Sociology

Robert K Merton – Reference Groups

 ROBERT K. MERTON: REFERENCE GROUPS DEFINITION: It is the relationship of the individual with the group. Sociologists call any group that individuals use as a standard for evaluating themselves and their own behaviour a reference group. Reference groups are used in order to evaluate and determine the nature of a given individual or other group’sContinue reading →

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Robert K Merton – Conformity and Deviance

ROBERT K. MERTON: CONFORMITY AND DEVIANCE BACKGROUND: Robert Merton in his theoretical analysis of ‘Social Structure and Anomie’ takes inspiration from Durkheim‘s work. It provided the intellectual foundation for Merton‘s attempt to develop a macro-level explanation of rates of norm violating behaviour in American society. In contrast to Durkheim, Merton bases his theory on sociologicalContinue reading →

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Robert K Merton – Latent and Manifest Functions

ROBERT K. MERTON: LATENT AND MANIFEST FUNCTIONS DEFINITION: Latent functions: Functional consequences that are not intended or recognized by the members of a social system in which they occur. Manifest functions: The functions of a type of social activity that are known to and intended by the individuals involved in the activity. BACKGROUND: Until theContinue reading →

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Talcott Parsons – Pattern Variables

TALCOTT PARSONS: PATTERN VARIABLES DEFINITION: Pattern variable is a framework through which Parsons tries to understand how the actor negotiates with the action situation and manifest a particular kind of behaviour. BACKGROUND: Parsons speaks about pattern variable in his book ‘the structure of social action’.  Man is a bundle of impulses but is bound byContinue reading →

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Talcott Parsons – Social System

TALCOTT PARSONS: SOCIAL SYSTEM DEFINITION: A social system consists in a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect, actors who are motivated in terms of a tendency to the optimization of gratification and whose relation to their situation, including each other, isContinue reading →

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Max Weber – Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism

WEBER: PROTESTANT ETHIC AND THE SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM BACKGROUND: The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism is one of the most systematic, generalised and renowned work by Max Weber. He used his own methodology of social action and ideal type in this essay. He put forth the idea that sociological theory is possible throughContinue reading →

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Max Weber – Bureaucracy

WEBER: BUREAUCRACY DEFINITION: Weber saw bureaucracy as an organization with a hierarchy of paid, full time officials who formed a chain of command. A bureaucracy is concerned with the business of administration, with controlling, managing and coordinating a complex series of tasks. BACKGROUND: To appreciate the nature of modern society, Weber maintained that an understandingContinue reading →

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Max Weber – Authority – Part 2

TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY: Whereas rational-legal authority stems from the legitimacy of a rational-legal system, traditional authority is based on a claim by the leaders, and a belief on the part of the followers, that there is virtue in the sanctity of age-old rules and powers. The leader in such a system is not a superior butContinue reading →

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Max Weber – Authority – Part 1

MAX WEBER: AUTHORITY CONCEPT AND BACKGROUND: Weber’s sociological interest in the structures of authority was motivated, at least in part, by his political interests. Weber was no political radical; in fact, he was often called the “bourgeois Marx” to reflect the similarities in the intellectual interests of Marx and Weber as well as their veryContinue reading →

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Max Weber – Ideal Type

WEBER: IDEAL TYPE DEFINITION: “An ideal type is formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse, discrete, more or less present and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena, which are arranged according to those one sided emphasized viewpoints into unified analytical construct… InContinue reading →

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