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Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology by Max Forte
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Aboriginal Peoples (Canada) First Nations, Metis and Inuit.
Absolute Poverty A standard of poverty based on a minimum level of subsistence below which families should not be expected to exist.
Acculturation The exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct.
Acephalous Society a society without a political head such as a president, chief, or king.
Achieved Status Social status that comes through talents, choices, actions, efforts, activities, and accomplishments, rather than ascription.
Adult Socialization The process of socialization that occurs after childhood and that prepares people for adult roles. Adult socialization also involves more active selection and intervention by the person being socialized, with more personal choice being made as to what status, identities, or roles are acceptable, and to what degree.
Affinal Kin Relatives by marriage, whether of lineals (e.g., son's wife) or collaterals (e.g., sister's husband).
Affluent Society An account of American society that emphasizes the apparent wealth and material fascination and wellbeing of a large segment of the population, namely the middle-classes and above.
Age Grade a group of people of the same sex and approximately the same age who share a set of duties and privileges.
Age Set Group uniting all men or women born during a certain time span; this group controls property and often has political and military functions.
Agency The ability of individuals to act as self-conscious, willful social agents, and to exert their will through involvement in social practices, relationships, and decision-making.
Agrarian Society The most technologically advanced form of preindustrial society. Members are primarily engaged in the production of food but increase their crop yield through such innovations as the plow.
Agriculture Nonindustrial systems of plant cultivation characterized by continuous and intensive use of land and labor.
Agriculture (hydraulic societies) There have been five great hydraulic societies in human history: the first what in Persia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The second was along the Nile in Egypt; the third along the Ganges in India; the fourth along the Yellow River in China and the fifth in around what is now called Mexico City. Hydraulic agriculture required social differentiation [specialization]; it did not require social stratification as so many historians argue. But both occurred to change forever the ways in which people live.
Agrippa 3rd Century Greek philosopher who laid the basis for a postmodern philosophy of knowledge in five tropes [headings]. 1) There is no sure basis for deciding among different philosophical claims. 2) All data are relative to the beholder. 3) Every proof rests upon assumptions which in turn have to be proved ad infinitum. 4) One cannot trust the hypotheses when the truth value of its premises are unknown. 5) There is a vicious circle in which sense data are used to inform reason which, in turn, is used to establish what is to be taken as data.
Alienation the fragmentation of individuals' relations to their work, the things they produce, and the resources with which they produce them.
Allocation The process of matching people to positions in the labour force on the basis of their schooling.
Allomorphs forms contained in morphemes that differ in sound but not in meaning.
Allophones sounds that belong to the same phoneme.
Ambilineal Descent Principle of descent that does not automatically exclude the children of either sons or daughters.
Ambilocality residence of a married couple with or near the kin of either husband or wife, as they choose.
Ancestor Worship The religious worship of ancestors based on the belief that they possess supernatural power.
Animism Belief in souls or doubles.
Anomie Normlessness (lit. without order. a=without; nomy=order). A term used by Durkheim to indicate "the collapse of the normative order." The term implies that conformity to norms is natural and normal; that resistance is pathological. Then too, embedded in the concept is the idea that norms are above and beyond the individuals who are said to organize their behavior in terms of the normative structure.
Anthropophagy The practice of eating human flesh.
Anticipatory Socialization A process by which aspirants to a particular role begin to discern what it would be like to function in that role.
Appropriation The means by which the surplus value of labor is appropriated directly and controlled by those who do not produce are varied indeed. These mechanisms include sharecropping, tenancy, tribute, debt peonage, slavery, wage relations and impressment into work crews. Indirect ways to appropriate labor power and its products include taxes, profits, interest, rents, tithes, tolls, and fees. Think about the social relations such mechanisms require, and the kind of political apparatus necessary to enforce them as well as the costs to a society to pay for these mechanisms of appropriate of wealth.
Ascribed Status Social status (e.g., race or gender) that people have little or no choice about occupying.
Assimilation The process of change that a minority group may experience when it moves to a country where another culture dominates; the minority is incorporated into the dominant culture to the point that it no longer exists as a separate cultural unit.
Authority Many societies allocate more social power to some statuses and require those in 'lower' status comply with the orders, commands, wishes or expectations of 'higher' authority. When social power is vested in an office or person, such person has 'authority.' Weber lists three kinds: traditional [that of a parent or priest], legal-rational [that of a formal organization with rules and people to enforce them] as well as charismatic. As Simmel noted, such "power" is always a social product and lasts only as long as the "subordinates" continue to reify the person/office as an "authority." However, when authority is naively reified, people do give up some of their autonomy and allow others to direct their behavior. Both human agency and personal morality are thereby subverted.
Automation The practice of controlling machines with machines. The transformation from labor intensive production to capital intensive production. Up until 1960, most of the time automation replaced unskilled workers. Now automation threatens to replace lower level white collar workers. IBM, Xerox and other "word processor" are developing machines controlled by computers to process words. Secretaries, teachers, professors, postal workers, and others who use words become surplus to the corporate needs as "artificial intelligence" systems are designed. Automation in capitalist societies increases production and prices while eliminating wage workers. Without work, demand falls and the surplus population grows.
Avunculocal Residence residence of a married couple with or near a brother of the husband's mother who is usually a senior member of his matrilineage.
Back Stage A term used by Goffman to make the point that in a dramaturgical society, there is much hidden from the view of those who are caught up in social institutions. In conflict ridden societies, teams rehearse performances back stage and then offer the dramaturgical facsimile of service, quality, or honest agency to those who are in the audience [front stage]. In markets, politics, religion and education, such hidden routines invalidate most of the assumptions of symbolic interaction theory about how symbols are shared and call forth the same responses and feelings in all parties to such interaction.
Balance of Payments The flow of wealth from one country to another measured by dollars, francs, pounds, yen or shillings. There are lots of ways this occurs including trade, foreign investment, duties on goods, loans and interests on loans by international banks. When a U.S. company builds a factory (invests) in Brazil, it has to spend money in that country, hiring workers and buying raw materials. Once that factory is operating, money flows back to the U.S. in the form of profits. Military operations and foreign "aid" also involve major dollar flows. The difference between the number of dollars that flow into and out of the U.S. is the balance of payments, a major indicator of the international strength and power of the U.S. economy. The U.S. has a balance of payments deficits lately (1977-) since large corporations move their factories to the poor nations where cheap labor, cheap materials, and new markets are found.
Balance of Trade If you go buy a Volkswagen, you pay for it in dollars at your local dealer. Most of these dollars go back to the German firm that produced the car; dollars flow from the U.S. to Germany. The dollar value of all U.S.-made goods sold abroad (exports) minus the dollar value of all foreign-made goods sold in the U.S. (imports) is the balance of trade. This indicates how effectively U.S. firms are competing with their foreign rivals. When balance of trade is positive for a nation, its factories are busy and the surplus population small. When negative, the surplus population grows, welfare and other costs go up and the state has a fiscal crises.
Balanced Reciprocity gift giving that clearly carries the obligation of an eventual and roughly equal return.
Band Basic unit of social organization among foragers. A band includes fewer than 100 people; it often splits up seasonally.
Bandity, social A form of pre-theoretical rebellion in which particular nobles or capitalists are the target of violence or theft. The bandit steals from, kidnaps, or murders rich and/or famous persons and shares out the wealth to kin and friends. Banditry tends to disappear as social justice increases. Robin Hood and Pretty Boy Floyd are among the better known bandits. Many viewed Jesse and Frank James as social bandits since they robbed the banks which were thought to be robbing the worker and farmer.
Base, economic The means of production of material culture and the relations of production is found in the economic base. The tools, factories, techniques, and lines of commodity production form one part of the base. The other part of the base consists of the way the producers of value relate to each other and to those who do not produce value. In slavery, the relationship is that of slave and master; in feudalism, of Lord and Serf; in capitalism, that of worker and owner; in socialism, that of worker and state; in communism, that of worker to other workers and to the unpaid but important labor force. In capitalism, there is a tendency to improve the means of production and to destroy the relations of production.
Belief A mental act by which a social fact comes into being. The everyday use of the word does not begin to be adequate in pointing to the utter, complete, and naive acceptance of a social fact as really true. Many sociologists and anthropologists treat "beliefs" as something ignorant and superstitious folk have while civilized and educated people are interested in "true facts." The later position, inappropriately, assumes that social facts exist apart from intending, wanting, hoping, believing human beings. One's capacity to believe and to trust is greatly exploited in monopoly capitalism.
Bifurcate Collateral Kinship Terminology Kinship terminology employing separate terms for M, F, MB, MZ, FB, and FZ.
Big Man Regional figure often found among tribal horticulturalists and pastoralists. The big man occupies no office but creates his reputation through entrepreneurship and generosity to others. Neither his wealth nor his position passes to his heirs.
Bilateral Descent a descent ideology in which individuals define themselves as being at the center of a group of kin composed more or less equally of kin from both paternal and maternal lines.
Bilateral Kinship Calculation A system in which kinship ties are calculated equally through both sexes: mother and father, sister and brother, daughter and son, and so on.
Bilocal Residence regular alternation of a married couple's residence between the household or vicinity of the wife's kin and of the husband's kin.
Biological Determinists Those who argue that human behavior and social organization are biologically determined.
Biological Reductionism The practice of explaining all human behavior in terms of purely biological processes; genes, instincts, hormones, and pre-programmed brain activity. Stratification, sexual dominance, territoriality, acquisition and conflict are said to be basic biological behaviors. Actually we do not know just how much social behavior is grounded firmly in biology nor do we know when and how biology is mediated by sociology. The interactions may be so complex that only loose generalizations are possible.
Black English Vernacular (BEV) A rule-governed dialect of American English with roots in southern English. BEV is spoken by African-American youth and by many adults in their casual, intimate speech-sometimes called "ebonics."
Boas, Franz (1858-1942)- Boas is the early-twentieth-century scholar most responsible for discrediting the then-dominant scientific theories of racial superiority. Through his elaboration of cultural relativism as an alternative theoretical framework, he came to have an enormous influence on the development of American anthropology. He reexamined the premises of physical anthropology and became an early critic of race rather than environment as an explanation for difference in the natural and social sciences. Perhaps his most influential book, The Mind of Primitive Man (1911), demonstrated that there was no such thing as a "pure" race or a superior one. Not surprisingly, his books were banned in Hitler's Germany. A student of Native American languages, Boas emphasized the importance of linguistic analysis from internal linguistic structure. Long outspoken against totalitarianism in its many guises, he was a fierce advocate of intellectual freedom, supported many democratic causes, and was the founder of the American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom. Boas added cultural relativism to the body of anthropological theory and believed in historical particularism; cultural relativism pointed out that the differences in peoples were the results of historical, social and geographic conditions and all populations had complete and equally developed culture. Historical particularism deals with each culture as having a unique history and one should not assume universal laws govern how cultures operate. This view countered the early evolutionist view of Louis Henry Morgan and Edward Tylor, who had developed stages that each culture went through during their development.
Bound Morphemes morphemes that must be attached to other morphemes to convey meaning.
Bourgeoisie One of Marx's opposed classes; owners of the means of production (factories, mines, large farms, and other sources of subsistence).
Bride Price payment made by a man to the family from whom he takes a daughter in marriage.
Bride Service service rendered by a man as payment to a family from whom he takes a daughter in marriage.
Bride Wealth property given by the family of the groom to the family of the bride to compensate them for the loss of their daughter's services.
Bureaucracy French; bureau = writing desk and, later, drawer. It has come to mean any work requiring the keeping of files; later a form of social organization in which order, rationality and hierarchy are key elements. In more general terms, a way of organizing social life such that an elite can control the behavior of a large mass of people by means of a staff (or cadre). Lenin said that a bureaucracy was first a military (police) apparatus and then a judiciary apparatus; that it corrupts from above and below. It is also an apparatus which locates moral agency in the hands of a few. Marked by formal and uniform application of rules, bureaucracies are supposed to be "rational" instruments by which goals determined by an elite may be achieved. Bureaucratic organization typifies modern industrial corporations, military organizations and a managed society.
Cannibalism See Anthropophagy
Cannibalism, Ritual Involves consuming either an actual part of a human body (ashes mixed in drink or inhaled as snuff, or eating cooked pieces) for symbolic and spiritual purposes, not as a dietary practice.
Capital Wealth or resources invested in business, with the intent of producing a profit.
Capital, Accumulation of The transformation of surplus value into machines and technology to produce more goods and services with fewer and fewer workers. All economic systems need to accumulate and improve capital goods; only capitalism tries, as well, to dis-employ more and more people in the process. Marxists, socialists, and communists as well as liberal economists hold that part of surplus value should be set aside for essential but low profit services: child care, health care, teaching, elder care, environment, and such. Capitalists tend to argue that capital accumulation should a) follow demand and b) be invested in the goods and services which yield the highest profit rates.
Capitalism Capitalism is the dominant economic system in the world today. Loosely definable as a system of private enterprise whose primary aim is the production of profit, capitalism has been developing since at least the fifteenth century, and underwrites many of the economic and cultural institutions that we take for granted today, such as private property, individual freedom and the imperative of economic growth. In capitalist economies, the means of creating, distributing and exchanging wealth lies mainly in the hands of individuals and corporations (which have the rights of individuals in North America), rather than in public or state hands. The value of goods and of labour is defined not by its social usefulness or significance, but by how much it can be exchanged for. The main goal of individuals in capitalism is to maximize profit or the wages they receive. Proponents believe that through the dance of supply and demand, goods and services are optimally and efficiently distributed throughout society. Detractors point to the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor, who often generate wealth for those at the top.
Capitalist World Economy The single world system, which emerged in the 16th century, committed to production for sale, with the object of maximizing profits rather than supplying domestic needs.
Cargo Cults Postcolonial, acculturative religious movements, common in Melanesia, that attempt to explain European domination and wealth and to achieve similar success magically by mimicking European behavior.
Carib An indigenous people of the Caribbean Region and northern South American shelf.
Carrying Capacity the point at or below which a population tends to stabilize.
Caste System Closed, hereditary system of stratification, often dictated by religion; hierarchical social status is ascribed at birth, so that people are locked into their parents' social position.
Cattle Complex an East African socioeconomic system in which cattle represent social status as well as wealth.
Ceremonial Fund the portion of the peasant budget allocated to religious and social activities.
Charisma The term refers to the extraordinary quality which some people perceive in an individual. This perception, if widely shared, inspires others to follow her/his lead and to organize political, religious or family life in ways impossible to predict from previous conditions. The person so perceived usually embodies some cherished cultural value or promise of an ideal and thus is revolutionary. The term means, "gifted with grace."
Charter Peoples British and French Canadians.
Chiefdom Form of sociopolitical organization intermediate between the tribe and the state; kin-based with differential access to resources and a permanent political structure. A rank society in which relations among villages as well as among individuals are unequal, with smaller villages under the authority of leaders in larger villages; has a two-level settlement hierarchy.
Civic Nationalism A form of nationalism where the social boundaries of the nation are defined in territorial and geographic terms.
Clan Unilineal descent group based on stipulated descent.
Class a ranked group within a stratified society characterized by achieved status and considerable social mobility.
Class Conflict Also referred to as class struggle. Class conflict is essentially the inevitable struggle (due to social stratification) between social classes or parts of them having conflicting interests, to redistribute existing power, prestige, wealth, control, means of production, etc.
Class Consciousness An awareness of one's own class interests, a rejection of the interests of other classes, and a readiness to use political means to realize one's class interests (From C.W. Mills). Most people identify themselves as middle class even if they don't get paid much and even if they can be fired tomorrow with no warning. Many people go to college and learn they are better; more successful than are 'common laborers' and thus try to distance themselves from their brothers and sisters who work at unskilled jobs. Workers, too, look down upon the underclass and thus the 'working class' is fragmented into sectors with little interest in class struggle.
Class Consciousness, Theory of Marx' theory of class consciousness is that industrialism and the factory system brings thousands of workers together in the same place. Being together, they begin to realize their own social power and see more clearly the conflict between workers and owners.
Cline A gradual shift in gene frequencies between neighboring populations.
Closed Corporate Community a community that strongly emphasizes community identity and discourages outsiders from settling there by restricting land use to village members and prohibiting the sale or lease of property to outsiders.
Cognates words so similar from one language to the next as to suggest that both are variants of a single ancestral prototype.
Cognitive Development Perspective A theoretical perspective on socialization that focuses on the growth of mental abilities to make increasingly complex judgments about ourselves as well as our physical and social environments.
Cognitive processes ways of perceiving and ordering the world.
Cohort A set of persons born within the same 5-year period. One can follow the life cycles of a given cohort and discover the larger patterns shape and pre-shape human behavior. Cohort analysis is a powerful tool in macro-social psychological work.
Cohort Effect Effects on people's lives that arise from the characteristics of the historical periods during which they experienced stages of life such as childhood or middle age.
Collateral Household Type of expanded family household including siblings and their spouses and children.
Collateral relatives people to whom one is related through a connecting person.
Collective Conscience Durkheim's term for the moral consensus that is violated by deviant acts.
Collective Representations From Emile Durkheim's sociology. It refers to a symbol having common-shared meaning (intellectual and emotional) to members of a social group or society. Collective representations are first and foremost, historical - that is, they reflect the history of a social group; the collective experiences of a group over time. Collective representations refer not only to symbols in the form of objects (such as the American flag), but also to the basic concepts that determine the way in which an individual views and relates to the world in which he lives. God is a collective representation, as are time and space, for example. The particular function that collective representations serve for society or social groups in expressing the collective sentiments or ideas that give the social group or society its unity and uniqueness is that of producing social cohesion or social solidarity. This is not surprising, for one of the central concerns of Durkheim's functional sociology was social solidarity or social order.
Colonialism The political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended time.
Commodification Rendering any artifact, action, object, or idea into something that can be bought or sold. Popular culture is often maligned for its commodification of formerly more authentic cultural forms, with the assumption that through commodification things lose their implicit value.
Commodities Objects and services produced for consumption or exchange by someone other than their producers. Although humans have always exchanged the goods that they produced for other goods, in the nineteenth century a new focus on the consumption of an increasingly diverse array of commodities by greater numbers of consumers was partly responsible for the gradual shift to a consumer culture. Marx employed the term “commodity fetishism” to describe the almost magical value attributed to objects in a capitalist economy—value derived not from how they are used or the labour that produced them, but from the price they command on the market. The most significant, and most damaging, aspect of commodity culture from a Marxist perspective is its tendency to attribute value to things and the relations between them rather than to people and human relationships.
Communal Cult a society with groups of ordinary people who conduct religious ceremonies for the well-being of the total community.
Communal Religions In Wallace's typology, these religions have, in addition to shamanic cults, communal cults in which people organize community rituals such as harvest ceremonies and rites of passage.
Communitas Intense community spirit, a feeling of great social solidarity, equality, and togetherness; characteristic of people experiencing liminality together.
Conditioning Denotes the learning process by which some stimulus becomes linked with some behavior in such a way that the stimulus will cause the behavior to occur. People use it to help break bad habits or phobias; corporations use it to control workers or customers; states use it to control students, prisoners, patients or those who resist and rebel. Conditioning defeats cognitive processes and replaces interaction with determinism as the relevant causal model.
Conflict Perspective A theoretical perspective that focuses on the struggle among different social groups over scarce rewards.
Conjugal Relationship the relationship between spouses.
Consanguineal Kin persons related by birth.
Consensus Theory The view that all structures in society are useful and necessary; that most well adjusted persons in society share values and norms; that those who do not are either deviant or subversives in need of sanctioning. Among the structures viewed as 'functionally necessary' are class, gender, occupational and national divisions.
Conspicuous Consumption A pattern of behaviour, initially observed by Thorstein Veblen, that began in the nineteenth century as a result of increased incomes and leisure time along with the growth of marketing. “Wasted” consumption (that which exceeds what is strictly necessary for life) began to be used by members of different classes in a way that was “conspicuous”—obvious, noticeable, visible—in order to signal or symbolize social distinction.
Consumerism The name for the complex set of dominant values and practices produced by and arising from life in a consumer society: a historically unique form of society in which consumption plays an important, if not central role. Central to consumerism is the (generally implicit) belief that the organization of life around the purchase of commodities is the optimal way to address the needs and wants of individuals, and even to allocate social goods.
Content Analysis An empirical examination of the frequency of a particular social characteristic or feature of a society. This can also be done on books, magazines, journal articles, newspapers, etc.
Contract Societies Defined by Henry Maine, a cultural evolutionist, in terms of societies that stress individualism, where property is held in private, and where social control is maintained by legal sanctions.
Control Theory A theory put forward by T. Hirschi which claims that crime occurs when social controls are weak. While a strong and pro-social self-system is important as are rewards and sanctions of significant others, still the theory ignores a lot of crime which occurs within well organized, highly controlled social groups; most political crime, most organized crime, almost all corporate crime and a lot of street crime involves strong, certain and direct application of reward and punishment. This theory and others provides ideological support for more control rather than for more social justice as a way to reduce very real crime rates.
Convergence Theory Le Bon's belief that crowds consist of like-minded people who assemble in one place.
Core Dominant structural position in the world system; consists of the strongest and most powerful states with advanced systems of production.
Core values Key, basic, or central values that integrate a culture and help distinguish it from others.
Cornucopian Thesis The Cornucopian Thesis theorizes that growth is limited only when science and technology do not make any further advances. However, there is no reason why these advances should stop. As long as we have these advances, the earth is not finite, because new technologies create new resources.
Counterculture Groups that express antagonism toward the existing social and political order, and propose alternative ways of organizing society. The term counterculture is most commonly used to refer collectively to the alternative politics expressed by a variety of groups in the 1960s (feminists, civil rights and anti-war activists, etc.). More generally, “the” counterculture describes all those groups who challenge and contradict the “common sense” of everyday life with the aim of creating a better society.
Credentialing The process of giving diplomas and other formal recognition of school achievement, which in turn makes candidates elegible for jobs.
Creole Language a pidgin language than has evolved into a fully developed language, with a complete array of grammatical distinctions and a large vocabulary.
Crime From the Sanskrit, Karma, meaning that which a person is responsible in contrast from that over which a person has no choice. In American criminology crime is defined as: 1) a violation of a legal specification, 2) enacted by a competent law making body, 3) involving both culpable intent and 4) overt action which 5) carries a specific penalty. This definition safely confines the policing of behavior to that which is defined as illegal; itself often under control of an elite.
Cross-Cousins mother's brothers' children and father's sisters' children.
Cult of the Leader When people invest great authority and power in the person of a single individual, they help form such a cult. Often, leaders surround themselves with people who are paid one way or another by promoting the infallibility of the leader. This happens in politics, religion, business and military systems. The needs and interests of single persons then become more important than the collective needs of a community, congregation or company.
Cultivation Continuum A continuum based on the comparative study of nonindustrial cultivating societies in which labor intensity increases and fallowing decreases.
Cultural Determinists Those who relate behavior and social organization to cultural or environmental factors. This view focuses on variation rather than universals and stresses learning and the role of culture in human adaptation.
Cultural Evolution the theory that societal change can be understood by analogy with the processes underlying the biological evolution of species.
Cultural Imperialism Cultural Imperialism: A term describing the ideological infiltration of the cultural products of dominant nations (typically, the United States) into less globally powerful ones, at the expense of some aspects of indigenous culture. Globalization theorists have cast some doubt on the concept of cultural imperialism, pointing to its problematic assumption of a passive, colonized global audience, as well as its simplistic reading of actual processes of global production and consumption.
Cultural Materialism the theory, espoused by Marvin Harris, that ideas, values, and religious beliefs are the means or products of adaptation to environmental conditions ("material constraints").
Cultural Relativism The position that the values and standards of cultures differ and deserve respect. Extreme relativism argues that cultures should be judged solely by their own standards.
Cultural Rights Doctrine that certain rights are vested not in individuals but in identifiable groups, such as religious and ethnic minorities and indigenous societies. Cultural rights include a group's ability to preserve its culture, to raise its children in the ways of its forebears, to continue its language, and not to be deprived of its economic base by the nation-state in which it is located.
Cultural Universal those general cultural traits found in all societies of the world. culture shock a psychological disorientation experienced when attempting to operate in a radically different cultural environment.
Culture Distinctly human; transmitted through learning; traditions and customs that govern behavior and beliefs.
Culture Area a region in which several groups have similar culture complexes.
Culture of Poverty Thesis The theory that some ethnic groups do not readily assimilate, and hence are poor, because their culture does not value economic success, hard work, and achievement.
Custom A practice followed by a people of a particular group or region.
Data (sing. datum) From Latin: that which is given. One collects data and analyses them in order to confirm or reject a hypothesis. The term thus refers to a set of observations from nature (physical or social) which are independent from the interests and cognitive processes of the scientist. There is no such independence in the Marxian philosophy of science nor in most postmodern philosophies of science.
De-centering A postmodern objective: the result of re-examining truth claims of, say patriarchy, stratification, or truth itself and showing the human hand and human agenda which brought the claim, theory or practice to the fore-front and celebrates it as eternally valid and objectively existent.
Decideability One of three characteristics of a hypothesis or theory; the other two being completeness and consistency. Decideability depends upon the existence of a method of proof available with a finite number of steps. No method, unlimited steps, no proof, no knowledge. This is why Agrippa held that sure and certain knowledge was impossible. But see prediction, replicability.
Deconstruction Deconstruction: A method of analysis initially articulated in the work of Jacques Derrida that involves exposing the submerged philosophical assumptions that underpin texts and concepts. Derrida asserted that all Western thought is founded upon countless sets of binary oppositions (black and white, speech and writing, man and woman, etc.) wherein one term is invariably considered to be superior to its “opposite,” a valuation with vast cultural consequences. Deconstructionist readings attempt to discover how such unarticulated ideologies underpin seemingly straightforward surface meanings.
Dediction (deductive logic) Latin: de = from; ducere = to lead, to draw out. In logic, a deduction is a conclusion which follows from two or more given assumptions, which if true, make the conclusion true. In social science, a deduction is a conclusion from the logical implications of a theory; thus one deducts hypothesis and collects data in order to confirm or deny the truth of it.
Definition of the Situation The meaning that people ascribe to a particular setting for social interaction.
Delinquency The behavior of young people defined as criminal by a law making body and ruled as such by a judge in court. Generally young people are not held to the same standards of responsibility as are adults. On the other hand, they are required to obey the rules of home and school else be labelled 'delinquent.' See Status crimes. Young people became a special category around 1850 when both laws and social control systems were set up. The changing labor market required children stay in school and learn skills appropriate to industrial capitalism, hence the legal system began to create a new age grade: the adolescent.
Demographic Transition Theory Under this theory, populations go through three stages: a preindustrial stage, in which both the birth rate and mortality rate are high; an early industrialization stage, in which the birth rate is high and mortality declines [therefore there is a 'population explosion']; and a mature industrialization stage, in which both the birth rate and the mortality rate are low. The theory that sees population change as related to the process of industrialization and its concomitant social changes.
Demography the study of the processes which contribute to population structure and their temporal and spatial dynamics.
Demonization The social practice of treating someone or some people as if they were demons, monsters, devils or the source of all bad things which happen. Most capitalists demonized communists; many communists demonize capitalists; most racists demonize minority groups; some minority groups demonize Anglos; some women demonize men while man men blame women for their own troubles. The marxist/socialist position is that the enemy is to be found in alienated social relationships rather than in people as such. It is true enough that there are thoroughly despicable people but most people work within social institutions with social values to which they were socialized as children.
Dependency Theory A theory of colonial imperialism which informs anti-American sentiment in Latin America and elsewhere. The theory correctly asserts that capitalist imperialism distorts local economics and creates a surplus population but is often an effort to substitute foreign exploitation with that of local capitalists. A country becomes dependent upon the U.S., Germany, England, or Japan by selling cash crops or natural resources and dependent upon the same countries for food and luxury goods. The developed capitalist countries set the terms which benefit multinational corporations and banks and give "aid" subsidized by workers in capitalist countries to repair some of the distortions, especially those of hunger as cotton, coffee, cocoa, tea, beef or other foods are exported to capitalist countries. By 1976, total debt of non OPEC nations to capitalist countries was $180 billion, up 15 fold from 1967.
Descartes, Rene (1596-1650): Descartes is one of the more important architects of modern science. A French philosopher and mathematician, Descartes was both rationalist and empiricist; a difficult combination to sustain in a world marked by non-linear dynamics. Descartes is well known for his formula for the possibility of knowledge as against pure skepticism; he offered as evidence of that possibility the saying, that "cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am) by which he meant that there was at least one unassailable proposition which can stand against doubt: I think, therefore there must be a thinker who thinks, namely me. Therefore I exist. Descartes wrote extensively on the god concept, the short version is that such a Being exists and is infinite, eternal, immutable and independent of all that He creates. His main contribution to mathematics is analytic geometry which charts the movement of events in time-space in what is called cartesian space. The new science of Chaos uses cartesian space extensively to chart the changing mixture of order and disorder in the behavior of complex and fractal systems.
Descent Group A permanent social unit whose members claim common ancestry; fundamental to tribal society.
Determinism The philosophical position that phenomena are best explained in terms of the events that have immediately proceeded them; rigid cause and effect. This idea assumes social significance when it is applied to the behavior of individuals. If a person and the brain are rigidly bound by cause and effect, how can that person be "free" to do what (s)he "wants?" The argument runs that what one wants, and will do are rigidly determined by prior considerations. It is further claimed that one's behavior could be accurately predicted if only enough information were available. The logical conclusion of this idea is that a human is merely a complicated machine.
Development Theories of progress assume that a society becomes developed when it: 1) industrializes, 2) commodifies all goods and services and exchanges them in a market, 3) discards all traditional stratifications in favor of class stratification and 4) replaces social status (kinship, ethnicity, race or gender) with money as a nexus for the exchange of goods and services. Societies which do not accept these changes are said to be underdeveloped.
Deviance Nonconformity with existing/traditional social norms. This nonconformity is often said to be pathological when it challenges power and privilege; it is said to be innovation or creativity when it is approved by the gate-keepers of morality. All societies in a changing environment require sufficient deviance adequate to reduce mismatch between system and environment. A loaded term, deviancy is a negative asset when the environment is stable but can be a positive asset to a society when the environment is irreversibly changing (see Ashby's law), depending of course on the nature of the variation.
Deviant Someone who is noticeably different from the average within some dimensions of social behavior. As it applies to behavior that is generally considered to be beyond the tolerance limits of the community.
Dialectic Greek: dialektos = discourse, debate. In everyday life, dialectics refers to a dynamic tension within a given system: a process by which change occurs on the basis of that tension and resultant conflict. Fichte coined the triadic process in which a dialectic has a 1) thesis, 2) an antithesis, and 3) a synthesis when the dialectic has run its course. Schelling applied the dialectic to nature and to history. Marx used a more open and progressive conceptualization taken from Hegel's Negation of the Negation; thus a class system, possessing many 'negations' will produce a political economy which will negate it. In orthodox marxist views, dialectics is raised to science of the general laws of society and knowledge (after Engels). In this formulation, the three forms of the dialectic are: 1) struggle and unity of opposites; 2) the transition of quantity into quality and 3) the negation of a prior negation. An example of the first form of a dialectic would be class struggle in which workers and owners clash and out of which a new, more humane economic system might/will arise. Of the second, an example might be the transformation of water into steam with a small quantitative rise in temperature and for the third 'law,' a good example might be when capitalism (a negative) is destroyed by revolution (another negation).
Dialectical Materialism A view espoused by Marx, Engels, and Lenin that revolutionary change comes as a result of the contradictions in the concretely existing modes of production rather than by supernatural or mystical reasons. The idea of 'telos' or fate is pushed aside as well. Natural stage theory, historical cycles and metaphysical causes are rejected in favor of human action and activity in changing the nature of a society. For Marx, each economic system may have 'tendencies' which can be seen but they should not be taken to be inevitable.
Diaspora Diaspora: From the Greek word for “to disperse,” diaspora refers to the voluntary or forced migration of peoples from their homelands to new regions. In areas that are greatly affected by large diasporic movements (i.e., in the West Indies via colonization and the slave trade) distinct, or creolized, cultures have developed, which blend indigenous with homeland cultures. These unique diasporic cultures challenge essentialist models of culture or the nation.
Differential Access Unequal access to resources; basic attribute of chiefdoms and states. Superordinates have favored access to such resources, while the access of subordinates is limited by superordinates.
Differential Association A "theory" of crime which holds than an excess of definitions-to-commit-crime over definitions-to-be-law-abiding produces crime. It cannot be a theory of crime since it is a good theory of all social behavior; Baptists are Baptists if and only if they differentially associate with Baptists; Buddhists do not become Baptists even if they do associate with them. Nor does the theory account for white collar crime. It does emphasize the learned character of antisocial behavior.
Diffusion Borrowing of cultural traits between societies, either directly or through intermediaries.
Diglossia The existence of "high" (formal) and "low" (informal, familial) dialects of a single language, such as German.
Discourse Discourse: A concept articulated by Michel Foucault to describe the way speech and writing work in conjunction with specific structures and institutions to shape social reality. Discourse refers to distinct areas of social knowledge (typically, broad subjects such as law, science, or medicine) and the linguistic practices that are associated with them, but also establishes rules about the context of this speech or writing, such as who is permitted and authorized to address these subjects. nowledge, according to the concept of discourse, is power, since it comes into being through the operations of power and also exercises power by determining what truths will be endorsed. Discourses thus have immediate, material effects on the way a culture operates.
Discrimination Policies and practices that harm a group and its members.
Disengagement Theory The view that all connections between persons and social role-sets/statuses are affirmed or withdrawn within social rituals. The more common social processes which disengage a person from a role include: divorce from marriage; defrocking from a ministry; disbarment from the practice of law; decertification from medical practice; dismissal from the military via Court Martial. It is the final rite of passage after which one has lost all rights to embody a social role. Some include funerals as disengagement routines since the person concerned is treated as no longer a member of a social group; some societies hold funerals for living persons to make the point.
Displacement A basic feature of language; the ability to speak of things and events that are not present.
Distinction To be set apart and considered different or special, usually through the achievement of a specific honour, and connected to value. In the study of popular culture, distinction is often linked to consumption, with the implicit idea of a capitalist system being that one can achieve distinction through one’s purchases.
Division of Labour the set of rules found in all societies dictating how the day to day tasks are assigned to the various members of a society.
Domestic public dichotomy-Contrast between women's role in the home and men's role in public life, with a corresponding social devaluation of women's work and worth.
Domestic Mode of Production the organization of economic production and consumption primarily in the household.
Dowry payment made by the bride's family to the groom or to the groom's family.
Dramaturgical Approach Erving Goffman's approach to social interaction, in which he emphasizes that we are all actors and also audiences for one another.
Dramaturgical Society A society in which the technology of theatre is used to manage the masses via electronics media and with the aid of the sciences of sociology and/or psychology. The world of make-believe enters the world of serious discourse as an alien and dominating force. In politics, a cadre of hired specialists now use dramaturgy to generate a public for a candidate or issue. Such practice converts politics from a cultural item into a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder. The same is true in sports, medicine, religion and other activities which used to be cultural activities.
Durkheim, Emile (1857-1951) Durkheim made many contributions to the study of society, suicide, the division of labor, solidarity and religion. Raised in a time of troubles in France, Durkheim spent much of his genius justifying order and commitment to order. He said that the god concept was a false reification (collective representation) of the power of groups to shape the behavior of members; of religion as a solution to the problem of solidarity (how to hold people together when they have conflicting interests); that suicide increases when society falls apart (anomie) and that there were other ways to get solidarity rather than by religion. He spoke of mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity as different ways to bind people together. Organic solidarity was supposed to emerge out of a complex and functionally interdependent division of labor.
Economy A population's system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources.
Egalitarian society a society that recognizes few differences in wealth, power, prestige, or status.
Ego In Freudian theory, this is the reactional and conscious part of the human personality, which seeks to reconcile the conflicting demands of the id and the superego.
Ego (in kinship charts) Latin for I. In kinship charts, the point from which one views an egocentric genealogy.
Empiricism reliance on observable and quantifiable data.
Enculturation The social process by which culture is learned and transmitted across the generations. ethnocentrism-The tendency to view one's own culture as best and to judge the behavior and beliefs of culturally different people by one's own standards.
Endogamy a rule requiring marriage within a specified social or kinship group.
Essentialism The belief that categories, or individuals and groups of human beings have innate, defining features exclusive to their category (e.g., the belief that different races have inherent characteristics that differentiate them from other races). Essentialism has been challenged by social constructivist theories that point to the ways in which identity and meaning are culturally produced.
Ethnic Group Group distinguished by cultural similarities (shared among members of that group) and differences (between that group and others); ethnic group members share beliefs, values, habits, customs, and norms, and a common language, religion, history, geography, kinship, and/or race.
Ethnicity Identification with, and feeling part of, an ethnic group, and exclusion from certain other groups because of this affiliation.
Ethnocentrism The tendency to judge other cultures by the standards of one's own.
Ethnography Field work in a particular culture. The systematic description of a culture based on firsthand observation.
Ethnology Cross-cultural comparison; the comparative study of ethnographic data, of society, and of culture.
Etic a perspective in ethnography that uses the concepts and categories of the anthropologist's culture to describe another culture.
Evolutionary Theories of Social Change Theories that argue that all societies develop along predetermined paths that take them from inferior to superior forms, from simple to complex, and from "primitive" to "civilized.".
Ex-nomination A term used by Roland Barthes to identify one of the ways in which the dominance of the ruling class goes unexamined precisely because it is not named as such : the process of ex-nomination ensures that we see the values or attributes of dominant groups not as the product of particular class interests, but simply as apolitical, intrinsic human values that are, therefore, as unsuitable for critique as a grapefruit or any other “real thing.” Ex-nomination also works to legitimate the dominance of specific racial and cultural groups by failing to acknowledge or “mark” their distinctive qualities (e.g., white, heterosexual), thereby assuming their universality.
Exchange Value The attribution of value to goods or services based upon how much can be gotten for them in exchange for other goods and services.
Exogamy marriage outside a particular group with which one is identified.
Expressive Action "[A]ction that is undertaken for the sake of the interaction itself (e.g., sharing an emotional problem, exchanging personal experiences" (p. 204). Source: Beggs, John, Jeanne S. Hurlbert, and Valerie A. Haines. 1996. “Situational Contingencies Surrounding the Receipt of Informal Support.” Social Forces 75:201-22.
Extended Family Expanded household including three or more generations.
Extradomestic Outside the home; within or pertaining to the public domain.
False Consciousness Any belief, idea, ideology, etc., that interferes with an exploited and oppressed person or group being able to perceive the objective nature and source of their oppression.
Family of Orientation Nuclear family in which one is born and grows up.
Family of Procreation Nuclear family established when one marries and has children.
Feudalism The social system that characterized medieval - Europe and other preindustrial societies, based upon mutual obligation between nobility and serfs.
Fictive Kin persons such as godparents, compadres, "blood brothers," and old family friends whom children call "aunt" and "uncle".
Fiscal Pertaining to finances and taxation.
Focal Vocabulary A set of words and distinctions that are particularly important to certain groups (those with particular foci of experience or activity), such as types of snow to Eskimos or skiers.
Foraging collecting wild plants and hunting wild animals for subsistence.
Forces of Production The combination of raw materials, means of production, technology, energy, knowledge, skill, and labor that go into the production of goods and services.
Fordism A highly mechanized and standardized manner of production, pioneered on the assembly lines of automaker Henry Ford in order to improve worker efficiency by duplicating the specialized precision of a machine. Fordism now refers not only to a seminal development in the history of industrialization that enabled hitherto unimaginable levels of mass production/consumption, but also to a type of culture (or a particular aspect of a culture) that displays similarly—generally negative—qualities of uniformity and conformity. Fordism has been supplanted in much of the North American economy by post-Fordism , a mode of production characterized by smaller, more flexible decentralized networks of labour and work organization, catering to more specialized ranges of consumer demands (though not necessarily a freer workforce).
Formal Curriculum What is formally prescribed to be taught in schools.
Formal Organization a group that restricts membership and makes use of officially designated positions and roles, formal rules and regulations, and a bureaucratic structure.
Formalism a school of economic anthropology which argues that if the concepts of formal economic theory are broadened, they can serve as analytic tools for the study of any economic system.
Frankfurt School Name given to a group of innovative social theorists, established in 1923 at University of Frankfurt, whose ideas remain important decades after the School was formally dissolved. Though there is no “Frankfurt School” approach to popular culture per se (the individual members agreed on no fixed set of ideas or concepts, and often disagreed with one another), the School’s name is used to describe approaches that emphasize the production of popular culture and insist on its ideological constraints. The goal of members of the University’s Institute for Social Research was the elaboration of a “critical theory” of society. Critical theory has since become the name for a diverse set of practices in social and cultural theory, philosophy, and literary studies. Members of the Frankfurt School included Horkheimer, Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Otto Kirchheimer, and Leo Lowenthal. Some of the key texts produced by members of the school include Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics and Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man.
Fraternal Polyandry marriage of one woman with a set of brothers.
Front In the dramaturgical approach, a person's physical appearance and behavior, that helps define the situation.
Frustration-Aggression Theory A theory that argues that collective behavior is an aggressive response to feelings of frustration.
Function the contribution that a particular cultural trait makes to the longevity of the total culture.
Functional Perspective A theoretical perspective that focuses on the ways in which cultural ideas and social structures contribute to or interfere with the maintenance or adaptation of a social system.
Functional Rationality A concept Karl Mannheim expropriated from Max Weber (Weber's term was "formal rationality") and renamed it. Functional rationality prevails in an organization of human activities in which the thought, knowledge, and reflection of the participants are virtually unnecessary; men become part of a mechanical process in which each is assigned a functional position and role. Their purposes, wishes, and values become irrelevant and superfluous in an eminently "rational" process. What they forfeit in creativity and initiative is gained by the organization as a whole and contributes, presumably, to its greater "efficiency." Bureaucratic organizations strive for maximum functional rationality. - From Irving M. Zeitlin, Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), pp. 311-312.
Functionalism The theory that all elements of a culture are functional in that they serve to satisfy culturally defined needs of the people in that society or requirements of the society as a whole. An approach or orientation of studying social and cultural phenomena. It holds that society is essentially a set of interrelated parts, e.g., institutions, beliefs, values, customs, norms, etc., and that each of these parts has a particular purpose, i.e., that each of these parts functions in a particular way. It is held that no part, its existence, or operation, can be understood in isolation from the whole. Society is seen, from this position, as analogous to the human body or any other living organism. Each of the "parts" of society are seen as operating much like organs of the body. As in the body, it is held that if one part of society changes it affects the other parts and how they operate or function, and it also affects how the total system performs as it may also affect the continued existence of the total society (organism). Functionalism's critics have pointed to its tenuous assumption of the necessary integration of all of the social systems parts. Critical and radical sociology thus see functionalism as essentially conservative in nature, both intellectually and politically.
Gemeinschaft A German term coined by Tonnies that denotes a sense of community, tradition, emphasis on family life, and association for its own sake, such as friendship.
Gender The feelings, attitudes, and behaviours associated with being male or female.
Gender Roles The tasks and activities that a culture assigns to each sex.
Gender Stereotypes Oversimplified but strongly held ideas about the characteristics of males and females.
Gender Stratification Unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, and personal freedom) between men and women, reflecting their different positions in a social hierarchy.
Generality Culture pattern or trait that exists in some but not all societies.
Generalized Belief In Smelser's theory of collective behavior, an irrational belief seized upon as a way of justifying behavior and reducing uncertainty and feelings of anxiety.
Generalized Other The organized attitude of social groups.
Generalized Reciprocity Principle that characterizes exchanges between closely related individuals. As social distance increases, reciprocity becomes balanced and finally negative.
Generational Kinship Terminology Kinship terminology with only two terms for the parental generation, one designating M, MZ, and FZ and the other designating F, FB, and MB.
Gesellschaft Tonnies' term, sometimes translated as society, typified by an impersonal bureaucracy and contractual arrangements rather than informal ones.
Gestalt Theory A school in psychology that emphasizes the organized character of human experience and behavior. Gestalt is a German word that means form, pattern, or configuration. Gestalt psychology thus emphasizes the study of wholes or whole patterns. According to the theory, the functioning of the parts of a whole is determined by the nature of the whole itself, and the behavior of wholes or whole systems is such that they are inseparable in terms of their function or functions. Gestalt theory attempts to organize human behavior in terms of larger units of analysis, rather than small atomistic units. The larger units (wholes) of Gestalt psychology are then related to their parts as well as to other wholes. Gestalt psychology arose in opposition to associationism and elementaristic analysis - two types of theory in which wholes are analyzed in terms of their simplest parts.
Globalization The accelerating interdependence of nations in a world system linked economically and through mass media and modern transportation systems.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The total monetary value of all goods and services produced within a nation’s economy during a one-year period, a figure often used as an indicator of a nation’s financial well-being. The GDP’s value as a diagnostic tool to measure the health of a country is often critiqued because it fails to account for a host of relevant social transactions as diverse as domestic work, volunteering, and criminal activities.
Habitus Concept outlined by Marcel Mauss connoting both living space and habitat that describes the way in which particular social environments are internalized by individuals in the form of dispositions toward particular bodily orientations and behaviours. The habitus we occupy radically affects such basic activities as sleeping, eating, sitting, walking, having sex, and giving birth, all of which should be understood not as natural, but as a series of “body techniques” that are learned in particular social contexts, and are therefore culturally and historically specific. Pierre Bourdieu extended this concept to talk about the relationship between habitus and social class.
Hawthorne Effect A distortion of research results caused by the response of subjects to the special attention they receive from researchers.
Hegemony Developed by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in the 1930s, hegemony refers to the ability of dominant groups in society to exercise control over weaker groups not by means of force or domination, but by gaining their consent, so that the unequal distribution of power appears to be both legitimate and natural. In other words, hegemony operates not by forcing people against their better judgment to submit to more powerful interests, but rather by actively seeking the spontaneous cooperation of subordinate classes to maintaining social relationships that continue their subordination. Hegemony, significantly, is never total, but operates in constant struggle with newly emerging forms of oppositional consciousness. It works not by crushing those forces, but by a constant process of negotiation.
Hermeneutics formal study of methods of interpretation. Following Gadamer, the hermeneutical process is often regarded as involving complex interaction between the interpreting subject and the interpreted object.
Hidden Curriculum In schools, knowledge, values, attitudes, norms, and beliefs that people acquire because of the educational process that is used to learn something else.
Historical Particularism a detailed descriptive approach to anthropology associated with Franz Boas and his students, and designed as an alternative to the broad generalizing approach favored by anthropologists such as Morgan and Tylor.
Holistic Interested in the whole of the human condition: past, present, and future; biology, society, language, and culture.
Horizontal Integration A synergistic venture wherein one company acquires (and integrates with) another company that is making the same kind of product or providing the same kind of service, in order to increase the purchasing company’s presence in (and power over) a given market.
Horticultural Society A society in which subsistence needs are met primarily through cultivation of small gardens without the use of the plow.
Horticulture Nonindustrial system of plant cultivation in which plots lie fallow for varying lengths of time.
Human Rights Doctrine that invokes a realm of justice and morality beyond and superior to particular countries, cultures, and religions. Human rights, usually seen as vested in individuals, would include the right to speak freely, to hold religious beliefs without persecution, and to not be enslaved, or imprisoned without charge.
Human-Capital Theory An economic theory that holds that the skill level of the labour force is a prime determinant of economic growth.
Hunter-Gatherers a collective term for the members of small-scale mobile or semi-sedentary societies, whose subsistence is mainly focused on hunting game and gathering wild plants and fruits; organizational structure is based on bands with strong kinship ties.
Hunting and Gathering involves the systematic collection of vegetable foods, hunting of game, and fishing.
Hypercorrection The total alteration of all possible variations of a word, including the actually correct ones, as a means of overcompensating for a perceived deficiency in one's speech. For example, while the speaker perceives that "Dis" is the "incorrect" version of "This", that speaker may go too far and replace "d" with "th" anywhere that "d" actually belongs, i.e., changing "reading" into "reathing".
Hypervitaminosis D Condition caused by an excess of vitamin D; calcium deposits build up on the body’s soft tissues and the kidneys may fail; symptoms include gallstones and joint and circulation problems; may affect unprotected light-skinned individuals in the tropics.
Hypodescent Rule that automatically places the children of a union or mating between members of different socioeconomic groups in the less-privileged group.
Hypothesis a statement that stipulates a relationship between a phenomenon for which the researcher seeks to account and one or more other phenomena.
Iconography artistic representations which usually have an overt religious or ceremonial significance; e.g. individual deities may be distinguished, each with a special characteristic, such as corn with the corn god, or the sun with a sun goddess etc.
Id In Freudian theory, the instinctual and undisciplined part of the human personality.
Ideal Self Our image of ourselves as we believe we ought to be.
Ideal Type A construct that serves as a heuristic device developed for methodological purposes in the analysis of social phenomena. An ideal type is constructed from elements and characteristics of the phenomena under investigation but it is not intended to correspond to all of the characteristics of any one case. An ideal type is a sort of composite picture that all the cases of a particular phenomenon will be compared with. Max Weber developed this technique. Examples of ideal types are: sacred society, secular society, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, sect, church, and marginal man.
Identity An individual’s unique personality or self (i.e., “who we are inside”). The concept of individual identity is complicated by the fact that, rather than inhabiting a single identity, we all assume multiple identities that are defined by particular circumstances and relationships. Marxist and psychoanalytic theories further challenge the concept of identity, showing how it is constructed by largely unconscious processes of interpellation. More recent theories of performativity offer possibilities for challenging the rigidity of the traditional identities on offer—identities that are founded in essentialist notions of gender, race, and sexuality.
Ideology At the most general level, ideology refers to process by which the set of values and beliefs that bind individuals together in a society become “naturalized.” The belief and value systems of any given society are the outcome of history , that is, of collective human activity that gives shape (in large and small ways) to the characteristic features of a society. Ideology names those social and political processes that directly and indirectly mask or hide this historical process by making everyday life seem natural, inevitable and unchangeable. The claim that capitalism is the only rational form of economic organization is often ideological in this way, especially when what this claim suggests is that history was inevitably moving towards a world-wide capitalist system anyway: people did nothing to bring it about and can do nothing to stop it. This is false, and ideology is often at work in attempts to make false statements sound not only like the truth, but like common sense.
Immanent Change Sorokin's principle that cultures have material and nonmaterial characteristics that cause societies to develop in certain directions.
Imperialism A policy of extending the rule of a nation or empire over foreign nations or of taking and holding foreign colonies.
Impression Management A process by which people in social situations manage the setting and their dress, words, and gestures to correspond to the impressions they are trying to make or the image they are trying to project.
Incest Taboo the prohibition of sexual intimacy between people defined as close relatives.
Independent Family Household a single-family unit that resides by itself, apart from relatives or adults of other generations.
Independent Invention Development of the same cultural trait or pattern in separate cultures as a result of comparable needs and circumstances.
Independent Primary Jobs In the primary labor market, jobs that involve relatively high levels of creativity, autonomy, and power.
Indigenous Peoples The original inhabitants of particular territories; often descendants of tribespeople who live on as culturally distinct colonized peoples, many of whom aspire to autonomy.
Individualistic Cult the least complex form of religious organization in which each person is his or her own religious specialist.
Induction a method of reasoning in which one proceeds by generalization from a series of specific observations so as to derive general conclusions (cf. deduction).
Industrial Revolution The historical transformation (in Europe, after 1750) of-"traditional" into "modern" societies through industrialization of the economy.
Industrialization The movement within a culture or economic system toward an increased emphasis on large-scale/mechanized industry rather than agricultural/small- scale commercial activity. Although initially conceived as a primarily economic process in its broadest sense of organization, capitalization, and mechanization, industrialization has sweeping social and cultural implications. As well as determining the manner in which things are produced (and, therefore, what kinds of products are available), the process of industrialization also effects the way labour and other resources are divided up within a culture.
Informal Curriculum Those things that are learned in school, even if they are not written down as part of the formal curriculum.
Informal Relationship A relationship governed by flexible, implicit norms.
Informant A person who provides information about his or her culture to the ethnographic fieldworker.
Instincts Inborn patterns of behaviour in animals, such as mating, catching food, and other examples of meeting basic needs of survival and reproduction.
Institution A set of roles graded in authority that have been embodied in consistent patterns of actions that have been legitimated and sanctioned by society or segments of that society; whose purpose is to carry out certain activities or prescribed needs of that society or segments of that society. - C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 30.
Institutional Racism Discriminatory racial practices built into such prominent structures as the political, economic, and education systems. Those accepted, established, evident, visible, and respected forces, social arrangements, institutions, structures, policies, precedents and systems of social relations that operate and are manipulated in such a way as to allow, support, or acquiesce to acts of individual racism and to deprive certain racially identified categories within a society a chance to share, have equal access to, or have equal opportunity to acquire those things, material and nonmaterial, that are defined as desirable and necessary for rising in an hierarchical class society while that society is dependent, in part, upon that group they deprive for their labor and loyalty. Institutional racism is more subtle, less visible, and less identifiable but no less destructive to human life and human dignity than individual acts of racism. Institutional racism deprives a racially identified group, usually defined as generally inferior to the defining dominant group, equal access to an treatment in education, medical care, law, politics, housing, etc. - Louis L. Knowles and Kenneth Prewitt, editors, Institutional Racism in America (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969).
Instrumental Action "[A]ction that is undertaken in order to achieve a specific goal like finding a job, buying a house, or borrowing money" (p. 204). Source: Beggs, John, Jeanne S. Hurlbert, and Valerie A. Haines. 1996. “Situational Contingencies Surrounding the Receipt of Informal Support.” Social Forces 75:201-22.
Instrumental Rationality This is a complex framework that has a simple idea at its core. In essence, the use of rationality, or reason, in an instrumental fashion suggests the use of the most efficient means to achieve the desired end. Analysis of instrumental rationality is usually associated with the German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920), whose work had an impact on the Frankfurt School and on the shape of the Dialectic of Enlightenment in particular. For Weber, the rise of capitalism introduces instrumental rationality into all spheres of life—not just in economics, but in politics, culture and other parts of society as well. It might seem as if it is good idea to achieve efficiency in all areas of life. However, there are drawbacks to instrumental rationality, especially when it becomes applied generally. The concept of efficiency isn’t a neutral one, that is, it implies a certain set of values about the goals of human activity and human life that may in fact contradict other values that people hold dear. The Frankfurt School was critical of instrumental rationality because it eliminated the critical use of reason.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Intellectual property rights, consisting of each society's cultural base-its core beliefs and principles. IPR is claimed as a group right-a cultural right, allowing indigenous groups to control who may know and use their collective knowledge and its applications.
Interactionist Perspective A theoretical perspective that focuses on the causes and consequences of social behavior, based on the importance of assigning symbolic meaning to appearance, behavior, and experience.
Internal Colonialism An idea and reality in sociology and society largely associated with the sociologist Richard Blauner. It refers essentially to the experience and social position of certain minority segments in society (in Blauner's work, blacks in American society) as analogous to the traditional colonial situation. Furthermore, the dominant (white) nation-state power extracts the material and human resources from the weaker nation (usually third world) while exercising political and economic control. The only and crucial difference, of course, is that with the "internal colonial" situation both the expropriators and the colonialized are within the same national political and economic system. Along these lines, the position of native Americans, Chicanos, blacks, Puerto Ricans, etc., in American society may be seen as a "colonial" one. This view tends to see the racism within American society as an essentially economic phenomenon - inherent in the structure of our dynamic corporate capitalist economic system
International Culture Cultural traditions that extend beyond national boundaries.
Interpellation A term coined by the French Marxist Louis Althusser to describe the process by which an individual is addressed, or “called on,” by ideology to assume a certain identity. Critical to the success of interpellation is the degree to which an individual recognizes and identifies with the roles s/he is assigned by the dominant culture.
Iron Rule of Oligarchy Michels' theory that all states inevitably become oligarchies.
Iroquois or Iroquois League, a confederacy of six Native American tribes: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscaroras. Tribal lands belonging to the "Six Nations" are found mostly in what is now known as New York State.
Joint Family Household a complex family unit formed through polygyny or polyandry or through the decision of married siblings to live together m the absence of their parents.
Kin People bound together by ties of ancestry, adoption, or marriage.
Kinesics The study of communication through body movements, stances, gestures, and facial expressions.
Kinship Social relationships based on common ancestry, adoption, or marriage.
Kinship Calculation The system by which people in a particular society reckon kin relationships.
Kula Ring a system of ceremonial, non-competitive, exchange practiced in Melanesia to establish and reinforce alliances. Malinowski's study of this system was influential in shaping the anthropological concept of reciprocity.
Labour Market Segmentation The division of job markets into distinct parts to which access is unequally distributed among workers.
Labour Power The potential to produce goods--usually measured in terms of time--which workers sell to employers in return for wages.
Language Human beings' primary means of communication; may be spoken or written; features productivity and displacement and is culturally transmitted.
Latent Consequence An unintended effect of a characteristic of a social system on the maintenance or adaptation of that system and its values.
Latent functions The unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern.
Law A legal code, including trial and enforcement; characteristic of state-organized societies.
Legend A story which purports to be based at least in part on historical fact, but which is interpreted and retold in an imaginative way by the storyteller.
Levelling Mechanisms Customs and social actions that operate to reduce differences in wealth and thus to bring standouts in line with community norms.
Levirate A social custom under which a man has both the right to marry his dead brother's widow and the obligation to provide for her.
Lexicon Vocabulary; a dictionary containing all the morphemes in a language and their meanings.
Liminality The critically important marginal or in-between phase of a rite of passage.
Lineage Unilineal descent group based on demonstrated descent.
Lineal Kinship Terminology Parental generation kin terminology with four terms: one for M, one for F, one for FB and MB, and one for MZ and FZ.
Lineal Relative Any of ego's ancestors or descendants (e.g., parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren); on the direct line of descent that leads to and from ego.
Lingua Franca any language used as a common tongue by people who do not speak one another's native language.
Longhouse The long multi-family dwellings of the Iroquois area.
Looking-Glass Self A theory developed by Charles Horton Cooley to explain how individuals develop a sense of self through interaction with others.
Macro-level orientation A concern with broad patterns that characterize society as a whole.
Magic Use of supernatural techniques to accomplish specific aims.
Mana Sacred impersonal force in Melanesian and Polynesian religions.
Manichean a believer in religious or philosophical dualism, from a religious dualism originating in Persia in the third century A.D. and teaching the release of the spirit from matter through strict self-denial. mano: a hand-held stone used for grinding vegetable foods on a stone slab or "metate".
Manifest Consequence An intended effect of a characteristic of a social system on that system and its values.
Manifest functions The recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern for the operation of society as a whole.
Market Economy An economy based primarily upon competition and exchange of goods and services rather than cooperation and sharing.
Market Exchange a mode of exchange which implies both a specific location for transactions and the sort of social relations where bargaining can occur. It usually involves a system of price-making through negotiation.
Market Principle Profit-oriented principle of exchange that dominates in states, particularly industrial states. Goods and services are bought and sold, and values are determined by supply and demand.
Market Segmentation Beginning in the latter half of the twentieth century, a paradigm shift in the marketing world that involves gearing cultural production toward increasingly narrow segments of the public with the express goal of better catering to a consumer’s specific tastes.
Marriage Rules Norms that regulate whom people may marry, when, and under what circumstances.
Marxism Marxism is the philosophical and sociological approach of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and their followers. It is very much influenced by the dialectical method of Hegel, but rejects Hegel's philosophic idealism and replaces it with dialectical materialism. Marxism sees the economic factors as the base causal and conditioning factors in both individuals and history. History is seen as basically a series of class struggles, with classes being defined in terms of their relation to the means of production. According to Marx, each period of history has a dominant economic class and a developing rising economic class. In time, a conflict breaks out between the dominant and rising class, which results in the overthrow of the old ruling dominant class and the establishment of the new rising class as the new dominant class. In this manner, the capitalist class or bourgeoisie replaced the feudal aristocracy or ruling class as the dominant class in the West. This historical process does, however, end for Marx, and it is the industrial working class that is given this special historical role of ending class conflict once and for all and establishing a classless society. Marx maintained that industrialized, capitalist societies were becoming increasingly polarized into two classes: the dominant capitalist class (the bourgeoisie) and the rising working-class (the proletariat), and that the working-class would eventually overcome the ruling bourgeoisie to establish the classless-socialist-communist society.
Marxist Anthropology based principally on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, this posits a materialist model of societal change. Change within a society is seen as the result of contradictions arising between the forces of production (technology) and the relations of production (social organization). Such contradictions are seen to emerge as a struggle between distinct social classes. Current Marxist anthropology focuses on the transformation of social orders and the relationships between conflict and cultural change.
Mass Culture A form of culture produced for profit by a vertically integrated factory system, for a large and diverse audience. Mass culture, though in some ways more pervasive than ever, is also breaking down as a result of economic processes of market segmentation , cultural developments such as identity politics, and the growing accessibility of technologies that allow “the masses” to produce culture for themselves.
Mass Society Ferdinand Tonnies' Gesellschaft. C. Wright Mills, in both his Power Elite and White Collar, used the term mass society or mass as a crucial concept in his description of the "non-democratic" character and structure of American society. In Mills' conception, American society is essentially twofold; an elite and a mass. The power flow is one way; the ruling elite manipulates and defines the existence of the politically and economically powerless mass, using as its technology the modern mass media of communication.
Mass Society Theory Komhauser's theory that collective behavior is caused by a social condition in which people feel isolated from one another and from their communities.
Material Culture the buildings, tools, and other artifacts that includes any material item that has had cultural meaning ascribed to it, past and present.
Matriarchy A society ruled by women; unknown to ethnography.
Matriclan a group that claims but cannot trace their descent through the female line from a common female ancestor.
Matrifocal Mother-centered; often refers to a household with no resident husband-father.
Matrilineal Descent Unilineal descent rule in which people join the mother's group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life.
Matrilocality Customary residence with the wife's relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their mother's community.
Means of Production In Marxist theory, the ability to produce; including the physical, technological, political, economic, and social ability to do so. The means of production may be broken down into the forces of production and the relations of production. In capitalism the relations of production essentially refer to the institution of private property and to the class relations between those who are propertied and those who are not. The forces of production can be seen as referring to both material and social elements. They include natural resources (land, minerals, etc.) insofar as they are used as objects as labor, physical equipment (tools, machines, technology, etc.), science and engineering (the skills of people who invent or improve the physical equipment), those who actually work with these skills and tools, and their division of labor as it affects their productivity. - C. Wright Mills, The Marxists (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 82-83.
Means of Production - or - Factors of Production Land, labor, technology, and capital-major productive resources.
Mechanical Solidarity Emile Durkheim's notion of a characteristic feature of social solidarity in simple, non-state societies, where solidarity functions according to principles of traditional authority, without many specialized roles, and on the basis of tradition and custom.
Melanin Substance manufactured in specialized cells in the lower layers of the epidermis (outer skin layer); melanin cells in dark skin produce more melanin than do those in light skin.
Meritocracy A society in which most or all statuses are achieved on the basis of merit (how well one performs a given role).
Micro-level orientation A concern with small-scale patterns of social interaction in specific settings.
Minority In cultural terms, any relatively small and/or powerless group of people who differ from the majority, or dominant, culture in ethnicity, religion, language, political persuasion, and so on. Minority politics are linked to movements by groups to gain certain political, economic, or social rights that they have been denied because of their minority status.
Misogyny Hatred of females.
Mode of Production Way of organizing production-a set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, and knowledge.
Modernization A concept describing a process through which societies are believed to change from less to more developed forms through the introduction of new technology and other social change.
Moiety one of the two subdivisions of a society with a dual organizational structure.
Monogamy an exclusive union of one man and one woman.
Monopoly An economic situation in which a single supplier controls the market for a particular product or service. This situation puts the producer in a position of unchallenged dominance from which it can inflate price to cover more than just necessary costs (including a return on capital). Governments often legislate to restrict the emergence of monopolies, since they are usually detrimental to the consumer and the economy.
Monotheism Worship of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent supreme being.
Moral Economy Approach Views peasants as being less concerned with individual profit than with the security of knowing they will be protected in adversity.
Morphemes the smallest units of speech that convey meaning.
Morphology The study of form; used in linguistics (the study of morphemes and word construction) and for form in general-for example, biomorphology relates to physical form.
Multiculturalism The view of cultural diversity in a country as something good and desirable; a multicultural society socializes individuals not only into the dominant (national) culture but also into an ethnic culture.
Multinational Corporation Any firm that extends itself outside of national boundaries by operating branches in many different countries simultaneously.
Myths Stories that are told about the deeds that supernatural beings played in the creation of human beings and the universe itself.
Nation Once a synonym for "ethnic group," designating a single culture sharing a language, religion, history, territory, ancestry, and kinship; now usually a synonym for state or nation-state.
Nation-State An autonomous political entity; a country like the United States or Canada.
National Culture Cultural experiences, beliefs, learned behavior patterns, and values shared by citizens of the same nation.
Nationalism As a form “imagined community”, the nation is both example and instigator of the process by which identities that are constructed or imagined come to assume the force of nature . One useful way to approach the significance of the nation as a source of modern identity is to think about the relationship between nations and nationalism. Our usual, common-sense way of understanding the relationship is to see the nation—a people defined by collective belonging to an extensive community, usually defined in relation to a specific territory—as primary, with nationalism as a frequent, though not inevitable by-product. Recent theories of the development of nations (Anderson, Gellner) suggest that the relationship might best be understood as working the other way around: that is, nations are how the ideological impulse of nationalism is legitimated and given concrete shape.
Nationalities Ethnic groups that once had, or wish to have or regain, autonomous political status (their own country).
Natural Selection Originally formulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace; the process by which nature selects the forms most fit to survive and reproduce in a given environment, such as the tropics.
Negative Reciprocity an exchange between enemies or strangers in which each side tries to get the better end of the bargain.
Neolocality Postmarital residence pattern in which a couple establishes a new place of residence rather than living with or near either set of parents.
New Racism A theory of human nature that suggests that it is natural for groups to form bounded communities. One group is neither better nor worse than another, but feelings of antagonism will be aroused if outsiders are admitted.
Nomadism, pastoral Movement throughout the year by the whole pastoral group (men, women, and children) with their animals; more generally, such constant movement in pursuit of strategic resources.
Nonconformist Behaviour Behavior that openly violates norms in order to bring about social change.
Norms The expectations or rules of behaviour that emerge or derive from larger values.
Nuclear Family Household an independent family unit formed by a monogamous union.
Office Permanent political position.
Oligarchy A state ruled by a privileged elite.
Olympian Religions In Wallace's typology, develop with state organization; have full-time religious specialists-professional priesthoods.
Open Class System Stratification system that facilitates social mobility, with individual achievement and personal merit determining social rank.
Organic Solidarity Emile Durkheim's view of social solidarity pertaining to modern, urban, complex civilizations, state societies, with many specialzed roles functioning interdependently on the basis of contract and centralized authority, codified in laws.
Orientalism Refers to the way in which “The Orient” was and is constructed by the West as a means to claim authority and exercise control over Eastern cultures. The Orient is not a fact, or a specific geographical place; rather, it is the complex layers of knowledge and mythology that have been constructed around Western ideas about the non-West. For example, the way in which North American media characterize the “Middle East” as a place of repressive government regimes and fundamentalist religion glosses over the vast cultural differences between different cultural groups of the region and contributes to the Western assumption that domination of these “backward” nations is legitimate and necessary.
Paradigm A framework of guiding assumptions, theories, and methods that define a particular approach to scientific problems.
Parallel Cousins mother's sisters' children and father's brothers' children.
Participant Observation In ethnography, the technique of learning a people's culture through direct participation in their everyday life over an extended period of time.
Particularity Distinctive or unique culture trait, pattern, or integration.
Pastoralists People who use a food-producing strategy of adaptation based on care of herds of domesticated animals.
Patriarchy Political system ruled by men in which women have inferior social and political status, including basic human rights.
Patriclan a group that claims but cannot brace their descent through the male line from a common male ancestor.
Patrilineal patrilocal complex-An interrelated constellation of patrilineality, patrilocality, warfare, and male supremacy.
Patrilineal Descent Unilineal descent rule in which people join the father's group automatically at birth and stay members throughout life.
Patrilocality Customary residence with the husband's relatives after marriage, so that children grow up in their father's community.
Patrimonial System a system of ownership, followed in northern and central Europe during the Middle Ages, in which land was controlled by feudal lords who held their domains by hereditary right.
Patron-Client Relationship a mutually obligatory arrangement between an individual who has authority, social status, wealth, or some other personal resource (the patron) and another person who benefits from his or her support or influence (the client).
Peasant Small-scale agriculturalist living in a state with rent fund obligations.
Peer Group People who share a level of social standing, especially in terms of age.
Periphery Weakest structural position in the world system.
Personality The relatively orderly and predictable attitudes and patterns of behaviour associated with an individual.
Phenotype An organism’s evident traits, its "manifest biology"—anatomy and physiology.
Phoneme Significant sound contrast in a language that serves to distinguish meaning, as in minimal pairs.
Phonemics The study of the sound contrasts (phonemes) of a particular language.
Phonetics The study of speech sounds in general; what people actually say in various languages.
Phonology The study of sounds used in speech.
Phratry a group that typically consists of several clans that extend the rights and obligations of kinship to one another but retain distinct identities.
Pidgin a language based on a simplified grammar and lexicon taken from one or more fully developed languages.
Plural Society A society that combines ethnic contrasts and economic interdependence of the ethnic groups.
Pluralism, Ethnic The coexistence of diverse ethnic groups in the same society.
Pluralism, Methodological The doctrine that there is not one (monism) or two (dualism) but many causes of why society and social phenomena are the way they presently are.
Pluralist Theory The theory that holds that power in social systems is distributed among a wide variety of groups and individuals.
Polyandry marriage between one woman and two or more men simultaneously.
Polygamy plural marriage.
Polygyny marriage between one man and two or more women simultaneously.
Polytheism Belief in several deities who control aspects of nature.
Positivism theoretical position that explanations must be empirically verifiable, that there are universal laws in the structure and transformation of human institutions, and that theories which incorporate individualistic elements, such as minds, are not verifiable.
Post-Industrial Society A society in which the production of goods is overshadowed by the provision of services, and in which relations between people and machines are gradually replaced by relationships between people.
Post-partum Sex Taboo the prohibition of a woman from having sexual intercourse for a specified period of time following the birth of a child.
Postmodernism Generally, postmodernism refers to a phase in Western history that coincides with the information revolution and new forms of economic, social and cultural life. Postmodernism names a period—the current era—and points to the fundamental differences of this era from even the recent past (i.e., modernism, ranging from roughly the mid 19 th to the mid 20 th century). Postmodernism views the search for truth as project whose real aim is achieving social power and control, and is suspicious of any “grand narratives” or theories that seek to provide the single explanation for how human beings act (such as Freudian psychoanalysis) or how societies function (Marxism, for example). Postmodernism also refers to styles and movements in arts and culture which express this skeptical attitude, characterized by self-consciousness, formal and stylistic borrowing, irony, pastiche, parody, recycling, sampling, and a mixing of high and low culture.
Potlatch Competitive feast among Indians on the North Pacific Coast of North America.
Power The ability to exercise one's will over others-to do what one wants; the basis of political status.
Power Elite Those who occupy the command posts of power in our society, like corporation heads, political leaders, and military chiefs. - C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (London: Oxford University Press, 1956).
Pragmatics The decisions made by speakers to alter their speech--whether in terms of grammar, vocabulary, accent, tone or pitch--to suit a particular audience or social context.
Prejudice Devaluing (looking down on) a group because of its assumed behavior, values, capabilities, attitudes, or other attributes.
Prestige Esteem, respect, or approval for acts, deeds, or qualities considered exemplary.
Primary Deviance Deviant acts committed without the actor having been labeled.
Primary Group A relatively small group in which people are emotionally close and where interaction is intimate.
Primary Labour Market The portion of the segmented labor market that includes jobs that require stable work habits, involve skills that are often learned on the job, are relatively high-paying, and have job ladders.
Primary Socialization The process by which children are prepared for the various roles required by members of society.
Primordialist Thesis The theory that ethnic attachments reflect a basic tendency of people to seek out, and associate with, their "own kind".
Productivity A basic feature of language; the ability to use the rules of one's language to create new expressions comprehensible to other speakers.
Profane the sphere of the ordinary and routine; the everyday, natural world.
Professionalization The social process through which an occupation acquires the cultural and structural characteristics of a profession.
Proxemics the study of human perception and use of space in communication and social relations.
Psychic Unity a concept popular among some nineteenth-century anthropologists that assumed that all people when operating under similar circumstances will think and behave in similar ways.
Purdah the Muslim or Hindu practice of keeping women hidden from men outside their own family; or, a curtain, veil, or the like used for such a purpose.
Race A socially constructed label that has been used to describe certain kinds of physical and genetic differences between people.
Ranked Societies societies in which there is unequal access to prestige and status e.g. chiefdoms and states.
Rational Economic Decisions the weighing of available alternatives and calculation of which will provide the most benefit at the least cost.
Reciprocity One of the three principles of exchange; governs exchange between social equals; major exchange mode in band and tribal societies.
Redistribution Major exchange mode of chiefdoms, many archaic states, and some states with managed economies.
Reflexivity the ability to stand back and assess aspects of one’s own behavior, society, culture etc in relation to such factors as their motivations, origins, meanings, etc.
Religion Belief and ritual concerned with supernatural beings, powers, and forces.
Rent Fund the portion of the peasant budget allocated to payment for the use of land and equipment.
Replacement Fund the portion of the peasant budget allocated to payment for the use of land and equipment.
Resocialization A deliberate effort to change an individual or group, leading to the acquisition of new values and behaviour, particularly in prisons, military training camps, etc.
Revitalization Movements Movements that occur in times of change, in which religious leaders emerge and undertake to alter or revitalize a society.
Rickets Nutritional disease caused by a shortage of vitamin D; interferes with the absorption of calcium and causes softening and deformation of the bones.
Rite of Solidarity any ceremony performed for the sake of enhancing the level of social integration among a group of people.
Rites of Intensification rituals intended either to bolster a natural process necessary to survival or to reaffirm the society's commitment to a particular set of values and beliefs.
Rites of Passage Culturally defined activities associated with the transition from one place or stage of life to another.
Ritual Behavior that is formal, stylized, repetitive, and stereotyped, performed earnestly as a social act; rituals are held at set times and places and have liturgical orders.
Role The behaviour expected of someone occupying a given status in a group or society.
Sacred the sphere of extraordinary phenomena associated with awesome supernatural forces.
Sanctions Sanctions are rewards for appropriate behaviour or punishment for inappropriate behaviour. Examples of positive sanctions include praise, honours or medals for conformity to specific norms. Negative sanctions range from mild forms of disapproval to execution.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Theory that different languages produce different ways of thinking.
Science A systematic method for acquiring knowledge. Ultimately, science simply means "knowledge".

Definitions on the Web:

a particular branch of scientific knowledge; "the science of genetics"

ability to produce solutions in some problem domain; "the skill of a well-trained boxer"; "the sweet science of pugilism"

a method of learning about the physical universe by applying the principles of the scientific method, which includes making empirical observations, proposing hypotheses to explain those observations, and testing those hypotheses in valid and reliable ways; also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study

The study of the natural world through observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanations.

Science is a way of acquiring knowledge. To do science, one must follow a specific universal methodology. The central theme in this methodology is the testing of hypotheses and the ability to make predictions. The overall goal of science is to better understand nature and our Universe.

Sites distributing information related to scientific exploration. These include science exhibits, science museums, science organizations, science laboratories, and academic institutions.

knowledge in general

the process of gaining knowledge based on making repeated observations about nature in controlled conditions (experimentation) and attempting to explain what causes those observations (theorizing) through constructing hypotheses that can be tested experimentally. Science's only purpose is to gain knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge may eventually lead to things mankind finds useful technology.

The body of related courses concerned with knowledge of the physical and biological world and with the processes of discovering and validating this knowledge.

Literally 'knowledge', science is the synthesis of the systematic study of every aspect of our experience of reality, especially objective reality, usually with the aim of reducing it to a logically-consistent system of order (though modern science accepts many paradoxes, if often with evident discomfort). The public image of science's worldview is generally, though incorrectly, that of scientism; in practice, the development of science depends extensively on the intuitive mode as well as analysis.

The enterprise by which a particular kind of ordered knowledge is obtained about natural phenomena by means of controlled observation and theoretical interpretation

Systematic and formulated knowledge of a subject, obtained by scientific method that uses postulates to span the gaps left by the limited human means of obtaining knowledge and then tests the conclusions in every possible way.

Any domain of knowledge accumulated by systematic study and organized by general principals.

— knowledge made up of an orderly system of facts that have been learned from study, observation, and experiments

The arrangement of concepts in their rational connection to exhibit them as an organic, progressive whole. See Introduction, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 7.

provides the store of knowledge of the physical world.

A branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.

n a) knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method b) such knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena

systematically acquired knowledge that is verifiable.

The method of inquiry that requires the generation, testing, and acceptance or rejection of hypotheses.

the state of knowing; systematic observation and testing of natural phenomena in a search for general laws and conclusive evidence.

is the body of knowledge obtained by methods of observation. It is derived from Latin word scientia, which simply means knowledge, and German word wisenschaft, which means systematic, organized knowledge.

Hegel’s concept of -- science for Hegel is an understanding based on the fullest possible context, fully related with all the other parts of the whole revolution, Hegel’s conception of -- for Hegel, it is a revolution primarily of spirit (Geist), i.e. a complete qualitative change to a new way of understanding

is a way of knowing about the physical universe which requires measurements and controlled experiments.

the study of the natural world

Scientism the belief that there is one and only one method of science and that it alone confers legitimacy upon the conduct of research.
Secondary Deviance Deviant acts committed partly in response to being labeled "deviant."
Secondary Labour Market That segment of the labor market that includes jobs that do not require stable work habits, are relatively low-paying, have few chances for advancement, and have a high turnover.
Sedentary Pastoralism animal husbandry that does not involve mobility.
Segmentary Lineage a descent group in which minimal lineages are encompassed as segments of minor lineages, minor lineages as segments of major lineages, and so on.
Segmentary Lineage Organization (SLO) Political organization based on descent, usually patrilineal, with multiple descent segments that form at different genealogical levels and function in different contexts.
Segmentary Societies relatively small and autonomous groups, usually of agriculturalists. who regulate their own affairs; in some cases, they may join together with other comparable segmentary societies to form a larger ethnic unit.
Self One's awareness of ideas and attitudes about one's own personal and social identity.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy The prediction of events that do in fact come about, because of one's belief in the prediction and enactment or lack of enactment on that belief, thus reinforcing the belief, i.e., if a person or group predicts and deeply believes that certain events will come about, that person or group will (sometimes unconsciously) modify behaviors or engage in those behaviors that will create those situations that will cause the predicted events to come about. Robert K. Merton developed this concept out of his interpretation of W. I. Thomas' "definition of the situation," i.e., "If men define things as real, they are real in their consequences." An example of a self-fulfilling prophecy would be a stock market crash - you would lose your money if you don't get out as quickly as possible, so you sell and so do many others, and, indeed, many people lose money because the values of the stocks decrease.
Semantic Domains groups of related categories of meaning in a language.
Semantics the study of the larger system of meaning created by words.
Semiotics the study of how signs and symbols relate to the things they represent. As becomes evident in discussions about culture, the meaning of a sign or symbol is not fixed; it varies over time, in different contexts, and by the intent of the speaker/writer. The relationship between a symbol or sign and what it represents can also be contested -- different individuals or groups of individuals might have different views on the content of a specific sign/signified relationship (as is the case with the word "culture"). Someone interested in this process of meaning-making -- a semiotician -- might study the process by which contested meanings arise and are resolved.
Semiperiphery Structural position in the world system intermediate between core and periphery.
Serial Monogamy an exclusive union followed by divorce and remarriage, perhaps many times.
Sexism Similar to the dynamics of racism. Males are believed to be superior to females and when this belief is put into action it leads to females being treated as objects, the last to be hired, first to be fired, being paid less for equal work, etc.
Sexual Dimorphism Marked differences in male and female biology, besides the contrasts in breasts and genitals, and temperament.
Sexual Division of Labour the situation in which males and females in a society perform different tasks. In hunting-gathering societies males usually hunt while females usually gather wild vegetable food.
Sexual Orientation A person's habitual sexual attraction to, and activities with: persons of the opposite sex, heterosexuality; the same sex, homosexuality; or both sexes, bisexuality.
Sexual Stratification the ranking of people in a society according to sex.
Shaman A part-time religious practitioner who mediates between ordinary people and supernatural beings and forces.
Shamanistic Cult that form of religion in which part-time religious specialists called shamans intervene with the deities on behalf of their clients.
Sharecropping working land owned by others for a share of the yield.
Shifting Cultivation (swidden, slash and burn) a form of plant cultivation in which seeds are planted in the fertile soil prepared by cutting and burning the natural growth; relatively short periods of cultivation on the land are followed by longer periods of fallow.
Slash-and-Burn Agriculture a method of farming, also called swidden agriculture, by which fields are cleared, trees and brush are burned, and the soil, fertilized by the ash, is then planted.
Slavery The most extreme, coercive, abusive, and inhumane form of legalized inequality; people are treated as property.
Social Cohesion The degree to which participants in social systems feel committed to the system and the well-being of other participants.
Social Constructivism One of two general ways (the other is essentialist) in which meaning and identity formation is often understood. Social constructivists believe that identity is not inherent within an individual, group, or thing, but is instead largely a creation of cultural, political, and historical forces.
Social dysfunctions The undesirable consequences of any social pattern for the operation of society.
Social Darwinism The application of evolutionary notions and the concept of survival of the fittest to the social world.
Social functions The consequences of any social pattern for the operation of society as a whole.
Social Labeling Perspective A perspective that holds that societies often reinforce their boundaries by labeling people as well as their acts as deviant.
Social Learning Theory A theory of socialization that focuses on learning through the imitation of models.
Social Race A group assumed to have a biological basis but actually perceived and defined in a social context, by a particular culture rather than by scientific criteria.
Social structure Any relatively stable pattern of social behaviour.
Social Script In the dramaturgical approach to interaction, the role we perform in relation to a particular audience.
Social Status A position in a social relationship, a characteristic that locates individuals in relation to other people and sets of role expectations.
Social System A term characteristic of functional analysis (and specifically of Parsonian structural-functionalism). The social system consists of both a social structure of interrelated institutions, statuses, and roles and the functioning of that structure in terms of social actions and human interactions. The social system thus is said to include both social change (Comte's dynamics) - the processes and patterns of action and interaction - and social stability (Comte's statics) - stable social structural forms. Further, the social system constitutes a unitary social whole reflecting a real value consensus - the sharing of common values, social norms, and objectives.
Social-Conflict Theory A way of seeing society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change.
Socialization the process by which a person acquires the technical skills of his or her society, the knowledge of the kinds of behavior that are understood and acceptable in that society, and the attitudes and values that make conformity with social rules personally meaningful, even gratifying; also termed enculturation.
Society A society is a large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.
Sociobiology A perspective that views social patterns among humans and other species as the result of genetics.
Sociolinguistics Study of relationships between social and linguistic variation; study of language (performance) in its social context.
Sociological Imagination The ability to see our private experiences and personal difficulties as entwined with the structural arrangements of our society and the historical times in which we live.
Sororate a social custom under which a widower has the right to marry one of his deceased wife's sisters, and her kin are obliged to provide him with a new wife.
Sovereignty The possession of legal control and governance over a specific geographic territory. Sovereignty once rested in the body of the monarch, who possessed supreme power over his or her kingdom. In the modern context, sovereignty has been located in nation-states. Globalization has been understood by many scholars as having complicated and undermined the sovereignty of nation-states. The growth in the political power of international organizations (e.g., United Nations, World Trade Organization) and the rise of non-governmental organizations has redistributed nation-state sovereignty to a multiplicity of sites and political levels (from local to global).
Specialized Pastoralism the adaptive strategy of exclusive reliance on animal husbandry.
Split Labour-Market Theory The theory that racial and ethnic conflict are rooted in differences in the price between people.
State Complex sociopolitical system that administers a territory and populace with substantial contrasts in occupation, wealth, prestige, and power. An independent, centrally organized political unit; a government. A form of social and political organization with a formal, central government and a division of society into classes.
State Capitalism An economic system in which the state owns some means of production but operates them according to capitalist principles.
State or Nation-State Complex sociopolitical system that administers a territory and populace with substantial contrasts in occupation, wealth, prestige, and power. An independent, centrally organized political unit; a government. A form of social and political organization with a formal, central government and a division of society into classes.
Status Any position that determines where someone fits in society; may be ascribed or achieved.
Status Societies Define by Henry Maine, a cultural evolutionist, in terms of a society that is family-oriented, where property is held in common, and where social control is maintained primarily by sanctions.
Status-Attainment Models Models of the determinants of achievement in the labour force based on regression models that include individual variables, such as social-class status, schooling, intelligence, aspirations, and achievement.
Stereotypes Exaggerated, oversimplified images of the characteristics of social categories.
Stratification Characteristic of a system with socioeconomic strata, sharp social divisions based on unequal access to wealth and power; see stratum.
Structural-Functionalism Theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote stability.
Structuralism An analytical approach characterized largely by a shift in focus from interpreting a text in order to unveil its hidden meaning to identifying and interrogating the ways in which meaning is brought into being structurally. Structuralism is a diverse approach encompassing numerous methodologies, connected by this concern with the ways in which the structure of any given text is implicated in the production of its meaning. Although it has been subject to intensive critique (focusing, for example, on its inability to take account of historical change), structuralism’s once-radical rejection of the role of relationship and context in determining meaning has been enormously influential in many disciplines.
Structuralism - French the theoretical school founded by Claude Levi-Strauss that finds the key to cultural diversity in cognitive structures.
Style Shifts Variations in speech in different contexts.
Subcultures Different cultural traditions associated with subgroups in the same complex society.
Subordinate The lower, or underprivileged, group in a stratified system.
Subordinate Primary Jobs In the primary labor market, jobs that involve routine tasks and encourage workers to be obedient to authority.
Substantivism a school of economic anthropology that seeks to understand economic processes as the maintenance of an entire cultural order.
Superego In Freudian theory, the conscience containing all of the culturally constructed ideas of what is right and what is wrong.
Superordinate The upper, or privileged, group in a stratified system.
Surplus Value The value of goods and services that is kept by employers as profit after paying workers whatever is needed to buy their labor power and reproduce themselves.
Symbol Something, verbal or nonverbal, that arbitrarily and by convention stands for something else, with which it has no necessary or natural connection.
Symbolic-Interactionism Theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interaction of individuals.
Symbols A thing, image or sign that is mean to stand in for the idea, belief or principle to which it refers. Any object, image or sign to which people attach meanings and then use to communicate with others.
Syncretisms Cultural blends, or mixtures, including religious blends, that emerge from acculturation, particularly under colonialism, such as African, Native American, and Roman Catholic saints and deities in Caribbean vodun, or "voodoo," cults; the exchange of cultural features when cultures come into continuous firsthand contact. taboo-Set apart as sacred and off-limits to ordinary people; prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions.
Synergy A strategy of synchronizing and actively forging connections between directly related areas of entertainment. For example, the merger of media giant Time Warner with Internet giant AOL was intended to allow content developed for one communication medium (e.g., television) to be re-used, recycled, and reinforced in different media (e.g., film, Internet, etc.).
Syntax The arrangement and order of words in phrases and sentences.
Taboo Set apart as sacred and off-limits to ordinary people; prohibition backed by supernatural sanctions.
Theoretical paradigm A set of fundamental assumptions that guides thinking and research.
Theory A statement of how and why specific facts are related.
Third World Those less powerful, non-Western nation-states that have experienced colonialization, are ex-colonized, or have experienced modern capitalism as a form of imperialism, i.e., those countries whose cultures have been disrupted by industrialization and expropriation of their natural resources with little or no concern by the capitalists about the disruption, oppression, and exploitation of the people or just compensation for their labor or natural resources. The third world includes those countries of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. The first world refers to Western capitalistic countries of America and Western Europe. The second world referred to the Soviet Union and its block of countries.
Total Institution An organization such as a prison in which all aspects of people's daily lives are controlled by authorities.
Totem a plant or animal whose name is adopted by a clan and that holds a special significance for its members, usually related to their mythical ancestry.
Totemism A religion based on the belief that sacred objects (totems) possess supernatural power.
Transhumance One of two variants of pastoralism; part of the population moves seasonally with the herds while the other part remains in home villages.
Transnational Corporation A firm that operates on a global scale and works, to a greater or lesser extent, outside of national jurisdictions. For example, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s fantasy of operating the company from a permanently floating barge in order to avoid all national trade regulations and laws would be an example of a completely transnational company—it operates worldwide without operating from within any specific country.
Tribe Form of sociopolitical organization usually based on horticulture or pastoralism. Socioeconomic stratification and centralized rule are absent in tribes, and there is no means of enforcing political decisions.
Unilineal Descent Matrilineal or patrilineal descent.
Unilineal Evolution a pattern of cultural progress through a sequence of evolutionary stages; the basic premise of the early cultural evolutionists.
Universal Something that exists in every culture.
Urbanization The long-term but increasingly intensifying shift of human populations from the country to the city. It is a process that has contributed significantly to the reduction of open spaces available for recreation as land was expropriated for the building of industrial infrastructure. As fields disappeared with no new playgrounds to replace them, it became harder to find places to hold outdoor sports, festivals, and other forms of public gathering, which shaped the development of popular culture in significant ways.
Use Value The attribution of value to goods and services based upon their usefulness to those who consume them.
Values The standards by which people define what is desirable or not, good or bad, ugly or beautiful; attitudes about the way the world ought to be.
Vertical Integration A synergistic venture wherein one company acquires the means by which a particular product or service is manufactured, distributed, and sold. Its aim is to increase a corporation’s control over its own products by diminishing its reliance on other companies. Vertical integration is considered by some to be responsible for a reduction in the diversity of available cultural products.
Vertical Mobility Upward or downward change in a person's social status.
Vertical Mosaic A social structure where ethnic groups occupy different, and unequal, positions within the stratification system.
Victimless Crime An offense in which no one involved is considered a victim.
Village Head A local leader in a tribal society who has limited authority, leads by example and persuasion, and must be generous.
Wage Labour A term used by Marx to describe the fact that capitalism converts labor from the human activity of producing culture into a commodity. The price of commodity labor is called wages. In a capitalist system, people have only labor power to sell to get the necessities of life. Wages are set by demand and supply but can be reduced to below the level required for reproducing the labor force by cooperation among capitalists and enforced competition between workers; by recruiting from underdeveloped nations and by a large surplus population. It is increased by unions, by internationalism and/ or by welfare programs.
Wealth All a person's material assets, including income, land, and other types of property; the basis of economic status.
Weber, Max (1864-1920): Weber contributed much to sociology; his critique/analysis of bureaucracy, his concern with forms of stratification other than class, his work on power and authority all help one understand the larger structures which defeat democracy and human agency. He is best noted for his work on the sociology of religion in which he made the connection between the Protestant ethic of hard work, frugality, and stewardship of wealth [on behalf of God] with the Spirit of Capitalism. In methodology, he is known for his use of 'ideal types' as keys to understanding a society or an age--and for verstehen as a pathway to knowledge; verstehen contrasts to empirical analysis and inference.
White-collar Crime Crimes that people are able to commit because of the power and opportunities afforded by social statuses--usually occupations--they occupy.
Witchcraft use of religious ritual to control, exploit, or injure unsuspecting, or at least uncooperating, other persons.
Working Class Or proletariat; those who must sell their labor to survive; the antithesis of the bourgeoisie in Marx's class analysis.
Zero-Sum Game A game in which the success of one player requires the failure of another.
Zoomorphic "animal-like"

Adapted from the following sources:
1. Conrad Kottak. 2002. Cultural Anthropology. 9th ed. Mc-Graw-Hill.
2. Robert J. Brym, ed. 2003. New Society: Sociology for the 21st Century. 3rd ed. Thomson-Nelson.
3. Richard T. Schaefer. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. Online glossary.
4. Anthropology glossary and Anthropology dictionaries at glossarist.com
5. Anthropology dictionary at webref.org
6. Sociology dictionary at webref.org
7. Dictionary of Critical Sociology at Iowa State University
8. Anthropology Biography Web, Minnesota State University at Mankato
9. Nelson - Sociology Glossary

10. Nelson - Popular Culture - A user's Guide/Glossary