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Introduction to
Sociology
Edition 1.0 6th March 2006
From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection
Note: current version of this book can be found at
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology
Contents
INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY .................................................................................................................................1
AUTHORS ...................................................................................................................................................................6
INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................................................7
Introduction..........................................................................................................................................................7
What is Sociology?...............................................................................................................................................7
History..................................................................................................................................................................8
Sociology and Other Social Sciences .................................................................................................................11
Sociology Today.................................................................................................................................................13
Technology and the Social Sciences...................................................................................................................13
References ..........................................................................................................................................................13
External links .....................................................................................................................................................14
SOCIOLOGICAL METHODS ........................................................................................................................................15
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................15
The Development of Social Science ...................................................................................................................16
The Scientific Method.........................................................................................................................................17
Correlation and Causation ................................................................................................................................21
Quantitative and Qualitative..............................................................................................................................23
Objective vs. Critical..........................................................................................................................................24
Ethics..................................................................................................................................................................24
What Can Sociology Tell Us? ............................................................................................................................25
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................26
References ..........................................................................................................................................................26
External Links ....................................................................................................................................................26
GENERAL SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY ...........................................................................................................................27
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................27
Structural-Functionalism ...................................................................................................................................28
Conflict Theory ..................................................................................................................................................30
Symbolic Interactionism.....................................................................................................................................31
Role Theory........................................................................................................................................................32
Social Constructionism ......................................................................................................................................34
Integration Theory .............................................................................................................................................34
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................35
References ..........................................................................................................................................................35
External Links ....................................................................................................................................................36
SOCIETY ..................................................................................................................................................................38
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................38
Societal Development.........................................................................................................................................38
Classical Views on Social Change.....................................................................................................................44
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................47
References ..........................................................................................................................................................47
External Links ....................................................................................................................................................48
CULTURE .................................................................................................................................................................50
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................50
Subcultures & Countercultures..........................................................................................................................53
Ethnocentrism & Cultural Relativism ................................................................................................................54
Theories of Culture ............................................................................................................................................55
Cultural Change.................................................................................................................................................56
Cultural Sociology: Researching Culture ..........................................................................................................57
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................58
References ..........................................................................................................................................................58
External links .....................................................................................................................................................59
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SOCIALIZATION .......................................................................................................................................................60
What is Socialization?........................................................................................................................................60
Elements of Socialization ...................................................................................................................................60
Theoretical Understandings of Socialization .....................................................................................................64
Research Examples ............................................................................................................................................65
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................67
References ..........................................................................................................................................................67
History................................................................................................................................................................68
GROUPS ...................................................................................................................................................................69
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................69
Social Identity Theory ........................................................................................................................................71
Primary and Secondary Groups.........................................................................................................................74
Leadership..........................................................................................................................................................75
Conformity .........................................................................................................................................................75
Reference Groups...............................................................................................................................................75
Ingroups and Outgroups ....................................................................................................................................75
Group Size..........................................................................................................................................................75
Networks ............................................................................................................................................................80
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................84
References ..........................................................................................................................................................84
External Links ....................................................................................................................................................85
DEMOGRAPHY .........................................................................................................................................................87
Introduction........................................................................................................................................................87
Why study demography? ....................................................................................................................................87
History................................................................................................................................................................87
Data and Methods..............................................................................................................................................87
The Demographic Transition .............................................................................................................................92
Population Growth and Overpopulation............................................................................................................94
Notes ..................................................................................................................................................................99
References ..........................................................................................................................................................99
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................100
HUMAN SEXUALITY ...............................................................................................................................................102
DEVIANCE AND NORMS..........................................................................................................................................102
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................102
Theories of Deviance .......................................................................................................................................103
Crime Statistics ................................................................................................................................................107
Social Control ..................................................................................................................................................116
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................117
References ........................................................................................................................................................117
History..............................................................................................................................................................117
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................117
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY ............................................................................................................................................118
Subfields...........................................................................................................................................................118
SP's three angles of research ...........................................................................................................................118
The concerns of social psychology...................................................................................................................119
Empirical methods ...........................................................................................................................................120
Relation to other fields .....................................................................................................................................121
Major perspectives in social psychology .........................................................................................................125
Well-known cases, studies, and related works .................................................................................................130
History..............................................................................................................................................................131
References ........................................................................................................................................................131
Related topics...................................................................................................................................................131
AGEING..................................................................................................................................................................132
RACE AND ETHNICITY ............................................................................................................................................133
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Race and Ethnicity ...........................................................................................................................................133
The Changing Definitions of Race ...................................................................................................................133
Social Construct or Biological Lineage? .........................................................................................................135
Prejudice, Bias, and Discrimination ................................................................................................................140
Racism..............................................................................................................................................................141
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................145
References ........................................................................................................................................................145
External links ...................................................................................................................................................146
GENDER .................................................................................................................................................................148
Gender vs. Sex..................................................................................................................................................148
Biological Differences......................................................................................................................................150
Social and Psychological Differences..............................................................................................................151
Sexism ..............................................................................................................................................................152
Gender Theory .................................................................................................................................................153
Research Examples ..........................................................................................................................................156
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................156
References ........................................................................................................................................................156
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................157
STRATIFICATION ....................................................................................................................................................159
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................159
Objective vs. Subjective Poverty ......................................................................................................................159
Socioeconomic Status.......................................................................................................................................160
Global Inequality .............................................................................................................................................160
U.S. Inequality .................................................................................................................................................162
Theories of Stratification..................................................................................................................................162
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................166
References ........................................................................................................................................................167
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................167
ORGANIZATIONS ....................................................................................................................................................168
FAMILY..................................................................................................................................................................168
Family cross-culturally ....................................................................................................................................168
Family in the West............................................................................................................................................169
Economic role of the family .............................................................................................................................170
Kinship terminology.........................................................................................................................................170
Western kinship terminology............................................................................................................................171
See also ............................................................................................................................................................173
References ........................................................................................................................................................174
External links ...................................................................................................................................................174
THE ECONOMY .......................................................................................................................................................175
RELIGION ...............................................................................................................................................................176
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................176
Definitions of Religion .....................................................................................................................................176
The Church-Sect Typology...............................................................................................................................178
Theories of Religion .........................................................................................................................................181
World Religions and Religious History............................................................................................................185
Religion and Other Social Factors...................................................................................................................186
The Future of Religion .....................................................................................................................................188
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................191
References ........................................................................................................................................................191
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................193
POLITICS ................................................................................................................................................................193
GOVERNMENT .......................................................................................................................................................193
MEDIA ...................................................................................................................................................................193
EDUCATION ...........................................................................................................................................................194
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Overview ..........................................................................................................................................................194
Origins of the Word "Education" .....................................................................................................................194
Formal Education ............................................................................................................................................194
Technology and Education...............................................................................................................................195
History of education.........................................................................................................................................195
Challenges in education...................................................................................................................................195
Parental involvement .......................................................................................................................................197
References ........................................................................................................................................................197
HEALTH AND MEDICINE .........................................................................................................................................198
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................198
The Evolution of Health Care and Medicine....................................................................................................199
Health Disparities ............................................................................................................................................203
Paying for Medical Care..................................................................................................................................206
Behavior and Environmental Influences on Health .........................................................................................214
References ........................................................................................................................................................221
External links ...................................................................................................................................................222
COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR.......................................................................................................................................224
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................224
Crowds .............................................................................................................................................................224
Theories of Crowd Behavior ............................................................................................................................225
Diffuse Crowds.................................................................................................................................................226
Research Examples ..........................................................................................................................................227
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................227
References ........................................................................................................................................................227
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................228
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS .............................................................................................................................................229
Introduction......................................................................................................................................................229
Types of Social Movements ..............................................................................................................................229
Stages in Social Movements .............................................................................................................................230
Social Movement Theories ...............................................................................................................................231
Examples of Social Movements........................................................................................................................235
Notes ................................................................................................................................................................235
References ........................................................................................................................................................235
External Links ..................................................................................................................................................236
HUMAN ECOLOGY ..................................................................................................................................................237
LICENSE .................................................................................................................................................................238
GNU Free Documentation License ..................................................................................................................238
0. PREAMBLE .................................................................................................................................................238
1. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS ........................................................................................................238
2. VERBATIM COPYING.................................................................................................................................239
3. COPYING IN QUANTITY............................................................................................................................239
4. MODIFICATIONS .......................................................................................................................................239
5. COMBINING DOCUMENTS.......................................................................................................................240
6. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS ............................................................................................................240
7. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS .....................................................................................241
8. TRANSLATION ............................................................................................................................................241
9. TERMINATION............................................................................................................................................241
10. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE................................................................................................241
External links ...................................................................................................................................................241
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Authors
• Exmoron Ryan T. Cragun, PhD student at the University of Cincinnati
• Contribution: Initial book layout and the development of most of the first 15 chapters
• Deborahcragun Deborah Cragun, MS Human Genetics; employed as a genetic counselor at
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
• Contribution: Developed the chapters on health care and medicine and race and ethnicity.
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Introduction
Introduction
Sociology is the study of human social life. Because human social life is so expansive,
sociology has many sub-sections of study, ranging from the analysis of conversations to the
development of theories to try to understand how the entire world works. This chapter will
introduce you to sociology and explain why it is important, how it can change your perspective
of the world around you, and give a brief history of the discipline.
What is Sociology?
The social world is changing. Some argue it is growing; others say it is shrinking. The
important point to grasp is: society does not remain unchanged over time. As will be discussed
in more detail below, sociology has its roots in significant societal changes (e.g., the industrial
revolution, the creation of empires, and the enlightenment of scientific reasoning). Early
practitioners developed the discipline as an attempt to understand societal changes.
Some early sociological theorists (e.g., Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) were disturbed by the
social processes they believed to be driving the change, such as the quest for solidarity, the
attainment of social goals, and the rise and fall of classes, to name a few examples. While
details of the theories that these individuals developed are discussed later in this book, it is
important to note at this point that the founders of sociology were some of the earliest
individuals to employ what C. Wright Mills (1959) labeled the sociological imagination: the
ability to situate personal troubles within an informed framework of social issues.
Mills proposed that "[w]hat the [people] need... is a quality of mind that will help them to use
information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in
the world and of what may be happening within themselves. The sociological imagination
enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the
inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals" (Mills 1959). As Mills saw it, the
sociological imagination could help individuals cope with the social world by helping them to
step outside of their personal worldview and thus seeing the events and social structure that
influence their behavior, attitudes, and culture.
The sociological imagination goes beyond armchair sociology or common sense. Most people
believe they understand the world and the events taking place within it. Humans like to
attribute causes to events and attempt to understand what is taking place around them. This is
why individuals have been using religious ceremonies for centuries to invoke the will of the
gods - because they believed the gods controlled certain elements of the natural world (e.g., the
weather). Just as the rain dance is an attempt to understand how the weather works without
using empirical analysis, armchair sociology is an attempt to understand how the social world
works without employing scientific methods.
It would be dishonest to say sociologists never sit around (even sometimes in comfy armchairs)
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trying to figure out how the world works. But in order to test their theories, sociologists get up
from their armchairs and enter the social world. They gather data and evaluate their theories in
light of the data they collect. Sociologists do not just propose theories about how the social
world works. Sociologists test their theories about how the world works using the scientific
method. ##Who are some famous sociologists who use statistical methods to test theories?##
Sociologists, like all humans, have values, beliefs, and even pre-conceived notions of what they
might find in doing their research. But, as Peter Berger (1963) argued, what distinguishes the
sociologist from non-scientific researchers is that "[the] sociologist tries to see what is there. He
may have hopes or fears concerning what he may find. But he will try to see, regardless of his
hopes or fears. It is thus an act of pure perception..." (Berger 1963).
Sociology, then, is an attempt to understand the social world by situating social events in their
corresponding environment (i.e., social structure, culture, history) and trying to understand
social phenomena by collecting and analyzing empirical data.
History
Sociology is a relatively new academic discipline. It emerged in the early 19th century in
response to the challenges of modernity. Increasing mobility and technological advances
resulted in the increasing exposure of people to cultures and societies different from their own.
The impact of this exposure was varied, but for some people included the breakdown of
traditional norms and customs and warranted a revise


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