XI SOCIOLOGY -GLOSSARIES


XI SOCIOLOGY -GLOSSARIES



Chapter I

Capitalism : A system of economic enterprise based on market exchange. “Capital” refers to any asset, including money, property and machines, which can be used to produce commodities for sale or invested in a market with the hope of achieving a profit. This system rests on the private ownership of assets and the means of production.

Dialectic : The existence or action of opposing social forces, for instance,social constraint and individual will.

Empirical Investigation : A factual enquiry carried out in any given area ofsociological study.

Feminist Theories : A sociological perspective which emphasises the centrality of gender in analysing the social world. There are many strands of feminist theory, but they all share in common the desire to explain gender inequalities in society and to work to overcome them.

Macrosociology : The study of large-scale groups, organisations or social systems.

Microsociology : The study of human behaviour in contexts of face-to-face interaction.

Social Constraint : A term referring to the fact that the groups and societies of which we are a part exert a conditioning influence on our behaviour.

Values : Ideas held by human individual or groups about what is desirable, proper, good or bad. Differing values represent key aspects of variations in human culture.




Chapter II

Conflict Theories : A sociological perspective that focuses on the tensions, divisions and competing interests present in human societies. Conflict theorists believe that the scarcity and value of resources in society produces conflict as groups struggle to gain access to and control those resources. Many conflict theorists have been strongly influenced by the writings of Marx.

Functionalism : A theoretical perspective based on the notion that social events can best be explained in terms of the function they perform —that is the contribution they make to the continuity of a society. And on a view of society as a complex system whose various parts work in relationship to each other in a way that needs to be understood.

Identity : The distinctive characteristic of a person’s character or the character of a group which relate to who they are and what is meaningful to them. Some of the main sources of identity include gender, nationality or ethnicity, social class.

Means of Production : The means whereby the production of material goods is carried on in a society, including not just technology but the social relations between producers.

Microsociology and Macrosociology : The study of everyday behaviour in situations of face-to-face interaction is usually called microsociology. In microsociology, analysis occurs at the level of individuals or small groups. It differs from macrosociology, which concerns itself with large-scale social systems, like the political system or the economic order. Though they appear to be distinct, they are closely connected.

Natal : It relates to the place or time of one’s birth.

Norms : Rules of behaviour which reflect or embody a culture’s values, either prescribing a given type of behaviour, or forbidding it. Norms are always backed by sanctions of one kind or another, varying from informal disapproval to physical punishment or execution.

Sanctions : A mode of reward or punishment that reinforce socially expected forms of behaviour.

Chapter III

Citizen : A member of a political community, having both rights and duties associated with that membership.

Division of Labour : The specialisation of work tasks, by means of which different occupations are combined within a production system. All societies have at least some rudimentary form of division of labour. With the development of industrialism, however, the division of labour becomes vastly more complex than in any prior type of production system. In the modern world, the division of labour is international in scope.

Gender : Social expectations about behaviour regarded as appropriate for the members of each sex. Gender is seen as a basic organising principle of society.

Empirical Investigation : Factual enquiry carried out in any given area of sociological study.

Endogamy : When marriage is within a specific caste, class or tribal group.

Exogamy : When marriage occurs outside a certain group of relations.

Ideology : Shared ideas or beliefs, which serve to justify the interests of dominant groups. Ideologies are found in all societies in which there are systematic and engrained inequalities between groups. The concept of ideology connects closely with that of power, since ideological systems serve to legitimise the differential power which groups hold.

Legitimacy : The belief that a particular political order is just and valid.

Monogamy : When marriage involves one husband and one wife alone.

Polygamy : When marriage involves more than one mate at one time.

Polyandry : When more than one man is married to a woman.

Polygyny : When more than one woman is married to a man.

Service Industries : Industries concerned with the production of services rather than manufactured goods, such as the travel industry.

State Society : A society which possesses a formal apparatus of government.

Stateless Society : A society which lacks formal institutions of government.

Social Mobility : Movement from one status or occupation to another.

Sovereignty : The undisputed political rule of a state over a given territorial area.

Chapter IV

Cultural Evolutionism : It is a theory of culture, which argues that just like natural species, culture also evolves through variation and natural selection.

Estates System : This was a system in feudal Europe of ranking according to occupation. The three estates were the nobility, clergy and the ‘third estate’. The last were chiefly professional and middle class people. Each estate elected its own representatives. Peasants and labourers did not have the vote.

Great Tradition : It comprises of the cultural traits or traditions which are written and widely accepted by the elites of a society who are educated and learned.

Little Tradition : It comprises of the cultural traits or traditions which are oral and operates at the village level.

Self Image : An image of a person as reflected in the eyes of others.

Social Roles : These are rights and responsibilities associated with a person’s social position or status.

Socialisation : This is the process by which we learn to become members of society.

Subculture : It marks a group of people within a larger culture who borrow from and often distort, exaggerate or invert the symbols, values and beliefs of the larger culture to distinguish themselves.
Chapter V

Census : A comprehensive survey covering every single member of a population.

Genealogy : An extended family tree outlining familial relations across generations.

Non-sampling Error : Errors in survey results due to mistakes in the design or application of methods.

Population : In the statistical sense, the larger body (of persons, villages, households, etc.) from which a sample is drawn.

Probability : The likelihood or odds of an event occuring (in the statistical sense).

Questionnaire : A written list of questions to be asked in a survey or interview.

Randomisation : Ensuring that an event (such as the selection of a particular item in the sample) depends purely on chance and nothing else.

Reflexivity : The researcher’s ability to observe and analyse oneself.

Sample : A subset or selection (usually small) drawn from and representing a larger population.

Sampling Error : The unavoidable margin of error in the results of a survey because it is based on information from only a small sample rather than the entire population.

Stratification : According to the the statistical sense, the subdivision of a population into distinct groups based on relevant criteria such as gender, location, religion, age etc.

Chapter VI

Altruism: The principle of acting to benefit others without any selfishness or self-interest.

Alienation: Marx used the term to refer to the loss of control on the part of workers over the nature of the labour task, and over the products of their labour.

Anomie: For Durkheim, a social condition where the norms guiding conduct break down, leaving individuals without social restraint or guidance.

Capitalism: An economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and organised to accumulate profits within a market framework, in which labour is provided by waged workers.

Division of Labour: The specialisation of work tasks, by means of which different occupations are combined within a production system. All societies have at least some rudimentary form of division of labour especially between the tasks allocated to men and those performed by women. With the development of industrialism, however, the division of labour became more complex than in any prior type of production system. In the modern world, the division of labour is international in scope.

Dominant Ideology: Shared ideas or beliefs which serve to justify the interests of dominant groups. Such ideologies are found in all societies in which they are systematic and engrained inequalities between groups. The concept of ideology
connects closely with that of power, since ideological systems serve to legitimize the differential power which groups hold.

Individualism: Doctrines or ways of thinking that focus on the autonomous individual, rather than on the group.

Laissez-faire Liberalism: A political and economic approach based on the general principle of non-interference in the economy by government and freedom for markets and property owners.

Mechanical Solidarity: According to Durkheim, traditional cultures with a low division of labour are characterised by mechanical solidarity. Because most members of the society are involved in similar occupations, they are bound together by common experience and shared beliefs.

Modernity: A term designed to encapsulate the distinctiveness, complexity and dynamism of social processes unleashed during the 18th and 19th centuries which mark a distinct break from traditional ways of living.

Organic Solidarity: According to Durkheim, societies characterised by organic solidarity are held together by people’s economic interdependence and a recognition of the importance of others’ contributions. As the division of labour becomes more complex, people become more and more dependent on one another, because each person needs goods and services that those in other occupations supply. Relationships of economic reciprocity and mutual dependency come to replace shared beliefs in creating social consensus.

Social Constraint: A term referring to the fact that the groups and societies of which we are a part exert a conditioning influence on our behaviour. Social constraint was regarded by Durkheim as one of the distinctive properties of ‘social facts’.

Structures: Refers generally to constructed frameworks and patterns of organisation, which in some way constrain or direct human behaviour.

Chapter VII
Customs Duties, Tariffs: Taxes imposed on goods entering or leaving a country, which increase its price and make it less competitive relative to domestically produced goods.

Dominant Castes: Term attributed to M.N. Srinivas; refers to landowning intermediate castes that are numerically large and therefore enjoy political dominance in a given region.

Gated Communities: Urban localities (usually upper class or affluent) sealed off from its surroundings by fences, walls and gates, with controlled entry and exit.

Gentrification: The term used to describe the conversion of a low class (urban) neighbourhood into a middle or upper class neighbourhood

Ghetto, Ghettoisation: Originally from the term used for the locality where Jews lived in medieval European cities, today refers to any neighbourhood with a concentration of people of a particular religion, ethnicity, caste or other common identity. Ghettoisation is the process of creation of ghettoes through the conversion of mixed composition neighbourhoods into single community neighbourhoods.

Legitimation: The process of making legitimate, or the grounds on whichsome thing is considered legitimate, i.e., proper, just, right etc.

Mass Transit: Modes of fast city transport for large numbers.

Chapter VIII

Hydrology: The science of water and its flows; or the broad structure of water resources in a country or region.

Deforestation: The loss of forest area due to cutting down of trees and/or taking over of the land for other purposes, usually cultivation.

Green House: A covered structure for protecting plants from extremes of climate, usually from excessive cold; a green house (also called a hot house) maintains a warmer temperature inside compared to the outside temperature.

Emissions: Waste gases given off by a human-initiated process, usually in the context of industries or vehicles.

Effluents: Waste materials in fluid form produced from industrial processes.

Aquifers: Natural underground formations in the geology of a region where water gets stored.

Monoculture: When the plant life in a locality or region is reduced to a single variety.

Chapter IX
Alienation: A process in capitalist society by which human beings are separated and distanced from (or made strangers to) nature, other human beings, their work and its product, and their own nature or self.

Enlightenment: A period in 18th century Europe when philosophers rejected the supremacy of religious doctrines, established reason as the means to truth, and the human being as the sole bearer of reason.

Social Fact: Aspects of social reality that are related to collective patterns of behaviour and beliefs, which are not created by individuals but exert pressure on them and influence their behaviour.

Mode of Production: It is a system of material production which persists over a long period of time. Each mode of production is distinguished by its means of production (eg: technology and forms of production organisation) and the relations of production (eg: slavery, serfdom, wage labour).
Office: In the context of bureaucracy a public post or position of impersonal and formal authority with specified powers and responsibilities; the office has a separate existence independent of the person appointed to it. (This is different from another meaning of the same word which refers to an actual bureaucratic institution or to its physical location: eg. post office, panchayat office, Prime Minister’s office, my mother’s or father’s office, etc.)

Chapter X

Administrator–anthropologists: The term refers to British administrative officials who were part of the British Indian government in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and who took great interest in conducting anthropological research, specially surveys and censuses. Some of them became well known anthropologists after retirement. Prominent names include: Edgar Thurston, William Crooke, Herbert Risley and J.H. Hutton.

Anthropometry: The branch of anthropology that studied human racial types by measuring the human body, particularly the volume of the cranium (skull), the circumference of the head, and the length of the nose.

Assimilation: A process by which one culture (usually the larger or more dominant one) gradually absorbs another; the assimilated culture merges into the assimilating culture, so that it is no longer alive or visible at the end of the process.

Endogamy: A social institution that defines the boundary of a social or kin group within which marriage relations are permissible; marriage outside this defined groups are prohibited. The most common example is caste endogamy, where marriage may only take place with a member of the same caste.

Exogamy: A social institution that defines the boundary of a social or kin group with which or within which marriage relations are prohibited; marriages must be contracted outside these prohibited groups. Common examples include prohibition of marriage with blood relatives (sapind exogamy), members of the same lineage (sagotra exogamy), or residents of the same village or region (village/region exogamy).


Laissez-faire: A French phrase (literally ‘let be’ or ‘leave alone’) that stands for a political and economic doctrine that advocates minimum state intervention in the economy and economic relations; usually associated with belief in the regulative powers and efficiency of the free market.
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