sociology chapter 4

significant symbol

a word, gesture, or other learned sign used to convey a meaning from one person to another

symbolic gestures

nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice and body movements, that convey meaning from one person to another

role taking

the process of stepping outside the self and imagining how others view its apperance and behavior from an outsiders perspective


a voluntary and often spontaneous activity with fewe or no formal rules that is not subject to constraints of time or place

significant others

peopel or hcaracters who are important in an idividuals life, in that htey greatly influence that persons self evaluation or motivate him or her to behave in a particular manner


strucutured, organized activities that usually ivolve more than one person and a number of contraints such as established roles, rules, time, place, and outcome

generalized other

a system of behaviors, meanings, and viewpoints that transcned those of the people participating

looking-glass self

a process in which a sense of self develops, enabling one to see oneself reflected in oters real or imagined reactions ones appearance and behaviors

agents of socialization

significant others, primary groups, ingroups and outgroups, and institutions that (1) shape our sense of self or social identity (2) teach us about the groups to which we do and do not belong, (3) help us to realize our human capacities, and (4) help us negotiate th social and physical environment we have inherited


two or more peopel who share a distinct identity, feel a sense of belonging, and interact directly or indirectly with one another

primary group

a social group that has face to face contact and strong emotional ties among its members


a group which people identify and to which they feel closely attached, particularly when that attachment is founded on hatred or opposition toward an outgroup


a group toward which members of an ingroup feel a sense of separateness, oppoisition, or even hatred

mass media

forms of communication designed to reach large audiences without face to face contact between those conveying and those receiving the messages


the process of discarding values and behaviors unsuited to new circumstances and replacing them with new, more appropriate values and norms

total institutions

institutions in which people surrender control of their lives, voluntarily or involuntarily, to an administrative staff and carry out daily activities with others required to do the same thing