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Appendix 1: Glossary

absolute poverty

the level of poverty at which an individual is struggling to meet basic needs, such as adequate nutrition and shelter

achieved status

a status you achieve at some point after birth that is understood as a position you have more control over

adult literacy rate

the percentage of people aged 15 and above who can read and write a simple sentence

affirmative action

the policies and practices offering equal opportunity to some racial-ethnic minorities and women in employment and education intended to help compensate for historical discrimination

Age cohort

people born within the same 5–10-year time span

Age structure

the distribution of the number or proportion of people of various ages based upon the historic trends in birth and death rates


people who do not identify with a gender at all

agents of socialization

arenas in which we interact and in which the socialization process happens (e.g., schools, neighborhood, families, etc.)


a collection of people who are in the same place at the same time but who otherwise do not necessarily interact or have a common identity

agricultural society

a form of society which relies on plow and wheel technologies to increase food production


Marx argued industrial societies are characterized by alienated labor, where workers find no power, purpose or pleasure in their work


a system of descent which follows either the father’s side only or the mother’s side only, depending on the situation


a person that combines aspects of both feminine and masculine characteristics


a form of contact involving a legal process that transfers territory, typically in the form of a treaty, between groups


or normlessness, which results from situations, such as periods of rapid social change, when social norms are weak and unclear or social ties are weak

antisocial behavior

behavior that is not conducive to societal expectations, especially those that are aggressive or disruptive


material objects that constitute a society’s material culture

ascribed status

a status that someone is born with and has little control over


individuals who are not sexually attracted to others


a pattern of intergroup relations in which the boundary lines between groups is diminished and groups become increasingly similar to one another

authoritarian leader

a leader who has complete control over all decisions and gives orders to group members without discussion

authoritarian personality theory

a social-psychological theory of prejudice in which it is thought that individuals with authoritarian-type personalities are more prone to prejudice


political system in which an individual or a group of individuals holds power, restricts or prohibits popular participation in governance, and represses dissent


power that is approved by a society


systems of government in which power is held by one person, whose decisions are not subject to oversight

back stage

the private places where we practice our performance, and the less guarded version of self


ideas or convictions that people hold to be true, based in science, mythology, folklore or religion


the act of entering into marriage while still married to another person


a person who identifies with both male and female genders

bilateral descent

a system of descent in which both paternal and maternal ancestors and descendants are considered part of one’s family

biological racism

a form of racism based on the belief that a minority group is biologically inferior to a dominant group


preference for sexual relationships with both individuals of the opposite sex and of one’s own sex

blaming the system

the social structure of society is held responsible for creating many social problems

blaming the victim

when harm is inflicted by one person to another person, the harmed person is held responsible for the harm done to them

blended families

families that are comprised of step-parents and/or step-siblings


the ruling class, or the group who owns the means of production


an economic system in which there is private ownership of the means of production, the pursuit of profit, competition for profit, and the lack of government intervention in the market (which determines prices)

caste system

a system of social stratification where people are born into unequal groups based on their parents’ status and remain in these groups throughout their lives


a collection of individuals who have at least one attribute in common but otherwise do not necessarily interact


when one event, behavior, or belief will result in the occurrence of another, subsequent event, behavior, or belief

charismatic authority

power based on an individual’s extraordinary personal qualities

child abuse

physical, psychological, or sexual mistreatment of a child, which can include harming a child through neglect

child mortality rate

the number of children who die before age 5 per 1,000 live births


large, bureaucratically organized religious organization that is closely integrated into the larger society


a person whose gender as man or woman and their birth sex agree

civil war

armed conflict between factions within the same nation

class consciousness

the awareness of one’s shared place in society within a class structure where one perceives common life chances

class system of stratification

a system of social stratification associated with industrial and post-industrial societies in which individuals can move up or down in rank

classless society

a society where stratification is non-existent

closed system of stratification

a system of social stratification where individuals have no opportunity to change position


power that is not considered to be legitimately exercised, and involves the use of force or threats


a couple that lives in a romantic relationship


a kind of prejudice, in which someone believes one type of skin tone is superior or inferior to another within a racial group

comparable worth

the idea that men and women should be compensated the same for work that has equivalent skill level and responsibilities

conflict perspective

a theoretical perspective that looks at the way inequalities contribute to social differences and perpetuate differences in power while creating social order

conflict perspective on education

education promotes social inequality through the use of tracking, standardized testing and the hidden curriculum

conflict perspective on religion

religion reinforces and promotes social inequality by convincing lower status groups to accept the status quo

conflict perspective on social stratification

social stratification is neither necessary nor inevitable and results from the lack of opportunity and/or from discrimination associated with the exploitation of the masses by the elite


individuals who accept both the goals of society and the means to achieve those goals


behavior and thoughts that are similar to those of the group or society as a whole


a large company or corporation that is composed of several independent businesses that don't necessarily relate to one another


a form of contact that occurs when conflict arises between formerly separated groups, resulting in one group conquering and coming to dominate the other

contact theory

an interactionist theory on prejudice that argues prejudice arises in societies where institutional segregation and social inequality are paired

content analysis

a research method which applies a systematic approach to record and value information gleaned from secondary data as they relate to the study at hand

control group

research subjects in an experiment who are not exposed to the variable being studied

convenience sample

a nonrandom sample that is available quickly and inexpensive to use

conventional crime

a form of crime in which acts of violence or property offenses are committed

corporal punishment

physical discipline of children

corporate crime

crimes which are committed by major corporations


when there is a relationship between variables, they are correlated


a group whose values, beliefs and norms directly oppose those of the larger culture and even reject it

credential society

a society in which eligibility for work is dependent upon the attainment of a degree or diploma


a form of deviance where an individual violates a law

crude birth rate

the number of live births for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year

crude death rate

the number of deaths for every 1,000 people in a population in a given year


a small religious organization that is greatly at odds with the norms and values of the larger society

cultural diffusion

the process of ideas, norms and values moving across cultural borders

cultural diversity

differences in material and nonmaterial culture between societies or even subcultures

cultural lag

when people’s behavior does not reflect the regular usage of the latest technologies or the slower development or change in nonmaterial culture when compared to advancements in material culture

cultural leveling

when cultures that were previously distinct become less so due to the cultural diffusion

cultural racism

a form of racism based on the belief the position of a racial-ethnic minority group within the system of stratification is due to their cultural traits

cultural relativism

the belief that we should not judge any culture as superior or inferior to another culture


the symbols, language, norms, beliefs, values and material objects that are part of a society

culture of poverty theory

a theory in which it is claimed the poor have beliefs and values that differ from the non-poor, and it is these beliefs and values that contribute to their poverty

Culture shock

the uncomfortable or bewildered feeling we might have when immersed in a new culture


obligatory behaviors of a group that are frequently repeated and contribute to the survival and/or growth of the group

de facto segregation

a form segregation that occurs "by fact" but is not mandated by law

de jure segregation

segregation mandated by law

debunking motif

looking beyond the on-the-surface understandings of social reality and recognizing the value of alternative sociological understandings

degradation ceremony

a ceremony, ritual or encounter in which a total institution’s resident is humiliated, often in front of the institution’s other residents or officials


a political system in which citizens govern themselves either directly or through their elected representatives

democratic leader

a leader who tries to reach a consensus by giving all members the opportunity to contribute their opinions

demographic transition theory

a theory on population growth that demonstrates trends in birth and death rates over time, showing a correlation between population growth and form of society, and which predicts that with industrialization, population growth naturally slows and eventually declines


the study of the changes in the size and composition of population


a large, bureaucratic religious organization that is closely integrated into the larger society but is not a formal part of the state

dependency theory

a theory which explains global stratification as rooted in colonization and exploitation of the resources and people of colonized countries to the benefit of colonizing countries, resulting in the dependency of low-income nations on high-income nations

dependent variable

the variable that is affected by the independent variable


behavior that violates social norms and arouses negative social reactions

differential association theory

an interactionist theory which states deviance is learned by interacting with friends and family members who are deviant in their actions or who perceive deviance as acceptable

differential justice theory

a conflict theory which states people with power use the legal system to secure their position at the top of society and to keep the powerless at the bottom, and that low income and minority groups are more likely, because of their lower status, to be arrested, convicted and imprisoned

diffusion of responsibility

a behavior pattern associated with group size where people are less likely to act if they think others will

direct democracies

a form of government in which people make their own decisions about the policies and distribution of resources that affect them directly


when something completely new is observed or found


the arbitrary denial of rights, privileges, and opportunities to members of a minority group

division of labor

a specialization of work that was a consequence of industrialization

domestic migration

migration that occurs within a country’s borders

dominant culture

the norms, language, beliefs and values adhered to by the most powerful group in a society

dominant group

the group which holds the most power in a given society and has the power to assign minority status to other groups

dominant ideology

the norms and values of the dominant group within a society

doubling time

the amount of time it takes for a population to double


the idea, introduced by Goffman, that we can understand social interaction as if it were a theatrical performance

Durkheim’s theory on deviance

deviance is functional for society because it clarifies norms, increases conformity, strengthens social bonds and can lead to positive social change


a two-person group


large, bureaucratic religious organization that is a formal part of the state and has most or all of a state’s citizens as its members

economic inequality

the gap between the richest and poorest segments of society


social institution that organizes the production, distribution, and consumption of a society’s goods and services


a social institution through which a society teaches its members the skills, knowledge, norms, and values they need to learn to become good, productive members of their society

egalitarian families

families in which fathers and mothers share authority equally


the number of people moving out of a region for every 1,000 people in the region

empirical evidence

evidence that comes from direct experience, scientifically gathered data, or experimentation


marriage which occurs within one’s own social category or social group

episodic poverty

occurs when individuals and families move into and out of poverty within a given year or two, often more than once

equilibrium theory

theory of social change in which it is argued that changes within one social institution cause changes in other social institutions until order is restored

estate system of stratification

a system of social stratification characterized by control of land by a small elite group and peasants work the land to the benefit of the landowners

ethnic competition theory

a theory of prejudice which holds that ethnic prejudice and conflict increase when two or more ethnic groups find themselves competing for jobs, housing, and other goals

ethnic group

a group with a set of shared social, cultural, and historical experiences; with relatively distinctive beliefs, values, and behaviors; and with some sense of identity of belonging to the group


the shared social, cultural, and historical experiences, stemming from common national or regional backgrounds, that make groups different from one another


the tendency to judge another culture by the standards of our own and to believe that our own culture is indeed superior to another culture


marriage which occurs across social categories or social groups

experimental group

research subjects in an experiment who are exposed to the variable being studied


research conducted under controlled conditions used to demonstrate or refute a hypothesis

Expressive leaders

leaders concerned with the emotional temperature of group members and who make efforts to lift the spirits of group members


a pattern of intergroup relations in which members of a dominant group expel members of a minority group from society

extended families

consist of parents, their children, and other relatives


an acceptance of religious mysteries that defy common sense, logic or science

false class consciousness

occurs when workers have adopted the ideology of the elite and are not aware of their true position in society

families of orientation

the families in which we are raised


a group of two or more people who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a mutual commitment and who care for one another

family of procreation

a new household for raising children


refers to the cultural expectations we have of girls and women


refers to the belief that women and men should have equal opportunities in economic, political, and social life

feminist perspective

theoretical perspective that analyzes the inequalities and power dynamics between men and women with the intention of improving women’s lives

feminist theory on deviance

inequality against women, antiquated views about relations between the sexes and gender socialization result in violence against women and gender differences in crime rates

feminization of poverty

a phenomenon whereby women experience poverty at higher rates in comparison to men


the number of live births


standards of behavior that regulate daily activity but that are considered less important than mores

foraging society

a form of society in with food is acquired by foraging, scavenging and hunting

formal education

often referred to as schooling, and as this term implies, it occurs in schools under teachers, principals and other specially trained professionals

formal norm

laws and mores are standards of behavior considered the most important in any society

formal norms

includes laws and mores which are standards of behavior considered the most important in any society

formal social control

the means used to control behavior that violates formal norms

front stage

our more public face where we deliver our performance

functional definition of family

a group of two or more people who are mutually committed to one another and who care for one another

functional theory on education

education serves functions for society, including socialization, social integration, social placement and social and cultural innovation

functional theory on religion

religion serves functions for society, including giving meaning and purpose to life, reinforcing social unity and stability, serving as an agent of social control, promoting physical and psychological well-being and motivating people to work for social change

functional theory on stratification

the theory that states stratification is necessary and inevitable in order to induce people with special knowledge and abilities to enter into the most vital occupations


the theoretical perspective that views society as a system of interconnected parts that function together to contribute to the stability of the whole society


gender is a social concept and refers to the social and cultural differences a society assigns to feminine and masculine characteristics based on biological sex

gender binary

is when there are only two recognized genders in society

Gender expression

expectations about traits we associate with females and males

gender identity

is the belief about yourself as male or female

Gender inequality

inequality based on gender that reults from cultural values and gender socialization which prioritize the male experience

gender roles

refers to a society’s expectations of people’s behavior and attitudes based on whether they identify as females or males

gender socialization

the process by which people learn gender role expectations, as deemed appropriate by their society

gender spectrum

not limited to two gender possibilities


people who do not identify with just one gender, who may switch their gender or their gender may fluctuate


gender identities that are outside the gender binary

general fertility rate

the number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44


general statements regarding trends among various dimensions of social life


a pattern of intergroup relations in which members of a dominant group kills members of a minority group en masse


movements of the hands, arms, or other parts of the body that are meant to convey certain ideas or emotions

gini coefficient

a measure used by the World Bank to determine the degree of economic inequality that exists in a nation

glass ceiling

women may be promoted in a job only to find they reach an invisible barrier beyond which they cannot get promoted, or they may not get promoted in the first place

glass cliff

when a woman is hired by a company facing a crisis and is not supported and then held responsible for the company's troubles, which preceded her hiring

glass escalator

men rise through the ranks easily without many hoops to jump through

global assembly lines

products assembled over the course of several international transactions

global stratification

the unequal distribution of wealth, power, prestige, resources, and influence among the world’s nations


the process of integrating governments, cultures, and financial markets through international trade into a single world market


the group of persons who direct the political affairs of a state, but it can also mean the type of rule by which a state is run — a political system

Grade inflation

a practice of awarding students higher grades than they have earned

group cohesion

how strong the bond is between members

group threat theory

a  theory on prejudice that finds prejudice and hostility arises from competition over jobs and other resources and from disagreement over various political issues


a behavior pattern when people go along with the desires and views of a group against their better judgments


inequality that results from heterosexuality being presented as the only normal or preferred orientation


preference for sexual relationships with individuals of the opposite sex

hidden curriculum

what conflict theorists call part of the schooling process that gets children to accept, without questioning, the cultural values of the society in which the schools are found

high-income nation

post-industrial nations, typically found in Western Europe, North America and East Asia, with high levels of economic, political and cultural power at the global level and high use of the world’s natural resources.


when people who are similar in social characteristics get married


preference for sexual relationships with individuals of one’s own sex

horticultural society

a form of society in which members use rudimentary hand tools to grow a few specific crops in one location until the soil nutrients are depleted


people who live together in a dwelling unit, whether or not they are related by blood, marriage, or adoption

human development index

a composite measure of a nation’s income, health and education


the high degree of residential segregation experienced by African Americans


a statement of the relationship between two variables concerning the units of analysis the researcher is studying

ideal culture

the idealized values and norms within a culture which represent what is thought of as perfect conduct and thought

identity crisis

a period of uncertainty about one’s identity, which can happen during transitional periods of socialization


a systematic body of ideas and beliefs


the movement of people into a new region or nation

impression management

individual’s routine attempts to convey a positive impression of themselves to the people with whom they interact


groups that we feel loyal to and take pride in belonging to

incest taboo

very strict social norm that prohibits sex between certain relatives

independent variable

the variable that affects the dependent variable

individual discrimination

discrimination that individuals practice in their daily lives against other individuals or small groups

industrial society

a form of society which uses machines and factories as the primary mode of production

informal education

may occur almost anywhere, but for young children it has traditionally occurred primarily in the home, with their parents as their instructors

informal norms

includes folkways and customs which are standards of behavior that are considered less important but still influence how we behave

informal social control

the means used to control behavior that violates informal norms


individuals who accept the goals of society but use deviant means to achieve those goals

institutional discrimination

discrimination that pervades the practices of whole institutions, such as housing, medical care, law enforcement, employment, and education

institutional racism

refers to the way in which racism is embedded in the fabric of society

Instrumental leaders

task oriented leaders who keep the group moving towards its goals

insurgent terrorism

violence committed by private citizens against their own government or against businesses and institutions

intergenerational mobility

social mobility from one generation to the next within the same family

intergroup relations

patterns of relationships between different groups of people

interlocking directorate

the practice of members of boards of directors serving on the boards of multiple corporations

international migration

migration that occurs across national borders

international war

armed conflict between nations

interracial and interethnic Marriage (intermarriage)

a marriage between people of different races and/or ethnicities


recognition of the complex ways in which multiple forms of prejudice and discrimination may overlap, intersect or combine, especially as it relates to the experiences of marginalized people and groups


people who do not readily fit into a male/female sex binary due to chromosome patterns or other developments associated with their reproductive organs

intimate partner violence

violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner

intragenerational mobility

social mobility of an individual within their own lifetime

intraracial or intraethnic marriage

a marriage between people of the same race or ethnicity


when something new is created from things that already exist


when something new is created from things that already exist

involuntary (forced) immigration

groups forced to move from one society to a new society

labeling theory

the theory that states deviance results from being labeled a deviant and treated as such

laissez-faire capitalism

a capitalist economic system in which there is absolutely no government intervention

laissez-faire leader

a leader who will offer their thoughts to the group but not require them to be followed


a set of symbols used for communication and which makes society possible


standards of behavior considered the most important in any society which are encoded by political entities and enforced by agents of the state, such as the police and the courts


an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning people

liberal feminism

believes that the equality of women can be achieved within our existing society by passing laws and reforming social, economic, and political institutions

life chances

our chances (whether we have a good chance or little chance) of being healthy, wealthy, and well educated and, more generally, of living a good, happy life

life choices

an important decision which one makes about their life according to their interests, opinions, and actions

life course

the stages of life (e.g., childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age)

life expectancy

the average number of years that a nation’s citizens can be expected to live

looking glass self

a process of socialization described by Cooley through which we imagine how we appear to others and then imagine how they think of us

low income

family incomes below double the poverty line

low-income nation

least industrialized nations which primarily subsist on agricultural production, characterized by high levels of poverty and economic and political marginalization

lower class

the social group with the lowest socioeconomic status in society who are marginalized and deprived


focuses on the big picture, which usually means such things as social institutions, and social, political and economic change

male privilege

the advantage that males automatically have in a patriarchal society, whether or not they realize they have these advantages


a dietary deficiency where an individual lacks adequate nutrition

Malthusian theory

a theory by Thomas Malthus on population growth that promotes the idea that population growth increases exponentially and increase in food production occurs arithmetically, resulting in a growing gap between the size of the population and the ability to produce enough food to feed this population, resulting in mass starvation and conflict over increasingly scarce resources


a group’s approved mating arrangements


refers to the expectations we have of boys and men

mass incarceration

the term used for the extremely high rate of incarceration in the U.S. that is markedly above historical and comparative rates of imprisonment

mass media

communications media, such as television, radio, newspapers and social media, that reaches a mass audience

master status

a status that is so important that it overrides or determines other statuses you may hold

material culture

all of society’s physical objects

maternal mortality

the number of women who die during childbirth for every 100,000 live births

matriarchal families

families in which mothers are the family’s major authority figure


enrolling in a college or university

matrilineal descent

families in which children are thought to be related only to their mother’s relatives, and wealth is passed down only to daughters


a residence system where it is customary for the husband to live with (or near) his wife's blood relatives (or family of orientation)


a measure of central tendency in which you add the value of all responses on a given variable and then divide that number by the total number of responses

measures of central tendency

calculations that tell us what the most common, or average, response is on a question

mechanical solidarity

the form of solidarity that develops when a society has little division of labor and a strong emphasis on group commitment leaving little room for deviance from group norms and beliefs


the middle point in a distribution of responses


a technique in which the results of virtually all previous studies on a specific subject are evaluated together


a technique in which the results of virtually all previous studies on a specific subject are evaluated together


the study of social interaction, action, and the construction of meaning in small groups

middle class

the social group positioned between the upper and working classes who typically work in white-collar occupations and who have a moderate standard of living

middle-income nation

industrial nations with a mid-level of economic development found typically in Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia


the movement of people into and out of specific regions

minority (subordinate) group

any group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination


the most common response given to a question

model minority

a type of stereotype which is applied to a minority group that is seen as reaching significant educational, professional, and socioeconomic levels without challenging the existing establishment

modernization theory

a theory which explains global stratification resulting from the degree to which a country has adopted “modern” cultural values and practices, along with new technologies


a political system in which power resides in a single family that rules from one generation to the next generation


an agricultural practice in which farmers grow a single crop on their land, year after year


a marriage in which only two spouses exist


the total (or almost) control of the supply or trade of a good or service


religious belief in only one god


standards of behavior considered the most important in any society, typically reflected in moral standards


the number of deaths

multicultural feminism

emphasizes that women of color are oppressed not only because of their gender but also because of their race and class

multidimensional poverty index

a composite measure accounting for social well-being used by the United Nations Development Programme to measure poverty

multilinear evolution theory

a theory on societal transformation that recognizes that while societies share similar social and cultural features, no environment and no evolutionary path will be the same

multinational corporations

a corporation that has business operations in two or more countries

natural growth rate

the difference between the crude birth rate and the crude death rate

negative sanction

a punishment given to an individual who deviates from social norms

neolocal residence

a new residence formed by a couple who live separately from their original families

net migration rate

the rate of immigration minus the rate of emigration

new religious movement

a small religious organization that is at great odds with the norms and values of the larger society

non-binary gender identity

is when a person does not identify with either gender

nonmaterial culture

the cognitive and behavioral parts of culture, including symbols, values, and beliefs, and verbal and nonverbal communication

nonparticipant observation

a research method in which the the researcher observes a group they are studying but does not participate in the group

nonrandom samples

a sample in which members of the population do not have the same chance of being included in the study

nonverbal communication

ways of communicating that do not involve talking


cultural standards and expectations for behavior

nuclear family

a married couple and their young children living by themselves under one roof

obedience to authority

the tendency to follow the commands of an individual seen to have authority

occupational sex segregation

when women are either underrepresented or overrepresented in a occupation in comparison to men


a system of government in which a small group of people rule


when an entire industry is dominated by several large businesses that make slightly different versions of the same product

open system of stratification

a system of social stratification where individuals may change position

organic solidarity

the form of solidarity that develops when a society relies on a large, complex and hierarchical division of labor, where cultural diversity and individualism are common


groups that we are not in and that we would describe as “they”


individuals who are attracted to all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender or gender identity

participant observation

a research method in which the the researcher holds two status, as researcher studying people in the research setting and as a participant in the group that is under study

pastoral society

a form of society in which members herd a specific species of domesticated animal for the purpose of milk and meat as food sources

patriarchal families

families in which fathers are the major authority figure in the family


male dominated society

patrilineal descent

families in which children are thought to be related only to their father’s relatives, and wealth is passed down only to sons


a residence system where it is customary for the wife to live with (or near) her husband’s blood relatives (or family of orientation)

peer pressure

strong influence by peers in a group to affect the behavior of a member

personal troubles

refer to a problem affecting individuals that the affected individual, as well as other members of society, typically blame on the individual’s own failings


a pattern of intergroup relations in which the division between groups are maintained, sometimes in equal and sometimes in unequal ways

pluralist theory

functionalist theory that views political power in the United States and other democracies as dispersed among several “veto groups” that compete in the political process for resources and influence

political alienation

a lack of faith that political participation makes any difference and that the government can be helpful

political ideology

a set of views, usually centered on social and economic issues, that guides your political thinking

political party

an organization that supports particular political positions and tries to elect candidates to office to represent those positions

political system

the type of rule by which a state is run


the distribution and exercise of power within a society


the political institution through which power is distributed and exercised


one woman who is married to more than one man at the same time


the marriage of one person to two or more people at a time


one man who is married to more than one woman at the same time


religious belief in two or more gods

population pyramid

a graphic representation of the age and sex structure of a given society


the portrayal of written or visual sexual material used to cause sexual excitement

positive sanction

a reward given to an individual who conforms to social norms

postindustrial society

a form of society which relies on service jobs and information technology

poverty line

a measure of official poverty calculated using data on food expenses and which is adjusted for family size


the ability to have one’s will carried out despite the resistance of others

power elite theory

a conflict theory proposed by Mills which states concentrated societal power is composed of government, big business, and the military, which together constitute a ruling class that controls society and works for its own interests, not for the interests of the citizenry


a set of negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgments about groups, and about individual members of those groups


the respect of regard given to an individual

primary group

usually small and is characterized by extensive interaction and strong emotional ties that endure over time

primary sector (of the economy)

part of the economy that takes and uses raw materials directly from the natural environment

primary socialization

socialization in which the individual learns the basic skills needed to function in society

profane beliefs

beliefs about things that are associated with daily life, and have no religious connotation


the working class, or the group who does not own the means of production and instead is oppressed and exploited by the bourgeoisie

pronatalism policies

policies aimed at encouraging women to have more children


social and spatial nearness; the variable that mostly drives homogamy

public issues

when the source of a social problem affecting many individuals lies in the social structure and culture of a society

public sociology

a branch of sociology that strives to bring sociological dialogue to public forums in order to increase understanding of the social factors that underlie social problems and assist in finding solutions


non-numerical data that is analyzed for what people say and do


survey data that is collected numerically

quota sample

a nonrandom sample where the researcher tries to ensure that the makeup of the sample resembles one or more characteristics of the population as closely as possible


a category of people who share certain physical characteristics, such as skin color, facial features and stature

racial caste system

a form of caste system in which an individual’s race determines their position in the stratification system

racial profiling

the use by law enforcement of race alone to determine whether to stop and detain someone

Racial socialization

the messages and practices concerning the nature of a person’s racial or ethnic status as it relates to identity, interpersonal relationships and position in the social hierarchy


the belief that certain racial or ethnic groups are biologically or culturally inferior to one’s own

radical feminism

believes that patriarchy lies at the root of women’s oppression and that women are oppressed even in non-capitalist societies


the process of developing extremist ideologies and beliefs

random sample

a sample that gives everyone in the population an equal chance of being in the study


being forced to have sex

rate of natural increase

a calculation of population growth that measures the difference between the crude birth rate and the crude death rate

rational-legal authority

power based on written rules, such as laws

real culture

cultural values and behaviors that are actually followed within a society


individuals who reject both the goals of society and the means to achieve those goals, and who work actively to bring about a new society with a new value system


the practice of rejecting the mortgage applications of racial-ethnic minorities who wish to live in certain neighborhoods primarily inhabited by members of the same group

reference group

a group that sets a standard for guiding our own behavior and attitudes

reform social movement

a type of social movement that seeks limited, though still significant changes in some aspect of a nation’s political, economic or social systems

relativity of deviance

whether a behavior is considered deviant depends on the circumstance in which the behavior occurs and not on the behavior itself


a set of beliefs and practices regarding sacred things that help a society understand the meaning and purpose of life


how often people practice rituals associated with religion (e.g., pray, go to service, etc.)

religious affiliation

a term that can mean actual membership in a church or synagogue, or just a stated identification with a particular religion whether or not someone actually belongs to a local house of worship

religious conservatism

a doctrine combining religious and political beliefs which emphasizes traditional beliefs and practices

religious preference

another term for religious affiliation

replacement level fertility

the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next

representative democracy

people elect officials to represent them in legislative votes on matters affecting the population


a process in which people learn new values and norms in conjunction with a change in status

response rate

percentage of all people in the sample who agree to be interviewed

restrictive covenants

agreements among property owners that stipulated they would not sell or rent their properties of African Americans


individuals who reject both the goals of society and the means to achieve those goals, and who withdraw from society

Risk factors

characteristics of a child or caregiver that may increase the likelihood of child maltreatment

rites of passage

events that mark an individual’s transition from one status to another


individuals who reject the goals of society but continue to conform to the norms of society, regardless.


stylized and formal procedures, such as prayers, burning incense or saying chants


the behaviors expected of someone holding a certain status

role conflict

occurs when the roles associated with two or more of our statuses conflict with each other

role of the other

theory by Mead which argues when children pretend to be other people in their play they learn what these other people expect of them

role strain

occurs when the role expectations of one status cause the individual to strain in an effort to meet all the expectations

routinization of charisma

the transformation of charismatic authority into tradition authority or rational legal authority

ruling class

is composed of the richest 0.5% to 1% of the population, who control more than half the nation’s wealth, sit on the boards of directors just mentioned, and are members of the same social clubs and other voluntary organizations

sacred beliefs

beliefs about things that are supernatural and awe-inspiring


a subset of the population of people in whom the researcher is interested

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

theory suggesting that people cannot easily understand concepts and objects unless their language contains words for these items

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

a theory which suggests that people cannot easily understand concepts and objects unless their language contains words for these items

scapegoat theory

a social-psychological theory of prejudice in which it is thought that people who are frustrated by their life circumstances will blame their troubles on low status groups

school choice

when parents are given the choice to send their children to a private or parochial (religious school) using school vouchers, or when charter schools and magnet schools offer alternative educational settings within the public-school framework

school vouchers

when the government gives parents certificates based on public funding that they can use as tuition at private or parochial (religious) schools

scientific method

a process that involves several research steps, including observation, hypothesis testing, analysis of data, and drawing conclusions

secondary data analysis

a research method that involves the analysis of existing data

secondary group

larger, more impersonal and often exist for a relatively short time to achieve a specific purpose

secondary sector (of the economy)

transforms raw materials into finished products and is essentially the manufacturing industry

Secondary socialization

socialization which happens during and after childhood through interaction with other groups and organizations such as school


relatively small religious organization that has splintered off from another religion, that is not closely integrated into the larger society and that often conflicts with at least some of its norms and values


the weakening importance of religion in a society, as it plays less of a role in people’s lives, as they are less guided in their daily behavior by religious beliefs


a pattern of intergroup relations in which the dominant group structures society in such a way as to limit contact between themselves and a minority group


one’s identity, self-concept and self-image

self-fulfilling prophecy

a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true

serial monogamy

to move from one intimate relationship to another in a sequence


is the biological concept that describes people we consider females and males


refers to a belief in traditional gender role stereotypes and in the inherent inequality between men and women

Sexual abuse

occurs when a minor is forced into sexual interaction by someone 18 years and older, such as an adult exposing themselves to a minor, having sexual contact with or sending obscene messages to a minor, sex trafficking or child pornography

sexual harassment

unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical conduct of a sexual nature used as a condition of employment or promotion or that interferes with an individual’s job performance and creates an intimidating or hostile environment

sexual orientation

refers to a person’s preference for sexual relationships with individuals of the other sex (heterosexuality), one’s own sex (homosexuality), or both sexes (bisexuality)

slave system of stratification

a system of social stratification characterized by the ownership of people

social and cultural innovation

important scientific discoveries and great works of art, poetry, and prose

social change

occurs when norms and values of a culture and society change over time

social construction of reality

how individuals who interact help construct the reality of the situation in which they interact

social control

the ways in which a society tries to prevent and sanction behavior that violates norms

social control theory

deviance results from weak bonds to conventional social institutions, such as families and schools

social democracy

societies that combine the elements of both capitalism and socialism are called social democracies, while their combination of capitalism and socialism is called democratic socialism

social disorganization

weakened social bonds and social institutions that make it difficult to socialize children properly and to monitor suspicious behavior

social ecology theory

a theory on deviance which states that community characteristics, such as high rates of poverty, dilapidation, population density and population turnover, result in higher rates of deviance

social environment

interaction between humans in an immediate physical setting

social group

two or more people who regularly interact on the basis of mutual expectations and who share a common identity

social inequality

the hierarchical ranking of people or groups within a society, where some people or groups have greater access to goods and resources than others

social institution

the patterns of beliefs, behaviors and organized means by which a society meets its basic needs

social integration

teaching students a common set of beliefs and values

social interaction

the way in which people act with other people and react to how other people are acting

social learning theory

an symbolic interaction theory of prejudice in which it is argued that prejudice is the result of socialization from parents, peers, and news media and other various aspects of their culture

social location

the social and physical traits of an individual, such as gender, race, social class and religion, deemed to be important by their society

social media

computer based technology that facilitates the sharing of thoughts, ideas and information

social mobility

the movement of an individual or group up or down in position within a stratification system

social movement

an organized effort by a large number of people to bring about or impede social, political, economic or cultural change

social network

the totality of relationships that link us to other people and groups and through them to still other people and other groups

social placement

the placement students by teachers and other school officials either as bright and motivated or as less bright and even educationally challenged

social sanctions

the punishments and rewards given for conforming to or deviating from social norms

social solidarity

a community feeling and group commitment that serves to hold society together

social status

a position that someone occupies in society

social stratification

a system of ranking in which groups of people have differential access to wealth, power and prestige

social structure

the social patterns through which a society is organized


an economic system in which the means of production are publicly owned, it is not motivated by profit, and the government (or a central planning committee) sets prices

socialist feminism

blames capitalism for women’s inequality and says that true gender equality can result only if fundamental changes in social institutions, and even a socialist revolution, are achieved


the process by which we learn our culture


a group of people who live within a defined territory and who share a culture


a field of study in sociology in which scholars say that several important human behaviors and emotions, such as competition, aggression, and altruism, stem from our biological makeup

socioeconomic status

the social standing of an individual or family in relation to others based on measures such as education, income and/or occupation

sociological imagination

the ability to see societal patterns that influence individual and group life

sociological perspective

the view that our social backgrounds influence our attitudes, behavior, life choices and life chances


the scientific study of human behavior and social organization within society

spurious relationships

a relationship between an independent variable and dependent variable when a third variable accounts for the relationship


occurs when an individual uses obsessive tactics, contacts or tracking against another person where the attention is unwanted and fearful


political unit within which power and authority reside

state terrorism

violence by a government that is meant to frighten and or repress its own citizens


the position that someone occupies in society

status set

all the positions an individual occupies

status symbol

objects that signify a particular status

stereotype interchangeability

occurs when a stereotype, formerly applied to a subordinate groups that has assimilated into society and to which the stereotype in no longer applied, is recycled or reused to describe a newly subordinate group


simplified, mistaken generalizations about people because of their race and/or ethnicity, which are not tested against reality and which are learned second-hand

strain theory of deviance

deviance results for the gap between the goals of a society and the ability of individuals to achieves those goals

structural mobility

social mobility of a group of people up or down the social class ladder in response to changes within society

structural theory of poverty

theory of poverty that explain U.S. poverty stems from problems in the social institutions of society that lead to lack of equal opportunity


a group that shares the central values, beliefs and norms of the larger culture but still retains certain values, beliefs and norms that make it distinct from the larger culture


a research method involving the collection of data from questionnaires

symbolic interaction theory on education

social interaction in schools affects the development of gender roles and teachers’ expectations of students’ intellectual abilities affect how much pupils learn

symbolic interaction theory on religion

beliefs and practices are sacred only when people regard them as such, and once thy are regarded as such, beliefs and practices take on special significance and give meaning to people’s lives

symbolic interaction theory on stratification

the theory that states stratification affect’s people’s beliefs, lifestyles, daily interactions and conceptions of themselves

symbolic interactionism

a microsociological perspective that focuses on the interaction of individuals and on how they interpret their interaction according to the meaning things have for them


things that stand for something else and that often evoke various reactions and emotions


use of unexpected violence to intimidate or coerce people in the pursuit of political or social objectives

tertiary sector (of the economy)

part of the economy that provides services rather than products

total fertility rate

the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime.

total institution

organizations that have total control over the lives of the people who live in them (e.g., prison, boot camps, convents, etc.)


political systems that include all the features of authoritarianism but are even more repressive as they try to regulate and control all aspects of citizens’ lives and fortunes

toxic masculinity

cultural norms associated with the male gender to prove harmful to men and society

traditional authority

power that is rooted in tradition and custom

traditional definition of family

a group of two or more people who are related by blood, marriage or adoption


an individual who has a gender identity or gender expression that is different from what is expected based upon their sex assigned at birth

transnational terrorism

violence committed by the citizens of one nation against targets in another nation


a three-person group

triple burden

a condition faced by women of color due to inequality associated with gender, race and social class, which more frequently places them near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder


family incomes below double the poverty line

unconscious (implicit) bias

biases individuals exhibit that are beyond their awareness and based on learned stereotypes that are unintentionally held

Unilateral descent

the tracing of kinship through one parent only

unilinear evolution theory

a theory on societal transformation that theorizes that societies evolve in the same manner as organisms, moving from an unorganized animalistic state to organized civilizations

units of analysis

the type of entity a researcher is studying

univariate analysis

the most basic form of analysis that quantitative researchers conduct in which researchers describe patterns across just one variable

upper class

the social group with the highest socioeconomic status in society who monopolize the majority of societal resources


the rise and growth of cities


judgments of what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable


any feature or factor that may differ among the units of analysis that a researcher is studying, such as age, gender, social class, race-ethnicity, attitudes or behaviors.

vertical mobility

the up or down change in position of an individual or group within a system of social stratification

victimless crime

illegal behavior in which people engages and in which there are no unwilling victims

vigilante terrorism

violence committed by private citizens against other private citizens

voluntary immigration

individuals or group voluntarily move from one society to a new society

voter apathy

a lack of faith that voting makes any difference and that government can be helpful (often called political alienation)


when two or more factions engage in armed conflict


the total value of an individual or family, including income, stocks and bonds, real estate, and other assets

white-collar crime

a form of crime committed as part of one’s occupation

working class

the social group positioned between the middle and lower classes who typically work blue-collar occupations and who are economically vulnerable

zero population growth

a neo-Malthusian theory that espoused the idea that population growth will outstrip food resources as well as non-renewable resources, prompting the call for reduction in fertility

zero sum game

a situation where one group’s gain necessarily means another group’s loss


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Exploring Our Social World: The Story of Us by Jean M. Ramirez, Suzanne Latham, Rudy G. Hernandez, and Alicia E. Juskewycz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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