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Sociology Notes sample essay

The sociological perspective puts emphasis on the social context in which people live in and how these contexts influence their lives. At the center of this perspective is the question of how groups influence people, especially how people are influence by their society. Sociologists will look at how income, jobs, education, gender. age. and race affect people’s ideas and behavior. Summarize the main points of Karl Marx’s theory of class conflict. Karl Marx’s class conflict theory states that the bourgeoisie (or the capitalists) are locked in conflict with the proletariat (the exploited workers).

Marx believed that this conflict could only end when the working class united and violently broke free of the “bondage”. Once this happens, society will be classless and people will work according to their abilities, while receiving goods and services according to their needs. Although Marxism does propose revolution, it should not be confused with communism. Summarize Max Weber’s ideas about religion, rather than economics, being the central force in social change. Max Weber disagreed with Marx’s claim that economics is the central force in social change. Weber believed that religion was the central force of social change.

His conclusion came from him contrasting the Roman Catholic and Protestant belief systems. “Roman Catholics, he said, were taught that because they were members of the only true church, they were on the road to heaven. This made them comfortable with traditional ways of life. ” (Henslin, pg. 8). While Roman Catholics followed their system, protestants undermined the spiritual security of its followers and motivated them to embrace change. Protestants that were under the Calvinist tradition didn’t even know if they were saved until Judgement Day, and so began to look for “signs” hat they were in Gods favor.

This concluded in the assumption that financial success was a divine blessing and that God did not want them to waste this blessing. So with their financial success, they became frugal and saved and invested their money. Weber believed this was the change in the way money was viewed that produced the capital that brought about the birth of capitalism. He called it, the Protestant ethic. Chapter Two Culture Explain the significance of language to human life. Language is the primary way in which people communicate with one another.

Language allows human experience to be cumulative, meaning we pass ideas, knowledge and even attitudes on to the next generation. Language also provides a social or shared past. Without language, our memories would be limited because we could not associate experiences with words and could not use the words to recall the experience. Language also provides a social or shared future. Because language allows us to agree on times, dates and places it allows us to plan events or activities with one another. Without the use of language, there could be no way to communicate goals or plans with other people.

Language allows us to share perspectives, goal-directed behavior and much more. All in all, language allows culture to exist. Without it, there would be no way of communication or culture. Explain the difference between a subculture and a counterculture and give an example of each. A subculture is a group whose values and related behaviors distinguish its members from the general culture. A counterculture holds some values that stand in opposition to those of the dominant culture. Subcultures form around many different interests and activities.

For example, people who decorate themselves to the extreme for sports games are a part of the basketball subculture, and are showing their solidarity to it. The cabbies subculture centers on their occupational activities as cab drivers, and more often than not as their experiences of being of the same race as well. An example of a counterculture would be the Hells Angels. They not only stress the freedoms that the subculture of motorcycle enthusiasts would, but they stress speed and value dirtiness and contempt toward women. work and education.

Because of this, they are considered a counterculture. Define culture leveling and discuss how technology contributes to this process. Cultural leveling is a process in which cultures become similar to one another. The rise in technology allows for greater means of sharing our cultural tendencies with other parts of the world. The globalization of capitalism brings technology and Western culture to places all around the world, like Japan. Cultural leveling is occuring rapidy around the world and is allowing for different cultures to adapt to the Western culture.

Chapter Three Socialization Describe Piaget’s theory of how individuals develop reasoning skills. Piaget believed that people developed reasoning skills through a natural process. He believed that children go through four stages as they develop their ability to reason. The first of these stages is sensorimotor stage (from birth to about age 2). This stage is where understanding is limited to direct contact with the environment. The second stage is the preoperational stage (from about age 2 to age 7). This stage is where children develop the ability to use symbols.

They don’t yet understand common concepts such as size, speed or causation. The third stage is the concrete operational stage (from the age of about 7 to 12). During this process reasoning abilities are more developed though they still remain concrete. At this point children understand numbers, causation, and speed. They are able to play other roles and to play with others on teams. Lastly, there is the formal operational stage (after the age of about 12). At this point they can come to conclusions, and use rules to solve problems. This is where children can become young philosophers.

Explain how society channels our behavior through gender socialization. Gender socialization has a lot to do with how we act and grow. As children, we learn what is expected of us within our gender roles, and from there we are nudged into different lanes of life. As we grow older, most of us act, think, and sometimes even feel depending on these gender maps that society has built for us. Our parents are the first role models for gender differences that we see. They teach us so much about our gender orientations without even realizing it.

For example, a study done on the way mothers encourage differences in gender orientation, showed that mothers subconsciously reward daughter for being passive and dependent, while they reward sons for being active and independent. Peers reinforce many of the ideas about gender orientation that is exposed to us through our family and society. The peer group, individuals of roughly the same age who are linked by common interests, play the most powerful role in a persons gender socialization. As you grow up, naturally a peer group of girls focuses on looks and behavior, whereas boys focus more on things such as television or movies.

Usually boys single out sexual or violent things that come from the things that they watch. Lastly, the mass media plays a large role in gender socialization. The mass media, forms of communication that are directed to large audiences, use their images to reinforce gender roles. One large culprit of mass media that does this, is television. Television constantly reinforces stereotypes of the sexes. “On prime-time television male characters out-number female characters. Male characters are also more likely to be portrayed in higher-status positions (Glascock 2001). ” (Henslin, pg. 71).

Even in sports, you find most newscasters are male, and when they speak of female sports, they focus mostly on turning them into a sexual object or on humorous events within women’s sports. Some television shows create stereotype-breaking characters, which shows that times are changing. Girl empowering shows such as Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Kim Possible, and Powerpuff Girls, all portray girls who are strong and confident and who can do things just as good, or better than a man. But they also send mixed messages by making strong main characters skinny and gorgeous, while also tending to latest fashion.

Video games are also one of the things that affect gender roles within society. A lot of video games are cutting-edge and reflect cutting-edge changes in sex roles. Lastly there is anime. Anime, which is a Japanese cartoon form targeted at children, focus on the big eyed little girls and fighting young boys. They also often depict violence within their cartoons. Discuss why total institutions are effective in stripping away people’s personal freedom. A total institution is a place where people are cut off from the rest of society and where they come under almost total control of the officials who are in charge.

This includes boot camps, prisons, concentration camps, convents, military schools, and some religious cults are considered total institutions. Upon entering a total institution, people go through a degradation ceremony, which is an attempt as remaking the self. They do this by stripping away the individuals personal identity kit (items used to express individuality). Some are ordered to strip and undergo an examination, and put on a uniform that displays their new status. They are isolated from the public, and no one leaves a total institution unscathed.

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