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Sociology Perspectives the Inherency of Sociology's Versatility Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,282 words)
Bibliography Sources: 9


Sociology Perspectives

The Inherency of Sociology's Versatility

Philosophers, scientists and artists have collectively sought throughout the course of human history to understand, characterize and empirically determine the mechanisms that drive human society. In terms of systems both large and small, in terms of interactions both measurable and observable, within scientific and speculative contexts, scholarly examination of the interaction between human beings, as well as the interaction between human beings and elements of the world around them, has been a major preoccupation. The sheer complexity and variability of this discussion would produce the modern discipline known as sociology. Troubled at its very core by the complexity of humankind and human societies, the study's multitude of perspectives has occurred out of necessity.

The ambition of sociology is itself already aimed at such a multitude of goals. Accordingly, we find that "sociology tries to concern itself with the nature of the human being, the meaning and basis of social order, and the causes and consequences of social inequality. It focuses on society, social organization, social institutions, social interactions, and social problems." (BI, 1)

Over the course of history, this has not only demanded an extremely flexible way of querying certain human or cultural phenomena, but it has also demanded a greater formalism in the way that we have approached these questions. So indicates McClelland (2000), who refers to functionalism as answering to this demand. McClelland indicates that "functionalism is the oldest, and still the dominant, theoretical perspective in sociology and many other social sciences. This perspective is built upon twin emphases: application of the scientific method to the objective social world and use of an analogy between the individual organism and society." (McClelland, 1)

Of course, as societies have changed, this means that human beings have as well. Such thinkers as Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx would take particular care to investigate the implications of such changes. Durkheim's accomplishments are tantamount to founding sociological theory from an academic standpoint. His advocacy of socially guided philosophical education, in lieu of incidental reinforcement of the authority of the clergy or other false power structures, made him a controversial figure in France. But his determination to supplement the humanistic disciplines which had heretofore ruled the path of France's philosophical academe with more socially inclined perspectives on the human condition moved sociology onto much more salient planes. Durkheim's efforts introduced the first social science classes ever and was soon an influential Paris professor.

Marx's ideas were also immensely important to the refinement of sociological theory, applying what he perceived as evident impulses in interdependent human matrices toward semantic advocacies of collective progress, emphasis on labor contribution and state funding for clear, demonstrable public needs. His observations became, and continue to stand as, a corner-stone not just in political thought, but in the application of critical theory. His work sprang directly from the notion that the needs and impulses of the people would be the prime determinant for social-function mechanisms such as government and labor unions.

For both… [read more]

Sociology: Changing Societies Book Report

Book Report  |  30 pages (9,606 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


A union leader in Washington, D.C., isn't a miner, but miner's groups are his reference group because he identifies so strongly with their needs and aspirations.

Primary groups refer to groups where a person received his or her first important lessons about life and social realities - most often, a typical primary group is the family. Individuals develop their self-concepts… [read more]

Sociology Chapter Review Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,234 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


Sociology Chapter Review

This report covers the first three chapters of the "Essentials of Sociology" text by Giddens. The first chapter covers general sociological theory and methods. The second chapter covers culture and society. The third chapter covers socialization, life course and aging. A summary and analysis of each chapter will be given.

As noted in the introduction, the first chapter is a high-level view of the prominent theory and methods associated with sociology. The chapter sort of rips through the different theories and methods quite quickly and perhaps exposes the typecasting and ideal-type nature of sociology. This is perhaps not a rip on this book and particular and probably more on the field of sociology in general. However, many to most situations are entire too complex and complicated to boil down into sociological theories and assigning to such theories that have a lot of different moving parts is perhaps a foolish endeavor unless one keeps in mind that sociological theory, as much as it may apply to a culture, a person or a situation, is never the whole story and it should never be construed as such (Giddens, 2011).

Also, when looking at the textbook listing on Amazon, one of the reviewers notes that the book is perhaps a little too high-level to be an introductory book. While more advanced students might not feel that way, the author of this response would tend to agree with that line of thought. The complexity and advanced nature of this book should probably be dialed back a bit as it is a simple fact that most college freshmen, a huge part of the people that would be taking a class with this book as its textbook, would probably be in over their head with this material. That being said, the descriptions and summaries in this first chapter are actually quite good for someone with the acuity and prior knowledge to perceive it and it would be a great chapter for a second- or third-level sociological course (Giddens, 2011).

Chapter Two

Chapter two is a bit of continuation of the first in that the progression through the material is fairly abrupt and scattering and is perhaps not best for a book that is clearly meant to be introductory in nature. This would be something that could be pulled off at a higher-end college but community colleges and online colleges, where the students are typically not nearly as strong, should probably not be using a book of this caliber (Giddens, 2011).

Even so, the interweaving of what culture is and how it defines and shapes the overall society of a city, state or nation leaps off the page and is a very good read for an adept student. Again, the ideals and ideas in this chapter, just like the first chapter, are a little too simplistic but the concepts are common-sense and very proper nonetheless. Perhaps left unstated is the idea that this text is useful to define a large part of what makes… [read more]

Society the Term 'Identity Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,322 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4



The term 'identity' is used for a variety of things and for this reason different people mean different things when they refer to identity. In a majority of cases, people use this term for denoting a sense of self-integration. When human identity is considered, its meaning is rather complicated and infinite. If truth be told, identity is the origin of an indivisible section of an individual's awareness and perception to a certain extent. However, for the most part, identity is a congregation of one's attitude, conduct, moral values and viewpoints that he/she collects and learns during the course of his/her life. In simple words, an individual's identity is unique and separates him/her from others (Lawler 1). It is said that an individual's place in society is dependent on his/her individual identity. Due to the social variables (gender, religion, ethnicity, political views etc.) that form and affect one's personality and identity, the worldviews of one are molded and shaped. This is the reason why it is excessively important to study about one's identity as it may have a variety of major influences on the life of an individual. It is because of these identities and the subsequent worldviews that people are able to realize, understand and create life's realities.

As far as my own identity is concerned, it is influenced by a number of social variables. Being a follower of the Catholic religion and racially categorized due to my Mexican ethnicity in a divided American society, my identity and worldviews have been shaped up accordingly.

In my case, religion is the most important social variable that has affected my overall personal attributes and identity. I am a devoted Catholic today as I have been raised in an environment where my parents emphasized on practicing religious teachings and moralities. This factor has particularly shaped my identity as a faithful, loving and compassionate believer. Due to the opportunities and experiences I was offered by my parents, I have gained knowledge about God, goodness and positivity in life and I consider myself a lucky person to be able to express positive characteristics in my daily life. I identify with a lot of people who believe in God's oneness and supremeness. I try my best to abide by the teachings of Catholicism and get hold of opportunities to receive reparations. Without a question, my religious values have played a major part in molding and shaping my worldviews.

My individual identity is also affected and shaped up by the racial/ethnic categorization that I experience in the American society on a daily basis. The United States of America is renowned for treating Mexicans in a negative light and considering them as an inferior minority group (Mintz 4). My family and I are still struggling to integrate into the American society in a successful manner. My life is a different one as compared to other 'whites' as my skin color, facial features, accent and other physical aspects define my Mexican ethnicity. Although I am not treated as… [read more]

Sociology? According to Giddens Article Critique

Article Critique  |  4 pages (1,202 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


¶ … Sociology?

According to Giddens (2010) sociology can be described as the systematic study of varoous types of patterns that invole various types of human behavior that is among diverse civilizations and how they are conducted through different generations. It is troubled with the study of numerous social institutions that are within society and how they purpose and disturb each other. For instance, the book makes the point that there is an inspiration of the family that could maybe have on whether a child is religious or not. Giddens makes the point that sociology is also the study of patterns of disparity, deficiency and conflict in society. Even though sociology is basically concerned with the study of numerous things that most individuals recognize a bit about and is looked at as being 'common sense', sociological investigation has refuted a lot of these extensively misguided ideas with precise evidence, whereas endeavoring to preserve impartiality and value liberty in their work.


One of the theories is called social conflict and it involves the struggle that goes on among the segments of society over resources (Giddens, 2010). Because of social conflict, it turned a small populace into capitalists that are in the nineteenth century. Capitalists are those people who operate and own factories and other industries in pursuit of incomes. Nevertheless, capitalism turned most individuals into industrial workers, whom Marx called proletarians. Proletarians are people who sell their labor for salaries. Conflict theories are the ones that draw care to power changes, for example class, race and conflict gender and conflict, and difference historically primary ideologies. It is therefore a macro level study of society that sees civilization as an arena of disparity that produces social and conflict change.

Another one is called the structural functionalism or Functionalism is considered an outline for building theory that understands civilization as a complex system whose sections work together to endorse stability and solidarity. (Babbie, 2003) This method looks at society through a macro-level alignment, which is a broad emphasis on the social structures that forms society as an entire. (Giddens, 2010) This approach looks at both social functions and social structure. Functionalism talks society as an entire in rapports of the purpose of its basic elements; customs, traditions namely norms, and institutions.

The sociological theory is another interesting theory in sociology. It is considered to be a sociological theory that places emphasis on micro-scale social interaction to provide subjective meaning in human behavior, the social process and pragmatism. (Giddens, 2010) the approach focuses on creating a framework for building a theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. Society is nothing more than the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another (Adams, 2001).

Positivism is a philosophy established by Auguste Comte (lengthily experimental as the first true sociologist) in the middle of the 19th century that stated that the merely reliable knowledge is scientific information, and that such knowledge can only come from optimistic… [read more]

Sociology: Symbolic-Interactionism Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,471 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2


150). Individuals sometimes sacrifice independence in order to facilitate the group; society is "individuals in action," (Charon, p. 152). Society is far from being a static thing; it is a dynamic and organic process. This is why symbolic-interactionism is a dynamic sociology. The emphasis is on interaction, change, and process rather than on structure or institution.

Charon's assessment of the… [read more]

Sociology Relationship Between Individual Essay

Essay  |  11 pages (3,180 words)
Bibliography Sources: 10


These changes affect the relationship between the individual and society. Industrialization is one of the greatest changes in society that influences the relationship between society and the individual. It serves as one of the major factors that transitions the pre-modern to the modern world, as well as one of the transitions into the rise of the individual over the society.… [read more]

Sociology: Marx, Weber and Research Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (792 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Weber believed that society was being driven by the passage of rational ideas into a culture that had transformed completely into a bureaucratic entity. Weber believed that with this change came a major flaw in society of the presence of an "iron cage." This iron cage, he noted would trap society under the newly-implemented plan of industrial capitalism, changing individuals happiness completely. No longer would society function for themselves, but in a manner dictated by capitalism and a rigid society with rules and structures they would remain unable to change, which even Weber was unable to imagine an escape from.


In viewing the facets of the self-administered questionnaire, that are mailed to a large random sample of the population being studied, certain advantages and disadvantages can be noted, especially in terms of the problems disadvantages may post to the research at hand.

To begin with the advantages, such surveys are not only inexpensive, but can be useful in describing the characteristics of a fairly large population without having to bring subjects in to a specific testing area. This type of research model also allows the researcher assurance in precise measurement and comparison, as subjects will answer with a definitive response, providing high reliability.

In contrast, such questionnaires force a researcher to develop questions that are far less in-depth than they would be in a one-on-one interview, which may skew results. Additionally, finding a large enough group of individuals who are willing to answer the questionnaire may prove problematic in finding a truly varied population sample.


In viewing the facets of the semi-structured, qualitative, in-depth, one-on-one interview with a small number of subjects who volunteer to be interviewed, certain advantages and disadvantages can be noted, especially in terms of the problems disadvantages may post to the research at hand.

The main advantage of such a procedure appears to be the capacity for an interviewee to delve far deeper into responses than they could in a mere questionnaire. However, these participants are also more apt to skew their answers in a manner that they believe would better serve the research question or appear more favorable to the researcher who is doing the questioning. This type of research model allows a far more in-depth and honed look into the subjects' responses, but can be expensive and difficult in terms of comparing subjects' answers.

Sociology Questions… [read more]

Sociology One of the Most Dynamic Micro-Societies Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (511 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2



One of the most dynamic micro-societies found in the United States today is that of the college university. The college society is one comprised of many young individuals but at the same time is remarkably diverse. With the influence of highly educated professors and both factually and staff from around the world, the college campus is a society that both mirrors and differs from society as a whole. For these reasons, the society found on a college campus provides for an interesting opportunity to utilize such sociology-based theories as a functionalist, conflict and interactionist approach for examining it.

According to a functional approach to the social sciences, social institutions, such as college campuses, are explained as existing to serve as a collective means to fill an individual biological needs or how social institutions fill various social needs. Essentially functionalism focuses on the structure and workings of a given society, viewing a society as being composed of various inter-dependent sections which work together in order to fulfill the necessary functions required for survival within society at large. Thus, when examining a college campus through a functionalist approach, the college itself is seen as serving a specific societal purpose of educating young individuals to become productive members of society. The college itself, as a society, is also comprised of numerous, interdependent sections (students, faculty, etc.) each designated to play a specific purpose in achieving the college's goals and missions.

According to sociology's conflict theory, a society or organization functions for the sole purpose of ensuring that…… [read more]

Functionalism in Sociology the History Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (3,197 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


In terms of the need for stability the analogy between society and an organism therefore aimed at a situation of homeostasis where " ... social systems work to maintain equilibrium and to return to it after external shocks disturb the balance among social institutions. "(FUNCTIONALISM)

This state of order and social equilibrium is achieved through the socialization process. This means… [read more]

Individuals and Society Action Theories Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,633 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Durkheim has been frequently accused of anti-individualistic approach to his studies and over emphasis on society, integration, cohesion and rituals. However through his work on altruistic suicides, it can be clearly an attempt by him to balance the two, societal regulations and individualism, as an overdose of any of two can lead to suicides and social anarchy. He only opposed individualism when it could lead to sacrifice of common good. He believed that people were only human as social beings, taking into account the needs of others and sacrificing theirs in the process to achieve social harmony and collective benefit. He believed that regardless of the rising individual prosperity and over emphasis on individual rights, no system or society could work without some common beliefs and norms shared and adhered to, by all. In his late years, he started focusing on religion as being the prime set of beliefs that could prevent disintegration of society. This view is expressed a little differently by Abercrombie (2000) in his commentary on contemporary British society: "There is not a straightforward relationship between country, colour or culture and ethnic identity, for example. Ethnicity, it can be said, comprises a mix of characteristics. 'Race' on the other hand, is often placed in inverted commas to highlight the fact that there are no pure, genetically different races. We are all mongrels." (P.227). Socialization is important because it shapes a person's behavior to a certain extent as Taylor et al. (1995, p 7) state, 'This is a lifelong process ... But the most important part probably takes place during a person's early years', adding that: 'Socialization is closely linked to social control' which is geared towards maintenance of social order.


1) Abercrombie, N. (2000) Contemporary British Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.

2) Max Weber, Economy and Society, volume 1, pp. 4-7 and pp. 22-31

3) Durkheim, The Rules of Sociological Method (1895).

4) Taylor P,…… [read more]

Individual in Society Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,421 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


For Freud, the human was not something that could be changed, and all of society's social controls and jostling came from the sexual impulse.

The rapacious sexual drives of the individual human animal determined the shape of society. But rather than speculating about the individual first, and then analyzing how society shaped those drives, in contrast, the collective experiences were… [read more]

Sociology the Difference Between Micro Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,266 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


As opposed to this belief in psychology, sociology considers the importance of social institutions and determinants primarily, bringing into its study the processes involved when an individual interacts with another individual or a group. Though it also looks into individual motivations and needs for social interaction, sociology downplays this factor over the influence of social institutions such as religion, education, politics, economics, among others. These institutions are considered far more influential than physical, mental, and emotional changes in the individual, for these changes would not occur had these social institutions and interactions with people in the society failed to influence the individual's behavior and the way s/he interpret his/her realities in life.

4. Childhood, in sociology, is considered more than a stage in an individual's biological development, but is also considered a stage wherein "cultural invention" takes place. By "cultural invention," sociologists mean to illustrate the process that children goes through as they are introduced to various facets of culture or ways of life by the people the child often interacts with. During the childhood stage, a child learns to adopt the first element crucial to and characteristic of human culture -- that is, mastering the language and communication of humans. From there, as children learn to communicate and interact with other people, they began to learn lifeways that are distinct for each individual's culture that the child interacts with. The lifeways of a child's mother may be different from his/her father; similarly, the lifeways of a child's life at home is radically different from his/her realities at school. Thus, during childhood, invention takes place as the child absorbs all these lifeways and chooses among these the most appropriate culture for his/her personality and belief as an individual.

5. Ethnocentrism and androcentrism are attitudes developed by individuals or groups that manifest the unilateral view of the world, where unchallenged traditions and systems perpetuate and continuously tolerate these attitudes. Ethnocentrism is an attitude that one's own culture is superior to others. Androcentrism, meanwhile, is an attitude that is male-centered -- that is, males are superior than females.

These attitudes are similar in that both present a prejudiced view of social realities in the society: ethnocentrism creates a divide between (what are perceived to be) low- and high-cultures, while androcentrism creates a distinction between males and females in the society. However, both attitudes differ from each other because ethnocentrism centers primarily on ethnic and racial differences, while androcentrism looks at the gender differences between males and females.

6. It is vital to create a distinction between the concepts "sex" and "gender," especially when discussing the differences between males and females in the society. This is because these concepts are formulated from various perspectives: "sex" is a concept formulated from the biological differences between males and females, while "gender" is a culturally-determined concept that similarly, distinguishes males from females in the society.

Sex, on one hand, as a biologically-determined concept, is determined by our genes, or an individual's biological composition. Gender, on the… [read more]

Macro Theory of Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (580 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


As one better understands why work is valued as such an estimation of human value, upon the marketplace, because of a relatively recently evolved way of reckoning human value, one needs to value one's self less through material and professional accomplishments. One can better, even if one does not succeed in conventional vocational terms, appreciate the less economically valued, but more morally and personally valuable contributions one makes to society.

Question 2: Contrasting Weber and Durkheim: How do the ideas of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim compare and contrast? For example, how does each understand the basic notion of "society" and what constitutes the "social"? How does each view and analyze the problems and issues of modern society? How do their approaches to the study of society compare and contrast?

Max Weber suggested that ideologically, the Protestant ethos imbued economic society with a stress upon the rational, moral value of disciplining one's self to work, and of valuing work as a concealed and internal method through monetary accumulation, rather than the ostentation and immediate representation of spiritual development, as was typical of the more sacramental excesses of Catholicism. (98) Society for Weber was almost synonymous with economics and a rational reckoning of the human purpose of existence.

Durkheim saw society in more cultural terms, and stressed the social connections of family relationships. More generally, he wrote, today people are "adrift," that is without social underpinnings. (50) Rather than giving individuals a positive purpose for life, the genesis of capitalism took individuals out of society.

Both Durkheim and Weber incorporated religious… [read more]

Controversies in Sociology Social Theory Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (714 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Understanding that the main reason for being in each case would then be simply a self-protection for optimum survival. Homan's social exchange theory would loosely fall with in the ideals of reductionist theory as he believes that people will seek out rewards that meet their psychological and physical needs in every relationship and if a relationship is more psychologically costly than profitable then the relationship will be terminated by the individual (Homans' social exchange theory 2003)

While on the other hand non-reductionist believe that social interaction is not necessarily linked with self preservation, as so many people not only seek out problems to solve but often put themselves in dire psychological conflicts to do so. Though some theorists believe that the rewards of such an output would be the impetus for it non-reductionists believe that once again people will do things that put themselves in great psychological and even physical peril without any promised or even implied reward.

Value-free sociology refers to a regard for social science as something that exists as a point of study without regard for the alteration or improvement of society. Value free sociology says that society can be observed but should not be manipulated by the sociologist. Conversely, Value-committed sociology reflects the idea that the observation of society is not enough and that those with the knowledge of observation are in the best position to alter the failings of it or at least give those who can the answers to do so.

Probably the best example of a value-committed sociologist was Marx as he was trying to point out the failings of our society through conflict theory as a means to develop a better society.

Works Cited

Homans' social exchange theory May, 07, 2003. http://www.comsci.co.za/acii01/Homans.htm.

Cronk, George (2000) "George Herbert Mead." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. May 7, 2003. http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/m/mead.htm#Social%20Theory.

Moen, Elizabeth W. (1989) "Causes and Consequences of Poverty: Local Theory in South

India.." May 07, 2003. http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/full_text_search/AllCRCDocs/89-15.htm.… [read more]

Communication and Sociology and Poverty Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (889 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


There is nothing wrong with being over-prepared. Adequate preparation in this case will entail first visualizing oneself delivering a great presentation, organizing materials in the way that gives you most comfort, and then practicing over and over. The beginning must always be strong, explaining the purpose (the benefits of online learning in this case) and emphasizing what participants are likely to gain. Depending on the size of the group, it may be appropriate to design small, numbered cards on which participants fill information on any questions they may have, and what exactly they expect to learn from the session. One needs to dress for success, put on something that they are comfortable with; something that allows them to walk around freely (high school students concentrate a lot on one's dressing; inappropriate dressing could send the wrong message, and interfere with participants' concentration). There is also need to identify the presentation's objectives, and make the same clear to the participants from the onset. Wear a smile, focus on message delivery, welcome participants warmly, and at the end of the session, thank them for coming (University of Washington, 2014).

During the presentation, it is important to maintain eye contact, and make slide copies available to participants. Speaking to one's audience, rather than at them is paramount. Voice inflection and natural gestures add the audience's interest to a presentation; any complex terms should be defined and real-life examples/stories used to illustrate the major points. The presentation should be interactive; it should allow enough time for questions, promote discussion and help participants integrate key points and themes. It is appropriate to include a short group activity, and means for learners with disabilities. To add some reality to the presentation, one could have an alumni address the participants, tell them how he/she navigated through campus, and respond to their concerns (University of Washington, 2014).

Finally, it is important to have a strong conclusion, summarizing key points, and empowering participants to use the information gained from the session to weigh their college options. Most importantly, one should strive to make every presentation they deliver better than the previous one. One way to evaluate a presentation is to send an anonymous written survey to the participants, asking them to evaluate the success of the session. Alternatively, one could record their presentation for self-analysis (University of Washington, 2014).


Andersen, M. & Taylor, H. (2007). Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society, Updated (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Kornblum, W. (2007). Sociology in a Changing World (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

University of Washington. (2014). Presentation Tips. University of…… [read more]

Sociologists) Protestant Ethic Played an Important Term Paper

Term Paper  |  9 pages (2,679 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … Sociologists)

* Protestant ethic played an important part in the progress of capitalism because it enabled Christians to take on attitudes that made them more productive in the workplace. This ideology promotes the idea that the individual is responsible for acting in agreement with both his or her principles and with the principles of society in general in… [read more]

Sociological Theory Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  11 pages (3,338 words)
Bibliography Sources: 11


Relevance of the novel, America to our contemporary reality

The book is set on the leading theme of the societal interactions and changes that the society experiences from the interactions that happen in these meetings. The novel America is exceptionally reflective of the reality in the life of the contemporary America today. The social structural change that the American society… [read more]

People Make Changes in Society? Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (747 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Sometimes, large groups of people get together and become determined to make a change that can benefit society as a whole (Giddens, 2006). When this happens, societal change can come about simply through the power of a large number of people having a big desire to see something get done (or not get done) that really matters to them.

These groups of people can be found all over the world, and they are generally at the heart of causes that people all around the globe recognize. Many of the groups started with a grass roots movement, but they expanded to be much more significant. Some of them turned into major organizations, as well, and have been in business for a very long time. Other plans for societal change did not succeed and were eventually weeded out as other plans came along and society grew and changed. Not everyone likes or feels good about change, and that can lead to some difficulties within a society and between groups that are on opposing sides.

Overall, societal change is generally a good thing. People are adapting and evolving all the time. New rules and laws have to be created to protect people from others (and sometimes from themselves). Additionally, people who want to start up their own organizations for various causes can do so much more easily now because they can use the internet (Giddens, 2006). In the past, they could only work within the confines of their community unless they received national exposure through the media for some reason. Now, the media is not needed in order to make sure that people all over the country and all over the world are aware of a cause or a change that is needed in a particular society. Social media sites and other sites on the internet can be used in place of traditional media in order to get things out to nearly everyone on the planet, and that is a great way to be sure that people know what matters.


Giddens, A (2006). Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Haferkamp, Hans, & Neil J. Smelser. (1992). Social change and modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Haralambos, M & Holborn, M…… [read more]

Barbas, M.P. Expanding Knowledge: From the Classroom Research Paper

Research Paper  |  5 pages (1,596 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


¶ … Barbas, M.P. Expanding Knowledge: From the Classroom to Hyperspace. Educational Media International. 43 (1): 65-73, 2006. Retrieved from: ttp://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal / search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ729235&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ729235.

Relationship to Social Sciences: Teaching and learning in the 21st century are quite different than the past. Distance and online learning allow materials to be communicated to a larger audience, faculty can teach more courses, and courses… [read more]

Society's Views of the Aging Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,721 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 5




Imagine a Perfect World; Is Our Society Obsessed with Beauty and Perfection? Three of Our Year 9 Girls Offer Their Perspectives. (2011, November 1). Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia), p. NA. Retrieved July 13, 2012, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5051575671

Mcguire, S.L. (1993). Promoting Positive Attitudes toward Aging: Literature for Young Children. Childhood Education, 69(4), 204+. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5002192697

Redburn, D.E., & McNamara, R.P. (1998). Social Gerontology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=RrnMQIyF4aEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=social+gerontology&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ayUBUJ2pH4nZiget7IGbCA&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=social%20gerontology&f=false

The Quest for Beauty; from Nose Jobs to Tummy Tucks, More and More People Are Going to Extreme Lengths to Achieve the So-Called Perfect Look. Karen Price Discovers How Photographer Zed Nelson Captured the Worrying Trend for His New Exhibition. (2010, August 27). Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), p. 10. Retrieved July 13, 2012, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5044481446

Woolf, L.M. (1998). Ageism: An Introduction. Retrieved July 13, 2012 from http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/ageismintro.html… [read more]

Sociology Theorist Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,072 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Sociology Theorist

From what I have studied in sociology up to this point, it is interesting to note how relevant Karl Marx's writings are when investigating current social scenarios. This marks a change for me, because before I began this class, I would not have anticipated finding Marx's writings to be either persuasive or relevant. However, given the very divisive nature of modern American politics, and the issues that are considered to be of critical importance by people who are in power, I cannot help but feel that conflict theory is relevant in modern society. It does seem as if people are fighting over limited resources like dogs fight over bones, and that there is some idea that improving circumstances for one group leads to negative consequences for another group. Therefore, the idea that society is driven by underlying conflict appears applicable.

The first reason that I chose Marx was that the apparently increasing amount of tension between different political groups seems excessive given that most people self-identify somewhere in the moderate range. To me, the seeming disconnect between people who actually have power in modern political parties and the people who support those parties has been difficult to explain. After all, the vast majority of Americans are middle-class or lower, but the composition of the government is primarily upper class. This aligns interestingly with what Marx suggested would occur if the workers (proletariats) ever were in a position to threaten the established government; those in power would go to great extremes to be sure this should not happen. "The bourgeoisie would use propaganda, limit access to information (since information can be transformed into power that could be used against them), hire only people who would support what they thought and wanted, and fire those people who dared to challenge them" (Vissing, 2011). Given the pitiful state of education in modern America and the tremendous use of political propaganda by people in both major political parties, these concerns seem valid.

The second reason that I chose Marx was because of his idea that "institutions and interactions within society foster inequality and competition, and when they are challenged, then beneficial social change can result" (Vissing, 2011). I find this particularly salient when looking at the modern prison system and how modern theorists have expanded upon conflict theory to help describe why law enforcement has an apparent racial bias. Racial minorities, by lacking the same numbers as majority voters, do not have the same amount of input into what social norm violations should constitute criminal actions. Therefore, one should anticipate racially biased laws, even if they are facially neutral. Drug laws that penalized rock cocaine, which was a "ghetto" drug and more likely to be used by minorities, particularly African-Americans, at greater rates than powder cocaine, despite a total lack of scientific evidence that there was any real difference in impact from the drugs, demonstrated this bias. Is there an intentional effort to use prisons and the criminal justice system to keep… [read more]

Deviance in Modern Society Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (911 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


In many societies and communities within societies, those types of choices would be considered deviant merely because they do not fit the expectations of the dominant cultural values.

Some individuals choose deviant behavior that is largely motivated by their desire for the attention of other people. Examples of such extrinsically motivated deviance would include those who purposely dress flamboyantly or who make use of props, such as by draping themselves in large boa constrictors in public, or who devote considerable time to building muscles and then display them in clothes purposely intended to show them off as much as possible, even in situations where the clothes necessary to do so are considered inappropriate or deviant by other people. Nevertheless, as long as those forms of deviance do not harm other people and do not involve criminal conduct, they would all be considered benign forms of deviance that are beneficial to society because they represent the freedom to live autonomously and freely in any way that does not threaten society.

Harmful Deviance as Destructive or Criminal Behavior

Deviance can also represent the worst in people. Specifically, examples of criminal deviance would be violent street gangs, organized crime, and other behaviors and organizations that deviate from societal norms and values but in ways that are not benign or harmless to society. The problem of these kinds of deviance have nothing to do, ?per se, with the fact that they represent deviant behavior; the fundamental problem is that they involve choices and behaviors that interfere with the rights and welfare of others and that break the formal laws established by society intended to allow the government to protect the entire population. Naturally, deviance that exploits others against their will or that endangers their health, safety, and welfare is detrimental to society and must be appropriately dealt with for those reasons and not because those behaviors happen to be deviant.


Deviance is a common thing in human societies and comes in two main forms: benign deviance and harmful deviance. Free societies embrace the freedoms that allow individuals to choose their own values and lifestyles provided they do not harm others or society. Less free societies often stifle any type deviance or nonconformity with social norms. Free societies generally only punish and prevent deviance that is potentially harmful to society and that violates the established laws of those societies.

Sources Consulted

Gerrig, R. And Zimbardo, P. (2009) Psychology and Life. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Henslin, J.M. (2008) Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. Boston:


Macionis, J.J. (2007) Sociology. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st

Century. New Jersey:…… [read more]

Disability and Society in Scotland Essay

Essay  |  9 pages (3,225 words)
Bibliography Sources: 13


Be that as it may as Davis (1996: 109-10 as cited in Kemshall, 2009) said the following about risk and the growing role it played in decision making: risk is a key but much contested concern in the health profession.

The value base of disability studies

In "an audit of where we are now" Oliver highlights and presents a few… [read more]

Concepts About Sociology Term Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Sociology

McMinden: A fictional town and an overview of real sociological concepts

According to Sociology Guide (2010), "Ethnocentrism is the practice of comparing other cultural practices with those of one's own and automatically finding those other cultural practices to be inferior" (Ethnocentrism, 2010, Sociology Guide). This can be seen in the experiences of Jenny Rodriguez. Despite or because of the fact that the town of McMinden has a growing Hispanic population, there is a great deal of resentment of Hispanics. Jenny Rodriguez's mother experienced open discrimination when she first moved there and Jenny says that things have not improved very much. Ethnocentrism, or the idea that people tend to 'stick together' based upon real or perceived racial, class, and geographically-based similarities is not a term associated with a particular theoretical school of thought in sociology but its concepts are integrated into many theories within the discipline, such as Howard Becker's labeling theory, which examines how prejudicial and irrational assumptions shape the way that people are viewed in society, and how historically discriminated-against groups see themselves.

Labeling theory suggests that prejudice can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. When a group is ostracized, its lack of an investment in social institutions can give rise to a criminal class, actually creating many of the traits within the group that were used as justification for the original prejudice. I have seen this in my own life when teens are treated like criminals by employers, and they are refused jobs because they are deemed unreliable. Teens often resort to petty vagrancy out boredom and frustration.

Sam Votapka's remarks highlight another common sociological concept, that of urbanization, or the movement of the most talented young people from primarily agricultural areas to city locations that offer more economic opportunities and excitement. Ferdinand Tonnies' theory of urban socialization suggested that in older communities, such as McMinden, associations were grounded in what he called gemeniscaft vs. gesellschaft, respectively, associations based upon family and community, versus the impersonal relationships that are characteristic of anonymous, modern cities (Urban sociological theory, 2010, Sociology Guide). Cities like McMinden are rapidly disappearing, and instead people are abandoning old community ties in favor of gesellschaft's emphasis on self-interest, as manifest in Votapka's daughter abandoning tradition to…… [read more]

Death Society and Human Experience Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,071 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Death, Society, And Human Experience


Death is often an extremely frightening and problematic experience to think about for the modern individual. One of the reasons for this is that the contemporary secular world provides very few formal and accepted channels for coping and dealing with or explaining death. As one book on this subject states, "…paradoxically, death has always been an essential part of life. Indeed it is hardly possible to conceive of one without the other in the real world." (Death 22)

At the same time modern society and culture has progressed in a certain way that has placed into doubt the religious and other approaches to dealing with death which provided channels for coping with this experience in the past. This has left the experience and meaning of death to be resolved in the psychological and philosophical realms; which in turn leads to issues of death anxiety, avoidance and depression and finally acceptance of death as an intrinsic part of life.

On a personal and psychological level, the anxiety about the inevitability of death in life leads to various types of avoidance behavior and to a denial of the reality of death. This can also be seen on a larger sociological level where modern society has over time created mechanisms for avoidance and escape from thinking about death. One commentator notes that, "A lot of activity in the modern society is dictated by the presence of death, or the fear of death…We think that current understanding of death brings a lot of hedonistic behavior to society: consume now - you will not have the opportunity to consume later." (Death and Society)

In other words, avoidance and denial is one of the most prevalent cultural ways of dealing with death in modern Western society. Avoidance techniques such as entertainment, drugs, alcohol etc. are an integral part of society. This avoidance is so extensive in many cases in modern industrialized society that the subject of death and dying is considered to be socially unacceptable and even a taboo subject. "To think about our own death is considered to be dangerously morbid and to talks of it in public is frowned on as being in extremely bad taste." ( Mullin 3)

While this view is representative of the Western attitude to coping with death, different cultures have different responses to death. For example, in many traditional Eastern cultures the attitude towards death shows a greater integration and cultural acceptance of death. In Western culture the reality of death and dying has in fact removed from the centre of social concerns and cultural discourse. The reason of this difference can explained to a certain extent by different cultural perceptions and especially by the increase in secular materialism in the West.

Anthony Giddens, in Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (1991) refers to the sequestration of death as being a distinguishing feature of modernity. (Giddens 156) to sequester means to separate or to part company and this… [read more]

Sociology Australia Journal

Journal  |  2 pages (737 words)
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Sociology Australia

Examining Sociology

I was introduced to some very interesting terms and concepts this week. I was particularly interested in unobtrusive research and its comparison to empirical studies. At first I was intrigued by the idea of utilizing social research methodologies that allowed one to truly study the subjects as they exist in their own environments without disturbing the environment of jeopardizing validity. I became very excited about being able to learn about human beings as they naturally interact with their social world and believed that these observations could be utilized alone or in conjunction with empirical research in order to produce more reliable research. Interestingly, I did not take into consideration the potential drawbacks to this type of observation including the ramifications of engaging an individual in a study where they do not know that they are participants. This brought me full circle to the question of at what point does the benefit gained by natural reactions outweigh the potential negative impact of unobtrusive research. It would seem that there is so much to be gained through this social research approach that empirical studies are unable to truly obtain due to threats to validity.

Ethics in Sociology

The concept that resonated for me this week was that of sociological imagination particularly as it is impacted by historical and cultural considerations. The concept of sociological imagination as being the link between issues related to the individuals as they intersect with the issues of society was quite intriguing. In particular, it challenges the reader to truly look at the role that history and culture play in current events that are happening in the world and within an individual. It is important when seeking to understand current society or to initiate change to social problems that one is able to recognize the link between history and society and the practical implications for practice. We can use what we have learned from history and cultural events to develop an understanding of how the world operates and how we have ended up in the specific point in time as well as what has been tried to address societal issues so that we do not repeat them and instead can focus on…… [read more]

Deviance in Society Essay

Essay  |  6 pages (2,786 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8


Deviance in Society

The sociology of deviance has been a profitable endeavor for decades. It has contributed valuable knowledge to social theory and criminology. Yet today the study of deviance is in disrepute among some sociologists for reasons of political correctness and the bankruptcy of ideas. Some sociologists wish to refrain from stigmatizing or pathologizing people through a label of… [read more]

Functionalist Conflict and Interactionist Theoretical Approaches Thesis

Thesis  |  1 pages (315 words)
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Sociological Theories

Understanding society also requires an understanding of the different facets that influence its nature and dynamics. This is the reason why sociological theories are developed and considered part of extant literature on the study of societies: they help provide different dimensions from which society is understood and hopefully, social problems are improved. Three dominant theories in the field of sociology are functional, conflict, and symbolic interaction theories. Functionalist theory, or functionalism, posits that society is "made up of interrelated parts," wherein each part has a "function or role to play in keeping society running smoothly" (Renzetti & Curran, 2000:14). Conflict theory, meanwhile, looks at the dysfunction of each interrelated part in the society, determining how each contributes to the dysfunction of the society as a whole. Symbolic interactionism, meanwhile, focuses more on the "patterns" and "rules" that govern sociological phenomenon or action in the society (16). These theories help provide different perspectives to a phenomenon…… [read more]

Cosmetology and Sociology Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  2 pages (653 words)
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¶ … cosmetology and sociology do not seem apparent. One concerns itself with appearances and the other with what lies beneath. However, I have drawn many meaningful connections between my work in cosmetology and my passion for social justice. I always understood that the face we present to the world can have a tremendous impact on others. When we carry ourselves with grace, poise, and confidence we can inspire other people to reach their goals. On the other hand, when we fail to take care of our appearance we send a message that we do not care about life's beauty, that we have given up on the world. Cosmetology has been a metaphor for my life because I have endeavored to use external beauty as a sign of inner peace. Now I intend to deepen my ability to heal others by working in the challenging field of social work. Helping uncover the root causes of personal problems by addressing community unrest, and uplifting communities by inspiring individuals is the focus of my life. At Spelman I will work with like-minded students to promote social justice.

My reasons for applying to Spelman are many. First, volunteer work in my local community opened my eyes to the pressing need for an aware and well-educated core of service personnel. Second, my personal family background resembles that of the clients I intend to help. Third, Spelman will offer me the supportive environment I need: one that allows me to express my unique worldview while encouraging me to think deeply and critically about the problems our country faces. Ultimately I would like to move back to the Baltimore area to give back to the community that nurtured me through my adolescence.

The Baltimore City Department of Human Services recently offered me an internship, which I am currently fulfilling. I shadow a caseworker, which has been the most important impetus for my desire to work in the field of social work. Observing…… [read more]

Sociology - Welfare Hard of Hearing People Term Paper

Term Paper  |  12 pages (3,954 words)
Style: Chicago  |  Bibliography Sources: 15


Sociology - Welfare

Hard of hearing people represent a special segment in the society we live in. They are a disadvantaged group of people who due to the fact that they suffer from a health situation are faced with discriminatory behavior and lack the opportunities normal people have.

There have been several attempts made concerning the possible treatment of hard… [read more]

Durkheim: Modern Society and Punishment Emile Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,784 words)
Style: Harvard  |  Bibliography Sources: 5


Durkheim: Modern Society and Punishment

Emile Durkheim is well-known for his work on suicide related issues. However Durkheim is not exclusive to the area of suicide, he had ample experience and expertise in other areas of sociological interest and one prominent field is crime and punishment. Why do societies punish offenders? This is a question that has been deeply explored… [read more]

Sociology Theories How Do Berger Term Paper

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Sociology Theories

How do Berger, et al., address the question "How is social reality possible?"

The best way to address the issue of social reality ("human order" according to authors Berger/Luckmann in the Social Construction of Reality) is to attempt it on two levels. On one level there is the concept of "world openness" - i.e., the natural world outside of humankind boundaries - which has an impact on human activities but is trumped by what humans do in their societal dynamics. The second level is of course is a kind of "world closedness" because it closes out the natural world and creates an artificial world for humans.

Because mankind is inherently unstable, there has to be some kind of a social order, the authors state; indeed, a social reality (or order) is an "anthropological necessity" to avoid planetary chaos. And humans arrive at that reality through their habits (or as the authors point out, "habitualized actions"), good, bad or otherwise. The habitualization process then evolves into institutions, which provide the social glue to hold society together, and to provide a measure of control. And institutions themselves are the products of history.

As to the question of how institutions in fact provide that necessary measure or degree of control - and keep social order from spinning off into social chaos, a dark reality that has indeed been experienced at various times throughout human history - the authors say that institutions have a "coercive power" over the individual which cannot be denied or defied. The institution was there before the child was born into the society, and that individual knows the institution will be there when he or she is gone, hence it is an "objective reality." It just is. Whether he or she understands the institution or not, likes it or not, interacts with it or not, that institution has power over the individual; that institution is social reality objectified.

Each succeeding generation will put its mark on the institution, and have an impact to some degree, but the social world ("social reality" if you will) revolves around the objectivity of institutions, and it goes on as generations arrive and disappear.

QUESTION TWO: How are societies maintained according to the views of structural functionalists? In general by reading Robert K. Merton's essay, societies are maintained through institutions, which create and apply regulations, laws, proper modes of behavior. In specifics, societies are maintained through the interaction of "manifest functions" and "latent functions." The manifest functions of a society refers, Merton explains, to those "...objective consequences for a specified unit (person, subgroup, social or cultural system) which contribute to its adjustment or adaptation..." And they were indeed intended as consequences to assist in the adjustment or adapting to the social institution (or in broader terms, to the maintenance of the society) at issue.

The latent functions are the unintended consequences - and unrecognized consequences - that result from actions of the same order. Examples are important here as Merton's writing tends towards… [read more]

Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (806 words)
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Sociology & NBSP

The vast array of segregation within my community and throughout my school is almost irregularly apparent in most sociological aspects. The aim of this report is to identify these divides and what perpetuates their continuing progression in a modern society steeped with the foundations of civil rights and racial equality. Covering the basis of urban living and the constant woes that befall some of the less fortunate within these urban confines will prove as a direct objective.

The models of opinion that can be asserted through the evaluation and analysis of such, to provide a systematic development of ongoing, persistent characteristics that maintain some level of segregation. Dissecting these distinctive corners in every conceivable conception will allow a higher enlightenment on issues that may have otherwise gone completely unacknowledged.

The segregation that I have observed and come to be overtly sensitive to; consists, in majority (no pun intended), among the ethnical divides between black and white Americans. Though several other races are prevalent and undoubtedly present, their ratios slip the rope in comparison to the high number of African-Americans, which derive the most conceptual placement where segregation persists, and is utterly identified (Jackson, 1994).

Without the shear numbers of the black community, while considering them in comparison to the white community; the model for pinpointing segregation happenings and instances of inequality would shove off in a determination of lesser occurrences in the wake of fewer problematic racial issues. In other words, if there wasn't anyone around to be separated from you, there would be no declaration of segregation (Andersen, Taylor, 200*). But, again, the shear number of African-Americans substantiates the ideas of a more common battleground over inequality with white as an inflictor, agitator or provoker and black as a victim, target or receptor of segregation, racism and oppression.

With a consistent focus on the sociological aspects between whites and blacks, one can conclude that despite the continual occurrence of suppression and bigotry, a strong degree of effort remains in tact to commence the constant necessity in reform and recognition of ethnical divides. Whether these divides arise through the progression of the actual oppression of blacks by whites, or the actual efforts to abolish any action and deployment of a segregating nature is a question that may never receive an accurate answer.

The visible segregation I my community reaches not only into the literal, concrete aspects of possible segregation, but…… [read more]

Society How Does Durkheim Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,679 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8



How does Durkheim Address the Question: "How is Society Possible?"

Emile Durkheim was a nineteenth century French sociologist who believed that the common practices of society were regulated by outside forces to conform the minds of the individuals to combine to the external collective consciousness. Durkheim believes that "there are ways of acting, thinking, and feeling which poses remarkable… [read more]

Sociology Observational Analysis of Cultural Norms Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (864 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2



Observational Analysis of Cultural Norms on Campus and the Effects on Non-Dominant Classes

The purpose of this paper is to identify whether sub-cultures on a university campus using sociological perspectives demonstrate norms that vary from the "dominant" culture on campus, and how these disparate views or stereotypes affect sub-cultures in a positive or negative manner. To accomplish these goals the researcher will engage in an ethnographic-type analysis of the sub-culture and culture on campus.

To identify a sub-type or the normative type or class on campus, one must first apply the sociological concept of "culture" and "society" (Shostak, 1971; Andersen & Taylor, 2006). In this case "culture" refers to the behavioral patterns and experiences one endures on campus (Shostak, 1971). One may consider the students attending the campus the "society" the researcher attempts to explore, in this case the society explored includes the students as a whole and the population of Asian students on campus, a sub-classification of students that includes all students of Asian decent.

What are the distinctive norms of this group?

On observing the "society" on campus, meaning the students, teachers and professionals that engage in activity on-campus, one may note the sub-type or Asian student demonstrates distinctive norms that differ in many respects to the dominant norm of the campus society. Asian students associate with a culture that is unique. They are for example, on observation, more likely to engage in few extracurricular activities. They are also more likely to eat together in a group and eat slowly. On observation, many students are found in libraries conducting research and adhering to the distinct policies and procedures outlined by the campus handbook.

Their behavior seems to reflect their culture, which places a strong emphasis on education, success and family (Shostak, 1971). Members of the Asian "family" on campus often form groups that support cultural events related to their culture or unique experiences and interests.

The relationship this subtype has to the dominant culture on campus is different in many ways, but also similar in other ways. The campus or social setting the students are engaged in is one that promotes diversity. In this respect, one might assume the behavioral patterns of non-members of the subtype class would be embracing. This campus however has a relatively small population of Asian-American students when comparing the student body composition. More than 60% of students on campus are Caucasian or of Northern European decent. Because of this, despite the university's claims of diversity, it would appear the behavior of many students and administrators does not support this.

This is evidenced by the…… [read more]

Theoretical Frameworks in Political Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (580 words)
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¶ … Political Sociology

Pluralism represents in the general sense, the affirmation and acceptance of diversity. The concept is used, often in different ways, in many domains. In politics, the affirmation of diversity in the interests and beliefs of the citizens, is one of the most important features of modern democracy. In science, the concept often describes the view that several methods, theories or points-of-view are legitimate or plausible. This attitude it could be a key factor to scientific development. The term pluralism is also used, in several different senses, in the context of religion concerning peaceful relations between different religions, and in philosophy is regarded as a marketplace of ideas.

For pluralism to function and to be successful in defining the common well, all groups need to agree to a minimal consensus regarding shared values, which relates the different groups to society. They also share some rules, used especially in terms of conflict.

The most important value is that of mutual respect and tolerance, so that different groups can coexist and interact without anyone being forced to assimilate to anyone else's position in conflicts that will naturally arise out of diverging interests and positions. These conflicts can only be resolved durably by dialogue which leads to compromise and to mutual understanding.

The power-elite model is a sociological analysis of politics based on social-conflict theory that sees power as concentrated among the wealthy. The term "power elite," coined in 1956 by social-conflict theorist C. Wright Mills, is used to represent members of the upper class, who, he argued, control the majority of a society's wealth, power, and prestige. The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary lives of ordinary men and women; they…… [read more]

Society -- in Support Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (464 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


The multidimensional view of society also allows for the role that race can play within a class system. Someone who is the member of a historically discriminated against group might have less social clout or mobility because of social prejudice, regardless of occupation. Likewise, a woman might have more difficulty within a particular society because of gender-based discrimination, even though she comes from the same economic, social, and political background as her father and spouse.

Lastly, the multidimensional view allows for what is known as 'status inconsistency.' For example, a person of Jewish or African-American background who is wealthy might hold a powerful economic position within his or her community. But statistically such individuals will often, because of an awareness of past historical wrongs of their self-identified grouping, politically support very liberal causes, such as welfare reform and better education even though these political positions are seen to be against their "class interests" in terms of income. The multidimensional view allows for such apparent status inconsistency to explain this apparently contradictory behavior. (Anderson, 1996)

Works Cited

Richard H. Anderson. (1996) "Inequality and Conflict Topics." The Department of Sociology and the University of Colorado at Denver. Page last revised 12 Jan 1999. Retrieved 22 Jun 2005 at http://carbon.cudenver.edu/public/sociology/introsoc/topics/topic4b.html… [read more]

Sociology: Philosophy and Practice United Term Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 1+


Sociology: Philosophy and Practice United: The Life, Work, And Writings of Three Great Social Activists

Practice what you preach.' This simple phrase, however cliched, could sum up the life and works of Harriett Martineau, Jane Addams and W.E.B Dubois. All three authors dedicated their life and writings, not simply to improving the philosophy of social involvement in a particular socially disadvantaged community, but to achieving practical social action through their own lives, personal acts of defiance, and public acts of engaged social upheaval.

Harriet Martineau was born at the beginning of the 19th century into a large, upper middle class English family. However, she was quickly orphaned by the death of her father and abandoned by her husband, Unlike most women of her station, Harriet was forced to support herself solely by her own writing early on in her adult life. To earn a living, she wrote essays, novels, biographies, news columns, and some of the first, seminal texts on the subject of sociology. Her sociological significance also has its roots in the fact that, unlike many women of the day, Harriet Martineau was unafraid to travel. She was unafraid to head 'into the field.' Martineau began a two-year study of the United States when she visited the country in 1834. She cataloged this visit, and a later 1838 journey in her works entitled Society in America, Retrospect of Western Travel, and How to Observe Morals and Manners. She stressed the need to objectively compare different ways of life for aspiring sociologists. An observer could not proceed with the assumption of truth and justice lying in one's own culture alone. One had to apprehend the new culture in its on terms and on its own terms. Thus, she is considered the mother of positivist sociology, as crystallized in her monumental work on the Middle East, entitled Eastern Life Past and Present. All her works examined the "correspondence problem between inter-subjectivity, verifiable observable, and unobservable theoretical issues" and provided a positivist solution to examining local cultures and analyzing relations between the genders. (Smith, 2001)

Martineau died in the 1870's, shortly before the birth of Jane Addams, the founder of the settlement movement. Addams is noted for viewing the needs of the poor with an objective sense of compassion and an absence of moral judgment. Thus, her social activism was conduced in the same spirit as Martineau conducted her sociological analysis of American and Middle Eastern societies. Jane Addams was another woman who defied conventional expectation of how a…… [read more]

Technology and Society Wajcman ) Criticizes Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (494 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Technology and Society

Wajcman (2002) criticizes much of the literature on technological change as being implicitly, even if unintentionally, couched in technological determinism, itself based on assumptions that technology is driven by the motives of profit and dominance. Instead, she suggests that the shape technology takes has much to do with a variety of influences such as the availability of capital to thoroughly develop and market one technology over another one, perhaps even over an intrinsically better one.

Frank Bass (1969) characterized market behavior as imitation following innovation in which a relatively small number of consumers act as opinion leaders who are imitated by the vast majority of other consumers. When the market has become saturated (or nearly so) by a particular product, the opinion leaders perceive the need to acquire a newer product/model or brand. Placed within the context of the current research, Bass' growth model has a corollary in that we can expect technological innovations to exhibit self-reinforcing trends over time. The more thoroughly diffused through a market a given product is, the more that product's characteristics are going to influence consumers' repurchase patterns within the same product category.

Wallace (1956) states that societies change in big ways because of the accumulation of subtle incremental changes. These changes slowly alter society until the culturally accepted norms become unable to operate in them or lose their necessity for inclusion. It is seldom necessary to write long letters when brief notes or phone calls can be made…… [read more]

Sociology Principle of Rationality Term Paper

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Conscience collective- a set of norms, beliefs, and assumptions shared by all members of the society.

Mechanical solidarity- kind of solidarity that hold traditional societies together, usually characterized by socialization of the same pattern, through same shared experiences and values.

Organic solidarity- kind of solidarity associated with modern societies, wherein differentiation of economic activities of each individual is determined.

Anomie- state of normlessness of the individual in the society, wherein s/he feels a lack of attachment or commitment to the norms of his/her society.

Historical materialism- a method of studying history and its trends through the economic system and technologies that emerged in the society through time.

Alienation- a state wherein an individual no longer becomes an autonomous entity in his society who has free will, but rather an individual fully integrated with the capitalist system and has lost propriety over himself.

Theory of Surplus Labor- theory proposed by Karl Marx wherein he identifies the labor not paid for on the basis of ownership and means of production; this theory points out the exploitation of capitalism to the individual worker who provides more labor than what he is being paid for.… [read more]

Sociology -- Theoretical Paradigms Term Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 1+


Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan flourishes because society benefits from it, poor people who have no means to earn an income or to support their everyday living. Furthermore, Afghanistan's economy has already gained $2.5 billion from the said industry, which, according to the report, is already equivalent to "a third of its economy." Escape from poverty, apparently, made poppy cultivation and drug production develop in Afghanistan.

Looking at the said report on a structural-functionalist view, it can be said that Afghanistan, as a poor country, functions for the world as a model of a society that should not be admired at. This is because, Gans explicates, the poor is the sector of the society that is able to conduct "uninhibited sexual, alcoholic, and narcotic behavior," characteristics that serve to reiterate the goodness of conforming to the norms set/imposed by society -- which, in particular, includes non-participation in the drug trade because of its adverse results to the health of the individual.

Lastly, the LA Times article about Africa's poor communities in Congo, wherein people earn 65 cents a day -- an income amount that is way below World Bank's lowest projected income amount, $2/day. Because of poverty, Congo residents have barely enough food to eat in a day, and even suffer in health because of lack of proper diet.

Using the functionalist perspective, poverty in Africa demonstrates and reiterates the wealth and privileges that other nations experience. That is, the poor serves as a balancing force in the social classes imposed in today's societies; in order for the elite class to exist, there must be a lower class, members of the society who belong to the lower rung of the social class ladder. Moreover, when this is applied in the American context, which Gans considers as a socially mobile society, the poor serves as inspiration and motivation for other people, who are also the poor or poorer than the poor, to strive and better their lot in life. Thus, the existence of social classes in the society help the poor aspire to belong to the upper rung of the ladder -- that is, to aspire belonging to the elite class someday, thereby spurring industriousness and perseverance among them (poor sector).


Gans, H. (1971). "The uses of poverty: the poor pay all." Available at: http://www.soc.duke.edu/~jcook/gans.html.

Lambert, B. "Free care for the poor varies widely in Nassau." The New York Times. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/nyregion/26charity.html.

Maharaj, D. "When the push for survival is a full-time job." Los Angeles Times. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/news/specials/world/la-fg-work11jul11,0,7153984.story.

Zoroya, G. "Rise of drug trade threat to Afghanistan's security." USA Today. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-10-26-opium-afghanistan_x.htm.… [read more]

Theories Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,350 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


The structural functional theory and the conflict theory, for example, focus on group actions and societal structures, as in the work of Dunheim (Leming). It concerned itself only with social facts and studied these as though they were things in themselves. It observed strict guidelines (Durkheim 1964 as qtd in Leming), which eliminated all preconceptions, considered only directly observed social facts, viewed these social facts as the product of group experience rather than individual actions, and the cause of any given social fact was sought in its preceding social facts.

The structural functional theory also explains the persistence of these social facts, social institutions and structures, while the conflict theory deals with the competition between the various parts, institutions and/or structures within a society and the coercive forces in it (Leming 1997).

It is generally accepted that sociology is the framework with which we see or view the world. An acceptable theory is systematic, more consistent and carefully considered than everyday explanations of personal experience and observation. It should at least be universal or applicable to varied situations, places and times (Leming 1997). No single theory can explain all the aspects of the social world and each must be tested under specific circumstances. Wallace and Wolf (1999) agree that an outstanding theory should be systematic, capable of comprehensively discussing social life and leads to new insights as well allows for the widest transmission of ideas to a wide audience. They also believed that it should establish some commonality in different social actions and events or a way of sorting out, organizing and classifying the numerous aspects of social life.

Wallace and Wolf also went through the various approaches to sociological theory and identified their areas of differences (1999). These are subject matter, assumptions, motivation for human actions, and scientific approach.

The main distinction in subject matter is between macro and micro theories. Macro addresses large structures of long historical build-up and which tend to change slowly. Structural functionalist and conflict theories are examples of macros (Wallace and Wolf 1999). Micro theory, on the other hand, considers social interaction of different individuals in small group settings and investigates these interactions in great detail. The macro and micro theories complement rather than contradict each other, since they use different methods and ask different questions.

There are differences in assumptions too, as each social scientist has a different approach to human nature from that of another social scientist. Wallace and Wolf, for their part, focus on whether human behavior is predictable or merely creative (1999).

Motivation for human action is likewise a difference. Some theorists propose that human motivation tends to be economic, political or related to some interest (Wallace and Wolf 1999). For example, capitalists are assumed to be inclined to maintain and expand their capital and this would be their basic motivation. In contrast, workers without capital would work together to promote and protect their class interest. Values are found to be at the bottom of these motivations and social action… [read more]

Sociology Concepts Two Sociological Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (393 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Ethnocentrism can be the resort of the powerless, such as with impoverished Whites in the Southern United States, whom vented their collectives sense of frustration upon the faces and backs of even more marginalized African-Americans. It can likewise be an ideology of the powerful, where the affluence of U.S. society in relation to the rest of the world allows the United States to flourish, sociologists might say, in a collective willed ignorance, on an emotional if not an intellectual level, of the conditions in many parts of the world that enable American prosperity, such as the sweatshops that manufacture Nike sneakers, keeping the prices of these commodities down. Thus, ethnocentrism may be defined as a single-minded belief in the superiority of one's own culture, structure, and values, in relation to another, or a denial of other and equally valid modes of life. (Curry, et. Al, 2002)

Works Cited

Curry, Tim Robert Jiobu, and Kent Schwirian. (2002) Sociology for the 21st Century. Third Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Durkheim, E. (1964), The Division of Labor in…… [read more]

Sociology Thorstein Veblen's the Theory Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (339 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


.. The means of communication and the mobility of the population now expose the individual to the observation of many persons who have no other means of judging of his reputability than the display of goods..." (Veblen, 1902). Furthermore, the proliferation of communication technology results to a fast-pace society, due to the fast-paced character of people's society in the modern society. Indeed, communication technology, as Veblen stated, paved the way for a 'global village' to occur, where social interactions become easier, accessible, and faster, creating a new society with a new culture.


Coser, L. (1977). Introduction to Sociology. New York: Harcourt-Brace.

Veblen, T. (1902). The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. Available at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/VEBLEN/chap04.html.… [read more]

Shift From Agrarian to Industrial Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (2,693 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


But in addition to these trans-social fractures that the workplace reflects, Durkheim believed that there were particular forces in the workplace that caused particularly high levels of anomie. One of these was the fact that humans at work (at least at the historical moment that he was writing) tended to interact more with machines than with other humans, and this… [read more]

Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (668 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Arguably this would create incentives for individuals to not work as hard because they would know that the government (or welfare state) would pay for all of their basic needs.

Third, although a truly classless society would erase some of the conflicts and tensions between the "haves" and "have nots," it would not eliminate other sources of conflict and tensions. For example, individuals are divided along educational levels, ethnic lines, occupational lines, political beliefs, religious ideologies, etc. In addition, a truly classless society would eliminate the order and structure of our present society, leading to chaos, disorganization, and perhaps lawlessness. Lastly, a truly classless society would result in stasis, i.e., there would be no incentive for individuals to compete, to strive to reach a higher level. It is the concept of striving to constantly improve one's economic, educational, financial, or occupational position that is what makes our society one of the most innovative and technologically advanced.

QUESTION #2: Do you think it would be possible to establish a totally liberated society in which all gender-related differences were seen as just that- differences- and were not evaluated as more or less desirable. Why?

ANSWER: Theoretically it is possible to establish a totally liberated society in which all gender-related differences are seen as merely differences rather than being evaluated as more or less desirable. However, based upon past history and the current environment, it does not appear that such a radical transformation will occur any time soon. The fact is that certain beliefs about the roles of men and women and the differences in the genders are so firmly entrenched in our society that it will take many more years of women gaining increased power in order for society to accept the fact that gender differences, like racial differences, are irrelevant for the large part.… [read more]

Social Interaction? Questionnaire

Questionnaire  |  4 pages (1,352 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


¶ … social interaction? Social interaction is the particular conventions and norms associated with people when they interact with one another. Social interaction oftentimes involves routine and repeated patterns of behavior, such as waking up at a certain time of the day or travelling to and from a destination at the same time -- in the same way -- as part of one's daily routine. Social interaction takes place both in the physical and the virtual (online) world. In the physical world, social interaction may involve non-verbal communication such as gestures and different types of facial expressions. Quite often, the height of social interaction is expressed via verbal communication in the physical world -- in which people readily exchange emotions, sentiments, and ideas with one another which are both determined by and influence the particular location of and form of social interaction involved. It is critical to note that non-verbal communication is used even in forms of virtual social interactions such as text messages on phones and email or chat room "conversations," in which people use characters that mimic various symbols of the face. Social interaction is also based on social roles and an individual status, terms which relate to social expectations and a person's standing within society, respectively (Giddens, 2011, p. 100). Status is also closely related to one's social position; one of the interesting things about social interaction is that it allows for one's social position and status to change.

What are social groups? The best definition of a social group is "a collection of people who share a common identity and regularly interact with one another on the basis of shared expectations concerning behavior (Giddens, 2011, p. 117). Social groups can take on many different forms, however. Social aggregates are people who are linked together for a common cause, such as people waiting on the same train. There are also social categories, in which people are in the same sort of social group in different places and times. One of the most important things to remember about social groups is that people belong to multiple groups, simultaneously, in fact. Certain group affiliations pertain to physics in terms of time and space, others, such as familial ties or nationalities, genders, and religions are more enduring. Examples of primary groups include romantic relationships and families, whereas examples of secondary groups include jobs and other sorts of memberships that are temporally finite. Generally, however, primary groups last indefinite, whereas secondary groups are subject to change (Giddens, 2011, p. 121).

On a rudimentary level, groups are formed as dyads (two-people groups) and triads (three-people groups) (Ritzer, 2007). The thing about such groups is that although there is a high degree of interaction between the members, such groups are relatively unstable, particularly when compared to larger groups, which have more members and therefore tend to last longer.

How do we benefit from social networks? Social networks are connections between a person and individuals or groups. Frequently, social networks can help to advance… [read more]

Classical Theorists Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,215 words)
Style: Harvard  |  Bibliography Sources: 6


Classical Theorists

Over the decades, a number of different theories have been presented which are designed to highlight the way everyone in society is interacting with each other. This is having a profound impact upon how people think and view the world around them. Two of the most important philosophers from these areas are Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim. To fully understand the main ideas of each one requires: providing an overview of these ideas and comparing / evaluating the different theories. Together, these elements will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of them.

Karl Marx's Theories from Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844

Karl Marx (2012) believed that the landowners continually exploited everyone for their own benefit. This gave them an unfair advantage, which helped to ensure that they were able to maintain their power and social status above everyone else. Evidence of this can be seen with Marx saying, "The landlords' right has its origin in robbery. Like all other men, they love to reap where they never sowed and demand a rent even for the natural produce of the earth." (Marx 2012, pg. 52) (Eldes 2009) (Wood 1987)

This comment is showing how Marx believes that capitalism is the root of all social injustices that are occurring. This is because he thinks that the wealthy will use their power and influence to continually exploit everybody beneath them in society. At the heart of their authority, is the ability to maintain control of the land and various natural resources on it. When this happens, they can use these assets as a way to force others to do something that is in their own best interests. While not producing and creating anything themselves. Instead, they will take from the rest of society in order to ensure that they can build up their influence in the process. (Eldes 2009) (Wood 1987)

Moreover, Marx believes that everyone is exploited by the wealthy because of their labor. This is when they are using a certain amount of manpower to produce particular products or services (which are in demand). A good example of this can be seen with him saying, "These consequences are contained in the definition that the worker is related to the product of his labor as to an alien object. For on this premise it is clear that the more the worker spends himself, the more powerful the alien." (Marx 2012, pg. 70) (Eldes 2009) (Wood 1987)

In this aspect, Marx is showing how these ideas are related to his theoretical views that the wealthy will exploit all other segments of society. This is occurring by forcing them to use their labor to produce something of value. Then, the final product is utilized to benefit the elite who will reap the largest rewards. For the workers, the more they support this system. The larger the disconnect that exists from the fruits of their labor and the rest of society. They are unable to gain any kind of economic or social advantages… [read more]

Society as Insulation Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (702 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Society as Insulation Chapter Review/Reaction

Society as insulation relative to control theory is the subject of the sixth chapter of the Lilly text that is the current focus of the class underway for this student. The chapter runs the gamut between five major topic dimensions, including the precursors to control theory, early control theories, Reckless's containment theories (including talk of social psychology of the self, pushes and pulls, and inner/outer containment) and then there is talk of neutralization and drift theory and the social contexts of some of the decades in the mid-1900's.

Society as Insulation

As noted in the abstract, there are five major sections to the chapter being reviewed in this document. The first section pertains to the forerunners of control theory, which include Durkheim's Anomie Theory and the influence of the Chicago School. Early control theories are covered, which for this book include Reiss' theory of personal and social controls as well as Nye's family-focused theory of social controls. A significant section on Reckless's containment theory is next with a review of the social psychology of the self, pushes and pulls, factors of outer containment, factors of inner containment, and a closing summary. Stykes and Matza's neutralization and drift theory is covered and then the chapter closes out with the control theory context of the 1950's and 1960's (Lilly, Cullen & Ball, 2011).

Analysis & Reflection

The subject of anomie, as introduced and explained by the esteemed Emile Durkheim, is something that surely many people bring up today, as it refers to breakdowns of social order and norms. Many view the progression of ideology relative to morality and other social evolutions since the 1950's to be a natural order of progress while others point to it as a degradation of social morality. How two different groups can view this societal change through two entirely different prisms is fascinating (Lilly, Cullen & Ball, 2011).

The talk of the social contexts of the 1950's and 1960's certainly drives that point home, whether or not that was the intent of the Lilly text. The whole idea of social order and norms…… [read more]

Social Class and Inequality Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (3,400 words)
Bibliography Sources: 6


Social Class And Inequality

Social class is one of the more interesting concepts in sociology, in part because it is dependent upon circumstances. Social class has to do with standard of living, income, educational access, health care, and a number of other measurable factors, but, since these factors vary from country to country, and even from region to region within… [read more]

President Lyndon B. Johnson Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,021 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


In that respect, Roosevelt's reforms, although similar in nature to those of Johnson, were more pragmatic and simplified. The New Deal largely lacked the lofty ideals of the Great Society regarding spiritual and the achievement of man's full potential, and merely focused on decreasing the level of destitution in the country. Yet virtually all of Johnson's reforms aimed at correcting needs of a financial nature -- his desire to create affordable housing, his need to eliminate poverty, the ability to remove penury as an obstacle to the learning experience -- descended directly from the New Deal. More significant than individual measures proposed by each president is the overall ideology that they shared which mandated it would require a new mentality and a cooperative effort between the American people and their government to overcome the respective obstacles they faced.

For all of the lofty idealism that Johnson imparted upon his audience in Michigan on the occasion of his address, his Great Society largely failed in most of its measures. In fact, Johnson created a political climate that was notoriously hostile (as much as Kennedy's was revered) due to some of measures. His war on poverty, despite exacting a highly arduous toll on American taxpayers, yielded precious few tangible results. Even worse was his foreign policy, which intensified efforts in Vietnam and helped to prolong another costly war which yielded America little of value. His ideals for eliminating racism widely failed as well. There were a number of race riots that typified the rest of the 1960's following his presidency. The racial climate was more hostile than ever, a fact that is underscored by the assignations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and, to a lesser extent, Robert Kennedy.

In hindsight, Johnson should be revered for the ideology he erected during the forming of what he would have a Great Society be. Unfortunately, many of the measures he actuated were contrary to his goal of producing an ideal society in which Americans and the country as a collective fulfills its full potential for good. Johnson developed a number of interventionist methods (much like Roosevelt did during the New Deal) that utilized copious quantities of government spending which produced no truly tangible results -- save for a federal deficit. Although he was never able to actuate the Great Society in the terms he propagated in front of his audience at Michigan, many of those ideals he discussed may have produced some positive change in the students he spoke to. In hindsight, one of the reasons he filled this particular address with so much idealism may be attributed to the fact that he was trying to captivate a young and idealist audience -- prior to sending them off to a failing war.

Works Cited

Ember, Steve. "American History: Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War." Voice of America. 2011. Web. http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/american-history-lyndon-b-johnson-and-the-vietnam-war-133122408/116230.html

Johnson, Lyndon. "Address at the University of Michigan." 1964. Print.

Siegel, Robert. "Lyndon Johnson's War of Poverty." NPR. 2004. Web. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1589660… [read more]

Social Stratification Systems Caste vs. Class Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (666 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Social Stratification

Transcending Class in the United States

The parallels between the caste system in East India and the class system in the United States shed light on the vast economic inequality that subsumes America. It is undeniable that there are stark differences between the inequality in the two countries; as Berremen (1960) explains, the East Indian caste system is based out of sociological (religious, residential, occupational) factors, while class difference in the United States is borne out of biological factors -- namely, one's skin color. Despite these differences, however, there also exist similarities; both class and caste are biologically determined, and self-perpetuating. Those in "lower" classes typically feed the interests of the dominant class, and as a result, those with power have little motivation for overhauling the existing dynamic. Moreover, the class dynamics have existed since the country's inception, further compounding the possibility for class transcendence. Nevertheless, it is a truism (and the very embodiment of the American Dream) that any individual can improve their fortune with requisite focus and determination. This paper examines whether an individual can transcend their class in the United States, and whether the class system in the United States is any more progressive than the Indian caste system.

The question of whether an individual can transcend class in American society must invariably take into consideration a number of factors, including race, ethnicity and the geographical region in which one resides. To this end, the task of transcending one's class typically involves "passing" from one's subordinated cultural attribute to another. However, this is no simple task; indeed, as Kroeger (2003) delineates, the class systems in the United States are rigidly enforced. In the introduction to his book, Kroeger (via a reading of Imitation of Life) states that society has created a dynamic in which "Passing, if not altogether bad, is at least a really bad idea" (p. 2). Accordingly, people are forever chastised for belonging to a subordinate class, regardless of whether they "improve" their status. While class…… [read more]

Charles Horton Cooley Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,360 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


The first was the need to craft an understanding of societal facts that were the highlight of individual mental process. He found that the subjective processes were either caused or the effects of society processes. There was also the need to examine evolution of social dynamic conception which evaluates states of chaos as natural incident which created an opportunity for adaptive innovation. The last need is ensure that the people were capable of making informed moral decisions for current and future problems affecting the people. Cooley solution to the dilemma was creation of a mental social complex which he named the looking glass self. The mental social complex is formulated by understanding how ones self can be understood by another person. This theory was called the emphatic introspection theory. This theory applied to the person and the economic issues affecting the society with regards to the macro social problems that evolve with time. Cooley evaluated the economic institution as impossible to understand by evaluation of impersonal market forces. Sociological perspectives were logical towards the traditions of the society. The considered dissolution of tradition as a positive move that would result in to social growth and an intellectual process that would improve the public will (Ju 2010).

His concept of looking glass self is arguably his best work as it is accepted by psychologists' and sociologists in the modern world. The concept was build from William James's self idea where capacity reflection on own behaviour was included. According to Cooley, the views from other people greatly influence personal image. There is a relationship of how we view ourselves and how the society views us. According to his previous work, human nature and social order, self idea has three elements. Imagination of personal appearance to society is the first major element. The second element is imagination of appearance and the third element is self feeling which can be pride or any form of modification.

Contribution to the Conflict Theory and Functionalism Theory

According to the conflict theory, the laws are made by the minority of people in the society and are aimed at ensuring that their interests are protected. The laws are meant to controls the behaviour of the people in the society. In this theory, the poor are powerless and are likely to be convicted of crimes compared to the rich in the society. The crime rate among the poor is also significantly higher compared to the crime rate among the rich. This is due to the lack of opportunities among the poor to improve self. The poor do not have the skills needed to become productive thus a poor society.

Cooley's contribution to the field is that he supported that the society will always change in response to the social conflict. The way people behave will be determined by the meaning that people have on their behaviour. People who believe that hard work will improve the quality of life in the society are likely to an improved life; on the… [read more]

Social and Cultural Theory Study Essay

Essay  |  10 pages (3,203 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


The phrase 'looking-glass self' was used by Cooley to present the idea that "what we think of ourselves depends on what we think others think of us" ("Charles Horton Cooley,").

The human beings are living in groups, both large and small. The concern shown by the members of the groups towards each other differentiates the primary and secondary groups. Thus,… [read more]

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft Sociology Research Paper

Research Paper  |  7 pages (2,192 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


" (Dickens, 1854, p. 100) And Sissy's own father abandons her, not for selfish reasons, but because it is what is best for Sissy and her future.

The concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can also been seen in the relationship between Louisa and Mr. Bounderby. At first it seems that it should be the perfect relationship, he is a self-made man, and a supporter of the utilitarian point-of-view, while she is the product of a utilitarian household and education. However, the natural, organic, loving relationship between a husband and wife is not something that can be treated like a business proposal, as Bounderby does. When Louisa is tempted by a loving, caring relationship with James Harthouse, although she ultimately rejects him, she also then rejects her "marriage" to Bounderby. The artificially created relationship, most often associated with Gesellschaft, is the society which Bounderby is a part of and one which Louisa does not want to be. Bounderby sees the relationship as an alliance and something that Louisa should be honored to be part of, something that people do in that society. However, the spark of love that her relationship with Harthouse created, then went on to light the fire of community and love within her. She wanted to have the Gemeinschaft, the caring natural, organic social relationships that form between people who care about each other.

The point of Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" seems to be to point out the difference between the relationships between wealthy followers of the theory of utilitarianism and those between the socialist workers. Utilitarians seem to form artificial relationships, the kind that are formed in Tonnies' theory of Gesellschaft. They are business relationships, the kind without kindness and caring, the kind that only are beneficial to the wealthy themselves. Because of their utilitarianism, they believe that their decisions are the best for all, but they really only result in keeping the working class down and the wealthy in a position of power. But the socialist themes presented through the working class characters, their relationships and their personal attributes all seem to be better than those of the wealthy utilitarians. Sissy had a difficult upbringing in the circus, but the sense of community and the personal relationships that naturally formed during her time there made her kind and caring person. It is because she maintained that sense of community that has made her a better person in the eyes of Dickens. Old Stephen Blackwell is another example of how working class values seem to create the Gesellschaft of Tonnies within the characters of "Hard Times." He is a hard working, honest man with integrity because he came from the community of workers.

But opposite the socialist, kind and caring working class people, who form natural and supportive relationships between each other are the utilitarians like Bounderby. He is so wrapped up in his business "relationship" with his wife that he is unable to form a real, loving relationship with her. He believes that industrialized "society," or… [read more]

Cross Cultural Social Stratification Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,876 words)
Style: Harvard  |  Bibliography Sources: 8


They consider a person's family background, his work, education and other such facets of life to be the key determinants of their social class. In this way, they believe that poverty is not a natural law but it eventually flourishes because people do not put in an effort. In this way, the class stratification provides a platform for individuals to work hard and get the best.

This difference in the outlook of the social class is merely because of the philosophy held by the functionalists. Since they place great importance in the fact that society runs because of its interdependent sectors, the social stratification system is seen to lie on the positive spectrum. The functionalist view of social stratification is put forward by people like Emile Durkheim, Kingsley Davis and several more. Functionalists understand the concept of social stratification on the basis of human needs and desires which make them different. For this purpose, society plays an essential role in providing and also limiting goals and opportunities to the individuals. In a similar manner, the society also encourages these individuals to exercise efforts, learn and develop skills to climb the ladder. Hence, the functionalists consider the social stratification as an essential framework to develop the best individuals and motivate the most capable ones to take the best positions in order to help the society operate successfully (Saha D, 2006).

Thus, no matter how the different sociologists perceive the idea, social stratification coexists with the creation of every society. It divides the whole society into different classes and groups which can clearly be distinguished on the economic, social and political basis. For this reason, all the sociological perspectives discussed above hold a view that reflects the true nature of the society.


Brown K, 2006, Introduction to Sociology AS Level, Polity Press.

Giddens A, 2001, Sociology, 4th Edition, Polity Press: Gill and MacMillan: Dublin

Goldthorpe, John H. 2000, On Sociology: Numbers, Narratives and the Integration of Research and Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saha D, 2006, Sociology of Social Stratification, Global Vision Publishing Ho

Solon, G. 2002, Cross-country differences in intergenerational earnings mobility,

Journal of Economic Perspective, Vol. 16, No. 3

Taylor F, 2007, Sociology: understanding a diverse society, Cengage Learning.

Weininger, Elliot…… [read more]

Gender a Society Is a Community Essay

Essay  |  7 pages (2,484 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4



A society is a community of people who love in a particular and are related to each other either by relationships, cultures or norms. While a society includes people of both the gender, however, for a great deal of time societies around the world have proven to show gender biases and conservatism as far as women's contribution in the… [read more]

Individual Identity Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,738 words)
Bibliography Sources: 10



Individual Identity is Almost Entirely the Product of Social Structure

The question of individual identity has been debated by scholars for centuries. The question of whether the self derives from society, exists independent of society, or co-exists as an operator of and within society, continues to be the focus of many scholarly discussions and debates. Is there a social… [read more]

Human Society -- Economic Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,450 words)
Bibliography Sources: 7


" He was speaking of the way the majority lived during 16th and 17th century Europe in which for 90% of the population, life was a continual struggle. Cities were crowded, noisy, and filthy; night soil was thrown out onto the streets, horse offal was everywhere, fly ridden and rotten meat as well as human and animal odor permeated the… [read more]

Social Welfare and Society Thesis

Thesis  |  2 pages (730 words)
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In short, the Gilded Age era reflected out own in that there were "no strong counterveiling forces to balance the influence of corporations" (Jansson, p. 155).

Chapter 6: The Limited Welfare-Regulatory State of the Progressive Era

Progressivism was an urban, middle class reform movement of the late-19tha and early-20th Centuries that did attempt to deal with the social and economic problems of the United States in a limited way, almost always through regulations on the state and local levels. In many ways, the origins of social work as a modern profession and the welfare state can be traced back to this era, particularly to the work of Jane Addams at Hull house in Chicago and other urban reformers. Addams also supported national health insurance, public housing, old-age pensions and social security at the federal level, although these did not come about until the New Deal of the 1930s and Great Society of the 1960s (Jansson, p. 201). Early social workers like Addams soon came to understand that there was an "ethic of mutual assistance" in immigrant and ethnic communities that still exists today, and this was often the only form of welfare and social security that they had (Jansson, p. 169). This has changed little today with Latino and Asian communities in contemporary urban centers. In the post-1965 period, the U.S. again became the favorite destination for millions of refugees and economic migrants from poor countries, as it had been in the years 1880-1920. They again faced the same low wages and miserable housing and health care conditions that the earlier immigrants had, and also had no "right to safety net programs and protections that other working Americans receive" (Jansson, p. 200). Since the Progressive Era welfare state was more concerned with regulation of capitalism than social welfare and entitlement programs, present-day social workers "need to be familiar with the regulatory side of the American welfare state," especially regulations of wages, hours, workers' compensation, public health, food and drug safety and housing conditions, all of which had their origin in the Progressive Era (Jansson, p. 207).


Jansson, B.S. (2009). The Reluctant Welfare State: Engaging History to Advance Social Work…… [read more]

Sociology the Beauty Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,326 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5



The beauty of Sociology and perhaps the attribute that makes it so specific among human sciences is the fact that it helps one develop a sort of ability to view and analyze in an extremely profound manner, to discover connections where the common sense omits them, to find encoded answers. Sociology is a science which is far from being pure-theoretical and by these I refer not only to the fact that it has its own measure instruments and procedures, but to the wide applicability of the sociological concepts. One meets and analyses these concepts not only in the past and present society, but also in the constructions and reflections of the society which are the theatrical manifestations and the movies.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological content for the analysis of what I would like to call a great movie. The personal choice is "Cool Hand Luke," a memorable film in terms of plot, characters and interpretation. The reason for choosing this film stands on the great manner in which it manages to reflect the relationship among opposed groups of individuals.

The plot of the screen is simple and easy for one to follow. Lukas Jakson, the main character is arrested for cutting the heads off of parking meters while being drunk and sentenced to two years of prison in a prison camp in Florida. While being closed, this prisoner firstly known as the "War-Hero," due to his participation and recognized merits in the War, manages to win the respect of his peers and even of the informal leader of the prisoners, Dragline. In brief, he becomes determined to escape and has three attempts, the last one turning out to be fatal for him, as he is caught and shot by the authorities. Still, he becomes a legendary figure among the other prisoners, not only after his escaping attempts, but also due to his sarcastic spirit, courage and excellent way of dissimulation.

"Cool Hand Luke" provides numerous ways of being analyzed, depending on what aspects one wishes to detect. An extremely interesting approach would be the one of the main character- Lukas Jakson- a loner and, apparently, an individual unable to adapt to the norms of the society who ends up with becoming a myth for his peers. His psychological profile which finally leads him to a dramatic end would make an excellent subject for a paper in the area. Yet, I would like to observe and analyze him as related to the ones surrounding him and from the angle of the institutions, norms, values and relationships among individuals and groups that describe the society of the 1960's in America.

From a theoretical point-of-view, the movie relates to a major sociological theory which one knows as "the conflict theory." There are, in sociology, different approaches that, in time, became classic models of analyze, turning into theories. The conflict theory, together with the functional one and the one based on interaction are modern theoretical models based… [read more]

Perfect Society in Gulliver's Travels Research Paper

Research Paper  |  10 pages (2,895 words)
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Perfect Society in Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift was first published in 1726 and was a major success in England, despite the controversy that surrounded it, or perhaps it was because of this controversy. During the time that Swift was writing Gulliver's Travels, there was major political strife in England having to do with the monarchy and political… [read more]

Sociology Wk-1 DQ-1. One Problem Essay

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Wk-1 DQ-1. One problem in the workplace is drug abuse, both of legal and illegal substances. There are many possible causes of this problem but there are a number of impacts that can be easily identified. Productivity is reduced and both accidents and absenteeism is increased. At its worst, drug abuse in the workplace causes people to lose their jobs, which again also hurts the company, costing money in hiring and training replacement workers. One of the easier solutions to implement is drug testing that would prevent people with drug problems from being hired. In addition, zero tolerance policies and a clear set of stages for dismissal can help companies eliminate problem employees and/or help them overcome their addiction problems.

Wk-1 DQ-2. Group norms affect patterns of alcohol and drug use because group members often prefer to adhere to norms. If the norms are forgiving of abuse, then the group members are more likely to adopt abusive habits, but if the group norms run against abuse, then group members are less likely to use alcohol and drugs. The use of these substances affects the workplace by lowering productivity, increasing turnover, increasing accidents and increasing absenteeism.

Wk-2 DQ-1. The prison system can have a strong role in helping to rehabilitate criminals, especially those on shorter sentences and with less traumatic pasts. The prison system can, if used effectively, help criminals to overcome some of the roots causes of their criminality and also can help to provide them with an education and job skills that can help aid the transition back into free society. The family plays a strong role in helping to prevent criminality, by providing children with strong role models and a set of social norms that precludes criminal activity. Poverty is one of the root causes of poverty, and if social stratification is reduced, poor youth will find themselves with greater sense of opportunity. It is this opportunity, and the sense that they can find social justice, that will help prevent criminality at a root level.

Wk-2 DQ-2. Social institutions contribute to the poverty in many ways. Low levels of education and ingrained prejudices about the possibilities of youth in certain strata of society perpetuate the barriers to opportunity and success that many youth face. These barriers make it more difficult to escape poverty, perpetuating the problem. When social institutions such as law enforcement, the education system, the health care system and other elements of government fail to provide equal opportunity and treatment for all members of society, barriers to success again are perpetuated.

Wk-3 DQ-1. Gender inequality is perpetuated by both passive and active attitudes and ideologies. Active attitudes sometimes engender distrust between members of different genders, creating active barriers to opportunity. Passive attitudes can lead members of different genders into specific roles, with those roles themselves playing a role in inequality. Both genders can create the social norms that perpetuate gender roles, because they set the values by which people not only live their lives, but… [read more]

Sociology Australia Journal

Journal  |  2 pages (721 words)
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Sociology Australia

Sociology, Ethnic Identity, and Multiculturalism

I would like to write about cultural sensitivity this week because it is integral to understanding of how individuals and groups function within their societies. This concept allows us to look at groups of individuals with an emphasis on the whole group rather than the individual personalities and perspectives. This can be applied to relationships and social connectedness particularly when dealing with gender and sex. However, there are also biological factors that influence these groups and it is important to look at where the two intersect in order to truly develop an understanding of how groups of individuals perceive and respond to their society. It is the true exploration of the boundaries of the natural and social aspects of a culture that allows us as sociologists to consider issues on both large and small scales. In this manner, culture can inform sociological thought processes.

Sociology and Global Influences

The concept that resonated for me this week was that of the shift from looking at social inequality from a population and geographic specific phenomenon to that of a globalized issue. This ability to look at social inequality without barriers or borders as the societal issue that it is and focus our attention to the human capital, financial capital, and products that exist reframes this issue and the course of action taken as a result. Historically the view of social inequality as occurring primarily in impoverished areas has led to interventions targeted to those areas rather than approaching the issue from a global standpoint where the most results may be achieved. Social inequality occurs on many inter-reliant levels including global, local, national, and domestic and interventions will need to do the same.

Sociology and the Unequal Distribution of Resources

Given the current state of the economic crisis throughout the world right now, I was particularly drawn this week to the literature on Affluenza this week. It reminded me of a saying that I had read by Clare Forest that stated that within each person lies a bone-deep longing for freedom, self-respect, hope and the chance to make an important contribution to one's family, community, and…… [read more]

Sociological Theories Marx Weber Durkheim and Mosca Essay

Essay  |  8 pages (3,250 words)
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Sociological Theories

The theory of history from Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Mosca- There are a number of different modern social theories regarding the nature of society, social change, human's place within society and the idea of how integration and alienation fit within a modern society. These paradigms combine reflexively into a notion of history. Many of these theories have been… [read more]

Globalization and Sociology, or the Study Essay

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Globalization and Sociology

Sociology, or the study of society, was established to provide a means to better understand the world's social groups and the social activities that occur within them. Through this study, researchers could explain what was taking place in a clear and unbiased manner. Since the establishment of sociology, others have further clarified this study through the depiction… [read more]

Sociology Social Stratification Is the Ranking Essay

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Social Stratification

Stratification is the ranking of an entire group of people in order to perpetuate inequality or unequal rewards and life chances. Social Status is the prestige, honor, respect, and lifestyle that is associated with different positions or groups within society. It is often influenced by occupation and schooling. It is possible for one to have a social class that differs from their social status. Behavior patterns, likes and dislikes, success in situations, who you meet, whom you marry, employment choices and chances are all seen as consequences of class. Likes and dislikes of each class are different and need to be learned and applied to those in the case of vertical mobility to be part of that social class. Stratification is motivated by lifestyle. We often demonstrate or express our status through consumer goods and behavior (Stratification Power, Class and Privilege, n.d.).

According to the functionalist perspective which is also called functionalism, each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's functioning as a whole. The government, or state, provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state needs to keep itself running. The family is reliant upon the school to help children grow up to be able to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn help to support the state. If it all works the way it is supposed to, the parts of society produce order, stability, and productivity. If it doesn't go well, the parts of society then must adapt to recapture a new order, stability, and productivity (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).

Functionalists believe that society is held together by social cohesion, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve, what is best for society as a whole. It is believed that social consensus takes on one of two forms:

Mechanical solidarity is a form of social cohesion that comes about when people in a society maintain similar values and beliefs and employ in similar types of work. This is usually found in traditional, simple societies such as those in which everyone herds cattle or farms.

Organic solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when the people in a society are interdependent, but yet have varying values and beliefs and engage in varying types of work. This solidarity most commonly occurs in industrialized, complex societies (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).

The functionalist perspective achieved its greatest popularity among American sociologists during the 1940s and 1950s. During this time American functionalists focused on discovering the functions of human behavior. Among these American functionalist sociologists was Robert Merton, who divides human functions into two types: manifest functions which are intentional and obvious and latent functions which are unintentional and not obvious. A sociological approach in functionalism is the contemplation of the relationship between the functions of smaller parts and the… [read more]

Values in Society the Values of Modern Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,632 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Values in Society

The values of modern society, particularly in so-called sophisticated and civilized democracies, like the United States, are on the decline. Throughout the world there is an erosion of morals, values and standards in societies that profess to be advanced. The decline in values is gradual and often hidden to a great extent by the way… [read more]

Rational Utilitarian Thesis

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Utilitarianism and Society

Though it arose through the disciplines of philosophy, political science, and economics, utilitarianism or rationalism has many implications for sociology. Because it is concerned with the individual and the decisions of the individual, this theory holds that people are rational, make rational decisions, and are, generally, selfish, or at least they hold their best interests at heart. The question that society poses is whether or not individuals are rational actors at all, and whether or not their rational actions in their own self-interest can end up benefiting society. The two (the individual and society) can be reconciled by the fact that "utilitarianism does not begin and end with the individual; it goes on to balance the interest of all the individuals in the group, as Bentham's theory of utilitarianism suggested. The reformer argued that people not only think about what gives themselves pleasure and pain, but also allow themselves to think about the pleasure and pain of others, becoming compassionate and allowing the survival of society (131). In the 1950s, when the individual was brought back into society, the implications of this way of thinking on society were fully developed. While this reading has discussed many important applications for utilitarianism, or rationalism, I thought the most interesting aspects of the reading were the description of Homans's law, as well as the discussion of sociological markets. Both of these ideas have great implications for the field of sociology.

First, Homans's law is a theory that has significant implication for the individual, society, and the study of sociology. In fact, it is this theory that most accurately explains what others outside of the sociological discipline call peer pressure. Homans's law states that "the more individuals interact with each other, the more they come to like one another, the more similar they become to one another, and the more they tend to conform to a common standard" (134). This is of great interest to the individual because it attempts to explain groupthink and other group dynamics. In fact, Homans's theory allows sociologists to question whether or not an individual really exists. If an individual is simply a person who conforms to what other people are doing and thinking, then the ability of humans to think individualistically is questioned. In addition, this theory has implications for the individual, in that the individual in this model must always be on his or her guard against conformity if he or she wants to remain unique. Further, Homans's theory, which argues that groups following this process "develop a group culture that didn't exist before," and "enforce their standards on each other," has serious implications for society (135). Although Homans argued that the only time that this theory works is when "interaction…occurs within the same level of authority" (135), this clearly suggests how societies can become complacent under the most egregious terms, like dictators, tyrannical government, and even horrors like those that occurred during…… [read more]

Sociology - Welfare the Conceptual Problem Thesis

Thesis  |  5 pages (1,342 words)
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Sociology - Welfare


Organized social welfare is not a new concept, dating to the middle of the 19th century in England and providing financial aid to the economically disadvantaged in the United States for most of the second half of the 20th century (Henslin, 2002 p196). In principle, it is intended to enable the poorest individuals and families in society to improve their lives and their life situations, but critics point out that at least in the U.S., the welfare concept may actually contribute to the opposite result, perpetuating poverty and dependency instead of alleviating it. The American welfare system comprises numerous different types of economic programs and financial aid, but the component that has caused the most social concern and provoked the greatest opposition is the Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC).

In 1996, after decades of debate and counterproposals, Congress enacted the Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act that completely restructured the national welfare system by eliminating direct federal aid and requiring individual states to administrate economic aid pursuant to strict capping limits and mandated enrollment in vocational training programs as a condition of continued eligibility for government assistance (Henslin, 2002 p200; Macionis, 2003 p294).

The Failed Purpose of Welfare:

Critics of the AFDC component of the federal welfare program succeeded in achieving national welfare reform partly by pointing out correctly that the institution into which the social initiative had evolved by the last decade of the 20th century was substantially different from that which it was originally designed to serve a particular social purpose. Specifically, the AFDC aspect of the federal welfare program was originally intended to provide appropriate assistance to children living in one-parent homes by virtue of divorce or the death of a parent; conversely, the AFDC program was not intended to encourage single parenthood or to provide a disincentive to marriage (Henslin, 2002 p200; Macionis, 2003 p294).

However, primarily because one of the eligibility requirements was that a mother be unmarried, the system was inherently flawed in that it penalized poor young people for getting married and, in effect, rewarded them for remaining technically single while having children out of the confines of traditional marriage. In addition to corrupting the social institution and draining public funds for a purpose other than that for which they were actually intended, the welfare system, and the AFDC component in particular, also undermined other important social objectives in the process. Major Criticisms:

By encouraging poor unmarried mothers to remain single, the federal welfare program undermined the objective of providing the most stable home environment possible for poor children. In general, single-parent families are a significant factor in juvenile delinquency (Schmalleger, 2007 p230) and contributes to both increased incidence of public education dropout rates and child sexual abuse (Schmalleger, 2007 p239), as well as to violence, particularly in low-income urban areas (Schaefer, 2001 p208).

In fact, by the time of Congressional action for welfare reform in 1996, the vast majority of the millions of families receiving… [read more]

Boudon 2001 Theories of Social Thesis

Thesis  |  3 pages (838 words)
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Boudon 2001: Theories of Social

Does the author present a view of society?

Although he does not present his own view of society, the author presents several different views of society, espoused by leading theorists. These theorists do not have one prominent view of society, nor does the author suggest which view he finds the most valid, therefore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the author's view of society.

How does the author discuss the relationship between individual and society?

The author discusses the relationship between the individual and society by discussing the perspectives that different theorists have taken on this relationship. According to the author, Weber believes that sociology needs to be individualistic in its methodology, like economics. In fact, he espoused a theory now-known as individualism, which states that a "collective phenomenon is the outcome of individual actions, attitudes, beliefs, etc." Therefore, in order to understand any group "social" action, theorists like Weber believe that one must first understand the behavior of the individuals involved. Weber calls the understanding of individual actions "Verstehen."

In contrast to Weber's view that the study of sociology needs to focus on the individual, Parson believes it is impossible to consider any action strictly individual. Instead, human beings are "social actors" embedded in "systems of social roles." Therefore, these roles, rather than any individual actions, should be the smallest unit of social analysis. Parson's typology of the pattern variables includes a set of four binary attributes by which all roles can be characterized.

Merton built upon Parson's idea that roles define social actors, but went further by pointing out that people play multiple roles, and that they have to deal with the incompatibilities that necessarily arise as the result of these multiple roles. Merton's theory is described as functionalism, but many critics believe that functionalism is not scientifically fruitful, but is instead a means of legitimating existing social institutions. However, functionalism helps explain social phenomenon like class differences, which are difficult to explain on an individualistic basis, especially if one considers human desires as the motivation for human behavior in the context of a social matrix.

Some of those who have contributed most notably to sociology have not been sociologists.

Tullock believed that criminal behavior could be explained using neoclassical economic theories of behavior. Becker believed that even such seemingly irrational behaviors as addiction could be explained using a cost-benefit analysis, which is a classical economic theory. Coleman has developed Becker's theories. However, it is important to understand that cost-benefit…… [read more]

Author Present a View of Society Thesis

Thesis  |  2 pages (797 words)
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¶ … Society

Does the author present a view of society?

The author does present a number of competing views of society - with the focus on the interpretivist view of social interaction. Interpretivism refers to the theoretical stance or view that culture and context are central determining factors that need to be understood if one is to truly understand a particular culture. This view is contrasted with more quantitative and objectivist theories about the nature of society - such as the functionalist and Marxist views.

However, the author stresses that the subjective view or the qualitative analysis of society and culture and institutions like schools are essentials if one is to understand the culture and the school. This argument is underlined by the view that objectivity and measurement in the social sciences is not adequate to comprehend and understand the intricate nature of culture and the importance of context in the analysis of society.

The author explains the difference between functionalist and Marxist perspectives but shows how interpretivism is useful in the close observation of actual interaction between people and between the people in a school. These actions are interpreted in an attempt to understand the way that society and institutions function.

Therefore, interpretivism differs markedly from functionalism and Marxism in that it deals with the context of each particular school and situation and does not just apply overarching theories and rules. Interpretivism is important in that it acknowledges that the same action or behavior can be interpreted differently in different cultures and social contexts.

2. Does the author present a view of the self?

The main view of the self that this article presents is that the self from an interpretivist perspective is comprised of relationships and interaction with others that can vary and change according to context. Therefore, the self should be understood in the particular context or cultural milieu.

On the other hand, the author also presents a view of the self from the functionalist point-of-view; where the self is seen as an objective functioning unit in society; and from the Marxist perspective, where the emphasis is on how the self is subjugated by class structures and other elitist influences. The stress in this article is on the complex nature of the self and the importance of context and cultural environment in the way that the self is constituted. The article also ties the…… [read more]

Education Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (2,024 words)
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Sociology and Education

While all three of the major sociological paradigms of the 20th century have provided valuable insight in the ways that education shapes human life and society, ultimately it is the theory of symbolic interactionalism that offers the most liberating and positive view of the human mind for educators today. Education may be defined as the systematic… [read more]

Sociology - Theories Feminists and Social Theory Term Paper

Term Paper  |  12 pages (3,556 words)
Bibliography Sources: 9


Sociology - Theories

Feminists and social theory

As Smith asserts in Knowing Society form within: a Women's Standpoint (1994), many sociological analyses of society have an innate bias in that they view society from a certain determinate position. (Smith 389) in other words, what Smith and others are suggesting is that the purely objective stance of sociological theory is a… [read more]

Theoretical Perspectives Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,832 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Theoretical Perspectives

Structural Functionalism

Structural functionalism is a theory or sociological perspective that sees society as essentially functionally integrated. As will be discussed in this paper, conflict theory contrasts with structural functionalism in that it views society as an amalgam of conflicting interests. Structural functionalism therefore posits a model or interpretation of society that emphasizes harmony and supportive interaction between… [read more]

Theory of Ideology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,489 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Ideology and Utopia central concept that is expounded in this article is that ideology is a relative concept in the context of modern discourse and that no single ideology is considered as the "truth." In this view, ideological norms and value are considered as being constructed or determined and the concept of eternal or permanent values has become increasingly suspect.… [read more]

Marx Weber Durkheim Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (2,843 words)
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Sociology - Theorists

According to Karl Marx, the mode of production consists of productive forces and the relations of production. The former include desire, human labor power, and the means of production - which can be anything from tools and materials to the type of land on which one is working. The relations of production are the social and technical… [read more]

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