SOCY2000 Social Issues. Spring 2011.

Study questions, exam 1 lectures

SOCY2000 Social Issues
Fall 2012
Study questions from lecture for 1st exam

Study questions and things to know for the Wednesday, September 19 examination

From introductory lecture

1. Define social problem, objective problem, subjective problem

2. Give three of the six approaches to addressing social problems I listed


1. Know the following principles (chiefly from the functionalist perspective):

Functionalist Postulate

2nd Law of Social Thermodynamics

Connectedness Postulate

2. What is the organismic metaphor?

3. What, from the functionalist point of view, would be social pathology?

4. What is the phenomenon that functionalists consider most central to social life?

5. Be able to define and give examples of function, manifest function, latent function, eufunction, dysfunction, and unanticipated consequences of purposive social action

6. I may give you a social function in some social setting and have you tell me whether the function is mostly manifest or mostly latent.

7. What skill do I claim that sociologists have that should make them valuable to social planners?

8. Define functional prerequisite. Know the six functional prerequisites I listed.

9. What is the Hobbesian problem of order?

10. With whom are the words "… solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" associated? What was he talking about?

11. Contrast integration through sentiment with integration through interdependence

12. Define social institution. Give some examples

13. Vis-à-vis social institutions, remember that social pathology is likely to arise either because an institution is having difficulty producing its expected outcomes or because the coordination between institutions is having difficulties

14. I may give you a social institution and have you tell me which functional prerequisite(s) it helps meet. Justify your answer. Mostly you'll have to figure this out.

15. I may give you a social institution and have you tell me some of its functions.

16. Give an example of a social institution with multiple functions (list some of them).

17. Give examples of different institutions that contribute to social integration. Specify how.

18. Define homeostasis

19. T F Police and other things that keep people behaving within expected bounds contribute to homeostasis.

20. Define and be able to recognize examples of

cultural lag


21. What is a Pollyanna? Why are functionalists sometimes called Pollyannas?

22. Functionalists are sometimes accused of being unable to account for change. On what basis did I (and Durkheim) argue that functionalists assume change is necessary? (Think Durkheim's discussion of crime.)

23. T F Functionalists do better at explaining why something persists than why it came to be in the first place.

24. Define cultural value, norm (be sure to use my definition, which may be slightly different than what you learned before)

25. What are the five values Wright and Rogers are going to emphasize Be able to describe each.

26. What are the two values I want to add to the Wright and Rogers five?

27. Define benefit-cost analysis. Is it different from cost-benefit analysis? [A: no]

28. What four grounds for fairness in outcomes did we discuss? Which is expressed in voting in corporations? In voting in elections for political office? In responding to natural disasters? In court?

29. Why are "technicalities" (that is, doing things properly) so important to fairness / justice in legal cases?

30. How likely is it that a modern society’s system of cultural values will have some conflict between the values?

31. Be able to distinguish between real and ideal culture

Conflict Theory

1. What is the phenomenon that conflict theorists consider most central to social life?

2. Define cui bono [from functionalism lecture], zero-sum game [IMPORTANT]

3. What is means vs ends conflict? What American cultural value did we identify in class that tends to highlight ends vs means conflicts?

4. Be able to state or recognize examples of

the stratification principle

the plumber’s law

power principle

exploitation principle

incorporation principle

fair and square principle

creaming principle

Matthew effect

Catch-22 principle

Working the system principle

5. From the conflict perspective, why is paranoia rational?

6. Describe three of the forms of sophistication in pursuit of interests we covered in class.

7. Define, describe, and give examples of interest specialists

8. Define, describe, and give examples of professional paranoids

Symbolic Interactionism

1. Know the following (chiefly from the symbolic interactionist perspective):

The Thomas Theorem [Important!!!]


Objective reality

2. What is the phenomenon that symbolic interactionists consider most central to social life?

3. If symbolic interactionism is principally concerned with the individual person trying to make sense out of a situation and give it meaning, what does "interaction" have to do with it? [important]

From lecture on data technicalities

1. When discussing how well Americans are doing, which do sociologists prefer to discuss, family income or household income? Why?

2. Which measure of “average” do sociologists tend to prefer to use when talking about income, mean, median, or mode? Why?

3. Define per capita. Define per capita income. Is per capita a mean, median, mode, or something altogether different?

4. Compare wealth and income. [When I ask you to compare two things, I want you to define both, to tell me how they are alike, and how they differ.]

5. President Obama is paid a salary of $200,000 per year. What would that be per hour assuming he works 40 hours per week for 50 weeks per year?

6. In general, how can you calculate the annual income of someone paid by the hour and the hourly income of someone paid by an annual salary (assuming full time work)?

7. How much is $1 billion when it is expressed as dollars per American? [A: roughly $3 per person; more precisely $3.21]

From lecture on "Truth and SOCY2000" (if we get there)

1. Define empirical [IMPORTANT]

2. T F Empiricism is the root of all science

3. Why is a good theory more important than a good observation/fact?

4. Define objective reality, subjective reality

5. What does the Thomas Theorem say about the connections between subjective and objective reality?

6. What are some of the ways people convince themselves that their subjective reality matches objective reality?

7. Give an example of a policy question that science could help resolve. Give an example that science really cannot resolve

8. Define ceteris paribus