Most Important Concepts of Sociology
Understanding sociology is understanding the development, structure, and functionality of the society we live in. It studies the philosophies of race, class, social inequality, religion, culture, etc. Sociology covers the social concepts on personal level such as racial and gender identity, conflict, family, religion, types of behavior, beliefs, and values. On the societal tier, it inspects and elucidates the concepts of poverty, crime, law, discrimination, social movements, economic development, prejudice, etc. Sociology plays an enormous part in the evolution and growth of the population, which makes it a huge influencer on our history and our future. It helps shape our lives and provides us the knowledge to be able to understand and accept the enlightening, formidable, and difficult aspects of the social functionality in the world around us. The study of sociology applies to countless topics and concepts that surround people in the everyday life of past, current, and future generations. In my personal opinion, the concepts that I found most important, catchy, and remarkable are: gender roles, social control, stratification, and rape and violence towards women.
Gender roles are basically expectations that are the driving force behind a person’s behavior based on what gender that person is. They start dictating our lifestyles, beliefs, behaviors, perception, and values from a very young age, and keep influencing us during the whole lifetime. The biggest contributors in regards to gender roles are the parents, because they influence and teach their children even as toddlers. For example, the fathers may start showing their male toddlers how to fix stuff in the home, or mothers may start giving their daughters slight knowledge in regards to cooking, cleaning, keeping things organized, and taking care of their younger sibling. Also, the toys that female children get are usually dolls, cooking sets, makeup sets, etc. On the other hand, boys usually get cars, fire trucks, action figures, boxing gloves, and so on. The concepts of gender roles relies heavily on stereotypes that define a person’s behaviors. These stereotypes have an effect on both the appearance and the expression of an individual. These gender “benchmarks” dictate that male individuals have to express themselves in masculine manners, such as playing spots, being competitive and goal-driven, having the role of earning the higher income in the household, serve as authority and taking most of the disciplinary actions with the children. On the other hand, females are supposed to be kind and gentle, sensitive, emotional, being in charge of the nurturing and and mothering roles in the household, as well as doing the majority of house chores such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. The concept of gender roles however can cause a lot of issues in society. One example of this is the LGBTQ community. The members of the LGBTQ community often face discrimination purely because they do not follow the prescribed “rules” regarding their masculine or feminine behavior (depending on the gender). Another problem of gender roles is the discrimination present in the workplace. If female co-workers are aggressive or demanding, they can be seen as rude, aggressive or cold. On the other hand, if male workers behave in a similar way, they won’t be judged the way the female workers are being judged.
The concept of social stratification is a type of ranking or ordering of the people in the society. When social ranking or ordering is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is ranking people based on their economic status (wealth). If stratification is looked at strictly by wealth, then it is very clear that the level of equality in the society is overwhelmingly negative. One example of this is the fact that in the United States, 40 percent of the wealth is in the hands of only 1 percent of the country’s population. However, economic status is not the only way to determine social stratification. Some other factors that influence stratification are gender, race, social class, religion, sexuality, etc. Some sociologists even claim that racism and sexism have notable influence in the concept of stratification. The process of taking in consideration the ways of oppression in society is known as an approach by intersectionality. One example of an intersectional approach is a research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that proves that “Black and Latina women, who make 60.8 and 53 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, are affected by the gender wage gap more negatively than white woman, who earn 77 cents on a dollar” (Cole, 2019).
Another factor that can be mentioned as a possible influencer on social stratification is education. A lot of scientific studies and research have brought a conclusion that the level of education has a positive correlation with a person’s income and wealth. As stated by Nicki Lisa Cole, PhD, “In a 2011 survey of young adults in the U.S., those who have a college degree or higher are nearly four times as wealthy as the average young person and have 8.3 times as much wealth as those who did not advance beyond high school” (Cole, 2019). When taking into consideration the factor of education, it is important to mention that there is also a considerable amount of influence by race and systemic racism within the connection between the educational procurement and economic status. Cole states that “In a 2014 study among 25 to 29-year-olds, Pew Research Center reported that completion of college is stratified by race. Sixty-three percent of Asian Americans have a bachelor’s degree, as do 41 percent of whites; however, just 22 percent and 15 percent of Blacks and Latinos do, respectively” (Cole, 2019). This type of information brings us to the inevitable conclusion that unfortunately, systemic racism structures the entry towards higher education. A research from 2016 shows that an average Latino family owned a very low percentage of 20.9 percent of an average white family’s wealth, while an average African-American owned an even smaller percentage, equaling only 15.2 percent of the wealth of an average white family in the United States.
Social control is defined as a way in which our thinking, appearance, conduct, are “regulated” by the standards, regulations, guidelines, and social structure of society. It is believed by many sociologists that society wouldn’t be able to function as it is without social control. There are two types of social control, informal and formal. Informal social control refers to obeying the rules and values of society that we learn from the process of socialization. The informal type of social control is administered by family, all types of caregivers, contemporaries, authority figures (professors, trainers, coaches, teachers, and babysitters), colleagues, etc. This type of social control is usually enforced by rewards and “punishments”. Examples of rewards are good grades in school, praising and compliments, work promotions, gifts, formal acknowledgments, etc. Some punishments that enforce informal social control are bad grades in school, being made fun of, insults, mockery, being fired from work, “benched” by the sports team, etc. In contrast, regarding formal social control, Crossman states that: “Formal social control is that which is produced and enforced by the state (government) and representatives of the state that enforce its laws like police, military, and other city, state, and federal agencies. In many cases, a simple police presence is enough to create formal social control” (Crossman, 2019).
In a way, social control asserts that commitments, values, beliefs, and relationships promote conservatism. The interpretation of this statement can be explained as a belief that a person’s conscious, ego, and delicacy regarding what is right or what is wrong, have significant power in alleviating the possibilities that one will diverge from the social rules, norms, standards, and regulations. Having said all of that, the theory of social control basically strives to understand how to reduce the aberrance of the social norms. According to Jackson Toby, ”individuals engaged in non-delinquent community activities felt as though they had too much to lose by joining delinquent groups and, hence, had a stake in conformity. The notion of an individual being shaped by his ties to his community, of having a stake in conformity, laid the groundwork for the idea of internalized norms that act as a method of social control” (Toby, 1957).
The occurrences of rape and violence towards women have been haunting our society from the very beginning, and still to this day. Advocacy groups have put an extremely high amount of effort in order to try to get this issue under control. However, the numbers are still shocking and not very promising. For example, in the year of 2005, approximately 1200 women were killed by their intimate partner, which creates an average of 3 women murdered per day. The types of violence that women are facing can be further classified into domestic violence and sexual violence. Domestic violence is essentially a type of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by the male contemporary in order to gain some kind of power, control, and authority over the woman. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the number of cases involving partner-related physical assaults and rapes comes to about a staggering 4.8 million per year. In regards to the sexual violence, 232,960 women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the year of 2006. That brings us to an average of approximately 600 women per day. The usual targets of these types of violence are young women, low-income women, as well as minorities. The age group that is at the greatest risk of being sexually assaulted is 20-24. In a research concluded by the Justice Department, it was found that one in five women will be a victim of rape or sexual assault during their collegiate years, while only 5 percent or less of these attacks will be reported to the authorities. If race is considered as a factor in this issue, it is a fact that black women face higher rates of violence in comparison to white women, while the Indian-American women have more than double the rate compared to the other races.
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Most Important Concepts of Sociology. (2021, Mar 16). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/most-important-concepts-of-sociology/
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