Themes of Sociology

A4 Sociology


    1. Sport - a set of competitive activities in which winners and losers are determined by physical performance within a set of established rules.

    2. Sport subculture - a group within the larger context of sport that has some of its own distinct roles, values, and norms.

    3. Stacking - players are assigned to less central positions on the basis of race or ethnicity.

    4. Sports are basic institutions because they fulfill basic needs and reflect the most important aspects of a society.

    5. Can cause low self esteem depending on factors such as emphasis on winning and fair play

My thoughts: Although I don’t really like sports, I think it is a nice thing to have in a society. It enables some sort of unity among people, or at least for awhile.

History: Chariot racing in ancient Rome was a test for strength.


    1. The British believe it is rude to not finish of the food

    2. The Chinese see it as if you’re questioning their generosity if you do.

    3. In Turkey they shake hands as a way of bargaining

    4. In France they kiss both sides of your cheeks as a greeting for friends

    5. In Korea they have a formal bow as a greeting

My thoughts: If I plan to visit other countries I should hope to not insult anyone accidentally. Cultures can be very different from one another.

History: In Egypt it was customary to mummify and bury the dead (if you had the money for it, that is)

Collective Behavior

    1. Collective behavior - the spontaneous behavior of people who are responding to similar stimuli

    2. Fashion - a behavior pattern that is widely approved but expected to change periodically

    3. Fad - an unusual behavior pattern that spreads rapidly, is embraced zealously, and then disappears after a short time

    4. Contagion theory - focuses on the spread of emotion in a crowd

    5. Urban legends - moralistic tales passed along by people who swear the stories happened to someone they know or to an acquaintance of a friend or family member

My thoughts: I notice a lot of collective behavior in society. I’m usually the one out of the loop when it comes to “fads” (honesty most fads are so lame like Frozen for example). One fad I knew about before anyone else was the “Slender man” fad.

History: In World War I many men went over to fight, thinking that war was great. The enthusiasm for war just spread across the nation.

Conflict theorists

    1. Bourgeoisie - refers to members of the capitalist class

    2. Proletariat - refers to members of the poor working class.

    3. False consciousness - a person's lack of understanding of his or her position in society

    4. Class consciousness - an understanding of ones position in the class system

    5. Harriet Martineau - focused on the inequalities of the sexes

My thoughts: Without these guys sociology would only focus on the good. These guys look at the negatives of society.

History: Harriet Martineau examined social class, religion, suicide, national character, and domestic relations. She translated French books to English so English speakers could learn of their works.


    1. Religion legitimates social arrangements

    2. Promotes social unity

    3. Provides a sense of understanding

    4. Conflict theory - elites use religion to manipulate the masses

    5. People create symbolic meanings through beliefs or ideas

My thoughts: Religion teaches me good morals and I carry them with me to benefit myself and those around me.

History: The Pilgrims were prosecuted for their religion so they left for religious rights. They formed little church societies as they settled in.

Power and Authority

    1. Economic institution - the set of functions that concern the production and distribution of goods and services for a society

    2. Political institution -institution that determines how power is obtained and exercised

    3. Power - ability to control the behavior of others

    4. Coercion - control through force

    5. Authority - power accepted as legitimate by those who subject to it

My thoughts: Power can easily be abused, especially in terms of corrupt governments.

History: The Treaty of Versailles put very harsh restrictions on Germany and suppressed them greatly. Germany was left powerless as they were indebted to the Allies.


Boiling down to the basics of society, societies have many sides and functions to them. Culture is just how society is structured, but each culture can relate in one way or another despite having great differences. Many cultures have some form of sport of religion. Many societies use it as a way to unite or teach morals, but as conflict theorists believe, this doesn’t always happen. People like to stick with people they can relate to, forming into wide masses of groups if they are popular enough, but in terms of the general public, we all are considered to be civilians under some sort of power. This sense of collectivity forms our nation, but the wide masses of people can be easily persuaded and tricked if power is abused. Sports can simply be used to take in more money for schools as they charge obnoxious prices for everything and ignore smaller sports that don’t make as much money. Religions can be used to justify terrible actions or trick others to do something for god. It is no doubt that most things in society can be flawed due to the freedom of choice. Still, society is much needed and if it is regulated properly by the integrity of its people, society would be less corrupt and more functional.