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Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective

1.4 Test Your Knowledge

1.  Take some time over the next few days to sit back and make observations of patterns of human behavior. What types of behaviors do you see commonly repeated? Jot down a couple of your observations and then try to figure out or find out why we see these patterns.

2.  In your text, the 2020 presidential election is provided as an example of how our society shapes our thoughts and actions while at the same time we also have some degree of autonomy to make up our own minds and act in independent ways. Provide an example of your own that illustrates this duality of social control and autonomy (also known as agency).

3.  The sociological perspective involves examining the world around us through a sociological lens. This includes examination and understanding of the impact social location has on people’s experiences. Using the sociological perspective, discuss how one aspect of your own social location influences your attitudes, opportunities, interactions and/or outcomes. Give specific examples.

4.  Peter Berger’s debunking motif is discussed in Chapter 1. Choose one common belief or behavior that is present in your society and analyze it using Berger’s debunking motif.

5.  There are six forms of societies outlined in Chapter 1, including; foraging, horticultural, pastoral, agricultural, industrial and post-industrial societies. Using both your text and an internet search, copy the table below to your notes and outline the traits in the table associated with each form of society.

Table. 4 columns with the following headings: Economic Traits, Timeframe, Population Size and Level of Social Inequality. Six horizontal rows ls labeled foraging, horticultural, pastoral, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial.

6.  Read the section in your text on social structure, public issues and personal troubles. Several examples, including eating disorders, crime and unemployment, are given that explain the relationship between these concepts. Choose a social issue that is different from these three examples and explain the interrelationship between these concepts as they connect to the social issue you have chosen.

7.  Macrosociology and microsociology are two different approaches that sociologists use to research and understand the social world. Macrosociology is a ‘”big picture” approach through which sociologists explore social issues at the societal and institutional levels. Microsociology is focused more on the individual and small groups, examining social issues via social interaction and social construction. Think of a social issue (other than those discussed in this section of the text) and discuss how a macrosociologist and a microsociologist would investigate or understand this social issue.

8.  The major theoretical perspectives in the field of sociology are examined in Chapter 1, including the functional, conflict and symbolic interaction perspectives. Copy the table below into your notes and, in your own words, fill in the boxes based on the information you learned from the textbook reading.

Table. Three columns are labeled founder of perspective, macrosociological or microsociological and 2 to 3 sentence summary of perspective. Three horizontal rows labeled funtional perspective, conflict perspective and interaction perspective.

9.  Colin Kaepernick is a civil rights activist and former football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. During the 2016 season, in protest of racial inequality and police brutality, Kaepernick kneeled as the national anthem was played. Reactions to his protests were mixed. Many people supported his fight against racism, while others denounced him as unpatriotic. How would each of the theoretical perspectives (functionalism, the conflict perspective and interactionism) interpret Kaepernick’s actions and/or the reactions he received?

10.  Within the review of the functional and conflict perspectives is embedded a discussion of theories associated with social change. Explain the theory that you think best represents the process of social change. Provide a real-world example to support your choice.

11.  According to Emilé Durkheim, social solidarity, the feeling of unity that binds people together, is essential for a society to remain functional. Durkheim found that in comparing pre-industrial societies with industrial society, social solidarity emerged from different societal characteristics. Outline the characteristics of society that led to mechanical solidarity in pre-industrial societies and the characteristics of society that led to organic solidarity in industrial societies.


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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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