The Macrosociological Perspective: Social Structure

1. Slide 1

Sociological Significance of Social Structure

Social structure determines or influences behavior? Think about the meaning of the underlined verbs in the previous question. Sociologists differ on their opinion of the appropriate verb. What do you think, considering social structures such as the classroom, dining out in a restaurant, or daily chores (or lack thereof) at home?

Behavior Decided by Location in Social Structure


Group's Language, Beliefs, Values, Behaviors, Gestures

Material Objects

2. Slide 2

Society - People Who Share and Culture and Territory

Society Evolved Through Stages:

Hunting and Gathering

Pastoral and Horticultural




3. Slide 3

Social Status: Position in a social structure

Ascribed: Involuntary status, perhaps by birth.

Achieved: Status gained through work or effort.

Status Symbols: What are status

symbols of living in Southern


Master Statuses: The most socially important status.

4. Slide 4

Roles - Behaviors, Obligations, Privileges Attached to a Status

Status vs. Role

You Occupy a Status

You Play a Role

5. Slide 5

Stereotypes: overgeneralizations about an entire group of people

Personal Space





6. Slide 6

Erving Goffman


Impression Management

Front and Back Stages

Role Conflict

Role Strain Between and Within Roles

Teamwork and Face-Saving Behavior

7. Slide 7

The Study of How People Do Things: Background assumptions

The sabbatical project engaged by Instructor Hund in 2003-04 represents a type of ethnomethodology in that Hund researched and lived the everyday life norms in the village in Ghana, as well as homestays with local families in Ghana, Vietnam and Germany. Ethnomethodology allows one to understand the everyday practices that we participate in and take for granted but maybe never really take the time to understand why we do what we do. For example, the study of the greetings cross-culturally: In Ghana and Vietnam, greetings include questions about one's family, marital status, children and age. Whereas in the U.S. or Germany, these questions may be considered taboo. The snap in Ghana is used in formal and informal greetings whereas no formal physical greeting is practiced in Vietnam except to greet the elderly with a bow; in Germany, it is expected to shake hands firmly, not like a dead fish! How do you greet your family and peers?

8. Slide 8

Definition of the Situation: If people define things as real, they are real, in and of the consequences. - Thomas Theorem

Objective Reality vs. Subjective Interpretation

Gynecological Examinations

Social Interaction on the Internet

9. Slide 9

Groups - People Who Regularly and Consciously Interact

Social Institutions - Means Developed by Societies to Meet Basic Needs (examples of social institutions: family, workplace, religion, politics, religion, education, health care, prison, media)

10. Slide 10

A Group - People Who Think of Themselves as Belonging Together

Primary Groups: Strong interpersonal

relations, typically a small group

(examples: Friends, family)

Secondary Groups: Larger, more anonymous groups in which members interact based on specialized roles (examples: workplace, school)

11. Slide 11

In-Groups and Out-Groups Produce: Loyalty, Sense of Superiority, Rivalries

What might be the implications of in-groups and out-groups for a socially diverse workplace or city?

Reference groups are groups in which one may not be a member, but these groups have an impact on the self (examples: media figures)

How do media figures influence your dress, your dialogue, your attitude, your values?

12. Slide 12

Ties that Extend Outward from Self

Implications for Socially Diverse Society

13. Slide 13

People Connect Online


Online Chat Rooms

How might electronic communities serve to improve one's network base or dating options?

14. Slide 14

Five Characteristics of Bureaucracies

Clear Cut Levels/Hierarchy

Division of Labor

Written Rules

Written Communication and Records


The California DMV, LBCC, and City of Long Beach Police Departments are all examples of bureaucracies. One's family is not. Do you understand why?

15. Slide 15

Red Tape: Excessive rules and regulations.

Bureaucratic Alienation: Disconnection, possibly emotional and physical, to one's activity in a bureaucracy.

Resisting Alienation: Finding personal connections or meaning in one's activity in a bureaucracy.

16. Slide 16

The "Hidden" Corporate Culture

Hidden Values

Self-Fulfilling Prophesies

Iron Law of Oligarchy

17. Slide 17

Half of Workers are People of Color, Immigrants, and Women

Diversity Includes:





Social Class

Sexual Orientation

18. Slide 18

Hiring and Promoting Teams

Lifetime Security

Almost Total Involvement

Broad Training

Decision Making by Consensus

Myth vs. Reality

Differences Less than in the Past

Global Competition Causes Interdependencies

Technology Affecting Worker Behavior

19. Slide 19

Group Size Affects Stability and Intimacy




20. Slide 20

Group Size Affects Stability and Intimacy




As Size Increases, So Does Stability

Effects of Group Size on Attitudes and Behavior

The Larger the Group...

Greater Diffusion of Responsibility

Increase in Formality

Division into Smaller Groups

21. Slide 21

Collective Tunnel Vision Groups Develop

Example of groupthink: the majority of the German population during WWII who followed Hitler's Final Solution and Genocide attempts of more than 6 million Jews, gays, lesbians, Jehovah Witnesses, immigrants, communists and political dissidents. Similarly, during Pol Pot's era as Cambodian ruler from 1975-79, over 1 million Cambodians were killed by Cambodians (skulls from the Cambodian Killing Fields shown below).

Global Consequences of Group Dynamics: Can you think of any examples of group think occurring in the U.S. which have global impacts?

Preventing Groupthink: Voicing opposition or dissent. Example: The White Rose Society which began in Munich and spread to various towns and cities in Germany, in opposition to the fascism of Hitler's government (1st photo from left below). However, several of the students (shown below: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst) and a professor were publicly hung for their dissent and publications against the Hitler propaganda.