Margin Notes
Up Sociology Concepts Methods Individuals in Society Social Inequality Social Institutions


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Margin Notes covering basic sociological concepts are on the Concepts page linked above and listed below.

The brief items on the other four pages are examples to add to your knowledge of the basic concepts. While the items are in the order of the concepts covered in your course, many items could apply to more than one concept. As you read through the brief items, try to make as many connections to course concepts as you can.

Under almost every brief item you'll find an Optional Resources section with links to sites, videos and etc that are relevant to that item. Those links are not required but I encourage you to explore at least those links relevant to items you found interesting. They'll add to both your understanding and your enjoyment ... and that will make the material easier to learn.

You should also check out the resources listed at the bottom of this page.



Introductory Sociology Margin Notes

Page #1   Sociological Concepts


What Is Sociology?

The Discipline of Sociology

Occupational and Personal Uses of Sociology

Academic Sociologists

The Development of Sociology in Europe

Theoretical Sociology in the 20th Century

The Development of Sociology in America

The Major Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology

Sociological Theory

Spencer's General Model of Evolution


Symbolic Interactionism

Comparing Theoretical Perspectives

Applying Theories


Is Sociology a Science?

The Components of Scientific Theory

The Research Process

Standards of Scientific Inquiry

Types of Sociological Research

Sociological Research Methods

The Research Process



Elements of Culture

Interpreting Culture: Our Own and Others

The World Values Survey

Cultural Complexity and Diversity

10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life

Structure and Groups

Social Status

Status Set Diagram

Social Roles

Role Strain and Role Conflict Diagram

Role Strain and Role Conflict  Video

Social Groups

Types of Social Groups

In Groups and Out Groups

Formal Organizations


Voluntary Associations

Role Conflict

Socialization and Interaction

What Is Socialization?

Is Human Interaction Necessary?

Symbolic Interaction

Maintaining the Self

Symbolic Interactionism

Agents of Socialization

Agents of Socialization (2)

Socialization of Gender Roles

Gender Role Socialization

Socialization in Adulthood

Socialization at Work

Deviance and Control

What Is Deviance?

Traditional Views of Deviance and Deviants

The Relative Nature of Deviance

Theories Explaining Deviance

Sociological Theories Explaining Deviance


Merton’s Deviance Typology

The Social Consequences of Deviance

World Incarceration Rates

Deviance and Social Control

Merton's Adaptations (2)


Differentiation and Stratification

Social Stratification

Social Inequality in the US

Types of Societies and Social Differentiation

Types of Stratification

US Social Class Characteristics

Sources of Power

Theories of Social Stratification

Inequality in the United States

Gini Index by County, 2006-2010

Distribution of the Income of Americans

Inequality and Life Chances

Social Mobility in the United States

Race and Ethnicity

Racial, Ethnic and Minority Groups

Attitudes and Their Influence


Patterns of Group Interaction

Historic Shift in US Demographics

Major Racial, Ethnic and Other Minority Groups in the United States

Racial and Ethnic Populations in the US

The Future

Changing Face of America


Sex and Gender Differentiation

Theories of Gender Differentiation

Gender Differentiation and the Workplace

The Women’s Movement

The Consequences of Inequality

The Future of Gender Inequality


10 Social Institutions


What is a Family?

Variations in Kinship and Family Organization

A Functionalist Perspective on the Family

Parson's Structural-Functional Model of Society-Institutional Interaction

A Conflict Perspective on the Family

Other Perspectives on the Family

The American Family System

Nontraditional Marital and Family Lifestyles

Change in Cohabitation in the US

Page #1   Sociological Concepts (con't)


A Sociological Approach to Religion

World Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents

Theories of Religion

Religions of the World

Religion in the United States

Religious Affiliation in the US


Structural-Functional Theory of Education

Educational Attainment in the US

Conflict Theory of Education

Historical Perspectives on Education

Who Rules the Schools?

Stratification in the School System

American Private Schools

The Failure of American Schools

Why Students Do Not Learn

Improving the Schools

Contest and Sponsored Mobility

The British System

Is All This Education Necessary?

Politics and Economics

Types of Power

The Development of Political Systems

Political Structures in Modern Societies

The Political System in the United States

The Role of the Individual

Types of Economic Systems

Theories of Economic Development

The American Economic System

The Changing Nature of Work

Politics and the Distribution of Wealth

Variations in Unemployment

The Graying of the World Population

The Chinese System: An Example of Socialism


Page #2   Brief Items Relevant to Perspectives and Methods

Sociological Imagination: Night as Frontier

WEB Du Bois: The Sociologist

Sociologists and Their Theoretical Preferences

Useful Statistics

Unobtrusive Measures: Monitoring CB Prostitutes

Content Analysis of Coverage of the Rodney King Beating

Interactionist View of Sidewalk Behavior

Interactionist Approach to Reducing Social Conflict: Robber’s Cave Experiment


Page #3   Brief Items Relevant to Individuals in Society

Cultural Diffusion: Baseball in Japan

India's Sacred Cow: A Functionalist View

Conflicting Cultures

Value Conflicts

The Skinhead Counterculture

Social Networks in the US

China and People with Disabilities

Nature versus Nurture

Pathology of Imprisonment

Deviance or Sport

Being a Hit Man

The Gentleman Bandit

George Murdock's 70 Cultural Universals


Page #4   Brief Items Relevant to Social Inequality

Little People of America

Status Inconsistency — Janitors and Tenants

Comparison of Perspectives on Stratification

Cultural Bubbles Quiz

Is There a Culture of Poverty?

The Hunger Crisis in American Universities

US Poverty Stats

If US Land Was Divided Like US Wealth

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Race

Multicultural Groups

Opinions on Welfare Linked to Racial Views

The Complexity of Racial and Ethnic Identity (and

The New Immigrants

What Part of Legal Immigration Don't You Understand?

Sexism in Languages - English and Japanese

Reverse Socialization and Gender Roles

Gendered Spaces

The Wage Gap, By Gender and Race

Mommy Track

Feminization of the Banking Industry

The New American Pocketbook

An Aging World

10 Hotspots for Human Longevity


Page #5   Brief Items Relevant to Social Institutions

Hutterites Coming of Age

Tibetan Family Life

Marital Power

The Tradition of the Bride Price

Child Brides

Single Mothers and Society

Stages of Divorce

Inheriting Divorce

Housework within Lesbian and Gay Households

Market Exchange — The Wedding Reception

Goal Multiplication and Religious Organizations

The HalÚvy Thesis: Religion as a Stabilizer

The Ghost Dance of the Sioux

School Desegregation and the Hmong Community

Inequality in Education

Both Boys and Girls Have Reason to Feel Disadvantaged in School

Online Education

Work and Alienation: Marx’s View

In the First Majority-Muslim US City, Residents Tense about its Future




Need Help with Your Course? Try These Resources!

Sociological Images website is designed to encourage all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief sociological discussions of compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry.

How Biased Are You: Hidden Prejudices (06:14)

Poverty in America (03:03)

Stereotyping and Discrimination (03:24)

Culture (03:13)

Doing Sociological Research: Subjective and Objective Knowledge (02:32)

Understanding Theories (01:34)

Making Sense of Social Life (01:20)

Weber on Protestantism and Capitalism (online video, 51 min)

Weber on Traditional Authority (online video, 50 min)

Weber on Charismatic Authority (online video, 49 min)

Weber on Legal-Rational Authority (online video, 48 min)

Weber's Theory of Class (online video, 45 min)

Durkheim's Theory of Anomie (online video, 46 min)

The Southern Culture of Honor (online video, 1 hour) ... Please ignore the occasional curse word.

The Society Pages

Graphic Sociology

Institutions, Geography and Growth (online video, 57 min)

Three billion people on earth live on less than two dollars a day. A relative handful of us fare astronomically better. How do economists account for global “haves” and “have-nots”?

Poverty and Population (audio podcasts, varying lengths)

Globally one million more births than deaths occur every 112 hours, 90% in the poorest countries. Between 1960 and 1980, considerable attention was focused on rapid population growth. Afterwards, the attention has faded and investment in family planning evaporated. Family size among some of the poorest women is increasing. This course seeks to provide an understanding of the relationships between population growth, poverty, women's autonomy and health. It explores the political "fashions" underlying changing paradigms among demographers, economists and development specialists.

China: Traditions and Transformations (online videos, varying lengths)

Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and social revolution; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, coping with longstanding problems of economic and political management. Both images bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought. Harvard's China Studies video lectures cover these themes in order to understand China in the modern world and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean.

Economics, Politics and International Change (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This UCSD course examines the domestic and international sources of economic and political change. Topics include the rise of the nation-state, comparative economic development, authoritarian and democratic regimes, international and civil conflict, globalization and its domestic and international implications.

Global Politics of Food (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

The global economy is changing the way we think about food, from the kinds of things we eat, to the way food is grown and harvested. This special report from American RadioWorks includes three stories – Engineering Crops in a Needy World, A Bean of a Different Color and The Campaign to Humanize the Coffee Trade.

How Much Will Trade Liberalization in Rich Countries Help Africa? (MP3 audio download, 83 min)

As trade liberalization talks get under way in Hong Kong, many of the world's media outlets continue to focus on protectionism in the developed world and its negative effect on poor countries. But trade liberalization in rich countries as a cure for world poverty is often overemphasized. Based on his new study, Marian Tupy will demonstrate that the main causes of African impoverishment are internal; namely, political instability, high trade tariffs and a general lack of economic freedom.

Introduction to Development (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This Berkeley YouTube course provides an introduction to comparative development. The course assumes that students know little about life in Third World countries and are unfamiliar with the relevant theory in political economy of development and underdevelopment. The first part of the course covers the historical patterns of incorporation into an expanding world system and the different theories associated with these processes. The second part deals with a variety of micro and macro phenomena organized around land, labor and work.

Islam and the State (online video, 59 min)

UC Political Scientist Vali Nasr joins host Harry Kreisler for a discussion of the role of Islam in politics.

New Insights on Poverty and Life Around the World (online video, 19 min)

Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.

Charlie Rose: An Hour on Race and Society: Conversations with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bryan Stevenson (09/03/15)  (online video, 54 min)

Global Sociology (online videos, varying lengths)

Berkeley's YouTube Global Sociology course seeks to transcend national boundaries, studying the world as a unit unto itself, populated by organizations, networks and movements. Global sociology cannot be constructed by sociologists from a single country, but must be a collaborative effort from different parts of the planet. The course looks at globalization through a sociological lens by asking distinguished sociologists from around the world to discuss such contemporary issues as immigration, terrorism, disasters, etc.

Tribal Leadership (online video, 16 min)

USC Professor David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form – in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.

East vs. West: The Myths That Mystify (online video, 18 min)

Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West ... and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

Global Problems of Population Growth (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This Yale survey course introduces students to the important and basic material on human fertility, population growth, the demographic transition and population policy. Topics include: the human and environmental dimensions of population pressure, demographic history, economic and cultural causes of demographic change, environmental carrying capacity and sustainability. Political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility are also addressed. The lectures and readings attempt to balance theoretical and demographic scale analyzes with studies of individual humans and communities. The perspective is global with both developed and developing countries included.

The Tribes We Lead (online video, 18 min)

Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change.

Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950 (online video, 67 min)

"Downtown" is the first history of what was once viewed as the heart of the American city. It tells the fascinating story of how downtown – and the way Americans thought about downtown – changed over time. By showing how business and property owners worked to promote the well-being of downtown, even at the expense of other parts of the city, this book gives a riveting account of spatial politics in urban America.

Foundations of Modern Social Theory  (MP3 audio downloads, varying lengths)

This Yale course provides an overview of major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Marx, Weber and Durkheim.

How Our Social Networks Shape Our Lives (online video, 55 min)

Harvard professor of sociology and health care policy Nicholas Christakis and fellow scientist James Fowler discuss the power of social networks, the role social networks play in our lives, how they form, how they are maintained and how far-reaching their effects can be. They theorize that our world is governed by the three degrees rule – we influence and are influenced by people up to three degrees removed from us, most of whom we do not even know. For example, your friend's friend's friend has more impact on your happiness than $5,000 in your pocket. Our social networks underlie financial scams, eating disorders, substance abuse and suicide clusters, but also voter turnout, innovation, altruism and random acts of kindness.

Why We Drive the Way We Do (online video, 54 min)

After exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Tom Vanderbilt uncovers the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological and technical factors that explain how traffic works, why we drive the way we do and what our driving says about us. Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He shows how roundabouts, which can feel dangerous and chaotic, actually make roads safer — and reduce traffic in the bargain. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots.

Population Geography: World Population Distribution, Growth and Change (online PPT, 49 slides)

An excellent slide presentation covering some of the major topics in demography. Scroll down below the comments section to see the presentation transcript that accompanies the slides.

Median US Household Income by State

Check out Kiri Davis’ 7-minute You Tube video, A Girl Like Me, about young African American women and racial identity. It’s an excellent video and includes a "re-do" of the famous Clark doll study.

More Americans Expect to Retire in Their 80s

Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America (13:58)

What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States (PDF)



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Copyright ę 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   09/04/2023 1900

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