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Sociology - Reality the Subjective Nature Term Paper

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Sociology - Reality


Human beings are the product of their experiences. While this is equally true of all biological organisms, the fundamental difference between the human mind and other higher forms of biological life is that humans are unique in their capacity to think about their lives (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). Only human beings have the ability to think about their place in their families, their society, and especially, about their eventual demise.

Whereas animals live in the present exclusively and react by sheer instinct, human beings often devote substantial effort to understanding others and to the reason that things are what they are. Only humans think about the reality of their lives, but even the direction of that effort is largely dependent on the sum total of all the external influences on their lives.


From the moment we are born, we absorb data from the external world. Our parents and family are the primary determinants of our developing reality. Initially, our neural architecture is extremely flexible and we absorb whatever linguistic cues we receive from our parents and have the ability to learn any language with perfect pronunciation (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005).

The process is so automatic that children in bilingual homes often learn two languages simultaneously, long before they have any understanding about what language is or that they speak two instead of just one. By the time they become aware that they speak two languages bilingualism is already a fundamental component of their personal reality. Within the first few years of life, our language skills become more limited and learning new languages becomes more of an effort. Whereas in infancy we are capable of repeating every possible sound used in human language, by the time we are three or four years old we lose the ability to make any sounds that are not part of whatever language we learn from our parents.

Social Constructs and Reality:

The notion of social construct refers to the purely arbitrary nature of certain elements of human reality (Macionis 2002). Language is a good example, because all languages consist of meaningless sounds and combinations of sounds that have absolutely no meaning in and of themselves until someone decides to attach a particular significance to specific sounds. Listening to a foreign language with which one has no familiarity, it is often difficult to imagine that the strange sounds correspond to individual words that have any meaning at all.

Another typical example of social constructs that we may take for granted are the rules of the road: in one society drivers sit on the left side of vehicles and drive on the right; in others they sit on the right and drive on the left. Neither system is preferable for any reason and for that matter, neither is the designation of the color green for "go" and red for "stop." Nevertheless, the consequences of violating those social constructs can be deadly, regardless of the fact that either system… [read more]

Sociology - Hirschi &amp Delinquency Hirschi's Social Term Paper

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Sociology - Hirschi & Delinquency


Twentieth-century sociologist Travis Hirschi formulated his theory of social control, according to which he suggested an explanation for antisocial and criminal behavior. Hirschi believed that the most important element for ensuring appropriate social behavior in the individual is the social connection to the family of origin and to the community and the values and ideals valued in society (Henslin 2002). Specifically, Hirschi characterized four main pillars of social control in the form of: (1) Attachment, (2) Commitment, (3) Involvement, and (4) Belief, according to which those pillars related directly to delinquency and crime prevention (Henslin 2002).

Hirschi maintained that attachment to family relationships and other social groups encouraged social conformity to community ideals and behavior and that commitment to positive future goals, active involvement in legitimate social activities, and a strong shared belief in communal values and mores were essential to preventing unwanted behavior and criminality (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005)). Conversely, relative detachment from family relationships and peer groups, lack of a future vision and commitment to pursuing legitimate opportunities, less involvement with organized social and professional endeavors, and minimal acceptance of communal social values correspond to increased likelihood of social deviance (Macionis 2002).

Hirschi's theories are particularly relevant to juvenile delinquency because adolescence is the period where many individuals begin to demonstrate a course of conduct that represents positive social conformity and positive goal orientation or deviance, rebellion, and a tendency toward social conflict and criminal activity.

Critical Analysis: In many respects, anecdotal observation might seem to validate Hirschi's theory of social control, particularly in the case of juvenile delinquency. Undoubtedly, in terms of relative likelihood of conformity to positive societal expectations, the greater one's exposure to positive role models (both at home and in the community) and the more opportunity one has to become involved in fulfilling social relationships in adolescence, the more insulated one would seem to be from negative influences that might contribute to delinquency. However, in other respects, Hirschi's theory of social control is so relativistic in principle that it is difficult to substantiate formally (Macionis 2002). For one thing, it is, necessarily, dependent on arbitrary assignment of what behaviors are characterized in society as "good" or "bad," as demonstrated repeatedly throughout recorded human social history, perhaps most dramatically by holocausts such as occurred in Nazi

Germany during World War II, and much more recently, by horrifically brutal episodes…… [read more]

Dynamics of Society Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (730 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … Society

We live in a world which is inextricably changing, which faces constant new challenges and must adapt to an ever evolving environment. As history goes by, our society must adopt and adapt to the new circumstances and trends which make the world move forward.

It can be said that there are few societies which can be considered as pure and untouched by different modern technologies. There are tribes in Africa which still conduct their business according to the traditional rules of the hunters and gatherers societies. Also, in the wild parts of Australia the societies are traditional in their structure and evolution.

To a certain extent, all societies are touched by the technological bug. Despite the fact that there are different forms of government from democracies to tyranny, from capitalism to communism, every society has known the benefits and the costs of technology. This is due to the globalization process which tends to affect every corner of the world. China is a relevant example in this sense. Although the Chinese society is based on the dominant influence of the communist state, their form of economy has determined a slow but steady change in the social structure and behavior. In this sense, during the Cold War they were refused the access to information, the freedom of speech, and any democratic manifestation and, given the political situation in the country, with the communist party in total control of the society, people complied and managed to survive in the conditions in which no other Western citizen would have accepted. From this point-of-view, it can be underlined that societies and mentalities change, under various pressures, be they political, economic, or technological.

It cannot be pointed out precisely on a certain society which benefits from the advantages of all three types of social development, agrarian, industrial, and post industrial. It is fair to say however that societies are dominated by a certain trend. In the Chinese case, it is rather difficult to consider this aspect. On the one hand in the most crowded cities of the country, there is a technological-based society, despite communist control. Oh the other hand however, there are numerous country side places which…… [read more]

Women and Sociology the Sociological Imagination Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,120 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


Women and Sociology

The Sociological Imagination

In the year 1959, the American sociologist C. Wright Mills created the term "sociological imagination" as a means of describing a person's ability to connect personal aspects of one's individual life to larger historical forces. The implication of the sociological imagination is that people should strive to recognize that their personal problems are oftentimes a part of a larger social issue. By connecting one's personal life with the larger workings of society, you can often see how and why certain things in the society need to be changed. What is more, the sociological imagination helps individuals determine whether they are having a personal problem, or whether their problems are part of larger public issues. Those individuals struggling with poverty, for instance, who become imbued with a sociological imagination will consider that they are not wholly responsible for their situation - that there are social forces that have been complacent in placing them and making sure they remain in a state of poverty. Once this sociological imagination is reached, a person might then begin to take the correct steps to lift themselves out of poverty.

According to Mills, "nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps" owing to the fact that "their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, and neighborhood" (3). Owing to such trappings, individuals are thus prevented from coming to a fuller understanding of the sociological implications of their problems. What complicates this matter further is the fact that society is continually undergoing changes, and it is oftentimes difficult for individuals to keep track of all these changes when they are caught up in their own day-to-day struggles.

In a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine, reporter Roger Cohen traveled to Israel in order to write a profile on Tzipi Levni, who is described as the "daughter of Zionist militants, ex-spy, foreign minister and rising political star" (34). The article begins shortly after Cohen has conducted his first interview with Levni, when he receives a phone call from the politician in which she concernedly wishes to correct some things she said about her personal life: "I was thinking about this idea of me as a disciplined person," she begins, in response to an earlier question the reporter had asked her.

There are parts of me that are different. I prefer jeans to a suit, sneakers to high heels, markets to malls. You've just returned from Paris: I prefer the Quartier Latin to the Champs Elysees. In general, I don't like formality at all. It is just part of what I do. You know, when I was young, I went to the Sinai and worked as a waitress" (36).

This startling pronouncement by one of Israel's leading political figures infers that Levni herself has a keen understanding of the sociological imagination and all its implications. Speaking to a journalist, she is aware of the media's capability of manipulating things that… [read more]

Structural Inequality and Diversity Term Paper

Term Paper  |  20 pages (5,575 words)
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The work of Jeffrey R. Dafler (2005) entitled: "Social Darwinism and the Language of Racial Oppression: Australia's Stolen Generations" stats that "Alfred Korzybski often encapsulated… [read more]

Malinowski's Functional Theory Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,089 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2



Bronislaw Malinowski is one of the twentieth century's most prominent and influential anthropologists. He is highly regarded for his pioneering work in the field of ethnographic fieldwork, giving a major contribution to the study of Melanesia and of reciprocity. Malinowski's work can best be described as operating from a functionalist approach to society.

The majority of Malinowski's work occurred in the field, studying the cultures of numerous indigenous peoples. Early in his career, he traveled to what is now Papua New Guinea in order to study the local people. When World War One broke out, Malinowski found himself stranded on the island and, being forced out of loneliness, decided to participate in the Trobrainders society. During this time, he learned the native language and bonded closely with the people. It was also during this unintentional period of study that he developed his theory of participant observation, which is now a key functionalist approach to anthropological methodology.

Whereas prior to Malinowski's work, anthropologist tended to conduct their fieldwork through structured interviews while maintaining a difference, Malinowski's participant observation was based on an argument that anthropologists must have daily contact with their subjects if their intent is to adequately record the "imponderabilia of everyday life that is so essential to understanding a different culture." According to Malinowski's theory, the goal of the anthropologist is to "grasp the native's point-of-view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world."

Based on this fundamental belief of participation, Malinowski went on to develop the school of social anthropology known as functionalism. Malinowski's version of functionalism was established in contrast to Radcliffe-Brown's structural functionalism in that Malinowski argued that "culture functioned to meet the needs of individuals rather than society as a whole." Accordingly, "when the needs of individuals are met, who comprise society, then the needs of society are met."

Using a functionalist approach to anthropology, the feelings of people and their motives is essential to understanding the way a society functioned. The only way to truly gain this knowledge and understanding is through active participation within the society. Malinowski states, "Besides the firm outline of tribal constitution and crystallized cultural items which form the skeleton, besides the data of daily life and ordinary behavior, which are, so to speak, its flesh and blood, there is still be recorded the spirit- the natives' views and opinions and utterances." This recording of the spirit in order to understand a society is the essence of functionalism.

Specifically, functionalism is the sociological paradigm that attempts to explain all social institutions as being collective means necessary to fulfill an individual's basic biological needs. Functionalism also includes a social institution's ability to fulfill an individual's social needs, including the need for social stability.

As a theory, functionalism studies the structure and workings of a given society. A functionalist sees society as being comprised of inter-dependent segments which work together in order to fulfill the functions needed for the society as a whole to survive. To do this,… [read more]

Fragmentation in the Society Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,123 words)
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Durkheim, Fragmentation

What an amazing situation, being able to come back over a century later and see what has happened to society since I have been gone. My name is Emile Durkheim. It appears that some people now call me the "Father of Sociology." And one of the more modern scholars, Erving Goffman, even called me "God." I am honored.

However, I have not been thrust forward into time to boast about myself, but rather to see if my beliefs on fragmentation, alienation and anomie have found validity in this new century. As a brief overview, I believe that society is the glue that holds individuals together. When society becomes fragmented, or starts breaking down and apart, there also is "anomie," or a disintegration of social norms. These norms no longer can no longer control the activities of members in society. Individuals need rules and structure to help them find their way. Without such guidance and direction, the society sees a rise in both internal and external disarray -- alienation, depression, conflict, and deviance. For example, in an economic depression, the amount of anomie, crime, suicide, and deviance increase. I see in the Great Depression people jumped out of windows when they lost all their economic worth.

What a different world it is today! It is now called "flat," because the communication systems have made someone from India be "right next door" to someone in New York City. This amazing instrument called the Internet connects people globally with a click of the button. Also, I hear that "knowledge" is the product that people sell today, rather than something that is tangible. The only way to gain that knowledge is to be strongly competitive and be ahead of everyone else. Thus, the pace of change in both the individual's daily life and in the greater scheme of things such as technology and world politics is tremendous. What has this caused?

The Conference Board website reports that in 2005, half of all Americans are satisfied with their jobs, down from nearly 60% in 1995. However, among the 50% who say they are content, only 14% say they are "very satisfied." Additional survey results show that 40% of workers feel "disconnected" (alienated?) from their employers. Two-thirds do not even identify with or feel motivated to drive their organization's business goals and objectives. A quarter of employees are just "showing up to collect a paycheck." Most important to my theories, the report also states that "Rapid technological changes, rising productivity demands and changing employee expectations have all contributed to the decline in job satisfaction."

Studies performed since I was alive and well show that job satisfaction is clearly related to how workers feel about their self-worth. When people lose their jobs or are unhappy with what they are doing, they lose self-esteem and can become depressed. (Ah, I am vindicated.)

Your studies by the Center of Disease Control have also found that stress is linked to physical and mental health, as well as decreased… [read more]

Sociology Families, Delinquency and Crime Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,380 words)
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Families, Delinquency and Crime

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the topic of delinquency and crime. Specifically, it will compare and contrast two sociological theories that apply to delinquent behaviors, including major theorists in the area of sociology and delinquent crime. Delinquency, combined with gang membership may be one of the most pervasive problems facing American society today. Sociologists discuss group influences, social conditioning, and other factors when they discuss the sociological approach to crime. They offer several theories for delinquency, including the cultural deviance theories and social control theories, which this paper will address.

The social control theory of juvenile delinquency believes that social learning and socialization, which teaches self-control and reduces the need to participate in antisocial or deviant behavior, can control delinquency. Two experts note, "Within the framework of social control theory, the more the youths are attached, committed, and believe in the moral validity of the social norms, the stronger are their social bonds and the less likely they are to commit delinquent acts (Geiger & Fischer, 1995, p. 69). The social control theory is broken down into four distinct types, which include direct, indirect, internal, and control through needs satisfaction. Direct control includes punishment for deviant behavior and rewards for normal, approved behavior. Indirect includes the youth's own choice not to engage in deviant behavior because of their own conscience or ego. Internal includes controls that help prevent deviant behavior because of what it would do to other close family members or friends, and finally, the needs satisfaction type that recognizes when all needs are met, there is no need for deviant behavior. This theory literally uses the beliefs and value systems of a person to show that deviant behavior comes when beliefs and values are skewed. Most often, beliefs and values are passed along to children from their families, which makes the family unit extremely responsible for the actions and belief systems of their children. Thus, children from happier more bonded and "normal" family units will have less of a need to commit deviant acts of juvenile delinquency and violence. One of the leading social control theorists, Hirschi said, "[C]hildren who are attached to many significant others and have various avenues of commitment have additional stakes in conformity and stronger beliefs in the moral validity of the social norms. They are therefore less likely to deviate" Geiger & Fischer, 1995, p. 69). This takes into account morals and societal values, and the agreed on cultural belief systems of a particular group, neighborhood, or community, as well.

In contrast, the cultural deviance theory is directly opposed to the social control theory. Cultural deviance theory proposes that the subculture and environment have vast influence on the juvenile, and pressures the juvenile to deviate from accepted norms and become delinquent and commit crimes. Expert Hirschi notes, "According to cultural deviance theories, the deviant conforms to a set of standards not accepted by a larger or more powerful society" (Hirschi, 2002, p. 3).… [read more]

Social Organizations Term Paper

Term Paper  |  11 pages (3,325 words)
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Sociology McDonald's

There are numerous sociological theories for how organizations come together, how they are maintained, how information flows within them, and how they ultimately extend beyond the actions of any single individual within them. Understanding the phenomenon of the organization has become of particular importance in the increasingly globalized world economy; ultimately, this is because the expanding of individual… [read more]

Key Casual Agents for Durkheim Weber and Marx Term Paper

Term Paper  |  1 pages (330 words)
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Concepts about rationalization introduced by Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx demonstrated the importance of role specialization and division of labor in inducing social change in society. As 'motors of social change,' the ideas of these three sociologists vary in their conceptual framework, but share their similarities when operationalized in the context of human experience. Among the first proponents of rationalization is Durkheim, wherein his concept of moral density explicitly demonstrated the role of division of labor in the creation of a rationalized, or organic, society. His concept of moral density stems from the existence of competition among humans, which resulted from the gradual decrease in material resource and the increase in social volume or population density. As a result of scarce resources, competition emerges, and individuals are only able to survive this competition if they learn to develop the skills or knowledge that they have. Similarly, Weber's concept of rationalization is best described by the concept of specialization of functions of people…… [read more]

Sociology of Religion Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (778 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


¶ … Hanna Rosin's work Striking a Pose is a critical look at the exponential growth of the "yoga" movement in the United States. The work details information about yoga's exploding popularity as a form of both physical exercise and also religion, compared in Rosin's work to the popularity and commercial growth of Starbucks. The creative spirit of the United States, would seem to according to Rosin embrace such a practice, in an expressive manner, but Rosin also points out the oddity of the movement, "All though we are a society known for creative multi-tasking, it seems odd that we have mixed up our gym and our church." Rosin makes this comment within the context of a description of her own experience with yoga, as a place where the physical is tested and the mind is soothed by an intoning of the spiritual. (116) The sociology of religion is therefore explored through an American embrace of alternatives that intone individuality as well as loose spiritual guidance.

In Rosin's early days as a practitioner of yoga she retells the comical story of her first experience of yoga, not in a trendy Washington DC studio, where she lives or in the almost churchlike atmosphere of the opening of a new yoga studio in New York, she attended in conjunction with several notable celebrities, but in the living room of a yoga practitioners home, where she was enlightened more of the need to dress the part than to spiritually connect to her body and henceforth the world around her. Her description of all the scenes, that accompany the growth of yoga as a movement with different schools of thought and social pull, are sardonic but her point is well made. Yoga is fast becoming an alternative religion for millions of people in the United States, so much so that is it under the constant danger of being adulterated to meet the needs of the people who practice it. (116)

The sociology of the movement is well documented, when one looks at the stories, Rosin shares with regard to the manner in which yoga has evolved in the United States, to become what it is today. Yoga, for its practitioners is a way to multitask spiritual with physical. Get a work out and a spiritual boost in the same trendy location, despite the…… [read more]

Watergate Views of Authors Such as Emile Term Paper

Term Paper  |  7 pages (2,339 words)
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Watergate; views of authors such as Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, J. Alexander, Dinesh D'Souza and C. Wright Mills

Society is an organism that functions according to its own rules and has the interconnected mechanisms that allow it to regenerate just like a human body. The collective consciousness enables it to function properly. In case of a crisis situation, the mechanisms… [read more]

Technology, Society &amp Politics Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,164 words)
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Through Sziland's character, Rhodes was also able to point out how proponents of science and technology can make a conscious choice to use technology to improve human life, and not to destroy it. Evidently, Rhodes made a stand against self-interest use of technology, as opposed to Khun, who had generally categorized scientific revolution as an event beneficial to humankind, because it brings us closer to the "truth" about human life, existence, and even purpose on earth.

Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma" centered on discussing the effect that technology has over a society's economy. Focusing on the economic performance and movement in the computer business industry -- a sector dominated by established and entrant computer firms -- Christensen found out that technological innovation depended on existing applications and technology. Thus, technological development is sustained in order to further the economic efficiency of old and new technologies. The technologies' sustainability differs from the political perspective expressed by Kuhn: for Christensen, technology is continuous because it needs to sustain itself in order to thrive economically, as compared to Kuhn's assertion that technological development is deterministic, thus an isolated event in history.

Among the most important insights concerning technology is imparted through Levy's study on (computer) hackers and Toulmin's comparison of the modern society against societies that existed prior to 20th century. Both authors discussed the change in culture that occurred in modern society as technology gradually dominated the lifestyles and attitudes of people in it.

Levy argued that the emergence of techno-centric society led to a shift in the social order of the modern society. Those who were once considered as deviant individuals, because they possess extremely high intelligence yet introvert or anti-social behavior, are now considered "heroes" of modern society -- hackers. This change in the norm of the society, the conversion of deviant hackers to modern heroes in the computer-dominated society, was described as follows: " ... MIT ... The repository of the very brightest of those weird high school kids with owl-like glasses and underdeveloped pectorals who dazzled math teachers and flunked PE, who dreamed not of scoring on prom night, but of getting to the finals of the General Electric Science Fair competition."

Toulmin, meanwhile, discussed the characteristics of modernism caused by technological advancement and social progress as against the state of pre-20th century societies. For the author of "Cosmopolis," modernism paved the way for humanity to 'separate' "rationality and logic from rhetoric and emotions," and this was based on the fact that humanity would want to "think correctly," which was Toulmin's interpretation of truth-seeking (similar to Khun's achievement of truth through scientific revolution). Like Levy, Toulmin illustrated a social change in modern society: where once the norm used to be the expression of feelings and introspection of emotions, in the modern society, rationalism and objectivism prevailed human thinking. Thus, these changes in social norms led to the popularity and dominance of scientists and logicians, and proponents of natural and social sciences.


Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator's Dilemma: When… [read more]

Current Events Explained, Analyzed, and Perceived Social Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,465 words)
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Current Events Explained, Analyzed, And Perceived

Social Science Disciplines - Analysis

Current events may be explained through the disciplines of social science. Social scientists analyze events and issues based on scientific observations and the perceptives that are assigned to these issues and events in the world around us. These perspectives inform about the world that surrounds and fill the present… [read more]

Earth Abides Term Paper

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Earth Abides

The title of the novel is very descriptive of the central theme of the work as a whole. "Earth abides" comes from Ecclesiastes 1:4 --"one generation goeth, and another cometh, but the earth abideth forever." The book deals with a viral plaque that wipes out most of humanity, leaving only a few scattered survivors who have the responsibility… [read more]

Sociology and Psychology Term Paper

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Sociology and Psychology

Social and Psychological concept of Identity:

Sociology refers to the scientific study of society while psychology refers to the study of individuals. However, psychology can be aptly described as the study of the mind. Conventionally, "Identity" was a personal quality. Erik Erikson, personality psychologist, discovered the term 'identity crisis' in the framework of personal human development when… [read more]

Sociological Theory the Sociology Term Paper

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What Marx's historical materialist analysis bore for 20th century society was skepticism about the promises of capitalism for humanity. He provided contrast to the popular belief that capitalism would bring benefit to society, particularly the proletariat class. Exposing the detriments of capitalism through the social conflict between the working and elite classes, Marx proved that "the single biggest obstacle placed in the way of progressive social change was the ability of the dominant classes to prevent the proletariat from attaining true 'class consciousness'" (199). Thus, by studying the important social components in a capitalist society, i.e., its technology and social relations of different classes of people, Marx had been able to recommend that a radical change in the social order through socialism would help alleviate, even eradicate, the existence of social conflict and oppression that were the characteristics of a capitalist society.

Randall Collin's "Sociological Insight" (Question No. 4)

a. Randall Collins introduced the concept of "non-obvious sociology" by giving focus on the role that social interactions among people in a society as the basis for identifying and analyzing the sociological meanings embedded in these interactions. Commonly identified as interactionism, non-obvious sociology gives importance to people as social actors and their daily actions as keys towards further understanding the nature and dynamics of humanity and its social environment. Basing his argument and position primarily on Durkheim's theory of rituals, Collins was able to explore and discover the 'hidden meanings' behind human nature and its dynamics, putting particular emphasis on interactions among people. Thus, as presented in the later chapters of the book, Collins was able to delve deeper into the various social phenomena that occur in human societies through the analysis of the people's daily interactions with each other -- that is, by applying interactionism in his analysis of these social phenomena.

b. In "Sociological Insight," Randall Collins expressed his argument that with the prevalence of rationalization in the new social order that was capitalism, there also existed a shift towards non-rationality or irrationality. Collins traced the progress towards this shift, asserting that with the dominance of rationality, human society had reacted towards its inefficiency by resorting to irrationality. Through the study of non-obvious or interactionist sociology, Collins identified the nature of modern society by providing examples of how rationalization's inefficiency led to the society's subsistence to irrational means of expression, belief, and traditions. The first example he presented was bureaucracy: it was created through the principle of rationalization, though it plummeted towards irrationality due to its inefficiency, which involved 'tedious delays made by paperwork and rules and regulations inappropriate at specific times.' Another example cited was the preponderance of war during the 20th century despite society's achievement of both social and intellectual development. Clearly, rationalization had been more detrimental than beneficial to the progress of society towards development.

c. Using interactionism in his sociological analysis of religion, Collins was able to explain how a seemingly irrational concept such as religion continued to prevail in a rational, capitalist society. In… [read more]

Emile Durkheim Views Society as Having Two Term Paper

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Emile Durkheim

Durkheim views society as having two types of solidarity. One type of which is called the mechanical solidarity and the other is called as organic Solidarity. Mechanical solidarity, according to Durkheim, is the basic form of solidarity that makes society an "organism" as intact rather than just an ensemble of the parts. On the other hand, organic solidarity refers to the social glue that is the outcome of the division of labor in the modern society. Below we define the differences between these kinds of the solidarities.

Mechanical Solidarity - Durkheim argues that mechanical solidarity is the social cohesion based upon the likeness and similarities among individuals in a society, and it is largely dependent on common rituals and routines. This kind of solidarity is common among prehistoric and pre-agricultural societies and lessens in as modernity increases.

Organic Solidarity - Durkheim argues in the advanced societies social cohesion is based upon the dependence of individuals on each other. As the societies progress, the mechanical solidarity begins to change into organic solidarity. If one person were to die, the society would not change, because all other members did exactly the same thing as the member that died. The collective conscience of a mechanical society is identical among all members, and the bond derives not from dependence on other individuals, but from the dependence on the total social system.

Therefore, in the industrial society, the division of labor increases.

Although in an advanced society individuals perform different tasks and often have different values and interests, the order and very survival of society depends on their reliance and dependence on…… [read more]

Durkheim Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,767 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Critics found Durkheim's method to be very empirical and that he sought through all kinds of data to find evidence of the relationship and conditions expressed through these figures or statistics. In the process, he discovered patterns, which were not themselves the cause of the phenomenon of suicide, that the cause was social and that those observed patterns were merely suggestive of the underlying causes.

Durkheim'e method began with statistics on hand in the conduct of its work and in combination with observations. He was in search of social facts and social explanations and tried to establish these with data on suicides. Although his observations were almost entirely empirical and his discoveries failed to connect the occurrences of suicide to what his statistics suggested, Durkheim followed his own rules and in the most scientific and honest way possible with resources on hand.#


1. Elwell F.W. (2003). Emile durkheim's sociology. Rogers State University. http://www.faculty.rsu.edu/~felwell/Theorists/Durkheim

2. Gingrich, P. (1999). Social factors and suicide. University of Regina. http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/626199.htm

3. Hewlett School (2005). Durkheim's anomie. Crime and Deviance. http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/crime/anomie.htm

4. -- . Emile durkheim: the person. http://www.hewlett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/dukheim/drukper.htm

5. -- . Durkheim and suicide. http://www.hewett.norfolk.sch.uk/curric/soc/durkheim/durkw2.htm

6. Jones, RA (1986). Emile durkheim: an introduction to four major works. California: Sage Publications, Inc.

7. Wikipedia. (2005). Emile Durkheim. Media Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Durkheim… [read more]

Gemeinschaft and Gessellschaft. Second Term Paper

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This study includes which social rules and processes knit these people closer together, and which rules and processes separate people from society. This not only includes the study of individuals, but also individuals as members of specific groups, association and institutions. In the end, sociology is about the study of what drives humans to form communities, how these communities function and the complex sets of relationships and associations that form.

As mentioned, sociology does study how communities are formed and what binds these individuals together; however, more telling is sometimes the loss of community. Sociologists often concern themselves with aspects of social lives, such as Anomie, that separate individuals and groups from the societal group they were once a part of. Science, in any format, is not only concerned with how and why things work, but also how to fix things when they are broken.

Therefore it's not surprising that sociology can be seen as developing from a concern about loss of community. It was Auguste Comte, who first coined the term sociology. From the beginning he believed sociology could combine the study of history, psychology and economics and use this information to remedy societal ills, such as a loss of community. Those who followed after Comte, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Tonnies, and others, often focused their studies on alienation, disenfranchisement, and other seperations from society.


Social relationship in modern society differ greatly from those of feudal society. First, feudal society was "characterized by the legal subjection of a large part of the peasantry to a hereditary landholding elite exercising administrative and judicial power on the basis of reciprocal private undertakings" ("Feudal," 2005). These societal bonds were formed in an effort to achieve mutual benefits to both parties, protection and loyalty to the societal elite landholders and land earnings for the vassals.

There was not a strong central authority, in feudal society, as there is in modern society. Political power was dispersed across the numerous lords of the land. In addition, vassals' oaths to protect and serve these lords were voluntary. These social relationships were more in line with the business arrangements and partnerships of modern society. As such, feudal society member often developed relationships with more than one lord.

Feudal society was not a simple pyramid, with the King at the top, lords in the middle and vassals or peasants at the bottom. It was a complex network of relationships, due to the dispersed political power. As mentioned, it was not uncommon for a vassal to pledge his allegiance to more than one lord. This is in stark contrast to modern society where most citizens are aligned with one allegiance to their country of choice.


Anomie. (2 Dec. 2004). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie.

Feudal society. (9 Jan. 2005). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudal_society.

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. (18 Dec. 2004). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemeinschaft.…… [read more]

Welfare and Poverty Term Paper

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Poverty, Welfare and Sociology

Poverty: n. (1) being poor, need. (2) scarcity or lack. (Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus, American Edition, 1997)

Poverty is a term that promotes many different visions: children with hunger-bloated bellies in third-world countries; housing built of packing crates, sheets of scrap metal or plastic, also in third-world countries; slums, usually occupied by recent immigrants to… [read more]

Poverty and Welfare Term Paper

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Sociology of Poverty and Welfare

Defining elements in culture are those of language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects which are passed through generation to generation. Further culture can be separated into subgroups of material culture and nonmaterial culture. Components within a culture are inclusive of symbols, gestures, language, values, norms and sanctions, folkways and mores." Those who participate… [read more]

Sociology Nazi Germany Term Paper

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(Sociology 250: Max Weber)

Karl Marx, born in the year 1818, has been stated as being one of the most important and influential socialist thinkers of the time in which he was living, and even today. His political and social and economic ideas all gained importance during the socialist movement that occurred, unfortunately, after his death in the year 1883.… [read more]

Sociology With the Emergence of Karl Marx Term Paper

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With the emergence of Karl Marx's conflict theory, which posits that oppression against the working class by the elite class is inherent in a capitalist society, feminist ideology had developed. Feminism looks critically at the gender inequality that has been prevalent in capitalist societies since the dawn of the Industrial revolution. Under this ideology, its proponents argue that men… [read more]

Mcdonaldization of Society Term Paper

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¶ … McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer

The book "The McDonaldization of Society" by George Ritzer provides a detailed discussion of the influence and effect of the fast food company McDonald's to the development of human society as it achieves, to the fullest, the triumph of rationalization of the capitalist system on the dawn of the 21st century. Through the model of McDonald's, Ritzer allows his readers to reflect on the culture that the fast food company had created for contemporary society, particularly in the context of American society. With the development of McDonald's as an institution in the American business sector and culture, it inevitably shaped the "fast food" society -- that is, products, services, as well as the lifestyle of people, reflects instantaneous production and accomplishment, respectively.

The author discusses the positive and negative effects of the McDonaldization of society. On one hand, the McDonaldization of American society is a manifestation of Max Weber's claim that society achieves rationalization -- that is, a society "...dominated by efficiency, predictability, calculability, and nonhuman technologies." Looking into this concept, McDonald's has indeed embodied Weber's theory of rationalization: in the McDonald's culture, every product is calculated and precisely measured, every service is standardized. In fact, the standardization of everything that the fast food company offers -- food, service, and even the ambience and 'look' of a McDonald's restaurant -- reflects an attempt to establish a culture wherein there is consistency and predictability in people's actions. That is, people line up to order their food on a standardized menu, the crew greets a standard greeting to all their customers, and when order is served, people seat in chairs…… [read more]

Sociology in Studying the Individual Term Paper

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Thus, as Charles Cooley posits in his theory of the 'looking glass self,' what we become is a product of the social interactions with other people in the society.

Thus, social isolation, which involves no interaction with the society at all, creates a detriment to the development of the individual. Social science research have always cited classic cases of individuals who were isolated in a small room for many years, and were found to display lack of knowledge of human communication and interaction. It is through social interaction that we learn and become able to accomplish things and activities everyday. Without socialization, an individual fails to recognize his/her fullest potential as a human being; it is only by interacting that we learn about our capabilities and limitations and ultimately, what we are and are not.


Santrock, J. (2001). Psychology. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co.

Schaeffer, R. (1998). Sociology: a brief introduction. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co.… [read more]

Juvenile Deviance on the Streets and in Schools Term Paper

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Sociology of Deviant Behavior

Violence, Deviant Behavior, Labeling and Conflict Theories in "Code of the Street" by Elijah Anderson

In the study of human society, people as social actors are analyzed based on their interactions with each other. Furthermore, it is through an analysis of people's interactions that social norms and rules are formulated -- that is, beliefs, behavior, and actions that are further reinforced and collectively followed by the members of the society.

Despite the establishment of these social norms and rules, there are still individuals who do not conform, or "deviate," from the established norms and rules in the society. Schaefer (1998) identifies deviance as a "behavior that violates the standards of conduct and/or expectations of a group or society" (160). Directly linked with the study of deviant behavior is the concept of social control, which regulates human behavior within society. Thus, deviance may include some form of social control in order to inculcate in society that deviant behavior are undesirable for the society. Social control may be formal or informal, wherein the former imposes a legal procedure, such as imprisonment, or simply, by making the individual an "outsider," isolated from his/her society and not welcomed to interact with other people.

In this paper, the researcher discusses and analyzes the occurrence of deviant behavior in the context of 'life on the street' or street life. Street life are predominated by people who live in "poor inner-city neighborhoods," which Elijah Anderson (1999) studies in his book, "Code of the Street." Applying the basic concepts associated in the study of the sociology of deviant behavior, this paper argues that Andersons' analysis of street life in "Code of the Street" puts into context the labeling theory of deviant behavior, wherein people's attitudes and behavior are associated with the "labels" that other people associate or give them as deviants in the society. In the texts that follow, this issue is discussed extensively, with references to both Schaefer and Anderson's discussions on deviant behavior.

In his book, Anderson identifies "code of the street" as the establishment of 'norms' among deviants -- that is, the cultivation of "indecent ways" that are actually a set of informal rules followed by street families and people, especially among the youth. Early on in the book, the author makes it clear that people adopt various "degrees of alienation," where people can identify them as such. Thus, street life may include the extreme form of alienation through the "criminal element(s)," people who are isolated and socially controlled by society through imprisonment (35). However, there are those street people who maintain two identities: the first identity is able to adapt to the normative view of the society, while…… [read more]

Sociology: Deviant Behavior Term Paper

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Starr also seems to be suggesting however that the norms in society are shifting based on increasing exposure to violent activity. Conflict theorists generally support the notion that with a shift in norms come a shift in rules and decisions.

Laws and rules are generally passed because they support the desires of the people, at least according to conflict theory. If people become de-sensitized, it is feasible to conclude that the laws and regulations may change at some point in time.

Generally within society the notion that gunfire and homicides are deviant behavior is widely accepted, and this fact is supported by laws and regulations. It is possible however that a shift is occurring in what is considered normal based on Starr's analysis of people's reactions to activity.

This could shift the majority opinion, rules and laws of the land enforcing the notion that some behavior is more acceptable than others. According to conflict theory this would largely be the result of society's decisions and rules regarding crime and deviance in general.


Rubington, E. & Weignberg, M.S. (1987). Deviance, the interactionist perspective. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Available: http://www.ryoung001.homestead.com/Deviance_Def.html

Starr, R. (July-1993). "Instead of fighting deviance, Americans just get used to it."

Insight on the News, 9(29), p. 40.… [read more]

Wayward Puritans: A Study Term Paper

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The author states, "The Bible told him [the Puritan] the difference between right and wrong, and in his efforts to shape the world to those clear moralities he could be positively ferocious."

In early Puritan society, the ministers acted as the lawmakers, and so, societal control was based on the Bible's rules, and the minister's interpretations of those rules. To begin with, to be admitted as a member of Puritan society, one had to be a member of the church. Here is an example of societal control before the member could even join the society. Indeed, as the society thrived and new laws were enacted, they persecuted Quakers in much the same way they had been persecuted in England, and they suffered several "crime waves" of witchcraft and possession. The trial and banishment of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, and the persecution of the Quakers indicated society in New England was becoming even more conservative, and certainly more controlling of "deviant" members. Fearful of witches and the black arts, the society encouraged members to turn on each other in the name of "confession." Erickson writes, "As they [the possessed girls] became caught up in the enthusiasm of their new work, then, the girls began to reach into every corner of the community in a search for likely suspects."

The community encouraged this behavior in their maniacal search for deviants in league with the Devil, and this shows how the community's beliefs and fears controlled the deviant behavior. Anyone could be accused, and so, the rest of the community had to strictly adhere to every Puritan policy, or become suspect themselves. The mores were so strict that the slightest infraction could place a person in jeopardy, and this indicates just how controlling the society was, and how fearful it was of any deviant behavior, which is why they created so many controls.

The Puritans felt they were alone in the world, and so they had to enact harsh and strict societal controls over their lives. This societal control is evident in the way their lived their lives, and the way they used the Bible to define their activities. Deviant behavior was to be avoided at all costs, and to fit into this society, members had to believe, behave, and never question authority. Those who did were banished from the community, or even worse, put to death. This was strong societal control, and it is easy to see why the rest of the community tried to conform. Societal control that includes the threat of death is quite powerful, indeed.


Erikson, Kai. (1966). Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Erikson, Kai. (1966). Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance. New…… [read more]

Emile Durkheim Sociology Term Paper

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This is especially true if the society is heterogeneous. In a heterogeneous society people come from different cultures and religions and thus have different morals. There is always the likelihood that one set of individuals will be opposed to moral teaching that may be a contradiction to their culture or religion. Also, if the people making the decisions about moral standards are not representative of the entire society the "morality" being taught will always represent the In addition, one could also argue that public educational facilities are not designed to teach morality and should only concentrate on academic achievement.


The purpose of this discussion was to provide an overview of the theorist and his work. We found that Durkheim was born in a town and France and received his post secondary education in Paris at the Ecole Normale Superieure. He was also rejected because of his philosophies and original thoughts.

The discussion also focused on the work and evaluation of the validity of his theory of morality. We concluded that his theories were valid but were also complicated by the fact that many societies are heterogeneous and differing morals abound



Blend, C., Coser, L.A., Duncan, H.D., Folkman, J.D., Hinkle, R.C., Honigsheim, P., Kurauchi, K., Neyer, J., Parsons, T., Peyre, H., Richter, M., Salomon, A., & Wolff, K.H. (1960). Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography (K W.H., Ed.). Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=22831185

Durkheim, E. (1953). Sociology and Philosophy (Pocock, D.F., Trans.). New York: Free Press. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5634202

Durkheim, E., & Fauconnet, P. (1961). Moral Education: A Study in the Theory and Application of the Sociology of Education (E. K. Wilson, Ed.) (Schnurer, H., & K., E.W., Trans.). New York: Free Press.… [read more]

Suicide and Society Term Paper

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Anomie is defined as the state of individual alienation from society, which tends to result in unsocial behaviors. This social isolation can originate from either an excess or a lack of social integration, occurring more in urban societies where displays of increased social and professional specialization are seen, allowing for more heterogeneity and thus a loss of common culture. It is a paradoxical situation where the rate of suicides tends to increase when choices and freedoms increase, allowing individuals more control over their own lives. The resulting anomic condition is more likely seen during periods of prosperity and poverty, primarily affecting the mobile, professional, educated, and divorced people in the social group. This trend demonstrates that people need limits, and limits are set by a normative system where the norms inhibit chaos. When the norms are valued more successfully, suicide rates drop. Thus, prosperity, urbanism, education, and other highly promoted social factors may actually erode traditional limits and impact the occurrence of suicides.

Durkheim was highly interested in this category, and elaborated on its definition by sub-classifying anomie according to economics and domestic situations, to include acute and chronic economic anomie, and acute and chronic domestic anomie. With acute economic anomie, the group fails to meet the immediate traditional needs of the individual (i.e. religion), while chronic economic anomie factors in a long-term lack of social and moral guidelines. Durkheim noted the existence of this form of anomie during the period of the Industrial Revolution where the increased achievement of financial wealth failed to provide stable happiness, resulting in an increase in suicides among the wealthy class. The two forms of domestic anomie involve microsocial factors, such as family influences. For instance, in acute domestic anomie, widowhood is cited as an example as sudden changes in social life, and the inability to effectively and quickly adapt, influence the suicide rates. Chronic domestic anomie pertains to groups like married women where the institution of marriage has the tendency to overregulate their lives and restrict their opportunities for social and emotional growth. These associated forms of anomie present more evidence that social stimuli can impact the predisposition to suicidal tendencies.

Fatalism is the converse of anomie where the condition is that there is too much normative integration. It is more relevant to groups with high levels of commitments where the individuals have overregulated, unrewarding lives, but is rarely seen in modern society, which has a greater tendency to be anomic, suffering from too little normative integration. Examples of fatalistic groups where suicide rates apply include slaves, Waco, Jonestown, and the Islamic Jihad group. Childless, married women fall into this group as a result of the combination of marriage and lack of reward (children) influencing their social suffering.


One of the more interesting theories in Durkheim's functional approach to evaluating societal impact on suicide rates is that he demonstrated the social aspects pertaining to all individuals, where every social class was accounted for and categorized according to social influences. The sociological analysis… [read more]

Eaglin Society That Is Free Term Paper

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With bath houses everywhere and the legalization of prostitution our society has moved into an arena in which sexual needs are considered no different than the need to eat, breath or have water. Because the old world oppressed so many people sexually there was a lot of tension that we do not experience today. That sexual oppression lent itself to the judgment of same sex unions as well. Hard as it is to believe we lived in a world where men and to love only women and women had to love only men, otherwise they were harshly judged for their choices. Today, we know that being attracted to people like us or different from us has to do with the genetic and DNA makeup of our beings. It is not a choice as was apparently believed back then. Today we love who we love and we give freely of ourselves regardless of the gender of our partner. Had our society not evolved to this point we would have missed out on so many things including the writings of Ted and Roger the famous self-help couple for the art of making love. The study delved into why the old world placed such restrictions on the norms that we now take for granted and came up with one answer. Insecurity. Because mankind delved into the psyche and worked for many generations so make people healthy emotionally we now enjoy a society in which we are free to love, and we are free to give our love to whom we want…… [read more]

Industrial and Information Societies Term Paper

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Neoclassical and Substantivist Economic Theories

Neoclassical theory is the theory that modern economists use to define current society. This theory is based on the concepts of needs and wants, scarcity and rational choices. It looks at how individuals have both needs and wants and how they select from these needs and wants what they will actually buy.

The concept of scarcity means that there are always greater wants than there is the resources to provide for those wants. For this reason, individuals must choose what to purchase with their available resources.

Neoclassical theory also asserts that these decisions will be made rationally. This means that in deciding what to purchase, it is assumed that all options are known and that the decision is made based on what is of greatest benefit to the individual.

Substantivism is a very different theory and is based on the idea that economic systems are socially and culturally determined. Substantivism would argue that the economic system present is defined by the social environment.

The neoclassical approach that bases economic systems on individual choices is therefore replaced by a theory that bases the economic system on how that society functions. This results in a system based on a collective societal approach rather than an individual approach.

These two theories are very different and yet are also in agreement. The substantivism theory says society will adopt an economic system based on their social system. Neoclassical theory is the economic system current society adopts. At the same time, current society is based on individual pursuits and so substantivism effectively explains the current adoption of the…… [read more]

Emergency Response Essay

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Hurricane Katrina

Natural disasters often occur unexpectedly and without warning. These disasters, as a result, create massive amounts of casualties and financial hardships on the communities affected. Disasters such the tsunami impacting Japan in 2012, or the 2013 earthquake in Chile, are a testament of the devastating power natural forces have on daily human activities. Hurricane Katrina is no different… [read more]

Deviance Among Canadian Youths Deviation Essay

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Why are youth strongly associated with crime in Canadian society?

Canada has experienced an increased in the number of deviant behaviors being associated with the youths. Although that the government has put controls on deviant behaviors, there has been a high number of youths found guilty of deviant behavior. A number of reasons have been found to contribute to the high numbers of youths engaged in criminal behaviors. The following three reasons explain why the youth in Canada is strongly associated with crime and deviance in the Canadian society (Platt, 1999).

The first reason is 'attachments'. In this regard, attachments refer to the mutual bonds that bind together societal members. In many societies, people are attached to one another due to a number of factors that attach them; these may include race, religion, and ethnic groups. Canada has experienced a growth in the cosmopolitan cities leading many people to come from different backgrounds. The absence of strong attachment among the youth has led to increased conflicts and deviant behaviors (Flowers, 2003).

The second reason that has led many of the youths in Canada to be associated with crimes and deviant behaviors is 'commitment'. In this context, commitment refers to loyalty that is directed towards legitimate opportunity. In many cases, the youths have engaged in deviance and crimes, for they have felt they are disadvantaged by conforming. For instance, many of the youths in low socioeconomic class have engaged in crimes, for they feel disadvantaged to conform to the structures of the wider society (Thomas, 2002).

In addition, an increased number of youths have been strongly associated with crime in Canadian society is the issue of 'involvement'. It has been found that there has been an increase in the number of reported crimes from the youth. The high involvement of the youth in criminal activities has been found to reduce the inhibition towards the same deviance. Canada has seen an increase in the number of youths engaging in criminal and deviant behavior, making inhibition a difficult task in the society.


It is evident that Canadian youths have had many challenges with regard to deviant and criminal behavior. Besides, various factors, including the involvement and attachment among the youth have contributed to the high numbers of youth being involved in criminal and deviant behavior. The youths have engaged in a number of deviant behaviors, such as robbery, drug abuse, street crimes, cybercrimes, and assault. It would be important for the law enforcement agencies to employ these factors in developing remedies to the deviance problem in the U.S.


Flowers, R. (2003). Crime and deviance: exploring its causes, dynamics, and nature. New York: Charles C. Thomas Publisher

Platt, A. (1999). Thinking and Unthinking 'Social Control. Inequality, Crime, and Social Control. Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 72 -- 79.

Thomas, P.…… [read more]

Perrucci and Wysong's Work Essay

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¶ … Perrucci and Wysong's work of literature, The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream, is that a number of factors have taken place since the end of the 1960's to result in a two-tiered society in which there are a finite number of highly wealthy people whom the masses are exploited by and work to support. The authors utilize… [read more]

American Dream According to Jack Research Paper

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American Dream

According to Jack Solomon, the American dream "has two faces: the one communally egalitarian and the other competitively elitist." Egalitarianism is a myth that Americans aspire to, but a goal that is impossible to fulfill due to structural inequities and institutionalized racism and sexism. Elitism is, however, tragically real. Patriarchy and white power are inherently elitist social structures and patterns that reinforce themselves by keeping the underclass continually striving for satisfaction via consumerism. Built into the system of relentless pursuit of material belongings is a sense of competition and one-upmanship. Solomon also mentions that the symbol of the American Dream is presented as a desire for popularity and belonging to the magical nation of the United States. Actually, the American Dream only serves to isolate people from their peers because it is a self-serving endeavor. Competitiveness and elitism are cornerstones of the American Dream.

Competiveness is a cornerstone of the American Dream, because the Dream is built on the assumption that everyone should pursue material wealth in a world with finite resources. With finite resources, competition is inevitable. Competition is heralded as the most important factor in ensuring a free market, and the love of competition is paralleled in the way people live their daily lives. Perhaps more importantly, the nature of competitiveness in the United States is fueled by cultural messages in the media. The car industry is one example of how competition shapes consumer behavior. Brockmann and Yan found that cars are one of the primary status symbols in America and that status competition is especially high during times of affluence. Reality television shows are also developed with competitiveness in mind. The contestants on reality television shows are competing for something, and the end result is social status that comes from winning. Some shows offer insipid insights into how people are willing to sacrifice normative social behaviors in the interests of self-promotion. The goal is to fulfill the American Dream via fifteen minutes of fame. Ironically, the fifteen minutes of fame and money won in prizes does not lead to a more fulfilling life.

There are many other ironic manifestations of the American Dream, such as the contradictory nature of altruism in America. Altruism has sadly become a status symbol, evidence in the way people promote their favorite charities or claim to support the environment. As Griskevicius, Tybur and van den Bergh point out, status motives are used in the marketing of "green" products, which cost more than their polluting counterparts. Thus, a person who does not genuinely care about the environment might purchase "green" products as a means of showing off social status. The green products are "one-upping" neighbors. Some Americans might care about the environment, but many believe mistakenly that buying "green" is all they need to do. Buying "green" is merely a social status marker to show that the person is not a redneck but associates with more enlightened people from places like California.

Status symbols serve as means to differentiate one individual… [read more]

Social Problems Accuracy of the Uniform Crime Term Paper

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Social Problems

Accuracy of the Uniform Crime Reports

The accuracy of the data of the Uniform Crime Reports is criticized on a number of grounds. Firstly, the mentioned reports only report about the crimes that are in the knowledge of the police. This is for the reason that a majority of victims are hesitant in reporting any bad incident to… [read more]

Conflict Paradigm That Is Demonstrated Film Review

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¶ … conflict paradigm that is demonstrated in the New Heroes video regarding Kailash Satyarthi's work to end childhood slavery, not just in India but throughout the entire world. This sort of ruthless exploitation of child labor is merely a means to fuel the huge capitalist machine -- one of the principle proponents of which are consumers in the United… [read more]

Working and Leisure Essay

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Sociology: Work and Leisure

Working and Leisure

Purpose of Writing Book

The book "The Dignity of Working Men: Morality and the Boundaries of Race, Class and Immigratio" is written to study how working-class men are defined by themselves and the society. This serves as the main purpose for the author Michele Lamont to have written this book. The book investigates… [read more]

Historical Development of Cultures Essay

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¶ … Cultures


The historical development of cultures is an expression of many factors, both naturally occurring and those that are manmade. In the earliest stages of human development, the historical development of culture was heavily contingent upon natural resources such as access to water and land that was fertile for agriculture. As humanity grew, diversified, and developed more intricate civilizations, the historical development of cultures was contingent upon more factors than in the past. In some ways, life was simpler in the past, while it was primitive. As human civilization advances, we sacrifice advancement for simplicity, as the development of cultures depends on more important, yet unstable factors such as politics, military strength, trade regulations, and forms of resources & labor. As we understand the historical development of cultures from a 21st century perspective, it is clear that cultures of the modern times are possible because of strong and tenuous relationships among institutions, values, ideas, and ethnicities, especially in countries such as the United States of America, where there is a high concentration of ethnic diversity/plurality. The paper concisely considers the historical development of cultures and examines some of the more influential factors that guide, direct, and orient the development of a culture.

The historical development of cultures is related to the social context of a particular culture or society. The social context of a culture is heavily determined by the specific sort of social stratification that is at work in that culture. Cultures can be divided or stratified by a number of traits including skin tone, economic status, religious beliefs, cultural practices, language, type of labor, and much more.

Social stratification is the hierarchical classification of the members of society based on the unequal distribution of resources, power, and prestige. The word resources refers to such factors as income, property, and borrowing capacity. Power is the ability to influence or control others. Prestige relates to status, either ascribed (based on age, sex, race, or family background) or achieved (based on individual accomplishments). Stratification may reduce or worsen any strains on conflicts between groups depending on how rigid and explicit or flexible and subtle are the class distinctions and discrimination based on race or ethnic group. (Chapter 3, 56)

Social stratification is key to sustaining unequal distributions of wealth and resources in a society, such as in a capitalist society as there is in the United States. Social class is a part of social stratification. One a culture is stratified, then there becomes distinctive visible and invisible divisions, which include social classes. There are cultural fixtures or structures within a society, including institutions that often support stratification and class division. Social stratification in a number ways contributes…… [read more]

Race and Social Class in the United States Term Paper

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Race as it Relates to Class in the United States

Since the country's beginning, race, gender, and class have been very important factors in a person's experience in the United States of America. The meaning of race, gender differences, and the separation of class have changed over United States history. For many Americans, their perceptions of class and race and the degree to which gender affect people's lives, often depends on what their race, gender, and class are, too. There are differences between the reality of America, what is represented as American reality in media, and the perceived reality of America. Americans as well as those looking at America from an outside perspective may have questions and confusions regarding what the real connections are to race, class, and gender are in America. The paper tries to clarify and explore how these issues connect and play out in real life.

One of the greatest exports of American culture is American media. American media is one of the most widely distributed and consumed cultural forms from the United States. This means that not only do Americans consume large quantities of their own media, but many other countries in the world consume American media, too. People in other countries will not interpret or understand the media in precisely the same ways that Americans will and do, nonetheless, many aspects of American culture and American reality are communicated to numerous viewers as part of the content in the media. The media is an important tool in the discussion of race, class, and gender in America. It takes a savvy viewer to discriminate between and understand what media accurately represents reality, what media does not, or which aspects of experience are fictionalized, and which elements are based in actual experience. There are a lot of mixed messages and confounding experiences in American life as it exists in reality and as it is represented in the media.

Americans are constantly bombarded by depictions of race relations in the media which suggest that discriminatory racial barriers have been dismantled. Social and cultural indicators suggest that America is on the verge, or has already become, a truly color-blind nation. National polling data indicate that a majority of whites now believe discrimination against racial minorities no longer exists…Not surprisingly, the view of society blind to color is not equally shared. Whites and blacks differ significantly, however, on their support for affirmative action, the perceived fairness of the criminal justice system, the ability to acquire the "American Dream," and the extent to which whites have benefitted from past discrimination. (Gallagher, 2003, 2 -- 3)

Certainly, this quotation was made before the election of President Barack Obama, the first non-white President of the United States in the history of the country. His election, in some ways, contributed to the distorted perceptions that at least the racial barriers within American society have been wholly and permanently removed. Whites, who have had the greatest privilege in America, have very different perceptions of… [read more]

American Dream Alive and Well? Term Paper

Term Paper  |  7 pages (1,887 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


Some people view success differently from how it is conventionally seen and this means that the American Dream needs to be regarded from a series of perspectives.

Social status is a very controversial concept today, as while it is regarded as being less important in larger communities, it can play an essential role in small groups. "The prestige hierarchy of a local community is based on detailed information about individuals and families, all seen through the lens of residents' general understanding of the class system" (Gilbert 22). It is thus safe to say that the American Dream, in its traditional appearance, is more likely to be present in environments where people tend to express less judgmental attitudes.

Even if people in particular environments go through great efforts in order to achieve their dreams, they are unlikely to ever feel that they achieved the American Dream. This is because the respective environments are unsupportive with regard to underprivileged individuals and tend to provide these people with a limited amount of resources they can use with the purpose to achieve their goals.


The American Dream is alive in the contemporary U.S., but it would be exaggerated to say that it is 'well'. The American community is dysfunctional and this makes it difficult for its members to be able to have a complex understanding concerning the attitudes they need to employ toward others when considering social status. While some believe that social status is unimportant and that it would be more important for them to judge individuals on account of their thinking, others consider that social status is particularly significant and that it would only be natural for them to put across privileged attitudes toward people belonging to the upper class.

Works cited:

Fussel, Paul, "Class: a guide through the American status system," (Simon & Schuster, 1992)

Gilbert, Dennis, "The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality," (Pine Forge Press, 13.05.2010)

"Overview of BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation," Retrieved April 12, 2013, from the Bureau of Labor…… [read more]

Society as We Know Exerts Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,735 words)
Bibliography Sources: 6


Conformity is a powerful force that can manifest in form of a strong social pressure or subtle unconscious influence. The pressure to fit into a group norm or flow with the guidelines followed may rob one the ability to express his or her self-identity.

In conclusion, conformity and obedience have been discussed in light of their influence on individuals. These two forms of social influence have been seen to alter people's attitudes, behaviors and values. Individuals in a group are forced to conform to the group norms, and by so doing are forced to abandon their individuality. Similarly, subordinates are forced to obey the directives issued by their superiors and cannot express their individuality. Deviance occurs when individuals desire to express their unique individuality. Positive deviance is healthy while negative deviance leads to the cropping up of social ills.


Bleske-rechek, A.L. (1999). Obedience, Conformity, and Social Roles: Active Learning in a Large Introductory Psychology Class. Teaching of Psychology, 28(4), 260-262.

Burger, J.M., Neil J. Smelser & Paul B. Baltes. (2001). The psychology of social influence. In N.J. Smelser & P.B. Baltes (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Social Behavioral Sciences (pp. 14320-14325). Cambridge University Press.

Collins, S.D. (2009). Persuasion. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Fiske, S.T. (2010). Social beings: Core Motives in Social Psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ:

Breckler, S.J., Olsen, J.M., & Wiggins, E.C. (2006). Social psychology alive. Belmont, CA [u.a.: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Myers,…… [read more]

Road Accidents Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,346 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Arranging this community activity gave me a sense of satisfaction of becoming an effective member of the society. Several efforts have been made by governments and other agencies to increase awareness about the need for the active participation of community members in creating and executing of public health interventions. This experience supported the claims that community involvement can bring an encouraging impact to the improvement of health related issues such as traffic safety.

3. What are the needs of the population that you interacted with for this assignment?

The need for increased community contribution in social awareness programs like road safety has been widely acknowledged both internationally and nationally. It was observed that, the population of the given community needs a constant support from eligible and resourceful members of the community in order to combat with various social issues that arise time to time within the community. For instance, I tried to encourage Community schools to coordinate and share the resources they possess in order to increase awareness related to various social issues like road safety within the community. Moreover, a Road Safety in Schools Project may involve introducing publications on road safety measures in syllabus for students in primary and secondary classes. In addition, I offered my services in arranging free of cost seminars on Road safety awareness in local community hall will help in community empowerment process.

After taking an initiative in community development programs, I realized the need for liaison between the government departments and community members that can help making the program more efficient and successful. The community members necessitate a variety of ideas in arranging, planning and evaluating road safety programs. Not to forget, initiatives that necessitate community involvement are just one way of increasing social awareness within the community, otherwise a balance between initiatives taken by the government or State and community is highly desirable.

4. How can you help make a difference with this group?

It was observed that a difference in the road safety awareness can be brought effectively by encouraging community participation in social awareness programs like road safety. Hence, my priority was to select and design suitable programs for the community that will impact every member of the society and help them becoming more aware of road safety measures. I requested community members to take part in such programs in future too for welfare of this particular region. Due to my efforts, local committee started to receive financial and professional resources from the government that will help increase community development. Such facilities will support the community committee members in implementing effective strategies to arrange social awareness programs in future. The committee will serve as a medium for the community members to share their concerns regarding social issues in the community like road safety that will be conveyed to the concerned government authorities if needed.

I will achieve success in encouraging community member's contribution in the social awareness programs by communicating with the active members of community, low cost media promotion… [read more]

Importance of Being Earnest Book Report

Book Report  |  3 pages (923 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … Being Earnest

The most pivotal aspect to correctly understanding the characterization of Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest," is the realization that this play functions as a satire. Specifically, the author was attempting to make light of the austerity that typified the tradition of Victorian society. In that sense, it is crucial to denote the role that Bracknell fills within this work. Whereas there are other characters that represent the virtues of Victorian society (most notably Jack Worthing), virtually all of them display faults that are at variance with the conventional customs of such a society. Lady Bracknell, however, does not. She eschews any alter-ego / dual personalities in order to get away with vices that such a society disproves of. Instead, she is able to engage in her vices and display negative characteristics that are all fundamentally a part of Victorian society. In this respect, her characterization functions as the quintessential Victorian society member, who adheres to its values and displays its negative attributes in much the same way.

In many ways, Victorian society is preoccupied with appearances and embraces a superficiality that lies just beneath its staid, austere surface of upstanding mores and traditional morality. Lady Bracknell's character demonstrates these qualities more than the others in the play because she willingly displays such superficiality in a way that is congruent with conventional Victorian behavior. An excellent example of this fact is her initial regard for Worthing as a suitable husband for her daughter, Gwendolyn. Bracknell wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter. She realizes that Worthing has a substantial fortune and a fair degree of power and reputation around town; this knowledge, however, is not good enough. She presses him to know the reputation of his familial lineage and, because he does not know it, she does not consider him worthy enough to have her daughter's hand in marriage, which she tells him in the following quotation. "You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter - a girl brought up with the utmost care - to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel? Good morning, Mr. Worthing!" (Act I). The reference to the "parcel " and "cloak-room" is a reference to the fact that Jack was found in a handbag. This information concludes his interview with Bracknell, whose preoccupation with lineage and a reputable name is indicative of this tradition in Victorian society -- despite the overt shallowness it displays.

However, the truly transitory nature of Victorian society and its situation ethics is evinced most convincingly when Lady Bracknell considers the marriage of her nephew to Cecily, who is Jack's ward. Because Cecil is in the guardianship…… [read more]

Max Weber's Sociological Theory Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (573 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


Weber devised the expression 'iron cage' in an attempt to have people understand the dangers associated with McDonaldization. While people benefit as a result of this enterprise, the reality is that they are becoming the slaves of technology and that they lose their power as they become less and less concerned about individualism. George Ritzer goes further to denounce McDonaldization and to emphasize this process as the materialization of society losing most of its intelligence. He claimed that the process was illogical and that it was eventually going to have devastating consequences on society.

Ritzer did not attempt to say that McDonaldization is not effective or that it does not have a beneficial effect when considering the profits it generates. However, his main intention was to promote the idea that feeling more comfortable is not necessarily equivalent to feeling better. He was right in thinking this way and the reality is that McDonaldization is dehumanizing as it makes it more and more difficult for people to express their feelings freely and to discover their personal identities. Individuals are practically bombarded with information that takes their attention away from their personal interests and goals and influences them to want to work as little as possible while earning large profits. As beautiful as such as life might seem, living in a world that is solely based on mathematical functions and that is 100% efficient means that people are no longer going to have access to factors like wonder and magic.

Works cited:

Collins, Randall. (1986). Weberian Sociological Theory. Cambridge University Press

Ritzer, George, (2000). The McDonaldization of Society:…… [read more]

Alexander Set Radical Multiculturalism Holds Book Report

Book Report  |  4 pages (1,485 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


This bourgeois public sphere formed a new trend called "public opinion" and flourished within early free market economies. At the head of this change was the rise of a literary sphere that allowed the bourgeois public sphere to critically look at politics, art, itself and its position/function in society and the interaction between intellectuals, aristocrats, and citizens in public places.… [read more]

Difficult to Formulate Precise Laws Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,577 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


¶ … Difficult to Formulate Precise Laws in the Field of Social Science? Explain with Examples.

The difficulty in formulating precise laws arises from the variance of the different social science knowledge. It is difficult to reach a consensus between the different social sciences identified in the broad categories of sociology, history, anthropology, geography, political science, economics, and psychology. This… [read more]

Theorist: Emile Durkheim Term Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 2


14). Where there is a weak social structure, individual behavior is more likely to be abberrant than when there is a strong social structure binding individuals to a community (Durkheim, 1897, p. 14). He reasoned that Catholics, as a group, more fully integrate individuals into the group and have exacting rules of behavior (what is and is not acceptable) than do Protestants (Durkheim, 1897, p. 14). To Durkheim, this explained why Catholics in his study exhibited a lower rate of suicide than Protestants (Turner, 2002, p. 457).

Durkheim was a firm believer in control theory. He believed that behavior is determined by outside forces which comprise a social structure, namely, family, school, morals, values, beliefs, religion, etc.(Turner, 2002, p. 457). When an individual is strongly influenced by his social network and value belief system, that individual is more likely to conform to that set of norms (Turner, 2002, p. 457). For example, an Eagle Scout who has been fully indoctrinated into the tenets, norms, values, and total support system of the Boy Scouts of America is more likely to "Be Prepared" than individuals who have not committed to a social group such as the scouts who hold preparedness as almost sacred.

Taken together, positivism, control, and functionalism form three of Emile Durkheim's basic tenets. He strongly believed that society controls individual behavior through a definitive social structure and that when the structure is weak it is more likely to lead to deviant behavior. It is when society fails to control the individual through norms beliefs, religion, etc., that sociological problems occur. Durkheim firmly believed that these phenomena are susceptible to the scientific method of study and submitted many studies to substantiate his belief. I too believe that overall behavior is controlled by society as a whole via a complex social system and that it is empirically measureable.


Bryant, L. (2012). Functionalism. Retrieved November 27, 2012 from History Learning


Website: www.historylearningsite.co.uk/functionalism.htm

Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide. (John A. Spaulding and George Simpson, Trans.). Illinois:…… [read more]

Interdisciplinary Social Science Sociology Discussion and Results Chapter

Discussion and Results Chapter  |  2 pages (575 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


The weakness of some theories could be strengthened when used in combination with complementary or even obscure approaches. Use of this approach would at least rejuvenate the persistence to overcome and resolve social problems.

2. What can the results for this survey be used for? Who is likely to use this data? What are some of the limitations of this questionnaire and the data collected from it?

The results of the survey could be used for collecting data about residents. It may prove useful if trying to understand demographics of regions. There are a number of federal and state agencies that would find this data useful. Ethnographers and even real estate professionals may be interested in this information. Even lawyers who deal with property laws and/or taxes may be interested in this data.

There are a great deal of limitations to this data. The survey is very rigid. There is not much room for detail or nuance. The data and possibly the data analysis does not account for people who do not fill out the surveys, yet are still citizens and residents. Some of the language is antiquated and not politically correct, or respectful. The questionnaire does not care or value much information outside of class and race. It is as if the Census Bureau is telling users that those are the only facts that matter, or at least matter to the government to constitute a person being "counted."


Hunt, Elgin F., and Colander, D.C. Social Science An Introduction to the Study of Society, 14th Edition. Allyn and Bacon Publishers.

Sage Publications. (2008). Chapter 1 -- Defining Interdisciplinary Studies. Web, Available from: www.sagepub.com/upm-data/23223_Chapter_1.pdf. 2012 November 08.… [read more]

Shannon, Jr. Outsiders Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,074 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2


In spite of the fact that the protagonist in the story lived in England and in the United States for most of his life, his parents want him to acknowledge his Indian background. However, he feels that it would be essential for him to do so, he discovers that he does not identify with India as being his home and that it would be impossible for him to associate his character with a single culture. "Her stories play back and forth between India and the United States, affirming both the connection and the estrangement felt by many Indians, the "sense of emotional exile" she has found "in my parents and in their friends that I feel can never go away" (416).

Lahiri herself can be considered an "outsider," a person who does not feel that she belongs in a particular culture precisely because society wants her to do so. Through emphasizing that the protagonist cannot identify with a single cultural background she wants readers to understand that the multicultural world in the present is no longer a place where people relate to a single culture, especially if they borrow elements from a multitude of cultures throughout their lives. In spite of the fact that the protagonist in her story was accustomed to change, there were times when he was "bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept" (430).

All that an individual can do in such circumstances is to try and devise a strategy assisting him or her in coping with the pressures of a multicultural society and to adopt a positive attitudes regarding the concept of cultural diversity as a whole.

Instead of being influenced in accepting that she is an Indian as a consequence of visiting her homeland and observing Indian values, the central character develops a feeling of alienation as he realizes that there are little elements in the Indian culture that he can identify with. Through presenting readers with this story, Lahiri wants them to comprehend that the world is a multicultural location where individuals need to acknowledge their complex background and accept that they do not actually need to identify with a single culture in order to experience self-gratification.

In conclusion, in spite of the fact that Hughes and Lahiri are considered "outsiders," they did not hesitate to go through great efforts in order to have the world understand their thinking and their position. We all are given great opportunity to learn from writers that are considered "outsiders." They illustrate that we all have a little "outsider" in all of us. This country is the land of "opportunity" so we must understand where we all come from to know where we need to go. The United States was a country that was divide but as the name states we are "united."

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. "Song for a Dark Girl." Create ed. McGraw-Hill, 2011. 223. Print.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. "The… [read more]

United States Is a Large Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,824 words)
Bibliography Sources: 6


9. The theories surrounding the tragic deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy continue to proliferate years after their occurrence. It remains popular to argue that each of these deaths was the result of some form of conspiracy and those that present these arguments insist that this is the case despite evidence that seems to prove otherwise. One of the reasons for such theories is the fact that each of the assassinations in question was seemingly so random in nature and, as such, there does not seem to exist any rational basis for the act (Ayton, 2007). The acts of each of the assassins appear to a great many people to be too simple to be explained as mere random acts and this gives rise to the idea that there had to be a conspiracy to explain what happened. For many deaths as significant as those of the two Kennedys and Martin Luther King must be the result of a complicated scheme and not just the work of an isolated individual. Such acts must be far more complex and, thus, it is easy to believe that such deaths were the result of a conspiracy.


Autor, D. (2006). The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Ayton, M. (2007). Conspiracy Thinking and the John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Assassinations. Retrieved from http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ayton2.htm

Meyer, D.S. (1994). Social Movement Spillover. Social Problems, 277-298.

Perraton, H. (2000). Open and Distance Learning in the Developing World. New York: Routledge.

Rector, R. (2007, August 27). How Poor are America's Poor? Examining the "Plague" of Poverty in America. Retrieved from The Heritage Foundation: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/08/how-poor-are-americas-poor-examining-the-plague-of-poverty-in-america

Schot, J. (2003). The Contested Rise of a Modernist Technology Politics. In T.J. Misa, Modernity and Technology (pp. 257-277). Boston: MIT Press.

Smith, T.W. (2001). America Rebounds: A National Study of Public Response to the September…… [read more]

Qualitative Frame Analysis Versus Quantitative Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,315 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Frame Analysis vs. Quantitative Frame Analysis

How does qualitative frame analysis differ from quantitative frame analysis?

Frame analysis attempts to clarify social phenomena in terms of the everyday use of schemes or frames. These are symbolic-interpretive constructs which people use to make their social actuality meaningful. Such frames or constructs comprise beliefs, images or symbols shared by people in their society. The amount of such frames accessible to people to make sense of their surroundings is limited by the particular society in which they live. According to framing theory, people are inclined to order their experiences by connecting them to previously known patterns. What they see and identify are recognised by orientation to a pre-existing cognitive structure. The inclination to refer to steady and recurring patterns in order to distinguish new stimuli has been confirmed by psychological studies. It is thought that people recognize reality and shape expectations with respect to it by connecting temporary positions with pre-existing stable patterns of behavior. Therefore, varied elements are connected to an already known and persistent background which becomes a point of orientation for the person (Methodologies, 2011).

Discourse analysis, used in qualitative research, is an approach which surpasses the dichotomy between subjective meanings and objective reality, as well as the dichotomy between user-centered and system-centered research. It concentrates on the analysis of knowledge formations, which organize institutional practices and societal reality on a large scale. Discourse analysis is a part of the linguistic turn in the social sciences and the humanities which emphasizes the role of language in the construction of social reality. It is one of the dominant or mainstream research approaches in communication, sociology, social psychology, and psychology (Talja, n.d.).

Discourse analysis studies practices of producing knowledge and meanings in concrete contexts and institutions. Discourse analysis systematizes different ways of talking in order to make visible the perspectives and starting points on the basis of which knowledge and meanings are produced in a particular historical moment. It pays attention to the way in which discourses produce and transform social reality, and makes it possible to evaluate the practical consequences of different ways of approaching a particular phenomenon (Talja, n.d.).

Characteristically qualitative data involves words and quantitative data involves numbers, which makes some researchers feel that one is better or more scientific than the other. "Another major difference between the two is that qualitative research is inductive and quantitative research is deductive. In qualitative research, a hypothesis is not needed to begin research. However, all quantitative research requires a hypothesis before research can begin" (Barnes et al., 2005).

Another difference between qualitative and quantitative research is the fundamental suppositions about the function of the researcher. In quantitative research, the researcher is in an ideal world an objective spectator that neither takes part in nor sways what is being studied. In qualitative research, though, it is thought that the researcher can discover the most about a position by participating or being immersed in it. These basic fundamental assumptions of both… [read more]

Politics Predominate in Advanced Industrial Essay

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Bibliography Sources: 1+


Likewise, to expect the individual who owns property to give political support to an initiative that would assist the homeless in their state but that would increase their property taxes by 20% to do so would also be far-fetched. Therefore, it is this, the possession of or the lack of possession of property that can be seen to stand firmly blocking the path by of class politics being predominant in advanced industrial societies because of the inherent

IV. Internal Validity

Bourdieu's theory of practice is internally valid in that his focus was on empirical analyses of the theory and his reach demonstrated the validity of this theory in terms of its adherence to the research findings on the class and cultural hierarchies in France and the schools' role in perpetuating the inequalities between classes based on socio-economic factors.

V. External Validity

Bourdieu's theory is externally valid and this is held to be true when considering the real-life inequities that are evidence between classes who have and those who have not in terms of property and the accompanying benefits or lack of benefits of that standing in the social context.


While individuals of differential socio-economic standing may belong to the same social class it is at times impossible for these individuals to agree in the area of politics and extremely impossible for their interests to align so as to gain political cohesion and ensue on…… [read more]

Sociology Determination of the Normative Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (437 words)
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That is, how can a culture assess what is good without having assessed what is bad? Even in the definitions, the opposite behaviors are implied. As stated in Chapter 14:

"In sum, the normative definition of deviance focuses on the abnormal behavior that violates social norms and is subject to negative sanctions. What is normal or abnormal is culturally relative but every society has its norms to define and control those who go beyond the community's tolerance limits. Hence deviance is unthinkable without norms, and norms without deviance are meaningless -- one cannot exist without the other." (Chapter 14,-Page 418)

Further still, there is room for wider conceptions of normalcy and therefore abnormality as there are several kinds of normalcy in societies by which citizens' behaviors are gauged. Some of the kinds of normalcy include biological normalcy, psychological normalcy, and sociocultural normalcy. (Chapter 14,-Page 419) The normative definitions of normalcy and abnormality are based upon several sets of averages. What is normal is gauged by what the behaviors that most people within a culture engage in on average. There are many levels upon which normalcy is assessed and by which abnormality is diagnosed. Normative definitions of deviance and abnormality consist of those behaviors and character traits that fall outside the average, with their own…… [read more]

Deviance Historical Records Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,411 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8


Survey research is accurate and consistent (Alder & Alder, 2012). It is, however, expensive, time consuming, unreliable as it has some validity inconsistencies. Field research is accurate and subjective as researchers make observations support the information they gather from the research. It takes a lot of time and is not easily affordable. It is also quite difficult to reach many… [read more]

Violence Legitimate Force and Illegitimate Essay

Essay  |  8 pages (2,566 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Even then they feel proud to be a part of an armed community willing to fight against the State. They believe that it is the right thing to sacrifice their life for. They do so because they want to build a more just and equal society for all the citizens (Vardalos, Haig, Karzai, Letts & Teixeira 2011).

Violence has been… [read more]

Poverty Are the Various Approaches Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,561 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … poverty are the various approaches towards the explanation of the reason as to why poverty exists. These approaches towards the explanation of the existence of poverty may vary as much as there are disciplines that try to explain it. The explanation that will be given by an economist, will be different from that of a social science student,… [read more]

Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Term Paper

Term Paper  |  8 pages (2,285 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain's use of Huck as a tool to denounce society's false values

Mark Twain's novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" puts across a series of concepts that relate to human nature and the contrast between a natural life and a civilized one. In spite of the fact that society has experienced much progress, people… [read more]

Functionalist Theory: Critical Analysis Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (939 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


Particularly through his work, The Social System, published in 1951, Parsons advanced the idea that education maintains a society's equilibrium and order. His ideas about education significantly impacted review and refinement of educational policies, practices and institutions (Schugurensky, 2006).

Robert K. Merton (1910 -- 2003) was one of Talcott Parson's students and eventually became a professor at Columbia University. Merton built on Parson's theory and expanded it in some respects into his own "Middle Range Theory" which did not try to study society as a whole; rather he studied various social levels like groups and organizations so there could be more rigorous practical testing of social theories on those more manageable levels. In his study, Merton went beyond the functions of social structures to also analyze the "dysfunctions, nonfunctions and net balances" of social structures. Merton emphasized the importance of social roles within social groups, and maintained that members do not each have a single role and a single status; rather each member has a "whole role-set of expected behavior" with inherent ambiguities, conflicts and incompatibilities (Holton, 2004, p. 514). Merton also coined the terms "role model" and "self-fulfilling prophecy" (Holton, 2004, p. 515), and stressed the need for empirical testing of sociological theories (Holton, 2004, p. 516). Merton's theory and methodology greatly enhanced education by: abandoning more grandiose and sometimes untestable theories about entire societies and reducing society to more manageable, testable aspects; accumulating and examining empirical data about those levels of society; accounting for exceptions, anomalies and dysfunctions due to the practical and measurable data he accumulated; giving educators more concrete data to examine education and increase its effectiveness as a vital social aspect.


Functionalist Theory in its earliest form is largely attributed to Dewey, who noted four developmental stages coordinated with four levels of education. Building on Dewey's theories, Parsons developed the idea that education maintains a society's equilibrium and order, strongly influencing educational policies, practices and institutions. Merton, then approached the Functional Theory on more manageable and testable levels. The establishment and refinement of Functionalist Theory through the contributions of Dewey, Parsons, Merton and others, has greatly enhanced the understanding and effectiveness of Education in society.

Works Cited

Fallace, T.D. (2010). The mind at every stage has its own logic: Thomas Dewey as Genetic Psychologist. Educational Theory, 60(2), 129-146. Retrieved on February 11, 2012 from Shailendrag.wikispaces.com Web site.

Holton, G. (2004). Robert K. Merton. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, December 2004 (pp. 506-517). American Philosophical Society.

Keel, R.O. (2011, February 23). Structural functionalism. Retrieved on February 11, 2012 from UMSL.edu Web site: http://www.umsl.edu/~keelr/3210/3210_lectures/structural_functionalism.html

Schugurensky, D. (2006). History of education: Selected moments of the 20th century. Retrieved on February 11, 2012 from University of Toronto Web site: http://legacy.oise.utoronto.ca/research/edu20/moments/1951parsons.html

Sociology Guide.com. (2011). Functionalist theory. Retrieved on February 11,…… [read more]

Sociology Culture of Poverty Theory Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (862 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


The systemic changes that have purportedly transpired have not been as a result of recognition or true genuine acknowledgement of how it has impacted the individuals who have been most affected by it. If that were truly the case, remediation would include reparations or some way to instate or reinstate what has been lost to the individuals' because of the structural and historic disparities that have been in place. In order for real structural change to have transpired or to take place, there would have to be a significant shift in mindset to first acknowledge, not just on an individual level, but on a national level that trickles down, that there was something inherently wrong with the way Blacks were treated in America and there has been something really wrong with the way other groups of voluntary immigrants have been treated. Because that real, genuine acknowledgement fails to exist the structural changes that have transpired or have suggestedly taken place fail to reach that level and thereby are seen as band aid remedies to deep wounds.


The culture of poverty theory and the traditional assimilation theory have been historically looked to as a means of explaining ethnic relations between immigrants and the host society. The traditional assimilation theory fails to address the needs of modern day immigrants that are voluntary and those who are involuntary because the model is based on European immigrants into a predominantly White society. The culture of poverty theory, although some valid points are presented, fails to bespeak some of the real and genuine issues that voluntary and involuntary ethnic groups face within the host society. Part of this may be attributed to the theories being developed by individuals who are members of the host society vs. A theory posited by individuals who are immigrants, voluntary or involuntary.


Chen et al. (1999). Smoking patterns of Asian-American youth in California and their relationship with acculturation. Journal of Adolescent Health, 24, 321-328.

Greenman, E., & Xie, Y. (2006). Is assimilation theory dead? The effect of assimilation on adolescent well being. Population Studies Center Research Report 06-605. Available At http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/pdf/rr06-605.pdf

Lewis, O. (1969). A death in the Sanchez family. New York, NY: Random House.

Warner, W., & Srole, L. (1945). The social systems of American ethnic groups. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.… [read more]

Resolution in Divided Societies Term Paper

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Resolution in Divided Societies

There are numerous grand theories for the resolving of deeply embedded and divisive conflicts in specific nations and/or societies, and various structures of government related to certain of these large-scale theories as well. When the conflicting elements in a society cannot be successfully integrated or assimilated and when partitioning or separating these elements is deemed impractical or inappropriate for a variety of reasons, conciliatory or shared-influence governmental systems have proven effective in many nations, but can also be problematic and complex in their implementation. In his discussion of the situation in Northern Ireland, Sean Byrne identifies the importance yet the failure of both consociational and civil society approaches to conflict resolution in the highly divided society that exist in this nation (such as it is). An exploration of these concepts and of this particular case yields insight into the functioning of intranational conflict resolution attempts and the complexities and barriers to their successful implementation.

The basic element of a consociational government or perspective is that the elites of each element in a divided society are able to make compromises and mutual decisions in a manner that stabilizes the society without necessarily resolving the deeper divides that exist -- due to real injury or simply due to perception -- between these elements. Byrne refers to "consensus by accommodation" and points out that consociational governments are at once decentralized and yet have rigid constitutions, in this manner carefully and concretely defining the relationship between the various factions in the society while at the same time allowing for the necessary/desired diversity in culture, values, and even certain aspects of government in some cases. In Northern Ireland's case, early attempts at installing a consociational government were ineffective because they were forced by the British in an authoritarian manner that is not at all supportive of the consociational perspective or process, and at a time when tensions between the elite in the two primary factions in the society were especially high. In order for this consociational structure to work, Byrne argues, there needed to be both a greater mutual willingness to engage in conciliatory and accommodating arrangements and a greater degree of shared purpose on a more direct level.

The civil society approach to peacebuilding and conflict resolution is not at all exclusive of the perspective and efforts of the consociational approach. As Byrne defines it, the civil society conflict resolution approach, "involves the development of an interactive interdependent web of activities and relationships among elites…… [read more]

Homelessness in Contemporary American Society Essay

Essay  |  6 pages (2,002 words)
Bibliography Sources: 10


Homelessness in Contemporary American Society


is defined as the lack of permanent night-time shelter and it is a problem that affects between 3 and 4 million Americans of whom almost half are children. Those numbers probably underestimate the true extent of the problem because it does not include people who are dependent on the generosity of friends and family… [read more]

Determinism and Sociology Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (538 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


The basic proposition put forth by Reckless is that a series of "pushes" and "pulls" are responsible for determining whether or not a person will commit delinquent acts. According to Reckless, environmental factors such as family conflicts, living conditions at home, or frustrations stemming from minority status can all act as "pushes" that motivate deviations from societal norms if not effectively counteracted by containment. Temptation to succumb to peer pressure is among most alluring "pulls" within the context of containment theory because of the overwhelming human desire to acclimate and gain social acceptance.

The philosophy underpinning containment theory is known as sociological determinism and is based on the concept that human behavior is a direct product of environmental influence. Advocates of sociological determinism believe that a person's experiences during their formative years irrevocably shape their adult selves. Issues like child abuse, neglected education and exposure to television at a young age have all been linked by sociological determinists to behavioral deviations later in life. In order to effectively address the ramifications of this argument, modern society has placed a high level of attention on providing its youth with nurturing attention during their adolescence. It is hoped that behavioral problems like an increased tendency to commit criminal acts can be prevented or even eliminated altogether by improving parenting, education and guidance during a child's developmental stages.


Giddens, A. (1987). Social theory and modern sociology . (pp. 215-263). Palo Alto, CA: Stanford Universoty Press.

Ritzer, G. (1996). Sociological theory. (4th ed.). New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Retrieved from http://www.gbv.de/dms/ilmenau/toc/189193476.PDF… [read more]

Homelessness an Issue Essay

Essay  |  1 pages (341 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


3). Many people become poor because there are not enough jobs to go around. As a result, another important structural issue that affects the homeless population is the fact that there are fewer jobs than people who are able and who want to work. This issue is made even worse by the fact that there are also a number of cases in which there are people who are able to find low income jobs, but who still cannot afford the expenses to live by themselves in affordable housing and take care of the basic necessities that is a part of independent living. Even though these people may work, they have to face the facts that they w ill not make enough money to support themselves (Carl, p.3). These issues relate to the United States society as a whole, and are systematic reasons that explain why homelessness is society's problem, and not just the problem of those who are homeless.

Works Cited

Carl, John. Think Sociology 2011.…… [read more]

African Nations: Social &amp Political Inequality Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,140 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Response to Post #4

As you point out, domestic violence is a serious social problem. Just as in the case of homelessness, domestic violence typically results from other unresolved social and personal problems and is also an independent cause of social and personal problems in individuals exposed to it. Moreover, domestic violence is also multigenerational and cyclical, occurring repeatedly in successive relationships and also in generation after generation. It contributes to an insidious process in which exposure to domestic violence increases the likelihood that children will become either offenders in their adult relationships or that they will become prone to being victimized by domestic violence based on learned expectations and patterning of behaviors in their families of origin.

As you suggest, one of the most complex aspects of this problem is the extent to which it is subject to stigmatization and shame among victims. That plays a significant role in their perpetually subjecting themselves to abusive situations and environments. Unfortunately, the problem is cyclical in that exposure to and victimization by domestic violence undermines self-esteem and low self-esteem is a precipitating factor in further victimization as well being a barrier to seeking the benefit of social resources that may be available.

Response to Post #5

Your post seems to suggest that the disabled are still subject to widespread discrimination in contemporary American society. I would be curious to know whether you believe the various aspects of equal opportunity legislation enacted in the U.S. since the 1960s (and particularly in 1990) have made a substantial difference in that problem. I was under the impression that employment discrimination (especially) against the disabled has been sharply reduced since the Americans with Disability (ADA) Act of 1990. I would also be curious to know whether you believe that individuals suffering from certain types of disabilities are better protected against discrimination that individuals suffering from other types of disabilities and what factors you believe may be responsible for that difference. For example, I would imagine that mental disabilities might be much more subject to discrimination by virtue of stigmatization as well as because individuals suffering from mental disabilities might be more reluctant to assert their status to benefit from protections available under appropriate legislation.

Response to Post #6

I would disagree with one point in your post: namely, that women do not represent a large population. I believe that women represent more than half of the population which would actually make them the largest identifiable group potentially subject to discrimination and prejudice to the extent that it exists. While I completely agree that women should have the same employment rights and opportunities as men, I would be curious to know whether you think that there are any aspects of gender that might make certain occupations more challenging for women based strictly on undeniable anatomical differences, for example. Specifically, I would ask whether you believe that hiring standards and qualification tests (such as for firefighting and law enforcement positions, since you mentioned them) should use the… [read more]

Sociology -- Social Work External Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (627 words)
Style: APA  |  Bibliography Sources: 1+


Or, they might propose that one did their study in a strange time (Neuman, 2006).

In order for a researcher to have a successful experimental study they need to design the study to control for as many of the threats to external validity as possible. There are certain ways in which one can do to improve the occurrence of external validity:

If the sample model is followed up for making the universal selection that is random selection dropping the chances of biased or no-random sampling in a positive population.

If the participation of respondents is upheld with the smallest amount of dropout rate.

By making the application of closeness theory to the maximum level for accounting the comparisons in groups of people, their place, time and even methodologies being followed up.

By duplication of study with several locations, different groups of people that are randomly selected and in the dissimilar time periods; this would decrease the chances of critics to establish the study wrong as it would be gone through a self check (Neuman, 2006).

Controlling for all or the entire majority of these things allows the researcher to have the best possible study that they can. All of these threats are things that can ruin ones study if they are not controlled for. The cause effect relationship is understood to be externally valid. The external validity is uppermost in the case of casual inferences as they can be applied in diverse situations across space and time. The major loss associated with the external validity is that the qualitative relationship between cause and the effect is made from the small sample of limited geography, which may not be applied as it to other demographic positions (Neuman, 2006).


Neuman, W.L. (2006). Chapter 9 Experimental Research. Social work research methods:

Qualitative and…… [read more]

Breakfast Club Constructs of Sociology Book Review

Book Review  |  6 pages (2,175 words)
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1-3). Social groups can be large or small and share some type of common interest. The group can have shared values, representations, or social background (Sheehy, 2006). Social groups are mainly a product of social interaction, and at the high school level social interaction is a priority for most. Although groups are comprised of a collection of individuals, shared values and representations by the group often label the individual. This can result in stereotyping and an oversimplified view is fixed on the group. For example, someone proclaiming "all jocks are stupid" places a highly oversimplified stereotype on the social group.

The course of the film is plotted with the removal of stereotypes from social groups that are relevant to high school. At the beginning of the film, each student has their own opinion about each other based on stereotypes and their perceptions of one another. Throughout the course of the film, and their day in detention, the confrontations between the students reveal their true selves in the absence of stigmas of their social groups. The beginning and end of the film include the reading of an essay signed by the five students as members of "The Breakfast Club." This essay was the "Who do you think you are?" assignment given by Principal Vernon at the start of detention. The essay is actually a letter to Vernon which admits to the existence of social groups and their resulting labels. There is a slight variation in the letter between the beginning and end of the film. In the beginning the letter states, "You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal." These two lines acknowledge how individuals are defined by stereotypes and in this case each student has been labeled in the context of their perceived high school social group. The variation with the letter at the end of the film states, "But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal." By the end of the film the students admitted that not everyone can be simply defined as a product of their social group.

Sociological constructs and perspectives define the varying characteristics of human social interaction. These characteristics are often mimicked in film and entertainment as filmmakers attempt to capture social human nature. The 1985 film, The Breakfast Club, is such a film that accurately portrays social constructs between the interaction of five high school students and their principal during one day in Saturday detention. Selected scenes from this film exemplify concepts of social class, social control theory, conflict theory, deviance, and social groups. The visual clues given as the students first arrive at the high school signify differences in social class. Principal Vernon demonstrates social control theory by punishing the students to detention to try to elicit appropriate behavior from the… [read more]

Marxist or Neo-Marxist Research Theorist Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (580 words)
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Marx asserted that modern Industrial society (1848) is only different from past societies in that now the social order has been reduced down to two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Marx believed that the state was in place only to protect the welfare of the bourgeoisie. Marx describes the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as ongoing and uninterrupted, sometimes overt, sometimes covert.

Max Weber was one of the critics of Karl Marx theory and he tried to completely refute his interpretation and notion of class and class conflict and power. Marx's Communist Manifesto is grounded in the idea of equality and social justice. These are noble ideas. Practically these ideas have not prospered because, I believe, the nature of man and government is to protect their own self-interest regardless of the consequences to others.

Mao Zedong

Marxism identifies only 2 types of production, Two types of production can be used, human and material. These two aspects have interrelation and they depend on each other. However, Mao tried to prove that such an interrelation is not essential. In his opinion both types of production should be included in the economic plan. He also took care and observed the process of population growth. Initially, China's post-1949 leaders were ideologically disposed to view a large population as an asset. Mao said an army of people is invincible. During Mao's rule, from 1949 to 1976, China's population increased from around 550 to over 900 million people. Mao believed that family planning should be integrated as a part of the overall plan for the development of the national economy, and that people should learn how to manage material production and how to manage themselves.

Although… [read more]

Theorizing Society Essay

Essay  |  8 pages (2,268 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


Durkheim and the Division of Labor

This author has found the Durkheim text on the Division of Labor to be most interesting. Durkheim has introduced a Hegelian dichotomy that is contradictory, yet binary at the same time. The question is very much one of what is now the synthesis. The division of labor (hypothesis) brings about individualization (antithesis) (Raapana, N.… [read more]

Culture in Organizations Case Study

Case Study  |  2 pages (660 words)
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Organizational Culture

Culture in Organizations

Do organizations have cultures?

Do organizations have cultures?

Structural-functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism

In the field of sociology, several distinct concepts of how societies function have been generated: that of the structural functionalist school, the conflict theory school, and the symbolic interactionist school. Structural-functionalism stresses that social institutions generate positive forces that create order and meaning for individuals in society. Institutions, customs, and written and unwritten social rules are the 'glue' that hold a society together. It implies that by studying such institutions one can understand and hopefully improve 'society.'

In contrast to the harmonious emphasis of structural-functionalism, conflict theory perceives social institutions not as 'natural' but as imposed structures that bolster the wealth and positions of people currently in power. Conflict theory has strong ties to Marxist theory and views society in a continual conflict between the 'haves' (the bourgeois and previously, the aristocracy) and the 'have-nots' (proletariat). Conflict theory "refutes functionalism, which considers that societies and organization function so that each individual and group plays a specific role, like organs in the body" while conflict theory sees groups as constantly at war (Conflict theory, 2011, About sociology). Competition for scarce resources is an inherent part of modern life according to conflict theorists and only revolutions can upset the current balance of power. Even new, post-revolutionary regimes are inherently unequal in the manner in which they redistribute resources.

Symbolic interactionism, in contrast to previous sociological schools of thought, does not see power as a fixed and entrenched concept. Even individuals who do not possess formal positions of authority can exercise power in a cultural fashion, as outsiders. In this theory, the emphasis "on symbols, negotiated reality, and the social construction of society lead to an interest in the roles people play," consciously and unconsciously, formally and informally (Symbolic interactionism, 2011, Grinnell College). Symbolic interactionism puts a strong emphasis on the 'script' that people follow, however unintentionally, in social interactions.

Are organizations cultures?

Even…… [read more]

Keys Drivers of Social Change in Modern Societies Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (663 words)
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¶ … classical sociological canon includes a look at the theories of Marx, Durkheim and Weber and what they felt were the key social drivers in society as a whole. The economy is a fundamental part of any society. The dynamic of this relationship and its determination for all three is in dispute. Marx, Durkheim and Weber were the first investigators to explore the relationship between the economy and society. Each of them developed their different viewpoints based on their social theories. Marx viewed the economy as the very base of the social structure. Durkheim saw the economy as one of a number of social institutions making up the society. In part, Weber viewed the economy at least in part as an extension of societal religious beliefs.

For Marx, the economy is the foundation of all of the subsequent social phenomena. For him, it is the ruling bourgeois class that owns the means of production and exploits the proletariat working class via the division of labor and via wage-slavery. The result is class warfare whose historical culmination is capitalism. Capitalism is a necessary stage that in turn prepares the way for communist revolution where the means of production are no longer privatized and the division of labor is abolished. Based upon this, Marx predicts the liberation of the proletariat and the abolition of private property (Morrison, pp. 4-8).

Durkheim views the relationship between the economy and society as more positive. The economy and labors social division of both have a beneficial effect on society enabling social solidarity. He measures societies not in terms of economy like Marx. Rather, he deals in terms of health and illness. Social phenomena such as suicide and insanity are more of a concern for him than the modes of production and worker alienation. At best, he suggests the reformation of society to reduce the negative effects of suicide and other illness in society. However, he does not agree that such illnesses are economically determined or that…… [read more]

Structural Factors Affecting the Level of Violence Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (996 words)
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¶ … structural factors affecting the level of violence in America. Violent crime is viewed to be one of America's most significant social problems, so it is important to study the different factors that contribute to rates of violence in our society. This type of work on the part of sociologists is important in the face of apathy among members of the general public towards the issue of violence in society.

Violence is typically understood as violent crime, so that the definition is often tied to charges or convictions relating to violent criminal acts. Acts that go undetected by law, or that go uncharged -- as is the case with many instances of bullying and domestic violence -- are considered in the study of violence but are not always included in the traditional definition. Some studies break down violence by type, for example Ander et al.'s (2009) work on gun violence in Chicago. At times, violence is blended with aggression, in order to address acts of violence or the threat of violence that exists outside of the criminal justice system.

There are a number of causal factors associated with violence in society. Prothrow-Smith (1995) identified a number of factors generally considered to contribute to the level of violence in society -- family stability, education, and other social conditions such as poverty all have a high correlation with rates of violence. Other contributing factors include peer influences, antisocial personality traits, depression, abuse history (Ferguson, San Miguel and Hartley, 2009). One of the more contentious potential influences is that of violent images in media. Television, movies and video games in particular have come under fire for their depictions of violence, although other media forms have also occasionally come under fire -- music and books in particular. While Ferguson et al. found no link between violence in media and violent behavior, a German study by Krahe and Moller (2010) did find a link in both boys and girls.

The German study also examined the links between media violence and empathy. It is often viewed that a relative lack of empathy is a condition associated with violence in society. American society has a higher rate of violence, therefore, in part due to its highly individualistic nature.

There are a number of consequences of violence in society. A higher rate of fear is one of those consequences, and this fear drives a number of other outcomes, including "white flight" and social attitudes that stigmatize members of groups that are believed to have higher rates of violence. Violence also directly costs thousands of American lives each year, and steeper rates still of injury. This has a direct economic impact in terms of missed work; employees lost either due to violence or to prison; certain violence-prone regions suffer economically; and many members of society become less productive than they otherwise would be.

The structural functionalism perspective is particularly useful in understanding violence in America. The approach is focused on integrating norms, institutions and customs into…… [read more]

Is America a Society? Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (605 words)
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¶ … america a society of There is presently much controversy regarding the U.S. And the potential it has to be exploited as an "open road" that people can use with the purpose of gaining a series of advantages. While most people cannot agree with the fact that America is a country where people can move freely anytime they want to and for every purpose they have, I personally believe that it is actually assisting even encouraging people to seize the best opportunities they come across.

Residing in America means that you are more likely to encounter social and economic success, given that unlike other environments (that are hostile toward moving freely), it presents individuals with the chance to move from place to place whenever they want to and whenever they feel that they are going to benefit out of this enterprise. It is actually a common thing for people in America to move when the opportunity emerges, as in most cases they do so because of the advantages they believe they will get out of the act.

Even though most can agree that "the open road" is present in any society around the world and that the enabling of this concept depends merely on the individual, matters are actually very different. In some countries for example people form very strong bonds with the communities they reside in and they feel physically connected to their city. Also, the economic costs that arise along with a general move can be too much for people in some countries, thus making them less able to move whenever they want to. While such cases are also present in the U.S., they are more isolate because people here have more opportunities and one can achieve progress through hard work and can eventually move without being restrained by…… [read more]

Gender Inequality Is Socially Constructed Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (865 words)
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Classless society gender inequality is SOCIALLY constructed

The myth of the classless society: Donna Langston's "Tired of playing monopoly"

The myth of the classless society: Donna Langston's "Tired of playing monopoly"

"In the myth of the classless society, ambition and intelligence alone are responsible for success," writes Donna Langston in her essay "Tired of playing monopoly." Yet American society is highly stratified by class markers and class assumptions, often in invisible ways that can advance or prove to be a barrier to success. People of color, single women, and other individuals who face obstacles to social mobility are characterized as being insufficiently industrious if they do not pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. To do so, says Langston, is a physical impossibility.

Class markers divide and define American society; all the while America proclaims itself a meritocracy. "As a result of the class you are born into and raised in, class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in; it's composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values, and language; class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk; class is what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in; class is the schools you attend, the education you attain; class is the very jobs you will work at throughout your adult life. Class even determines when we marry and become mothers; Working class women become mothers long before middle class women receive their bachelor's degrees." If there was no class, then the clear distinction between 'shopping at Nordstrom' versus 'shopping at K-Mart' would not be obvious. These choices are seen as inherently different activities, done by different kinds of people -- the upper class have 'taste' and 'style' says Langston, while working class people merely eat and make their purchases to survive. This is mocked, even if shopping at K-Mart is an economic necessity.

Langston characterizes her own inability to transcend class barriers not simply as economic but also a failure of vision -- class can be such a narrowing influence that the idea one could move away from home to go to college, or visit Europe, seems like impossibility. The difficulties of the poor and the reason why lower-income students flounder in college are partially due to the challenges of working full-time and attending school, yet Langston also suggests that students have a kind of fear or incomprehension of what their lives as college graduates might resemble, because such a future is so different than the lives of the students' parents. Also, the refusal of society to ignore the economic and psychological problems faced by…… [read more]

Deviance in Society Term Paper

Term Paper  |  7 pages (2,129 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Deviance as a Sociological Term

The term 'deviance' is a difficult one to assess objectively. Its implications are of an act, pattern of behavior or psychology which reflects a clear and significant divergence from sociological norms. However, this is a definition that is inherently riddled with philosophical problems. Particularly, it is unclear exactly how these divergences are defined and who… [read more]

Parson's Concept of Cultural Strain Research Paper

Research Paper  |  2 pages (791 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Parsons' Concept of Cultural Strain

As a person credited for his critical perspective in sociology, Parsons' concept of cultural strain helps human beings to understand the society well from its demands. In this case, there exist two most significant aspects. First, the limits of the system and its surrounding and the included procedures integrated in the system. Either of the two applies in terms of their functions. In this perspective, with adaptation and aim achievement maintains the outside / external limits while the internal processes remain by combination and logical order concealment (Hartnell, n.d.). Parsons' concept of cultural strain urges humans to understand the society through the system pressures and demands.

Considering that above settings, human beings will start with a willing action where they practice and interest more in their decisions that are subject to prevailing situations and obvious anticipations. Because the system functions incline towards equilibrium, it can on the other hand be out of order/disorganized if subsystems fail to integrate well and this results from a cultural strain (Allan, 2005). Whenever societies continue to distinguish themselves, correspondence with the subsystems should become prevalent. During the process, some societies will utilize abnormal cultures, which eventually set a strain in the system because some of the subsystems defy modification as others proceed with changes. These conditions thus encourages motivation from which if the people/group members understand this, revolutions is possible as members are obliged to establish a subculture with the aim of bringing together the group in search for better values and practices. The culture then should be broad enough to succeed and be logically acceptable. During the revolution, it is an either win situation to those in need of a change and those denying it. However, in whatever outcome, there are set procedures to follow in integrating the subsystems. Following a successful revolution, the subsystems should create cultures/practices that bring the system together. In the entire process, institutionalization takes place in patterning characters for ranking, roles, and practices (Allan, 2005, p. 367). Remember, that all these efforts are attempting to eliminate cultural strains, if they exist, and through innovation, they adapt other viable practices.

For a successful revolution, potential for change should be there, enhanced through motivation, dissatisfaction where the smaller groups should organize themselves should also exist, after which there should be ideologies to legitimize success and finally, conditions for revolutionizing groups…… [read more]

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