Society and Social Interaction

Read this chapter for a review of society and social interaction. As you read each section, consider the following topics:

  • Take note of the Maasai village in Tanzania. How does this village differ from a rural American town?
  • Take note of the different types of societies, making connections to the society in which you currently live.
  • Take notes on Durkheim's functionalist approach, Marx's conflict approach, and Weber's symbolic interactionist approach to studying societies.
  • Take note of the bold terms and how they contribute to your own construction of reality as well as how they affect larger social phenomena.

Key Terms

achieved status
the status a person chooses, such as a level of education or income

agricultural societies
societies that rely on farming as a way of life

an individual's isolation from his society, his work, and his sense of self

a situation in which society no longer has the support of a firm collective consciousness

ascribed status
the status outside of an individual's control, such as sex or race

the owners of the means of production in a society

a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government

class consciousness
the awareness of one's rank in society

collective conscience
the communal beliefs, morals, and attitudes of a society

false consciousness
a person's beliefs and ideology that are in conflict with her best interests

feudal societies
societies that operate on a strict hierarchical system of power based around land ownership and protection

the idea that society is constructed by us and those before us, and it is followed like a habit

horticultural societies
societies based around the cultivation of plants

hunter-gatherer societies
societies that depend on hunting wild animals and gathering uncultivated plants for survival

industrial societies
societies characterized by a reliance on mechanized labor to create material goods

information societies
societies based on the production of nonmaterial goods and services

the act of implanting a convention or norm into society

iron cage
a situation in which an individual is trapped by social institutions

looking-glass self
our reflection of how we think we appear to others

mechanical solidarity
a type of social order maintained by the collective consciousness of a culture

organic solidarity
a type of social order based around an acceptance of economic and social differences

pastoral societies
societies based around the domestication of animals

the laborers in a society

a belief that modern society should be built around logic and efficiency rather than morality or tradition

role conflict
a situation when one or more of an individual's roles clash

role performance
the expression of a role

role strain
stress that occurs when too much is required of a single role

an array of roles attached to a particular status

patterns of behavior that are representative of a person's social status

self-fulfilling prophecy
an idea that becomes true when acted upon

social integration
how strongly a person is connected to his or her social group

a group of people who live in a definable community and share the same culture

the responsibilities and benefits that a person experiences according to his or her rank and role in society

Thomas theorem
how a subjective reality can drive events to develop in accordance with that reality, despite being originally unsupported by objective reality