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Classical Sociological Theory, 4/e
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Classical Sociological Theory


accounting  The process by which people offer accounts in order to make sense of the world. (ethnomethodology)
accounting practices  The ways in which one person offers an account and another person accepts or rejects that account. (ethnomethodology)
accounts  The ways in which actors explain (describe, criticize, and idealize) specific situations. (ethnomethodology)
act  The basic concept in Mead's theory, involving an impulse, perception of stimuli, taking action involving the object perceived, and using the object to satisfy the initial impulse. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
action  Things that people do that are the result of conscious processes.
actor-networks theory  An approach to studying social phenomena that focuses on the meaning-shaping relations between entities and discounts any essential or intrinsic characteristics of the entities.
adaptation  One of Parsons's four functional imperatives. A system must adjust to its environment and adjust the environment to its needs. More specifically, a system must cope with external situational dangers and contingencies. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
affectivity-affective neutrality  The pattern variable involving the issue of how much emotion (or affect) to invest in a social phenomenon. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
affectual action  Nonrational action that is the result of emotion. (Weber)
agents  Actors who have the ability to make a difference in the social world; what occurs would not have occurred in that way were it not for the fact that the actor intervened and took the action in question.
alienation  The breakdown of the natural interconnection between the following: people and their productive activities, the products they produce, the fellow workers with whom they produce those things, and with what they are potentially capable of becoming. (Marx)
analytical Marxism  An attempt to focus on the questions posed by Marx--such as class, exploitation and historical materialism--but using conventional sociological methods, such as empirical studies, that focus on functions and rational actors. (Neo-Marxian)
anomie  For Durkheim, the social condition where individuals lack sufficient moral restraint so that they do not know what is expected of them. For Merton, a situation in which there is a serious disconnection between social structure and culture; between structurally created abilities of people to act in accord with cultural norms and goals and the norms and goals themselves. (Durkheim, structural functionalism)
appearance  The way the actor looks to the audience; especially those items that indicate the performer's social status. (Goffman)
archaeology of knowledge  The analysis of those rules that explain the conditions of possibility for all that can be said in a given discourse at any given time. (Foucault)
asceticism  A religious or other belief system in which followers deny themselves worldly pleasures. Weber divides asceticism into two types: otherworldly, which focuses on the rejection of the secular world, and innerwordly, which focuses on inner purity and allows members to engage in the secular world. (Weber)
ascription-achievement  The pattern variable where the issue is whether we judge a social phenomenon by with what it is endowed or by what it achieves. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
association  The relationships or interactions among people. (Simmel)
autopoietic systems  Systems that produce their own basic elements, establish their own boundaries and structures, are self-referential, and are closed. (Systems Theory)
back stage  That area where facts or informal actions suppressed in the front stage are allowed. A back stage is usually adjacent to the front stage, but access to it is controlled. Performers can reliably expect no members of their front audience to appear in the back. (Goffman)
base  That part of society which conditions, if not determines, the nature of everything else in society. For Marx, this was the economy. (Marx)
because motives  Retrospective glances backward, after an action has occurred, at the factors (e.g., personal background, individual psyche, environment) that caused individuals to behave as they did. (Schutz)
behavior  Things that people do that require little or no thought. (Weber, Exchange Theory)
behavioral organism  One of Parsons's action systems, responsible for handling the adaptation function by adjusting to and transforming the external world.
behaviorism  The study, largely associated with psychology, of behavior. Behaviorism ignores consciousness and focuses on conditioning to explain individual actions.
bifurcated consciousness  A type of consciousness characteristic of women that reflects the fact that, for them, everyday life is divided into two realities: the reality of their actual, lived, reflected-on experience and the reality of social typifications. (Feminism)
breaching experiments  Experiments in which background social rules are violated in order to shed light on the methods by which people construct social reality. (ethnomethodology)
bureaucracy  A modern type of organization in which the behavior of officers is rule-bound; each office has a specified sphere of competence and has obligations to perform specific functions, the authority to carry them out, and the means of compulsion to get the job done; the offices are organized into a hierarchical system; technical training is needed for each office; those things needed to do the job belong to the office and not the officer; the position is part of the organization and cannot be appropriated by an officer; and much of what goes on in the bureaucracy (acts, decisions, rules) is in writing. (Weber)
business  A pecuniary approach to economic processes in which the dominant interests are acquisition, money, and profitability, rather than production and the interests of the larger community. (Veblen)
calculability  The emphasis on quantity, often to the detriment of quality. (Ritzer)
capitalism  An economic system composed mainly of capitalists and the proletariat, in which one class (capitalists) exploits the other (proletariat). (Marx)
capitalist patriarchy  A term that indicates that the oppression of women is traceable to a combination of capitalism and patriarchy. (Feminism)
capitalists  Those who own the means of production under capitalism and are therefore in a position to exploit workers. (Marx)
carceral archipelago  An image of society that results from the idea that discipline is swarming through society. This means that the process affects some parts of society and not others, or it may affect some parts at one time and other parts at another time. Thus, it creates a patchwork of centers of discipline amidst a world in which other settings are less affected or unaffected by the spread of the disciplinary society. (Foucault)
charismatic authority  Authority legitimated by the followers' belief in the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of the charismatic leader. The leader need not actually have such qualities. (Weber)
civilizing process  The long-term change in the West in manners as they relate to daily behavior. Everyday behaviors that were at one time acceptable have, over time, become increasingly unacceptable. We are more likely to observe the everyday behaviors of others, to be sensitive to them, to understand them better and, perhaps most importantly, to find an increasing number of them embarrassing. What we once found quite acceptable now embarrasses us enormously. As a result, what was once quite open is now hidden from view. (Elias)
class consciousness  The ability of a class, in particular the proletariat, to overcome false consciousness and attain an accurate understanding of the capitalist system. (Marx)
code  A way of distinguishing elements of a system from elements that do not belong to the system; the basic language of a functional system. (Systems Theory)
collective conscience  The totality of beliefs and feelings common to the average member of a society that forms a system with its own properties. (Durkheim)
collective representation  The collective concepts and images through which society reflects on itself. For Durkheim, these representations also constitute a social force that motivates or constrains us. (Durkheim)
colonization of the lifeworld  As the system and its structures grow increasingly differentiated, complex, and self-sufficient, their power grows and with it their ability to direct and control what transpires in the lifeworld. (Habermas)
communism  The social system that permits, for the first time, the expression of full human potential. It would involve collective decision making that would allow the needs of the many to be taken into account. (Marx)
compounded societies  Societies that are formed by the combination of heterogeneous and semi-autonomous units. This is in distinction to simple societies, which are relatively homogenous and constituted by one society-wide unit. There can be different degrees of compounding (doubly, trebly) where compounded societies are further compounded. (Spencer)
conflict group  A group that actually engages in group conflict. (Dahrendorf)
conspicuous consumption  The consumption of a variety of goods, not for subsistence but for the attainment of higher status of those who consume them, thereby creating the basis for invidious distinctions between people. (Veblen)
conspicuous leisure  The nonproductive use of time as a way of creating an invidious distinction between people and elevating the social status of those able to use their time in this way. (Veblen)
constructivist perspective  The view that schemes of perception, thought, and interactions create structures. (Bourdieu)
consummation  Final stage of the act involving the taking of action that satisfies the original impulse. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
contingency  The idea that social structures, events or people could be different than they are and that at the heart of even the most enduring institution there is an element of chance and accident. (Systems Theory)
core  The geographical area that dominates the capitalist world-economy and exploits the rest of the system. (Neo-Marxian)
cost  Rewards lost in adopting a specific action and, as a result, in forgoing alternative lines of action. (Exchange Theory)
critical theory  In general, this refers to a theory of society developed with the intent to fundamentally change society. In particular, critical theory is often used to refer to the group of scholars associated with the Frankfurt school. (Neo-Marxian)
cultural capital  The various kinds of legitimate knowledge possessed by an actor where that knowledge can "bear interest" in the same way that monetary capital does. (Bourdieu)
cultural feminism  A feminist theory of difference that extols the positive aspects of women. (Feminism)
cultural system  The Parsonsian action system that performs the latency function by providing actors with the norms and values that motivate them for action.
culture industry  To the critical theorists, industries such a movies and radio that serve to make culture a more important factor in society than the economy.
definition of the situation  The idea that if people define situations as real, then those definitions are real in their consequences. (Chicago School)
dependence  The potential cost that an actor will be willing to tolerate within a relationship. (Exchange Theory)
dependency chains  The chain of relationships involving those people a person is dependent on as well as those peoples' dependency on the person. (Elias)
dialectic  For Marx, this meant concrete contradictions in society that can only be resolved through social change. (Marx)
dialectical approach  A way of studying society that focuses on contradictions and reciprocal relations between actors and structures. (Marx)
differentiation  An increase in complexity within the system created by the system copying within itself the difference between it and the environment. (Systems Theory)
disciplinary society  A society in which control over people is pervasive. (Foucault)
discreditable stigma  A potentially discrediting characteristic of a person that is not known by audience members. (Goffman)
discursive consciousness  The ability to describe our actions in words. (Giddens; Agency-Structure)
distanciation  The tendency for various components of the modern social world to grow quite distant in space and time. (Giddens; Theories of Modernity)
division of labor  The form that work takes in modern society in which different individuals perform different specialized tasks instead of having everyone do essentially the same sort of task. (Durkheim)
double consciousness  The feelings of those who perceive themselves to be both outside and inside a society, especially where the feeling of being outside is forced on African Americans by a white majority. (Du Bois)
double contingency  The element of chance and accident that is at the heart of every social interaction due to the fact that in order to understand the interaction, the speaker must make risky assumptions about the listener, while the listener must make risky assumptions about the speaker. (Systems Theory)
double hermeneutic  The social scientist's understanding of the social world may have an impact on the understandings of the actors being studied, with the result that social researchers can alter the world they are studying and thus lead to distorted findings and conclusions. (Giddens; Agency-Structure)
dramaturgy  A view of social life as a series of dramatic performances akin to those that take place in the theater. (Goffman)
dromology  The study of social phenomena with a focus upon speed. (Virilio)
dualism  The idea that structure (and culture) and agency can be distinguished for analytic purposes, although they are intertwined in social life. (Agency-Structure)
duality  All social action involves structure, and all structure involves social action. Agency and structure are inextricably interwoven in ongoing human activity or practice. (Agency-Structure)
dyad  A two-person group. (Simmel)
dynamic density  The number of people and their frequency of interaction. An increase in dynamic density leads to the transformation from mechanical to organic solidarity. (Durkheim)
dysfunction  Observable consequences that have an adverse effect on the ability of a particular system to adapt or adjust. (Merton)
economic determinism  The idea that the economy determines all sectors of society. Usually used as a criticism of orthodox Marxist approaches. (Marx; Neo-Marxian)
economy  To Parsons, the subsystem of society that performs the function of adapting to the environment.
endocolonization  Technology being used to colonize the human body. (Virilio)
Enlightenment  A mainly philosophical and humanistic movement beginning in 17th century England and flowering in 18th century France and Scotland. Enlightenment thinkers rejected religious dogma and attempted to model human thought and society on scientific thinking. The Enlightenment led to sociology both in the Enlightenment's belief that scientific principles could be applied to the study of society and also in the conservative reaction to the Enlightenment that stressed the value of norms and traditions. (Sociological Theory: Early Years)
ethnomethodology  The study of members of society in the everyday situations in which they find themselves with a focus on the ways in which they use extraordinary methods to produce ordinary social reality. (ethnomethodology)
evolutionary theory  A theory of society that sees social change as predictable and progressive. It should be noted that Spencer's evolutionary theory predates Darwin's use of the word and does not incorporate biology's idea that evolution is based on random variation. (Spencer)
examination  A way of observing subordinates and assessing what they are doing and have done. It is employed in a given setting by those in authority who make normalizing judgments about what is and is not an adequate score. (Foucault)
exchange network  A web of social relationships involving a number of either individual or collective actors and in which the various actors, who have a variety of valued resources, exchange opportunities and relations with one another. A number of these exchange relations exist and interrelate with one another to form a single network structure. (Emerson)
feminist theory  A generalized, wide-ranging system of ideas about social life and human experience developed from a woman-centered perspective. (Feminism)
fetishism of commodities  The tendency in capitalism for commodities to take on an independent, almost mystical external reality. (Marx)
fiduciary system  To Parsons, the subsystem of society that handles the pattern maintenance and latency function by transmitting culture (norms and values) to actors and seeing to it that it is internalized by them. (Parsons)
field  A network of relations among the objective positions in a social situation. (Bourdieu)
fieldwork  A methodology used by symbolic interactionists and other sociologists that involves venturing into the field (the day-to-day social world) to observe and collect relevant data.
figurations  Social processes involving the interweaving of people who are seen as open and interdependent. Power is central to social figurations; they are constantly in flux. Figurations emerge and develop, but in largely unseen and unplanned ways. (Elias)
Fordism  The ideas, principles, and systems spawned by Henry Ford in the early 20th century and embodied in the creation of the automobile assembly line and the resulting mass production of automobiles. The success of Ford's innovations led many other industries to adapt the assembly line to their production needs and to the mass production of their products.
formal rationality  A type of rationality in which the general form of rationality--such as efficiency, calculability and predictability--become the ultimate goal, replacing any substantive goal that the rationality was originally intended to achieve. Weber believed that this form of rationality is distinctive to the modern West. (Weber)
forms  Patterns imposed on the bewildering array of events, actions, and interactions in the social world, both by people in their everyday lives and by social theorists. (Simmel)
Frankfurt school  The group of neo-Marxists that formed around the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. They rejected Marx's economic determinism, criticized Stalinism, integrated Freud's theories and focused on culture. (Neo-Marxian)
front stage  That part of a dramaturgical performance that generally functions in rather fixed and general ways to define the situation for those who observe the performance. (Goffman)
functional differentiation  The most complex form of differentiation and the form that dominates modern society. Every function within a system is ascribed to a particular unit. (Systems Theory)
functions  Consequences that help a particular system adapt or adjust. (Structural Functionalism)
game stage  The second stage in the genesis of the self: Instead of taking the role of discrete others, the child is able to consider others' specific roles in terms of the overall game. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
gender  Socially constructed male and female roles, relations, and identities. (Feminism)
genealogy of power  An analysis of the evolution of ideas that focuses on contingency and domination. (Foucault)
generalized other  The viewpoint that individuals are able to adopt in which they are able to see their self and their roles in terms of the entire community. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
genetic structuralism  Bourdieu's approach, which involves the study of objective structures that cannot be separated from mental structures that, themselves, involve the internalization of objective structures. (Agency-Structure)
gestures  Movements by one party (person or animal) that serve as stimuli to another party. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
globalization  Processes that affect a multitude of nations throughout the world, but which are independent of any specific nation-state.
glocalization  The complex interplay of the global and the local in any given setting.
goal attainment  The second of Parsons's functional imperatives, involving the need for a system to define and achieve its primary goals.
governmentality  The practices and techniques by which control is exercised over people, primarily by inducing people to aim for "self-improvement," which seems voluntary. (Foucault)
grand theory  A vast, highly ambitious effort to tell the story of a great stretch of human history.
habitus  The mental or cognitive structures, derived from objective social structures, through which people deal with the social world. (Bourdieu)
hegemony  A Marxist concept given its usually accepted definition by Antonio Gramsci that focuses on cultural leadership rather than the coercive effect of state domination.
hierarchical observation  The ability of officials at or near the top of an organization to oversee all that they control with a single gaze. (Foucault)
historical materialism  The idea that the way in which people provide for their material needs determines or, in general, conditions the relations that people have with each other, their social institutions and prevalent ideas. Furthermore, that the material conditions change over time because of dynamics immanent within them, and that history is a record of the changes in the material conditions of a group's life and of the correlative changes in social relations, institutions and prevalent ideas. (Marx)
hyperconsumption  An extraordinary level of consumption associated with the contemporary world. (Ritzer)
hyperreal  Entirely simulated and, as a result, more real than real, more beautiful than beautiful, truer than true, and so on. (Baudrillard)
hysteresis  The condition that results from having a habitus that is not appropriate for the situation in which one lives. (Bourdieu)
I  The immediate response of the self to others; the incalculable, unpredictable, and creative aspect of the self. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
ideal type  A one-sided, exaggerated concept, usually an exaggeration of the congruity of a given phenomenon, used to analyze the social world in all its historical and contemporary variation. The ideal type is a measuring rod to be used in comparing various specific examples of a social phenomenon either cross-culturally or over time. (Weber)
ideology  An intricate web of beliefs about reality and social life that is institutionalized as public knowledge and disseminated throughout society so effectively that it becomes taken-for-granted knowledge for all social groups. For Marx, ideology always served the interests of the ruling class. For Mannheim, ideology refers to those ideas that emerge from specific sectors of the social world and are therefore inherently limited, one-sided, and distorted. (Marx; Mannheim)
imperatively coordinated associations  Associations of people controlled by a hierarchy of authority positions. (Dahrendorf)
implosion  The decline of boundaries and the collapse of various things into each other; dedifferentiation as opposed to differentiation. (Baudrillard)
impression management  The techniques actors use to maintain certain impressions in the face of problems they are likely to encounter. (Goffman)
impulse  First stage of the act in which the actor reacts to some external stimulus and feels the need to do something about it. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
individual culture  The capacity of the individual to produce, absorb, and control the elements of objective culture. (Simmel)
industrial societies  Societies that are characterized by decentralized control and individuality. Spencer sees an evolutionary trend from militant to industrial societies. (Spencer)
industry  The understanding and productive use, primarily by the working classes, of a wide variety of mechanized processes on a large scale. (Veblen)
in-order-to motives  The subjective reasons that actors undertake actions. (Schutz)
integration  The third of Parsons's functional imperatives, requiring that a system seek to regulate the interrelationship of its component parts. Integration also involves the management of the relationship among the other three functional imperatives (AGL). (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
interest group  Group of people possessing not only common interests but also a structure, a goal, and personnel. Interest groups have the capacity to engage in group conflict. (Dahrendorf)
intersectionality theory  The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. (Feminism)
intersubjectivity  That characteristic of the everyday world that depends on the consciousness of one actor visualizing what is at the same time taking place in the consciousness of another. (Schutz)
irrationality of rationality  Various unreasonable things associated with rationality (and McDonaldization), especially dehumanization, in which employees are forced to work in dehumanizing jobs and customers are forced to eat in dehumanizing settings and circumstances. (Ritzer)
juggernaut  Giddens's metaphor for the modern world as a massive force that moves forward inexorably, riding roughshod over everything in its path. People steer the juggernaut, but it always has the possibility of careening out of control. (Theories of Modernity)
labor theory of value  Marx's theory that the value of a commodity should come from the labor that creates it instead of being determined by what can be obtained in an exchange. (Marx)
landscapes  Appadurai's metaphor for the fluid, irregular and variably shaped forces affecting globalization. (Theories of Modernity)
latency  One aspect of Parsons's fourth functional imperative, involving the need for a system to furnish, maintain, and renew the motivation of individuals. (Structural Functionalism)
latent functions  Unintended positive consequences. (Merton)
latent interests  Unconscious interests that translate, for Dahrendorf, into objective role expectations. (Conflict Theory)
law of three stages  Comte's idea that all societies pass through three successive stages: the theological, the metaphysical and the positivist. (Comte)
levels of functional analysis  Functional analysis can be performed on any standardized repetitive social phenomenon, ranging from society as a whole to organizations, institutions and groups. (Merton)
liberal feminism  A feminist theory of inequality that argues that women may claim equality with men on the basis of an essential human capacity for reasoned moral agency, that gender inequality is the result of a patriarchal and sexist patterning of the division of labor, and that gender equality can be produced by transforming the division of labor through the repatterning of key institutions, such as law, work, family, education, and media. (Feminism)
lifeworld  To Schutz, the commonsense world, the world of everyday life, the mundane world; that world in which intersubjectivity takes place. For Habermas it is the place where communicative action generally occurs. (Schutz; Neo-Marxian)
looking-glass self  The idea that we form our sense of ourselves by using others, and their reactions to us, as mirrors to assess who we are and how we are doing. (Cooley)
macro  Approaches in sociology that focus on larger, enduring structures--such as institutions, culture and systems--and tends to ignore individuals and their interactions.
manifest functions  Positive consequences that are brought about consciously and purposely. (Merton)
manifest interests  Latent interests of which people have become conscious. (Dahrendorf)
manipulation  Third stage of the act, in which the object is manipulated, once it has been perceived. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
manner  The way an actor conducts himself; it tells the audience what sort of role the actor expects to play in the situation. (Goffman)
mass culture  The culture that had been commodified and made available to, and popular among, the masses. (Critical Theory)
material social facts  Social facts that are not reducible to the intention of any individual and that take a material form in the external social world (e.g., architecture). (Durkheim)
McDonaldization  The process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society, as well as the rest of the world. Its five basic dimensions are efficiency, calculability, predictability, control through the substitution of technology for people, and, paradoxically, the irrationality of rationality. (Ritzer)
me  The individual's adoption and perception of the generalized other; the conformist aspect of the self.
means of production  Those things that are needed for production to take place, including tools, machinery, raw materials and factories. (Marx)
mechanical solidarity  The type of social order that is encountered in a primitive society. Durkheim believed that such a society is held together by the fact that there is little division of labor and, as a result, virtually everyone does essentially the same things. (Durkheim)
metatheory  A systematic study of the underlying structure of sociological theory. (Metatheory)
methodological holists  Those social scientists who focus on the macro-level and view it as determining the individual interactions.
methodological individualists  Those social scientists who focus on individual interactions and see the macro-level as only an accumulation of such interactions.
methodological relationists  Those social scientists who focus on the relationship between macro- and micro-level phenomena.
micro  Approaches in sociology that tend to stay at the level of interactions between individuals and that tend to ignore institutions, culture and systems.
microphysics of power  The idea that power exists at the micro-level and involves both efforts to exercise it and efforts to contest its exercise. (Foucault)
middle-range theories  Theories that seek a middle ground between trying to explain the entirety of the social world and a very minute portion of that world. (Structural Functionalism)
militant societies  Societies that are characterized by highly structured organizations for offensive and defensive warfare. Spencer defines military in distinction to industrial societies, although the two are often intermingled. (Spencer)
mind  To Mead, the mind is constituted by the conversations that people have with themselves using language.
mystification  An effort by actors to confound their audience by restricting the contact between themselves and the audience, concealing the mundane things that go into their performance. (Goffman)
natural attitude  The attitude we adopt in the lifeworld: We take phenomena for granted, we don't reflect much on them, and we don't doubt their reality or existence. (Schutz)
need-dispositions  To Parsons, drives that are shaped by the social setting.
neotribalism  A postmodern development characterized by the emergence of a wide array of communities that are refuges for strangers seeking community, especially ethnic, religious, and political community.
net balance  The relative weight of functions and dysfunctions. (Merton)
new means of consumption  The set of consumption sites that came into existence largely after 1950 in the United States and that served to revolutionize consumption. (Ritzer)
nonfunctions  Consequences that are irrelevant to the system under consideration. (Merton)
nonmaterial social facts  Social facts that are external and coercive, but which do not take a material form; they are nonmaterial (e.g., language, norms and values). (Durkheim)
normalizing judgments  The ability by those in power to decide what is normal and what is abnormal on a variety of dimensions. Those who are judged abnormal can be either punished or rehabilitated, although the two terms tend to become interchangeable. (Foucault)
objectification  The process through which we create external objects out of our internal thoughts. Also referred to as objectivation. (Marx)
objective culture  The objects that people produce--art, science, philosophy, and so on--that become part of culture. (Simmel)
one-dimensional society  To Herbert Marcuse, the breakdown in the dialectical relationship between people and the larger structures so that people are largely controlled by such structures. Lost is the ability of people to create and to be actively involved in those structures. Gradually, individual freedom and creativity dwindle away into nothingness, and people lose the capacity to think critically and negatively about the structures that control and oppress them. (Neo-Marxian)
operant conditioning  The learning process by which the consequences of behavior serve to modify that behavior. (Exchange Theory)
opportunity costs  The costs of forgoing the next-most-attractive action when an actor chooses an action aimed at achieving a given end. (Rational Choice)
organic solidarity  The type of social order that is encountered in a modern society. Durkheim believed that such societies are held together by the substantial division of labor in modern society, because people need the contributions of an increasing number of people in order to function and even to survive. (Durkheim)
outside  Neither frontstage nor backstage; literally outside the realm of the performance where one does not expect to meet a particular audience. (Goffman)
outsider within, the  The frequent experience of group members when they move from the home group into the larger society.
panopticon  A structure that allows someone in power (e.g., a prison officer) the possibility of complete observation of a group of people (e.g., prisoners).
paradigm  A fundamental image of a science's subject matter used to distinguish one scientific community from another or to distinguish different historical periods of a single scientific discipline. (Metatheory)
patriarchy  A system in which gender differences are essential to the subjugation of women. It is pervasive in its social organization, and durable over time and space. (Feminism)
pattern maintenance  The second aspect of Parsons's fourth functional imperative, involving the need to furnish, maintain, and renew the cultural patterns that create and sustain individual motivation. (Structural Functionalism)
pattern variables  In Parsons' theory, five dichotomous choices that actors must make in every situation. (Structural Functionalism)
perception  Second stage of the act, in which the actor consciously searches for and reacts to stimuli that relate to the impulse and the ways of dealing with it. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
periphery  Those areas of the capitalist world-economy that provide raw materials to the core and are heavily exploited by it. (Neo-Marxian)
personal front  Those items of expressive equipment that the audience identifies with the performers and expects them to carry with them into the setting. (Goffman)
personality  To Parsons, the individual actor's organized system of orientation to, and motivation for, action. (Structural Functionalism)
personality system  The Parsonsian action system responsible for performing the goal-attainment function by defining system goals and mobilizing resources to attain them. (Structural Functionalism)
phantasmagoria  The fantastic immaterial effects produced by physical structures, such as arcades, as well as the newer means of consumption. (Neo-Marxian)
phenomenology  A school of philosophy concerned with the study of the mind. (Schutz)
play stage  The first stage in the genesis of the self, in which the child plays at being someone else. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
polity  To Parsons, the subsystem of society that performs the function of goal attainment by pursuing societal objectives and mobilizing actors and resources to that end. (Structural Functionalism)
positivism  The term is used in widely various ways in sociology. For Comte, it mainly meant a search for society's invariant laws, although he also often associated the term with political progress and order. (Comte)
post-Fordism  In contrast to Fordism, a system for the production of heterogeneous, even customized, products that requires more flexible technologies and more flexible and skilled workers, and that leads to greater heterogeneity of consumption. (Theories of Modernity)
postindustrial society  A society characterized by the provision of services rather than goods; professional and technical work rather than blue-collar, manual work; theoretical knowledge rather than practical know-how; the creation and monitoring of new technologies; and new intellectual technologies to handle such assessment and control. (Theories of Modernity)
postmodern sociology  A type of sociology that sees a qualitative change in society from the modern period, although the precise nature of the change differs.
poststructuralist  A theorist, like Bourdieu, who has been influenced by a structuralist perspective but who has moved beyond it to synthesize it with other theoretical ideas and perspectives.
power  To Emerson, the potential cost that one actor can induce another to accept. (Exchange Theory)
practical consciousness  Involves actions that the actors take for granted, without being able to express in words what they are doing. (Theories of Modernity)
practical rationality  On a day-to-day basis, we deal with whatever difficulties exist and find the most expedient way of attaining our goal of getting from one point to another. (Weber)
practice  To Bourdieu, actions that are the outcome of the dialectical relationship between structure and agency. Practices are not objectively determined, nor are they the product of free will. (Agency-Structure)
praxis  Practical action that is always intertwined with a theory of society and aimed at revolutionary change. (Marx)
primary group  An intimate face-to-face group that plays a crucial role in linking the individual to the larger society. Of special importance are the primary groups of the young, mainly the family and friendship groups. (Cooley)
profit  The greater number of rewards gained over costs incurred in social exchange.
proletariat  Those who, because they do not own means of production, must sell their labor time to the capitalists in order to gain access to those means. (Marx)
Protestant ethic  Generally, a belief that work is its own reward. Weber argues that this ethic developed primarily out of the Calvinists' belief in predestination. The Calvinists could not know whether they were going to heaven or hell or directly affect their fate. However, it was possible for them to discern "signs" that they were either saved or damned, and one of the major signs of salvation was success in business. (Weber)
psychoanalytic feminism  An effort to explain patriarchy through the use of reformulated theories of Freud and his successors in psychoanalytic theory. (Feminism)
quasi group  A number of individuals who occupy positions that have the same role interests. (Conflict Theory)
radical feminism  A theory that holds that women are everywhere oppressed by violence or the threat of violence, and that argues for the necessity of fundamental social change. (Feminism)
rationalization  The historical trend of increasing rationality in any given domain. (Weber)
rational-legal authority  A type of authority in which the legitimacy of leaders is derived from the fact that there are a series of codified rules and regulations, and leaders hold their positions as a result of those rules. (Weber)
recipes  Standardized ways of handling various situations. (Schutz)
reflexive sociology  The use by sociologists of their own theoretical and empirical tools to better understand their own discipline. (Bourdieu)
reflexivity  This includes self-consciousness, but also all of those aspects of modern life that are monitored. (Theories of Modernity)
reify  The process of coming to believe that humanly created social forms are natural, universal, and absolute things. (Marx)
relations of production  Those relations that people form with each other in order to fulfill their material needs. Marx believed that different forces of productions lead to different relations of production. (Marx)
relations of ruling  The complex, nonmonolithic but intricately connected social activities that attempt to control human social production. (Feminism)
repressive law  Characteristic of mechanical solidarity, this is a form of law in which offenders are likely to be severely punished for any action that is seen by the tightly integrated community as an offense against the powerful collective conscience. (Durkheim)
reserve army of the unemployed  Those people that must be kept unemployed in capitalism so that those who have jobs can always be threatened with replacement. (Marx)
restitutive law  Characteristic of organic solidarity and its weakened collective conscience. In this form of law, offenders are likely simply to be asked to comply with the law or to repay (make restitution to) those who have been harmed by their actions. (Durkheim)
role  What an actor does in a status, seen in the context of its functional significance for the larger system. (Structural Functionalism)
role distance  The degree to which individuals separate themselves from the roles they are in. (Goffman)
routinization of charisma  Efforts by disciples to recast the extraordinary and revolutionary characteristics of the charismatic leader so that they are better able to handle mundane matters. This is also done in order to prepare for the day when the charismatic leader passes from the scene and to allow the disciples to remain in power. (Weber)
secrecy  As defined by Simmel, the condition in which one person has the intention of hiding something, while the other is seeking to reveal what is being hidden. (Simmel)
segmentary differentiation  The division of parts of the system on the basis of the need to fulfill identical functions over and over. (Systems Theory)
self  To Goffman, a sense of who one is that is a dramatic effect emerging from the immediate dramaturgical scene that is being presented.
self  The ability to take oneself as an object. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
self-collectivity  The pattern variable involving the choice between pursuing our own self-interests or those shared with the collectivity. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
semiperiphery  A residual category in the capitalist world-economy that encompasses a set of regions somewhere between the exploiting and the exploited. (Neo-Marxian)
setting  The physical scene that ordinarily must be there if the actors are to engage in a dramaturgical performance. (Goffman)
significant gestures  Symbolic gestures that require thought before a response is made; only humans are capable of this. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
significant symbols  Symbols that arouse in the person expressing them the same kind of response (it need not be identical) as they are designed to elicit from those to whom they are addressed. (Mead; Symbolic Interactionism)
simulations  Fakes; to Baudrillard, the contemporary world is becoming increasingly dominated by the inauthentic. (Baudrillard)
social currents  Social facts that are not yet crystallized into social organizations. (Durkheim)
social dynamics  A sociological approach that sees society as constantly changing and subject to an evolutionary process. (Comte)
social facts  To Durkheim, social facts are the subject matter of sociology. They are to be treated as things that are external to, and coercive over, individuals, and they are to be studied empirically. (Durkheim)
social statics  A sociological approach that neglects all issues of time and describes an ideal harmony between the parts of society. (Comte)
social stratification  A structure involving a hierarchy of positions that has the function of leading those people with the needed skills and abilities to do what is necessary to move into the high-ranking positions that are most important to society's functioning and survival. (Structural Functionalism)
social system  The Parsonsian action system responsible for coping with the integration function by controlling its component parts; a number of human actors who interact with one another in a situation with a physical or environmental context. (Structural Functionalism)
social systems  To Giddens, reproduced social practices, or relations between actors or collectivities, that are reproduced, becoming regular social practices. (Agency-Structure)
socialism  A political and economic system that is based on cooperation and in which decisions about production and distribution are made collectively. The idea of socialism predates Marx, but socialists before Marx focused less on class conflict and more on descriptions of the ideal society. (Sociological Theory: Early Years)
socialist feminism  An effort to develop a unified theory that focuses on the role of capitalism and patriarchy in creating a large-scale structure that oppresses women. (Feminism)
societal functionalism  A variety of structural functionalism that focuses on the large-scale social structures and institutions of society, their interrelationships, and their constraining effects on actors. (Structural Functionalism)
society  To Parsons, a relatively self-sufficient collectivity. (Structural Functionalism)
sociological theory  A set of interrelated ideas that allow for the systematization of knowledge of the social world, the explanation of that world, predictions about the future, and/or the envisioning of alternative social arrangements.
sociology of knowledge  The study, description and theoretical analysis of the ways in which social relations influence thought. (Mannheim)
species being  The potential and powers that make us uniquely human and that distinguish us from other species. For Marx, our species being is historical and social. (Marx)
specificity-diffuseness  The pattern variable in which the issue is whether to orient oneself to part or all of a social phenomenon. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
spirit of capitalism  In the West, unlike any other area of the world, people were motivated to be economically successful, not by greed but by an ethical system that emphasized the ceaseless pursuit of economic success. The spirit of capitalism had a number of components, including the seeking of profits rationally and systematically, frugality, punctuality, fairness, and the earning of money as a legitimate end in itself. (Weber)
standpoint  The perspective of embodied actors within groups that are differentially located in social structure. (Feminism)
status  A structural position within the social system. (Structural Functionalism)
stigma  A gap between virtual and actual social identity. (Goffman)
stranger  One of Simmel's social types defined by distance: one who is neither too close nor too far.
stratificatory differentiation  Vertical differentiation according to rank or status in a system conceived as a hierarchy. (Systems Theory)
structural functionalism  A sociological theory that focuses on the structures of society and their functional significance (positive or negative consequences) for other structures.
structuralism  A theory that depends on the view that there are hidden or underlying structures that determine what transpires in the social world.
structuration  An approach developed by Giddens that assumes that agents and structures are interrelated to such an extent that at the moment that they produce action, people also produce and reproduce the structures in which they exist. (Agency-Structure)
structure  To Giddens, the structuring properties (specifically, rules and resources) that give similar social practices a systemic form. (Agency-Structure)
structures  Enduring, reproducible patterns of social interaction and persistent social relationships.
subsistence wage  The wage paid by the capitalist to the proletariat, which is just enough for the worker to survive and to have a family and children so that when the worker falters, he can be replaced by one of his children. (Marx)
substantive rationality  The choice of the most expedient action is guided by larger values rather than by daily experiences and practical thinking. (Weber)
superstructure  To Marx, secondary social phenomena (e.g., the state and culture) that are erected on an economic base that serves to define them. (Marx)
symbolic capital  For Bourdieu, socially legitimated cultural and social capital that is related to the amount of honor and prestige possessed by an actor. (Agency-Structure)
symbolic exchange  A reversible process of giving and receiving; a cyclical exchange of gifts and counter-gifts, associated with non-capitalist societies. (Baudrillard)
symbolic interaction  The distinctive human ability to relate to one another, not only through gestures but also through significant symbols. (Symbolic Interactionism)
symbolic violence  A socially legitimate form of violence, in which the agent against whom it is practiced is complicit in its practice. It is practiced indirectly, largely through cultural mechanisms. (Bourdieu)
system  To Habermas, the structures (such as the family, the legal system, the state, and the economy) that are anchored within the lifeworld, but which come to develop their own distinctive characteristics and to grow increasingly separated from the lifeworld. (Agency-Structure)
team  Any set of individuals who cooperate in staging a single performance. (Goffman)
technocratic thinking  Concern with being efficient, with simply finding the best means to an end without reflecting on either the means or the end. (Neo-Marxian)
teleology  Goal seeking; usually used as a criticism of a theory that assumes that societies have goals that are more than the goals of the individuals making up the society. (Structural Functionalism)
theoretical rationality  An effort to master reality cognitively through the development of increasingly abstract concepts. The goal is to attain a rational understanding of the world, rather than to take rational action within it. (Weber)
they-relations  The realm of people's lives in which they relate purely to types of people (or larger structures in which such types exist), rather than directly experiencing other humans. (Schutz)
traditional action  Action taken on the basis of the ways things have been done habitually or customarily. (Weber)
traditional authority  Authority based on the belief by followers that certain people (based on their family, tribe, or lineage) have exercised sovereignty since time immemorial. The leaders claim, and the followers believe in, the sanctity of age-old rules and powers. (Weber)
tragedy of culture  The condition of modern society that stems from the fact that, over time, objective culture grows exponentially, while individual culture, and the ability to produce it, grows only marginally. Our meager individual capacities cannot keep pace with our cultural products. As a result, we are doomed to having increasingly less understanding of the world we have created and to being increasingly controlled by that world. (Simmel)
triad  A three-person group. (Simmel)
types  Patterns imposed on a wide range of actors by both laypeople and social scientists in order to combine a number of them into a limited number of categories. (Schutz)
typifications  A limited number of categories that we use to try to pigeonhole people, at least initially and provisionally. (Schutz)
unanticipated (unintended) consequences  Unexpected positive, negative, and irrelevant consequences.
unit act  The basic component of Parsons's action theory, involving an actor, an end, a situation, and norms and values. The actor chooses means to ends within a situation, and that choice is shaped by conditions in the situation, as well as by norms and values. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
universalism-particularism  The pattern variable where the issue is whether you judge a social phenomenon by general standards that apply to all such phenomena or by more specific, emotional standards. (Parsons; Structural Functionalism)
utilities  Actor's preferences, or values. (Rational Choice)
value-rational action  Action that occurs when an actor's choice of the best means to an end is chosen on the basis of the actor's belief in some larger set of values. This may not be the optimal choice, but it is rational from the point of view of the value system in which the actor finds herself. (Weber)
veil  Du Bois's metaphor for the translucent, porous boundary separating the races in America. (Du Bois)
verstehen  A methodological technique involving an effort to understand the thought processes of the actor, the actor's meanings and motives, and how these factors led to the action (or interaction) under study. (Weber)
virtual social identity  What a person ought to be. (Goffman)
webbed accounts  Accounts woven together by reporting all the various actors' or standpoint groups' knowledge of an experience and describing the situations, including the dynamics of power out of which the actors or groups came to create these versions. (Feminism)
we-relations  The realm of our daily lives in which we are aware of others' presence, directly experience them on a face-to-face basis, and experience one another intersubjectively. (Schutz)
world-system  A broad economic entity with a division of labor that is not circumscribed by political or cultural boundaries. It is a social system, composed internally of a variety of social structures and member groups, that is largely self-contained, has a set of boundaries, and has a definable life span. (Neo-Marxian)