Shared Flashcard Set


Sociological Perspectives Exam 2
Undergraduate 1

Additional Sociology Flashcards




Jean Piaget: Theory of Socialization 
- Emphasized child’s active capability to make sense of the world
- 4 stages of development:


Name of stage


Description of stage


Sensorimotor Stage


- Child learns by manipulating objects
- Explores physical environment; understands it has

distinct and stable properties
- Learns to distinguish people from objects


Pre-operational Stage


- Master language and use words to represent objects and images in a symbolic fashion

- Child is egocentric—unable to see the world from another’s point of view


Concrete Operational Stage


  • Masters abstract, logical notions such as causality. 
  • Much less egocentric


Formal Operational Stage


- Able to grasp highly abstract and hypothetical ideas 

- Problem solve and understand trick questions 

- Achieving this stage depends partly on schooling 

- Not all adults reach this stage. - Adults with limited educational attainment continue to think in more concrete terms and to retain large traces of one’s self. 


Mead’s Theory of Socialization

1.George Herbert Mead (Symbolic Interactionism)

2.Children develop as social beings by imitating actions of those around them

3.Social self: the basis of self consciousness in individuals where identity is conferred by the reactions of others

4.Individuals develop self-consciousness by learning to see themselves as others see them

5.      Later, by entering into and learning rules of play in organized games, children come to understand the general values and moral rules of culture (Generalized Other)

  1. Agents of socialization (be able to name and explain them)


Agents of socialization are structured groups or contexts within which significant processes of socialization occur:






-Principal socializing agent during infancy/early childhood – Difference between right and wrong; get disciplined; learn roles as boys and girls, men and women

  • Family systems vary widely across cultures
  • Modern (American) society: homes with father, mother, siblings – Other societies: also aunts, uncles, grandparents

- Family, nevertheless, remains major agent of early socialization

- In modern societies, unlike traditional societies, social position is not inherited; but the region and social class of family affects patterns of socialization



– Children obey rules: punctuality, quiet in class

– Must accept authority of teachers

– Reactions of teachers affect expectations children have of themselves

– Peer groups often formed at school



– Peer groups are increasingly important
– Increasing use of day-care fostering interaction among

small children
– Barrie Thorne, Gender Play: Greatly influence

gender socialization

– Discussions about changing bodies; affirming or embarrassing

– Have significant effect beyond childhood (college, work)


Mass Media 

– Can be both positive and negative

– Violence is promulgated on television

– Video games may deflect from school work or other activities, become refuge from disliked school environment

– But may also hone skills relevant to education and wider participation in society that depends on electronic communication



- Important in all cultures
- Only in industrial societies are work-life and

home-life so separate

- Can pose unfamiliar demands, calling for

major adjustments in outlook or behavior





    1. is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies




    1. People’s understanding of who they are and what is meaningful to them. 
    2. - Formed based on attributes that take priority over other sources of meaning.
    3. - Sources include: gender, sexual orientation, nationality or ethnicity, social class.
Social roles

- Through socialization individuals learn about social roles socially defined expectations for a person in a given social position

• Functionalists: social roles are unchanging parts of society/direct individuals’ behavior
• But, functionalist argument does not account for how humans exercise agency, creating and negotiating roles.



Phases of socialization: primary



Primary socialization for a child is very important because it sets the ground work for all future socialization. Primary Socialization occurs when a child learns the attitudes, values and actions appropriate to individuals as members of a particular culture. It is mainly influenced by the immediate family and friends. For example if a child saw his/her mother expressing a discriminatory opinion about a minority group, then that child may think this behavior is acceptable and could continue to have this opinion about minority groups

Phases of socialization: secondary

Secondary socialization refers to the process of learning what is the appropriate behavior as a member of a smaller group within the larger society. Basically, it is the behavioral patterns reinforced by socializing agents of society. Secondary socialization takes place outside the home, it is where children and adults learn how to act in a way that is appropriate for the situations that they are in.[1] Schools require very different behavior from the home. Children act according to new rules. New teachers have to act in a way that is different from pupils and learn the new rules from people around them. [2] Secondary Socialization is usually associated with teenagers and adults, and involves smaller changes than those occurring in primary socialization. e.g. entering a new profession, relocating to a new environment or society.

When does gender socialization begin?

– Gender socialization begins as soon as an infant is born

– Unconsciously through preverbal cues
– By age 2 – partial understanding of what gender is(i.e.

whether they are boys or girls)

– Differences are reinforced by many cultural influences

– Children’s toys, picture books, TV programs emphasize male and female attributes

Gender Socialization - Storybooks and television

1970’s Lenore Weitzman et. al. study gender roles in preschool books

• Found differences in gender roles
- More males than females in stories and pictures

- Males in adventurous pursuits/outdoor activities Females cooked and cleaned for the males.

• Recent studies only slightly different


Theories of gender socialization and critiques:Freud’s

  • Children learning about gender differences based on the possession or absence of the penis
  • A boy feels threatened by his father and sees them as a rival for his mother’s affection
  • Gives up love for mother because he fears castration from father 
  • A girl suffers from“penis envy”
  • Mother is devalued because she lacks a penis; girl takes on submissive role
  • Freud – Critiques: Naturalizes gender
  • No justification for superiority of the penis Fathers not always primary disciplinarians 
  • Gender learning appears to start earlier than Freud argued

Theories of gender socialization and critiques: Chodorow’s:

  •  - Learning to feel male or female derives from infants’ attachment to parents at an early age
  • - Emphasizes mother rather than the father
  • - Girls remain closer to mother and develop sense of self that is more contiguous with others
  • - Boys have sharp break from mother
  • - Understanding of masculinity based on what is not feminine
  • - Result: unskilled in relating closely to others
  • - Essentially reverses Freud’s emphasis
  • Nancy Chodorow – Critique:
  • - Ignores women’s struggle to become autonomous, independent
  • Women and men more contradictory in their psychological make up
  • - Narrow conception of family focused too much on white, middle-class model

What is deviant behavior?

- Deviance is nonconformity to a set of norms

• Norms are the dos and don’ts of society

- What’s considered deviant shifts from time to time Normal behavior in one culture may be deviant in another
- Most people are deviant sometimes

  1. What are norms

Norms are the dos and don’ts of society

What are sanctions?

- Sanctions are applied by society to reinforce social norms

- Can be positive (rewards) or negative (punishment)

- Can be formal or informal

Positive and negative sanctions

Can be positive (rewards) or negative (punishment)

  1. Formal Sanction

Formal would be a jail sentence or promotion- typically comes from an authority

  1.  informal sanctions

informal would be a smile or compliment or bullying/humiliation.- these are not laws or rules- so an example would be someone talking to themselves, its not illegal, but the people giving him dirty looks or out right mocking him would be imposing informal sanctions.

  1. Biological views (theories) of deviance

The Biological View of Deviance

– Theories that try to link biological factors with deviant behavior

Some studies link physical characteristics to delinquency

- Cesare Lombroso (1870s) – Criminals could be identified by shape of skull

- Study of family trees

- Three types of human physique; one (muscular) associated with delinquency

- Recently in New Zealand: Aggression is connected to factors present at birth

- No decisive evidence that any personality traits are inherited

  1. Merton’s (functionalist) theory of deviance

Robert K. Merton

– Modified anomie to include strain put on individuals

when accepted norms conflict with social reality

– U.S. values link material success with hard work and discipline

– But, disadvantaged lack conventional opportunities for advancement

– Nevertheless they are condemned for their lack of material progress. Thus the pressure to get ahead by any means, legitimate or illegitimate

– For Merton, deviance is a by-product of economic inequalities

Identifies five possible reactions to the tensions between social values and the limited means to achieving them:

- Conformists accept conventional means even if they are not successful. (Most people)

Innovators accept values but use illegitimate or illegal means to follow them. (Criminals who gain wealth by illegal means.

- Ritualists conform but have lost sight of underlying values. Compulsively follow rules.

- Retreatists reject dominant values and means of achieving them. (E.G. self-supporting commune.)

-Rebels reject values and work to replace them with new ones. (E.G. Radical political groups)

  1. Symbolic Interactionist theories of deviance

Labeling Theory

– Labeling theory assumes labeling someone as deviant will reinforce deviant behavior

– People become deviant because certain labels are attached to their behavior

– The way others react to a behavior is what makes it deviant

– Seeks to discover reasons why some people are labeled as “deviant” to understand the nature of deviance.

Primary deviation: initial act of transgression

Secondary deviation: individual accepts the label and sees oneself as deviant

– No act is intrinsically criminal (or normal)

– Labeling theorists are interested in how behavior is defined as deviant and why certain groups, but not others, are labeled deviant

  1. Conflict theory of deviance

– Argue that deviance is deliberately chosen and political in nature

– Analyze crime and deviance in terms of structure of society, competing interests between social groups, and preservation of power among elites

– Deny that deviance is “determined” by biology, personality, anomie, labels.

– Rather: individuals choose deviant behavior in response to the inequalities of the capitalist system
- New Criminology: analyze deviance in terms of the

social structure and the preservation of power among the ruling class.

• E.G. laws are not evenly applied across the population but serve the powerful to maintain their privileged positions

• Law: key instrument for the powerful to maintain order as inequalities between the ruling and working classes increase

• Evident in criminal justice system: The powerful break laws but are rarely caught

  1. Control theory of deviance

 Crime occurs when inadequate social or physical controls exist. 

–  All people, given the opportunity, would engage in deviant acts 

–  Growth of crime linked to increasing opportunities and targets for crime in modern societies. 

–  Recent focus on “target hardening” – making crime difficult by intervening in potential crime situations 

–  Theory of broken windows/Social disorder theory suggests direct connection between appearance of disorder and actual crime 

  1. Gender and crime

– Men commit the vast majority of all crimes, even more so for violent crimes

– Imbalance also in the ratio of men to women in prison. Women made 7.1 % of the prison population in 2004

– Chivalry thesis - explains difference in arrest and

incarceration rates:

– 1. the criminal justice regard female offenders as less dangerous than men and excuse activities for which males would be arrested

– 2. fewer women get sent to prison than men
- Feminists also examine social understandings

about femininity and how they affect women’s experiences in the justice system:

• Women treated more harshly when they deviate from the norms of female sexuality

• Seen as doubly deviant – not only breaking the law but also flouting (showing contempt for) appropriate female behavior

• Judged less on the offense and more on their deviant lifestyle.

Gender and Crime: Crimes Against Women

– In categories of crime like domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, men are overwhelmingly the aggressors and women are overwhelmingly the victims

Rape much more common than official stats show since many rapes go unreported

All women are victims of rape because they live in fear and take special precautions for their protection

  1. Psychopaths

Psychopaths: emotionless characters who find delight in violence

  1. Deviance

-Deviance is nonconformity to a set of norms

  1. Differential association

- The concept that individuals become delinquent through associating with people who are carriers of criminal norms


- Sees criminal activity as learned similar to law abiding activity

  1. Chivalry thesis (slide #27)

Explains difference in arrest and incarceration rates:

– 1. the criminal justice regard female offenders as less dangerous than men and excuse activities for which males would be arrested

– 2. fewer women get sent to prison than men

  1. Slavery
  1. Extreme form of inequality in which certain people own other people as property
  2. - Conditions of slavery vary by historical period and social context
  3. - Highly unstable and usually break down because slaves resist subjugation and because people work more efficiently with positive incentives
  4. - Slavery continues today, as in sex trafficking



  1. Caste
  1. Position is bestowed for life at birth, rather than achieved through personal accomplishment
  2.  Social status based on personal characteristics such as race, parental religion, parental caste 
  3. “Purity” of caste maintained by rules of marriage required by custom or law
  4. Examples: India, South Africa (Apartheid)

  1. Class
  1. - a social class is a large group of people who occupy a similar economic position in the wider society
  2. - Class systems differ from slavery and caste in four main ways:
  3. - Class systems are fluid—boundaries between classes are not clear cut
  4. - Class positions are in some part achieved— social mobility is more common in this system
  5. -Class is economically based
  6. - Class systems are large scale and impersonal


U.S. Class Structure (Upper class, middle class, etc)

Be able to describe characteristics of each – except for income



Upper Class

• Consists of the very wealthiest. Household earnings more than $300,000*. Approx. 5% of all American households


▪ Wealth from capital ownership/ Politically influential


▪ Includes: super wealthy (heads of major corporations), those who make large sums of money through investments/real estate, those who inherited great wealth, a few celebrities and professional athletes


▪ At the top of this group are the super rich
▪ people whose vast fortunes permit a lifestyle of extreme luxury


Middle Class


• Catchall for diverse group of occupations, lifestyles, people who earn stable and sometimes substantial incomes


▪ Primarily white-collar jobs


▪ Grew during most of the 2oth century


▪ Currently, includes slightly more than half of all American households.


▪ Historically largely white but today racially and culturally diverse (African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics).
Upper Middle Class (20% of U.S. households)


▪ Relatively high-income professionals, mid-level corporate managers, people who own or manage small businesses and retail shops, large farm owners


▪ Household income ranges from about $120,000 to $300,000 ▪ College educated with advanced degrees
▪ Secure jobs with retirement and health benefits


▪ Comfortable homes, some savings and investments, drive expensive cars, but lack high-end luxuries, social connections and extravagancies of the upper class.
Lower middle class (40% of US Households)


▪ Trained office workers who provide skilled services (e.g. secretaries, bookkeepers) elementary and high school teachers, nurses, sales people, police officers, firefighters


▪ Household incomes range from $48,000 to $120,000 ▪ May own modest house
▪ High school and perhaps some college education


▪ Fairly high status based on occupation; their relatively low income determines their class position


Working Class (20% of American households)

• Primarily blue-collar and pink collar workers (factory workers, mechanics, clerical aids, sales clerks, restaurant/hotel workers)

• Household income range: $30,000 - $48,223
• Family income covers basic living expenses and perhaps a

summer vacation.

  • Older members may own homes; younger members likely rent.

• Racially and ethnically diverse

Lower Class (15% of American households)

• Part-time or no work

• Household income lower than $30,000 (average $17,000)

• City dwellers; semi- or unskilled manufacturing/service jobs (e.g. sweatshops, housecleaning)

• No medical insurance, disability, Social Security • Many live in poverty
• Primarily non-white

The Underclass/New Urban Poor
Group “beneath” the class system without access

to the world of work and mainstream behavior

Unskilled and unemployed men, poor single mothers and their children, teenagers from welfare-dependent families, homeless

Located in highest-poverty neighborhoods in the inner city
• Why have the “new urban poor” emerged?

Economic globalization has moved jobs to low- wage countries

Racial discrimination

Government assistance programs were cut back in the 1980s (Reagan, elder Bush)

Culture of the underclass has taken on a life of its own, serving as both cause and effect (argument of some sociologists)




  1. Marx - Karl Marx

- Analysis of class and means of production

- Means of production: the means by which workers gain a livelihood in modern societies 

- Saw fundamental split between the owners of capital (industrialists/capitalists) and the workers who do not own capital (working class) 

- Surplus value: workers produce more than employers need to repay the cost of hiring them. This is the source of profit which capitalists put to their own use. 

- Believed maturing of industrial capitalism would increase gap between rich and poor 

- Thought wages of working class could never rise far above subsistence level

  1. Weber - Max Weber

- Similar to Marx, but two main differences:

- Believed class isn’t just about who controls labor and who doesn’t

- There are other economic differences besides property such as people’s skills and credentials

- Distinguished another aspect of stratification—status

- Status refers differences between groups in the esteem, or "social honor,” accorded by others

- Class is an objective measure; Status depends on people’s subjective evaluations of social differences

- Classes derive from economic factors; status is governed by varying lifestyles that groups follow

  1. Davis and Moore
  1. - Functions of stratification
  • Stratification has beneficial consequences for society
    - Certain positions are functionally more important than others (brain surgeons, e.g.) and these positions require special skills for their performance
    Only a limited number of individuals in a society have the talents or experience appropriate for these positions 
  • Therefore rewards (prestige, money, power) are needed to attract these people

- Theory has been criticized: (1) rewards do not necessarily reflect actual importance; (2) assumes social location is based on innate talent and efforts

  1. Parkin


 Social closure

- Social closure can be any way groups try to maintain exclusive control over resources, limiting access to them. Ethnic origin, language, or religion may be used to create social closure. Two processes:


- Exclusion – Strategies for separating outsiders and denying them valued resources.


- Usurpation – Attempts by less privileged to acquire resources monopolized by others


  1. Social stratification
  • A system of inequalities among individuals and groups
  •  Structured inequalities: individuals and groups enjoy unequal access to rewards on the basis of their position within the stratification scheme
  •  Inequalities are built into the system, rather than by chance

  1. Status 
  1. the prestige that goes along with one’s social position
  1. Income
wages and salaries earned from paid occupations plus unearned money from investments.
  1. Wealth
all assets individuals own: cash, savings and checking accounts, investments in stocks, bonds, real estate properties, etc.
  1. Social mobility
is the movement of individuals between different class positions as a result of changes in occupation, wealth, or income
  1. Intergenerational mobility

- How children rate on the scale compared to parents or grandparents

- Industrial hypothesis: societies become more open to movement between classes as they become more technologically advanced

- Workers get jobs because of achievement/skill rather than ascription (eg based on family, race, and gender)


  1. Intragenerational mobility


- How far one moves up or down the social scale during working life

- Earnings, status and satisfaction increase most dramatically when workers are in their twenties; more subtle increases later on.

• Workers tend to be promoted twice

▪ First by the time they are 34; second between their mid-thirtiesand early fifties.

▪ Women: more likely to continue changing jobs after the early part of their careers than men.

▪ Women: experiencing increased labor force participation and more likely (unlike the 1950s) to hold the same jobs as men


  1. Absolute poverty 
  1. Cannot get enough to eat; undernourished, may starve to death. Common in poorer developing countries
  1. Relative poverty
  1. Being poor compared with standards of living of the majority; lacks resources to maintain decent housing and healthy living conditions 
  1. Theories of poverty: Blame the Victim; Blame the System

“Blame the victim” holds individuals responsible for their disadvantaged positions.

“Blame the system” says factors in society shape the way resources are distributed

  1. Sex
  1. Refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women
  1. Gender
  1. Refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women
  1. Patriarchy

The systematic dominance of men over women in a society

- Few known societies that are not patriarchal

- Degree of inequality between sexes varies across cultures

- Women in the United States have made considerable progress but are still unequal in many ways

  1. Wage gap (gender gap in pay)
  1. The“gender gap” in pay is widely recognized – Many sociologists view gender typing, or sex segregation, as a cause of the gender gap in earnings
  1. Glass ceiling
  1. Glass Ceiling: a promotion barrier that prevents women’s upward mobility within an organization
  1. Glass escalator
  1. men who work in female-dominated occupations tend to be pushed to the top
Supporting users have an ad free experience!