sense of separation or estrangement from an essential part of the self


sense of loss and normlessness due to the breakdown of social bonds

backstage behavior

private behavior, concealed from others, which reflects a person's true self


class that owns property, including owning and controlling the means of production

class consciousness

awareness of shared economic, social, and political circumstances and an understanding that working together with others in the same class is necessary in order to solve problems faced by all members of the class

collective conscience

set of generally accepted social rules, norms, values, and beliefs that have become embodied in institutions and form the basis of society

conflict theory

theory that society is characterized by conflict between social groups. Groups with unequal power and competing interests compete for scarce resources.

cultural relativism

approach that posits that all cultures are equal in value and avoids viewing or judging a culture from the perspective of another culture

dramaturgical theory

theory that uses the metaphor of the theater as a tool to explain human interaction

feminist theory

approach centered on gender equity and equality

front stage behavior

public behavior controlled to manage impressions


approach that views society as a system of parts working together to maintain a social equilibrium


framework for examining how factors of social stratification such as gender, age, race, class, and sexual orientation are not separate, but are intertwined

latent function

unintended consequence of a social behavior or social institution

looking-glass self

theory that people develop a sense of self based on how they believe other people see and judge them

macro-level analysis

examination of society as a whole

manifest function

intended consequence of a social behavior or social institution

matrix of domination

social environment in which multiple sources of oppression—based on factors such as race, ethnicity, class, sex, and gender—intersect to affect individuals' lives

means of production

facilities and resources for producing or manufacturing goods, such as tools, factory buildings, and machinery

micro-level analysis

detailed examination of interactions between individuals

power elite

small group of elite leaders in politics, military, and business who hold power in a society


people who own only their own labor

qualitative research

approach that uses nonnumerical data, such as analysis of interview responses or observed behavior, to study the social world

quantitative research

approach that uses numerical data, such as percentages and rates, to study the social world

social institution

complex set of interdependent social forces that meet basic needs and serve to reproduce patterns of behavior


process through which people learn the values, norms, beliefs, and expectations of their society

symbolic interactionism

view of social behavior that emphasizes subjective understanding and the interactions of the individual and society