Transcript Slide 1

A Look Ahead
What determines a person’s status
in society?
How do our social roles affect our
social interactions?
What is the place of social institutions
such as the family, religion and
government in our social structure?
How can we better understand and
manage large organizations?
Social Interaction and Reality
Response to someone’s behavior
based on meaning attached to
his or her actions
– Ability to define social reality reflects
group’s power within society
Subordinate groups challenge
traditional definitions and begin to
perceive/experience reality in new way
Social Interaction and Reality
Social Structure: The way in which a society is
organized into predictable relationships.
 Social structure is essential because it creates order
and predictability in a society
 Social structure gives us the ability to interpret the
social situations we encounter.
Elements of Social Structure
Status: Socially defined positions within a
large group or society
– Person can hold more than
one status at same time
Ascribed and Achieved Status
Ascribed status: Status one is born with
█ Achieved status: Status one earns
█ Master status: Status that dominates
other statuses and determines a
person’s general position in society
In U.S., ascribed statuses of race and gender
can function as master statuses
Elements of Social Structure
█ Figure 5.1: Social Statuses
Social Roles
 Social roles are sets of expectations for
people who occupy a given status
Role Conflict
 Role conflict is the challenge of occupying
two social positions simultaneously
Social Roles
Social role: Set of expectations for
people who occupy a given status
Role conflict: When incompatible
expectations arise from two or more
social positions held by same person
█ Role strain: Difficulties that arise when
same social position imposes
conflicting demands and expectations
Social Roles
Role exit: Process of disengagement
from a role that is central to one’s identity
to establish a new role
– Doubt
– Search
for alternatives
– Action stage
– Creation of a
new identity
 Any
number of people with similar norms,
values, and expectations who interact with
each other on a regular basis
Every society composed of many groups in which
daily social interaction takes place
Primary group: small group with intimate, face-toface association and cooperation
Secondary group: impersonal groups with little
social intimacy or mutual understanding
Table 5-1: Comparison of Primary and
Secondary Groups
Primary Group
Secondary Group
Generally small
Usually large
Relatively long period
of interaction
Relatively short duration,
often temporary
Intimate, face-to-face
Little social intimacy or
mutual understanding
Some emotional depth
to relationships
Relationships generally
Cooperative, friendly
More formal and impersonal
In-Groups and Out-Groups
 In-groups:
any groups or categories to
which people feel they belong
 Out-groups:
any groups or categories to
which people feel they do not belong
Conflict between in-groups and out-groups
can turn violent on a personal as well as
political level
Tension between groups sharpen the groups’
boundaries and give people a clearer social
In-group promotes solidarity and sense of purpose
and belonging
In-groups can also foster ethnocentrism
Members of in-groups generally hold overly positive
views of themselves and unfairly negative views of
various out-groups
The result is prejudice where a double standard
The traits of our in-groups come to be
viewed as virtues, while those same traits in
out-groups are seen as vices
Studying Small Groups
Size of Group
 Groups size has an important impact on the nature
of social interaction
 The smallest group size is know as a Dyad a twomember group
 Triad: A three-member group
 Smaller groups have greater interaction
Understanding Groups
Studies have shown that the smaller the group, the
more direct, personally satisfying and emotionally
intense the interaction.
One side effect of small groups is that they require
continuing active participation, thus making it a
fragile relationship
As group size increases, interaction decreases but
stability increases.
Understanding Groups
Physical Anonymity
 As the size of the group increases, so does physical
 Group conformity is also more likely to take place.
Group Conformity
Solomon Asch (1952) - conducted a study of visual
 One-third of all subjects chose to conform by
answering incorrectly.
 Are we willing to compromise our own judgment to
avoid the discomfort of being different?
Groupthink - the tendency of group members to
conform, resulting in a narrow view of some issue
 Group members often seek agreement that closes
off other points of view.
- Space Shuttle
- Iraq war
Reference Groups
Reference group: Any group individuals use for
evaluating their own behavior
Reference Groups
Reference groups set and enforce standards of
conduct and belief
Reference groups serve as a standard against
which people can evaluate themselves and others
Social Networks and Technology
 A social network is a series of social relationships
that links a person directly to others, and indirectly
links them to still more people.
A network includes people we know of – or who
know of us
Network ties often give us the sense that we live in a
small world
Milgram study – six degrees of separation
Virtual Worlds
With advances in technology, people can
maintain social networks electronically
– Avatar: 3-D model, 2-D icon, or
constructed personality provided by
an Internet site
– Castells views electronic social networks
as fundamental to new organizations
and growth of existing businesses
and associations
Networking is a valuable skill to have when
Advances in technology, such as browsing web
pages or text-messaging, help us to maintain
social networks.
Social Institutions
 Organized
patterns of beliefs and behavior
centered on basic social needs
 Social institutions provide insight into the
structure of society
 Functionalist View
Five major tasks (functional prerequisites)
1. Replacing personnel
2. Teaching new recruits
3. Producing and distributing
and services
4. Preserving order
5. Providing and maintaining
a sense of purpose
Social Institutions
 Conflict
Major institutions help maintain privileges of
most powerful individuals and groups within
Social institutions have inherently
conservative nature
Social institutions operate in gendered and
racist environments
Table 5-3: Stages of
Sociocultural Evolution
Societal type
First appearance
Beginning of
human life
Nomadic; reliance on readily available
food and fibers
About 10,000 to
12,000 years ago
More settled; development of agriculture
and limited technology
About 5,000 years
Larger, more stable settlements;
improved technology and increased crop
Reliance on mechanical power and new
sources of energy; centralized workplaces;
economic interdependence; formal education
Reliance on services, especially the
processing and control of information;
expanded middle class
Latter 1970s
High technology; mass consumption of
consumer goods and media images; crosscultural integrations
Ferdinand Tönnie’s Gemeinschaft
and Gesellschaft
Gemeinschaft (guh-MINE-shoft)
 Gemeinschaft is defined as a small community in
which people have similar backgrounds and life
Gesellschaft (guh-ZELL-shoft)
 Gesellschaft is defined as a large community in
which people are strangers and feel little in common
with other community residents
Table 5-3: Comparison of the Gemeinschaft
and Gesellschaft
Lenski’s Sociocultural Evolution
Postindustrial and Postmodern Societies
– Postindustrial society:
Economic system engaged
primarily in processing and
controlling information
– Postmodern society:
sophisticated society
preoccupied with consumer
goods and media images
Regulating the Net
The Issue
– Technological innovations changed the
way we shop and share information
– Can communicate with others
instantaneously online
– People who use complex communication
system without understanding underlying
technology create potential for misuse
Regulating the Net
The Setting
– Internet is especially important to young
people’s interactions
• By 2005, 87% of those ages 12 to 17
had used the Internet
• 11 million teens went online everyday
• Majority of teens now text-message or
visit online social networking sites
Regulating the Net
Sociological Insights
– Internet not a level playing field
– Conflict theorists documented gap between
White and Black or Hispanic youths using
electronic communication
– Interactionists investigated implications
of online communication for everyday
social interaction
– Feminist researchers noted that
females embrace Internet more than men
Regulating the Net
Policy Initiatives
– Self-regulation outstripping
government regulation
– Net neutrality: Government should
remain nonselective or neutral
toward online content
– Concern that information gathered over
Internet is being shared in ways unknown
to online users
Figure 5-2: Identity
Information Revealed Online
by College Students