Connecting Sociology and YOU!

Chapter 1: Introduction – Understanding Sociology

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Macro sociology:  a level of analysis focusing on social systems and populations on a large scale.


Micro sociology: a level of analysis focusing on individuals and small groups within the larger social system.


conflict theory: a sociological perspective emphasizing the role of political and economic power and oppression as contributing to the existing social order.


Functionalist theory: a macro view of how the parts of society serve to maintain stability.


Manifest Functions: intentional and formally sanctioned functions of social institutions and society.


Latent functions: unintentional and informally sanctioned functions of social institutions and society, that occur in education include learning social skills, finding romantic partners, and even negative functions, such as bullying and learning how to cheat.


Dysfunction: the undesirable disruptions of social patterns resulting in negative consequences within society.


Socialized self: the self cannot develop apart from society.


Symbolic interaction: a micro view of how society is the product of interactions between people, which occur via symbols that have distinct meanings.

Social facts: social patterns that are external to individuals and greatly influence our way of thinking and behaving in society.

Verstehen: an empathetic approach to understanding human behavior.

Feminist theory: a view on anti-oppression, gender relations, and gender inequality, evolved from the conflict theory and is an important contemporary sociological perspective.

queer theory: a critical view that rejects the traditional categories of gender, sex, and sexuality in contemporary society.

Postmodern social theory: a critical view rejecting the historical, scientific, and structured means of investigating and interpreting the social world.

Conflict theory focus: Focuses on the macro level of analysis and on class struggles and exploitation within society, institutions, and organizations. 

Functionalist theory focus: focuses on a macro-level analysis and how the parts of society serve to maintain stability, each part serves a function within society such as the role of government, education, and religion.

Symbolic interaction focus: focuses on the micro level of analysis and how society is the product of interactions between people, which occur via symbols such as language, gestures, and other subjective actions that have distinct meanings.


Social Structures: the Distinctive and stable arrangements of social patterns that form the society as a whole.

rationalization of society, the replacement of traditional values and personal connections with bureaucracy, efficiency, and a means-end approach.

common characteristics and functions of social structures: organizes behaviors of large groups of people, capable of coercing individuals and groups, provides norms, rules, and practices, assigns roles and powers to individuals and groups, encompasses large geographical areas.



Social problems: the societal conditions that harm segments of society, become less about personal feelings and more about measurable, evidence-based reality.

Understand social problems by:Objective conditions: the scope of a problem.

Subjective concerns: people\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s feelings about a problem.

evaluating the context within which the problem exists.

identifying potential policy solutions to the problem.

Social inequality: the unequal distribution of power, property, or prestige in society.

Sociological imagination: the ability to see the details of our own lives in the context of larger social structures as opposed to merely personal choices or personal troubles.

Public issue: a matter that impacts society as a whole.

Anomie: the breakdown of social values, norms, and order resulting in social instability.

Factors to consider the general population and vulnerable groups: increase in economic stress, social distancing and isolation, barriers to mental healthcare, constant and pervasive collective anxiety, long-term effects on frontline workers.

Social change:the forces that change the organization and the social structures of society.

Globalization: the worldwide integration of our cultural, economic, and political lives that results from ever-increasing levels of business.

Applied sociology: the use of sociological theory, research, and methodologies to find solutions to problems in society.