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Class:SOCI 1520 - Contemporary Social Problems
Subject:Sociology
University:University of North Texas
Term:Spring 2010
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Sociological Imagination the capacity to discern the relationship between large-scale social forces and the actions of individuals.
Social Problems (Definition) Some aspects of society that people are concerned about and would change (2 char.) dynamic & relative with competing views
Social Problems (Stages) 1- defining the problem, the emergence of leaders & beginning to organize around the issue 2- crafting an official response 3- reacting to the official response 4- developing alternative strategies
Social Problems (objective conditions) Some aspects of society that can be measured or experienced
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Social Problems (subjective concerns) the concern that a significant number of people have about the objective condition
Basic principles of functionalism ( Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, Merton) Comte-organism Spencer-structure Durkheim-normal & abnormal Merton- beneficial consequences of people's actions All parts of a society have a purpose (or function) and certain needs.
basic principles of conflict theories (Marx, Simmel, Coser) Marx- capitalism & conflict Simmel- Subordinates & superordinates Coser- social networks
basic principles of symbolic interactionism focus on symbols that people use to make sense out of life
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violence (different types) Juvenile delinquency - normal/everyday White-Collar Crime - extensive Professional - specialized skill Political - change/manage political system
Strain theory
Organized crime use of violence within a highly developed bureaucracy; involves in-group loyalty; scorn for the values of the straight world; pride in specialized skills
Relativity of crime
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power (social class)
strain theory explanation of crime developed by Robert Merton; cultural goals & cultural means; strain that comes from limited means may motivate some to commit crime
conflict theory explanation of crime regard the criminal justice system as a tool that the ruling class uses to mask injustice, control workers, and stabilize the social system.
conflict theory and criminal justice system Inequity in the legal system: power and social class
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ascribed status the social status a person is assigned at birth or assumes involuntarily later in life.
achieved status a sociological term denoting a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen.
characteristics of minority groups of people singled out for unequal treatment on the basis of their physical or cultural characteristics and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination
symbolic interactionism with gender Gender differences are learned – each society socializes the sexes into its ideas of what men and women ought to be like
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symbolic interactionism with marriage
demographic transition theory (different stages) 1. Birth Rate and Death rate are both high 2. Birth Rate remains high. Death Rate is falling. 3. Birth Rate starts to fall. Death Rate continues to fall. 4. Birth Rate and Death Rate both low.
urbanization process refers to much more than simple population growth; it involves changes in the economic, social and political structures of a region.
urban crisis problems associated with Rapid Urban Growth
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Geminschaft the bonds of intimacy and shared traditions that unite people in rural areas
Gesellschaft the impersonality and self interest associated with urban areas
definition of war
human costs of war
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 Sociological Imaginationthe capacity to discern the relationship between large-scale social forces and the actions of individuals.
 Social Problems (Definition)Some aspects of society that people are concerned about and would change (2 char.)

dynamic & relative with competing views
 Social Problems (Stages)1- defining the problem, the emergence of leaders & beginning to organize around the issue
2- crafting an official response
3- reacting to the official response
4- developing alternative strategies
 Social Problems (objective conditions)Some aspects of society that can be measured or experienced
 Social Problems (subjective concerns)the concern that a significant number of people have about the objective condition
 Basic principles of functionalism( Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, Merton)

Comte-organism
Spencer-structure
Durkheim-normal & abnormal
Merton- beneficial consequences of people's actions

All parts of a society have a purpose (or function) and certain needs.
 basic principles of conflict theories(Marx, Simmel, Coser)

Marx- capitalism & conflict
Simmel- Subordinates & superordinates
Coser- social networks
 basic principles of symbolic interactionismfocus on symbols that people use to make sense out of life
 violence (different types)Juvenile delinquency - normal/everyday
White-Collar Crime - extensive
Professional - specialized skill
Political - change/manage political system
 Strain theory 
 Organized crimeuse of violence within a highly developed bureaucracy; involves in-group loyalty; scorn for the values of the straight world; pride in specialized skills
 Relativity of crime 
 power (social class) 
 strain theory explanation of crimedeveloped by Robert Merton; cultural goals & cultural means; strain that comes from limited means may motivate some to commit crime
 conflict theory explanation of crimeregard the criminal justice system as a tool that the ruling class uses to mask injustice, control workers, and stabilize the social system.
 conflict theory and criminal justice systemInequity in the legal system: power and social class
 ascribed statusthe social status a person is assigned at birth or assumes involuntarily later in life.
 achieved statusa sociological term denoting a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit; it is a position that is earned or chosen.
 characteristics of minoritygroups of people singled out for unequal treatment on the basis of their physical or cultural characteristics and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination
 symbolic interactionism with genderGender differences are learned – each society socializes the sexes into its ideas of what men and women ought to be like
 symbolic interactionism with marriage 
 demographic transition theory (different stages)1. Birth Rate and Death rate are both high
2. Birth Rate remains high. Death Rate is falling.
3. Birth Rate starts to fall. Death Rate continues to fall.
4. Birth Rate and Death Rate both low.
 urbanizationprocess refers to much more than simple population growth; it involves changes in the economic, social and political structures of a region.
 urban crisis problems associated with Rapid Urban Growth
 Geminschaftthe bonds of intimacy and shared traditions that unite people in rural areas
 Gesellschaftthe impersonality and self interest associated with urban areas
 definition of war 
 human costs of war 
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