The Dynamic Dictionary of Sociology Terms

affluent society – a society in which resources and material things are plentiful. Wealth is the norm for most people in the society.

alternative communities – communities that attempt to create an alternative to the current socio-political community. These communities strive to create a perfect social, economic, and political system.

aristocracy –
the elite or privileged upper class, many times the governing body of a state or country.

avant garde –
a group of people in the creative arts, such as music, literature, and art, who use experimental methods when creating and executing artistic endeavors.

bourgeoisie –
a group of people that compose the middle class.

bureaucratization –
to make a government part of a bureaucracy, which is a governing body with set rules, hierarchy of authority, and official policy making terms.

capitalism –
an economic system where people and corporations have private ownership of goods and control the distribution of those goods.

Chemical Revolution –
the works of Antoine Lavoisier created new information about chemistry and chemical reactions. His works disputed chemical theories of the ancient Greeks and changed the practice and view of chemistry.

counterrevolution –
the act of revolting against a current revolution and overthrowing a governing body or social system.

deviance –
the act of going against social and cultural norms, including rules and laws. The study of deviance tries to prove that the changing of norms help contribute to deviant criminal behavior.

Doctrine of Appropriation –
refers to diverting water from its natural course for a beneficial use. The first entity that appropriates the water has rights over a future entity that appropriates the water.

egalitarian family –
a family system in which both the father and mother share equal responsibility and authority.

ethnocentrism –
a belief that a person’s ethnic or racial group is superior to different ethnic groups.

exchange theory –
the belief that human interaction is ruled by social and psychological exchange. Humans weigh the costs and benefits of social interaction before making a decision.

extended family –
a family that extends beyond the immediate family of mother, father and children. An extended family may consist of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and grandchildren all living in the same home.

fad –
a temporary popular notion, artistic activity, fashion, or food that is usually followed by a large group of people for a short time.

false consciousness –
a Marxist theory that believes people are not consciously aware of oppression and other detrimental affairs. The inability for a person to fully comprehend a situation for what it truly is.

feminism –
the belief and advocacy that women should have the same rights as men.

gender role –
 a role largely determined by social and cultural norms that determines the behaviors and actions of men and women. Child rearing and cleaning is largely a female gender role, while working and fixing things is a largely male gender role.

genocide –
the extermination of a whole ethnic or racial group of people from a certain region or area.

green revolution –
the use of science to create larger crops of agriculture by utilizing high-yield grains, advanced pest control methods, and improved irrigation methods. This revolution helps both developed and underdeveloped countries.

humanistic –
to be concerned with the welfare of humans and humanity.

hysteria –
 behavior that shows increased panic, fear, or excitability with no noticeable cause. Commonly associated with mental disorders.

ideology –
a set of beliefs and ideas that govern a social, political, educational, or economic group.

iron rule of oligarchy –
belief that every society ultimately produces a ruling class made up of the wealthy and elite, resulting in the governing body being an oligarchy. Theory was first produced by Robert Michels.

j-curve theory –
theory that social movements occur when a period of good fortune is followed by extremely worsening conditions. This change in fortune causes social unrest and governing bodies create movements to control and fix the social unrest.

juvenile delinquency –
a crime or other behavior committed by a juvenile that results in legal intervention.

kinship –
a relationship between people through either blood lines or marriage.

liberal feminism –
the use of political and legal reform to gain equal rights for women. The belief that women should have the same rights as men when it comes to reproduction, pay, education, and health care. Liberal feminists also lobby for affordable child care, abortion access, and domestic violence education.

mass society theory –
the theory that a handful of elite groups influence and control the rest of society. The masses are persuaded to agree with the elite group as a form of mass societal control.

military-industrial complex –
covers the policy and relationship between the government and military powers and the financial and industrial support given to the military for training, arms, defense facilities, and equipment.

nonconformist behavior –
a behavior that does not conform to societal, cultural, or religious norms. Many nonconformists use this behavior for social agendas and social change.

opportunity structure –
external factors that shape and influence a particular social movement or agenda. Some external factors include the amount of oppression and access to political figureheads.

postindustrial society –
a term invented by sociologist Daniel Bell. Refers to a decrease in a society’s production of goods and an increase in the production of services.

power-elite theory –
a theory that states the best control is that of a small elite group. The elite group contains the power and decides most, if not all, matters for a mass society. The power elite have a small group of people beneath them who handle mundane matters.

radical sociology –
the belief that sociologists should intervene in social changes by creating movements that go beyond sociology in academia. Radical sociology was popular in the 1960’s as people protested the war and sociologists participated in movements and social change.

reflexive sociology –
the theory that sociologists must reflect on their own beliefs before assessing and studying the beliefs of others.

scientific revolution –
a period of time in the 16th and 17th century when original scientific ideas were rejected for new ideas. The scientific revolution is the basis for modern science.

social Darwinism –
refers to the idea that competition spurs growth in groups, societies, and cultures. The survival of the fittest is one idea of social Darwinism.

structuralist theory –
the theory that people should not have individual freedom and choice but be controlled by different structures. Examples of structures include kinship, literature, and sociology.

theoretical perspective –
a set of perspectives and assumptions about society and societal norms. These perspectives learn to gain information about the how’s and why’s of society.

totalitarianism –
a governing body with absolute control over all aspects of life.

unilinear theory –
a theory that all societies should follow the same order when developing societal and cultural norms.

victimless crime –
a crime that is deemed to have no identifiable victim. Examples include illegal gambling and prostitution.

white-collar crime –
a crime committed by a professional, usually a financial crime, while they are at work or dealing with work-related affairs.

xenocentrism –
the desire to adopt the culture and preferences of a culture that is not one’s own.

zero-sum game –
a game in which the winnings of one player equals the loss of another player. In a political context it means that decisions will produce an equal number of winners and losers.