What is ideology and how does it simplify social reality?


Attached are a list of concepts to choose from.CONCEPTS ASSIGNMENT
Choose 10 concepts related to the study of social change that have been covered in the lecture videos and/or lecture notes.Precisely define each concept as defined during the lecture videos and/or lecture notes.Apply each concept to a (potentially) real world situation. This
situation can be made-up but must approximate real-world life.
For example:
Counter-Intuitive when evidence
reveals a social process that works differently than one would
naturally expect (Kane, Counter-Intuitive Lecture Video).
It makes intuitive sense that the more
police a community has, the less crime there would be in that
community. Sociological studies and evidence have in fact shown that
more police means a higher crime rate (because no police force could
capture 100% of crime, more cops will capture a higher percentage of
crime). This finding is highly counter-intuitive.
1) The concepts you choose to define must be sociological, complex, and should have been covered in the lecture videos and/or lecture notes.
3) Dont choose obvious concepts to
define, you will do poorly. If you could define and apply the concept
before the semester started, dont bother. Choose a more complex
concept that you hadnt heard or considered before, define and apply
4) You can use my exact words for definitions, but if you do so, quote and cite me and indicate to me the lecture where you found your sociological concepts; like so (Kane, Counter-Intuitive Lecture). Always cite any sources that inform your work.
6) For further key tips, suggestions, and explanations see the lecture video entitled Concepts Assignment Explained.
GUIDELINES Assignments are to be
typed, double-spaced, 12 point times new roman font, one inch margins
all around, and submitted through Blackboard. Do not use an Apple-only format like Pages for any of your assignments, if you do, I will not be able to open or grade it.
The following are some of the key concepts and themes that will recur throughout the semester:
1) Ideology a fixed and set in stone world-view, body of ideas, and/or philosophy that seeks to make sense
of a complex social reality; typically simplistic in nature, people tend to fall back on ideologies when the
social world confuses and/or confounds them. Liberalism and Conservatism being prime examples.
2) Paradox See related Video Lecture.
3) The Singularity A point in the near future when AI has become so capable and intelligent that it can make
its own AI. At this point innovation and technological change will explode at a rate that is
incomprehensible to current human beings. Through artificial and biological means, humans will increase
their physical, mental, and creative capacities, becoming functionally immortal and godlike in their ability
to alter life and matter. By 2045, Ray Kurzweil, Chief Engineer at Google-Alphabet Inc, predicts that
people will be more cyborg than human. Singularity science forecaststhena trans-human epoch a posthuman epoch. Here is a link to an article from 2011, detailing Kurzweils predictions so far we are on
track for humanity to become post-human by the year 2045:
4) Power Corrupts See related Video Lecture.
5) Cognitive Dissonance See related Video Lecture.
6) Counter-Intuitive See related Video Lecture.
7) Norms the basic building blocks of each and every social interaction; these are small unspoken everyday
rules about how to behave in any given situation.
a. Raising your hand.
b. Elevator behavior.
c. Styles of dress norms are many times about social exchange.
d. Handshakes.
8) Social Structures macro-level manmade organizations, networks, and/or rules, including norms, which
guide and bind us. Social structures create order in society; they prevent chaos. Anything which brings
order to society can be considered a social structure.
a. The term macro refers to groups and processes affecting a large number of people
conventionally over 100 people, but typically many millions.
b. The term micro in social science refers to groups and processes affecting a small number of
people conventionally under 100, but typically 25 or less.
9) Social Institutions the largest, most impactful, and most enduring of social structures. Social institutions
tend to be large agglomerations of organizations, rules, and networks that remain relatively stable over
decades and centuries. Social Institutions can be viewed as the major enduring patterns of social life.
a. The Major Social Institutions: Family, Religion, Economy, Mass Media, Education, Government,
and Military.
b. The Super Bowl?
c. The Internet?
10) Social Order the organization of society and the societal structures and rules that help social interaction to
advance in a peaceful and efficient manner. Social order wells up from all aspects of society; people
choose to consent to the social order because social order is a public good that allows for peaceful
production and development.
a. Seats in class.
b. Standing in line.
11) Social Control social control is when order is imposed on a society from the top down. Citizens within
the society tend to resist social control, and consent only owing to coercion the threat of force, violence,
or negative consequences.
a. Speed Limits Social order or Social Control?
b. Reasons Why the Assertion of Social Control is Increasing in the US:
i. Rising Power of Corporate Elites economic, political, social.
ii. Growing Economic Inequality.
1. How could extreme inequality lead to a decline in liberty for a society?
a. The rich can subvert constitutional democracy; through buying votes,
influence, and media, only the rich have true political representation.
b. We no longer become a nation of laws where all people are equal under the
c. 99% of society is increasingly hurting, increasingly angry, and a police state
is required to control them.
iii. The Bottom-Up Organizing Power of the Internet.
1. Unpredictable protesting.
2. Uncontrollable hacking.
3. Bash Mobs.
4. Threat of direct voting.
iv. The Potential for Climate Change and Pollution Related Disasters.
1. Rising seas and nuclear power.
2. Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
3. Threats to social order and the rule of law arise.
v. What about rising crime, drug abuse, and terrorism?
12) Oligarchy Economic and political rule by an elite few.
a. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/21/americas-oligarchy-not-democracy-orrepublic-unive/
13) The State A nations governmental organization plus all of its security apparatuses (do not use for
concepts assignment too easy).
14) Legitimacy whether and how much the ruled support the rule of the rulers.No state can rule for long
without high levels of legitimacy. Low levels of state legitimacy brings revolution to a society. The need
for legitimacy forces a state to assert social control slowly, and in fits and starts in order to avoid outright
revolt. Thus the citizenry in the USA has become the proverbial frog in the heating soon to be boiling
water. But in the end the importance of legitimacy trumps the hubris of power, and thus, societies
eventually move back towards stable healthy formations.
a. Ukraine example:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stK3YPz6WTc
15) Rate the amount of occurrence of a social phenomena divided by population. Controls for varying
population sizes by giving a number per set amount of people. 1 per every 10,000 for example.
a. USA 300 million people. China 900 million people (lets say). Lets say each has an incarcerated
population of 3 million people. Which nation has a higher rate of incarceration?
i. 3/300 = .01 x 10,000 = A rate of 100 per 10,000 incarcerated in US.
ii. 3/900 = .033 x 10,000 = A rate of 33 per 10,000 incarcerated in China.
16) Collective effervescence an intense energy in shared events where people feel swept up in something
larger than themselves a concert, a sporting event, a choir, a church.Typically positive in character, when
collective effervescence turns dark, we call it a riot, or mob behavior.
17) Solidarity – union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests or hardship (many
times can increase the likelihood of devotion to societal rules; but sometimes decreases devotion to societal
rules resulting in rebellion).
18) Falsifiable When theory and research are presented in a way so that others can repeat the research and
potentially find the theory untrue.
a. The Search for the God Particle.
b. The search for God.
19) Stratification ranking systems that perpetuate unequal rewards and life opportunities in society along with
a. Hindu Caste System.
b. US race, gender, class.
20) Validation When someone you respect and/or love reflects back to you something you want/need to
believe about yourself. True validation can only be achieved through social interaction; it cannot be
bought, it cannot be taken, it must be given.
21) Social Construction When meaning, understanding, perception and identity are determined through social
interaction with other human beings.
a. The self is socially constructed.
b. Race is socially constructed too.
22) Primary and Secondary Groups Primary groups are groups involving intense contact over long duration
and are characterized by feelings of love, respect, and loyalty; interaction tends to be supportive.
Secondary groups are groups that develop for a specific purpose at a particular time and then disband when
the purpose is completed or abandoned; interaction in secondary groups tends to be more competitive than
a. Owing to the informational age, primary groups are shrinking while secondary groups are
exploding, causing
b. That disorienting distinctly 21st century feeling of being ever more connected, and yet ever more
isolated at the same time.
23) Totalitarianism when the state has complete control over peoples entire lives their persona through
media control, their bodies through invasive searches and surveillance, their decisions through the potential
for extreme psychological and/or physical punishments often achieved through mass surveillance and
intrusive security measures.
a. 1984.
b. Nazi Germany.
c. The US Security State?


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The study of social change involves a complex understanding of various sociological concepts that form the foundation of this field. To delve deeper into the subject, 10 key concepts have been identified, which have been covered in the lecture videos and notes. Each of these concepts has been defined specifically, and their application in real-world scenarios has been explored. Through this assignment, students are expected to gain a nuanced understanding of social change and develop critical thinking skills to apply these concepts in practical situations.


This assignment focuses on the application of 10 key sociological concepts that are central to the study of social change. The chosen concepts have been explored in detail through the lecture videos and notes, and their precise definitions have been provided to help students gain clarity. Through this assignment, students will be required to apply each concept to a potentially real-world situation that approximates its application in practical life. The assignment is designed to promote critical thinking and encourage students to formulate nuanced perspectives on social phenomena. The guidelines for the assignment include specific formatting requirements, citation guidelines, and instructions on choosing complex concepts that have not been covered before. Overall, this assignment aims to develop students’ analytical skills and deepen their knowledge of social change concepts.

– To understand key concepts related to the study of social change
– To be able to define and apply sociological concepts to real-world situations

Learning Outcomes:
– Students will demonstrate knowledge of at least 10 key sociological concepts related to social change
– Students will be able to precisely define each concept and apply it to a potentially real-world situation
– Students will have a deeper understanding of the complexity of social reality and how ideologies can impact our perspectives
– Students will understand the potential implications and consequences of the Singularity, a future point where AI becomes so capable that it can make its own AI

1) Ideology – a fixed worldview or philosophy that people use to understand the complex social reality. Liberalism and Conservatism are two examples.
2) Paradox – a seemingly contradictory statement or phenomenon.
3) The Singularity – a future point where AI becomes so capable that it can make its own AI. This will lead to an explosion of innovation and technological change that is incomprehensible to current human beings.
4) Cultural Hegemony – the dominance of a particular culture over others, achieved through socialization and the sustained exercise of power.
5) Social Stratification – the division of a society into hierarchical layers, based on factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status.
6) Social Constructionism – a theory that suggests that the shared understanding of the world and reality is constructed by society and shaped by cultural and social norms.
7) Power and Conflict – the idea that power is unequally distributed in society, leading to conflicts between different groups.
8) Collective Behaviour – the spontaneous and unstructured behaviour of a group of people in response to social, political, or economic circumstances.
9) Social Deviance – behaviour that violates the norms and rules of society.
10) Social Change – changes in social institutions, social behaviours and relationships, and the normative frameworks that govern them.

Real-World Application Example:
– Cultural Hegemony: In the United States, English is largely considered to be the dominant language. This has led to a lack of recognition and support for other languages such as Spanish and Mandarin in society, which impacts the opportunities available to those who do not speak English fluently.
– Power and Conflict: The #MeToo movement, which started in response to sexual assault and harassment allegations, highlights the unequal distribution of power between men and women in society and the need for change.
– Social Stratification: The racial wealth gap in the United States is an example of how structural factors such as systemic racism lead to unequal distribution of wealth between different races.
– Collective Behaviour: The Arab Spring protests in 2010-2011 were an example of spontaneous and unstructured collective behaviour of people in response to political and social conditions.
– Social Deviance: Drug use is often considered to be social deviant behaviour, but some argue that this label is more complex and influenced heavily by social and economic factors.
– Social Change: The legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States was an example of a significant societal change and a shift in the norms and values surrounding LGBTQ+ rights.

Solution 1:

Concept: Ideology
Definition: A set of beliefs, ideas, and values that shape the way individuals and groups perceive and understand the world around them.

Application to real-world scenario: Many people who identify as conservatives in the United States hold a strong belief in the importance of individual freedom. However, this ideology may not always align with their support for policies that restrict the rights of marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community. This paradox reveals how even those who strongly hold an ideology may not always logically align their beliefs with their actions.

Concept: The Singularity
Definition: A point in the near future when artificial intelligence (AI) becomes so advanced that it can create its own AI, leading to exponential technological changes and a new era of trans-humanism.

Application to real-world scenario: The advancement of AI has already begun to change the labor market and economy, with many low-skill jobs becoming automated and creating new professions in programming and AI development. The Singularity, however, may bring about changes in human biology and consciousness, leading to a potential shift in what it means to be human and function in society.

Solution 2:

Concept: Paradox
Definition: A seemingly irrational or contradictory situation that challenges conventional logic and understanding.

Application to real-world scenario: The paradox of democracy arises when citizens exercise their right to vote, but the outcome of the vote can lead to decisions that go against the interests of certain groups in society. For example, a majority vote to restrict the rights of a minority group may be seen as going against the fundamental principles of democracy.

Concept: The Singularity
Definition: A point in the near future when AI has advanced to an extent that it can create its own AI, leading to exponential technological changes and a new era of trans-humanism.

Application to real-world scenario: As AI and automation continue to advance, the potential shift towards technological singularity raises ethical concerns about the possible consequences of creating superintelligent machines. The concerns around AI development and control reflect the potential for unexpected and potentially catastrophic consequences that could accompany rapid technological change.

Suggested Resources/Books:

1. “The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology” by Ray Kurzweil
2. “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig
3. “The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties” by Daniel Bell
4. “Against Democracy” by Jason Brennan
5. “Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators” by Clay Shirky

Similar Asked Questions:

1. What is the Singularity and what are the potential implications of it for society?
2. How do ideologies shape individual and collective perceptions and actions?
3. Can paradoxes be resolved and if so, how?
4. What ethical considerations should be taken into account when developing AI technologies?
5. How does technology impact democracy and political systems?

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