Q&A Final Exam SOCY

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Question 1A

A process of claims-making plays a pivotal role as long as it initiates the entire phenomenon of social change. Social change leads to addressing some social problems so that this process implies that a particular social entity starts analyzing some social issues. In other words, a social entity finds some issue to be unsatisfactory and expresses its assumptions concerning the causes and consequences of a problem. The process of claims-making determines further behavior of the initial social entity and outlines distinct demands on the entire society regarding the way it is expected to act to address a certain social problem that caused the related claims-making (Scott & Marshall, 2009). However, not every single attempt to express anxiety about some social issues leads to the emergence of a social problem. In fact, this aspect is heavily dependent on the resources and power of a social entity that makes a claim. It is quite possible that various social entities may make the same claim, but succeeds only one with more power and resources.

Therefore, claims-making is possible in any social entity, but its development into social change is determined by some external factors. That is why claims-making can be regarded as an initial stage of addressing a social problem only when possessing sufficient resources, power, or influence. One may argue that claims-making is always a matter of governmental actions, but it is not true. The reason is that an average social entity may involve a mass of people so that their power and influence can cause the emergence of social change and further solution of a distinct social problem. It is becoming increasingly apparent that most of the social changes have a bottom-up effect. The politicians can be also concerned about certain social issues, but people refer to claims-making more often as it is the only way for them to handle a particular social problem. As a consequence, successful claims-making and further emergence of a social problem refer to the government with a certain request in order to obtain legitimacy of desired results.

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Question 1B

Differential association theory is a concept in sociology which aims to explain reasons for particular social behaviors and deviations from them. In fact, this theory was designed by Edwin H. Sutherland. Initially, he developed the theory in order to give an account of the reasons why people commit crimes. The theory is grounded on the concept that criminals commit crimes due to the relations and associations with other people (Clinard & Meier, 2011). In general, criminal behavior, as well as any other type of behavior, is learned throughout association with other humans that behave in the same way (Beamish, 2010). In addition, a certain type of behavior is not dependent on background, education, social status, ethnicity, or gender. Sutherland outlined the most basic elements of his theory. These elements comprise the concept that each of the behaviors has distinct signs that are associated with an individual.

One of the most important qualities of differential association theory is grounded on the frequency and intensity of communication. The time frame within which a person is recognized as a particular behavioral type and factual individual’s presence in a certain behavioral pattern are both pivotal for a final explanation of a social deviation (Clinard & Meier, 2011). The process of learning a certain social behavior is the same for any type of behavior, but the characteristics of these behaviors evidently vary (Beamish, 2010). Sutherland admitted that the learning process is not universal for each individual and is associated with the acquisition of some abnormal patterns of behavior. What is more, the theory is employed to explain the terms that are far beyond the deviation and social behaviors of humans. As long as any social behavior is considered to be learned initially, the theory is applicable to any type of deviations so that the theory addresses a much larger context than criminology.

Question 1C

Contemporary sociology studies corporate violence in terms of the ways entire companies and their single members are involved in activities that are harmful or socially injurious to themselves or other individuals (Scott & Marshall, 2009). Needless to say, these acts can be illegal, but most of them are lawful. In other words, harm can be caused not only by illegal actions but also by simple psychological pressure exposed in different ways (Bulle, 2008). In such a way, cases of corporate violence may presuppose the harm caused by a corporate action as well as inaction. Corporate actions that are violent can be classified as intentional or unintentional, while corporate inaction involves all issues related to a corporation’s failure to prevent the cause of the harm (Bulle, 2008). As a consequence, corporate violence may involve a wide range of actions or inaction that lead to social harm. To define it clearly, corporate violence is any form of harm caused to an employee at the workplace. It is an evident social problem since a single individual becomes a victim of social pressure so that it is a matter of society that inappropriately treats individuality. In fact, such abusive behavior is not acceptable in terms of humanism that underpins a contemporary social concept. Hence, society that does not respect the individuality of its single citizen has certain problems within.

As a matter of fact, there are several categories of victims of corporate violence such as individuals, entities of individuals, and the natural environment. Multiple cases of corporate violence demonstrate various types of harm caused to a particular type of victim. For instance, the following case depicts violence against workers in the Imperial Food Products Hamlet, North Carolina (What-When-How, 2015). Unfortunately, 25 workers died due to the fire at the Imperial Foods processing plant. The plant managers initially blocked the emergency exits in order to prevent employees from stealing food from the storage. It is worth noting that the mining industry is commonly recognized as the most violent in terms of corporate violence. Apparently, cases of intentional use of violence aimed at gaining certain economic, business, or personal benefits can be traced in countries of the third world as the pressure of foreign investments is extremely strong there.

Minor cases of corporate violence are also harmful. Conflicts in the workplace or between business partners may cause negative consequences for employees. Provided that a certain worker is under pressure of their colleagues, they may face certain mental health problems like depression and paranoia, among others. In this regard, corporate violence is similar to peer pressure in high schools. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that the influence of a social factor is strong. Generally speaking, corporate violence provides an example of an individual being harmed by society as it demands that the individual behaves in a particular way or shares certain outlooks.

Question 2D

The term ‘ageism’ can be defined as a deep and profound prejudice against the representatives of older age. In other words, ageism occurs as a stereotype that is grounded on age difference (Scott & Marshall, 2009). Ageism occurs throughout society so that it can be traced in television, advertising, mass culture, social media, stores, hospitals, and workplaces, among others. Ageism is a process of stereotyping and discriminating against people due to the fact that they are older than some other individual, who commits an act of ageism. From a definitional perspective, ageism can be compared to racism as well sexism as long as it implies that one treats people differently, and it originates from stereotyping a certain age group. In light of most people having a general knowledge and perception of the history of racism or sexism, their attitude toward ageism tends to be limited to jokes related to some specific features of elderly people. Ageism is a term and as a process is relatively uninvestigated so that any assumptions can be hypothetical at the current state of knowledge. Most studies of ageist attitudes are particularly focused on their negative aspects (Beamish, 2010).

Examples of ageism can be presented in multiple forms. Apparently, such examples can illustrate how the behavior of an older person is described from the perspective of ageism, while the same actions by a younger individual are recognized as normal and without stereotypes. Discriminatory behavior starts working in such cases because elderly people undergo distinct stereotyping and do not match specific features that are acceptable in a particular social entity.

The other potential root of ageism can be traced in discriminatory behavior grounded on a personal motive. The recent research suggests that interest, motivation, and skill do not decrease with age, and some employers continue to treat older workers as resistant to change, ineffective, and unable to utilize recent technologies (Beamish, 2010). A common practice consistently suggests that there is no correlation between age and job performance. However, younger workers prefer to consider older colleagues to be less valuable for the organization. The discriminatory behavior can be explained by the fact that younger employees tend to prove their significance to the community so that the value of older workers is initially decreased by them.

Question 2E

To speak about the inequality of access to health care, a sociological approach to conflicts is quite applicable since opposition between classes is evident in this regard. Upper classes are able to afford health care services in the United States so that they have an obvious advantage in comparison to less rich classes. As long as health care services are directly related to the life conditions of people, upper classes tend to live longer. Therefore, their probability to resist the pressure of opposing classes is preexisting. Under these circumstances, upper classes are a ruling social entity since they establish a certain social argument, win it, and implement an appropriate agenda (Mauss, 2005). In other words, health care services are supported by the financial agenda as the ruling class has an upper hand at that. To the largest extent, the difference in incomes is transformed into inequality in access to health care services that provide upper classes with a beneficial social position.

It is also necessary to refer to a principle of claims-making. In fact, all social entities make a certain claim regarding receiving health care services. However, upper classes managed to develop a claim into social change so that health care organizations have become available. Upper classes had sufficient resources and power to make the entire society act in the desired way. By the same token, the rest of the social entities united to make their own claim regarding the accessibility of health care. As a result, their claim was also transformed into social change, and the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Apparently, this is a particular case when the acquisition of power and agenda by upper classes cannot contradict the mass claims of other classes, especially in regard to the fact that social change of the mass is legitimate.

Inequality of access to health care services clearly demonstrates a conflict between classes (Mauss, 2005). The ruling class establishes a beneficial agenda which is why health care is one of the appropriate examples. Thus, it is appropriate to make a general comment on the fact that the enactment of the Affordable Care Act does not mean to stop the development of the conflict on that basis. As soon as one of the classes obtains a stronger agenda for defeating the other classes, a tendency toward inequality will intensify.

Question 2F

Educational attainment is commonly recognized as a possibility to access quality education with guaranteed professional prospects. It is an extremely strong social controversy so that the entire sociological paradigm has emerged (Hallinan, 2006). The paradigm provides a framework that determines social peculiarities that produce a certain impact on the accessibility of education. Contemporary society recognizes such factors as social class, ethnicity, and race to be the key features of prevented access to education. However, nowadays, this issue is relatively regulated with the government that deploys democracy-based policies and laws. In fact, some issues of educational attainment remain to be unaddressed due to numerous reasons, which sometimes are quite objective (Beamish, 2010). It is appropriate to make a comment on the fact that a possibility to get a quality education is estimated, while factual outcomes partially describe the issue as long as their evidence is not entirely commonplace.

Speaking about social class factors, families with a relatively low income are unable to afford higher education for their children. Thus, these families have a limited choice of occupations and means of promotion of the well-being of their children (Hallinan, 2006). The absence of desired education or having no education at all is directly reflected in a criminal situation within the United States (Bulle, 2008). Consequently, that results in their poor well-being and may lead to criminal activity (Giddens, 2006). Likewise, a factor of race is also persistent concerning this issue as colored citizens occur to be mainly working class so that high education is not affordable for them. As a result, that leads to the same consequences. The number of colored unemployed citizens is much higher so that the number of crimes committed by them is respectively increased.

A problem of ethnical or cultural background is also a factor of limited educational attainment by ethnical minorities. Needless to say, the contemporary educational system attempted to be formulated as non-ethnical, but the language barrier and drastic difference in culture prevent many ethnicities to access education in the United States (Hallinan, 2006). The government attempts to establish a unified system of education, but it is evidently hard to consider all cultural peculiarities (Bulle, 2008). In the same way, the problem of gender difference still exists. It is quite a known fact that male students are commonly considered more intelligent and conscientious so that they are more preferred while enrolling in universities and other institutions of high education. It is becoming increasingly apparent that female students have initially fewer chances to enroll in the same institutional affiliation. The problem leads to the complicated acquisition of a job as there is the mechanism of stereotyping gender cognitive and professional skills. Thus, that tendency will cause the absence of diversity in the entire society as equality between genders is violated. Taking into account all these points, inequality of social attainment leads to large discrepancies in social development. Inequality of educational attainment makes it impossible for the community to possess a strong flow of talented human resources that would enhance a current state of the economy from various perspectives such as cultural, technological, and scientific, among others. Needless to say, advances in all these aspects lead to overall social development.

Question 2G

The sexual revolution is commonly regarded as a social phenomenon that challenged traditional codes of behavior concerning sexuality and romantic relationship in Western countries from the 1960s to the 1980s (Scott & Marshall, 2009). Sexual revolution explains its movement by the fact that it refers to the essentials of human emotional, social, and economic existence. In fact, the movement was perceived as extremely radical. As a matter of fact, Western civilization limited humans with unnatural and devastating code of sexual morality so that this issue does not have to become a matter of ethics anymore. However, owing to numerous modern social and scientific developments, human life has reached considerable progress as the processes and issues related to human essence are relatively studied. Therefore, humanity does not need to restrict their physiological desires. The phenomenon of the sexual revolution is still a strong controversy within the publicity as different social entities interpret sexual revolution in different ways.

Human sexual activities refer to the ways in which people experience and express their feeling of sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual intercourses to different extents and for a wide range of causes. Sexual activity is normal as long as it leads to sexual arousal and respective changes in the psyche of an individual. Some features of sexual arousal are explicit, while the other signs of sexuality are subtle or entirely implicit. That is why a contemporary society still regulates the sexual activities of citizens because it preserves a basic public order, on which the society is grounded. In some cultures, sexuality is recognized in terms of marriage relationship only, although non-marital sex is also possible despite the fact that the basic culture does not approve of such type of sex.

It is hard to argue with the fact that the sexual revolution caused a large number of cases of sexual harassment as a matter of sexuality has become a commonplace issue (Barkan, 2013). Therefore, many individuals started considering sexual intercourse as common evidence and natural response to the opposite gender. By the same token, rates of prostitution have also increased as the provision of sexual services is not regarded as extremely immoral (Barkan, 2013). Association of sexuality with a natural phenomenon of humans caused these social problems because sexuality is a broad term and described social problems are mainly grounded on sexuality. In addition, the strong presence of sexuality in mass culture is harmful. Culture started appealing to the subconscious basic instincts of humans instead of fostering lofty feelings of taste, art, spirituality, and humanism.

Hence, the sexual revolution eliminated codes of morality regarding sexual behavior. In other words, sex has become a matter of basic human need so that regular sexual activity is not considered something morally inappropriate (Clinard & Meier, 2011). Globally, a subject of sex has become as common as any other regular activities of humans. All in all, the sexual revolution has influenced a contemporary social behavior in the United States in both ways which is why a choice of more appropriate interpretation of the sex revolution’s concept is more a personal matter rather than a regular social norm.

Question 1H

It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that contemporary mass media produce a significant impact on the informational awareness of society. To explain it in detail, even such a strong controversy as murder is reported in the mass media on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, the mass media are known to deliver news reports that are not completely objective as they report on a particular murder from a particular perspective (Clinard & Meier, 2011). Apparently, this tendency can be observed in reporting on political issues, although the same tendency can also be traced in the coverage of murders as they may produce a strong social or political impact. However, this tendency occurs to be fairly insignificant. Some subjectivity of the contemporary mass media can be indicated but it is not significant as long as they are not particularly focused on modifying the opinions and attitudes of the target audience. Although some discourses can be potentially present, their influence is not aimed at sending a distinct message to the audience. Hence, top mass media resources prefer to report on murders objectively as they are heavily dependent on the investigation details and expert opinion of the officials.

The mass media may intentionally use a specific discourse to intriguing its target audience. For example, The Washington Post depicts mysterious serial murders of a woman and two of her sons. The investigation provided an official assumption that the crime was related to witchcraft. Therefore, the newspaper covered this event in detail as it was fairly intriguing and curious for the masses. The article reported on the murder as some witch ritual connected to a so-called blue moon event that is associated with the third full moon of the yearEven though the case is evidently hard to believe, the article included an expert commentary on the religious basis of the murder. However, the article did not refute the official assumption. Moreover, the article presented the crime as a fact of a sobering truth that violent rituals still exist in the contemporary community that considers itself progressive and civilized. The newspaper also included the results of official forensic analysis that identified that the victims’ injuries could be associated with some occult witchcraft practice. Due to the fact that the crime was committed before the event was commonly considered witchcraft, the investigation, as well as the article, confirmed that the murder had religious motives. In such a way, the contemporary mass media tends to use objective approaches to reporting crimes, but the presence of such cases as described above proves the fact that the mass media prefer to cover more intriguing cases.

Question 2I

Economic inequality is persistent evidence in contemporary U.S. society so that it cannot be raged unabated. It should be noted that it refers to the degree of the financial difference between rich and poor citizens. As long as the majority of communities undergo stratification, the difference in income will always exist. Conversely, the key question is grounded on the extent of being rich or poor. In case a gap between classes is dramatically large, economic inequality evidently exists. Under these circumstances, the United States experiences a substantial degree of economic inequality.

In such a way, one of the basic dimensions of poverty is not grounded in compliance with the poverty line. In recent years, considerable attention is paid to health care services that occur to require 25% of the average American’s monthly income for services and health insurance (Barken, 2013). Provided that a certain citizen does not have health insurance, their illness may potentially cause lethal consequences. Needless to say, any person is going to pay for health services at any cost. A particular focus of the economic inequality dimension is grounded on the fact that many families occur to be below the line of poverty due to the need to pay for health care services and other basic needs that are extremely expensive for them (Giddens, 2006). The second dimension of economic inequality relates to a larger context. In fact, the correlation between business and its legal regulation is not gained sufficiently since the limitation of business means the devastation of the national economy, while freedom of business leads to overpricing of basic products and services. The same tendency can be traced in regard to other aspects of life in the United States.

The third dimension of economic inequality presents inappropriate relations between citizens and some governmental regulations. Tough taxation, as well as the unstable economic situation, dramatically contributes to poverty. The problem is not grounded on unemployment rates or low salaries but on certain economic and legal discrepancies that do not let citizens afford even basic items of daily life. Generally speaking, the main problem of social inequality is related not to low income but accessibility of potential services and products that establish the basic well-being of an average family. Hence, social inequality in the United States should be associated with inflation rates and proactive focus on privately-owned business since citizens that do not run their own business are exposed to much harder financial difficulties.

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As for the global context of poverty, it is necessary to place emphasis on such factors as oligarchy and outcomes of former colonization. Oligarchy presupposes a strong monopolization of the national business so that a social entity of a limited number of individuals controls the majority of business (Giddens, 2006). As a consequence, most of the incomes are concentrated within this social entity. Concerning the results of historic colonization, economic inequality can be explained by the fact that a state that colonizes the other territory usually uses its resources without further investment in colonized areas. Thus, colonized territories lack the same economic capacities as the other states. To conclude, the U.S. and international perspectives of social inequality are grounded on the same factor of the absence of economic balance when a certain social entity implements a business agenda, while the government cannot limit that to a reasonable extent.

Question 2J

Urbanization is a social tendency that is grounded on the correlation between people living in cities and in rural areas is not equal. In fact, a limited number of factors have to be considered as primary causes of urbanization. Agricultural Surplus Theory suggests that an increase in farming influences the respective growth of food products (Bell, 2012). The surplus makes certain people refuse to produce their own food so that they are able to master other fields of activity. In the same way, the majority of cities expand as they adjoin smaller agglomerations and provide new segments for business, social initiatives, and other activities. Urbanization is a process that involves two ways as long as it presupposes not the only movement from rural territories to cities but also considerable changes in morality, lifestyle, beliefs, and attitudes (Bell, 2012). The process of urbanization is extremely fast within the entire world. Hereby, such facilities as education, health care services, employment, civil services, and social welfare are basic reasons for migrating to urban areas.

In poor countries, this problem is entirely economically-driven since the governments of poor countries are unable to supply the cities with sufficient infrastructure of facilities. As a result, the growth of cities leads to a larger increase in poverty, even though the average income of a city inhabitant is higher than in a rural area. In the same manner, the growth of cities also harms the environment. For instance, urbanization is able to create urban heat islands that are formed after the placement of industrial sites on certain types of ground. With respect to the problem of urbanization in economically developed countries, the main problem is grounded on the fact that urban culture provides mainly an oppressive effect on society. Illegal drug markets, prostitution, gambling, and other illegal activities are easily hidden in big cities. What is more, social diversification is under threat since the entire community lives in big cities so that no differentiation according to settings of living is present.

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