I. Levels of Sociological Analysis
A. Macrosociology places the focus on what?
1. Macrosociology investigates what?
2. Macrosociology is utilized by whom?
B. Microsociology places the emphasis on social interaction, or what people do when they come together.
1. Give an example of microsociology.
C. Each yields distinctive perspectives. Why are they both are needed?
II. The Macrosociological Perspective: Social Structure
A. Social structure is defined as __.
1. Behaviors and attitudes are determined by what?
2. List 6 components of social structure.
B. T/F Culture refers to a group's language, beliefs, values, behaviors, and gestures.
1. T/F It includes the material objects used by a group.
2. T/F It determines what kind of people we will become.
C. Social class is based on what? Name 3.
1. What makes up a social class?
D. Social status refers to what?
1. Status set refers to what?
2. What are ascribed statuses?
3. What are achieved statuses?
4. What are status symbols?
5. What is a master status
6. What is a status inconsistency?
E. What are roles?
1. What is the difference between a status, and a role?
2. Why are roles an essential component of culture?
F. Of what does a group consist?
G. T/F Social institutions are society's standard ways of meeting its basic needs.
1. Why are social institutions sociologically significant?
2. Give examples of social institutions (9).
3. Differentiate between social institutions in industrialized societies and non-literate societies.
H. Of what does a society consist?
1. Describe the first societies.
a. On what did their survival depend? Describe these societies.
b. Describe their social divisions, the basic unit, and jobs.
c. Did they accumulate possessions? What was the result?
2. What was the result of the domestication revolution on hunting and gathering societies?
a. The domestication of plants and animals is called what? Why might this be a oxymoron?
b. The resulting societies created food surpluses. So what?
c. What was the effect of increased trade and interaction between groups?
d. What was the result of some families or clans acquiring more goods than others?
e. How did accumulation of possessions lead to inequality?
3. What brought about the second social revolution, and when?
a. What happened to pastoral and horticultural societies?
b. What were some of the innovations at the dawn of civilization?
c. What changed as cities developed?
d. Describe the birth of the state.
4. Describe the ‘cause of the 3rd social revolution, and when did it begin?
a. Agricultural societies were transformed into industrial societies.
b. Harnessing many mechanical power sources, resulted in what?
c. Describe the effect on social inequality and population.
d. T/F The individuals who first utilized the new technology accumulated great wealth, controlling the means of production and dictating the conditions under which people could work for them.
e. Do you agree with the statement: “As industrialization continued, the pattern of growing inequality was reversed. Indicators of greater equality include better housing and a vast increase in consumer goods?”
5. Industrial societies are being transformed into what? And what “thing” brought about this transformation?
a. Postindustrial societies are moving away from what to what?
b. What is the basic component of this new society?
6. Do you think we are witnessing a 4th social revolution? Why?
J. T/F Many sociologists have tried to find an answer to the question of what holds society together.
1. What is social cohesion?
2. T/F Emile Durkheim used the concepts of mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity to explain what holds society together.
a. What is mechanical solidarity?
b. What is organic solidarity?
3. What was the subject of Ferdinand Tönnies’ research?
a. Differentiate Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
b. T/F These concepts are still relevant today, helping us to understand contemporary events such as the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
IV. The Microsociological Perspective: Social Interaction in Everyday Life
A. What is the emphasis of the microsociological approach?
B. Personal space refers what?
1. T/F The amount of personal space people prefer is universal from one culture to another.
2. Anthropologist Edward Hall found that Americans use four different distance zones. Describe them:
a. Intimate distance?
b. Personal distance?
c. Social distance?
d. Public distance?
C. What is dramaturgy?
1. Who was the pioneer of Dramaturgy?
2. What is impression management?
3. According to Goffman, socialization prepares people for what?
4. What is role performance?
a. When does role conflict occur?
b. What is role strain?
c. T/F We tend to become the roles we play. Some roles even become incorporated into our self-concept.
5. Teamwork, when two or more players work together to make sure a performance goes off as planned, show that we are adept players.
a. When a performance doesn't come off, we engage in face-saving behavior—ignoring flaws in someone's performance.
D. What is ethnomethodology?
1. What is the goal of the ethnomethodologist?
2. Who founded the ethnomethodological approach?
E. What is the “social construction of reality?”
1. What do symbolic interactionists believe?
2. What is the Thomas theorem?
V. The Need for Both Macrosociology and Microsociology
A. T/F To understand human behavior, it is necessary to grasp both social structure (macrosociology) and social interaction (microsociology).
B. T/F Both macrosociology and microsociology are necessary for us to understand social life fully because each in its own way adds to our knowledge of human experience.
macrosociology: (p. 84) microsociology: (p. 85) social institution: (p. 89) social integration: (p.94) social interaction: (p. 85)
social structure: (p. 85) status: (p. 87) status set: (p. 87) status symbols: (p. 87) achieved statuses: (p. 87)
master status: (p. 88) ascribed statuses: (p. 87) social class: (p. 87) status inconsistency: (p. 88) group: (p. 89)
hunting and gathering society: (p. 89) society: (p. 89) role: (p. 89) horticultural society: (p. 91) pastoral society: (p. 91)
agricultural society: (p.92) Industrial Revolution: (p. 92) industrial society: (p.92) postindustrial society: (p.93) biotech society: (p.93)
division of labor: (p. 94) Gemeinshaft: (p. 94) Gesellshaft: (p. 94) mechanical solidarity: (p. 94) organic solidarity: (p. 94)
role conflict: (p. 100) role performance: (p.100) impression management: (p. 100) dramaturgy: (p. 100) role strain: (p. 101)
teamwork: (p. 101) face-saving behavior: (p. 101) ethnomethodology: (p. 103) background assumptions:(p. 104) Thomas theorem: (p. 105)
social construction of reality: (p. 105)
Emile Durkheim 2.
Ferdinand Tönnies 3.
Edward Hall 4.
W. I. Thomas a. described
societies b. wrote about mechanical and organic
solidarity as keys to social
cohesion c. analyzed everyday life in terms of
dramaturgy d. studied the concept of personal space e. wrote a theorem about the nature of
1. Emile Durkheim
2. Ferdinand Tönnies
3. Edward Hall
4. Erving Goffman
5. W. I. Thomas
a. described Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft societies
b. wrote about mechanical and organic solidarity as keys to social cohesion
c. analyzed everyday life in terms of dramaturgy
d. studied the concept of personal space
e. wrote a theorem about the nature of social reality
Who used macro- and microsociology to study high school gangs and found that social structure and interaction explained the patterns of behavior in these groups?
Who is the founder of ethnomethodology; he conducted experiments in order to uncover people’s background assumptions.
1. Choose a research topic and discuss how to approach this topic using both macrosociological and microsociological approaches.
2. The concept of a social structure is often difficult to grasp. Yet the social structure is a central organizing feature of social life. Identify the ways in which it takes shape in our society and in our lives.
3. Today we see many examples of people wanting to recreate a simpler way of life. Using Tönnies' framework, analyze this tendency.
4. Assume that you have been asked to give a presentation to your sociology class on Goffman's dramaturgy approach. Describe what information you would want to include in such a presentation.
5. Explain what sociologists mean by “the social construction of reality.”
1. Once you have finished reading this chapter, try and analyze the statuses, roles, and so on in your own life. How does when and where you were born affect your life? What are your current statuses and roles? What kinds of role conflict or role strain have you experienced in these roles? Do you think your situation would be different if you had a different ascribed status? For example, would your situation different if you had been born a member of the opposite sex?
2. What are some things you do on a daily basis to practice impression management? Have you ever had a case where your attempts to manage impressions backfired? Explain. What types of face-saving behavior did you use afterwards? Explain.
Key Terms and Theorists
Levels of Sociological Analysis
· Macrosociology and Microsociology
· The Macro-sociological Perspective: Social Structure
· Social Class
· Social Status and Roles
· Groups and Social Institutions
· Societies and Their Transformation
· Bioeconomic Society
· What Holds Society Together?
· Macrosociology: analysis that focuses on the broad features of society.
· Microsociology: analysis that places emphasis on social interaction, what people do when they come together.
· Social Structure: the framework of society that guides our behavior.
· Social Class: the particular social location of a person based on income, education, and occupational prestige.
· Social Status: the position that someone occupies that is ascribed (involuntary) or achieved (voluntary and earned).
· Master Status: the status a person holds that cuts across all other statuses held.
· Role: the behavior, obligations, and privileges attached to status.
· Social Institutions: the means that society develops to meet its basic needs.
· Post Industrial Society: a society based on information, services, and the latest technology.
· Bioeconomic Society: a society where the economy centers on the application of genetics.
· Social Cohesion: the degree to which members of society feel united by shared values and other bonds.
· Emile Durkheim: developed the concepts of mechanical and organic solidarity.
· Mechanical Solidarity: a society in which people perform similar tasks and develop a shared consciousness. Similarities unite them.
· Organic Solidarity: a society with a specialized division of labor that requires dependency on one another to develop unity.
· Ferdinand Tonnies: developed the concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
§ ABC Video Racial Profiling of Young Black Men and Arabs
§ Down-to-Earth Sociology
College Football as Social Structure p. 86
§ Figure 4.1 Team Positions in Football p. 86
§ Figure 4.2 Social Institutions p. 90
§ Figure 4.3 The Social Transformations of Societies p. 91
§ Figure 4.4 Consequences of Animal Domestication p.92
§ Sociology and the New Technology Cloning in the Coming Biotech Society p.95
▪ Cultural Diversity in
The Microsociological Perspective: Social Interaction in Everyday Life
· Stereotypes in Everyday Life
· Personal Space
· Dramaturgy: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
· Ethnomethodology: Uncovering Background Assumptions
· The Social Construction of Reality
· Social Interaction on the Internet
· Distance Zones used by North Americans:
Intimate Distance: 18 inches from the body.
Personal Distance: 18 inches to 4 feet.
Social Distance: 4 to 12 feet.
Public Distance: more than 12 feet.
· Dramaturgy: the comparison of social life to a drama or a stage.
· Erving Goffman: responsible for developing Dramaturgy.
· Ethnomethodology: the “study of how people do things” and how people use common sense understandings to get through everyday life.
· Harold Garfinkel: responsible for developing ethnomethodology. .
· Thomas Theorem: the definition of the situation, “If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”
· W. I. Thomas and Dorothy S. Thomas: developed the Thomas Theorem.
§ ABC Video Boys and Single Moms
§ Down-to-Earth Sociology
Beauty May Only Be Skin Deep p.98
▪ Figure 4.5 How Self-Fulfilling Stereotypes Work p.99
§ Figure 4.6 Role Strain and Role Conflict p101
§ Mass Media in Social Life You Can’t Be Thin Enough p.102
The Need for Both Macrosociology and Microsociology
· The Saints and the Roughneck
· William Chambliss: developed an example of how macro- and microsociology can be applied in his study of the Saints and the Roughnecks.
· Because both macro- and microsociology focus on different aspects of the human experience, they are both necessary to understand social life.
§ Content Select Activity: Social Interaction
§ Sociology and the New Technology Virtual Reality and the Real World p.107
§ Through the Author’s Lens When a Tornado Strikes p.108-109
There are two levels of sociological analysis. Macrosociology investigates the large-scale features of social structure, while microsociology focuses on social interaction. Functional and conflict theorists tend to use a macrosociological approach while symbolic interactionists are more likely to use a macrosociological approach.
To better understand human behavior, we need to understand social structure. Social structure refers to a society's framework, which forms an envelope around us and sets limits on our behavior. The individual's location in the social structure affects his or her perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Culture, social class, social status, roles, groups, and institutions are the major components of the social structure.
Social class refers to a particular social location someone holds in life. Social class is based on income, education, and occupational prestige. Social status is the position that someone occupies. Most of us hold a number of statuses (professor, student, son or daughter, significant other, member of particular groups, religious affiliation, and so on). Some of these statuses are ascribed, meaning they were involuntary and bestowed at birth or during the life course. Others are achieved, which means they are voluntary and must be earned. With each status comes a role, which refers to the behaviors, obligations, and privileges attached to a status.
Social institutions are the organized and standard means that a society develops to meet its basic needs. Functionalists view social institutions as established ways of meeting universal group needs. However, conflict theorists see social institutions as the primary means by which the elite maintains its privileged position. Among the many social institutions present in society, family, religion, education, and the mass media appear to have the greatest degrees on influence on personal development and social interaction.
Over time, social structure undergoes changes. Over 10,000 years ago, all societies were classified as hunting-gathering societies. The hunting-gathering society had few social divisions and the inability to produce much of a surplus. In the first social revolution, plants and animals were domesticated and pastoral and horticultural societies developed. These societies were more advanced and set the stage for social inequality because of the ability of some members of society to accumulate surpluses. The invention of the plow ushered in the second revolution and the agricultural society. With the invention of the steam engine, the third revolution began. The fourth revolution, which created the Information Age, was made possible by was the invention of the microchip. An emerging revolution may be the bioeconomy, which has been inspired by the decoding of the human genome.
All societies have not evolved at the same pace. Sometimes change is very dramatic, as illustrated by Durkheim's concepts of mechanical and organic solidarity, and Tönnies' constructs of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
In contrast to functionalist and conflict theorists who, as macrosociologists, focus on the "big picture," symbolic interactionists tend to be microsociologists who look at social interaction in everyday life. They examine how people look at things and how that, in turn, affects their behavior. This face to face interaction is affected by stereotypes, personal space, how we conduct ourselves in the presence of others, and our personal construction of reality.
Stereotypes are assumptions we make about others based on their visible characteristics. Stereotypes guide our behavior toward the people prejudged and they, in turn, are influenced to behave in ways that reinforce our stereotypes.
Symbolic interactionists note that each of us is surrounded by a "personal bubble" that we carefully protect and that we can refer to as our personal space. The size of the bubble or personal space varies from one culture to another. This personal space can be divided into four different "distance zones" that Americans use to guide their daily interaction with others. These four distance zones are classified as intimate distance, personal distance, social distance, and public distance.
The dramaturgical analysis provided by Erving Goffman analyzes everyday life in terms of the stage. At the core of this approach is the analysis of the impressions we attempt to make on others by using sign-vehicles (setting, appearance, and manner), teamwork, and face-saving behavior.
Ethnomethodologists try to uncover the background assumptions that provide us with basic ideas about the way life is. The social construction of reality refers to how we each create a view, or understanding, of how our world is.
Both macrosociology and microsociology are needed to understand human behavior because we must grasp both social structure and social interaction.
T F 1. Conflict theory and functionalism both focus on the macrosociological perspective.
T F 2. Macrosociology focuses on the broad features of society.
T F 3. Culture is the broadest framework that determines what kind of people we become.
T F 4. Social status refers to the position that someone occupies.
T F 5. Student is an example of an ascribed status.
T F 6. Master statuses can be ascribed, or achieved, statuses.
T F 7. Belonging to a group means that we yield to others the right to make certain decisions about our behavior.
T F 8. Hunting and gathering societies have been called the “dawn of civilization.”
T F 9. Medicine is a social institution.
T F 10. The industrial revolution began in
T F 11. The postindustrial society’s main component is information.
T F 12. The bioeconomic society is centered around the application of genetic structures.
T F 13. According to Emile Durkheim, with industrialization as a basis, social cohesion shifts from organic to mechanical solidarity.
T F 14. Gemeinschaft society is characterized by impersonal, short-term relationships.
T F 15. Microsociologists examine face-to-face interaction.
T F 16. Personal distance is space reserved for impersonal or formal relationships.
T F 17. Role conflict is a conflict that someone feels within a role.
T F 18. Studied nonobservance is a form of face-saving.
T F 19. Symbolic interactionists assume that reality has an objective existence, and people must deal with it.
T F 20. The social construction of reality involves subjective interpretation.
1. __________________________ places the focus on broad features of society.
2. _______________ is what people do when they are in the presence of one another.
3. The Down-to-Earth sociology box on football mirrors social ____________.
4. Income, education, and occupational prestige indicate_______.
5. A ________________________ is one that cuts across the other statuses you hold.
6. ______________ are the behaviors, obligations, and privileges attached to a status.
7. ________________ work together to meet universal needs.
8. _____________ is the degree to which members of a society feel united by shared values and other bonds.
9. As societies get larger, their ___________________ becomes more specialized.
10. Ferdinand Tönnies used the term ____________________________to refer to societies dominated by impersonal relations, individual accomplishments, and self interest.
11. ____________________________________ is the conflict one feels within a role.
12. When two or more people collaborate to manage impressions jointly, this is referred to as __.
13. Goffman called the techniques that we use to salvage a performance that is going bad as __
14. Ethnomethodologists explore ________________ assumptions.
15. What people define as real because of their background assumptions and life experiences is the_
§ Why are macrosociology and microsociology both necessary to understand life in society? Choose any event from the newspaper and use both macrosociology and microsociology to analyze it.
§ What are some roles, statuses, norms, and values of the college or university you attend? How do these differ from those of your family?
§ In what ways can the mass media be considered a social institution?
§ What did Durkheim mean by social cohesion? What is the difference between mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity in creating social cohesion?
§ What are the sources of social cohesion in American society? How would Durkheim describe American solidarity? How would this relate to suicide today?
§ What aspects of Amish society and culture would be regarded as important from a microsociological perspective? What are the values and limitations of micro and macro approaches?
§ What components of Gemeinschaft would you like or dislike on a daily basis? What about Gesellschaft? Does the practice of your religion involve Gemeinschaft or Gesellschaft interactions, or some of each? How does this differ from what you know about the Amish?
§ Experiment with norms regarding personal space. How does the invasion of space make one feel? What reactions are common? How does one know when norms are broken?
§ What are the “back stage” and “front stage” areas of your life? How do you keep people from entering your back stage area uninvited?
§ Do you experience any role conflict? What about role strain? What are the reasons for this conflict or strain? What are the consequences? What could you do to change the situation?
§ How can Goffman’s metaphor be extended to apply other theater concepts to the study of the dramaturgy of everyday life? What might be some limitations of the dramaturgical model?
§ Do you feel Americans are concerned about being overweight more now than in the past? What role do the media play in perpetuating these concerns? What role does physical appearance play in impression management?
§ What sign-vehicles do people use in managing the impressions they make on others?
§ What are background assumptions? What significance do background assumptions have for social life?
§ How do participants work together to socially construct the reality of getting a driver’s license, buying a car, getting a haircut, going on a date, voting in an election, getting a blood test?
§ Would you use a macrosociological or a microsociological approach if you were a sociologist studying homelessness? Adolescent pregnancy? People and their pets? Basketball? Why? How would your approach determine what you discovered?
§ Review the Down-to-Earth Sociology feature on football as social structure, and analyze the social structure of an organization you are part of, such as your school, workplace, or church. Present your analysis in a paper or report.
§ Ask students to observe the classroom and note status symbols they see. Have students share their observations within and between groups. What are some examples of positive and negative status symbols? What do the status symbols communicate to others? What social functions do status symbols serve?
§ Select a social institution such as the military or the law and describe how a functionalist and a conflict theorist would view the institution in this country. How do these views both reflect a macrosociological approach? Present the analysis in a report.
§ Address the following question in an essay: Contrast your own life with that of the Amish. Are there any Gemeinschaft aspects to your life that are similar to the Amish life? What features of Amish life do you find attractive? Which features do you dislike? How do you think you could build more of the appealing features of Amish life into your own?
§ Ask students to analyze situations in which they experience role strain and role conflict and to share examples with classmates in small group discussion.
§ Have the students analyze their own personal space. Have them keep a journal of situations in which you feel uncomfortable because a person or other people are “too close for comfort.”
§ Discuss the elements of impression management and teamwork involved in getting up and to school or work in the morning. How do you use the back stage and how is that different from your front stage performance?
§ Have students divide into teams, select a recent current event, and then do the following: (1) Research the media in an effort to determine who owns all of the major broadcast networks,; (2) Discover the different viewpoints represented in three newspapers, three editorial magazines, and three television channels. How do perspective, representation, and filtering affect information we receive?
§ Ask a colleague who has been conducting cross-cultural research to talk about ways in which social class, social status, ascribed and achieved statuses, status symbols, master statuses, and roles are experienced in other cultures.
§ Ask a colleague who is a symbolic interactionist to talk about how research is conducted at the microsociological level.
§ Have each of the students write an essay on their most recent trip to the doctor’s office. Have them describe all of their experiences using as many glossary terms in the chapter as possible. Once this task is complete, have them return to the doctor’s office and offer to volunteer their time for two hours, all while observing behavior from a new perspective. Have them reflect on their experience once again.
Community By Design. Insight Media. 1997, 26 min. (Video). This video explores the place of design in community planning.
Societies. Insight Media. 1991, 30 min. (Video). This program shows how small, moderate, and complex societies satisfy human needs.
Relations. PBS. 1992, 60
min. (Video). This film discusses society and culture in reference to
marriage and morals of tribes in
research in the immediate post-war (May 2003) environment of
Roles and Social Interaction – Key Objective 4.3: Defining Key Concepts http://hagar.up.ac.za/catts/learner/cooplrn/c1.html
This site is an introduction to roles in cooperative learning and social interaction.
Interactive Flashcards for Social Organization – Key Objective 4.4: Ascribed versus Achieved Status http://anthro.palomar.edu/status/flashcards_1.htm
Theorists and Sociological Traditions – Key Objective 4.7: Functionalists and Conflict Theorists http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/theory.html
This site explores the sociological imagination, theorists, their famous works, biographies, and traditions.
The Living Room is a place where we can learn, teach, laugh, rant, and plan. It explores history, technology, and the sensation of community.
Nonverbal Communication – Key Objective 4.9: Symbolic Interactionism and Personal Space http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Sloan-School-of-Management/15-281Spring2004/BE8A9AEB-CBBC-4A61-A473-8FF4B143C151/0/nonverbal.pdf
Nonverbal communication plays a central role in human behavior and it is important to recognize that communication frequently involves more than a verbal message.
Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism –: Why Microsociology is needed to Understand Social Life http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~sssi/
This site is an advertisement for the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism, a professional social science organization of scholars interested in qualitative, interactive research.
Giele, J.Z. 1988. “Gender and Sex Roles”
N.J. Smelser (ed.), Handbook of Sociology.
Editors. 1993. “Death Wish” Newsweek (May 3) pp. 3-33
Herman. (1850) 1972. “Rank Order Aboard
a Man-of-War” in Sociology Through
Smelser, Neil J. 1988. “Social Structure” in N.J. Smelser (ed.), Handbook
Takata, Susan R. 1997. “The Chairs Game—Competition versus Cooperation: The Sociological Uses of Musical Chairs”. Teaching Sociology. Vol. 25 (July) pp. 200-206.