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Social Interaction and Social Structure. Chapter 5. Why should we choose these guys?. I. Social Structure = . *** Football : players and setting vary - all teams have common structure . What does football teach us for sociology?. * establishes relationships * identified by that job

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Social Interaction and Social Structure

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Social interaction and social structure

Social Interaction and Social Structure

Chapter 5

Why should we choose these guys

Why should we choose these guys?

I social structure

I. Social Structure =

  • *** Football: players and setting vary - all teams have common structure

What does football teach us for sociology

What does football teach us for sociology?

  • * establishes relationships

  • * identified by that job

  • * to get anything done, all must work together and follow the rules

Social interaction and social structure

  • * sanctions for those who do follow the rules

  • * each ‘season’ new people join the team but structure is the same

  • * social structure does not determine outcome!!!

Social interaction and social structure

  • * can add plays or improvise depending on players

  • * without structure, the team would be a bunch of individuals that never get the goal accomplished

I social structure1

I. Social Structure

  • A. coordinates individual activities, provides continuity, allows for spontaneity , gives framework (rules)

B social structure affects people

B. Social structure affects people

  • 1. roles of husband, wife, mother, lover, worker change based on structure

  • a. affects attitude, behavior, individual characteristics, temperaments

2 roles are part of larger institutions

2. Roles are part of larger institutions:

  • a. roles of student/professor 


b. roles of husband/wife 


c. roles of producer/ consumer 


3 linked together to form society

3. Linked together to form society






C microperspective

C. Microperspective

  • 1. looking at players, their roles, their relationships, etc.

how it affects the game

D macroperspective

D. Macroperspective =

1. e.g. analyze different roles the NFL, college football, TV, ads, and fans play in professional football

  • looks at overall patterns and trends

* a. what rules govern their relations

*b.what happens when rules bent or broken

F evolution of society from the macroperspective

F. Evolution of Society from the macroperspective

  • 1. Hunter-Gatherer Society 

  • main focus on acquiring food for subsistence living;

  • little domestication of animals;

  • many are nomads

2 horticultural pastoral

2. Horticultural/Pastoral

  • Horticultural Society 

  • Simple gardening; small tribes/villages

  • Family the most important



  • domesticated animals;

  • some people of tribe allowed to specialize (i.e. healer, craftsperson…);

  • Male dominated

  • The sexual division of labor is sharply marked in pastoralist societies

  • .Status of women still high

3 agricultural society

3. Agricultural Society 

  • use of technology to grow crops;

  • food surpluses leads to bigger populations which led to development of towns and trade;

  • women start to lower in status;

  • social classes begin (nobility = land)

4 industrial society

4. Industrial Society 

  • Industrial Revolution began the use of machines to produce goods;

  • tradesmen lost identities in factories;

  • factory owners get rich;

  • standard of living raises;

Social interaction and social structure

  • public education rises;

  • public health gets better;

  • cities problems arise;

  • struggles between working and wealthy classes arise

Social interaction and social structure

  • 5. Postindustrial Society 

  • based on information, knowledge, and the selling of services;

  • computer has revolutionized what is valued – now power comes from ability to generate, store, manipulate and sell information

Ii social relationships

II. Social Relationships

  • A. Relationships = basic building blocks of social structure

1. direct personal contact – most influence

2. indirect less contact but still has influence

3 bureaucracy weber

3. Bureaucracy (Weber)

  • efficient organization of work based on skills and hierarchy

Status and roles changing of the social structure

Status and Roles – Changing of the Social Structure

B durkheim s analysis of suicide

B. Durkheim’s Analysis of Suicide

1 suicide not linked to mental illness

1. Suicide not linked to mental illness

a. women outnumbered men 5 to 4 in mental institutions but only makeup a small percentage of suicides

2 race or genetic makeup did not predispose members to suicide

2. Race or genetic makeup did not predispose members to suicide

a. variations within groups were as varied as between

3 environment made no difference

3. Environment made no difference

  • majority of suicides in all countries took place in daylight during summer months

- i.e. places such as Sweden that have short days and long winters did not make people gloomy and suicidal

4 4 types of suicide

4. 4 types of Suicide

—Egoistic, Altruistic, Anomic, and Fatalistic—each linked to distinct set of social circumstances

Egoistic excessive individualism

Egoistic = excessive individualism

  • when people do not feel attached to a group/community that commands participation then easier to opt out

ii. Catholics have lower suicide rate: rules clear, everyone shared them, so all a part of “mother Church”

iii. Explains why suicide rates go down in times of war: war unites people against a common enemy, creating a heightened sense of togetherness

B altruistic excessive attachment to community

b. Altruistic = excessive attachment to community

  • when the group becomes more important than life, the individual is willing to sacrifice himself for its needs

  • soldiers and Japanese have high suicide rate: save face or honor

C anomic breakdown of collective order

c. Anomic = breakdown of collective order

i. anomie = Greek word for “lawlessness”

ii. any major disruption of way of life (for better or worse) is stressful

- people depend on these guidelines to order their lives

iii. guidelines for behavior and standards are fuzzy

iv. that is why in economic depressions or booms, suicide goes up

D fatalistic too much control by social guidelines

d. Fatalistic = too much control by social guidelines

  • occurs in societies that exercise a high degree of control over their members’ emotions and motivations

  • people kill themselves out of hopelessness and over manipulation

C status and roles social script

C. Status and Roles: social script

  • 1. status = a position an individual occupies in society

a. achieved =

attained through personal effort (senator, loser, etc.)

b. ascribed =

assigned at birth (race, gender)

Monty python and status

Monty Python and Status


Social interaction and social structure

c. master status =

social position that tends to override everything else the person is or does in life

2 role

2. role =

obligations and expectations

that accompany status



A role conflict

a. role conflict =

  • occurs when different positions make incompatible demands

e.g. Working mother

Social groups

Social Groups

D network

D. Network =

  • web of relationships that connects an individual to many other people

1. Structure of network affects efficiency and relationships

1 clique

1. Clique

  • = everyone is connected to everyone else

Effect of an efficient clique

Effect of an efficient clique

2 orbit

2. Orbit

  • = one person serves as the connection to all others

3 chain

3. Chain

  • = connections become increasingly distant

4 ring

4. Ring

= each person has more than one connection

End result of a positive and efficient network

End Result of a positive and efficient network…

E social interaction

E. Social Interaction

  • 1. from superficial to complex

  • a. formal: such as a job interview

  • b. free form: such as when 2 kids meet on the playground

Conversations strangers are not supposed to have

Conversations strangers are not supposed to have…

French Kiss

Social interaction and social structure

  • c. before speaking or acting we size up the person next to us

  • d. Rules for conversations with strangers: weather, common complaint (airline), reasons for both being there

  • i. Never fight, embrace, talk about intimate subjects with stranger

F american bubble space norms

F. American Bubble = Space Norms

1 public distance

1. Public Distance

  • = 12 feet or more: public speaker

2 social distance

2. Social Distance

  • = 4-7 feet: Impersonal business, interviews, purchasing products

3 personal distance

3. Personal Distance

  • = 18 inches to 4 feet: conversation distance, friends, family, social interaction

4 intimate distance

4. Intimate Distance

  • = 0 to 18 inches: lovemaking to wrestling; conflict usually takes place

* conflict can be escalated by invading someone’s personal spaces—another form of insult

3 symbolic interactionism compare to stage

3. Symbolic Interactionism: compare to stage

  • a. Goffman: behavior is different at a formal dinner than sitting at home with parents

i. “Frontstage”  public front

ii. “Backstage”  private behavior

Iii we are all putting on an act

iii. We are all putting on an act

Can’t Buy Me Love

Iii social identity

III. social identity =

  • our sense of who and what we are (comes from roles we play, idealized version of who we would like to be)

A fashion and fitness look the part

A. Fashion and Fitness Look the part

  • 1. Fashion is to reveal at a glance what kind of person each is

  • b. e.g. man wearing wire-rimmed glasses & old tweed jacket sees himself or wants others to see him as an intellectual

  • a. e.g. woman with tailored suit and suitcase attempts to project image of respectability

2 all societies use clothing to distinguish groups of people

2. All societies use clothing to distinguish groups of people

  • 3. Fashion different than style

  • a. defines age, social group, beliefs/values

4 conflict fred davis holds that fashion is a way to deal with cultural conflicts

4. Conflict: Fred Davis holds that fashion is a way to deal with cultural conflicts:

  • youth versus age

conformity vs. individualism

masculine vs. feminine

work versus play

success vs. failure

snobs vs. nobodies

A women s office clothing

a. Women’s office clothing:

  • 70s—“dress for success”

80s—confusion over women/men

90s—gender ambivalence resurfaced—power suits

00s- sex becomes a weapon

B bodies slim fit youthful sexy

B. Bodies: slim, fit, youthful, & sexy

Values: Hard work, self worth, pride, beauty

1 ideal body based on advertising models

1. Ideal body based on advertising (models)

Photoshop Beauty

Social interaction and social structure

  • 2. Fitness ideal—reflects values of hard work, self-control, achievement, and prosperity

  • 3. Economy--$50 billion/year on diets, makeup, plastic surgery, health clubs, and workout equipment

Social interaction and social structure

  • a. * Studies show that overweight, non-athletic, not-very-beautiful applicants are discriminated against

  • “You can never be too rich or too thin.”—Fitness represents social class

C face work

C. Face-Work =

  • everyone is trying to give an impression—others help maintain this

  • * professor or someone dignified passes gas or trips

  • 1. Examples: * if you see someone in public is about to cry then you turn away or feel uncomfortable

2 norm of reciprocity

2. norm of reciprocity =

  • norm that demands that people respond equally to certain behavior

a. e.g. thank you cards for gifts, invitation for an invitation, greeting for a greeting

Social interaction and social structure

b. we are uncomfortable around someone who is far more or less good looking, intelligent, wealthy, or talented—exchange is unequal

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