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Chapter 1 Thinking About Social Problems Key Terms.

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1 Chapter 1 Thinking About Social Problems Key Terms

2  objective element Refers to the existence of a social condition.  subjective element The belief that a particular social condition is harmful to society.

3  social problem A social condition that a segment of society views as harmful to members of society and in need of remedy.  institution Established and enduring patterns of social relationships (family, religion, politics, economics, and education).

4  social group Two or more people who have a common identity, interact, and form a social relationship.  primary group Small, intimate, and informal groups.

5  secondary group Large or small, task-oriented, impersonal, and formal groups.  status Positions within a social group.

6  ascribed status Assigned on the basis of factors over which the individual has no control (e.g. sex, race).  achieved status Assigned on the basis of some characteristic or behavior over which the individual has some control (e.g. parent, college graduate).

7  master status Status that is considered the most significant in a person’s social identity.  roles The set of rights, obligations, and expectations associated with a status.

8  beliefs Definitions and explanations about what is assumed to be true.  values Social agreements about what is considered good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirable.

9  norms Socially defined rules of behavior.  folkways The customs and manners of society.

10  laws Formalized norms that are backed by a political authority.  mores Norms that have a moral basis.

11  sanctions Consequences for conforming to or violating norms.  symbol Language, gestures, and objects whose meaning is commonly understood by the members of a society.

12  sociological imagination The ability to see the connections between our personal lives and the social world in which we live.  latent function Consequences that are unintended and often hidden.

13  manifest function Intended and recognized conflict perspective.  anomie Norms that are weak, conflicting, or unclear.

14  alienation Powerlessness and meaningless in people’s lives.  macro sociology Looks at the "big picture" of society and suggests how social problems are affected at the institutional level.

15  micro sociology Concerned with the social psychological dynamics of individuals interacting in small groups.  labeling theory If a social condition or group is viewed as problematic if it is labeled as such.

16  variable Any measurable event, characteristic, or property that varies or is subject to change. Researchers must operationally define the variables they study.

17  operational definition Specifies how a variable is to be measured.  hypothesis A prediction or educated guess about how one variable relates to another variable.

18  dependent variable The variable the researcher wants to explain.  independent variable The variable that is expected to explain change in the dependent variable.

19  experiment Involve manipulating an independent variable to determine how it affects the dependent variable.  field research Involves observing and studying social behavior in settings in which it occurs naturally.

20  survey research Interviews, questionnaires, and talking computers that elicit information from respondents through questions (important to have representative sample).  sample A portion of the population, selected to be representative so the information from the sample can be generalized to a larger population.

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