Sociological Memes

These memes were created in sociology classes as an introductory assignment to become familiar with key concepts in the discipline. 

class consciousnessClass Conflict: This meme describes that the wealthy people in society use their money to influence politicians to create laws in their favor. One example would be that they lower taxes for the rich, although lower income classes do not have this luxury. This cycle allows the rich to accumulate even more wealth to influence more laws in their interest. (Natalie Topalian, Spring 2014, Visual Sociology and Anthropology)

class conflictClass Consciousness: The concept that I chose to explore from the reading was class consciousness, because I find Marx’s ideas about class warfare to be interesting. Marx believed that when the working class developed class consciousness or “recognized their class interests, common oppression and an understanding of who their oppressors are,” (Eitzen, Bacazinn and Smith, 9) they would organize a revolt against the current social system. This concept is important to sociology and a sociological understanding of society because it can explain why some people are unhappy with their social status and the ways they try to seek reform. A few ways that this concept helps me to understand society better are because class consciousness also can be used to explain peoples motivation to elevate their social status.  When individuals realize that they belong to a lower social class, they are motived to try to increase their status in society.  Achieving a high social class is a goal of many people in our capitalist society and can partly be explained by class consciousness. (Brianna Callahan, Spring 2014, Sociological Perspectives)


Control Group: In an experimental design, the control group is that group that either receives no treatment, or a standard treatment. This group is used to contrast the treatment groups, to discover how effective the treatment truly was by comparing the results of both. Without a control group, researchers would be less able to detect the true effect that their treatment had on participants. (Alison Wood, Spring 2014, The Family)

durkheim Emile Durkheim: is a founding father of the sociological discipline. His ideas of social facts and social integration are fundamental in the discipline of sociology. He was interested in social integration or the similarities that worked as a societal glue in a traditional society and how differences provide the social bond in complex societies. (Stacey Clinton, Spring 2014, Sociological Perspectives) 

experiment-memeExperiment: An experiment is tool scientists and sociologists use to study the cause and effect relationships between different variables. In order to do this, sociologists must test the effect of a specific independent variable on a dependent variable. An experimental group testing this relationship must be compared to a control group, a group that isn’t exposed to the independent variable, to ensure that experimental biases and random variables do not corrupt results. This concept is important to sociology and sociological understanding in society because it provides a method that sociologists can use to scientifically test social relationships and attributes that people have. This concept helps me to understand society better because it shows that social attributions and social forces can be tested and proved. Experiments are a way to scientifically prove the influence of social forces in society. Although not always successful, they yield useful information about relationships. In this meme, I show a poor experiment. In a poor experiment, no control group is used to compare to the experimental and scientists do not have a well planned layout for experimental treatment. This meme also mocks an unethical sleep experiment performed in the past. In a good experiment, experimental and control groups are compared, extraneous variables are eliminated, and ethical considerations are taken. (Tori Mattick, Spring 2014, The Family)

experimentExperiment: This meme give a new outlook on experiments. It is true that we humans experiment political, scientifically and socially every day, but this causes us to think whether the human race itself is merely just an experiment for an alien race. That we were created to be tested on, observed and analyzed. This allows us to “think outside of the box” and consider other possibilities for experiments and question how the human race we even created in the first place. (Margaux Reidy, Spring 2014, Visual Sociology and Anthropology)

human agencyHuman Agency: This meme relates to human agency because it shows how society aids in our decision because as human we want to be accepted by our peers and thus we allow society to manipulate our decisions. Human agency also means that we do not at times consider what society thinks when we make a decision or action, but at a unconscious level we do incorporate the things we learned in society as acceptable into our decision.  This meme shows how there is essentially no such thing as thinking independently of society.  For example, you can make a decision that fits into societal norms, which in this case is conscious decision.  Even if you are a rebel and want to break societal norms it is because of the society you are in that you want to change it and rebel.  So no matter if you decision is for and against the societal norm your decisions and actions will be manipulated by society. (Waqqas Tai, Spring 2014, The Family)

human agencyHuman Agency: Human agency means that an individual is able to shape their social life by adapting, negotiating, or changing social structures. This means that we are able to transform society via our own actions and choices. This ultimately makes sense to me because certain views of society seem to constantly change and this is a result of people changing and acting out on their own will. This meme represents the idea of human agency.The meme shows a group of people all wearing shirts that say “be yourself” along with another guy that is not wearing a shirt and standing by himself. What is ironic is that everyone wearing the shirt seems afraid to not conform to society and chooses to stand together and look the same. On the other side, the guy standing alone is being criticized for not conforming as he chooses to be different. (Justin Yetto, Spring 2014, Sociological Perspectives)

longitude-surveyLongitudinal Survey: These are research studies that collect information from the same persons over many years. These studies are considered to be the most accurate because they study the same sample of people for the duration of the survey.  This concept is important to sociology and a sociological understanding of society because it allows “the observing researcher to look back in time and record antecedents of current events and transitions” (Eitzen, 19). By maintaining the group of people being studied it eliminates certain errors that can occur when the surveyed group is changed,  thus giving sociologists insight into the transformations of peoples thought processes over time.  I’ve actually dealt with longitudinal studies previously regarding mathematics education.  These studies gave educators a better understanding of how students learn and the advantages of teaching using a problem solving technique.  Instead of looking only at a snapshot of the curriculum it allows researchers to also take into account the long term effects of the curriculum. Since a longitudinal survey is the only type of research that maintains its subjects over an extended period of time, it lends a special type of insight into a topic, especially with respect to change of views or lifestyle over time. This meme shows a man transitioning through life.  In his old age he says, “Don’t you have enough information?!”  Basically he has been the subject of a longitudinal survey for the duration of his life and is ready to stop participating. (Emily Casey, Spring 2014, Sociological Perspectives)

observationObservation: Observation is an important method for finding information within the sociological field. Particularly it is useful for discover the behavior of a specific group in a natural setting.  This means the sociologist who uses observation typically must spend time integrating and gaining acceptance into the group they observe. Thus this method is very time intensive (sometimes taking years to complete) but the information gained from it is very detailed and in depth. (CJ, Spring 2014, Visual Sociology and Anthropology)

social determinismSocial Determinism: The concept I chose to explore from reading was social determinism. The concept is an assumption that our behavior is explained by our social factors. This concept is important to sociology and a sociological understanding of society because sometimes there are unexplainable reasons why human beings act the way that they do. This is where social factors come into play; this is why location shape who we are and how we act. A few ways that this concept helps me to understand society better are that sometimes we question why people act the way that they do and it’s more about their background. It’s so easy to judge someone because they don’t do the same things we do but there’s always a reason for that. Whether it’s the different environments they’ve been exposed to or the people they’ve been around all their lives, we act the way we do because of what we’ve experienced. With that being said, our experiences control how we act. (Bibi Buksh, Spring 2014, The Family)

social factsSocial Facts: From this article I selected the term “social facts” which is defined in the text as being social factors that exist external to individuals and affect their behaviors such as religion, tradition, and values. Below is the meme I created to represent this concept. I chose this photo from the movie,Mean Girls, where a group of girls are expected to behave and dress a certain way which could be considered tradition. In this particular instance the tradition is that the girls always where pink on Wednesdays and therefore, wearing pink on any other day is deemed socially unacceptable. (Kelli Mishoe, Spring 2014, The Family)

sociological questionsSociological Questions: The textbook describes this term as being based upon three questions that sociologists use to  describe and determine the way things are: comparative, historical, and/or empirical facts. This meme  represents an example of a question a sociologist would ask to determine why a certain thing is the way it is, and how these questions can lead to further questions, in an endless spiral. (Demarius Blackmon, Spring 2014, The Family)

Sociological Theory: This meme represents the way education is changing in our society. We have become more technologically advanced, so professors have begun to experiment with our new strengths. Sociological theory helps explain why professors shift their teaching methods in certain directions. (Steph DeRubertis, Spring 2014, The Family)

sociology frighteningSociology is Frightening: Sociology can be frightening: Sociology is frightening because of its insights. It  poses questions on things people may normally take for granted. Questions like who holds the real power, and whether the justice system is truly just? Put another way, it allows people to look behind the red curtain. Sociology can also be uncomfortable as well frightening because as soon as you realize that the social world, including old traditions, are man made you start to question the myths, stereotypes, and official dogma of society. (Elizabeth Urresta, Spring 2014, Visual Sociology and Anthropology)

surveySurvey Research: In this meme I describe how often times people do not understand the questions in a survey or how it is possible that the options provided do not apply to the person taking the survey.  Many people will then choose to circle a random answer or guess what they think they should answer with.  However, this will alter the data collected and change the accuracy of the results which is the exact opposite of the effect that those collecting the data want. (Brian Graziose, Spring 2014, The Family)

value neutralityValue Neutrality: Value-Neutrality is the idea that we can remove our biases and preconstructed values about our research and not impede or alter our findings.  This is however only an ideal, complete Value-Neutrality is impossible because to remove our values completely would remove what makes us human.  It is important to know about and understand this concept so that you can take everything with a grain of salt, and realize that there is always bias in every situation.  We just have to understand this bias and make our own decisions accordingly. I made this meme to explain the concept of Value-Neutrality. This meme is poking fun at the fact that we can’t actually achieve Value-Neutrality but we should still strive for it. (Dan Street, Spring 2014, Sociological Perspectives)

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