Sociology test

  1. Sociology
    The scientific study of the connection between the individual and social structure
  2. Critical Thinking
    Intellectually disciplined process of actively conceptualizing information gathered form observation as a guide to belief and action.
  3. Sociological Imagination
    Allows us to see connections between individual- and structural- level phenomenon
  4. C. Wright Mills
    Inherent connection between history and biography.  Writing at a time of tremendous social change; alienation and confusion
  5. Private troubles
    Normally involves one person.
  6. Public Issues
    Involves a large number of the population
  7. Mill's Guiding Questions
    What is the structure of a particular society?  Where does this society stand in human history?  What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period?  Who and what is privileged?
  8. Description
    Getting the basic facts right. Distinguishes social science from opinion/belief
  9. Explanation
    Understanding Social Rules.  1. Rules are enforced.  2.  Rules take different forms. A. Laws: Rules enforced/ backed by power of government.  B) Social Norms:  Standards of behavior, socially imposed and often self- impose.  3.  Rules are frequently not neutral.  4.  Power and rules interact 5.  Rules can be inconsistent.  6.  Rules can change
  10. Evaluation
    What values do we care about?  Along what lines or against which standards do we evaluate various issues?
  11. Five core values
    Freedom, Prosperity, Efficiency, Fairness, Democracy
  12. What state is the U.S. economy in?
    Post-Industrialism or " knowledge economy" or " the information society".  High levels of technological development and productivity
  13. Technology
    U.S. is moving towards a post- industrialism
  14. Globalization
    Integration into the world economy
  15. Means of production
    Technology, capital assists, factory, machinery, tools.  Used by hired labor to produce things.
  16. Feudalism
    Peasants " tied " to the land
  17. Slavery
    Ownership of people forced to labor
  18. Subsistence Economy
    Means of production owned by consumers; production for survival.
  19. Simple Market Economies
    Most producers own their means of production. ( Most people " self-employed", small scale).  Goods are produced for both consumption and the market
  20. State Bureaucratic Socialism
    Means of production are state-owned; state officials ( bureaucrats) make decision about technology, production, and so on; economy is run via a centralized planning process
  21. 3 defining principles of capitalism
    • 1. Production is organized for the market
    • 2. The means of production are privately owned and investment is privately controlled
    • 3. Workers are hired as employees from a free ( not enslaved ) labor force
  22. Moral arguments for free market capitalism
    • ◦Emphasis on freedom from coercion; permits voluntary
    • exchange on free market
    • ◦Market regulations act as restrictions on voluntary
    • market participation for individuals and organizations
    • ◦Minimal regulations for “truly” voluntary contracts and
    • free individual expression
  23. Pragmatic argument for free market capitalism
    The free market and unfettered private ownership is the most efficient way of organizing the economy
  24. Moral argument against regulation of the market
    • ◦Governments are backed by force and are therefore
    • inherent threats to freedom
    • ◦State’s power should be limited to protecting freedoms
    • and rights – not restricting them
  25. Pragmatic argument against regulation of the market
    State incompetence.  State malevolence
  26. Negative Freedom
    Prioritizes individualism.  People have individual autonomy to direct their own actions.  Voluntarily follow orders.
  27. Positive Freedom
    The ability or capacity to choose.  Range of possible choices expanded under capitalism.
  28. Interactions between types of freedom and capitalism
    Capitalism and free markets have contradictory effects on individual freedom.  Weak regulation means little influence to counteract and democratize these effects.
  29. Negative Externalities
    • —One of the most pervasive inefficiencies of capitalist
    • markets
    • Profit maximization encourages firms to ignore or
    • neglect negative externalities, leaving them out of their cost-benefit
    • equation…but the costs get transferred
    • ◦Ex: Environmental effects of dumping toxic waste in a
    • lake instead of treating the waste using costly processes that cut into profit
  30. Public Goods
    • Defined as something that benefits people, even if they
    • didn’t voluntarily contribute to producing it
    • ◦Difficult to exclude people from consuming
    • ◦Ex. National defense, public education, roads
    • Contributes to higher economic productivity that
    • benefits society overall
    • ◦Unregulated markets tend to produce public goods well
    • below socially optimal levels
  31. Free Riders
    • ◦“Free riders” disregard public good in favor of their
    • own interests; difficult to manage in free markets
  32. Ways market can influence social values
    • —Human activities within markets revolve around the
    • rational pursuit of self-interest
    • Interactions between human values, personality traits,
    • and market forces result in highly complex relationships and issues
    • Market behaviors can weaken some traits and values while
    • enhancing others
  33. Inequality
    Inequality is associated with concentrations of income and wealth among elites.
  34. Social Injustice
    Inequality that is unfair and could be remedied  if our social institutions were set up differently.
  35. Moral and Sociological Judgements
    • ◦Moral – is this inequality
    • unfair?
    • ◦Sociological – if so, could this
    • unfairness be remedied through social change?
    • Inequality + Injustice + Power
    • = Oppression
    • —Injustices continue because people with power to change
    • them are unwilling to pay the costs of doing so; not due to inertia
  36. Fair Play
    • ◦Inequalities are “fair” as long as the rules that govern
    • participation are fair
    • Rules consistently applied to all on an even playing field
    • –“Equal opportunity”
  37. Fair Share
    • –Everyone is entitled to a sufficient share of resources
    • that are necessary for full participation in society, exercise of rights
    • ◦“Equal access” to sufficient resources
    • ◦How much is enough is up to society to define
  38. Issues of conflicting values in addressing inequality
    • The means needed to rectify a social injustice may
    • conflict with another important value
    • ◦Issue of educational inequalities and “fair play”
    • ◦“Freedom versus Fairness”
    • Support of one value may come at the cost of another in
    • the form of unjust inequality

    • Some argue that economic inequality, though perhaps
    • unfair (“bad luck”), is necessary. Changing it wouldn’t improve the situation
    • for the poor and would make things worse for the wealthy
  39. Pragmatic Defense of Inequality
    • —Inequalities are deeply connected to incentives, both
    • for the poor and wealthy
    • ◦The poor need incentives to work hard. Wealth
    • redistribution would remove that incentive. Work ethic among the poor would
    • decline and poor children would be invariably worse off.
    • The affluent need
    • incentives to be productive and to invest. Their hard work leads to a “trickle
    • down” effect that improves the situation of all. Redistribution of wealth would
    • remove the incentive to generate more wealth…no rising tide
  40. Arguments against high inequality
    • ◦Higher inequality erodes sense of community, generates
    • resentment and conflict within society; can lead to higher rates of crime and
    • disorder and lower productivity; need for greater levels of enforcement
    • ◦Concentration of resources into the hands of the elites
    • gives them disproportionate political and social influence; fosters
    • self-serving policies
  41. Poverty in the U.S.
    The U.S. has significantly high child poverty levels compared to other countries such as Norway
  42. Trends over time
    The GDP per capita has increased over the years from 1959 through 2007.
  43. Racial Disparity
    Most people living in poverty are white but by percentage more blacks and hispanics live in poverty
  44. Blame the victim
    The solution to poverty must be to somehow change the person, not the society.  Personal Responsibility
  45. Blame Society
    The most important causes of poverty lie in the rules of the game and power relations of society, not in the internal internalized cultural characteristics of poor people
  46. Education, Skills and Poverty
    • ◦Combination of individual needs (human capital) and
    • structural opportunities (living wage jobs)
  47. Marginalism
    Takes place when a group of individuals are unable to gain access to the means needed for basic livelihood.
  48. Labor market inequality
    • ◦Inequality between top and bottom earners
    • ◦Technological change and globalization contribute to but
    • don’t fully account for the degree of inequality or its rapid increase over
    • time since the 1970s
  49. Wealth Inequality
    • ◦Inequality in earnings contributed to inequality in
    • wealth because those with higher earnings are better able to save and invest
  50. Financialization
    • ◦The economic shift from generating profit by producing
    • goods and services to profiting from buying/selling assets
    • ◦Less synchronicity between productivity growth and wage
    • growth; hourly earnings remain stagnant despite increased productivity and
    • resulting profits
  51. Social Spheres
    • —Economy
    • ◦Produce and buy goods and services
    • State
    • ◦Govern collective affairs
    • Civil society
    • ◦Get together voluntarily in organizations to pursue
    • common purposes
  52. Atomized Society
    • ◦Society made up of separate, isolated individuals rather
    • than integrated communities
  53. Labor Unions
    • In addition to or in place of state-imposed restrictions
    • for employers, unions reduce the imbalance of power in employment contract
  54. Labor unions role in economic power
    • ◦Union wage premium
    • “Free riders”
  55. Labor unions role in political power
    • ◦Encourages active political participation
    • ◦Potential of the labor movement
  56. Organic Solidarities
    Organizations embedded in an important area of life – the workplace
  57. Taft-Hartley Act
    • ◦Drastic amendment to Wagner Act
    • –Restricted union rights and permitted activities
    • –Gave states options to limit union effectiveness through “right-to-work” laws.  Fostered an
    • environment of lax enforcement
  58. Impact of decline on unions
    ◦Contribution to increasing economic inequality

    ◦Political participation of working class people

    ◦Priorities and policies of Democratic Party
  59. Representative Democracy
    Citizens in the U.S. influence the decisions carried out by the state mainly by electing public officials to make those decisions.
  60. Direct or participatory democracy
    Citizens are directly engaged in shaping public policy and its implementation
  61. Examples of participatory democracy
    Juries, referenda, open public hearings, public issue campaign, social protests.
  62. Bureaucracy
    Non-elected government officials.
  63. Empowered Participatory Governance
    • ◦Helps address problem of turning legislation into policy
    • that works for communities
  64. Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
    • ◦Continues in American tradition of civic activism and voluntary association
    • Direct citizen involvement in governance; development
    • and implementation of policy
  65. Limitations of approach
    Limitations – need for organized community, committed local government, funding sources◦Depends on vision, commitment, and skills of localactivists to build community power
  66. Laws
    Rules backed by the government
  67. Social Norms
    Dress code and good manners
  68. Actions governed by rules
    The many actions that we choose too engage in are governed by rules.  These social rules are changed by the actions they regulate.
  69. Unintended consequence
    Sometimes rules change as the unintended consequence
  70. Affirmative State
    Regulates markets to improve democratic conditions
  71. Commercialization of morally salient aspects of life
    Even in highly commercialized capitalists, most people believe there are moral limits to the domains in which markets should be allowed to organize our activities.  Human beings and democratic rights should not be treated like commodities
  72. Wage Premium
    Workers have a capacity to punish employers for failing to agree to a satisfactory contract by collectively refusing to work
Card Set
Sociology test
first sociology test