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3rd ISA Forum of SOCIOLOGY. Book of Abstracts. Table of Contents. Abstracts: Common and Plenary Sessions. Alphabetical Listing of First Authors. PDF Drive is your search engine for PDF files. As of today we have 78,, eBooks for you to download for free. No annoying ads, no download limits, enjoy . This is the book Sociology: Brief Edition (v. ). This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa

Terry Leahy 12 CSI In the textbooks, a variety of arguments suggest the irrelevance of a concept of human nature to the discipline. Partly, this message is conveyed by opposing social to biological explanations. In addition, the discipline is framed to exclude the concept of human nature. Society, on the one hand, and the culturally unique individual, on the other, exhaust the sociological arena. Accounts of socialization imply the transcendence of biology and with that, human nature. Refutations of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are supported with broad ranging rejections of biological explanation, with a similar implication that human nature is not a necessary concept in sociological accounts. Nevertheless, human nature is the elephant in the room. The concept is required and assumed in the detail of these textbooks as they explain current sociological research and analysis. One impact of the denial of human nature is to misunderstand current disputes between sociology and evolutionary psychology. Keywords Biology, the body, discourse analysis, evolutionary psychology, human nature, sociobiology, sociology A long-standing tradition claims that social science does not need a concept of human nature Pinker,

Game A form of play involving competitive or cooperative interaction in which the outcome is determined by physical skill, strength, strategy, or chance. Gemeinschaft A term used by Tonnies to describe a small, traditional, community-centered society in which people have close, personal, face-to-face relationships and value social relationships as ends in themselves. Gender The traits and behaviors that are socially designated as "masculine" or "feminine" in a particular society.

Gender differences Variations in the social positions, roles, behaviors, attitudes, and personalities of men and women in a society. Gender gap Differences in the way men and women vote. Gender-role expectations People's beliefs about how men and women should behave. Gender stratification The hierarchical ranking of men and women and their roles in terms of unequal ownership, power, social control, prestige, and social rewards. Generalized other A general idea of the expectations, attitudes, and values of a group or community.

Genocide The destruction of an entire population. Gentrification The movement of middle-class and upper-middle-class persons usually white into lower-income, sometimes minority urban areas. Gesellschaft A term used by Tonnies to describe an urban industrial society in which people have impersonal, formal, contractual, and specialized relationships and tend to use social relationships as a means to an end.

Global economy An economy in which the economic life and health of one nation depends on what happens in other nations. Green revolution The improvement in agricultural production based on higher-yielding grains and increased use of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation. Groups Collections of people who share some common goals and norms and whose relationships are usually based on interactions. Groupthink The tendency of individuals to follow the ideas or actions of a group.

Health maintenance organizations HMOs Organizations that people pay a fee to join in return for access to a range of health services. Heterosexual A person whose preferred partner for erotic, emotional, and sexual interaction is someone of the opposite sex.

Hierarchy The arrangement of positions in a rank order, with those below reporting to those above. Hispanics A general term referring to Spanish-speaking persons. It includes many distinct ethnic groups. Homosexual Someone who is emotionally, erotically, and physically attracted to persons of his or her own sex. Horizontal mobility Movement from one social status to another of about equal rank in the social hierarchy. Horticultural societies Societies in which the cultivation of plants with hoes is the primary means of subsistence.

Hospice An organization designed to provide care and comfort for terminally ill persons and their families. Human-capital explanation The view that the earnings of different workers vary because of differences in their education or experience. Hunting and gathering societies Societies that obtain food by hunting animals, fishing, and gathering fruits, nuts, and grains. These societies do not plant crops or have domesticated animals. Hybrid economy An economic system that blends features of both centrally planned and capitalist market economies.

Hyperinflation Anextreme form of inflation. Hypothesis A tentative statement asserting a relationship between one factor and something else based on theory, prior research, or general observation. Id In Freudian theory, a concept referring to the unconscious instinctual impulses-- for instance, sexual or aggressive impulses.

Ideal values Values that people say are important to them, whether or not their behavior supports those values. Identification theories Views suggesting that children learn gender roles by identifying with and copying the same-sex parent. Ideology A system of ideas that reflects, rationalizes, and defends the interests of those who believe in it.

Impression management A term used by Goffman to describe the efforts of individuals to influence how others perceive them. Incest Sexual intercourse with close family members. Incest taboo The prohibition of sexual intercourse between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, and brothers and sisters. Income The sum of money wages and salaries earnings plus income other than earnings. Independent variable The variable whose occurrence or change results in the occurrence or change of another variable; the hypothesized cause of something else.

Individualism A belief in individual rights and responsibilities. Induction Reasoning from the particular to the general. Industrialization The shift within a nation's economy from a primarily agricultural base to a manufacturing base. Industrialized societies Societies that rely on mechanized production, rather than on human or animal labor, as the primary means of subsistence.

Inflation An increase in the supply of money in circulation that exceeds the rate of economic growth, making money worth less in relation to the goods and services it can download.

Informal sanction A social reward or punishment that is given informally through social interaction, such as an approving smile or a disapproving frown. Innovation The discovery or invention of new ideas, things, or methods; a source of cultural change. Instinct A genetically determined behavior triggered by specific conditions or events. Institution of science The social communities that share certain theories and methods aimed at understanding the physical and social worlds.

Institutionalization of science The establishment of careers for practicing scientists in major social institutions. Institutions The patterned and enduring roles, statuses, and norms that have formed around successful strategies for meeting basic social needs.

Instrumental A type of role that involves problem-solving or task-oriented behavior in group or interpersonal relationships. Instrumental leader A group leader whose role is to keep the group's attention directed to the task at hand. Interest group A group of people who work to influence political decisions affecting them. Intergenerational mobility A vertical change of social status from one generation to the next.

Interlocking directorates The practice of overlapping memberships on corporate boards of directors. Intermittent reinforcement In learning theory, the provision of a reward sometimes but not always when a desired behavior is shown.

Internalization The process of taking social norms, roles, and values into one's own mind. Interpretive approach One of the major theoretical perspectives in sociology; focuses on how individuals make sense of the world and react to the symbolic meanings attached to social life. Intragenerational mobility A vertical change of social status experienced by an individual within his or her own lifetime. Invention An innovation in material or nonmaterial culture, often produced by combining existing cultural elements in new ways; a source of cultural change.

IQ intelligence quotient test A standardized set of questions or problems designed to measure verbal and numerical knowledge and reasoning. Keynesian economics The economic theory advanced by John Maynard Keynes, which holds that government intervention, through deficit spending, may be necessary to maintain high levels of employment. Kinship Socially defined family relationships, including those based on common parentage, marriage, or adoption. Labeling theory A theory of deviance that focuses on the process by which some people are labeled deviant by other people and thus take on deviant identities rather than on the nature of the behavior itself.

Labor-market segmentation The existence of two or more distinct labor markets, one of which is open only to individuals of a particular gender or ethnicity. Laissez-faire economics The economic theory advanced by Adam Smith, which holds that the economic system develops and functions best when left to market forces, without government intervention.

Language Spoken or written symbols combined into a system and governed by rules. Law The system of formalized rules established by political authorities and backed by the power of the state for the purpose of controlling or regulating social behavior.

Learning theory In psychology, the theory that specific human behaviors are acquired or forgotten as a result of the rewards or punishments associated with them. Legal protection The protection of minority-group members through the official policy of a governing unit.

Legitimate In reference to power, the sense by people in a situation that those who are exercising power have the right to do so. Lesbian A woman who is emotionally, erotically, and physically attracted to other women.

Life chances The probabilities of an individual having access to or failing to have access to various opportunities or difficulties in society. Life course The biological and social sequence of birth, growing up, maturity, aging, and death.

Life-course analysis An examination of the ways in which different stages of life influence socialization and behavior.

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Life expectancy The average years of life anticipated for people born in a particular year. Life-style Family, child-bearing, and educational attitudes and practices; personal values; type of residence; consumer, political, and civic behavior; religion.

Life table A statistical table that presents the death rate and life expectancy of each of a series of age-sex categories for a particular population. Line job A job that is part of the central operations of an organization rather than one that provides support services for the operating structure. Lobbying The process of trying to influence political decisions so they will be favorable to one's interests and goals.

Location In Kanter's view, a person's position in an organization with respect to having control over decision making. Looking-glass self The sense of self an individual derives from the way others view and treat him or her. Macro level An analysis of societies that focuses on large-scale institutions, structures, and processes. Magic According to Malinowski, "a practical art consisting of acts which are only means to a definite end expected to follow.

Marriage A social institution that recognizes and approves the sexual union of two or more individuals and includes a set of mutual rights and obligations. Marriage rate Number of marriages in a year per single women 15 to 44 years old. Marriage squeeze A situation in which the eligible individuals of one sex outnumber the supply of potential marriage partners of the other sex.

Marxian approach A theory that uses the ideas of Karl Marx and stresses the importance of class struggle centered around the social relations of economic production.

Mass hysteria Widely felt fear and anxiety. Mass media Widely disseminated forms of communication, such as books, magazines, radio, television, and movies.

Matthew effect The social process whereby one advantage an individual has is likely to lead to additional advantages. Mean, arithmetic The sum of a set of mathematical values divided by the number of values; a measure of central tendency in a series of data.

Median The number that cuts a distribution of figures in half; a positional measure of central tendency in a series of data. Medicaid A federal-state matching program that provides medical assistance to certain low income persons. Medicare A federal health insurance program. Individuals are eligible if they receive Social Security benefits, federal disability benefits, or sometimes if they have end-stage kidney disease. Method of comparison An approach that compares one subgroup or society with another one for the purpose of understanding social differences.

Methodology The rules, principles, and practices that guide the collection of evidence and the conclusions drawn from it. Metropolitan Statistical Area MSA A geographical area containing either one city with 50, or more residents or an urban area of at least 50, inhabitants and a total population of at least , except in New England where the required total is 75, Micro level An analysis of societies that focuses on small-scale process, such as how individuals interact and how they attach meanings to the social actions of others.

Migration The relatively permanent movement of people from one area to another. Millenarian movements Social movements based on the expectation that society will be suddenly transformed through supernatural intervention. Minority group Any recognizable racial, religious, ethnic, or social group that suffers from some disadvantage resulting from the action of a dominant group with higher social status and greater privileges.

Mode The value that occurs most often in a series of mathematical values. Modeling Copying the behavior of admired people. Modernization The economic and social transformation that occurs when a traditional agricultural society becomes highly industrialized. Monopoly The exclusive control of a particular industry, market, service, or commodity by a single organization. Mores Strongly held social norms, a violation of which causes a sense of moral outrage.

Mortality rate The number of deaths per thousand in a population.

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Multinational corporation A corporation that locates its operations in a number of nations. Multiple-nuclei theory A theory of urban development holding that cities develop around a number of different centers, each with its own special activities. Nation A relatively autonomous political grouping that usually shares a common language and a particular geography.

Nation-state A social organization in which political authority overlaps a cultural and geographical community. Negative sanctions Actions intended to deter or punish unwanted social behaviors.

Negotiation A form of social interaction in which two or more parties in conflict or competition arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Network See Social network. Nomadic Societies that move their residences from place to place. Nonverbal communication Visual and other meaningful symbols that do not use language. Norm A shared rule about acceptable or unacceptable social behavior.

Normal science A term used by Kuhn to describe research based on one or more past scientific achievements that are accepted as a useful foundation for further study. Nuclear family A family form consisting of a married couple and their children. Objectivity Procedures researchers follow to minimize distortions in observation or interpretation due to personal or social values.

Occupation A position in the world of work that involves specialized knowledge and activities. Occupational segregation The concentration of workers by gender or ethnicity into certain jobs but not others. Oligarchy The rule of the many by the few. Oligopoly The control of a particular industry, market, service, or commodity by a few large organizations.

Open system In organizational theory, the degree to which an organization is open to and dependent on its environment. Operationalization In research, the actual procedures or operations conducted to measure a variable. Opportunity In an organization, the potential that a particular position contains for the expansion of work responsibilities and rewards. Organization A social group deliberately formed to pursue certain values and goals. Organizational ritualism A form of behavior in organizations, particularly in bureaucracies, in which people follow the rules and regulations so closely that they forget the purpose of those rules and regulations.

Organizational waste The inefficient use of ideas, expertise, money, or material in an organization. Panic A frightened response by an aggregate of people to an immediate threat. Paradigm In the sociology of science, a coherent tradition of scientific law, theory, and assumptions that forms a distinct approach to problems. Parallel marriage When husband and wife both work and share household tasks. Participant observation A research method in which the researcher does observation while taking part in the activities of the social group being studied.

Pastoral societies Societies in which the raising and herding of animals such as sheep, goats, and cows is the primary means of subsistence. Patriarchal family A form of family organization in which the father is the formal head of the family. Peer group Friends and associates of about the same age and social status.

Play Spontaneous activity undertaken freely for its own sake yet governed by rules and often characterized by an element of make-believe. Pluralism In ethnic relations, the condition that exists when both majority and minority groups value their distinct cultural identities, and at the same time seek economic and political unity. In political sociology, the view that society is composed of competing interest groups, with power diffused among them.

Political economy model A theory of land use that emphasizes the role of political and economic interests. Political order The institutionalized system of acquiring and exercising power. Political party An organized group of people that seeks to control or influence political decisions through legal means. Population In demography, all the people living in a given geographic area. In research, the total number of cases with a particular characteristic.

Population exclusion The efforts of a society to prevent ethnically different groups from joining it. Population transfer The efforts of a dominant ethnic group to move or remove members of a minority ethnic group from a particular area.

Positive sanctions Rewards for socially desired behavior. Positivist An approach to explaining human action that does not take into account the individual's interpretation of the situation. Postindustrial society A term used by Daniel Bell to refer to societies organized around knowledge and planning rather than around industrial production. Power The capacity of an individual group to control or influence the behavior of others, even in the face of opposition. Power elite According to Mills, a closely connected group of the corporate rich, political leaders, and military commanders who decide most key social and political issues.

Prejudice A "prejudged" unfavorable attitude toward the members of a particular group, who are assumed to possess negative traits. Prestige A social recognition, respect, and deference accorded individuals or groups based on their social status.

Primary deviance Deviant behavior that is invisible to others, short- lived, or unimportant, and therefore does not contribute to the public labeling of an individual as being deviant. Primary economic sector The sector of an economy in which natural resources are gathered or extracted. If you reference our book in your research, please give credit.

A general citation might look like this: Hammond, R. It provides a basic understanding of the science, theory, and research methods of the profession.

Sociology began with a Frenchman named Auguste Comte who saw that it could be very useful in solving modern social problems that were already emerging in Europe and other parts of the world in the 's. Other sociologists built upon his work and sociology has become a major academic and scientific discipline in its own right.

Comte would be very pleased with sociology as a problem-solving science, one that has a unique perspective, wisdom, and body of scientific knowledge. Governments, corporations, religions, families, educators, and individuals have come to depend upon the same expertise you will discover in this textbook. You'll also find the narrative to be personal, the topics to be interesting, and you will feel very satisfied when you finally understand why society and people do the things they do.

You swill learn what sociology is, what sociology studies and studies in a way better than all other disciplines , and how sociology as a science can help you in your personal life experiences.

This is clearly a part of the Marxist tradition in sociology, which suggests that stratification is driven by material interests which all humans share. The impression given in these textbooks is that sociology can prove that biological explanations of race are false without itself resorting to a biological explanation. Sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists have argued that men and women have a different, genetically based, gender and sexuality.

For Haralambos and Holborn, the first argument against the sociobiological position is the most general one possible and implies there can be no such thing as human nature: Sociobiologists assume a direct link between patterns of genetic inheritance and behaviour in humans. However, there is no scientific evidence that such a link exists. In contrast to animals, human behaviour is shaped by environment rather than instinct.

On this view there could be no direct link between our genetic inheritance and our predisposition to eat. We all have the same genetic inheritance as humans but our eating behaviour is Leahy quite different. That there is some link between behaviour and genetic inheritance is the basic assumption of any view of human nature.

Sociology - Open Educational Resources (OER) - Research Guides at Humboldt State University

A biological programme of this kind cannot be possible — as human behaviour is never simply the product of biology:. It is symbolic, reflecting who we are and the emotions we are experiencing.

As we shall see, sexuality is far too complicated to be wholly attributable to biological traits. It must be understood in terms of the social meanings which humans ascribe to it. Giddens, So the fact that it cannot be wholly attributed to biological traits would suggest that biological inheritance is at least part of what determines sexuality, as Giddens himself suggests in other passages see below for a discussion of this.

Sociobiology is seen as mistak- ing the mental and social aspects of sexuality for biological traits, as though they have stepped between two worlds.

So, while there may be a biological component to sexuality, we must go beyond this into another realm when thoughts and emotions are involved. This programme is untenable. Explanations from biology and those using concepts like intention, desire, agency and meaning are better conceived as working from different theoretical frameworks for understanding the same events, rather than as referring to different realms, operating with- out any connection to each other for a related approach see Midgley, However there is a second argument used against sociobiology in the textbooks in discussing this topic.

As Oakley shows, there are societies where women take the initiative in sexual relationships and are promiscuous. The argument being put here is that cross-cultural comparison does not back up the hypothesis of sexu- ally divided human nature for a more thorough exploration of this topic, see Ryan and Jetha, In fact, these methods of cross-cultural comparison are shared by sociolo- gists and evolutionary psychologists.

So this second argument from the Haralambos and Holborn textbook does not make any sweeping claims that rule out the relevance of a theory of human nature to the social sciences, it merely makes an empirical case against one particular theory of human nature sexually divided human nature.

This second argument suggests a much more useful approach to the claims of sociobiology. You have to have some way of explaining what people are doing, beyond describ- ing it as a cultural practice.


An account of the meaning, rationale or basis for any cultural practice — which will make sense to a reader from another culture — inevitably makes reference to human nature. To explain why a cultural practice has been changed, you are also thrown back to human nature, since the culture before cannot explain in itself why the culture after has now been adopted see also Midgely, ; Tooby and Cosmides, In this, shame and embarrassment are assumed to be cross- cultural aspects of human emotional life.

Humans can feel ashamed or embarrassed. A tree could not, a dog might and humans certainly will experience these emotions. Haralambos and Holborn, 27 The universal desire for food is assumed. With agriculture, all could be fed while some were freed from food production. Class comes out of the options available with this surplus: Some people are able to acquire the means of production, and others are therefore obliged to work for them. These means of production included the means to produce food, so people had to work for the owners to satisfy their need for food.

The same textbook explains why girls interviewed in recent years are less likely to nominate marriage as their main priority compared to girls interviewed in the s.

The rising divorce rate of the s and s meant that:. They had also seen women standing on their own two feet rather than depending on financial support from a man. Paid employment and financial independence were now major concerns. Haralambos and Holborn, So girls used to believe that marriage provided economic security.

The rising divorce rate undermines this confidence in marriage. The example of independent women shows girls a safer option.

The explanation assumes a desire for a secure income. That can be related to a whole host of human needs in a society where the commodity form is ubiquitous. Daughters seek the approval of their parents and adjust their ambitions accordingly. Desire for the approval of significant oth- ers is often invoked to explain social practices, it is also assumed to be an aspect of human nature.

For example, it is argued that young men engage in violence to gain peer approval Haralambos and Holborn, Haralambos and Holborn, Giddens anchors his hypothesis about the need for ontological security, as a part of human nature, in another need which is clearly part of human nature — our desire for physical survival. This is a statement that exclusive heterosexual desire is a human universal. The intention here is not to accept the validity of these claims but merely to make the point that they are quite inconsistent with aspects of the Standard Social Science Model defended by the textbooks as central tenets of sociology.

Accounts of socialization imply human nature. Socializers encourage conduct by rewarding desires that are already part of human nature and dis- courage conduct by imposing sanctions that are already biologically programmed to be unpleasant. The specifics make this point even more obvious. In Sociology: Themes and Perspectives we are told that the newborn baby:. Haralambos and Holborn, 2 So these biological drives are the bedrock which motivates baby conduct. The authors go on to explain how socialization takes place: By responding to the approval and disapproval of its parents and copying their example, the child learns the language and many of the basic behaviour patterns of society.

Haralambos and Holborn, 3 So the baby has a biological need to seek approval and to avoid disapproval. Alternatively, they could mean that the parents reward other biological desires to indicate approval — for example by feeding the baby.

Giddens explains the constraint of social facts: Social facts can constrain human action in a variety of ways, ranging from outright punishment in the case of a crime, for example to social rejection in the case of unacceptable behaviour to simple misunderstanding in the case of the misuse of language.

Giddens, 14 That we can survey societies and determine what are punishments itself depends on a theory of human nature. They are all experienced as unpleasant in relation to aspects of human nature — the desire to live, the dislike of boredom, the stigma of social disapproval, the restriction of free movement, the pain of a wound. Tooby and Cosmides make the point that such accounts massively understate the specificity of evolved mechanisms that enable social learning to take place.

My point is that even these fairly vague accounts of socialization actually make assumptions about how human nature interacts with the environment. The elephant in the room In this article I have been looking at the ways in which sociology textbooks present a case for sociology.

In doing this they constantly reaffirm the view that social science does not need a theory of human nature. The great variety of human societies supposedly shows us that nothing so invariable as human nature could possibly explain society.

What we may think of as natural and unchanging in society is not. While babies may be driven by bio- logical urges, the theory of socialization shows us that beyond this early stage, humans fall under the influence of society, varied as it is. People behave as they do either because they are influenced by society or because their individual will and agency determine their conduct.

Human nature plays no part. The textbooks conduct a critique of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.

They argue that sociobiologists and other sociologically uninformed parties try to explain dif- ferent social conditions by saying that they come out of biological differences. The text- books say that all these variations in social condition can be better explained by reference to social differences. What is more, they argue that nothing as complex as the cultural behaviour of real people could possibly be explained by biology. These programmatic statements suggest that sociology has no need of any view of human nature.

Despite this, statements about human nature do crop up and ideas about human nature are assumed. There are also more or less explicit discussions about the nature of human beings. Leahy My view is that sociology does not need to develop a theory of human nature because it already has one. It is the elephant in the room. When there is a conflict between evolutionary psychology and sociology, it is not in fact a dispute between biological and social explanations of conduct.

Deep-seated conflicts are usually about institutions of gender, stratification or violent conflict. There is no general solution to such disputes; clarifying the position usually taken by sociologists is my aim here. Further, they would be looking at it as some- thing which cannot readily be explained as a rational means of consciously pursuing ends which actors themselves understand Wilson, 4. It is something that can only be explained when we look at the way it must have evolved to maximize genetic fitness see Tooby and Cosmides, 75, , for similar descriptions of what is involved in such arguments.

Sociologists are likely to question such an account in terms of the supposed universal- ity that is implied. Instead, they will give a historically informed account of the origin of the institution in a specific social context. Yet this alternative sociological explanation itself makes assumptions about human nature, which we take for granted as we read the account. To understand the institution in question we need to see how human nature is operating in a context coming from a chain of events.

The particularity of that chain of events is what sociologists are alluding to when they claim that they do not explain this institution biologically — they do not believe this particular institution is an instance of a pattern of human action which is always the same, coming from the biological foundation proposed by evolutionary psychologists.

The sociologists are arguing that we do not need to suppose that this institution is a product of the operation of the aspect of human nature specified by evolutionary psychol- ogy to explain it. Instead, the operation of aspects of human nature which are a lot more widely understood are quite sufficient to account for what is going on Midgley, This is Quixotic in its unreality.

It does not represent our own practice of the true nature of our dispute with some of the viewpoints coming out of evolutionary psychology. This seems to me to be unlikely, partly because social science has Current Sociology been operating for centuries with theories of human nature, even if this has not been acknowledged.

One cannot rule out the relevance of new discoveries about human nature from evolutionary psychology. Yet my hunch is that aspects of human nature which are far more obvious, and which are already being assumed by sociologists, will maintain their salience in accounting for most social action.

Like Midgley , Tooby and Cosmides oppose a reductionist understanding of the relationships between biological, psychological and sociological approaches. She argues that different views of reality have to be compatible even if they are not reducible. However, in practice Tooby and Cosmides favour the approach of information theory to understand human nature and reject the theory we may describe as mentalist — a theoretical standpoint working with concepts such as intention, understanding, drive and purpose.

Tooby and Cosmides cannot consistently purge their account of mentalist concepts.