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Module 12: Marvin Harris
Vocabulary words for Marvin Harris Module
16
Sociology
Undergraduate 4
08/14/2015

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Term
infrastructure
Definition
The interface between a sociocultural system and its environment.
Term
structure
Definition
In sociology, all human institutions, groups, and organizations.
Term
superstructure
Definition
The symbolic universe—the shared meanings, ideas, beliefs, values, and ideologies that people associate with the physical and social world.
Term
feedback loop
Definition
The dynamic relationships between the different components of sociocultural systems.
Term
intensification
Definition
The application of ever expanding technology and labour techniques to increase productivity.
Term
mode of reproduction
Definition
The technology and practices employed for expanding, limiting, and maintaining population size. Examples of variables included are demography, mating patterns, fertility, mortality, nurturance of infants, contraception, abortion, and infanticide.
Term
mode of production
Definition
The technology and the practices employed for expanding or limiting basic subsistence production, especially the production of food and other forms of energy. Examples include the technology of subsistence, the relationships between technologies and the environment, and work patterns.
Term
political economy
Definition
Marvin Harris’s term that refers to the structural components of sociocultural systems that are organized around production, exchange, and consumption within and between large-scale political units (bands, villages, states, and empires).
Term
domestic economy
Definition
Marvin Harris’s term that refers to the structural components of sociocultural systems that are organized around basic production, exchange, and consumption within domestic settings (houses, camps, and other family and small community units).
Term
mental superstructure
Definition
In sociocultural materialism, Max Weber’s typology of motivation for human behaviour. According to Weber there are four such motivations: value-oriented rational action (or wertrational), affective action (action motivated by emotions), traditional action (action motivated by what Weber calls the "eternal yesterday"), and goal-oriented rational action (or zweckrational).
Term
primacy of the infrastructure
Definition
Marvin Harris’s idea that when trying to understand or explain a widespread social practice or belief, one must always begin with an examination of the relationship between infrastructure and the environment.
Term
relations of production
Definition
Marx’s term for the social relations that people enter into through their participation in economic life.
Term
forces of production
Definition
Marx's term for the technology, labour, and raw materials used to produce economic goods in a society.
Term
sociocultural system
Definition
Material, structural, and cultural elements that make up the total system.
Term
materialism
Definition
The view that material conditions (usually economic and technological factors) play the central role in determining social stability and change.
Term
hyperindustrialism
Definition
A societal condition in which virtually all social institutions (government, family, education) have adapted to the demands of the industrial economy.
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