MCAT Sociology terms and theories part 1


Rational choice exchange theory – Everything people do is ratonal. For every action there is a cost benefit analysis. Behavior is selfish. Interactions are based on social reward –approval and social punishment – disapproval.

People seek to maximize profits by comparing pros and cons.

Functionalism – society wants to stabilize, come to an equilibrium. Society is compared to an organism. Institutions are constant, change only to become functional again. Macro. Emile Durkheim

Conflict theory – polarized society. 2 sides fight for limited resources. , creating a new society. Karl Marx.

Social Constructionism – everything is created from the mind of society (for example: money). Value is created and agreed upon.

Symbolic Interactionism- focuses on individuals. People have different meaning associated with the same object. They act based on their experience and unique meaning. We interact with the world to give it meaning. Micro

Feminist theory- women should have equal rights. Macro

Microculture- college sororiry, boarding school. Not permanent.

Subculture – ethnic groups, religious groups, permanent

Culture lag –culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, and social problems are caused by this lag (example: aritificial life support).


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