
    civil war War within nations.
    civilian labor force All noninstitutionalized civilians 16 years old or older who work for pay or are looking for work.
    civilian labor force All noninstitutionalized civilians 16 years old or older who work for pay or are looking for work.
    class consciousness Awareness of one’s placement in the social structure and the interests arising from this placement.
    class consciousness Awareness of one’s placement in the social structure and the interests arising from this placement.
    class systems A system of stratification containing unequal groups but with a relatively high degree of social mobility.
    class systems A system of stratification containing unequal groups but with a relatively high degree of social mobility.
    classless societies Societies with no social stratification.
    classless societies Societies with no social stratification.
    coercive organizations Formal organizations that people enter involuntarily.
    coercive organizations Formal organizations that people enter involuntarily.
    collective behavior Relatively spontaneous and relatively unstructured behavior by large numbers of individuals acting with or being influenced by other individuals.
    collective behavior Relatively spontaneous and relatively unstructured behavior by large numbers of individuals acting with or being influenced by other individuals.
    collective conscience From Émile Durkheim, the combined norms of society.
    collective conscience From Émile Durkheim, the combined norms of society.
    comparable worth The idea that women’s and men’s jobs may be of roughly equal value and thus deserve the same pay, even though women’s jobs typically pay less than men’s jobs.
    comparable worth The idea that women’s and men’s jobs may be of roughly equal value and thus deserve the same pay, even though women’s jobs typically pay less than men’s jobs.
    conflict theory The view that society is composed of groups with different interests arising from their placement in the social structure.
    conflict theory The view that society is composed of groups with different interests arising from their placement in the social structure.
    control group In an experiment, the group that does not experience the experimental condition.
    control group In an experiment, the group that does not experience the experimental condition.
    convenience sample A nonrandom sample that is used because it is relatively quick and inexpensive to obtain.
    convenience sample A nonrandom sample that is used because it is relatively quick and inexpensive to obtain.
    conventional crime Violent and property offenses, including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
    conventional crime Violent and property offenses, including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.
    corporation An organization that has a legal existence apart from that of its members.
    corporation An organization that has a legal existence apart from that of its members.
    counterculture A subculture whose norms and values directly oppose those of the larger culture.
    counterculture A subculture whose norms and values directly oppose those of the larger culture.
    craze A temporary activity that attracts the obsessive enthusiasm of a relatively small group of people.
    craze A temporary activity that attracts the obsessive enthusiasm of a relatively small group of people.
    credential society A society in which higher education is seen as evidence of the attainment of the needed knowledge and skills for various kinds of jobs.
    credential society A society in which higher education is seen as evidence of the attainment of the needed knowledge and skills for various kinds of jobs.
    Crime Behavior that violates criminal laws.
    Crime Behavior that violates criminal laws.
    crowd A large number of people who gather together with a common short-term or long-term purpose.
    crowd A large number of people who gather together with a common short-term or long-term purpose.
    crude birth rate The number of live births for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year.
    crude birth rate The number of live births for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year.
    crude death rate The number of deaths for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year.
    crude death rate The number of deaths for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year.
    cult A small religious organization that is at great odds with the norms and values of the larger society.
    cult A small religious organization that is at great odds with the norms and values of the larger society.
    cultural diversity Variation in the elements of culture from one society to the next.
    cultural diversity Variation in the elements of culture from one society to the next.
    Cultural lag The delay between an initial social change and a resulting social change.
    Cultural lag The delay between an initial social change and a resulting social change.
    culture The artifacts and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are part of any society.
    culture The artifacts and ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are part of any society.
    de facto segregation School segregation stemming from neighborhood residential patterns.
    de facto segregation School segregation stemming from neighborhood residential patterns.
    de jure segregation School segregation stemming from legal requirements.
    de jure segregation School segregation stemming from legal requirements.
    debunking motif From Peter L. Berger, a theme of sociology in which the aim is to go beyond superficial understandings of social reality.
    debunking motif From Peter L. Berger, a theme of sociology in which the aim is to go beyond superficial understandings of social reality.
    degradation ceremony An encounter designed to humiliate an individual.
    degradation ceremony An encounter designed to humiliate an individual.
    democracy A political system in which citizens govern themselves either directly or indirectly.
    democracy A political system in which citizens govern themselves either directly or indirectly.
    democratic socialism An economic system in which the government owns several important industries, but much property remains in private hands, and political freedom is widespread.
    democratic socialism An economic system in which the government owns several important industries, but much property remains in private hands, and political freedom is widespread.
    demographic transition theory A theory that links population growth to the level of technological development across three stages of social evolution.
    demographic transition theory A theory that links population growth to the level of technological development across three stages of social evolution.
    demography The study of population growth and changes in population composition.
    demography The study of population growth and changes in population composition.
    denomination A large, bureaucratically organized religious organization that is closely integrated into the larger society but is not a formal part of the state.
    denomination A large, bureaucratically organized religious organization that is closely integrated into the larger society but is not a formal part of the state.
    dependency theory The view that global stratification results from colonization and exploitation of the poorest nations by the richest ones.
    dependency theory The view that global stratification results from colonization and exploitation of the poorest nations by the richest ones.
    dependent variable A variable that is influenced by an independent variable.
    dependent variable A variable that is influenced by an independent variable.
    differential association theory Edwin Sutherland’s view that deviance stems from interacting with primary group members who commit deviance and have values conducive to deviance.
    differential association theory Edwin Sutherland’s view that deviance stems from interacting with primary group members who commit deviance and have values conducive to deviance.
    Differential opportunity theory Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin’s view that differential access to illegitimate means helps determine the types of deviance in which poor people engage.
    Differential opportunity theory Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin’s view that differential access to illegitimate means helps determine the types of deviance in which poor people engage.
    direct-fee system A system of medicine in which patients pay for health care, prescriptions, and other medical costs themselves.
    direct-fee system A system of medicine in which patients pay for health care, prescriptions, and other medical costs themselves.
    disaster An accident or natural catastrophe that causes many deaths and much property destruction.
    disaster An accident or natural catastrophe that causes many deaths and much property destruction.
    disaster behavior Behavior that occurs during and after a disaster.
    disaster behavior Behavior that occurs during and after a disaster.
    Discrimination The arbitrary denial of rights, privileges, and opportunities to members of subordinate racial and ethnic groups.
    Discrimination The arbitrary denial of rights, privileges, and opportunities to members of subordinate racial and ethnic groups.
    disengagement theory The view, now largely abandoned, by some past social gerontologists that a society needs to encourage its elderly to disengage from their previous roles and to take on roles more appropriate to their declining physical and mental abilities.
    disengagement theory The view, now largely abandoned, by some past social gerontologists that a society needs to encourage its elderly to disengage from their previous roles and to take on roles more appropriate to their declining physical and mental abilities.
    division of labor The specialization of work, such that individuals perform only specific aspects of a task or project.
    division of labor The specialization of work, such that individuals perform only specific aspects of a task or project.
    dowry deaths The murder of a new wife by her husband and/or his relatives because she has not paid the groom money or goods.
    dowry deaths The murder of a new wife by her husband and/or his relatives because she has not paid the groom money or goods.
    dramaturgical approach Erving Goffman’s metaphor that likens social interaction to a performance in a dramatic production.
    dramaturgical approach Erving Goffman’s metaphor that likens social interaction to a performance in a dramatic production.
    dyad A two-person group.
    dyad A two-person group.
    ecclesia A large, bureaucratically organized religious organization that is a formal part of the state and has most or all of a state’s citizens as its members.
    ecclesia A large, bureaucratically organized religious organization that is a formal part of the state and has most or all of a state’s citizens as its members.
    economic inequality The extent of the economic difference between the rich and the poor in a society.
    economic inequality The extent of the economic difference between the rich and the poor in a society.
    economy The social institution that organizes the production, distribution, and consumption of a society’s goods and services.
    economy The social institution that organizes the production, distribution, and consumption of a society’s goods and services.
    egalitarian families A family where both spouses share authority equally.
    egalitarian families A family where both spouses share authority equally.
    elder abuse Physical violence, mental and emotional abuse, neglect of care, and financial exploitation committed against the elderly, most often by their relatives who are caring for them.
    elder abuse Physical violence, mental and emotional abuse, neglect of care, and financial exploitation committed against the elderly, most often by their relatives who are caring for them.
    elite theories Theories that say that power in a democracy is concentrated in the hands of a relatively few individuals, families, and/or organizations.
    elite theories Theories that say that power in a democracy is concentrated in the hands of a relatively few individuals, families, and/or organizations.
    embezzlement The stealing of money in its various dimensions (cash, electronic transactions, etc.) by employees from their workplaces.
    embezzlement The stealing of money in its various dimensions (cash, electronic transactions, etc.) by employees from their workplaces.
    emotions Feelings that begin with a stimulus and that often involve psychological changes and a desire to engage in specific actions.
    emotions Feelings that begin with a stimulus and that often involve psychological changes and a desire to engage in specific actions.
    endogamy Marriage within a social category or group, including race, ethnicity, social class, and religion.
    endogamy Marriage within a social category or group, including race, ethnicity, social class, and religion.
    environmental justice Scholarship on environmental inequality and racism, and public policy efforts and activism aimed at reducing these forms of inequality and racism.
    environmental justice Scholarship on environmental inequality and racism, and public policy efforts and activism aimed at reducing these forms of inequality and racism.
    environmental sociology The study of the interaction between human behavior and the natural and physical environment.
    environmental sociology The study of the interaction between human behavior and the natural and physical environment.
    episodic poverty As defined by the Census Bureau, being poor for at least 2 consecutive months in some time period.
    episodic poverty As defined by the Census Bureau, being poor for at least 2 consecutive months in some time period.
    equilibrium model Talcott Parsons’s functionalist view that society’s balance is disturbed by sudden social change.
    equilibrium model Talcott Parsons’s functionalist view that society’s balance is disturbed by sudden social change.
    Estate systems A system of stratification characterized by control of land that was common during feudalism.
    Estate systems A system of stratification characterized by control of land that was common during feudalism.
    ethnic group A subgroup of a population with a set of shared social, cultural, and historical experiences; with relatively distinctive beliefs, values, and behaviors; and with some sense of identity of belonging to the subgroup.
    ethnic group A subgroup of a population with a set of shared social, cultural, and historical experiences; with relatively distinctive beliefs, values, and behaviors; and with some sense of identity of belonging to the subgroup.
    ethnic pride The sense of self-worth that many people derive from their ethnic backgrounds.
    ethnic pride The sense of self-worth that many people derive from their ethnic backgrounds.
    Ethnocentrism The tendency to judge another culture by the standards of our own, and the belief that our own culture is superior to another culture.
    Ethnocentrism The tendency to judge another culture by the standards of our own, and the belief that our own culture is superior to another culture.
    eugenics The view, popular in the early 20th century, that certain categories of people were biologically inferior and hence should be sterilized.
    eugenics The view, popular in the early 20th century, that certain categories of people were biologically inferior and hence should be sterilized.
    exogamy Marriage between social categories or groups.
    exogamy Marriage between social categories or groups.
    expressive leader A leader whose main focus is to maintain and improve the quality of relationships among group members and more generally to ensure group harmony.
    expressive leader A leader whose main focus is to maintain and improve the quality of relationships among group members and more generally to ensure group harmony.
    Extended families A family in which parents, children, and other relatives live in the same household.
    Extended families A family in which parents, children, and other relatives live in the same household.
    false consciousness A failure to possess class consciousness.
    false consciousness A failure to possess class consciousness.
    family A group of two or more people who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a mutual commitment and who care for one another.
    family A group of two or more people who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a mutual commitment and who care for one another.
    Feminist theory The view that society is filled with gender inequality characterized by women being the subordinate sex in the social, political, and economic dimensions of society.
    Feminist theory The view that society is filled with gender inequality characterized by women being the subordinate sex in the social, political, and economic dimensions of society.
    feral A term used for children who have been extremely socially isolated.
    feral A term used for children who have been extremely socially isolated.
    focal concerns Walter Miller’s term for the key values of lower-class subcultures.
    focal concerns Walter Miller’s term for the key values of lower-class subcultures.
    formal organization A large group that follows explicit rules and procedures to achieve specific goals and tasks.
    formal organization A large group that follows explicit rules and procedures to achieve specific goals and tasks.
    formal organizations A large group that follows explicit rules and procedures to achieve specific goals and tasks.
    formal organizations A large group that follows explicit rules and procedures to achieve specific goals and tasks.
    frustration or scapegoat theory As an explanation of racial and ethnic prejudice, the view that individuals blame the problems they experience on racial and ethnic minorities and thus scapegoat them instead of recognizing the real sources of their own misfortunes.
    frustration or scapegoat theory As an explanation of racial and ethnic prejudice, the view that individuals blame the problems they experience on racial and ethnic minorities and thus scapegoat them instead of recognizing the real sources of their own misfortunes.
    Functionalism The view that social institutions are important for their contributions to social stability.
    Functionalism The view that social institutions are important for their contributions to social stability.
    gender identity Individuals’ beliefs about themselves as either females or males.
    gender identity Individuals’ beliefs about themselves as either females or males.
    general fertility rate The number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years.
    general fertility rate The number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years.
    generalizations A conclusion drawn from sociological research that is meant to apply to broad categories of people but for which many exceptions will always exist.
    generalizations A conclusion drawn from sociological research that is meant to apply to broad categories of people but for which many exceptions will always exist.
    generalized other George Herbert Mead’s term for society’s conscience.
    generalized other George Herbert Mead’s term for society’s conscience.
    generational equity The argument by critics of political activism on behalf of older Americans that programs for the elderly threaten to take money from programs to help younger Americans either now or as they age.
    generational equity The argument by critics of political activism on behalf of older Americans that programs for the elderly threaten to take money from programs to help younger Americans either now or as they age.
    gerontology The study of aging.
    gerontology The study of aging.
    Gesellschaft A large society characterized by weak and impersonal social ties.
    Gesellschaft A large society characterized by weak and impersonal social ties.
    gestures Movements of the hands, arms, head, and other parts of the body that are meant to convey ideas or emotions nonverbally.
    gestures Movements of the hands, arms, head, and other parts of the body that are meant to convey ideas or emotions nonverbally.
    glass escalator The smooth path afforded men in promotion in the workplace, especially in occupations primarily filled by women.
    glass escalator The smooth path afforded men in promotion in the workplace, especially in occupations primarily filled by women.
    Global stratification The unequal distribution of wealth, power, prestige, resources, and influence among the world’s nations.
    Global stratification The unequal distribution of wealth, power, prestige, resources, and influence among the world’s nations.
    groupthink The tendency of group members to remain silent and, against their better judgments, to go along with the desires and views of other group members.
    groupthink The tendency of group members to remain silent and, against their better judgments, to go along with the desires and views of other group members.
    Health The extent of a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
    Health The extent of a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being.
    health maintenance organizations Prepaid health plans with designated providers that typically enroll their subscribers through their workplaces.
    health maintenance organizations Prepaid health plans with designated providers that typically enroll their subscribers through their workplaces.
    hidden curriculum The beliefs and values that children learn in school.
    hidden curriculum The beliefs and values that children learn in school.
    hidden curriculum A set of values and beliefs learned in school that support the status quo, including the existing social hierarchy.
    hidden curriculum A set of values and beliefs learned in school that support the status quo, including the existing social hierarchy.
    Horizontal social structure The social relationships and social and physical characteristics of communities to which individuals belong.
    Horizontal social structure The social relationships and social and physical characteristics of communities to which individuals belong.
    human ecology school The study by early University of Chicago sociologists of the effects of urbanization on various aspects of city residents’ lives.
    human ecology school The study by early University of Chicago sociologists of the effects of urbanization on various aspects of city residents’ lives.
    hunting-and-gathering societies Societies of a few dozen members whose food is obtained from hunting animals and gathering plants and vegetation.
    hunting-and-gathering societies Societies of a few dozen members whose food is obtained from hunting animals and gathering plants and vegetation.
    impression management Erving Goffman’s term for the process whereby individuals who are interacting try to convey a favorable impression of themselves.
    impression management Erving Goffman’s term for the process whereby individuals who are interacting try to convey a favorable impression of themselves.
    individual discrimination Discrimination that individuals practice in their daily lives.
    individual discrimination Discrimination that individuals practice in their daily lives.
    Industrial societies Large societies that rely on machines and factories as their primary modes of economic production.
    Industrial societies Large societies that rely on machines and factories as their primary modes of economic production.
    Informal education Learning that occurs outside the schools, traditionally in the home.
    Informal education Learning that occurs outside the schools, traditionally in the home.
    informal norms Relatively unimportant norms, often unwritten, that still affect people’s behavior.
    informal norms Relatively unimportant norms, often unwritten, that still affect people’s behavior.
    institutional discrimination Discrimination that pervades the practices of whole institutions, such as housing, medical care, law enforcement, employment, and education, even if such discrimination is not intended.
    institutional discrimination Discrimination that pervades the practices of whole institutions, such as housing, medical care, law enforcement, employment, and education, even if such discrimination is not intended.
    Insurgent terrorism Terrorism committed by private citizens against their own government or against businesses and institutions seen as representing the “establishment.”
    Insurgent terrorism Terrorism committed by private citizens against their own government or against businesses and institutions seen as representing the “establishment.”
    Intragenerational mobility Vertical mobility within a person’s own lifetime.
    Intragenerational mobility Vertical mobility within a person’s own lifetime.
    iron law of oligarchy Robert Michels’s prediction that large organizations inevitably develop an oligarchy, or the undemocratic rule of many people by just a few people, because their leaders monopolize knowledge and act to advance their own positions.
    iron law of oligarchy Robert Michels’s prediction that large organizations inevitably develop an oligarchy, or the undemocratic rule of many people by just a few people, because their leaders monopolize knowledge and act to advance their own positions.
    Labeling theory The view that extralegal factors affect whether someone acquires a deviant label and that being labeled deviant increases the chances of future deviance.
    Labeling theory The view that extralegal factors affect whether someone acquires a deviant label and that being labeled deviant increases the chances of future deviance.
    laissez-faire leadership Leadership that allows a group to function on its own.
    laissez-faire leadership Leadership that allows a group to function on its own.
    Legitimate authority Power whose use is considered just and appropriate by those over whom the power is exercised.
    Legitimate authority Power whose use is considered just and appropriate by those over whom the power is exercised.
    life chances The degree to which people succeed in life in such areas as education, income, and health.
    life chances The degree to which people succeed in life in such areas as education, income, and health.
    life chances The degree to which people succeed in life in such areas as education, income, and health.
    life chances The degree to which people succeed in life in such areas as education, income, and health.
    life expectancy The average number of years that a nation’s citizens can be expected to live.
    life expectancy The average number of years that a nation’s citizens can be expected to live.
    life expectancy The average age to which people can be expected to live.
    life expectancy The average age to which people can be expected to live.
    looking-glass self Charles Horton Cooley’s term for one aspect of the process whereby we gain an understanding of our self-image and self-identity.
    looking-glass self Charles Horton Cooley’s term for one aspect of the process whereby we gain an understanding of our self-image and self-identity.
    male privilege The advantages a male enjoys in a patriarchal society just because he is a male.
    male privilege The advantages a male enjoys in a patriarchal society just because he is a male.
    malnutrition The status of being inadequately nourished, arising from a lack of good food combined with infections and diseases such as diarrhea that sap the body of essential nutrients.
    malnutrition The status of being inadequately nourished, arising from a lack of good food combined with infections and diseases such as diarrhea that sap the body of essential nutrients.
    masculinity Cultural expectations of boys and men, including toughness and bravery.
    masculinity Cultural expectations of boys and men, including toughness and bravery.
    Mass hysteria Widespread, intense fear of and concern for a danger that turns out to be false or greatly exaggerated.
    Mass hysteria Widespread, intense fear of and concern for a danger that turns out to be false or greatly exaggerated.
    master status A status that is so important that it overrides other statuses a person may hold.
    master status A status that is so important that it overrides other statuses a person may hold.
    material culture An element of culture consisting of society’s material objects, or artifacts.
    material culture An element of culture consisting of society’s material objects, or artifacts.
    maternal mortality The number of women who die during childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
    maternal mortality The number of women who die during childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
    matrilineal Inheritance through the female line.
    matrilineal Inheritance through the female line.
    Medicine The social institution that seeks to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness and to promote health in its various dimensions.
    Medicine The social institution that seeks to prevent, diagnose, and treat illness and to promote health in its various dimensions.
    microsociology That part of sociology that deals with social interaction in small settings.
    microsociology That part of sociology that deals with social interaction in small settings.
    migration The movement of people into or out of specific regions.
    migration The movement of people into or out of specific regions.
    militarism An overemphasis on military policy and spending.
    militarism An overemphasis on military policy and spending.
    military-industrial complex The close relationships among military leaders, government officials, and defense contractors.
    military-industrial complex The close relationships among military leaders, government officials, and defense contractors.
    Modernization The process and impact of becoming more modern.
    Modernization The process and impact of becoming more modern.
    modernization theory The view that global stratification results from a failure of poor nations to have the beliefs, values, and practices necessary for industrialization and rapid economic growth.
    modernization theory The view that global stratification results from a failure of poor nations to have the beliefs, values, and practices necessary for industrialization and rapid economic growth.
    Monarchy A political system in which power resides in a single family that rules from one generation to the next generation.
    Monarchy A political system in which power resides in a single family that rules from one generation to the next generation.
    moral panic Widespread concern over a perceived threat to the moral order that turns out to be false or greatly exaggerated.
    moral panic Widespread concern over a perceived threat to the moral order that turns out to be false or greatly exaggerated.
    multinational corporation A corporation with headquarters in one nation but with factories and other operations in many other nations.
    multinational corporation A corporation with headquarters in one nation but with factories and other operations in many other nations.
    National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) An annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice that asks a representative sample of the American public about crimes they have suffered.
    National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) An annual survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice that asks a representative sample of the American public about crimes they have suffered.
    national health insurance A system of medicine in which the government pays all or most of the costs of health care, prescriptions, and other items for the entire population.
    national health insurance A system of medicine in which the government pays all or most of the costs of health care, prescriptions, and other items for the entire population.
    natural growth rate The difference between the crude birth rate and the crude death rate.
    natural growth rate The difference between the crude birth rate and the crude death rate.
    nonparticipant observation Field research in which the researcher merely observes a group or setting.
    nonparticipant observation Field research in which the researcher merely observes a group or setting.
    nonverbal communication Ways of communicating that do not involve talking.
    nonverbal communication Ways of communicating that do not involve talking.
    norms Socially acceptable ways of behaving.
    norms Socially acceptable ways of behaving.
    organic solidarity Émile Durkheim’s conception of the type of social bonds and community feeling in large, modern societies resulting from their division of labor and interdependence of roles.
    organic solidarity Émile Durkheim’s conception of the type of social bonds and community feeling in large, modern societies resulting from their division of labor and interdependence of roles.
    out-group A group with which an in-group feels it is competing for various kinds of rewards and compared to which the in-group feels superior.
    out-group A group with which an in-group feels it is competing for various kinds of rewards and compared to which the in-group feels superior.
    outsourcing The hiring by U.S. companies of overseas workers for customer care, billing services, and other jobs that Americans used to do.
    outsourcing The hiring by U.S. companies of overseas workers for customer care, billing services, and other jobs that Americans used to do.
    panic A sudden reaction by a crowd that involves self-destructive behavior.
    panic A sudden reaction by a crowd that involves self-destructive behavior.
    Part I Offenses The FBI’s term for the major crimes included in the Uniform Crime Reports, including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
    Part I Offenses The FBI’s term for the major crimes included in the Uniform Crime Reports, including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
    pastoral societies Societies that raise livestock as their primary source of food.
    pastoral societies Societies that raise livestock as their primary source of food.
    patriarchy Male domination.
    patriarchy Male domination.
    pluralist theory The view that political power in the United States and other democracies is dispersed among several veto groups that compete in the political process for resources and influence.
    pluralist theory The view that political power in the United States and other democracies is dispersed among several veto groups that compete in the political process for resources and influence.
    political action committees (PACs) An organization formed by special-interest groups to raise and spend money on behalf of political campaigns and various political issues.
    political action committees (PACs) An organization formed by special-interest groups to raise and spend money on behalf of political campaigns and various political issues.
    political alienation A lack of faith that voting makes any difference and that government can be helpful.
    political alienation A lack of faith that voting makes any difference and that government can be helpful.
    Political ideology Views on social, political, and economic issues.
    Political ideology Views on social, political, and economic issues.
    political opportunity theory The view that a social movement is more likely to arise and persist when economic or political conditions weaken the government’s ability to oppose the movement.
    political opportunity theory The view that a social movement is more likely to arise and persist when economic or political conditions weaken the government’s ability to oppose the movement.
    political party An organization that supports particular political positions and tries to elect candidates to office to represent those positions.
    political party An organization that supports particular political positions and tries to elect candidates to office to represent those positions.
    political system The type of rule by which a state is run.
    political system The type of rule by which a state is run.
    polity The political institution through which power is distributed and exercised.
    polity The political institution through which power is distributed and exercised.
    polytheistic Believing in more than one god.
    polytheistic Believing in more than one god.
    postindustrial societies Societies in which information technology and service jobs have replaced machines and manufacturing jobs as the primary dimension of the economy.
    postindustrial societies Societies in which information technology and service jobs have replaced machines and manufacturing jobs as the primary dimension of the economy.
    poverty line The government’s measure of official poverty, based on the cost of a minimal diet for a family multiplied by three.
    poverty line The government’s measure of official poverty, based on the cost of a minimal diet for a family multiplied by three.
    Power The ability to have one’s will carried out despite the resistance of others.
    Power The ability to have one’s will carried out despite the resistance of others.
    power elite C. Wright Mills’s term for the leaders from government, big business, and the military who he thought constitute a ruling class that controls society and works for its own interests, not for the interests of the citizenry.
    power elite C. Wright Mills’s term for the leaders from government, big business, and the military who he thought constitute a ruling class that controls society and works for its own interests, not for the interests of the citizenry.
    prestige The status and esteem people hold in the eyes of others.
    prestige The status and esteem people hold in the eyes of others.
    primary group A group that is usually small, that is characterized by extensive interaction and strong emotional ties, and that lasts over time.
    primary group A group that is usually small, that is characterized by extensive interaction and strong emotional ties, and that lasts over time.
    profane Aspects of life that are practical and down-to-earth.
    profane Aspects of life that are practical and down-to-earth.
    proletariat The working class.
    proletariat The working class.
    pronatalist Referring to policies that encourage women to have children.
    pronatalist Referring to policies that encourage women to have children.
    psychological aging The psychological changes, including those involving mental functioning and personality, that occur as we age.
    psychological aging The psychological changes, including those involving mental functioning and personality, that occur as we age.
    quota sample A nonrandom sample in which units in the sample are chosen according to one or more characteristics so that the sample resembles these characteristics of the population as closely as possible.
    quota sample A nonrandom sample in which units in the sample are chosen according to one or more characteristics so that the sample resembles these characteristics of the population as closely as possible.
    race A category of people who share certain inherited physical characteristics, such as skin color, facial features, and stature.
    race A category of people who share certain inherited physical characteristics, such as skin color, facial features, and stature.
    random sample A subset drawn from the larger population in which every unit in the population has the same chance of being included in the subset.
    random sample A subset drawn from the larger population in which every unit in the population has the same chance of being included in the subset.
    rational choice theory Utilitarianism.
    rational choice theory Utilitarianism.
    rational-legal authority Authority that derives from law and is based on a belief in the legitimacy of a society’s laws and rules and in the right of leaders acting under these rules to make decisions and set policy.
    rational-legal authority Authority that derives from law and is based on a belief in the legitimacy of a society’s laws and rules and in the right of leaders acting under these rules to make decisions and set policy.
    reference groups A group that sets a standard for guiding our own behavior and attitudes.
    reference groups A group that sets a standard for guiding our own behavior and attitudes.
    relative deprivation The feeling by individuals that they are deprived relative to some other group or to some ideal state they have not reached.
    relative deprivation The feeling by individuals that they are deprived relative to some other group or to some ideal state they have not reached.
    religion The set of beliefs and practices regarding sacred things that help a society understand the meaning and purpose of life.
    religion The set of beliefs and practices regarding sacred things that help a society understand the meaning and purpose of life.
    religiosity The significance of religion in a person’s life.
    religiosity The significance of religion in a person’s life.
    Religious conservatism In the U.S. context, the belief that the Bible is the actual word of God.
    Religious conservatism In the U.S. context, the belief that the Bible is the actual word of God.
    religious preference A synonym for religious affiliation.
    religious preference A synonym for religious affiliation.
    Resource mobilization theory The view that social movements are a rational response to perceived grievances and that they arise from efforts by social movement leaders to mobilize the resources, especially the time, money, and energy, of aggrieved peoples and to direct them into effective political action.
    Resource mobilization theory The view that social movements are a rational response to perceived grievances and that they arise from efforts by social movement leaders to mobilize the resources, especially the time, money, and energy, of aggrieved peoples and to direct them into effective political action.
    response rate The percentage of a sample that agrees to be included in a study, usually a survey.
    response rate The percentage of a sample that agrees to be included in a study, usually a survey.
    riot A relatively spontaneous outburst of violence by a large group of people.
    riot A relatively spontaneous outburst of violence by a large group of people.
    rituals Established procedures and ceremonies that often mark transitions in the life course.
    rituals Established procedures and ceremonies that often mark transitions in the life course.
    role The behavior expected of someone with a certain status.
    role The behavior expected of someone with a certain status.
    role conflict The problems arising when a person has to deal with competing demands on two or more roles that the person is expected to play.
    role conflict The problems arising when a person has to deal with competing demands on two or more roles that the person is expected to play.
    role strain The problems arising when a person performing a role has to deal with competing demands on that role.
    role strain The problems arising when a person performing a role has to deal with competing demands on that role.
    routinization of charisma The transformation of charismatic authority into either traditional authority or rational-legal authority.
    routinization of charisma The transformation of charismatic authority into either traditional authority or rational-legal authority.
    rumor A story based on unreliable sources that is nonetheless passed on from one person to another person.
    rumor A story based on unreliable sources that is nonetheless passed on from one person to another person.
    sample A subset of a population.
    sample A subset of a population.
    Sapir-Whorf hypothesis The view that language influences the thoughts and perceptions of people in a society.
    Sapir-Whorf hypothesis The view that language influences the thoughts and perceptions of people in a society.
    scientific method The classic steps by which scientific research is conducted, including the formulation of a hypothesis and the gathering and analysis of data.
    scientific method The classic steps by which scientific research is conducted, including the formulation of a hypothesis and the gathering and analysis of data.
    secondary data analysis The analysis of data from existing records.
    secondary data analysis The analysis of data from existing records.
    secondary groups A group that is larger and more impersonal than a primary group and that exists to achieve a specific purpose.
    secondary groups A group that is larger and more impersonal than a primary group and that exists to achieve a specific purpose.
    secondary sex characteristics Biological differences between females and males that emerge during puberty.
    secondary sex characteristics Biological differences between females and males that emerge during puberty.
    sect A relatively small religious organization that is not closely integrated into the larger society and that often conflicts with at least some of its norms and values.
    sect A relatively small religious organization that is not closely integrated into the larger society and that often conflicts with at least some of its norms and values.
    Secularization The weakening importance of religion in a society.
    Secularization The weakening importance of religion in a society.
    self Self-image, self-identity, or self-concept.
    self Self-image, self-identity, or self-concept.
    self-report survey A survey given to individuals, usually adolescents, that asks them about offenses they have committed.
    self-report survey A survey given to individuals, usually adolescents, that asks them about offenses they have committed.
    sex segregation In the workplace, the concentration of women in a relatively few low-paying clerical and service jobs.
    sex segregation In the workplace, the concentration of women in a relatively few low-paying clerical and service jobs.
    sexism The belief that women are inferior to men.
    sexism The belief that women are inferior to men.
    sexual harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical conduct of a sexual nature used as a condition of employment or promotion or that interferes with an individual’s job performance and creates an intimidating or hostile environment.
    sexual harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical conduct of a sexual nature used as a condition of employment or promotion or that interferes with an individual’s job performance and creates an intimidating or hostile environment.
    Sexual orientation Preference for sexual relationships with individuals of the opposite sex, the same sex, or both sexes.
    Sexual orientation Preference for sexual relationships with individuals of the opposite sex, the same sex, or both sexes.
    sick role Expectations of how people are supposed to think and act when they are ill.
    sick role Expectations of how people are supposed to think and act when they are ill.
    slavery The ownership of people.
    slavery The ownership of people.
    social aggregate A collection of people who are in the same place at the same time but who otherwise don’t necessarily interact, except in the most superficial of ways, or have anything else in common.
    social aggregate A collection of people who are in the same place at the same time but who otherwise don’t necessarily interact, except in the most superficial of ways, or have anything else in common.
    Social aging The changes in roles and relationships that occur as people age.
    Social aging The changes in roles and relationships that occur as people age.
    social category A collection of individuals who have at least one attribute in common but otherwise don’t necessarily interact.
    social category A collection of individuals who have at least one attribute in common but otherwise don’t necessarily interact.
    Social change The transformation of culture (especially norms and values), behavior, social institutions, and social structure over time.
    Social change The transformation of culture (especially norms and values), behavior, social institutions, and social structure over time.
    social construction A concept that has no objective reality but rather is what people decide it is.
    social construction A concept that has no objective reality but rather is what people decide it is.
    social construction of reality The process by which individuals understand and create reality through their interaction with other individuals.
    social construction of reality The process by which individuals understand and create reality through their interaction with other individuals.
    Social control The ways in which society prevents and sanctions behavior that violates social norms.
    Social control The ways in which society prevents and sanctions behavior that violates social norms.
    social control theory Travis Hirschi’s view that deviance results from weak bonds to conventional social institutions, such as the family and schools.
    social control theory Travis Hirschi’s view that deviance results from weak bonds to conventional social institutions, such as the family and schools.
    social disorganization The weakening of social bonds and conventional social institutions in a community.
    social disorganization The weakening of social bonds and conventional social institutions in a community.
    Social epidemiology The study of how health and illness vary by social and demographic characteristics such as social class, race and ethnicity, and gender.
    Social epidemiology The study of how health and illness vary by social and demographic characteristics such as social class, race and ethnicity, and gender.
    social group Two or more people who regularly interact on the basis of mutual expectations and who share a common identity.
    social group Two or more people who regularly interact on the basis of mutual expectations and who share a common identity.
    social group Two or more people who regularly interact on the basis of mutual expectations and share a common identity.
    social group Two or more people who regularly interact on the basis of mutual expectations and share a common identity.
    social inequality The unequal distribution of resources, such as wealth, that a society values.
    social inequality The unequal distribution of resources, such as wealth, that a society values.
    social inequality The ways in which a society or group ranks people in a hierarchy.
    social inequality The ways in which a society or group ranks people in a hierarchy.
    social institution Patterns of beliefs and behavior that help a society meet its basic needs.
    social institution Patterns of beliefs and behavior that help a society meet its basic needs.
    social interaction The ways in which people act with other people and react to how other people are acting.
    social interaction The ways in which people act with other people and react to how other people are acting.
    social movement An organized effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social, political, economic, or cultural change.
    social movement An organized effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social change.
    social movement An organized effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social, political, economic, or cultural change.
    social movement An organized effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social change.
    social network The totality of relationships that link us to other people and groups and through them to still other people and groups.
    social network The totality of relationships that link us to other people and groups and through them to still other people and groups.
    social networks The totality of relationships that link us to other people and groups and through them to still other people and groups.
    social networks The totality of relationships that link us to other people and groups and through them to still other people and groups.
    Socialism An economic system in which the means of production are collectively owned, usually by the government.
    Socialism An economic system in which the means of production are collectively owned, usually by the government.
    Socialization The process whereby individuals learn the culture of their society.
    Socialization The process whereby individuals learn the culture of their society.
    society A group of people who live within a defined territory and who share a culture.
    society A group of people who live within a defined territory and who share a culture.
    society A group of people who live within a defined territory and who share a culture.
    society A group of people who live within a defined territory and who share a culture.
    sociobiology The view that genes and other aspects of human biology influence human behavior and values.
    sociobiology The view that genes and other aspects of human biology influence human behavior and values.
    socioeconomic status (SES) A measure based on occupation, education, and income favored by functionalist sociologists as an indicator of social class position.
    socioeconomic status (SES) A measure based on occupation, education, and income favored by functionalist sociologists as an indicator of social class position.
    sociological imagination From C. Wright Mills, the realization that personal troubles are rooted in public issues.
    sociological imagination From C. Wright Mills, the realization that personal troubles are rooted in public issues.
    sociological perspective The belief that people’s social backgrounds influence their attitudes, behaviors, and life chances.
    sociological perspective The belief that people’s social backgrounds influence their attitudes, behaviors, and life chances.
    spurious relationships A relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable that exists only because the effects of a third variable have not been taken into account.
    spurious relationships A relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable that exists only because the effects of a third variable have not been taken into account.
    State terrorism Violence by a government that is meant to frighten its own citizens and thereby stifle their dissent.
    State terrorism Violence by a government that is meant to frighten its own citizens and thereby stifle their dissent.
    Status The position that someone occupies in society.
    Status The position that someone occupies in society.
    status frustration theory Albert Cohen’s view that delinquency results from school failure and the concomitant need to regain self-esteem by being successful in delinquent activities.
    status frustration theory Albert Cohen’s view that delinquency results from school failure and the concomitant need to regain self-esteem by being successful in delinquent activities.
    status set All the positions an individual occupies.
    status set All the positions an individual occupies.
    status symbols An object that signifies a particular status that a person holds.
    status symbols An object that signifies a particular status that a person holds.
    stereotypes Simplified, mistaken generalizations about people because of their race and/or ethnicity.
    stereotypes Simplified, mistaken generalizations about people because of their race and/or ethnicity.
    strain theory Robert Merton’s view that deviance is caused by a failure to achieve the American goal of financial success through the conventional means of working.
    strain theory Robert Merton’s view that deviance is caused by a failure to achieve the American goal of financial success through the conventional means of working.
    subculture A smaller culture within a larger culture with distinctive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
    subculture A smaller culture within a larger culture with distinctive ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
    subculture of violence Marvin Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti’s term for the value system of poor, urban neighborhoods that calls for violent responses to insults and other interpersonal problems.
    subculture of violence Marvin Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti’s term for the value system of poor, urban neighborhoods that calls for violent responses to insults and other interpersonal problems.
    superego Sigmund Freud’s term for society’s conscience.
    superego Sigmund Freud’s term for society’s conscience.
    symbolic interactionism A micro perspective in sociology that focuses on the meanings people gain from social interaction.
    symbolic interactionism A micro perspective in sociology that focuses on the meanings people gain from social interaction.
    symbols Things that stand for something else and that often evoke various reactions and emotions.
    symbols Things that stand for something else and that often evoke various reactions and emotions.
    take the role of the other George Herbert Mead’s term for what children do when they play that helps them acquire an understanding of their self.
    take the role of the other George Herbert Mead’s term for what children do when they play that helps them acquire an understanding of their self.
    terrorism The use of unexpected violence to intimidate or coerce people in the pursuit of political or social objectives.
    terrorism The use of unexpected violence to intimidate or coerce people in the pursuit of political or social objectives.
    tertiary sector The part of the economy that provides services rather than products.
    tertiary sector The part of the economy that provides services rather than products.
    total fertility rate The number of children an average woman is expected to have in her lifetime, sometimes expressed as the number of children an average 1,000 women are expected to have in their lifetimes.
    total fertility rate The number of children an average woman is expected to have in her lifetime, sometimes expressed as the number of children an average 1,000 women are expected to have in their lifetimes.
    total institutions Institutions that have total control over their residents’ lives.
    total institutions Institutions that have total control over their residents’ lives.
    Totalitarianism Political systems that are more repressive than authoritarianism because they try to regulate and control all aspects of citizens’ lives and fortunes.
    Totalitarianism Political systems that are more repressive than authoritarianism because they try to regulate and control all aspects of citizens’ lives and fortunes.
    traditional authority Power that is rooted in traditional, or long-standing, beliefs and practices of a society.
    traditional authority Power that is rooted in traditional, or long-standing, beliefs and practices of a society.
    Transnational terrorism Terrorism committed by the citizens of one nation against targets in another nation.
    Transnational terrorism Terrorism committed by the citizens of one nation against targets in another nation.
    triad A three-person group.
    triad A three-person group.
    Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) The FBI’s regular compilation of crime statistics, most of them on Index Crimes.
    Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) The FBI’s regular compilation of crime statistics, most of them on Index Crimes.
    urbanization The rise and growth of cities.
    urbanization The rise and growth of cities.
    Utilitarian organizations Organizations that people join to provide them an income or some other personal benefit.
    Utilitarian organizations Organizations that people join to provide them an income or some other personal benefit.
    Utilitarianism The view that people interact so as to maximize their benefits and minimize their disadvantages.
    Utilitarianism The view that people interact so as to maximize their benefits and minimize their disadvantages.
    Values Criteria of what is desirable or undesirable and right or wrong.
    Values Criteria of what is desirable or undesirable and right or wrong.
    variable Any characteristic that varies among units of analysis.
    variable Any characteristic that varies among units of analysis.
    vertical mobility Movement up or down through a society’s stratification system.
    vertical mobility Movement up or down through a society’s stratification system.
    Victimless crime Illegal behavior in which people participate voluntarily, including drug use, prostitution, and gambling.
    Victimless crime Illegal behavior in which people participate voluntarily, including drug use, prostitution, and gambling.
    Vigilante terrorism Terrorism committed by private citizens against other private citizens.
    Vigilante terrorism Terrorism committed by private citizens against other private citizens.
    voluntary organizations Normative organizations.
    voluntary organizations Normative organizations.
    vulnerability to poverty A significant probability that people who are not officially poor will become poor within the next year.
    vulnerability to poverty A significant probability that people who are not officially poor will become poor within the next year.
    Whistle-blowing The revealing by an employee of organizational practices that the employee believes to be illegal and/or immoral.
    Whistle-blowing The revealing by an employee of organizational practices that the employee believes to be illegal and/or immoral.
    white privilege The advantages that U.S. whites enjoy in their daily lives simply because they are white, whether or not they are aware of these advantages.
    white privilege The advantages that U.S. whites enjoy in their daily lives simply because they are white, whether or not they are aware of these advantages.
    White-collar crime Crime committed in the course of one’s occupation.
    White-collar crime Crime committed in the course of one’s occupation.
    • Was this article helpful?