McGraw-Hill OnlineMcGraw-Hill Higher EducationLearning Center
Student Center | Instructor Center | Information Center | Home
Census 2000 Updates
Audio
Glossary
Career Opportunities
Internet Guide
Web Resources
Statistics Primer
PowerWeb: Sociology
PowerWeb: Violence & Terrorism
Feedback
Help Center


Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 4/e
Richard T. Schaefer, DePaul University


Glossary


Absolute poverty  A standard of poverty based on a minimum level of subsistence below which families should not be expected to exist.
(See 198)
Achieved status  A social position attained by a person largely through his or her own efforts.
(See 110, 190)
Activity theory  An interactionist theory of aging that argues that elderly people who remain active will be best-adjusted.
(See 276)
Adoption  In a legal sense, a process that allows for the transfer of the legal rights, responsibilities, and privileges of parenthood to a new legal parent or parents.
(See 303)
Affirmative action  Positive efforts to recruit minority group members or women for jobs, promotions, and educational opportunities.
(See 233, 371)
Ageism  A term coined by Robert N. Butler to refer to prejudice and discrimination against the elderly.
(See 279)
Agrarian society  The most technologically advanced form of preindustrial society. Members are primarily engaged in the production of food but increase their crop yield through such innovations as the plow.
(See 121)
Alienation  The condition of being estranged or disassociated from the surrounding society.
(See 141)
Amalgamation  The process by which a majority group and a minority group combine through intermarriage to form a new group.
(See 236)
Anomie  Durkheim's term for the loss of direction felt in a society when social control of individual behavior has become ineffective.
(See 10, 168)
Anomie theory of deviance  A theory developed by Robert Merton that explains deviance as an adaptation either of socially prescribed goals or of the norms governing their attainment, or both.
(See 169)
Anticipatory socialization  Processes of socialization in which a person "rehearses" for future positions, occupations, and social relationships.
(See 89)
Anti-Semitism  Anti-Jewish prejudice.
(See 247)
Apartheid  The former policy of the South African government designed to maintain the separation of Blacks and other non-Whites from the dominant Whites.
(See 237)
Argot  Specialized language used by members of a group or subculture.
(See 67)
Ascribed status  A social position "assigned" to a person by society without regard for the person's unique talents or characteristics.
(See 109, 190)
Assimilation  The process by which a person forsakes his or her own cultural tradition to become part of a different culture.
(See 237)
Authority  Power that has been institutionalized and is recognized by the people over whom it is exercised.
(See 356)
Bilateral descent  A kinship system in which both sides of a person's family are regarded as equally important.
(See 294)
Bilingualism  The use of two or more languages in particular settings, such as workplaces or educational facilities, treating each language as equally legitimate.
(See 70)
Birthrate  The number of live births per 1,000 population in a given year. Also known as the crude birthrate.
(See 384)
Black power  A political philosophy promoted by many younger Blacks in the 1960s that supported the creation of Black-controlled political and economic institutions.
(See 240)
Bourgeoisie  Karl Marx's term for the capitalist class, comprising the owners of the means of production.
(See 193)
Bureaucracy  A component of formal organization in which rules and hierarchical ranking are used to achieve efficiency.
(See 140)
Bureaucratization  The process by which a group, organization, or social movement becomes increasingly bureaucratic.
(See 143)
Capitalism  An economic system in which the means of production are largely in private hands and the main incentive for economic activity is the accumulation of profits.
(See 193, 354)
Castes  Hereditary systems of rank, usually religiously dictated, that tend to be fixed and immobile.
(See 191)
Causal logic  The relationship between a condition or variable and a particular consequence, with one event leading to the other.
(See 31)
Census  An enumeration, or counting, of a population.
(See 384)
Charismatic authority  Max Weber's term for power made legitimate by a leader's exceptional personal or emotional appeal to his or her followers.
(See 357)
Class  A term used by Max Weber to refer to a group of people who have a similar level of wealth and income.
(See 193)
Class consciousness  In Karl Marx's view, a subjective awareness held by members of a class regarding their common vested interests and need for collective political action to bring about social change.
(See 193)
Classical theory  An approach to the study of formal organizations that views workers as being motivated almost entirely by economic rewards.
(See 146)
Class system  A social ranking based primarily on economic position in which achieved characteristics can influence mobility.
(See 191)
Closed system  A social system in which there is little or no possibility of individual mobility.
(See 205)
Coalition  A temporary or permanent alliance geared toward a common goal.
(See 139)
Code of ethics  The standards of acceptable behavior developed by and for members of a profession.
(See 39)
Cognitive theory of development  Jean Piaget's theory explaining how children's thought progresses through four stages.
(See 88)
Cohabitation  The practice of living together as a male-female couple without marrying.
(See 308)
Colonialism  The maintenance of political, social, economic, and cultural dominance over a people by a foreign power for an extended period of time.
(See 207)
Communism  As an ideal type, an economic system under which all property is communally owned and no social distinctions are made on the basis of people's ability to produce.
(See 355)
Community  A spatial or political unit of social organization that gives people a sense of belonging, based either on shared residence in a particular place or on a common identity.
(See 415)
Concentric-zone theory  A theory of urban growth that sees growth in terms of a series of rings radiating from the central business district.
(See 418)
Conflict perspective  A sociological approach that assumes that social behavior is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups.
(See 14)
Conformity  Going along with one's peers, individuals of a person's own status, who have no special right to direct that person's behavior.
(See 160)
Contact hypothesis  An interactionist perspective that states that interracial contact between people of equal status in cooperative circumstances will reduce prejudice.
(See 235)
Content analysis  The systematic coding and objective recording of data, guided by some rationale.
(See 38)
Control group  Subjects in an experiment who are not introduced to the independent variable by the researcher.
(See 37)
Control theory  A view of conformity and deviance that suggests that our connection to members of society leads us to systematically conform to society's norms.
(See 165)
Control variable  A factor held constant to test the relative impact of an independent variable.
(See 34)
Correlation  A relationship between two variables whereby a change in one coincides with a change in the other.
(See 32)
Correspondence principle  A term used by Bowles and Gintis to refer to the tendency of schools to promote the values expected of individuals in each social class and to prepare students for the types of jobs typically held by members of their class.
(See 337)
Counterculture  A subculture that deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture.
(See 68)
Creationism  A literal interpretation of the Bible regarding the creation of man and the universe used to argue that evolution should not be presented as established scientific fact.
(See 344)
Crime  A violation of criminal law for which formal penalties are applied by some governmental authority.
(See 174)
Cult  Due to the stereotyping, this term has been abandoned by sociologists in favor of new religious movements.
(See 331)
Cultural relativism  The viewing of people's behavior from the perspective of their own culture.
(See 69)
Cultural transmission  A school of criminology that argues that criminal behavior is learned through social interactions.
(See 171)
Cultural universals  General practices found in every culture.
(See 56, 321)
Culture  The totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior.
(See 55)
Culture lag  Ogburn's term for a period of maladjustment during which the nonmaterial culture is still adapting to new material conditions.
(See 58, 455)
Culture shock  The feeling of surprise and disorientation that is experienced when people witness cultural practices different from their own.
(See 68)
Death rate  The number of deaths per 1,000 population in a given year. Also known as the crude death rate.
(See 384)
Defended neighborhood  A neighborhood that residents identify through defined community borders and through a perception that adjacent areas are geographically separate and socially different.
(See 424)
Degradation ceremony  An aspect of the socialization process within total institutions, in which people are subjected to humiliating rituals.
(See 90)
Deindustrialization  The systematic, widespread withdrawal of investment in basic aspects of productivity such as factories and plants.
(See 367)
Demographic transition  A term used to describe the change from high birthrates and death rates to relatively low birthrates and death rates.
(See 385)
Demography  The scientific study of population.
(See 381)
Denomination  A large, organized religion not officially linked with the state or government.
(See 328)
Dependency theory  An approach that contends that industrialized nations continue to exploit developing countries for their own gain.
(See 209)
Dependent variable  The variable in a causal relationship that is subject to the influence of another variable.
(See 31)
Deviance  Behavior that violates the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society.
(See 165)
Differential association  A theory of deviance proposed by Edwin Sutherland that holds that violation of rules results from exposure to attitudes favorable to criminal acts.
(See 171)
Diffusion  The process by which a cultural item is spread from group to group or society to society.
(See 57)
Discovery  The process of making known or sharing the existence of an aspect of reality.
(See 57)
Disengagement theory  A functionalist theory of aging introduced by Cumming and Henry that contends that society and the aging individual mutually sever many of their relationships.
(See 275)
Domestic partnership  Two unrelated adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in a relationship of mutual caring, who reside together, and who agree to be jointly responsible for their dependents, basic living expenses, and other common necessities.
(See 309)
Dominant ideology  A set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests.
(See 65, 195)
Downsizing  Reductions taken in a company's workforce as part of deindustrialization.
(See 368)
Dramaturgical approach  A view of social interaction, popularized by Erving Goffman, under which people are examined as if they were theatrical performers.
(See 16, 86)
Dyad  A two-member group.
(See 138)
Dysfunction  An element or a process of society that may disrupt a social system or lead to a decrease in stability.
(See 14, 141)
Ecclesia  A religious organization that claims to include most or all of the members of a society and is recognized as the national or official religion.
(See 328)
E-commerce  Numerous ways that people with access to the Internet can do business from their computers.
(See 369)
Economic system  The social institution through which goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed.
(See 353)
Education  A formal process of learning in which some people consciously teach while others adopt the social role of learner.
(See 321)
Egalitarian family  An authority pattern in which the adult members of the family are regarded as equals.
(See 295)
Elite model  A view of society as ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests.
(See 363)
Endogamy  The restriction of mate selection to people within the same group.
(See 298)
Environmental justice  A legal strategy based on claims that racial minorities are subjected disproportionately to environmental hazards.
(See 435)
Equilibrium model  Talcott Parsons's functionalist view of society as tending toward a state of stability or balance.
(See 451)
Esteem  The reputation that a particular individual has earned within an occupation.
(See 196)
Ethnic group  A group that is set apart from others because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns.
(See 225)
Ethnocentrism  The tendency to assume that one's culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others.
(See 69, 229)
Ethnography  The study of an entire social setting through extended systematic observation.
(See 36)
Evolutionary theory  A theory of social change that holds that society is moving in a definite direction.
(See 450)
Exogamy  The requirement that people select mates outside certain groups.
(See 298)
Experiment  An artificially created situation that allows the researcher to manipulate variables.
(See 37)
Experimental group  Subjects in an experiment who are exposed to an independent variable introduced by a researcher.
(See 37)
Exploitation theory  A Marxist theory that views racial subordination in the United States as a manifestation of the class system inherent in capitalism.
(See 234)
Expressiveness  A term used by Parsons and Bales to refer to concern for maintenance of harmony and the internal emotional affairs of the family.
(See 263)
Extended family  A family in which relatives-such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles-live in the same home as parents and their children.
(See 293)
Face-work  A term used by Erving Goffman to refer to the efforts of people to maintain the proper image and avoid embarrassment in public.
(See 86)
False consciousness  A term used by Karl Marx to describe an attitude held by members of a class that does not accurately reflect its objective position.
(See 193, 449)
Familism  Pride in the extended family, expressed through the maintenance of close ties and strong obligations to kinfolk.
(See 301)
Family  A set of people related by blood, marriage (or some other agreed-upon relationship), or adoption who share the primary responsibility for reproduction and caring for members of society.
(See 291)
Fertility  The amount of reproduction among women of childbearing age.
(See 381)
Folkways  Norms governing everyday social behavior whose violation raises comparatively little concern.
(See 62)
Force  The actual or threatened use of coercion to impose one's will on others.
(See 356)
Formal norms  Norms that generally have been written down and that specify strict rules for punishment of violators.
(See 61)
Formal organization  A special-purpose group designed and structured for maximum efficiency.
(See 140)
Formal social control  Social control carried out by authorized agents, such as police officers, judges, school administrators, and employers.
(See 163)
Functionalist perspective  A sociological approach that emphasizes the way that parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability.
(See 13)
Gemeinschaft  A term used by Ferdinand Tönnies to describe close-knit communities, often found in rural areas, in which strong personal bonds unite members.
(See 119)
Gender roles  Expectations regarding the proper behavior, attitudes, and activities of males and females.
(See 91, 259)
Generalized others  A term used by George Herbert Mead to refer to the child's awareness of the attitudes, viewpoints, and expectations of society as a whole that a child takes into account in his or her behavior.
(See 85)
Genocide  The deliberate, systematic killing of an entire people or nation.
(See 236)
Gentrification  The resettlement of low-income city neighborhoods by prosperous families and business firms.
(See 437)
Gerontology  The scientific study of the sociological and psychological aspects of aging and the problems of the aged.
(See 275)
Gesellschaft  A term used by Ferdinand Tönnies to describe communities, often urban, that are large and impersonal with little commitment to the group or consensus on values.
(See 120)
Glass ceiling  An invisible barrier that blocks the promotion of a qualified individual in a work environment because of the individual's gender, race, or ethnicity.
(See 232, 268)
Goal displacement  Overzealous conformity to official regulations within a bureaucracy.
(See 142)
Group  Any number of people with similar norms, values, and expectations who interact with one another on a regular basis.
(See 113, 135)
Growth rate  The difference between births and deaths, plus the difference between immigrants and emigrants, per 1,000 population.
(See 384)
Hawthorne effect  The unintended influence that observers or experiments can have on their subjects.
(See 38)
Health  As defined by the World Health Organization, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.
(See 391)
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)  Organizations that provide comprehensive medical services for a preestablished fee.
(See 407)
Hidden curriculum  Standards of behavior that are deemed proper by society and are taught subtly in schools.
(See 336)
Holistic medicine  A means of health maintenance using therapies in which the health care practitioner considers the person's physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual characteristics.
(See 402)
Homophobia  Fear of and prejudice against homosexuality.
(See 125, 260)
Horizontal mobility  The movement of an individual from one social position to another of the same rank.
(See 205)
Horticultural societies  Preindustrial societies in which people plant seeds and crops rather than subsist merely on available foods.
(See 121)
Human ecology  An area of study concerned with the interrelationships between people and their spatial setting and physical environment.
(See 418)
Human relations approach  An approach to the study of formal organizations that emphasizes the role of people, communication, and participation within a bureau-cracy and tends to focus on the informal structure of the organization.
(See 146)
Hunting-and-gathering society  A preindustrial society in which people rely on whatever foods and fiber are readily available in order to live.
(See 121)
Hypothesis  A speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.
(See 31)
Ideal type  A construct or model that serves as a measuring rod against which specific cases can be evaluated.
(See 10, 141)
Impression management  A term used by Erving Goffman to refer to the altering of the presentation of the self in order to create distinctive appearances and satisfy particular audiences.
(See 86)
Incest taboo  The prohibition of sexual relationships between certain culturally specified relatives.
(See 298)
Incidence  The number of new cases of a specific disorder occurring within a given population during a stated period of time.
(See 396)
Income  Salaries and wages.
(See 190)
Independent variable  The variable in a causal relationship that, when altered, causes or influences a change in a second variable.
(See 31)
Industrial city  A city characterized by relatively large size, open competition, an open class system, and elaborate specialization in the manufacturing of goods.
(See 417)
Industrial society  A society that depends on mechanization to produce its economic goods and services.
(See 122, 353)
Infant mortality rate  The number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births in a given year.
(See 384)
Influence  The exercise of power through a process of persuasion. Informal norms 61 Norms that generally are understood but are not precisely recorded.
(See 356)
Informal social control  Social control carried out by people casually through such means as laughter, smiles, and ridicule.
(See 163)
In-group  Any group or category to which people feel they belong.
(See 136)
Innovation  The process of introducing new elements into a culture through either discovery or invention.
(See 57)
Institutional discrimination  The denial of opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups that results from the normal operations of a society.
(See 232, 266)
Instrumentality  A term used by Parsons and Bales to refer to emphasis on tasks, focus on more distant goals, and a concern for the external relationship between one's family and other social institutions.
(See 263)
Interactionist perspective  A sociological approach that generalizes about fundamental or everyday forms of social interaction.
(See 16)
Interest group  A voluntary association of citizens who attempt to influence public policy.
(See 363)
Intergenerational mobility  Changes in the social position of children relative to their parents.
(See 205)
Interview  A face-to-face or telephone questioning of a respondent to obtain desired information.
(See 36)
Intragenerational mobility  Changes in a person's social position within his or her adult life.
(See 205)
Invention  The combination of existing cultural items into a form that did not previously exist.
(See 57)
Iron law of oligarchy  A principle of organizational life developed by Robert Michels under which even democratic organizations will become bureaucracies ruled by a few individuals.
(See 144)
Issei  The early Japanese immigrants to the United States.
(See 244)
Kinship  The state of being related to others.
(See 294)
Labeling theory  An approach to deviance that attempts to explain why certain people are viewed as deviants while others engaging in the same behavior are not.
(See 172)
Laissez-faire  A form of capitalism under which people compete freely, with minimal government intervention in the economy.
(See 354)
Language  An abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture. It also includes gestures and other nonverbal communication.
(See 58)
Latent functions  Unconscious or unintended functions; hidden purposes.
(See 14)
Law  Governmental social control.
(See 61, 164)
Legal-rational authority  Max Weber's term for power made legitimate by law.
(See 357)
Liberation theology  Use of a church, primarily Roman Catholicism, in a political effort to eliminate poverty, discrimination, and other forms of injustice evident in a secular society.
(See 325)
Life chances  Max Weber's term for people's opportunities to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences.
(See 202)
Life expectancy  The average number of years a person can be expected to live under current mortality conditions.
(See 384)
Looking-glass self  A concept used by Charles Horton Cooley that emphasizes the self as the product of our social interactions with others.
(See 84)
Luddites  Rebellious craft workers in nineteenth-century England who destroyed new factory machinery as part of their resistance to the industrial revolution.
(See 455)
Machismo  A sense of virility, personal worth, and pride in one's maleness.
(See 301)
Macrosociology  Sociological investigation that concentrates on large-scale phenomena or entire civilizations.
(See 13)
Manifest functions  Open, stated, and conscious functions.
(See 14)
Master status  A status that dominates others and thereby determines a person's general position within society.
(See 110)
Material culture  The physical or technological aspects of our daily lives.
(See 58)
Matriarchy  A society in which women dominate in family decision making.
(See 295)
Matrilineal descent  A kinship system that favors the relatives of the mother.
(See 294)
McDonaldization  The process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant have come to dominate certain sectors of society, both in the United States and throughout the world.
(See 135)
Megachurches  Large worship centers affiliated only loosely, if at all, with existing denominations.
(See 329)
Megalopolis  A densely populated area containing two or more cities and their surrounding suburbs.
(See 418)
Microsociology  Sociological investigation that stresses study of small groups and often uses laboratory experimental studies.
(See 13)
Minority group  A subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their own lives than the members of a dominant or majority group have over theirs.
(See 225)
Modernization  The far-reaching process by which a society moves from traditional or less developed institutions to those characteristic of more developed societies.
(See 211)
Modernization theory  A functionalist approach that proposes that modernization and development will gradually improve the lives of people in peripheral nations.
(See 211)
Monogamy  A form of marriage in which one woman and one man are married only to each other.
(See 293)
Monopoly  Control of a market by a single business firm.
(See 354)
Morbidity rates  The incidence of diseases in a given population.
(See 396)
Mores  Norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society.
(See 62)
Mortality rate  The incidence of death in a given population.
(See 396)
Multilinear evolutionary theory  A theory of social change that holds that change can occur in several ways and does not inevitably lead in the same direction.
(See 451)
Multinational corporations  Commercial organizations that are headquartered in one country but do business throughout the world.
(See 209)
Multiple-nuclei theory  A theory of urban growth that views growth as emerging from many centers of development, each of which may reflect a particular urban need or activity.
(See 421)
Natural science  The study of the physical features of nature and the ways in which they interact and change.
(See 6)
Negotiated order  A social structure that derives its existence from the social interactions through which people define and redefine its character.
(See 109)
Negotiation  The attempt to reach agreement with others concerning some objective.
(See 108)
Neocolonialism  Continuing dependence of former colonies on foreign countries.
(See 207)
New religious movement (NRM) or cult  A generally small, secretive religious group that represents either a new religion or a major innovation of an existing faith.
(See 331)
New social movements  Organized collective activities that promote autonomy and self-determination as well as improvements in the quality of life.
(See 450)
New urban sociology  An approach to urbanization that considers the interplay of local, national, and worldwide forces and their effect on local space, with special emphasis on the impact of global economic activity.
(See 421)
Nisei  Japanese born in the United States who were descendants of the Issei.
(See 244)
Nonmaterial culture  Cultural adjustments to material conditions, such as customs, beliefs, patterns of communication, and ways of using material objects.
(See 58)
Nonverbal communication  The sending of messages through the use of posture, facial expressions, and gestures.
(See 16)
Normal accidents  Failures that are inevitable, given the manner in which human and technological systems are organized.
(See 461)
Norms  Established standards of behavior maintained by a society.
(See 61)
Nuclear family  A married couple and their unmarried children living together.
(See 291)
Obedience  Compliance with higher authorities in a hierarchical structure.
(See 160)
Objective method  A technique for measuring social class that assigns individuals to classes on the basis of criteria such as occupation, education, income, and place of residence.
(See 196)
Observation  A research technique in which an investigator collects information through direct participation in and/or observation of a group, tribe, or community.
(See 36)
Open system  A social system in which the position of each individual is influenced by his or her achieved status.
(See 205)
Operational definition  An explanation of an abstract concept that is specific enough to allow a researcher to measure the concept.
(See 30)
Organized crime  The work of a group that regulates relations between various criminal enterprises involved in the smuggling and sale of drugs, prostitution, gambling, and other activities.
(See 175)
Out-group  A group or category to which people feel they do not belong.
(See 136, 175)
Patriarchy  A society in which men dominate family decision making.
(See 295)
Patrilineal descent  A kinship system that favors the relatives of the father.
(See 294)
Personality  In everyday speech, a person's typical patterns of attitudes, needs, characteristics, and behavior.
(See 81)
Peter principle  A principle of organizational life, originated by Laurence J. Peter, according to which each individual within a hierarchy tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence.
(See 143)
Pluralism  Mutual respect between the various groups in a society for one another's cultures, which allows minorities to express their own cultures without experiencing prejudice.
(See 238)
Pluralist model  A view of society in which many competing groups within the community have access to governmental officials so that no single group is dominant.
(See 365)
Political action committee (PAC)  A political committee established by an interest group-say, a national bank, corporation, trade association, or cooperative or membership association-to solicit contributions for candidates or political parties.
(See 363)
Political socialization  The process by which individuals acquire political attitudes and develop patterns of political behavior.
(See 357)
Political system  The social institution that relies on a recognized set of procedures for implementing and achieving the goals of a group.
(See 353)
Politics  In Harold D. Lasswell's words, "who gets what, when, and how."
(See 356)
Polyandry  A form of polygamy in which a woman can have several husbands at the same time.
(See 293)
Polygamy  A form of marriage in which an individual can have several husbands or wives simultaneously.
(See 293)
Polygyny  A form of polygamy in which a husband can have several wives at the same time.
(See 293)
Population pyramid  A special type of bar chart that shows the distribution of the population by gender and age.
(See 387)
Postindustrial city  A city in which global finance and the electronic flow of information dominate the economy.
(See 417)
Postindustrial society  A society whose economic system is primarily engaged in the processing and control of information.
(See 122, 417)
Postmodern society  A technologically sophisticated society that is preoccupied with consumer goods and media images.
(See 122)
Power  The ability to exercise one's will over others.
(See 193, 356)
Power elite  A term used by C. Wright Mills for a small group of military, industrial, and government leaders who control the fate of the United States.
(See 363)
Preindustrial city  A city with only a few thousand people living within its borders and characterized by a relatively closed class system and limited mobility.
(See 416)
Prejudice  A negative attitude toward an entire category of people, such as a racial or ethnic minority.
(See 229)
Prestige  The respect and admiration that an occupation holds in a society.
(See 196)
Prevalence  The total number of cases of a specific disorder that exist at a given time.
(See 396)
Primary group  A small group characterized by intimate, face-to-face association and cooperation.
(See 135)
Profane  The ordinary and commonplace elements of life, as distinguished from the sacred.
(See 323)
Professional criminal  A person who pursues crime as a day-to-day occupation, developing skilled techniques and enjoying a certain degree of status among other criminals.
(See 174)
Proletariat  Karl Marx's term for the working class in a capitalist society.
(See 193)
Protestant ethic  Max Weber's term for the disciplined work ethic, this-worldly concerns, and rational orientation to life emphasized by John Calvin and his followers.
(See 325)
Qualitative research  Research that relies on what is seen in the field or naturalistic settings more than on statistical data.
(See 36)
Quantitative research  Research that collects and reports data primarily in numerical form.
(See 36)
Questionnaire  A printed research instrument employed to obtain desired information from a respondent.
(See 36)
Racial group  A group that is set apart from others because of obvious physical differences.
(See 225)
Racism  The belief that one race is supreme and all others are innately inferior.
(See 229)
Random sample  A sample for which every member of the entire population has the same chance of being selected.
(See 32)
Reference group  Any group that individuals use as a standard in evaluating themselves and their own behavior.
(See 137)
Relative deprivation  The conscious feeling of a negative discrepancy between legitimate expectations and present actualities.
(See 448)
Relative poverty  A floating standard of deprivation by which people at the bottom of a society, whatever their lifestyles, are judged to be disadvantaged in comparison with the nation as a whole.
(See 199)
Reliability  The extent to which a measure provides consistent results.
(See 33)
Religion  According to Émile Durkheim, a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things.
(See 321)
Religious beliefs  Statements to which members of a particular religion adhere.
(See 327)
Religious experience  The feeling or perception of being in direct contact with the ultimate reality, such as a divine being, or of being overcome with religious emotion.
(See 327)
Religious rituals  Practices required or expected of members of a faith.
(See 327)
Representative sample  A selection from a larger population that is statistically found to be typical of that population.
(See 32)
Research design  A detailed plan or method for obtaining data scientifically.
(See 34)
Resocialization  The process of discarding former behavior patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one's life.
(See 89)
Resource mobilization  The ways in which a social movement utilizes such resources as money, political influence, access to the media, and personnel.
(See 449)
Rites of passage  Rituals marking the symbolic transition from one social position to another.
(See 88)
Role conflict  Difficulties that occur when incompatible expectations arise from two or more social positions held by the same person.
(See 112)
Role exit  The process of disengagement from a role that is central to one's self-identity and reestablishment of an identity in a new role.
(See 113)
Role strain  Difficulties that result from the differing demands and expectations associated with the same social position.
(See 112)
Role taking  The process of mentally assuming the perspective of another, thereby enabling one to respond from that imagined viewpoint.
(See 85)
Routine activities theory  The notion that criminal victimization increases when there is a convergence of motivated offenders and suitable targets.
(See 171)
Sacred  Elements beyond everyday life that inspire awe, respect, and even fear.
(See 321)
Sanctions  Penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm.
(See 63, 159)
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  A hypothesis concerning the role of language in shaping cultures. It holds that language is culturally determined and serves to influence our mode of thought.
(See 60)
Science  The body of knowledge obtained by methods based upon systematic observation.
(See 6)
Scientific management approach  Another name for the classical theory of formal organizations.
(See 146)
Scientific method  A systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem.
(See 29)
Secondary analysis  A variety of research techniques that make use of publicly accessible information and data.
(See 38)
Secondary group  A formal, impersonal group in which there is little social intimacy or mutual understanding.
(See 135)
Sect  A relatively small religious group that has broken away from some other religious organization to renew what it views as the original vision of the faith.
(See 330)
Secularization  The process through which religion's influence on other social institutions diminishes.
(See 321)
Segregation  The act of physically separating two groups; often imposed on a minority group by a dominant group.
(See 237)
Self  According to George Herbert Mead, the sum total of people's conscious perceptions of their own identity as distinct from others.
(See 84)
Self-fulfilling prophecy  The tendency of people to respond to and act on the basis of stereotypes, leading to validation of false definitions.
(See 227)
Serial monogamy  A form of marriage in which a person can have several spouses in his or her lifetime but only one spouse at a time.
(See 293)
Sexism  The ideology that one sex is superior to the other.
(See 266)
Sexual harassment  Behavior that occurs when work benefits are made contingent on sexual favors (as a "quid pro quo") or when touching, lewd comments, or appearance of pornographic material creates a "hostile environment" in the workplace.
(See 148)
Sick role  Societal expectations about the attitudes and behavior of a person viewed as being ill.
(See 391)
Significant others  A term used by George Herbert Mead to refer to those individuals who are most important in the development of the self, such as parents, friends, and teachers.
(See 86)
Single-parent families  Families in which there is only one parent present to care for children.
(See 305)
Slavery  A system of enforced servitude in which people are legally owned by others and in which enslaved status is transferred from parents to children.
(See 190)
Small group  A group small enough for all members to interact simultaneously, that is, to talk with one another or at least be acquainted.
(See 137)
Social change  Significant alteration over time in behavior patterns and culture, including norms and values.
(See 447)
Social constructionist perspective  An approach to deviance that emphasizes the role of culture in the creation of the deviant identity.
(See 173)
Social control  The techniques and strategies for preventing deviant human behavior in any society.
(See 159)
Social epidemiology  The study of the distribution of disease, impairment, and general health status across a population.
(See 396)
Social inequality  A condition in which members of a society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power.
(See 189)
Social institutions  Organized patterns of beliefs and behavior centered on basic social needs.
(See 116)
Social interaction  The ways in which people respond to one another.
(See 107)
Socialism  An economic system under which the means of production and distribution are collectively owned.
(See 354)
Socialization  The process whereby people learn the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate for individuals as members of a particular culture.
(See 81)
Social mobility  Movement of individuals or groups from one position of a society's stratification system to another.
(See 205)
Social movements  Organized collective activities to bring about or resist fundamental change in an existing group or society.
(See 447)
Social network  A series of social relationships that links a person directly to others and therefore indirectly to still more people.
(See 114)
Social role  A set of expectations of people who occupy a given social position or status.
(See 110)
Social science  The study of various aspects of human society.
(See 6)
Social structure  The way in which a society is organized into predictable relationships.
(See 107)
Societal-reaction approach  Another name for labeling theory.
(See 172)
Society  A fairly large number of people who live in the same territory, are relatively independent of people outside it, and participate in a common culture.
(See 55)
Sociobiology  The systematic study of the biological bases of social behavior.
(See 84)
Sociocultural evolution  The process of change and development in human societies that results from cumulative growth in their stores of cultural information.
(See 120)
Sociological imagination  An awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society.
(See 5)
Sociology  The systematic study of social behavior and human groups.
(See 5)
Squatter settlements  Areas occupied by the very poor on the fringes of cities, in which housing is often constructed by the settlers themselves from discarded material.
(See 420)
Status  A term used by sociologists to refer to any of the full range of socially defined positions within a large group or society.
(See 109)
Status group  A term used by Max Weber to refer to people who have the same prestige or lifestyle, independent of their class positions.
(See 193)
Stereotypes  Unreliable generalizations about all members of a group that do not recognize individual differences within the group.
(See 227)
Stigma  A label used to devalue members of deviant social groups.
(See 166)
Stratification  A structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society.
(See 189)
Subculture  A segment of society that shares a distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from the pattern of the larger society.
(See 67)
Suburb  According to the Census Bureau, any territory within a metropolitan area that is not included in the central city.
(See 426)
Survey  A study, generally in the form of interviews or questionnaires, that provides sociologists and other researchers with information concerning how people think and act.
(See 35)
Symbols  The gestures, objects, and language that form the basis of human communication.
(See 85)
Teacher-expectancy effect  The impact that a teacher's expectations about a student's performance may have on the student's actual achievements.
(See 337)
Technology  Information about how to use the material resources of the environment to satisfy human needs and desires.
(See 57, 120, 456)
Telecommuters  Employees who work full-time or part-time at home rather than in an outside office and who are linked to their supervisors and colleagues through computer terminals, phone lines, and fax machines.
(See 147, 457)
Theory  In sociology, a set of statements that seeks to explain problems, actions, or behavior.
(See 8)
Total fertility rate (TFR)  The average number of children born alive to a woman, assuming that she conforms to current fertility rates.
(See 384)
Total institutions  A term coined by Erving Goffman to refer to institutions that regulate all aspects of a person's life under a single authority, such as prisons, the military, mental hospitals, and convents.
(See 89)
Tracking  The practice of placing students in specific curriculum groups on the basis of test scores and other criteria.
(See 336)
Trade unions  Organizations that seek to improve the material status of their members, all of whom perform a similar job or work for a common employer.
(See 368)
Traditional authority  Legitimate power conferred by custom and accepted practice.
(See 356)
Trained incapacity  The tendency of workers in a bureaucracy to become so specialized that they develop blind spots and fail to notice obvious problems.
(See 141)
Triad  A three-member group.
(See 138)
Underclass  Long-term poor people who lack training and skills.
(See 200)
Unilinear evolutionary theory  A theory of social change that holds that all societies pass through the same successive stages of evolution and inevitably reach the same end.
(See 451)
Urban ecology  An area of study that focuses on the interrelationships between people and their environment.
(See 418)
Urbanism  Distinctive patterns of social behavior evident among city residents.
(See 418)
Validity  The degree to which a scale or measure truly reflects the phenomenon under study.
(See 33)
Value neutrality  Max Weber's term for objectivity of sociologists in the interpretation of data.
(See 41)
Values  Collective conceptions of what is considered good, desirable, and proper-or bad, undesirable, and improper-in a culture.
(See 63)
Variable  A measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions.
(See 31)
Verstehen  The German word for "understanding" or "insight"; used by Max Weber to stress the need for sociologists to take into account people's emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.
(See 10)
Vertical mobility  The movement of a person from one social position to another of a different rank.
(See 205)
Vested interests  Veblen's term for those people or groups who will suffer in the event of social change and who have a stake in maintaining the status quo.
(See 454)
Victimization surveys  Questionnaires or interviews used to determine whether people have been victims of crime.
(See 177)
Victimless crimes  A term used by sociologists to describe the willing exchange among adults of widely desired, but illegal, goods and services.
(See 176)
Vital statistics  Records of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces gathered through a registration system maintained by governmental units.
(See 384)
Wealth  An inclusive term encompassing all of a person's material assets, including land and other types of property.
(See 190)
White-collar crime  Crimes committed by affluent individuals or corporations in the course of their daily business activities.
(See 175)
World systems analysis  Immanuel Wallerstein's view of the global economic system as divided between certain industrialized nations that control wealth and developing countries that are controlled and exploited.
(See 207, 422)
Xenocentrism  The belief that the products, styles, or ideas of one's society are inferior to those that originate elsewhere.
(See 70)
Zero population growth (ZPG)  The state of a population with a growth rate of zero, achieved when the number of births plus immigrants is equal to the number of deaths plus emigrants.
(See 390)
Zoning laws  Legal provisions stipulating land use and architectural design of housing sometimes used as a means of keeping racial minorities and low-income people out of suburban areas.
(See 428)
Discrimination  The process of denying opportunities and equal rights to individuals and groups because of prejudice or other arbitrary reasons.