Sociology Study Guide

Sociology Study Guide
Question # 1
What is sociology?
Sociology is defined as the systematic study of
people’s behavior in groups.
The word sociology comes from a Latin word, socio,
meaning “people together” and a Greek word,
logos, meaning “the study of.”
A French mathematician, by the name of August
Comte, was the first to put together questions
and theories that related directly to the behavior
of people in groups.
Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology are all called
behavioral sciences because in some way they all deal
with how people act or how they behave.
Psychology as we have seen looks at the behavior of
Sociology now tries to find out how and why that same
individual may act differently when they are in a group.
Anthropology looks at how cultural behavior has
developed over centuries of time and what changes
have taken place in those cultures.
All three of the behavioral sciences use a variety of tools
to gather information and try to come to some
conclusion. Those include the following:
Observation-your behavior is annotated
Analysis-the information that is collected is reviewed to
determine its relevance.
Surveys-behavioral scientists will ask large groups of
people questions to gather data.
Interviews-specific people will be selected in the
information gathering process
Role playing-simulations of circumstances that may arise
concerning the behavior of people.
Question # 2
Why do people live in groups?
Groups provide a number of things to individuals.
They might include; security, accomplishment,
reward, success, etc.
There are a number of different categories of
groups. They are usually broken down into
primary and secondary groups.
Community and society would also be included in
the division of different categories of groups.
A primary group is that group of people that you
have a very close relationship with. They should
give you the highest level of support and you
should have the deepest emotional attachment
with them. Your families and closest of friends
would be those people considered to be primary
A secondary group is usually much larger and you
are not nearly as emotionally attached to that
group. Your workplace or school in general may
be considered a primary group environment.
Community would be considered the third group.
This is much larger and again less personal. Your
city or town or neighbor hood would fall into this
Society would be the largest of the group divisions
that the text uses. This would be one of the
largest groups that you are associated with. The
country that you live in is thought to be
categorized as this type of group.
All four levels of group behavior and involvement
are studied.
Experiment 4-A Handout.
Question # 3
What is a role?
This is the behavior that a person is supposed to have in
any one of the categories of groups that we just
Experiment 4-B Text page 157.
Your role in groups changes as you grow older. Groups
become more varied and set down rules and
regulations for you to follow. You learn these roles and
rules through a process called socialization.
The socialization process includes learning the rules
or standards that are used in groups and the level
of seriousness that each has.
Sociologists call these rules norms or standards of
social behavior. In other words society decides
what is normal and what isn’t. Those that act
normal are taken for granted or even rewarded,
those that act abnormal are singled out and
either their behavior is corrected or they are
There are three types of norms, they are;
1. Folkways-are norms of politeness and or
customs. Your manners would also be
examples. The punishment for breaking a
folkway isn’t usually severe, but people do
begin to question your behavior as a bit
uncouth. If the behavior continues it may
lead to more severe consequences.
2. Mores-are norms that are taken more seriously than
folkways. Mores are often associated with doing
something immoral or wrong in the eyes of society.
Mores do change as the nature of a society changes.
When you violate a more you may lose the trust of the
people around you. If you break a more you may be
punished with jail time.
3. Laws- are norms that are extensions of mores. The
government decides what kind of behavior is
acceptable in a culture and then punishes those that
fall outside of those standards. These as well do
change as the culture changes.
Question # 4
What are sanctions?
In all three groups of norms your behavior is punished or
rewarded based on what you do.
Positive sanctions give you some type of reward or positive
feedback for your actions. Your behavior will continue as it
has in the past.
Negative sanctions are associated with a punishment for your
The idea behind this is to change the behavior or bring it to an
end completely. If that does not work a society may
remove you from their midst by using jail or prison. Some
societies go to the extreme and put people to death.
Experiment 4-C Text pages 160-162.
A peer group would be considered the people who
are about your same age that you tend to be
influenced by the most. Sometimes this is really
good or times not so good.
The text talks about role conflict which some
sociologists believe comes about because of your
peer group. Your parents and school may have a
certain set of expectations for you that come into
direct conflict with the group of friends that you
have chosen to hang around with.
Question # 5
Define the term institution and name the five major
social institutions.
An institution is defined as the organization or group in a
society that provides for the needs of it’s people.
The five major social institutions in all societies are:
family, education, government, religion, and economic
functions. Remember these exist in all societies of the
world in some way shape or form. They do change and
adjust as the culture within a society changes and
The human needs that are satisfied by each of the institutions
include the following;
Family-socialization of children, physical and emotional
support, a sense of belongingness.
Education-dispensation of knowledge, t helping families teach
the value system of society.
Government-makes and enforces the laws.
Religion-meets the individuals need to worship.
Economic-provides for the production of goods and services in
a country.
Each country and social culture is different based on what the
expectations of that society are. They will change over
time as well.
Experiment 4-D Handout Sanctions
Question # 6
What is the difference between a nuclear family
and an extended family?
A nuclear family would be one consisting of just two
generations of people, basically mom, pop, and
the kids.
An extended family on the other hand may include
grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and
nephews along with the nuclear group. This is
much more common in the cultures outside of
the United States.
A matriarchal family is considered one that is
dominated by the mother in the household.
Whatever mom says goes.
A patriarchal family on the other hand is
dominated by the father of the house.
Moms and Dads try to be equalitarian in nature
where both make the decisions, but you guys
play that pretty good.
Marriages in some cultures are not monogamous in
These marriages consist of more than one marriage
partner. That type of marriage is called polygamy.
Polygamy can exist in two ways.
Polygyny where a man has more than one wife.
Polyandry where a woman has more than one husband.
These types of marriages are more commonly found in
third world countries.
Experiment 4-E Handout Roles in the family
Question # 7
What are the three basic functions of the institution of
1. Education passes on the values, norms and roles of the
society from one generation to the next.
2. Education prepares young people for their future. This
allows a young adult the ability to adapt and survive.
Money it is true cannot buy happiness but it does buy
things that can make life easier and more enjoyable.
3. Education teaches about the past and how it has had an
impact on the present and how it will affect the future.
All in all education is a never ending process.
Experiment 4-F
Question # 8
What are the functions of government as a social institution?
It is the job of the government to make and enforce laws. It
does this to provide protection and security for the citizens
in its country. Too many laws???????
Governments must also protect themselves from harm. They
do this by building a strong military and creating alliances
with other countries.
The government is also charged with passing along the values
of it’s culture. Conservatives and liberals are in constant
debate on this one.
Finally the government acts as your representative to the rest
of the world. They sign treaties and trade for your benefit.
Territoriality is the tendency to protect a certain
area as your own.
The government establishes boundaries or
borders and enforces its laws within those
If a person commits a crime in another state
they will be extradited back to the original
state of jurisdiction.
Experiment 4-H Text page 174
Question # 9
What are surveys of public opinion?
An interviewer will conduct a public opinion poll. In
other words a person or organization goes out
and asks people their opinion on an issue or
object to try to draw a conclusion about the issue
or object.
A question might read something like, is the ban on
smoking in public places hurting bar owners?
Experiment 4-G
The five steps followed by interviewers in
conducting a survey are.
1. Choose a topic or issue.
2. Decide on the group that they are going to
3. Decide on the sample from the previous group
that you will actually survey.
4. Create at least five good questions.
5. Draw a conclusion from the responses that you
received on the surveys.
Question # 10.
Experiment 4-I Handout
What are the purposes and roles of the religious and
economic institutions?
Religion was established to provide people with a sense
of purpose. What is the meaning of life? It also
promotes the values of a society.
The economic institution was established to allow to
people to make a living so they can survive. Your
lifestyle is often closely associated with the amount of
money that you have available to spend.
Question # 11
What are values?
A value is an idea or belief about the “goodness” or
“badness” if a person, thing, situation, or action.
The socialization process provides a basis to create
your values. Each institution in a society teaches
you different things about what is right or wrong
good or bad in a culture. Values are passed on
from generation to generation and change and
adjust as the norms of a society change. Divorce
would be a good example.
Advertisements and there relationship to values are
important to you as well as the manufacturer of a
product. It is the job of the advertising agency to
convince you as a consumer that without question you
need their product.
Abercrombie is a good example of this. This was a
company that once sold fishing equipment that was
going bankrupt, but the name sounded cool so
advertisers decided they could convince young people
that they were not cool unless you wore their clothing.
It worked, Abercrombie sold like wild because well I
don’t know it was just cool.
Experiment 4-K
Question # 12
What is social stratification?
Social stratification is the way that society ranks its members.
The position that you hold on that ladder of success is
considered your status. Your status is usually achieved or
evaluated by the following.
1. By the amount of money you make.
2. By the level of your education.
3. By the kind of work that you do.
4. By the kind of home that you live in.
5. As well a variety of other factors.
The three major social classes are:
Upper class associated with wealth, prestigious jobs,
beautiful homes, college degrees, lots of leisure time,
lots of power in a community, philanthropy, and the
ability to pass on their status to the next generation.
Middle class associated with the working class. These
people as well have good jobs, extended educational
experiences, help run the communities that they live in
and enjoy a lifestyle that for the most part is good.
Lower class is associated with those people who do not
possess the skills to attain the things that the other
classes have. Some live in poverty a situation that calls
for constant need. The biggest drawback seems to be a
lack of education.
In all classes there are symbols or signs of where
you exist.
Material things like cars, homes, recreational
vehicles, clothing, jewelry all symbolize who
you are.
As well titles and honors give an indication of
success and status. A PHD or MD stands much
higher on the social scale than does a HSDO.
These items give a person a status of prestiage.
Prestige is, as was mentioned the status that
people look up to. These people are famous,
they are bestowed with honors, and have the
highest respect in a community and country