Sociology Concepts

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Sociology Concepts

Sociology Terms For Professor Huskin's Concepts Exam.

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"the scientific study of society and human behavior."  Sociology explores relationships.   Relationships occur between individuals, between groups, and between institutions (political, economic, medical, educational, criminal justice, etc.).
common sense
Common sense is the knowledge people gain about the world through their everyday experience. Many problems arise when people try to use their common sense as a basis for understanding society at large. First, our experience is limited. We cannot possibly know everything everywhere. Second, our interpretation of our experience may be biased. Our minds play tricks on us. We are likely to see what we want to see. We are likely to look for easy explanations and we are likely to accept ideas of people that are attractive to us. Sociologists have dubbed this tendency the "halo effect."
sociological perspective
The Sociological perspective is an approach to understanding behavior by placing behavior within its broader social context.
functionalist perspective
Understanding society from a functionalist perspective is to visualize society as a system of integrated parts where all the parts act together even though each part may be doing different things. Each part is necessary for the survival of the system. A primary purpose of all parts (institutions like police, newspapers, religion) is to encourage consensus and stability. Functionalists contend that social systems tend toward balance.
conflict perspective
Conflict theorists see society less as a cohesive system and more as an arena of conflict, contradictions, and power struggles. Instead of people working together to further the goals of the "social system," people are seen achieving their will at the expense of others. Social change occurs as people seek shares of scarce resources. Most social institutions serve the powerful. Change occurs as people, groups, and institutions confront contradictions in objective and subjective reality. For example, ideology suggests that everyone has an equal chance at economic advancement, but very few poor people rise very far within the class structure.  Violence some times results from inequality and as people compete for scarce resources.
interactionist perspective
The scope of investigation for these sociologists is very small. Interaction is generally face-to-face and addresses "every day" activity. They are interested in the way individuals and small groups act toward, respond to, and influence one another in society. This perspective is not interested in macro-institutions like the economy and nation-states.
Culture is the totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. Culture is all the values, norms, and customs that a people share with one another. Culture is all of the objects and ideas found within a society. Culture is what individuals think is right and important as they interact.
culture shock
Culture shock is the disorientation that people feel when they come into contact with a fundamentally different culture and can no longer depend on taken-for-granted-assumptions about life.
Ethnocentrism, according to Farley (1988:16-17), refers to the tendency to view one's own culture as the norm. This is accompanied by the tendency to judge other individuals or cultures by the standards of one's culture. "Our" truths and values are so central to whom "we" are that it is difficult to accept the possibility that our culture represents only one of many. A particular culture does not represent universal "TRUTH."   For example, An American who thinks citizens of another country are barbarians if they like to attend bullfights is demonstrating ethnocentrism.  This is not to say that to be proud of one's heritage is inappropriate. On the contrary, a little ethnocentrism is beneficial because of its bonding effect. Ethnocentrism, then,  is a double-edged sward.   It is beneficial in that it assists in building group solidarity.  It is a unifying force.   Ethnocentrism becomes a problem when we expect others to become like us.
cultural relativism
To accurately study unfamiliar cultures, sociologists have to be aware of culturally-based biases. Max Weber advocates the use of "value-free" Sociology. Value-free means that one should eliminate, as much as possible, bias and prejudice. Weber uses the German idea of verstehen to describe the practice of understanding unique culture from the standpoint of others. Cultural relativism is understanding a culture on it's own terms. In essence "you have to be able to stand in the other persons shoes." When you can "see" from the perspective of another, then you can understand that culture.
Norms are established rules of behavior maintained by a society are known as norms. Norms can be laws, but they also can be procedures, morals, customs or expectations. Many times position in social structures determines the definitions of norms.  Folkways, mores, and taboos are particular types of norms
Folkways are norms that ordinary people follow in everyday life. Society often tolerates nonconformity with regards to folkways. They are not strictly enforced.
Mores are norms are taken more seriously. Henslin (1999:44) considers them as "essential to our core values." Henslin suggests that we generally insist on conformity when it comes to mores.
Taboos approximate super mores. Henslin (1999:44) argues that taboos are so "strongly ingrained in us that even the thought of a violation is greeted with revulsion." Examples of taboos are Incest and cannibalism.
Each culture has a general consensus of what is worth working for (ends). Values refer to that which we consider important or unimportant, desirable or undesirable, good or bad, and beautiful or ugly. They guide most of our actions. Values are long range commitments to ends that people share culturally. Values are abstract. Essentially, values describe our "moral" goals in society.
Socialization is learning. Socialization is the process where by people acquire personality and learn the way of life of their society. Essentially, one has to learn culture. Learning culture is learning everything. It encompasses all the truths, values, rules, and goals that people share with one another. Culture is a shared perspective. The most important time when socialization occurs is between the ages of one and ten although socialization occurs throughout one's life.
nature vs. nurture
Nature vs. Nurture refers to a great debate in sociology. Do we learn our character (e.g., is it social?) or is our essence determined at birth genetically (e.g., is it biological)? In all likelihood it is a complex interaction between the two.
gender socialization
Henslin (1999:76) contends that "an important part of socialization is the learning of culturally defined gender roles." He argues that we are not born into our various gender roles. Boys learn to be boys and girls learn to be girls. This "learning" happens in many different agents of socialization. The family is certainly important, but so are one's friends, school, work and the mass media. Gender roles are reinforced through "countless subtle and not so subtle ways" (1999:76).
Resocialization refers to the process of discarding former behavior patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one's life. This occurs throughout the human life cycle. Resocialization can also involve a sharp break with the past, and exposure to radically different norms and values.
total institutions
This term was coined in 1961 by Erving Goffman and was designed to describe a society which is generally cut off from the rest of society but yet still provides for all the needs of its members. Total institutions are characterized by a single authority which manipulates a very rigid schedule of events and where all activity is carried out in the immediate presence of others. Total institutions have the ability to resocialize people either voluntarily or involuntarily. Examples include prisons, the military (boot camps), mental hospitals and convents.
agents of socialization: family
Agents of socialization are people and/or groups that influence self concepts, emotions, attitudes and behavior (Henslin, 1999:76). The family is probably the most important of the agents of socialization. It is the first and foremost source of socialization.  Family is responsible for, among other things, determining one's attitudes toward religion and establishing career goals.
agents of socialization: school
Schools are the agencies responsible for socializing groups of young people in particular skills and values in a society (Henslin, 1999:77-78). Appelbaum and Chambliss (1997:120) further argues that this agent probably contributes most to social conformity.
agents of socialization: peers
Peer groups refer to people who are roughly the same age who are linked with common interests. A peer group could be a club, friends, a gang, or the kids in the neighborhood (Henslin, 1999:78)
master status
Master Status is a label that supersedes all other labels. It is the most important of an individuals various statuses. A master status is one that cuts across the other statuses that a person holds.
achieved status
An achieved status is earned. It's based on merit.
ascribed status
One is born with an ascribed status. Many argue that race and gender are ascribed statuses.
Roles refer to "expected" patterns of behavior, obligations, and privileges attached to a particular social status.
Status refers to the social positions that exist in society
role conflict
Some roles that have to be played contradict other important roles (See Henslin, 1999:108). Here the individual does not know what is expected. We call this "role conflict." Example: The conflict experienced between having to be a mother and having to be a wage earner simultaneously. Example: A student who also works and finds that their boss has changed their schedule such that it conflicts with the class schedule.
Institutions (in Charon, 1986:229) are structures that define the right and correct ways of doing things in society. Institutions help establish and maintain social order. Institutions act as norms. Institutions tend to support the ideology of a society. For example, the educational system (as well as the rest of the institutions) in America support the ideology of democracy and free enterprise.
scientific method
The scientific method is a systematic, organized series of steps that ensures maximum objectivity and consistency in researching a problem (Schaefer and Lamm, 1992:35). The following are some components of the scientific method.
A percentage is a portion, or rate, based on 100. Use of percentages allows one to compare groups of different sizes. For example, if we are comparing contributors to a town's Baptist and Roman Catholic churches, the absolute numbers of contributors could be misleading if there were many more Baptists than Catholics living in the town. With percentages, we could obtain a more meaningful comparison, showing the proportion of persons in each group who contribute to their respective churches (Schaefer & Lamm, 1992: 36).
A hypothesis usually states how one aspect of human behavior influences or affects another. We call these aspects or factors variables. A variable is a measurable trait or characteristic that is subject to change under different conditions (e.g., income, gender, or religion). Variables may be independent or dependent. Independent variables in a hypothesis are those that influence or cause changes in another variable.The dependent variables are those variables believed to be influenced by the independent variable (Schaefer & Lamm, 1992:38).
A theory is a set of ideas [generalizations] supported by facts. Theories try to make sense out of those facts. Social scientists seldom accept theories as laws. Often they are not considered totally true. Furthermore, the subjects they attempt to explain (i.e., people and social institutions) are variable.
A hypothesis is a speculative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. It is, in essence, an educated guess. It specifies what the researcher expects to find. To be considered meaningful, a hypothesis must be testable; that is, capable of being evaluated.
The simultaneous occurrence of two or more variables is known as a correlation. A correlation exists when a change in one variable coincides with a change in another variable. Correlations are an indication that causality may be present; they do not necessarily prove causation.
Large populations are too big to study in most cases. The researcher, therefore, needs to look at a small subset of the population. We call this subset a sample. The trick is to make sure that the characteristics of the sample closely parallel the characteristics of the larger population. In other words does the sample truly represent the larger population.
The mean, or average, is a number calculated by adding a series of values and then dividing by the number of values. For example, to find the mean of the numbers 5, 19, and 27, we add them and divide by the number of values that is 3. The mean would then be 17
The mode is the single most common value in a series of scores. For example, if we were looking at the following scores on a ten-point quiz: 10, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 5, we would determine the mode by observing which score occurred most frequently. Now, the mode would be 7
The median is the midpoint or number that divides a series of values (which are ranked in ascending or descending order). For the quiz discussed above, the median is 8.
The researcher asks questions of the cases face to face or in a questionnaire. The advantages are that data collection is more systematic (you ask the same questions of every case). Because it is systematic and generally more condensed, the researcher can investigate more cases. Some surveys, like the Census, explore millions of cases. Findings may be generalizable to larger populations. There are, however, numerous drawbacks to the interview. When relying on a survey questionnaire, much information is lost. Facial expressions are not recorded. Environmental considerations are missed. Furthermore, information can be lost because the interviewer failed to ask the right question.
case study
Case studies are in depth studies of one group or individual. Its advantages are that the researcher can study individuals in-depth in their natural setting (e.g., at home, at work, playing, etc.). Case studies provided volumes of information such that at the end of the study the researcher has a thorough understanding of the individuals involved in the study. Drawbacks to the case study include the fact that social scientist cannot usually investigate many cases because of time constraints. Another problem with the case study is that the results may not be generalizable to the population at large.
existing data
Existing data refers to government records (census), personal documents, or mass communication (published books, the news, movies). The advantages are that the data is generally easy to get. They already exist and can be found in most university libraries. Much existing data are standardized. Thus, making it easier to compare one set of data with another. Problems associated with using existing data are that the researcher must use the format provided. For example, a researcher studying poverty would be frustrated with the census before 1970 because there was no poverty rate in 1960 and before.
experimental method
The experiment offers a high degree of exactness because one can control everything in a laboratory setting. Variables can be precisely studied. Natural science uses this approach most often. So does psychology. It is easier to define independent and dependent variables in experiments.  As a result, it is also easier to determine cause and effect. One disadvantage with the experiment in studying social phenomena is that the environment is contrived. People do not normally carry out their lives in a laboratory setting. Ethical issues may also arise when performing experiments on people. The Nazi death-camp experiments represent extreme instances of ethical violation. Even in ordinary university type experiments deception and misinformation are often employed. Many consider these ethical violations.
primary groups
Primary groups generally form around family and close friends. Individuals receive most early or primary socialization in primary groups. Primary groups are most responsible for determining who you are. Primary groups are where people form close emotional ties. Socialization that occurs in primary groups is responsible for most later interaction and socialization. Primary groups involve face to face interaction. The interaction is unspecialized. It exists to fulfill a wide rage of personal needs. Bonds that form within the primary group are relatively permanent. They are small. They are intimate. The primary group is characterized by a sense of "we." There is an emotional commitment to the whole rather than to the individual or to the specific goals of an individual member. The well-being of the group itself is, in a sense, the goal (Like the family).
secondary groups
Secondary groups are more impersonal. They are more specialized (i.e., goal oriented -- Examples include classes and/or a job). They are more temporary. They are usually larger than primary groups and they require less of an emotional commitment.
social networks and networking
The web of social relationships between an individual and his or her cliques, family, close friends and other acquaintances make up an individual’s social network (Henslin, 1999:154). Networking refers to using social networks to establish a circle of friends usually for career advancement (Henslin, 1999:155; Appelbaum and Chambliss, 1997:143).
reference groups
The groups we use as a standard to evaluate ourselves are reference groups. They can include the family, members of a church, people in the neighborhood, teachers, classmates, or co-workers (see Henslin, 1999:153).
in-groups and out-groups
Sociologists refer to groups which provide a sense of identification or belonging as in-groups. The in-groups are the groups which an individual feels loyalty toward. The out group is the group that has individual feels antagonism toward (Henslin, 1999:152).
Appelbaum and Chambliss (1997:90) contend that the authority structure of most large organizations today is often described as bureaucratic.  It is authority based on written procedure rules arranged into a clear hierarchy of authority, and staffed by full-time paid officials.  The bureaucratic form of organization has thrived because it is highly efficient for most purposes. The following characteristics represent an ideal picture of well-running bureaucracies (See Henslin, 1999:171-172). Weber coined the term IDEAL TYPE (Henslin, 1999:173) to describe typical (or pure forms) of rational or bureaucratic organizations.
  1. Impersonality: Bureaucracies are a system of offices, not people. People only fill positions.
  2. Bureaucracies are a hierarchy of offices. There are always superiors. Henslin (1999:171) notes that assignments flow downward and accountability flows upward.
  3. A Division of Labor: Each member has specific tasks to fulfill and all the tasks are coordinated to fulfill the purpose of the organization.
  4. Written Rules: Explicit rules govern the offices.
  5. Written Communication and Records: Bureaucracies carry all business out in writing.
goal displacement
Once created, its not easy to undo bureaucracies. Some times bureaucracy takes on a life of its own. Once a task is completed, the organization seeks new goals. This process of adopting new goals, once old goals have been achieved, is known as goal displacement.
Alienation is a feeling of powerlessness and normlessness. Alienation occurs when workers' needs for identity and meaning are not met and when work is done strictly for material gain, not for a sense of personal satisfaction (Kendall, 1998:16).
ideal type
Weber coined the term ideal type (Henslin, 1999:173) to describe typical (or pure forms) of rational or bureaucratic organizations. Generally, an ideal type is a composite based on many specific examples. Ideal in this case is a description of the abstract characteristics and not what one desires to exist.
peter principle
The Peter Principle argues that people rise to the level of their incompetence. It suggests that if an individual does a great job at a low level in the bureaucracy, then the organization will promote that person to the next level. If they continue to perform well, they receive yet another promotion. Organizations will promote the individual to higher and higher rungs in the organization until they reach a point where the worker no longer does a good job. At that point the promotions stop, but seldom are the bureaucrats demoted. They tend to stay at the level where they have ceased to be functional.
degradation ceremonies
A court martial where the guilty officer is publicly stripped of his rank is an example of degradation ceremonies.
deviance / deviants
Deviants refer to people who violate rules, as a result of which others react negatively to them. Deviance is behavior than some people in society find offensive and which excites, or would excite if it were discovered, disapproval, punishment, condemnation, or hostility. Deviance, there fore, involves both behavior and a moral judgment
illegitimate opportunity structures
The illegitimate opportunity structures theory is based on the functionalist perspective. It argues that people are deviant who have the opportunity to be deviant. For example, one cannot simply wake up on a given day and decide to be a car thief. One has to learn from other car thieves. One usually has to know what to do with stolen merchandise.
functionalist theories
Functionalist theories focus on the preservation of social order. Deviance helps maintain social cohesion and the collective conscious.  Durkheim emphasized the importance of deviance in society as a tool for boundary maintenance. Deviance, there fore, is good for society.  When deviants are punished, social norms are reinforced.  For example, the media, who reports on deviance and the accompanying punishment, serve to educate the public by restating society's rules. Punishing violators reaffirms the rightness of society and its rules.Deviance is an important element of social change because it offers alternative definitions to what is right. Sometimes the alternative becomes acceptable and it may even become the dominant view.
differential association theory
Goode (1997:87-90) contends that Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association Theory is one of the more important theories in the study of deviance. It arose as a critique to those theories that sought biological explanations for deviance. According to differential association theory, people learn to be deviant (see Henslin, 1999:198-99).Goode (1997) maintains that one learns deviance the same as one learns to brush their teeth. People learn to be deviant by associating with people who are deviant. Criminal knowledge, skills, values, traditions, and motives are passed on by word of mouth.
conflict theory
People, as they interact, define what is appropriate and what is not, but some people in the community have more power than other to define deviance. People who occupy important positions within economic and political sectors are in a better position to determine what laws are enacted and to enforce their definitions of deviance.  Essentially, those in power decide which behavior is deviant.The upper class is in a better position to determine what crimes are seen as serious and they tend to point to problems associated with the lower classes. Organizations with financial backing are better equipped to present its impressions of deviance.
social class
People who occupy the same layer of the socioeconomic hierarchy are known as a social class. Social class can be based on income, education, or occupational prestige.
Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production so that personal profits are derived through market competition and without government intervention (Kendall, 1998:308).Adam Smith is the "godfather of laissez-faire capitalism" (Eitzen, 1986:26).
caste system
A caste system is a rigid system of inequality with almost no movement from one stratum to another. A well-known society with a caste system is India. People are born into a caste. Caste membership determines your occupation, social interaction, power, and education. No amount of achievement will change your caste position.
class system
The class system is an open form of stratification based primarily on economic criteria. The boundaries between classes are more flexible than with the caste system. Individuals can move around within the class system based on merit. Their status can improve or decline. Class membership depends, at least in part, on characteristics which the individual can control.
social class: Marx
In Marxist terminology, "a class consists of all the people who share a common relationship to the means of production" (1989:172). Those people who control the means of production (whether that means factories or slaves or land) make up the dominant class. Those who work for the dominant class (slaves, peasants, industrial laborers)are the subordinate class. This relationship is both unequal and exploitative in that the dominant class takes unfair advantage of the subordinate class.
social class: Weber
Weber's position on class refers to layers based on more than just economic concerns. He includes wealth (economic), power, and prestige.
modernization theory
The developmental or modernizationist' view of social change was the dominant paradigm during the 1950s and 1960s. Modernization Theory is functionalist theory and, therefore, subject to critiques similar to those directed at functionalism. It contends that all countries have the potential to develop economically. It tends to support Laissez-faire positions. It also provides the point of departure for other theories that attempt to explain the character of the world's societies (World-System Theories and Dependency Theories). Modernizationists, according to Shannon (1989:2), viewed the world society as a "relatively stable system of interrelated parts." Modernizationists viewed social change as an evolutionary type process that gradually adapted to a changing environment. It "emphasizes social structural sources of change" (Ragin and Chirot, 1984:299). Shannon (1989:2-3) contends that much of the modernization theory is based upon the European developmental experience. Wilbert E Moore (Social Change, 1974) is cited as a good example of the modernizationists perspective. From Moore's point of view, all countries follow the same route toward achieving a modern society. Modernization is a process that sees traditional societies transformed into societies that have the characteristics associated with modernity. The various countries of the world all have the potential to develop" according to modernization theory. According to Moore modernization refers to "a general transformation of the conditions of life and the way life is socially organized" (in Shannon, 1989:2).
dependency theory
Dependency theories represent a critique of modernizationists assumptions that poor countries are poor because of their lack of economic, social, and cultural development. Dependency theories argue that the poverty experienced by low-income countries is the immediate consequence of their exploitation by wealthy countries on which they are economically dependent (Appelbaum & Chambliss, 1997:173). The authors argue that poor countries are "locked-in to a downward spiral of exploitation and poverty." Andre Gunder Frank (1966) calls this the development of underdevelopment. Dependency results when important economic and political decisions are made by foreign businesses for their own advantage and without regard to the best interests of the local population. With the exception of a few local businessmen who serve the interests of foreign capital, the local population becomes impoverished (Appelbaum & Chambliss, 1997:173).
world-system theory
The world system represents a system of international stratification. It arose around during the 15th and 16th century.  It is capitalistic.  Its proponent, Immanual Wallerstein, argues that "the world capitalist system must be understood as a single unit, not in terms of individual countries" (Appelbaum & Chambliss, 1997:174). The world economic system is composed of four overlapping elements: 1) a world market for goods and labor, 2) a division of the population into economic classes, 3) an international system of formal and informal political relations among the most powerful countries, whose competition with one another helps shape the world economy, and 4) a carving up of the world into unequal economic zones with the wealthier zones exploiting the poorer zones. The three zones are the core, the semiperiphery, and the periphery. Unlike dependency theory, there is room for poorer countries to advance within the context of the world economy although this happens rarely. The existence of the middle (the semiperiphery) is critical, because poor countries can hope to advance at least to this stage.
social stratification
The division of large numbers of people into layers according to their relative power, property, and prestige is social stratification.
Wealth consists of income and assets. Appelbaum & Chambliss (197:134) defines income as "the amount of money a person or household earns in a given period of time (usually a year)." Wolff (in Skolnick and Currie, 1997:99) describes assets as consisting of all forms of "financial wealth such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance savings, mutual fund shares and unincorporated business; consumer durables like cares and major appliances; and the value of pension rights." Wolff (1997:99)continues to say that from these sources, one should subtract liabilities such as "consumer debt, mortgage balances, and other outstanding debt."
Power, as defined by Max Weber, is the ability to mobilize resources and to carry out one's will and achieve one's goals in spite of resistance from others. It is an inevitable part of everyday life.
Prestige refers to the ability to impress or influence. It differs from power in that it is based less on political position. Prestige correlates with charisma. A prestigious person has a reputation based on brilliance, achievements, or on character.
life chances (class consequences)
The probabilities concerning the fate an individual may expect in life are called life chances.
objective methods
Henslin (1999:278) suggests that researches can assign people to various social classes based objective criteria involving wealth, power, and prestige. Some objective indicators can include occupation, educational level, number of dependents, type of residence, infant mortality, and life expectancy rates.
subjective methods
Typically, determining class from a subjective point of view involves asking some one how they perceive their class position.
reputational methods
Class can be determined using the reputational method (Henslin, 1999:253). People identify an individual's social class based on their expert knowledge of their individual's circumstances. The reputational method is limited to smaller communities, where people are familiar with one another's reputation.  People at each class level see class differently.  They, there fore, carry around different personal pictures of society's classes.  People see finer divisions at their own class level, but tend to lump together people who occupy other class levels. For example, People at the top see several divisions of people at the top while they see one large monolithic group of people at the bottom. On the other hand, people at the bottom see several distinctions of poor people, but only one group at the top -- the rich (Henslin, 1999:253).
gender stratification
Gender stratification, cuts across all aspects of social life, cuts across all social classes, and refers to men and women's unequal access to power, prestige, and property on the basis of their sex.
sexual harassment
Sexual harassment refers to unwanted sexual comments, touches, looks, or pressure to have sex (Henslin, 1999:301).
Gender refers to behavioral differences between males and females that are culturally based and socially learned (Appelbaum & Chambliss, 1997:218). Henslin (1999) argues that in every society, the primary division between people is based on gender.
Kendall (1998:68) defines sex as the biological difference between men and women. It's the first label we receive in life.
blocked opportunities
Economic independence is ultimately enhanced for some because their job allows them to experience a great deal of upward mobility. Some individuals do not experience UPWARD mobility. Their jobs are dead-end jobs. People who have their opportunities blocked (despite their demographic characteristics) tend to limit their aspirations. Instead of defining themselves through the work they perform, they seek satisfaction in activities outside work, dream of escape, and create sociable peer groups in which inter personal relationships become more important than the specific job they are hired to perform. The key point is that the characteristics of work determine the characteristics of the employee.
glass ceiling
The glass ceiling is an invisible institutional barrier constructed by male management that prevents women from reaching top positions in major corporations and other large-scale organizations (Kendall, 1998:81-82).
comparable worth
Comparable worth is the belief that wages ought to reflect the worth of a job, not the gender or race of the worker (Kendall, 1998:78).
pink collar occupations
Pink collar occupations refer to the relatively low-paying, nonmanual, semiskilled positions that are held primarily by women (Kendall, 1998:76-77).   The kinds of jobs referred to as "pink-collar" developed as the economy shifted from manufacturing to services.  While pink-collar jobs are not specifically "women's work," they came into existence about the same time women began to enter the labor force in large numbers (e.g., the 1970s).  As a result, women hold a disproportionate number of pink-collar jobs.
Kendall (1998:67) describes sexism as the subordination of one sex, usually female, on the basis of the assumed superiority of the other sex.  An example of sexism is the statement "a woman's place is in the home."
sexual orientation
Sexual Orientation refers to a preference for emotional-sexual relationships with individuals of the same sex (homosexuality), the opposite sex (heterosexuality), or both (bisexuality) (Kendall, 1998:113)
Patriarchy refers to a hierarchical system of social organization in which cultural, political, and economic structures are controlled by men (Kendall, 1998:11-12).
Prejudice refers to a positive or a negative attitude or belief directed toward certain people based on their membership in a particular group. The root word of prejudice is "pre-judge."
Discrimination is a behavior, particularly with reference to unequal treatment of people because they are of a particular group whether it be racial, ethnic, religious, or gender.
The process of being absorbed into the mainstream culture is assimilation. The assimilation model demands that other groups conform to the dominant culture. New comers are to be socialized into the dominant culture that is already present. Example: "English Only."
Race refers to inherited (biological) physical characteristics that distinguish one group from another.
ethnic group
An ethic group is a group that shares similar cultural characteristics. These would include a common language, religion, national origin, and dietary practices. Culture and heritage determine ethnic status.  One also might include that an ethnic group has a high level of interaction between its members and that they perceive themselves as a cultural unit. A key component is that culture/ethnicity is learned. It is not biological.
dominant/majority groups
A dominant group refers to the majority group in majority/minority relationships. They are dominant because they have greater power, privileges, and social status when compared to the minority group. Henslin (1999:316) contends that the dominant group in a society always considers its position to be due to it's own innate superiority.
minority group
A minority is a category of people who lack power, privilege, and prestige in social, political or economic spheres. Minorities must always be understood in relation to others in the social structure. A minority groups lacks power, prestige, and privilege in relation to others. They are unable to achieve their will. They lack resources to support their own interests effectively.  Minority groups may be biologically or culturally distinguished from the dominant group and they are often the object of prejudice and discrimination (Appelbaum and Chambliss, 1997:264).
institutional discrimination
Institutional discrimination is the day-to-day practices of organizations and institutions that have a harmful impact on members of subordinate groups (Kendall, 1998:49). Institutional discrimination resides within the fabric of society. Harrington (1984) poetically called institutional discrimination "structures of misery." Eitzen and Baca-Zinn (1994:174) describe institutional discrimination as "the customary ways of doing things, prevailing attitudes and expectations, and accepted structural arrangements [that] works to the disadvantage [of the poor]."
Amalgamation is (The melting pot model) a process where by the cultural attributes of diverse racial-ethnic groups are blended together to form a new society incorporating the unique contributions of each group (Kendall, 1998:51).
ethnic pluralism
Ethnic Pluralism is a situation in which diverse racial-ethnic groups coexist in society but have separate identities and cultures (Kendall, 1998:51).
Segregation is the spatial and social separation of categories of people by race/ethnicity, class, gender, religion, or other social characteristics (Kendall, 1998:51).  Segregation can occur at work, in neighborhoods where people live, or in social activities (Appelbaum and Chambliss, 1997:266)