1. Culture – the total way of life shared by members of a society, including language, values, and material objects.

2. Society – population that shares the same territory and is bound together by economic and political ties.

3. Values – shared ideas about desirable goals.

4. Norms – shared rules of conduct that specify how people ought to think or act.

5. Subculture – groups that share in the overall culture of society but also maintain a distinctive set of values, norms, and lifestyles and even a distinctive language.

6. Counterculture – groups that share in group values that are the opposite of the dominant culture’s.

7. High Culture – cultural preferences associated with the upper class.

8. Popular Culture – aspects of culture that are widely accessible and commonly shared by most members of a society, especially those in the middle, working, and lower classes.

9. Culture Shock – discomfort that arises from exposure to a different culture.

10. Globalization – process through which ideas, resources, practices, and people increasingly operate in a worldwide rather than local framework.

11. Socialization – the process of learning the roles, statuses, and values necessary for participation in social institutions.

12. Conflict Theory – addresses the points of stress and conflict in society and the ways in which they contribute to social change.

13. Structural Functional Theory – addresses the questions of social organization and how it is maintained.

14. Peers – individuals who share a similar age and social status.

15. Mass Media – all forms of communication designed to reach broad audiences.

16. Exchange – voluntary interaction from which all parties expect some reward.

17. Competition – a struggle over scarce resources that is regulated by shared rules.

18. Cooperation – interaction that occurs when people work together to achieve shared goals.

19. Conflict – struggle over scarce resources that is not regulated by shared rules; it may include attempts to destroy, injure, or neutralize one’s rivals.

20. Reference Group – groups that individuals compare themselves to regularly, either because they identify with the group or aspire to it.

21. Primary Group – groups characterized by intimate, face-to-face interaction.

22. Social Networks – an individual’s total set of relationships.

23. Bureaucracy – a special type of complex organization characterized by explicit rules and hierarchical authority structure, all designed to maximize efficiency.

24. Social Control – consists of the forces and processes that encourage conformity, including self-control, informal control, and formal control.

25. Deviance – refers to norm violations that exceed the tolerance level of the community and result in negative sanctions.

26. Medicalization – the process through which a condition or behavior becomes defined as a medical problem requiring a medical solution.

27. White Collar Crime – crimes committed by respectable people of high status in the course of their occupation.

28. Conformity – adhering to the rules of a group.

29. Labeling Theory – concerned with the processes by which labels such as deviant come to be attached to specific people and behaviors.

30. Social Stratification – an institutionalized pattern of inequality in which social statuses are ranked on the basis of their access to scarce resources.

31. Caste – rely largely on ascribed statuses as the basis for distributing scarce resources.

32. Class – in Marxist theory, class refers to a person’s relationship to the means of production. Class systems rely largely on achieved statuses as the basis for distributing scarce resources.

33. Socioeconomic Status – measure of social class that ranks individuals on income, education, occupation, or some combination of these.

34. Culture of poverty – a set of values that emphasizes living for the moment rather than thrift, investment in the future, or hard work.

35. Modernization – sees development as the natural unfolding of an evolutionary process in which societies go from simple to complex economies and institutional structures.

36. World Systems Theory – conflict perspective of the economic relationships between developed and developing countries, the core and peripheral societies.

37. Race – a category of people treated as distinct because of physical characteristics to which social importance has been assigned.

38. Minority Group – group that is culturally, economically, and politically subordinate.

39. Majority Group – group that is culturally, economically, and politically dominant.

40. Dominant Group – another term for the majority group.

41. Stereotype – a preconceived, simplistic idea about the members of a group.

42. Prejudice – an irrational, negative attitude toward a category of people.

43. Pluralism – the peaceful coexistence of separate and equal cultures in the same society.

44. Institutional Racism – occurs when the normal operation of apparently neutral processes systematically produces unequal results for majority and minority groups.

45. Sex – a biological characteristic, male or female.

46. Gender – the expected dispositions and behaviors that cultures assign to each sex.

47. Gender Roles – refer to the rights and obligations that are normative for men and women in a particular culture.

48. Sexual Harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

49. Transgender – individuals whose sex or sexual identity is not definitively male or female. Some are hermaphrodites, some are transsexuals.

50. Sexism – belief that men and women have biologically different capacities and that these form a legitimate basis for unequal treatment.

Employment: Terms & Definitions

51. Family – group of persons linked together by blood, adoption, marriage, or quasi-marital commitment.

52. Marriage – an institutionalized social structure that provides an enduring framework for regulating sexual behavior and childbearing.

53. Propinquity – Spatial nearness.

54. Homogamy – choosing a mate who is similar to oneself.

55. Endogamy – choosing a mate from within one’s own racial, ethnic, or religious group.

56. Heterogamy – choosing a mate who is different from oneself.

57. Rite of Passage – formal rituals that mark the end of one age status and the beginning of another.

58. Hidden Curriculum – the underlying cultural messages taught by schools. Both public and private schools teach young people to accept inequality.

59. Religion – system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things that unites believers into a moral community.

60. Secularization – the process of transferring things, ideas, or events from the sacred realm to the non-sacred realm.

61. Fundamentalism – Refers to religious movements that stress traditional interpretations of religion and the importance of living in ways that mesh with those traditional interpretations.

62. Sacred – things and events that we hold in awe and reverence. What we can neither understand nor control.

63. Profane – all that is routine and taken for granted in the everyday world, things that are known and familiar and that we can control, understand, and manipulate.

64. Protestant Ethic – the belief that work, rationalism, and plain living are moral virtues, whereas idleness and indulgence are sinful.

65. Civil Religion – set of institutionalized rituals, beliefs, and symbols sacred to the US nation.

66. Politics – the social structure of power within a society.

67. Democracy – political system that provides regular, constitutional opportunities for a change in leadership according to the will of the majority.

68. Authoritarian Governments – political systems in which the leadership is not selected by the people and legally cannot be changed by them.

69. Power Elite – people who occupy the top positions in three bureaucracies – the military, industry, and the executive branch of government – and who are thought to act together to run the US in their own interests.

70. Ex-felon Disenfranchisement – the loss of voting privileges suffered by those who have been convicted of a felony. In some states, ex-felon disenfranchisement applies only to those in prison; in other states, it is lifelong.

71. Political Economy – the interaction of political and economic forms within a nation.

72. Corporate Economy – association of the people of a society into different corporate groups such as agricultural, business, labor, etc.

73. Wal-Mart Economy – occurs when a Wal-Mart is opened and soon after begins to dominate the local economy, snuffing out other smaller businesses.

74. Coercive Power – power through force or threat of force.

75. Demography – the study of population (size, growth, and composition).

76. Fertility Rate – number of births per every 1,000 women in a population during a given time period.

77. Birth Rate – number of births per 1,000 of the population per year.

78. Mortality Rate – number of deaths per 1,000 people in a given population during a given time period.

79. Migration – movement of people from one geographic area to another.

80. Population Pyramid – used to determine the overall age distribution of a population.

81. Urbanization – process of concentrating populations in cities.

82. Suburbanization – growth of the suburbs.

83. White Flight – migration of whites from racially mixed areas into more racially homogenous areas from fear of increasing minority populations.

84. Social Change – any significant modification or transformation of social structures and sociocultural processes over time.

85. Collective Behavior – spontaneous action by groups in situations where cultural rules for behavior are vague, inadequate, or debated.

86. Social Movement – an ongoing, goal-directed effort to fundamentally challenge social institutions, attitudes, or ways of life.

87. Relative Deprivation – exists when we compare ourselves to others who are better off than we are.

88. Political Opportunities – resources that allow a social movement to grow; they include preexisting organizations that can provide the new movement with leaders, members, phone lines, copying machines, and other resources.

89. Insurgent Consciousness – individual sense that changes are both needed and possible.

90. Countermovement – seeks to reverse or resist change advocated by another social movement.

91. Technological Imperative – the idea that once a technology becomes available, it becomes difficult to avoid using it.

92. Normal Accident – accidents that can be expected to happen sooner or later, no matter how many safeguards are built into a system, simply because the system is so complex.

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Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Sociology: Terms and Definitions," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/sociology-terms-and-definitions/.
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