Sociology Major

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MSF took to the streets with 2,000 others in New Delhi warning that harmful provisions in a trade deal between the EU and India could severely hinder access to affordable medicine for people in developing countries.
For more information about the protest go here.
For more photographs from the demonstration go here.
Photo:India 2012 © Syddharth Singh


MSF took to the streets with 2,000 others in New Delhi warning that harmful provisions in a trade deal between the EU and India could severely hinder access to affordable medicine for people in developing countries.

For more information about the protest go here.

For more photographs from the demonstration go here.

Photo:India 2012 © Syddharth Singh

Introduction to Social Deviance: A Study Guide

Here is a Q&A-type study guide for students of Social Deviance.

Block 1

  • Sociologically, deviance is a matter of degree.
  • In defining what’s deviant, sociologists reject the concept of absolutism.
  • Sociologists agree that, for the most part, just about everyone has done something deviant.
  • Social control is both formal and informal.
  • The positivistic study of deviance is possible both with physically harmful and harmless forms of behavior.
  • Situational and Societal deviance are viewed the same by researchers. (False)
  • Ervin Goffman is important in the study of defiance because he came up with the concept of stigma.
  • Deviance usually has nothing to do with mental disorders or illness. (True).
  • The “positivism perspective,” when studying deviance, is the perspective that deviance is good for society. (False)
  • The difference between positivism and the constructionism approach to deviance is that one focuses on explaining the deviant behavior itself, the other focuses on how society reacts to deviance.

Block 2

  • What is the central explanatory factor of self-control theory? A disjunction between the culture, which stresses success motivation, and society’s social and economic structure.
  • Which of Merton’s adaptations is exemplified by becoming a drug addict? Retreatism.
  • According to functionalist sociologists, prostitution is good for society.
  • In the past two decades or so in the study of deviance, the influence of Marxist theory has decreased.
  • The central, guiding, foundation concept in all constructionist perspectives toward deviance is social control.
  • The seventeenth century in Europe was referred to as the age of reason and crime was explained as humans exercising free will (False). It was the 18th century.
  • In the United States, judgments of deviance come from culture and religion, and depend on geographic regions.
  • The concept of androcentrism refers to a bias towards androids. (False)
  • The “Social Disorganization” theory argues that deviance is not located in the person or individual. (True)
  • Sociologist Samuel Stouffer’s research found that on the issue of the death penalty there was only a small difference between the religiously devout and the nonreligious.

Block 3

  • Which of the following is exclusively a statutory crime?
      • rape
      • assault
      • murder
      • possession of illicit drugs (Correct)
  • All crime is deviant. (False).
  • Research that can be categorized into qualitative methods include ethnography.
  • The three sources of data that are used by Sociologist who study crime include DAWNADAM, and Uniform Crime Reports.
  • Surveys are best when given to a small group of respondents so you can interview each person individually. (False)
  • Theft is prevalent in most societies that emphasize material values.
  • Taking someone’s life is a primal crime.
  • Theories on Rape include individual, sociocultural , and situational explanations. (True)
  • According to Goode, when Sociologists study deviance it is not much different than when they study other topics in society. (False)
  • The results of a sample of 60,000 Americans, where they were asked to rate the severity of a crime, indicated that crimes in which people were killed or injured were ranked higher.

Block 4

Define deviance from a sociological perspective.

Deviance is a relative concept that involves three main things: attitudes, behaviors, and conditions. Deviant attitudes are those that break away from mainstream ideologies, and are generally unpopular because either not a lot of people think them, or the only people who do think them are incarcerated. Deviant behavior is any type of action that will receive negative sanctions from society. For example, graffiti in most urbanized cities is considered a deviant activity. The final aspect of deviance is conditions. Deviant conditions are any sort of trait or characteristic that would cause others to consider someone deviant. For example, having a tattoo is neither an attitude nor behavior, but it is a condition in a lot of people’s minds that means “deviant.” It’s important to note that deviant attitudes, behaviors and conditions are not inherently deviant, but become deviant when they violate someone else’s (or all of society’s) folkways and norms.

What is the microlevel perspective of deviance?

Microlevel perspectives on deviance is the taking into account of small social and societal influences that define, act out, and inhibit deviant behavior. Microlevel perspectives on deviance would include, for example, intra family norms that are defined and persecuted when violated - “We don’t leave our clothes on the ground in this family, young lady!” Society as whole may not adopt this attitude, which makes this a micro level instance.

What is the macrolevel perspective of deviance?

Macrolevel perspectives on devance involve larger, wholly-encompassing groups, like religion, the democrat party, and your workplace, and defines social norms and relative deviance according to the acceptable standards of that institution. For example, a macro level perspective might look to see why society thinks that murder is wrong (something that is inherently passed on as a norm in all levels of society). Since deviance is relative, established norms that are adopted by an entire society are persecuted much worse than smaller, micro level norms established by small groups.

What is the positivist theory of deviance?

In positivistic theories, people try to understand the world by asking “Why do people do what they do?” This sort of mentality generally opens themselves up to making spurious correlations between attitudes and behavior, and more of then not, restricts him or herself to matters of struct absolutism: Why did he steal that car, why did she shoot her husband, why did they riot? Positivists tend to focus on the effect, then the cause.

What is the constructionist theory of deviance?

Social constructionist theories, on the other hand, take a step back and examine the cause before the effect - that is, they will look at the factors that influence the person to do something before they try to determine why that person did it in the first place. Constructionists ask the question “why is that rule in place, who made that rule, and who is being accused?” An inherent misleading occurs when people look at the definition of the theories, because there’s nothing really “positive” about positivism - it’s rather absolute.

What are free will and rational calculations of deviance?

Free will is a theory of deviance that is generally attributed to the school of criminology. It was during the 18th century that people started to figure that people did wicked and evil things not because they were possessed by some type of demon or satanic thought, but because they freely chose to do it. In other words, people commit deviant acts by exercising free will. This was an important break from traditional criminology because it finally declared that people are basically rational and not (as a puritan may put it) “full of sin.”

Rational calculations refers to a sort of contemporary approach to a original school of thought. In this, theorists base deviant behavior not on some outside force (again), but attribute criminal behavior to being motivated by three types of things: first, by adequate motivation to commit a deviant act; Second, by there being a suitable target of the act; and third, the lack of oversight, whether from a parent, friend, or police officer.

What is Eurocentrism?

Eurocentrism is the believe that Europe (and by default, Europeans) is the center of the world’s history and progress, and that if it wasn’t for Europe, there would be no modern societies. This sort of ideology is commensurate with human history, especially in the time of Galileo, when the church used to hail the Earth as the center of the universe. Much like child thinking that there is nothing else more important than themselves, Eurocentrism creates a sense of ethnocentrism toward the rest of the world, making anything that is not having to do with Europe or the promotion of European ideologies deviant.

What is Androcentrism?

Androcentrism can relate to our previous essay on rape culture. When men feel that they are responsible for everything that is important in this world, women are forced by default to take to their shadows. If an androcetric society (like America) starts to have to deal with criminal cases in which women are the victim, questions like “What was she wearing” are asked more often then “What was he (the rapist) thinking?” Since deviance is relative, androcentrism will often vouch for male behavior as just “being one of the guys”, when in reality it could be oppressive or down right immoral.

Block 5

  • According to Goode, any drug use can be considered deviant when the wrong drug is takenwhen it is taken too often, and/or when it is taken under the wrong circumstances.
  • Attitudes toward marijuana among high school students in the US were most tolerant in the the late 1970s.
  • The drug that is most likely to lead to a lethal overdose on a dose-by-dose, use by user basis is heroin.
  • Sexuality tends to shape our social conduct. (False)
  • The magnitude of public concern and fear of drug use in the US reached a peak in the late 1980s.
  • Sociologically speaking, a sexual disorder/pathology is considered sexual deviance. (False)
  • The essentialist position on sexuality is that sex is an immanent, indwelling force.
  • Adultry is considered deviant because it is so tempting, yet is prohibited.
  • Drug use can be considered a “human universal” because almost all cultures use psychoactive drugs. (True)
  • Homosexuality is still regarded deviant by a substantial proportion of Americans"departing from deviance", and no longer listed in the DSM manuals.

Block 6

  • ESP is deviant because it tends to be condemned or ridiculed by mainstream scientists.
  • A mental disorder that is not a mental illness is autism.
  • Essentialist look at the etiology, epidemiology, and treatment effectiveness when it comes to mental disorders. (True)
  • When Constructionist discuss the issue of intersexuality they argue sex and gender is culturally determined.
  • Deviance and Stigma do not really relate to each other because you choose to be deviant, but cannot do anything about a stigma. (False)
  • Obesity can be considered deviant in the United States because it violates the “normative” standards of our societythe obese person is considered “immoral”, and it invites retribution in much of the public’s eye.
  • When Sociologist discuss cults, they are often seen as “defending cults” because they are trying to understand this phenomena from the view of those who participate in cults. (True)
  • A “crank”, as it applies to paranormal beliefs, is someone who is not connected to the scientific community.
  • The “Just World Hypothesis” is the idea that we have the widely held belief in society that we get what we deserve.

Block 7

  • Organizational deviance differs from institutional deviance in that organizational deviance can be viewed as not deviant within an organization but deviant by society as a whole.
  • All white-collar crime can be considered corporate crime. (False)
  • Sexual contact between an adult and a child is always a crime.
  • Corporate Crime is more about risk than intended harm. (True).

Introduction to Sociology: Study Guide

These questions commonly appear in Introductory Sociological studies. Reference this page when studying for tests, learning facts, and having a general resource for Sociological questions!

Block 1

  • The sociological perspective states that we can see the general in the particular.
  • Examine the following series of number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7. What is the median value? 3.
  • Critical sociology can best be described as a(n) activist approach.
  • The US is the most multicultural of all countries.
  • If we state that children raised in single-parent families are at high risk of being single parents themselves, we have constructed a theory of family life.
  • Based on what you have read in a Sociology textbook, you would correctly conclude that: human beings can never be free of society, human beings are spontaneous and creative, acting to change society, and human beings are affected by the society in which they live.
  • The first type of society to generate any sort of material surplus is horticultural and pastoral.
  • Keeping young people out of the labor market is one latent function of higher education. (True)
  • Low-income countries have cultures that value economic survival.
  • Humans stand out among all forms of life as the ONLY species that relies on culture to ensure survival.
  • The independent variable is a variable that may change the dependent variable. (True)
  • Cultural relativism refers to trying to understand culture on its own terms.
  • The intangible world of ideas created by members of a society is referred to as nonmaterial culture.
  • When interacting with people of an unfamiliar cultural background, what is funny to people in one society may not be funny to those of another.
  • Levi’s brand of jeans from the United States are very popular in Russia. This desire on the part of Russians to adopt U.S. fashions is an example of diffusion.
  • The more time children spend in front of a television the worse they do in school can be considered a sociological fact. (False)
  • Which is NOT a core idea of symbolic interactionism?
    • Human beings act in terms of the meanings they assign to objects in their environment (True)
    • Symbols are a way we communicate with each other (True)
    • Society needs to be studied in terms of how well interrelated parts function together (False)
    • Symbolic interactions analyze how our behaviors depend on the ways we define ourselves and others (True)
  • According to sociologists, human behavior is the product of “free will.” (False)
  • Wrong-doing, such as an adult forcing a child to engage in sexual activity, is an example of violating cultural mores.
  • Our basic drives or needs as humans are reflected in Freud’s concept of id.

Block 2

  • On average, a US household has at least one television turned on for seven hours a day.
  • Which of the following is an important element of non-verbal communication?
      • hand gestures
      • eye contact
      • body language
      • all of the above are correct (True)
  • The Thomas theorem states that we build our reality.
  • The sexual counterrevolution began in the US by 1980.
  • A position in society that someone holds that cuts across other statuses they hold, such as being a high ranking Army officer, college president, or handicapped would be considered their master status.
  • Sociologists believe that children are born without morality. (True)
  • A network is a web of strong social ties. (False)
  • Shawna is an excellent artist but finds she cannot devote enough time to her family. She is experiencing role conflict.
  • When Mead used the concept “generalized other” he referred to the values and norms we use to evaluate ourselves.
  • What might a sociologist say about the reasons people select a marriage partner? Typically, a person marries someone of similar social background.
  • The incest taboo is not found in every society. (False)
  • Comparative research indicates that although sex has a biological foundation, sexual practices vary from place to place as an element of culture.
  • Which of the following statements is a good example of cultural lag?
      • a slowing in the rate of social change (false)
      • older people trying to make younger people respect tradition (false)
      • virtual culture replacing traditional culture (false)
      • gaining the ability to modify genetic patterns before understanding the possible social consequences of this kind of work (True)
  • In the Solomon Asch experiment, subjects were asked to shock the learner if he/she had the incorrect answer. (False).
  • Which of the following are concepts of sexual orientation?
      • There was no distinct category of “homosexuals” until a century ago
      • Sexual orientation is a person’s emotional attraction
      • Sexual orientation is not clear cut
      • All of the above are correct (True)
  • Which of the following represents an ascribed status?
      • high school drop-out
      • sociology major
      • mother
      • American of Japanese descent (True)
  • Sociologists use the concept “status” to mean someone’s importance. (False)
  • Most married adults in the United States are sexually unfaithful to their spouses at some point in their marriages. (False)
  • A reason to study sexuality from the sociological perspective is many people do not understand sexuality very well, sexuality plays a part in many areas of social life, andsexuality is both important and controversial.

Block 3

  • In the US, men account for about 82% of all arrests for violent crime.
  • The oldest justification for punishing an offender is retribution.
  • In English history, the FIRST ESTATE referred to the church leaders.
  • In 2007, the median income for US families was about $61,000.
  • How many nations are there in the world? 194.
  • In the United States, even as the crime rate has gone down in recent years, the number of people in prison has gone up. (True)
  • Wealth and income are interchangeable terms, meaning anyone with a high income qualifies as being wealthy. (False)
  • What does the story about the conviction and imprisonment of Martha Stewart suggest about punishment in the United States? Wealthy and powerful corporate executives are also a part of the population we think of as “criminal.”
  • Weber said that social class is based on factors that include status and power.
  • The concept “conspicuous consumption” refers to the practice of buying things to make a statement about one’s social position.
  • In poor nations, most people do not consider poverty a problem. (False)
  • Meritocracy means that social stratification is based on personal effort.
  • Consequences of lower social class include:
      • lower divorce rates
      • a longer life span
      • a motivation to stay mentally healthy
      • none of the above (Correct)
  • The wealthiest 20 percent of families in the United States own about 60% of the wealth. (False)
  • If you wanted to understand your social position, you should consider which of the following factors? RaceGender, and Being born into a certain family.
  • Social Stratification refers to ranking categories of people into a hierarchy. (True)
  • Poverty that is life threatening is considered absolute poverty.
  • According to the Davis-Moore thesis, which would be a beneficial consequence of social stratification systems? They promote productivity and efficiency.
  • In class systems, social categories are more clearly and rigidly defined than they are in caste systems. (False)

Block 4

  • Pink-collar work refers to what type of jobs? Service work.
  • After the 2008 elections, women held about what share of seats in the Senate? 17%.
  • In the US, minorities typically have less incomeoccupational prestige, and schooling.
  • Poverty rates among the U.S. elderly have increased in recent decades. (False)
  • The social thinker who celebrated the operation of a free-market economy was Adam Smith.
  • Gender refers simply to whether people are female or male. (False)
  • There are no societies that have a system of Matriarchy. (False)
  • For which of the following categories of the U.S. population is it true that women do most of the housework?
      • employed women
      • women with children
      • married women
      • All of the above are correct (Correct)
  • A group is considered a minority group because they have less power.
  • Functional theories of aging (disengagement, activity and continuity) tend to focus primarily on how elderly people adjust to retirement.
  • The average median age of the U.S. population is now close to 37 years. (True)
  • Socialist economies differ from capitalist economies by creating more economic equality.
  • Because race is basically a biological distinction, biologists and anthropologists have been able to agree on one classification system to distinguish one race from another. (False)
  • The concept “gerontocracy” refers to a society in which the oldest people have the most wealth, power, and prestige.
  • Juan, a Hispanic, and Harold, a white male, have each applied for a home mortgage at the local bank. Juan’s loan was turned down, while Harold’s loan was given to him. In comparing their credit history, both men had good credit, and their debts and income were comparable. This is an example of institutional discrimination against Juan.
  • The conclusion reached by George Murdock following his study of 200 preindustrial societies was societies around the world have a variety of tasks assigned to both male and female members.
  • An oligopoly is both legal and common. (True)
  • The concept “old-age dependency ratio” refers to the ratio of working-age adults to nonworking elderly people.

Block 5

  • Which nations in the world today claim to be democratic? Most high income nations.
  • Poverty would be described as an economic issue.
  • A system of marriage that unites two partners is called polyandry. (False)
  • In the US, the Amish would be an example of a sect.
  • In 2005, men accounted for what share of all US college students? 43%.
  • The family refers to a social institution that is found in every society.
  • According to the structural-functional view of school, one reason for schooling is to create a new culture. (True)
  • Italy, because of the Vatican, is the most “religious” of all the high income nations. (False)
  • Power, as define by Weber, is the ability to exercise one’s will over others.
  • Sociologists offer several explanations for the fact that the incest taboo is found everywhere. Look at the statements below and identify the statement that is NOT a claim made by sociologists.
      • The incest taboo limits sexual competition within families.
      • The incest taboo helps define people’s rights and obligations toward each other.
      • The incest taboo helps clarify the kinship system.
      • The incest taboo limits the contact of families with the larger society. (Correct)
  • Durkheim, when he discussed the concept of religion, stated that religion involves setting apart the sacred from the profane.
  • Frank, Jim, Martha and Louise occupy the same apartment, share routine chores such as cooking, cleaning and laundry and each contributes a share of their earnings to pay utilities and food costs. The U.S. Census Bureau would describe this group as a family. (False)
  • Religious affiliation is related to factors that include social class.
  • The expression “sandwich generation” refers to taking care of both children and aging parents.
  • About half of adults give schools in their local community an “A” or “B” grade. (False)
  • The United States government relies on a rational-legal type of authority.
  • Only about seven out of ten people in the United States marry. (False)
  • The micro-level analysis of the family, view family as a way to build intimacy and form emotional bonds.
  • When reviewing the drop out rate we can see that highest among the Hispanic population.
  • Contemporary Sociology always deals with only the most current sociological issues and topics. (False)

Block 6

  • Which of the following are common causes of social change?
      • discovery of existing things
      • invention of new ideas and things
      • diffusion from one cultural system to another
      • All of the above are correct (Correct)
  • Applying the sociological perspective, we see that the high rate of obesity in the United States reflects cultural forces that encourage people to eat large amounts of unhealthy fast food.
  • An age-sex pyramid is useful in part because it helps predict the demographic future of society. (True)
  • A riot is exactly the same activity as a mob and always has clear goals. (False)
  • Which of the following accounts for most water use in the world today?
      • agriculture (Correct)
      • households
      • water parks, golf courses, and other recreational settings
      • industry
  • Which of the following describes the concept of Postmodernity?
      • Science holds the answer
      • The future is full of progress and optimism
      • Postmodernity also means “post materialism” (Correct)
      • All of the above
  • Society shapes human health because technology affects healthcultural patterns define what is or is not healthy, and social inequality affects health.
  • The greatest preventable cause of death in the United States is sexually transmitted diseases. (False)
  • Rumors are more likely to spread when individuals lack clear and certain informationit involves modern technology such as the internet, and it involves a large group of individuals.


The scene, part of the “Walk a Mile in her Shoes” event, was a sight to behold. Soldiers and civilians, mostly male, strapped on flashy red high heels and pushed strollers or carried their children in backpacks. Battle buddies teetered clumsily, holding onto each other for physical and even moral support.

(via nothingman)


“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.” 
- Arundhati Roy

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they  are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their  weapons, their notion of inevitability.
Why I write.



“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.”

- Arundhati Roy

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Why I write.

(via nothingman)