PROMPT #1: In-Group Favoritism

Generate a list of 3 examples of in-group favoritism that can be observed in social life. For ONE of these discuss:

  • What favors or privileges do members of the group provide each other?
  • How do members of the in-group and out-group likely feel when favors or privileges occur?
  • What are the unintended consequences of in-group favoritism at large as they relate to your example?

ACTIVITY/PROMPT #2: Research on the Presentation of Self

Sometime this week initiate a 5-minute conversational interaction with someone who is an acquaintance to you. During this interaction pay close attention to how impression formation and impression management are present in the interaction.

After the interaction post a response here that tells us about your interaction and how some of this week’s key concepts come alive in everyday life. Be sure to touch on the following points:

  • What information did you gather about the acquaintance as you formed impressions of them (e.g., physical appearance, social group membership, verbal or nonverbal expressions, status symbols)?
  • How did you decide what information to share or not share about yourself in the interaction?
  • What statuses did you take on, and what roles, characteristics, and attitudes are important for playing them appropriately? (e.g., How did you act? What verbal or nonverbal expressions did you use? What were you thinking about how you presented yourself during the interactions?)
  • In what ways was your “presentation of self” influenced by the impressions you formed of the other person?
  • To what extent was your successful performance dependent on the performance of others?


As discussed in the lecture, generate at least 10 answers the complete the sentence “I Am….” (in the lecture I say 20, but for purposes of the discussion board 10 is ok!) Then, next to each answer, list the social institutions(s) that you see as related to this identifier. If needed, revisit from past modules/reading what a social institution is. Share your completed exercise on this thread along with your thoughts on how this exercise helps us to understand the self as a social entity. Can you think of any aspects of your identity that aren’t ties to a social institution in society?

Explanation & Answer length: 5 Questions1 attachmentsSlide 1 of 1

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3/4/21 + Social Groups 1 + Why groups matter • *Groups are the essence of life in society • Vital for well-being by providing intimate relationships and sense of belonging • Group memberships shape everyday individual behavior 2 1 3/4/21 + Group Membership Primary Groups: a small group characterized by intimate, long-term, face-to-face association and cooperation n n Family and Friends n Primary groups are the foundation for your socialization and the lens through which you view the world n Can be functional or dysfunctional, but either way are fused into your identity Secondary Groups: a larger, relatively temporary, more anonymous, formal, and impersonal group based on some interest or activity n n n Our class! Organizational memberships. Worker roles. Hobbies. Necessary for social life, but do not satisfy our needs for intimate association (participation can feel like an “obligation”) 3 + Group Membership n Reference Groups: a group whose standards we refer to as we evaluate ourselves 4 2 3/4/21 + Group Membership § One type of reference group is a cultural membership § Cultural Identity: identification with and perceived acceptance into a group that has a shared system of symbols, meanings, and norms for social conduct § Important to one’s sense of self and how one relates to others § Strong sense of cultural identity/belonging, contributes to overall well-being er: emb lens m e R the u re is hich yo u t l Cu ugh w the thro rceive pe orld. w 5 + Group Membership can be at a “micro” level… 6 3 3/4/21 Or at a “macro” level… As an American, when you look at this picture, even though there are not words associated with it we have an overall shared understanding of the symbols, meanings, and norms that relate to this image. 7 Depending on your group memberships you may also know what meanings and norms are associated with these symbols… 8 4 3/4/21 + Your own group memberships and cultural identities are the basis for your reactions to the images you just saw. 9 + Group Membership Re m e m ber: “Brown Eyes, Blu e Eyes”? n In-Groups: a group toward which you feel loyalty n Out-Groups: a group toward which you feel antagonism n Tendency to form in-group favoritism n Provides a sense of belonging and positive identity n Global Nationalism (e.g., Olympics) State/Community (e.g., Miss America, national sports teams, being from a neighborhood in town) n School (e.g., major, cliques, class rank) n 10 5 3/4/21 + Discuss…with other people n Generate a list of 3 examples of in-group favoritism that can be observed in social life n For ONE of these discuss: n What favors or privileges do members of the group provide each other? n How do members of the in-group and out-group likely feel when favors or privileges occur? n What are the unintended consequences of in-group favoritism at large? Unintended Consequences of In-Group Favoritism: – Ethnocentrism Stereotyping – Intolerance of Difference/Diversity – Perpetuating Social Inequalities – Racism/Sexism – Microaggressions – Bullying/Harassment/Sexual Assault – Partisanship – 11 + Microaggression n Fordham University Students Document Microaggressions n MTV’s “Look Different” Campaign Everyday statements, actions, or incidents of indirect, subtle, (sometimes unintentional) discrimination against members of a marginalized group 12 6 3/4/21 + Social Networks n Ties that link people together 13 + Mark Granovetter (1943- ) § Explains the flow of information between people as occurring through interpersonal networks § In these networks we have both “strong” and “weak” ties § There is a “strength in weak ties” because these ties open your flows of information, opportunity, and resources well beyond your immediate network (i.e., your strong ties) 14 7 3/4/21 Strong Ties Weak Ties 15 + Where do social networking websites fall in the theory of the strength of weak ties? Are we more or less connected than ever before? 16 8 3/4/21 + The Strength of Weak Ties n n Having few “weak ties” leads to deep embeddedness of social networks, resources, information, and perspectives n Job Searches n n Hearing About Opportunities Access to Resources n Lack of Diversity of Ideas Unintended consequences of deeply embedded social networks? n Same list as “in-group favoritism”! 17 + Dynamics of Group Behavior n Groups have power over individuals n n Group membership strongly shapes everyday behaviors of individuals Conformity n Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments n Asch’s “Conformity Experiments” 18 9 3/4/21 + Asch’s Conformity Experiments 19 + n Dynamics of Group Behavior Groups have power over individuals n n Conformity n n n n Group membership strongly shapes everyday behaviors of individuals Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments Asch’s “Conformity Experiments” Group Think: when individuals conform their opinions to what they believe to be the consensus of the group (diffuses responsibility; individually rational) n Can lead to bad/irrational group decisions n Issues with research/data collection in group settings Task Performance n Frustrations felt with group work and poor/performance (e.g., school, work, organizations) n Social Loafing: phenomena of an individual putting in less effort to achieve a group goal than they would if they were working alone n Goldbricking: inventing excuses not to work on a task (e.g., sick) 20 10 3/4/21 + n Dynamics of Group Behavior Collective Action n n n Tendency for individuals to not engage in pro-social behavior n e.g., donating to charity, bystander intervention Tendency for individuals to fail to engage in civic action n e.g., turning out to vote Difficulties faced when organizing for collective action n n e.g., unions, committees, task forces “Tragedy of the Commons”: when individuals selfishly take advantage of a public resource, which ultimately depletes it for everyone n e.g., patterns of energy consumption, misuse of common space/land, depletion of natural resources, pollution, etc. 21 + The Self 22 11 3/4/21 + The Self According to a sociologist…. 23 I Am…. Complete this statement 20 times…. I Am… 1. A (s)mom 2. A woman 3. Blonde 4. White 5. A sociologist 6. Old (ok, not that old) 7. A lover of travel 8. A NPR binge listener 9. A coffee lover Etc….. 24 12 3/4/21 + n Socialization The process by which people learn the characteristics of their group(s) n n n Includes the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered appropriate for them Happens across the life course Occurs through agents of socialization and social institutions n People or groups that affect our self-concept, attitudes, behaviors, and other orientations toward life 25 Social Institutions: the organized ways societies meet their basic needs; they create established and enduring patterns for social relationships Neighborhood Religion *Peers W orkplace *M edia Race/Ethnicity *School *Fam ily Social Class YOU G ender 26 13 3/4/21 I Am…. Complete this statement 20 times…. I Am… 1. A (s)mom n 2. A woman 3. Blonde Next to each one, list the social institution(s) that are related to this identifier. 4. White 5. A sociologist 6. Old (ok, not that old) 7. A lover of travel 8. A NPR binge listener 9. A coffee addict Etc….. 27 + § The “Self” The “self” is socially constructed § § Our sense of “self” develops through our interactions with other people and our perceptions of others § § § § The social construction of the self is a collective process Individual = Social Being Social structure guides our behaviors When people interact with each other they do so according to “cultural rules” Our interactions with other people are based on how we act out our social roles § In relation to the status, roles, and prestige of others vs. our own 28 14 3/4/21 + The Self is Socially Constructed n The process of collectively defining what is “real” in society n To do this, we draw on our perceptions of reality and our personal background/experiences 29 + The Social Construction of Reality (Berger & Luckmann 1967) Subjective = micro scale, face-to-face interaction, socialization, identity Subjective Reality SCR – mental representations of our self, each other, and, in turn a habitual social system Objective Reality Objective = macro scale, culture, institutionalization 30 15 3/4/21 + Social Structure Guides Our Behavior n Our understanding of how to act in daily life is based on our social locations n Social Class: large numbers of people who have similar amounts of income and education, whom work in the jobs that have roughly comparable prestige n Other important ones….gender, race/ethnicity, generational membership, etc. 31 + Social Status: a position one occupies in the social structure n Ascribed Status: a position one inherits at birth or receives involuntarily later in life n Sex, race/ethnicity, social class of parents, family roles – son/daughter/sibling, teenager/adult n Achieved Status: positions that are earned , accomplished, or involved at least some effort or activity on the individual’s part n Friend, (ex)spouse, parent, worker, student, graduate, criminal, president 32 16 3/4/21 + Social Role: behaviors, obligations and privileges attached to a social status You occupy a status, but you play a role. n A doctor provides medical care and has authority over nurses. n A daughter receives support and resources from parents. n A student attends class, takes notes, does homework, and studies. n A team captain leads team activities and sets an example for other team members. 33 + Erving Goffman (1922-1982) n Total Institutions: individuals are cut off from the rest of society and stripped of their personal roles and identities with the purpose of creating new ones 34 17 3/4/21 + Erving Goffman (1922-1982) n Resocialization: the process of replacing previously learned norms and values with new ones as part of a transition in life 35 + So how do we “know” who we are? Theories About Self: •Dramaturgy •Emotion Management •Looking-Glass •Role Taking Self Process •“I” & “Me” 36 18 3/4/21 + Erving Goffman (1922-1982) n The “self” is the result of social interaction and arises in the process of performance 37 + Dramaturgy 38 19 3/4/21 + Dramaturgy n Use socially prescribed… n Scripts n Props Costumes n …across various “stages” to contribute to the team effort of defining the definition of the situation. n Our individual effort in this process is called impression management of various social roles we are trying to convey in any given context. n n We all do this in our everyday lives. This social performance is our “front-stage” behavior; we prepare for this “back-stage.” 39 + Front-Stage vs. Back-Stage 40 20 3/4/21 + Front-Stage vs. Back-Stage 41 + Definition of the Situation n Scripts n Props n Costume n Stage (Front/Back) n Team Effort n Impression Management 42 21 3/4/21 + Forming Impressions Impression Management n Process whereby actors work to control how others perceive them Impression Formation n Process whereby we infer meaning from gestures, significant symbols, and other characteristics about others 43 + Definition of the Situation n Scripts n Props n Costume n Stage (Front/Back)** n Team Effort n Impression Management 44 22 3/4/21 + Front-Stage vs. Back-Stage 45 + Definition of the Situation n Scripts n Props n Costume n Stage (Front/Back) n Team Effort n Impression Management 46 23 3/4/21 + Arlie Hochschild (1940-) Sociology of Emotions n Feeling Rules – Ways we have been socialized to feel and manage our emotions Remember the concept of sanctions? 47 + She finds…. nEmotion is a commodity bought and sold in the capitalist market nEmotional Labor: the ‘work’ we put into emotional presentation of self n Women are disproportionately burdened by the demands of emotional labor in both private and public spheres of society 48 24 3/4/21 +Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) “The Looking Glass Self” § We are socialized to accept the judgments of others about who we are and then reflect it back to them § When we imagine what is expected of us by others, and act according to those expectations, we are using the generalized other 49 +Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) “The Looking Glass Self” 1. We imagine how we appear to those around us. 2. We interpret others’ reactions. 3. We develop a self-concept. n Sometimes our interpretations aren’t accurate, but even our misconceptions become part of our self-concept n Self-concept can be both negative and positive Remember the “cult of thinness”? 50 25 3/4/21 + The Looking Glass Self “I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think that you think I am.” – C.H. Cooley We are socialized to accept the judgments of others about who we are and then reflect it back to them. 51 + Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) “The Looking Glass Self” 52 26 3/4/21 #selfie 53 + n n The Self-Concept Self-Concept: a set of abilities, opinions, and thoughts by which we define and characterize ourselves Facets of Self-Concept: n Individual: traits, personality, physical appearance, and abilities Relational: our roles and relationships with others and our identification with social groups n Collective: identification with social groups n n Metaphysical: broadly philosophical identifications with the world/humanness 54 27 3/4/21 + Self-concept changes over time and in social context… “I Am Cool.” 55 + George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) “Role-Taking Process” Self develops through a 3 part role-taking process. nStage n Birth – age 2: children mimic the actions of those around them without any understanding of the context or meaning of these actions nStage n 2: Play Stage Age 2 – Age 6: play pretend without adhering to “rules” nStage n 1: Preparatory Stage 3: Game Stage Age 7+: begin to understand and adhere to “rules” because they begin to understand the role of the other in relation to themselves; they start to use the generalized other 56 28 3/4/21 + George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) “I” and “Me” n “I” am….. n n Subjective understanding of who we are This is “me”….. n Objective understanding of who we are 57 + Remembering “I” & “Me” “I” Subjective Reality SCR “Me” Objective Reality 58 29

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