As pointed out in Chapter 3 , more than one-half of births to native-born Asian and Hispanic persons involve a spouse or partner of a different ethnic group. Because births are generally to younger couples although not all are married , recent fertility data demonstrate increased intermarriage rates for younger persons.
Those who believe that current immigrants from Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean are less assimilable than those from European countries may be making two important errors. First, they may assume current racial categories to be fixed and essential—yet rising intermarriage means that the boundaries between groups may blur in the future. Our ideas of what constitutes a race or a racial difference are likely to be very different in a few decades, just as they are. Second, they may assume that the cultures of non-European groups will continue to be very different from what they think of as the core American culture.
Yet that core American culture has absorbed a number of groups who were defined as racially different in the past, and it may do so again in the future. Both sides of the assimilation equation are in effect moving targets. Groups that seem racially different now may not always seem so, and the core American culture into which groups are assimilating is itself constantly changing and evolving as it absorbs new influences.
Immigrants contribute customs of dress and cuisine, national celebrations, and cultural expressions to the mosaic of American society. Some immigrants even discover their ethnic heritage in America as part of their socialization into the American ethnic community of earlier immigrant waves. As time passes and the descendants of earlier immigrant waves mingle through intermarriage, ethnic cultures have become defined as part of general American culture. The Americanization of St. Patrick's Day as a day of public celebration and the marketing of pizza, bagels, tacos, and sushi as American fast food suggest that immigrant culture is quickly incorporated into the broader America cultural framework.
Although the facts of how fast or how well immigrants and their children are being integrated into American society are subject to debate, the deeper questions revolve around the interpretation of the incomplete, and sometimes confusing, empirical record. Observers may agree that a glass is half-full, but then disagree over whether it will soon be filled or remain permanently half-full. Interpretations about the future are inevitably drawn from empirical generalizations about the past and the broader theories generated in light of this history.
On the basis of a close study of immigrants in Chicago during the early decades of immigration in this century as well as ethnic relations in other societies, Robert Park posited a sequential model of interethnic relations of four stages: contact, conflict, accommodation, and assimilation Park, ; Park and Burgess, Park suggested that assimilation would come about eventually, not that it would be quick or painless. Indeed, the stages of conflict and accommodation which included, for example, the institutionalized inequality of Jim Crow laws could be long-term adjustments in many industrial societies.
More recent researchers have moved away from asserting one global dimension of assimilation to delineating specific spheres of assimilation acculturation and structural, marital, identity, and other dimensions that may move at different paces Gordon, The logic of industrialism is the shift from local and kinship-based employing institutions to bureaucratic organizations, which recruit labor more on the basis of skills and potential productivity than on family background or national origins Treiman, Representative political institutions.
Even if these economic and political processes are imperfect and limited, they will act to erode the boundaries of separate and traditional ethnic groups, although the process may take several generations. In recent years, considerable doubts have been expressed that the assimilation process will work for the post wave of immigrants and their children the way it did for the immigrant wave of the early twentieth century.
One primary difference often noted is that of race. The earlier wave of immigration was primarily from Europe, and the model of assimilation was that of acculturation and socioeconomic mobility into the majority white Anglo-Saxon American society. Although the children of European immigrants often lost their ethnic roots and mother tongue, that was the price to be paid for the acquisition of American culture defined as that of middle-class whites , which was considered part of upward social mobility.
The "exchange" of culture for social mobility may be quite different for the new immigrants, in this view, because they share a racial or ethnic identity with minorities that may preclude easy access into the majority white world. If the loss of ethnic distinctiveness leads to their becoming indistinguishable from native-born blacks or Hispanics, then assimilation may mean joining the culture of the urban ghetto.
Immigrants are thought, in some models of assimilation, to have some advantages over native-born minorities in the labor market. Because immigrants evaluate jobs here relative to conditions in their country of origin rather than to an "American" standard, they may be more willing to accept low-paying, "dead-end" jobs than are many native-born Americans.
Immigrants often find employment through social networks that reassure employers about their work habits. For immigrants who are nonwhite, employers may take their immigrant status to be more important than their ''racial" status. Herbert Gans notes the strong possibility that the post second generation may face socioeconomic decline relative to their parents, if members of the second generation encounter few chances for upward mobility and refuse to accept the low-level and poorly paid jobs that their immigrants parents held.
Negative attitudes toward school, opportunity, hard work, and the "American dream" are prevalent among poor American youth of all groups, but are considered most common in the ethnic ghettos with concentrated poverty. If available jobs do not offer wages that allow for upward mobility of the second generation, and minorities face discrimination in the workplace, then the second generation may face downward mobility into the underclass of American society.
Using material from ethnographic case studies and a survey of second-generation schoolchildren in Miami and San Diego, Portes and Zhou describe the various outcomes of different groups of second-generation youth as "segmented assimilation. Contemporary immigrants are hetero-. Other immigrants come with strong ethnic networks and access to capital that leads to participation in ethnic businesses and residence in ethnic neighborhoods.
These different streams of immigration and many in between create different "segments" of opportunities that are linked to the identities and allegiances formed as the children of immigrants reach adolescence. Second-generation youth whose ties to American minorities are stronger, and whose parents lack the ability to provide jobs for and protect them, may develop an adversarial stance toward the dominant white society, similar to that of some members of native-born minorities.
Portes and Zhou contrast Chinese and Korean immigrants with Haitians. Chinese and Korean immigrants are absorbed into ethnic communities with strong kinship or religious ties that link the first generation to rich ethnic networks of job opportunities and that reinforce loyalty and obedience in their children see also Kim, ; Min, ; Sung, Haitians, who are often perceived as black Americans, face much greater discrimination from the dominant institutions.
Haitian children must also face pressure from their black American peers to adapt to black culture in school. Portes and Zhou stress that this peer culture takes an adversarial view of upward mobility, school success, and the like. Like Gans, they conclude that members of the second generation who identify with America's minority groups are likely to experience downward social mobility also see Ogbu, Becoming an American includes learning about American race classification systems and about American racial attitudes and prejudices.
Although first-generation immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean may not see themselves in terms of American racial categories, the second generation may do so. For instance, a large proportion of Dominicans in New York are dark in color and would be classified as black by most Americans. These immigrants do not identify themselves as black, because in the Dominican Republic to be partly white means to be nonblack Grasmuck and Pessar, Will the children of these immigrants adopt the American view and identify as black?
What influence will the way others see them have on the way the children of the immigrants see themselves? Some researchers argue that whether immigrants see themselves as "ethnics" or "minorities" will influence political and social outcomes for the group Skerry, ; Smith, Those in the second generation who have experienced racial discrimination and who identify racially as a minority may be more likely to adopt an oppositional stance.
The social and occupational mobility and economic success of the children of immigrants will depend in large part on their educational attainment. Empirical studies of the assimilation since are relatively few, and it would be premature to draw strong conclusions. Several studies conclude that second-generation children who maintain a strong attachment to their immigrant. Children from tight-knit immigrant families see success in school not primarily as an avenue for individual mobility or independence, but rather as a way to bring honor and success to their families.
One of the key questions is the direction of causation. Does a strong sense of immigrant identity heighten motivations for success, or do those who are successful tend to identify more with families and immigrant heritage than with their native-born school peers? If the latter is true, then the segmented assimilation hypothesis may be a better account of variations in socioeconomic mobility within immigrant communities than between them. In their study of the educational progress of the children of immigrants, Portes and MacLeod show that the children of Cuban and Vietnamese immigrants do much better than the children of Mexican and Haitian immigrants—independent of social class—because the collective identities of these groups have been shaped by the particular mode of their incorporation into American society.
Consistent with this interpretation are the results of studies by Waters and Eschbach of the types of identities developed by second-generation West Indian youth in New York City. Students from middle-class backgrounds were more likely to maintain ties to their parents' ethnic identities and to resist categorization as black Americans. Poor and working-class youth in segregated neighborhoods were far more likely to reject their parents' stress on West Indian identity and to develop a strong identity as black Americans.
These identities were also closely related to perceptions of discrimination and racism in American society. Those who saw discrimination and blocked opportunity developed more oppositional theories of how to "make it" in American society and were more likely to identify with American black youth. The type of identification was highly correlated with levels of educational success and thus future prospects.
Similarly, Foley finds strong differences among Mexican American youth in South Texas, with upwardly mobile Mexican American youth maintaining some aspects of an oppositional identity, yet succeeding academically and valuing academic success in a way that the values of working-class Mexican American youth did not allow.
Kao and Tienda examined the educational performance of immigrant youth using the National Educational Longitudinal Study of They found that "Hispanic, black and white students with immigrant parents performed as well as their native-born counterparts whose parents were US born, and that Asian students with foreign-born parents outperformed their counterparts whose parents were US born" p. They also found "little difference between the educational performance of first and second generation youth. Yet both groups tend to outperform their third generation or higher counterparts on various scholastic outcomes" p.
In a multivariate analysis of these data, he finds that time in the United States and second-generation status are connected to declining academic achievement and aspirations, net of other factors. Indeed, having one parent who was born in the United States, and having friends who are not also children of immigrants, were associated with lower grades.
A very sensitive issue surrounding immigration is language.
Although the United States does not have an official language, most public discourse is in English. Except for the very young, all immigrants arrive with language skills—in their own language. If that language is not English, or if they do not know English as a second language, the critical question is how quickly immigrants acquire English language facility. Of course, many immigrants have English skills even when they first arrive—some because English is the mother tongue in their home country, and others because, though raised in non-English-speaking countries, they have attended English language schools.
Nearly three-fifths of immigrants who arrived in the s reported in the census that they spoke English well or very well see Table 8. The groups with the greatest ability were immigrants from Canada, followed by those from South America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Indeed, almost all of those from countries where English is dominant reported that they speak English. Language distribution for respondents in a new immigrant survey of the United States. Where English is an official but not dominant language—Hong Kong, India, and the Philippines—a relatively high proportion of immigrants report high proficiency.
The lowest levels of proficiency were reported by those from poor non-English-speaking countries: three-fourths of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries, and almost half of immigrants from other foreign-language-speaking countries reported that they speak English either not well or not at all. Among those groups, the most common languages spoken were, in rank order, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese see Figure 8. Over time and with extended exposure to the new language, immigrants who have arrived without English skills tend to acquire them.
As Figure 8. Among recent immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, 47 percent report that they speak English well or very well within about two-years after arrival. The percentage of those with high proficiency increases steadily with length of residence, reaching 88 percent for immigrants who have been here 30 years or more.
Among immigrants with long-term residence, only 3 percent report speaking English not well or not at all. One possibility is that this improvement in English skills over time may be not so much the product of simple everyday exposure or of formal instruction as an artifact of the return to their home countries of a sizable proportion of the immigrants from any entry cohort. Drawing firm conclusions about these notions of the relations between emigration and competence in English is difficult without longitudinal studies.
Reviewing the evidence available from decennial. Percentage of immigrants from non-English-speaking countries who speak English well or very well, by period of immigration, Source: Stevens The other process affecting English language skills is the language of the children of immigrants. With rare exceptions, native-born persons have competence in English. Many children of immigrants have skills in two languages—English and the language of their parents' country of origin. And although some children of immigrants face special challenges in school because of the bilingual nature of their environment, English language proficiency is almost universal Portes and Schauffler, The data we have assembled suggest that, even though the United States does not explicitly require immigrants to speak English, in the nature of the selection process for immigration many already do when they arrive, and the majority learn it eventually.
Virtually all secondand third-generation descendants have good English language skills. Naturalization is a milepost along the path of many immigrants' adjustment to U. Although a significant fraction of immigrants remain permanent resident aliens all their lives, many others seek to become U. Naturalization brings with it certain advantages. First, naturalized citizens may sponsor immediate family relatives parents, spouses, and minor children for immigration without numerical limit.
Adult children of naturalized citizens move into a higher preference category, making it easier to bring them into the United States. Second, naturalization confers almost all the rights. Naturalized citizens may vote, and they gain broader access to public assistance programs. Across countries, the rights of citizenship by birth are typically based on two principles: on descent from a citizen of the country and on birthplace.
As Table 8. The United States, like Australia and Canada, places primary weight on birthplace; however, children born outside the United States to a U. There is more substantial variation in the procedures for acquiring citizenship through naturalization. The United States permits naturalization after five-years, about the middle of the 3 to 12 year span across countries.
The annual number of naturalizations in the United States has been increasing steadily since about , reaching approximately , in recent years. The year saw a dramatic increase to 1. But they are not eligible to serve as president or vice president, nor, under certain state and federal laws, may they work in certain occupations, such as jobs requiring a security clearance with citizenship as a prerequisite. Naturalized citizens may also be deported under certain conditions. All countries have naturalization procedures through which citizenship may be acquired.
Countries derived from English common law, including Australia, Canada, and the United States, use the term "citizenship," whereas European countries and Japan, for example, refer to the term "nationality. Special rules for U. As of April , according to Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates, Of this population, about 5. Of course, foreign-born persons do not have to seek citizenship and can continue to reside and work indefinitely with a permanent residence status.
About half of the population with permanent visa status population resides in either California 35 percent of the total group or New York 14 percent : these are two states that could be affected in a major way, through eligibility to vote or to seek public assistance, by large-scale increases in naturalization. TABLE 8. Some countries have different requirements for children of unknown parentage.
Many countries have special rules for citizenship of adopted children. See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for more information. Source: Interviews with consulate officials at the U. Immigration and Naturalization Service and embassies in Washington, D. To put naturalization into historical perspective, in and over 50 percent of the country's foreign-born residents were citizens. The proportion dropped below that in and , in association with the large-scale immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe; it then climbed to over 70 percent in.
Children under 18 years of age need not pay the latter fee. There is no fee for children. A second reason seems to lie in the historically low rate of naturalization of Mexican immigrants, who have dominated recent immigration but who have tended to be sojourners. A related factor is that the U. As residence of the foreign-born in general lengthens and, as seems likely, more Mexican immigrants seek naturalization, the number of applications will rise and the proportion of the foreign-born who are naturalized citizens will expand.
Several factors may account for the propensity to naturalize. One study of immigrants from all countries who became permanent resident aliens in reveals that, by 10 years after immigration, 30 percent had naturalized Jasso and Rosenzweig, Among immigrants from Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania, the proportion was much higher, at 45 percent, and it was much lower among immigrants from Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America—only 20 percent of whom became citizens within 10 years. Canadian and Mexican immigrants had particularly low rates. Gender also plays a role. Adult men, aged 21 to 55 years, are more likely to become citizens than are women, according to census data Jasso and Rosenzweig, Inasmuch as men generally take the lead in sponsoring family members for immigration, this difference may reflect the incentive men have to improve their standing as sponsors of their immediate families.
Immigrants from English-speaking countries other than Canada are more likely to naturalize than are those from other countries, suggesting that language facilitates integration into U. Citizenship is one marker of the eventual assimilation of an immigrant into American society. Although rates of naturalization are at an all-time low, mainly due to Mexican immigrants, the evidence is that propensities to naturalize are now increasing rapidly, in part due to the added benefits attached to citizenship. Citizenship is not an issue for the descendants of immigrants, all of whom are citizens at birth.
Questions about immigration often focus on the potential adverse consequences on American society because of their numbers, geographical concentra-. Census data provide information about naturalization, allowing us to calculate the proportion naturalized of current foreign-born residents. These data must be treated with some caution, however, because some foreign-born residents, such as students on nonimmigrant visas, are enumerated in the decennial census but are not eligible for naturalization.
What is more rarely asked is the alternative question: What have immigrants contributed to American society? Even to pose to the question requires a shift of perspective. It is not possible to provide a full accounting to this question, in large part because data on the participation and contributions of immigrants and their children in most spheres of American society are simply not available.
Immigrants and their descendants may have effects on many institutions that are outside the scope of this report's inquiry. Immigrants affect the quality of American schools, the range and growth of churches in a community, and the interests and views in the local political arena. We limit our attention here, however, and do not examine these important possible repercussions of immigration. Rather, our approach is to present some illustrative information on the roles of immigrants in the development of science, art, and other valued fields in America.
Pointing to celebrated cases does show that immigrants have added considerably to the vitality and the richness of our country, but other observers may point to some of the perceived social problems exacerbated by large numbers of immigrants. Therefore, in the next section of the chapter, we examine evidence on the effect of immigration on crime and interethnic tensions in America.
The United States is acknowledged as a world leader in an extraordinary range of fields of endeavor, from science to sports. The question is what part immigration has played and continues to play in this pursuit of excellence. Of course, since almost all Americans are the descendants of immigrants, the assessment of the contributions due to immigration requires some definition. Our method is to measure the representation of immigrants and the children of immigrants in the top ranks of Americans in diverse fields: American winners of Nobel prizes, recipients of Kennedy Center honors, Olympic medalists, and esteemed scientists and other professionals requiring great talent and dedication.
People with exceptional talent may find it easier to gain admission into the United States. So the overrepresentation of immigrants among the extremely talented is, in part, an indication that U. But the presence of talented immigrants may indicate two other mechanisms. One is that the United States is an attractive place of settlement for world-class scientists, artists, and athletes. The second is the benefit that the United States gains by having this very talented group of individuals settle in this country.
Standard data sources, including most biographical references, rarely report all the information necessary to record the numbers of immigrants among prize-winners or selected professions. Place of birth and sometimes citizenship is usually available, but details about the person's naturalization and the nativity of. This means that estimates of the numbers of the second generation are almost never available. Despite these problems of data, it is fairly clear that Americans with recent foreign roots are overrepresented in any classification of Americans who have brought honor and recognition to the United States.
Nobel prizes are awarded to the most distinguished contributions in the arts and sciences, including the Nobel prize for peace. Winners of prizes in the arts and sciences are named by various Swedish academies; the peace prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Table 8. The base for the proportions is the number of winners not the number of prizes.
The first measure counts as a U. The second measure is more stringent, counting as a U. Both measures count as an immigrant anyone born outside the United States. Neither measure is fully satisfactory: not everyone with a U. As shown in Table 8. If immigrants accounted for roughly these same proportions of the U. But the proportion of foreign-born in the United States reached its peak, 15 percent, in , declined to 5 percent in , and climbed back to 8 percent in Moreover, the foreign-born population includes persons besides immi-. Nobel Laureates, to percentage. Note: Measure 1 counts as U.
If the comparison were made solely with immigrants in the overall population, the proportions of immigrants among American Nobel laureates would be even more striking. Immigrants in the United States are represented in all of the fields for which Nobel prizes are awarded. The percentage of U. In the United States, two of the highest honors for a scientist or engineer are election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of distinguished contributions.
The procedures for election involve nomination by an Academy member, with supporting references from several other members, and election at an annual meeting. The National Academy of Sciences currently has 1, members, who represent a wide variety of fields in the physical, biological, and social sciences. The National Academy of Engineering currently has 1, members, of whom , or 14 percent, are foreign-born.
Kennedy Center honors are given annually to persons who throughout their lifetimes have made significant contributions to American culture through the performing arts. Recipients need not be U. Of the 90 recipients from , when the award was first given, to , 22—that is, almost one-fourth—are foreign-born.
Those recognized have made contributions not only to universal culture, as in music, but also to something largely, often quintessentially, American. Immigrant participation in professional sports varies considerably. At one extreme, only 48 of 1, players in the season of the National Football. Eleven Nobel prizes for literature have been awarded to residents of the United States. There are also foreign associate members who are excluded from these numbers. The 1, members are active or emeritus members in the United States.
Examples of recipients who have made contributions to culture beyond anything specifically American include musicians such as Eugene Ormandy and Sir Georg Solti, both from Hungary. League, or 3 percent, were foreign-born. Of these 48, 11 were born in Canada, 8 in Germany, and 4 or fewer in other countries. At the other extreme, of the players in the season of the National Hockey League NHL , or 81 percent, were born outside the United States.
In one case, the Tampa Bay franchise, not a single player of the player roster was U. In between these extremes are immigrants in other professional sports. The National Basketball Association includes 30 foreign-born players of a total of players, or 9 percent. Immigrant basketball players come from around the world, with players from such diverse countries as Lithuania, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and Nigeria.
There are foreign-born baseball players, or 14 percent, of the 1, players on the nation's major league baseball teams. As Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm and Gary Imhoff wrote, "No aspect of immigration is more sensitive, more liable to misinterpretation, and more problematic than the issue of immigration and crime. In , 55 percent of the persons arrested for crimes in New York City were Irish-born and an additional 22 percent were born in other foreign countries Jones, Yet many of these allegedly criminal acts were for minor actions, including public drunkenness and disorderly conduct; the contribution to more serious crime was much smaller.
The gap between popular perceptions about immigration and crime and reality are no narrower today. Measuring the effect of immigration on crime is mired in a statistical maze. The major limitation from existing crime statistics is that immigrant status is often not known. We often do not know who commits a crime; we especially do not know from victim reports whether the person is an immigrant or a native.
Victims are simply not able to tell if a person is an illegal or legal immigrant, or a naturalized or native-born citizen.
Introduction to Sociology/Print version
Almost all of what is know about immigration and crime is from information on those in prison. But not all crimes are detected, and many perpetrators are never apprehended. For many minor crimes, especially crimes involving juveniles, those who are apprehended are not arrested. Only a fraction of those who are arrested are ever brought to the courts for disposition, and only a minority of. Twenty players on the Tampa Bay team were from Canada. Two players were from the Czech Republic, one player was from Russia, and one from Sweden.
At each stage of the criminal justice process, the data record is incomplete, and there is rarely any information on immigrant status beyond a simple measure of foreign birth or citizenship. The short answer to the underlying question is that it is difficult to draw any strong conclusions on the association between immigration and crime. Crime measurement is particularly troublesome for illegal immigrants. Immigrants may be apprehended by federal, state, or local authorities for criminal acts, but many illegal immigrants are apprehended by the Border Patrol and other enforcement officers of the Immigration and Naturalization Service INS.
Many illegal immigrants who are apprehended by Border Patrol agents are voluntarily returned to their home countries and are not ordinarily tabulated in national crime statistics. If immigrants, whether illegal or legal, are apprehended entering the United States while committing a crime, they are usually charged under federal statutes and, if convicted, are sent to federal prisons.
Throughout this entire process, immigrants may have a chance of deportation, or of sentencing that is different from that for a native-born person. Nativity and immigrant status can be assessed for prison inmates, however; it is possible to ask inmates about their place of birth as well as to validate their responses by checking with administrative records.
We use these inmate data to calculate rates of crime per 1, males, aged 18 to 54 years, for citizens and noncitizens see Table 8. The first two columns report crime rates for citizens and noncitizens. The third column shows the ratio of the noncitizen crime rate to the citizen rate; values greater than 1. One finding that is clear from this table is that noncitizens are more likely to be in prison for drug offenses, especially possession of drugs.
Almost one-fifth of prisoners serving sentences for drug offenses are noncitizens, even though. A related measurement issue concerns information on immigrant status. Except data on noncitizens in the federal criminal justice system, we lack comprehensive information on whether arrested or jailed immigrants are illegal immigrants, nonimmigrants, or legal immigrants.
Such information can be difficult to collect because immigrants may have a reason to provide false statements if they reply that they are an illegal immigrant, they can be deported, for instance. And the verification of these data is troublesome because it requires matching INS records with individuals who often lack documentation or present false documents. Noncitizens may have had fewer years residing in the United States than citizens, however, and thus less time in which to commit crimes and be apprehended.
Hence, incarceration rates do not necessarily reflect differences in current crime rates. Sources: Number of prison inmates is from Harlow Table 5. Population data for the number of males, age 18 to 54, by citizenship is from tabulations of the microdata from the census. For other categories of crime, however, noncitizens have lower rates than citizens. For violent offenses, noncitizens have rates of about one-half those of citizens. For property crimes, noncitizens have rates of about one-third those of citizens.
And for public order offenses, noncitizens have rates at about the same rate or slightly lower than those of citizens. Despite these data, there is, however, often a strong perception that high immigration levels and high crime rates are associated. Indeed, the recent high levels of immigration have coincided with the highest rates of incarceration in modern times. The correctional population—which includes persons in prisons and jails, on probation, and on payroll—was less than 1 million in the United States from until about It rose gradually from about 1 million to about 2.
Several good reasons suggest, however, that the temporal association of high immigration and high crime rates is coincidental and not causal. Some, but not all, of the increase in overall crime rates is due to the increase in the number of young people in the population as the baby-boom cohorts entered their teenage and young adult years. Similarly, crime rates have leveled off, and they have actually begun to decline in the mids, although immigration remains at very high levels.
The rise in the imprisoned population is partly due to changes in sentencing policies, resulting in longer prison sentences; most of the increase results from an increase in arrests, principally connected with drug crimes. Finally, using data from crime reports and Current Population Surveys, Butcher and Piehl concluded that an influx of recent immigrants into a community has no association with local crime rates. Although U. In recent decades, the overall trend has been toward more opposition to immigration, but with frequent oscillations, as illustrated in Figure 8.
The fraction of Americans who say they think immigration should be decreased from the current level has risen from less than half of the population in polls taken up until the mids, to roughly two-thirds of the population in more recent polls. To try to understand this shift, we analyzed a set of polling data from that included some questions on immigration.
Our analysis focused on respondents' answers to the question, ''Should immigration be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased? There is no simple link between crime rates and the size of the correctional population. There are many filters between a crime and imprisonment, including the reporting of the crime, the apprehension of the criminal, the sentencing of the criminal to prison, and the length of incarceration. At each stage, variations can occur.
In addition, we included several variables that described economic conditions in the respondent's state of residence such as unemployment rates and income levels , along with the fraction of that state's population that was foreign-born. This analysis is described in detail in Appendix 8.
A and only the highlights are summarized here. Why have feelings about immigration hardened? This shift may have arisen from concern about economic conditions: the fraction of Americans wanting less immigration has been positively correlated over time with the unemployment rate. Some evidence also suggests a relationship between economic concerns and attitudes toward immigration from cross-sectional comparisons: in our analysis of polling data, Americans living in states with relatively low rates of economic growth in recent years are more likely to want immigration to decrease.
The change may be a response to the rise in illegal immigration or to. However, in the same polls no such relationship emerged between unemployment rates and attitudes toward immigration. Others have also found patterns consistent with the idea that economic concerns motivate opposition to immigration. For example, those who say they believe that the U. When individuals in a New Jersey poll were asked why they wanted a decrease in the current number of immigrants, concerns that there would not be enough jobs to go around, or that immigrants take jobs away from native workers, were the reasons most commonly given Espenshade.
Although the majority of Americans now favor decreases in immigration, the strength of this sentiment varies substantially across groups. One might suppose that those who are most likely to face job market competition from immigrants for example, those with job skills that are common among immigrants would be most likely to want decreased immigration. This hypothesis, however, does not always fit very well with the observed differences across groups. For instance, residents of states with a high proportion of immigrants in the population do not differ systematically in their attitudes toward immigration from residents of other states see Table 8.
Neither did our multivariate analysis find any systematic relationship between attitudes and the fraction of a state's population that was foreign-born. Furthermore, there was no significant relationship between region of the country and attitudes toward immigration, despite the regional concentration of immigrants. Given the large numbers of recent immigrants with less than a high school education, Americans with low levels of education appear to face the most job market competition from immigrants, and so might be expected to be most opposed to further immigration.
Education does, in fact, have an important relationship with attitudes, but not the expected one. At the national level, those with less than a high school education do not stand out as having very different attitudes toward immigration see Table 8. The group that does stand out is Americans. Source: Pooled data from Gallup polls taken in June and July The question asked was "In your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased?
The question asked was, "In your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased? Blacks and Hispanics have more favorable attitudes toward immigration than do non-Hispanic whites: 68 percent of non-Hispanic whites favored decreasing immigration in the polls we analyzed, compared with 57 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics. The data we presented earlier that indicate that blacks in general do not live near immigrants may be relevant. Some immigrants appear to be more welcome than others. Americans generally indicate a preference for European immigrants, and immigrants from Asia in turn are generally rated more favorably than are those from Latin America Espenshade and Belanger, At the same time, Americans also attributed positive characteristics to both Asian and Latin American immigrants: both groups were seen by a majority of Americans as hard-working and having strong family values Espenshade and Belanger, In the more detailed analysis in the appendix, at the national level only those with graduate education differ significantly from others in their attitudes toward immigration once we control for other characteristics.
Within the immigration states, there are larger differences associated with education, and those without a high school degree are indeed most opposed to immigration. However, their attitudes never differ significantly from those of high school graduates. Our polling data do not identify Asians, but others have found that Asians also generally have more favorable attitudes toward immigration Espenshade and Hempstead, ; Espenshade, These data include information on ethnicity but do not identify the foreign-born, so differences associated with the two factors cannot be disentangled from one another.
Americans are particularly concerned about illegal immigration, to the point that they greatly overestimate the proportion of immigrants who are in the United States illegally. In a June poll, over two-thirds of respondents believed that the majority of recent immigrants were in the country illegally Espenshade and Belanger, , whereas the U.
Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that net illegal immigration in fact accounts for about 20 to 30 percent of annual net immigrant arrivals Washington Post, This disparity between perceptions and reality complicates the interpretation of Americans' attitudes toward immigration. Part of the recent hardening of attitudes may be due to the widespread media attention paid to the issue of illegal immigration. To sum up, on the basis of polling data, Americans appear to be more opposed to immigration than they have been in the past. It is not possible to pin down the source of this change in attitudes, although concerns about economic conditions and about illegal immigration seem likely candidates.
The majority of Americans now favor decreases in immigration, but there are significant differences across groups in the strength of this sentiment—blacks, Hispanics, and Asians generally have more positive attitudes than do non-Hispanic whites, and Americans with graduate education also have particularly favorable attitudes. Is immigration at high levels exacerbating ethnic and racial tensions in American society? Some authors have suggested that increasing competition between new immigrants and black Americans has led to urban unrest in recent years Miles, ; Morrison, Portes and Stepick describe the riots in the Liberty City area of Miami as stemming in part from the frustrations of black Americans who see Cuban Americans and Haitian Americans leapfrogging ahead of them into better jobs and housing in the Miami area.
Jack Miles wrote an influential piece in the Atlantic Monthly describing the Los Angeles riots of as reflecting tensions between Latino immigrants and black Americans entitled "Blacks vs. These incidents might lead people to conclude that there is growing ethnic tension in American cities, fueled by the ethnic and racial diversity and the absolute numbers of new immigrants currently being absorbed by gateway cities such as Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.
There is little systematic research into how the presence of new immigrants affects American racial and ethnic attitudes, and into the racial and ethnic attitudes of the new immigrants themselves. Researchers have only just begun to explore interminority racial and ethnic attitudes. They found a complex web of interethnic attitudes with regard to threat and competition from other ethnic groups. More black respondents in Los Angeles perceived that competition with Asians was a zero-sum game than had that perception with respect to Hispanics. And more Hispanic respondents perceived that competition with Asians was a zero-sum game than had that perception with respect to blacks in the areas of housing and job competition.
Bobo and Hutchings concluded that "Asian American and Latino respondents who are foreign born tend to perceive greater competition with blacks than do their native-born co-ethnics. Does nativity make a difference in perceptions of discrimination? Using the same data source, Bobo found that, among Asian Americans, the same proportion of foreign-born and native-born reported discrimination 22 percent. But among the other minority groups there were strong nativity differences, which went in opposite directions.
Among Hispanics, the foreign-born were more likely to report discrimination 33 percent compared with 25 percent for the native-born. Among blacks, natives were more likely to report discrimination 62 percent for natives compared with 29 percent for the foreign-born. Waters also finds that foreign-born blacks are much less likely than American-born blacks to see themselves as victims of discrimination. Using survey data collected by the Los Angeles Times, Oliver and Johnson found that Hispanics in that city are generally more antagonistic toward blacks than blacks are toward Hispanics.
They concluded that the black antagonism arises almost exclusively from economic concerns. Hispanics were almost twice as likely as blacks to agree that the other group is more violent than the average group 39 versus 20 percent. The level of antagonism toward Hispanics was much higher among whites than among blacks. Several recent studies have attempted to measure discrimination against immigrants and minorities.
In a survey of hiring practices among Chicago-area employers, Kirschenman and Neckerman found that employers strongly preferred to hire immigrants over inner-city blacks see also Neckerman and Kirschenman, ; Wilson, Our reading of these preliminary studies is that interethnic frictions and occasional violent outbreaks between minorities and immigrants are reflections of the conditions of inner-city life where rates of joblessness and poverty are high, and not signs of the inevitability of antagonism between immigrants and minorities.
Despite employer preferences for immigrant workers over black. During the interval between the two world wars, the children of immigrants from Southern, Eastern and Central Europe made significant socioeconomic gains, in terms of both educational and occupational attainment. Few socioeconomic or cultural differences now separate the descendants of immigrants from Europe. There are competing hypotheses about whether present-day immigrants and their children will make the same generational socioeconomic progress.
Some scholars predict the possibility of second-generation decline for some national-origin groups in the post wave of immigrants, and others predict continuity of historical patterns of assimilation. The future social and economic success of recent immigrants is subject to uncertainty, in part because it is still too early to draw conclusions about the mobility of their children. The early readings are that most immigrants and their children are doing comparatively well.
Some descendants of immigrants, current Asian Americans, for example, clearly are at or above parity with whites in terms of education and occupation, although they have less income. One of the more important indicators of social adaptation is residential integration. On initial arrival and in the early period of residence, past and recent immigrants have tended to settle in certain states and cities, and within particular neighborhoods, creating clusters of people of similar ethnicity. At the turn of the century, most major American cities had large neighborhoods of Italians, Germans, and Irish.
Most of those neighborhoods have now changed, and the descendants of the original immigrants are widely dispersed. In recent years, Cuban and Vietnamese refugees have created similar ethnic neighborhoods. With the possible exception of Mexican immigrants, the available evidence suggests that current ethnic neighborhoods will change with time, as children and grandchildren of the immigrants disperse. Except for young children, all immigrants arrive with language skills. Because public discourse is in English in the United States, the crucial question is how successful immigrants are in adapting to an English-speaking environment.
Many immigrants come from countries where English was the dominant language or where they attended English-speaking schools. Almost three-fifths of immigrants who arrived in the s reported in the census that they spoke English well or very well. Among those immigrants who spoke English with difficulty or not well, most came from non-English-speaking countries, usually Latin America. Although we lack cohort data on immigrants, the available evi-. Today, after three or more generations of descendants of the original immigrants, offspring of European groups are virtually indistinguishable in terms of education, income, occupation, and residence.
Because of extensive intermarriage and the changing patterns of ethnic identification among descendants of European immigrants, the boundaries between different national-origin and ethnic groups-Italians, Irish, Polish, and Jewish, for example-are increasingly blurred.
Introduction to Sociology/Print version - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
If population projections had been done for groups of European origin at the beginning of the twentieth century, they would have failed to predict the voluntary choices of ethnic ancestries of the present U. Under high rates of ethnic intermarriage, ethnic identity becomes quite varied and increasingly a matter of choice. In recent years, ethnic and racial intermarriage has been increasing in this country and is increasingly common among children and grandchildren of Asian and Hispanic immigrants.
Current population projections of the future ethnic composition of the U. American public attitudes about immigration have long been equivocal. The United States has had periods of large-scale immigration, with considerable public support and welcome, and periods of great distrust and antagonism toward immigrants. In the past 50 years, public opinion polls have allowed us to chart more clearly how the American public views immigration and regards immigrants.
Americans have increased their opposition to immigration in recent decades, in part, it appears, because of economic concerns. These attitudes vary greatly, however. College graduates have more positive attitudes toward immigration. Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans tend to have more favorable attitudes toward immigrants than do non-Hispanic whites. Public concerns with immigration are centered on illegal immigration, although the average resident greatly overestimates the proportion of immigrants who are illegal. Over two-thirds of respondents believe that most recent immigrants are illegal, whereas the proportion of illegals among total immigrants is closer to 20 to 30 percent.
The scant available data on crime do not allow us to say much about its relationship to immigration. It is hard to draw firm conclusions from the currently scarce information. The crime rate increased from the s until about , then has declined noticeably for the past six-years. There is no apparent association in these temporal trends with immigration.
From available studies, it appears that overall crime rates have been associated more with other factors, including the changing demographics of the country with shifts in the number of young men , fluctuations in drug use, and changes in the effectiveness of the police and criminal justice system in reducing local crime. The problems of data of the criminal justice system make it very difficult to reach empirical conclu-.
It appears, however, that the major trends in crime are not being driven by immigration. Alba, R. Ethnic and Racial Studies 8 1 : New Haven: Yale University Press. Auster, L. National Review 44 8 Barringer, H. Gardner, and M. New York: Russell Sage. Binder, F. Reimers All the Nations Under Heaven. New York: Columbia University Press. Bobo, L. Sociology has many sub-sections of study, ranging from the analysis of conversations to the development of theories to try to understand how the entire world works. This chapter will introduce you to sociology and explain why it is important, how it can change your perspective of the world around you, and give a brief history of the discipline.
Sociology is a branch of the social sciences that uses systematic methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social structure and activity, sometimes with the goal of applying such knowledge to the pursuit of government policies designed to benefit the general social welfare.
Its subject matter ranges from the micro level to the macro level. Micro-sociology involves the study of people in face-to-face interactions. Macro-sociology involves the study of widespread social processes. Sociology is a broad discipline in terms of both methodology and subject matter. Its traditional focuses have included social relations, social stratification, social interaction, culture and deviance, and its approaches have included both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
As much of what humans do fits under the category of social structure or social activity, sociology has gradually expanded its focus to such far-flung subjects as the study of economic activity, health disparities, and even the role of social activity in the creation of scientific knowledge. The "cultural turn" of the s and s brought more humanistic interpretive approaches to the study of culture in sociology.
Conversely, the same decades saw the rise of new mathematically rigorous approaches, such as social network analysis. The social world is changing. Some argue it is growing; others say it is shrinking. As will be discussed in more detail below, sociology has its roots in significant societal changes e. Early practitioners developed the discipline as an attempt to understand societal changes. Some early sociological theorists e. The founders of sociology were some of the earliest individuals to employ what C. Wright Mills a prominent midth century American sociologist labeled the sociological imagination: the ability to situate personal troubles within an informed framework of social issues.
As Mills saw it, the sociological imagination could help individuals cope with the social world by helping them to step outside of their personal, self-centric view of the world. In employing the sociological imagination, people are able to see the events and social structures that influence behavior, attitudes, and culture.
The sociological imagination goes beyond armchair sociology or common sense. Many people believe they understand the world and the events taking place within it, even though they have not actually engaged in a systematic attempt to understanding the social world, as sociologists do.
Humans like to attribute causes to events and attempt to understand what is taking place around them. Just as sacrificing two goats to ensure the safe operation of a Boeing and propitiate Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god is an attempt to influence the natural world without first trying to understand how it works,  armchair sociology is an attempt to understand how the social world works without employing scientific methods.
It would be inaccurate to say sociologists never sit around even sometimes in comfy armchairs trying to figure out how the world works. But induction is just a first step in understanding the social world. In order to test their theories, sociologists get up from their armchairs and enter the social world. They gather data and evaluate their theories in light of the data they collect a.
Sociologists do not just propose theories about how the social world works. Sociologists test their theories about how the world works using the scientific method. Sociologists, like all humans, have values , beliefs , and even pre-conceived notions of what they might find in doing their research. But, as Peter Berger , a well-known sociologist, has argued, what distinguishes the sociologist from non-scientific researchers is that "[the] sociologist tries to see what is there. He may have hopes or fears concerning what he may find. But he will try to see, regardless of his hopes or fears.
It is thus an act of pure perception Sociology, then, is an attempt to understand the social world by situating social events in their corresponding environment i. Sociology is a relatively new academic discipline. It emerged in the early 19th century in response to the challenges of modernity. Increasing mobility and technological advances resulted in the increasing exposure of people to cultures and societies different from their own. The impact of this exposure was varied, but for some people included the breakdown of traditional norms and customs and warranted a revised understanding of how the world works.
Sociologists responded to these changes by trying to understand what holds social groups together and also exploring possible solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity. The term sociology was recoined by Auguste Comte in from the Latin term socius companion, associate and the Greek term logia study of, speech. Comte hoped to unify all the sciences under sociology; he believed sociology held the potential to improve society and direct human activity, including the other sciences.
While it is no longer a theory employed in Sociology, Comte argued for an understanding of society he labeled The Law of Three Stages. Comte, not unlike other enlightenment thinkers, believed society developed in stages. The first was the theological stage where people took a religious view of society. The second was the metaphysical stage where people understood society as natural not supernatural. Comte's final stage was the scientific or positivist stage , which he believed to be the pinnacle of social development.
In the scientific stage, society would be governed by reliable knowledge and would be understood in light of the knowledge produced by science, primarily sociology. While vague connections between Comte's Law and human history can be seen, it is generally understood in Sociology today that Comte's approach is a highly simplified and ill-founded approach to understanding social development see instead demographic transition theory and Ecological-Evolutionary Theory. Other classical theorists of sociology from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include W.
As pioneers in Sociology, most of the early sociological thinkers were trained in other academic disciplines, including history, philosophy, and economics. The diversity of their trainings is reflected in the topics they researched, including religion , education , economics , psychology , ethics , philosophy , and theology. Perhaps with the exception of Marx, Stanton, and Woolf, their most enduring influence has been on sociology, and it is in this field that their theories are still considered most applicable.
As a descendant of the French Enlightenment, Comte was impressed, as were many of the philosophes, with the Newtonian revolution. Comte argued for a particular view of sociological theory: All phenomena are subject to invariable natural laws, and sociologists must use their observations to uncover the laws governing the social universe, in much the same way as Newton had formulated the law of gravity. Comte emphasized this agenda in the opening pages of Positive Philosophy :.
Third, clearly the goal of sociological activity is to reduce the number of theoretical principles by seeking only the most abstract and only those that pertain to understanding fundamental properties of the social world. Comte felt that philosophy had done as much as possible in terms of understanding the human condition. He believed that it was time for a "positivistic" approach.
That meant studying things that were of an empirical testable nature. He thought that sociology must be based on observation, not intuition or speculation. Comte thus held a vision of sociological theory as based on the model of the natural sciences, particularly the physics of his time.
For this reason, he preferred the term social physics to sociology. The first book with the word sociology in its title was assembled in the 19th century by the English philosopher Herbert Spencer. In the United States, the first Sociology course was taught at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in under the title Elements of Sociology the oldest continuing sociology course in America. The first full fledged university department of sociology in the United States was established in at the University of Chicago by Albion W.
Small , who in founded the American Journal of Sociology. International cooperation in sociology began in when Rene Worms founded the small Institut International de Sociologie that was eclipsed by the much larger International Sociologist Association starting in In the American Sociological Association , the world's largest association of professional sociologists, was founded. Early sociological studies considered the field to be similar to the natural sciences , like physics or biology.
As a result, many researchers argued that the methodology used in the natural sciences was perfectly suited for use in the social sciences. The effect of employing the scientific method and stressing empiricism was the distinction of sociology from theology , philosophy , and metaphysics.
This also resulted in sociology being recognized as an empirical science. This early sociological approach, supported by August Comte, led to positivism , a methodological approach based on sociological naturalism. The goal of positivism, like the natural sciences, is prediction. But in the case of sociology, it is prediction of human behavior, which is a complicated proposition.
The goal of predicting human behavior was quickly realized to be a bit lofty. Scientists like Wilhelm Dilthey and Heinrich Rickert argued that the natural world differs from the social world, as human society has culture , unlike the societies of most other animals e. As a result, an additional goal was proposed for sociology.
Max Weber  and Wilhelm Dilthey  introduced the concept of verstehen. Outside observers of a culture relate to an indigenous people on both the observer's and the observeds' own terms in order to comprehend the cultural conditions. While arriving at a verstehen-like insight into a culture employs systematic methodologies like the positivistic approach of predicting human behavior, it is often a more subjective process.
The inability of sociology and other social sciences to perfectly predict the behavior of humans or to fully comprehend a different culture has led to the social sciences being labeled "soft sciences. Any animal as complex as humans is bound to be difficult to fully comprehend. What's more, humans, human society, and human culture are all constantly changing, which means the social sciences will constantly be works in progress.
The contrast between positivist sociology and the verstehen approach has been reformulated in modern sociology as a distinction between quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches, respectively. Quantitative sociology is generally a numerical approach to understanding human behavior. Surveys with large numbers of participants are aggregated into data sets and analyzed using statistics, allowing researchers to discern patterns in human behavior.
Qualitative sociology generally opts for depth over breadth. The qualitative approach uses in-depth interviews, focus groups, or analysis of content sources books, magazines, journals, TV shows, etc. These sources are then analyzed systematically to discern patterns and to arrive at a better understanding of human behavior. Drawing a hard and fast distinction between quantitative and qualitative sociology is a bit misleading. The first step in all sciences is the development of a set of questions and ideas that may be empirically examined.
After this initial stage, however, researchers typically take one of two paths, which may be seen to varying degrees in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. While most qualitative researchers begin analyzing data in hopes of generating theories that could later be tested in other studies,  most quantitative researchers begin by elaborating testable hypotheses from existing theories. While this initial step demonstrates nuanced variations in methodology, the approaches really begin to differ in relation to the second step - data collection.
Quantitative sociology mostly focuses on numerical representations of the research subjects e. Qualitative sociology generally focuses on the ideas found within the discourse, rhetoric, and activities of the research subjects e. The social sciences comprise the application of scientific methods to the study of the human aspects of the world. Psychology studies the human mind and micro-level or individual behavior; sociology examines human society; political science studies the governing of groups and countries; communication studies the flow of discourse via various media; economics concerns itself with the production and allocation of wealth in society; and social work is the application of social scientific knowledge in society.
Social sciences diverge from the humanities in that many in the social sciences emphasize the scientific method or other rigorous standards of evidence in the study of humanity. In ancient philosophy, there was no difference between the liberal arts of mathematics and the study of history, poetry or politics. Only with the development of mathematical proof did there gradually arise a perceived difference between scientific disciplines and the humanities or liberal arts. Thus, Aristotle studied planetary motion and poetry with the same methods; Plato mixed geometrical proofs with his demonstration on the state of intrinsic knowledge.
This unity of science as descriptive remained, for example, in the time of Thomas Hobbes , who argued that deductive reasoning from axioms created a scientific framework. His book, Leviathan , was a scientific description of a political commonwealth. Within decades of Hobbes' work a revolution took place in what constituted science , particularly with the work of Isaac Newton in physics.
Newton, by revolutionizing what was then called natural philosophy , changed the basic framework by which individuals understood what was scientific. While Newton was merely the archetype of an accelerating trend, the important distinction is that for Newton the mathematical flowed from a presumed reality independent of the observer and it worked by its own rules. For philosophers of the same period, mathematical expression of philosophical ideals were taken to be symbolic of natural human relationships as well: the same laws moved physical and spiritual reality. For examples see Blaise Pascal , Gottfried Leibniz and Johannes Kepler , each of whom took mathematical examples as models for human behavior directly.
In Pascal's case, the famous wager; for Leibniz, the invention of binary computation; and for Kepler, the intervention of angels to guide the planets. In the realm of other disciplines, this created a pressure to express ideas in the form of mathematical relationships. Such relationships, called Laws after the usage of the time see philosophy of science became the model that other disciplines would emulate.
In the late 19th century, attempts to apply equations to statements about human behavior became increasingly common. Among the first were the Laws of philology, which attempted to map the change overtime of sounds in a language. In the early 20th century, a wave of change came to science. Statistics and probability theory were sufficiently developed to be considered "scientific", resulting in the widespread use of statistics in the social sciences they are also widely used in most other sciences as well, including biology.
The first thinkers to attempt to combine scientific inquiry with the exploration of human relationships were Emile Durkheim in France and William James in the United States. Durkheim's sociological theories and James' work on experimental psychology had an enormous impact on those who followed. One of the most persuasive advocates for the view of scientific treatment of philosophy is John Dewey He began, as Marx did, in an attempt to weld Hegelian idealism and logic to experimental science, for example in his Psychology of However, it is when he abandoned Hegelian constructs and joined the movement in America called Pragmatism that he began to formulate his basic doctrine on the three phases of the process of inquiry:.
With the rise of the idea of quantitative measurement in the physical sciences see, for example Lord Rutherford 's famous maxim that any knowledge that one cannot measure numerically "is a poor sort of knowledge" , the stage was set for the division of the study of humanity into the humanities and the social sciences. Alongside these developments, Pragmatism facilitated the emergence of qualitative social science via the ethnographic and community-based endeavors of the Chicago School in the 's and 's. The combination of these quantitative and qualitative advancements thus established social science as an empirical endeavor distinct from the humanities.
Although sociology emerged from Auguste Comte's vision of a discipline that would subsume all other areas of scientific inquiry, that was not to be the future of sociology. Far from replacing the other sciences, sociology has taken its place as a particular perspective for investigating human social life. Sociology has been a multi-disciplinary subject since its existence In the past, sociological research focused on the organization of complex, industrial societies and their influence on individuals. Today, sociologists study a broad range of topics.
For instance, some sociologists research macro-structures that organize society, such as race or ethnicity , social class , gender , and institutions such as the family. Other sociologists study social processes that represent the breakdown of macro-structures, including deviance , crime , and divorce. Additionally, some sociologists study micro-processes such as interpersonal interactions and the socialization of individuals.
It should also be noted that recent sociologists, taking cues from anthropologists, have realized the Western emphasis of the discipline. In response, many sociology departments around the world are now encouraging multi-cultural research. The next two chapters in this book will introduce the reader to more extensive discussions of the methods and theory employed in sociology.
The remaining chapters are examinations of current areas of research in the discipline. Berger, Peter L Garden City, New York: Anchor. Mead, George Herbert. Mind, Self, and Society. University of Chicago Press. In spite of these conflicts, Pat continued to think about the recommendations mentioned in an article written by a social scientist, who had carefully examined the life trajectories of large numbers of people who had graduated from various colleges across the U. Those recommendations were again completely different than those made by friends and family. With all this different information, how could Pat make the right choice?
The goal of this chapter is to introduce the methods employed by sociologists in their study of social life. This is not a chapter on statistics nor does it detail specific methods in sociological investigation. The primary aim is to illustrate how sociologists go beyond common sense understandings in trying to explain or understand social phenomena. They do not see the world as we normally do, they question and analyze why things happen and if there is a way to stop a problem before it happens.
At issue in this chapter are the methods used by sociologists to claim to speak authoritatively about social life. There are dozens of different ways that human beings claim to acquire knowledge. A few common examples are:. Authority : Choosing to trust another source for information is the act of making that source an authority in your life. Parents, friends, the media, religious leaders, your professor, books, or web pages are all examples of secondary sources of information that some people trust for information.
Experience : People often claim to have learned something through an experience, such as a car accident or using some type of drug. Some physical skills, such as waterskiing or playing basketball, are acquired primarily through experience. On the other hand, some experiences are subjective and are not generalizable to all. Logic : Simple deduction is often used to discern truth from falsity and is the primary way of knowing used in philosophy.
I might suggest that if I fall in a swimming pool full of water, I will get wet. If that premise is true and I fall in a swimming pool, you could deduce that I got wet. Tradition : Many people who live in societies that have not experienced industrialization decide what to do in the future by repeating what was done in the past. Even in modern societies, many people get satisfaction out of celebrating holidays the same way year after year. Fast-paced change in modern societies, however, makes traditional knowledge less and less helpful in making good choices.
Revelation : Some people claim to acquire knowledge believed to be valid by consulting religious texts and believing what is written in them, such as the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Book of Mormon. Others claim to receive revelations from a higher power in the form of voices or a general intuitive sense of what one should do. Science : The scientific method combines the use of logic with controlled experience, creating a novel way of discovery that marries sensory input with careful thinking.
By adopting a model of cause and effect, scientists produce knowledge that can explain certain phenomena and even predict various outcomes before they occur. These methods of claiming to know certain things are referred to as epistemologies. An epistemology is simply a way of knowing. In Sociology, information gathered through science is privileged over all others.
That is, information gleaned using other epistemologies will be rejected if it is not supported by evidence gathered using the scientific method. A scientific method or process is considered fundamental to the scientific investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon verifiable evidence. In addition to employing the scientific method in their research, sociologists explore the social world with several different purposes in mind.
Like the physical sciences i. This approach to doing science is often termed positivism though perhaps more accurately should be called empiricism. The positivist approach to social science seeks to explain and predict social phenomena, often employing a quantitative approach where aspects of social life are assigned numerical codes and subjected to in-depth analyses to uncover trends often missed by a casual observer.
This approach most often makes use of deductive reasoning , which initially forms a theory and hypothesis, which are then subjected to empirical testing. Unlike the physical sciences, sociology and other social sciences, like anthropology also often seek simply to understand social phenomena.
Max Weber labeled this approach Verstehen , which is German for understanding. This approach, called qualitative sociology, aims to understand a culture or phenomenon on its own terms rather than trying to develop a theory that allows for prediction. Qualitative sociologists more frequently use inductive reasoning where an investigator will take time to make repeated observations of the phenomena under study, with the hope of coming to a thorough and grounded understanding of what is really going on. Both approaches employ a scientific method as they make observations and gather data, propose hypotheses, and test or refine their hypotheses in the formulation of theories.
These steps are outlined in more detail below. Sociologists use observations, hypotheses, deductions, and inductions to understand and ultimately develop explanations for social phenomena in the form of theories. Predictions from these theories are tested. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. If not, the theory is modified or discarded.
The method is commonly taken as the underlying logic of scientific practice. Science is essentially an extremely cautious means of building a supportable, evidenced understanding of our natural and social worlds. The essential elements of a scientific method are iterations and recursions of the following four steps:. A scientific method depends upon a careful characterization of the subject of the investigation.
The systematic, careful collection of measurements, counts or categorical distinctions of relevant quantities or qualities is often the critical difference between pseudo-sciences, such as alchemy , and a science, such as chemistry. Scientific measurements are usually tabulated, graphed, or mapped, and statistical manipulations, such as correlation and regression , performed on them.
The measurements might be made in a controlled setting, such as a laboratory, or made on more or less inaccessible or unmanipulatable objects such as human populations. The measurements often require specialized scientific instruments such as thermometers, spectroscopes, or voltmeters, and the progress of a scientific field is usually intimately tied to their invention and development. These categorical distinctions generally require specialized coding or sorting protocols that allow differential qualities to be sorted into distinct categories, which may be compared and contrasted over time, and the progress of scientific fields in this vein are generally tied to the accumulation of systematic categories and observations across multiple natural sites.
In both cases, scientific progress relies upon ongoing intermingling between measurement and categorical approaches to data analysis. Measurements demand the use of operational definitions of relevant quantities a. That is, a scientific quantity is described or defined by how it is measured, as opposed to some more vague, inexact or idealized definition. The operational definition of a thing often relies on comparisons with standards: the operational definition of mass ultimately relies on the use of an artifact, such as a certain kilogram of platinum kept in a laboratory in France.
In short, to operationalize a variable means creating an operational definition for a concept someone intends to measure. Similarly, categorical distinctions rely upon the use of previously observed categorizations. A scientific category is thus described or defined based upon existing information gained from prior observations and patterns in the natural world as opposed to socially constructed "measurements" and "standards" in order to capture potential missing pieces in the logic and definitions of previous studies.
In both cases, however, how this is done is very important as it should be done with enough precision that independent researchers should be able to use your description of your measurement or construction of categories, and repeat either or both. The scientific definition of a term sometimes differs substantially from its natural language usage.
For example, sex and gender are often used interchangeably in common discourse, but have distinct meanings in sociology. Scientific quantities are often characterized by their units of measure which can later be described in terms of conventional physical units when communicating the work while scientific categorizations are generally characterized by their shared qualities which can later be described in terms of conventional linguistic patterns of communication. Measurements and categorizations in scientific work are also usually accompanied by estimates of their uncertainty or disclaimers concerning the scope of initial observations.
The uncertainty is often estimated by making repeated measurements of the desired quantity. Uncertainties may also be calculated by consideration of the uncertainties of the individual underlying quantities that are used. Counts of things, such as the number of people in a nation at a particular time, may also have an uncertainty due to limitations of the method used.
Counts may only represent a sample of desired quantities, with an uncertainty that depends upon the sampling method used and the number of samples taken see the central limit theorem. A hypothesis includes a suggested explanation of the subject. In quantitative work, it will generally provide a causal explanation or propose some association between two variables. If the hypothesis is a causal explanation, it will involve at least one dependent variable and one independent variable.
In qualitative work, hypotheses generally involve potential assumptions built into existing causal statements, which may be examined in a natural setting. Variables are measurable phenomena whose values or qualities can change e. A dependent variable is a variable whose values or qualities are presumed to change as a result of the independent variable. In other words, the value or quality of a dependent variable depends on the value of the independent variable.
Of course, this assumes that there is an actual relationship between the two variables. If there is no relationship, then the value or quality of the dependent variable does not depend on the value of the independent variable. An independent variable is a variable whose value or quality is manipulated by the experimenter or, in the case of non-experimental analysis, changes in the society and is measured or observed systematically. Perhaps an example will help clarify.
Promotion would be the dependent variable. Change in promotion is hypothesized to be dependent on gender. Scientists use whatever they can — their own creativity, ideas from other fields, induction, deduction, systematic guessing, etc. There are no definitive guidelines for the production of new hypotheses. The history of science is filled with stories of scientists claiming a flash of inspiration , or a hunch, which then motivated them to look for evidence to support, refute, or refine their idea or develop an entirely new framework.
A useful quantitative hypothesis will enable predictions, by deductive reasoning, that can be experimentally assessed. If results contradict the predictions, then the hypothesis under examination is incorrect or incomplete and requires either revision or abandonment. If results confirm the predictions, then the hypothesis might be correct but is still subject to further testing. Predictions refer to experimental designs with a currently unknown outcome.
A prediction of an unknown differs from a consequence which can already be known. Once a prediction is made, a method is designed to test or critique it. The investigator may seek either confirmation or falsification of the hypothesis, and refinement or understanding of the data. Though a variety of methods are used by both natural and social scientists, laboratory experiments remain one of the most respected methods by which to test hypotheses. Scientists assume an attitude of openness and accountability on the part of those conducting an experiment.
Detailed record keeping is essential, to aid in recording and reporting on the experimental results, and providing evidence of the effectiveness and integrity of the procedure. They will also assist in reproducing the experimental results. The experiment's integrity should be ascertained by the introduction of a control or by observation of existing controls in natural settings. In experiments where controls are observed rather than introduced, researchers take into account potential variables e.
On the other hand, in experiments where a control is introduced, two virtually identical experiments are run, in only one of which the factor being tested is varied. This serves to further isolate any causal phenomena. For example in testing a drug it is important to carefully test that the supposed effect of the drug is produced only by the drug.
Doctors may do this with a double-blind study: two virtually identical groups of patients are compared, one of which receives the drug and one of which receives a placebo. Neither the patients nor the doctor know who is getting the real drug, isolating its effects. This type of experiment is often referred to as a true experiment because of its design. It is contrasted with alternative forms below. Once an experiment is complete, a researcher determines whether the results or data gathered are what was predicted or assumed in the literature beforehand. If the experiment appears successful - i.
An experiment is not an absolute requirement. In observation based fields of science actual experiments must be designed differently than for the classical laboratory based sciences. Sociologists are more likely to employ quasi-experimental designs where data are collected from people by surveys or interviews, but statistical means are used to create groups that can be compared. For instance, in examining the effects of gender on promotions, sociologists may control for the effects of social class as this variable will likely influence the relationship.
Unlike a true experiment where these variables are held constant in a laboratory setting, quantitative sociologists use statistical methods to hold constant social class or, better stated, partial out the variance accounted for by social class so they can see the relationship between gender and promotions without the interference of social class. The four components of research described above are integrated into the following steps of the research process. Qualitative sociologists generally employ observational and analytic techniques that allow them to contextualize observed patterns in relation to existing hierarchies or assumptions within natural settings.
Thus, while the true experiment is ideally suited for the performance of quantitative science, especially because it is the best quantitative method for deriving causal relationships , other methods of hypothesis testing are commonly employed in the social sciences, and qualitative methods of critique and analysis are utilized to fact check the assumptions and theories created upon the basis of "controlled" rather than natural circumstances. The scientific process is iterative. At any stage it is possible that some consideration will lead the scientist to repeat an earlier part of the process.
For instance, failure of a hypothesis to produce interesting and testable predictions may lead to reconsideration of the hypothesis or of the definition of the subject. It is also important to note that science is a social enterprise, and scientific work will become accepted by the community only if it can be verified and it "makes sense" within existing scientific beliefs and assumptions about the world when new findings complicate these assumptions and beliefs, we generally witness paradigm shifts in science . All scientific knowledge is in a state of flux, for at any time new evidence could be presented that contradicts a long-held hypothesis, and new perspectives e.
For this reason, scientific journals use a process of peer review , in which scientists' manuscripts are submitted by editors of scientific journals to usually one to three fellow usually anonymous scientists familiar with the field for evaluation. The referees may or may not recommend publication, publication with suggested modifications, or, sometimes, publication in another journal. Sometimes peer review inhibits the circulation of unorthodox work, and at other times may be too permissive. The peer review process is not always successful, but has been very widely adopted by the scientific community.
The reproducibility or replication of quantitative scientific observations, while usually described as being very important in a scientific method, is actually seldom reported, and is in reality often not done. Referees and editors often reject papers purporting only to reproduce some observations as being unoriginal and not containing anything new. Occasionally reports of a failure to reproduce results are published - mostly in cases where controversy exists or a suspicion of fraud develops.
The threat of failure to replicate by others as well as the ongoing qualitative enterprise designed to explore the veracity of quantitative findings in non-controlled settings , however, serves as a very effective deterrent for most quantitative scientists, who will usually replicate their own data several times before attempting to publish. Sometimes useful observations or phenomena themselves cannot be reproduced in fact, this is almost always the case in qualitative science spanning physical and social science disciplines. They may be rare, or even unique events.
Reproducibility of quantitative observations and replication of experiments is not a guarantee that they are correct or properly understood. Errors can all too often creep into more than one laboratory or pattern of interpretation mathematical or qualitative utilized by scientists. In the scientific pursuit of quantitative prediction and explanation, two relationships between variables are often confused: correlation and causation. While these terms are rarely used in qualitative science, they lie at the heart of quantitative methods, and thus constitute a cornerstone of scientific practice.
Correlation refers to a relationship between two or more variables in which they change together. A positive correlation means that as one variable increases e. A negative correlation is just the opposite; as one variable increases e. Causation refers to a relationship between two or more variables where one variable causes the other. In order for a variable to cause another, it must meet the following three criteria:. An example may help explain the difference. Ice cream consumption is positively correlated with incidents of crime.
Employing the quantitative method outlined above, the reader should immediately question this relationship and attempt to discover an explanation. It is at this point that a simple yet noteworthy phrase should be introduced: correlation is not causation. If you look back at the three criteria of causation above, you will notice that the relationship between ice cream consumption and crime meets only one of the three criteria they change together.
The real explanation of this relationship is the introduction of a third variable: temperature. Ice cream consumption and crime increase during the summer months. Thus, while these two variables are correlated, ice cream consumption does not cause crime or vice versa. Both variables increase due to the increasing temperatures during the summer months. It is often the case that correlations between variables are found but the relationship turns out to be spurious.
Clearly understanding the relationship between variables is an important element of the quantitative scientific process. Like the distinction drawn between positivist sociology and Verstehen sociology, there is - as noted above in the elaboration of general scientific methods - often a distinction drawn between two types of sociological investigation: quantitative and qualitative. For instance, social class, following the quantitative approach, can be divided into different groups - upper-, middle-, and lower-class - and can be measured using any of a number of variables or a combination thereof: income, educational attainment, prestige, power, etc.
Quantitative sociologists also utilize mathematical models capable of organizing social experiences into a rational order that may provide a necessary foundation for more in depth analyses of the natural world importantly, this element of quantitative research often provides the initial or potential insights that guide much theoretical and qualitative analyses of patterns observed - numerically or otherwise - beyond the confines of mathematical models. Quantitative sociologists tend to use specific methods of data collection and hypothesis testing, including: experimental designs , surveys , secondary data analysis , and statistical analysis.
Further, quantitative sociologists typically believe in the possibility of scientifically demonstrating causation, and typically utilize analytic deduction e. Finally, quantitative sociologists generally attempt to utilize mathematical realities e. Qualitative methods of sociological research tend to approach social phenomena from the Verstehen perspective. Rather than attempting to measure or quantify reality via mathematical rules, qualitative sociologists explore variation in the natural world people may see, touch, and experience during their lives.
As such, these methods are primarily used to a develop a deeper understanding of a particular phenomenon, b explore the accuracy or inaccuracy of mathematical models in the world people experience, c critique and question the existing assumptions and beliefs of both scientists and other social beings, and d refine measurements and controls used by quantitative scientists via insights gleaned from the experiences of actual people. While qualitative methods may be used to propose or explore relationships between variables, these studies typically focus on explicating the realities people experience that lie at the heart or foundation of such relationships rather than focusing on the relationships themselves.
Qualitatively oriented sociologists tend to employ different methods of data collection and analysis, including: participant observation , interviews , focus groups , content analysis , visual sociology , and historical comparison. Further, qualitative sociologists typically reject measurement or quantities essential to quantitative approaches and the notion or belief in causality e. Finally, qualitative sociologists generally attempt to utilize natural realities e.
While there are sociologists who employ and encourage the use of only one or the other method, many sociologists see benefits in combining the approaches. They view quantitative and qualitative approaches as complementary. Results from one approach can fill gaps in the other approach. For example, quantitative methods could describe large or general patterns in society while qualitative approaches could help to explain how individuals understand those patterns.
Similarly, qualitative patterns in society can reveal missing pieces in the mathematical models of quantitative research while quantitative patterns in society can guide more in-depth analysis of actual patterns in natural settings. In fact, it is useful to note that many of the major advancements in social science have emerged in response to the combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques that collectively created a more systematic picture of probable and actual social conditions and experiences.
Sociologists, like all humans, have values, beliefs, and even pre-conceived notions of what they might find in doing their research. Because sociologists are not immune to the desire to change the world, two approaches to sociological investigation have emerged. By far the most common is the objective approach advocated by Max Weber. Weber recognized that social scientists have opinions, but argued against the expression of non-professional or non-scientific opinions in the classroom.
Weber did argue that it was acceptable for social scientists to express their opinions outside of the classroom and advocated for social scientists to be involved in politics and other social activism. The objective approach to social science remains popular in sociological research and refereed journals because it refuses to engage social issues at the level of opinions and instead focuses intently on data and theories.
The objective approach is contrasted with the critical approach, which has its roots in Karl Marx's work on economic structures. Anyone familiar with Marxist theory will recognize that Marx went beyond describing society to advocating for change. Marx disliked capitalism and his analysis of that economic system included the call for change.
This approach to sociology is often referred to today as critical sociology see also action research. Some sociological journals focus on critical sociology and some sociological approaches are inherently critical e. Building on these early insights, the rise of Feminist methods and theories in the 's ushered in an ongoing debate concerning critical versus objective realities. Drawing on early Feminist writings by social advocates including but not limited to Elizabeth Cady Stanton , Alice Paul , Ida Wells Barnett , Betty Friedan , and sociological theorists including but not limited to Dorothy Smith , Joan Acker , and Patricia Yancey Martin , Feminist sociologists critiqued "objective" traditions as unrealistic and unscientific in practice.
Specifically, they - along with critical theorists like Michel Foucault , bell hooks , and Patricia Hill Collins - argued that since all science was conducted and all data was interpreted by human beings and all human beings have beliefs, values, and biases that they are often unaware of and that shape their perception of reality see The Social Construction of Reality , objectivity only existed within the beliefs and values of the people that claimed it. Stated another way, since human beings are responsible for scientific knowledge despite the fact that human beings cannot be aware of all the potential biases, beliefs, and values they use to do their science, select their topics, construct measurements, and interpret data, "objective" or "value free" science are not possible.
Rather, these theorists argued that the "personal is political" e. Whether or not scientists explicitly invoke their personal opinions in their teaching and research, every decision scientists make will ultimately rely upon - and thus demonstrate to varying degrees - their subjective realities. Some examples of the subjective basis of both "objective" and "critical" sociology may illustrate the point. First, we may examine the research process for both objective and critical sociologists while paying attention to the many decisions people must make to engage in any study from either perspective.
These decisions include:. As you can see above, the research process itself is full of decisions that each researcher must make. As a result, researchers themselves have no opportunity to conduct objective studies because doing research requires them to use their personal experiences and opinions whether these arise from personal life, the advice of the people that taught them research methods, or the books they have read that were ultimately subject to the same subjective processes throughout the process.
As a result, researchers can - as Feminists have long argued - attempt to be as objective as possible, but never actually hope to reach objectivity. This same problem arises in Weber's initial description of teaching. For someone to teach any course, for example, they must make a series of decisions including but not limited to:. As a result, Weber's objectivity dissolves before the teacher ever enters the classroom. Whether or not the teacher or researcher explicitly takes a political, religious, or social stance, he or she will ultimately demonstrate personal stances, beliefs, values, and biases implicitly throughout the course.
Although the recognition of all science as ultimately subjective to varying degrees is fairly well established at this point, the question of whether or not scientists should embrace this subjectivity remains an open one e. Further, there are many scientists in sociology and other sciences that still cling to beliefs about objectivity, and thus promote this belief political in and of itself in their teaching, research, and peer review. As a result, the debate within the field continues without resolution, and will likely be an important part of scientific knowledge and scholarship for some time to come.
Ethical considerations are of particular importance to sociologists because of the subject of investigation - people. Because ethical considerations are of so much importance, sociologists adhere to a rigorous set of ethical guidelines. The most important ethical consideration of sociological research is that participants in sociological investigation are not harmed.
While exactly what this entails can vary from study to study, there are several universally recognized considerations. For instance, research on children and youth always requires parental consent. Research on adults also requires informed consent and participants are never forced to participate. Confidentiality and anonymity are two additional practices that ensure the safety of participants when sensitive information is provided e. To ensure the safety of participants, most universities maintain an institutional review board IRB that reviews studies that include human participants and ensures ethical rigor.
It has not always been the case that scientists interested in studying humans have followed ethical principles in their research. Several studies that, when brought to light, led to the introduction of ethical principles guiding human subjects research and Institutional Review Boards to ensure compliance with those principles, are worth noting, including the Tuskegee syphilis experiment , in which impoverished black men with syphilis were left untreated to track the progress of the disease and Nazi experimentation on humans.
A recent paper by Susan M. Reverby  found that such unethical experiments were more widespread than just the widely known Tuskegee study and that the US Government funded a study in which thousands of Guatemalan prisoners were infected with syphilis to determine whether they could be cured with penicillin. Ethical oversight in science is designed to prevent such egregious violations of human rights today. Sociologists also have professional ethical principles they follow. Obviously honesty in research, analysis, and publication is important. Sociologists who manipulate their data are ostracized and can have their memberships in professional organizations revoked.
Conflicts of interest are also frowned upon. A conflict of interest can occur when a sociologist is given funding to conduct research on an issue that relates to the source of the funds. For example, if Microsoft were to fund a sociologist to investigate whether users of Microsoft's product users are happier than users of open source software e.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen, as several high profile cases illustrate e. But the disclosure of conflicts of interest is recommended by most professional organizations and many academic journals. A comprehensive explanation of sociological guidelines is provided on the website of the American Sociological Association.
Having discussed the sociological approach to understanding society, it is worth noting the limitations of sociology. Because of the subject of investigation society , sociology runs into a number of problems that have significant implications for this field of inquiry:. While it is important to recognize the limitations of sociology, sociology's contributions to our understanding of society have been significant and continue to provide useful theories and tools for understanding humans as social beings.
Charmaz, Kathy. Blumer, Herbert. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Sociologists develop theories to explain social phenomena. A theory is a proposed relationship between two or more concepts.