SOC 3701 Midterm Exam Review Guide

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Midterm Review Guide SOC 3701 SP 2012.doc

Hello Students,

Here is the midterm review guide for Social Theory. I encourage you to form study groups and draw on all the course materials-- readings, lecture slides, notes, and this blog-- to study.

Please remember, if you have questions about anything on this guide or trouble understanding the material, come to office hours or make an appointment with us. Please do not ask us to explain things over email, but we are more than happy to talk theory with you in person!

Very Best and Happy Studying,


1 Comment

John Scallon

Olson uses the analogy of common interest of that of a competitive market. It is to my understanding that the firms in the market represent organization with common interest, because it is comprised of individuals with individual interests. Yet, every firm, or common interest, is in conflict with every other firm, or common interest, because every firm wants to sell as much of a product as they can. Using the basic supply and demand curve, if output is increased price will fall. So the irony of the collective action of common interests interacting in a competitive market is that, as Olson would argue, is self-destructive.

Public good, as defined by Olson, are the most fundamental services provided by a nation or state that are available to everyone and everyone within the limits of the nation or state. These services are funded by mandatory taxation, not based on trust, just as inescapable as death itself. Within the jurisdiction of the nation common goals can be formed, and the fact that a goal is common is also to say that no one in the group is excluded from the possible achievement. As expressed on page 114, “the achievement of any common goal or the satisfaction of any common interest means that a public or collective good has been provided for that group”. Individuals working together within an organization who are provided with the possibility of benefit through the organization take on the idea of common interest of the other members, or generalized benefit, in order to have self gain. State is the first line of providing public goods, covering the most geological space; it provides the most basic services to citizens. Within the state are other organizations such as places of business which provide, other more specific, benefits provided to help the greater good, or generalized benefit.

This model is sensible, but I do not feel it plays out in real life. For a white male yes, this could be spot-on accurate, but what I do not believe to be true is that “the most fundamental services are provided….. they must be available to everyone if they are available to anyone” (114). I do not believe that objective law enforcement, provided by the state, is provided to everyone equally or at all. Law enforcement is often times discriminative about race and gender, and it is hard to say that the minorities have the same benefits as the rest of the whole. In writing, yes they do, but in practice, no they do not.

-John Scallon

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Whetstone published on February 23, 2012 11:01 AM.

Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge - Reading Questions was the previous entry in this blog.

Blog #5: Self and Society: Mead, Simmel, Du Bois is the next entry in this blog.

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