Sociology Index

Sociology Topical Index & Dictionary - B

Background Knowledge - Background knowledge as used by ethnomethodologists refers to commonsense reasoning. Members of society, and sociologists, use background knowledge of culture and social structure as an unstated source of guidance in their reasoning.

Base (Infrastructure) - Base is a concept from Marxism that refers to the mode of production of a society: the social and technical organization of its economy. Karl Marx argued that it is upon this base that the superstructure of the society - its institutions and culture - are built. While the social institutions and culture of society are shaped by this base, at the same time, they help to maintain and reproduce the mode of production and may, in certain conditions contribute to its transformation.

Belief - Belief is the degree to which an individual believes in conventional values, morality, and the legitimacy of law. In Travis Hirschi's work, aspects of the ‘social bond’. Belief is also an important factor when measuring social bonds and is defined as the “acceptance of a conventional value system” (Durkin et al., 1999). The four components of social bond theory are attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief (Hirschi, 1969).

Behavior - Behavioral Science is the analysis of human behavior and major social institutions and phenomena, including social inequality, the family, politics, economics, and health from a sociological perspective. 

Berdache or Two Spirits - Berdache is generally a male who takes on the roles of women and who may also dress as a woman and engage in sexual intimacy with men. Berdache also refers to a transvestite or a person given to transvestitism. More recently, the term ‘Two Spirits’, which has traditional roots, has been preferred. While the term berdache is sometimes used to refer to women who take on male roles there do not appear to have been female berdache in North America and authors tend to prefer the term ‘amazon’ to describe these women.

Berlin Wall - Berlin Wall of concrete and minefields was built in 1961 between the eastern sector of the city of Berlin and the western sector. The wall was built at the direction of the Soviet Union to prevent migration from east to west and to minimize cultural contact between east and west. With the uprising against communism in east Germany, the east German government was forced to declare free rights of emigration for all citizens and in December of 1989 the Wall was opened for free passage.

Bilineal Descent - Bilineal descent is system of family descent where blood links and rights of inheritance through both male and female ancestors are of equal importance. Tracing kinship through both parents. The most common form is bilateral descent. A system of tracing descent through both the mother’s and father’s sides of the family.

Biotechnology And Bioethics - The impact of biotechnology on the life, environment, food and culture is bound to be enormous, encompassing the physical and the metaphysical world. Though biotechnology will help improve the quality of life, the ethical issues are bound to raise a lot of debate and opposition. While some political leaders of the world are able to appreciate the biotechnological developments, all the religious pigheads are hell-bent on obstructing everything that seems to take away the given powers of God.

Bivariate Analysis - Bivariate analysis is concerned with the relationships between pairs of variables (X, Y) in a data set. Bivariate analysis, explores the concept of association between two variables. The association is based on how two variables simultaneously change together, that is, the notion of co-variation.
Bivariate analysis is the simultaneous analysis of two variables. It is usually undertaken to see if one variable is related to another variable. Multivariate analysis is the simultaneous analysis of three or more variables.

Blog or WebLog - Blog is the short form for Web Log. Blog has revolutionized the way one's thought is communicated to the world through the medium of Internet.There are thousands of blogs maintained by people from different countries and of all age groups. Web Logs or Blogs are thus a rich source of information for sociological and psychological study. Web Logs or Blogs can reflect the state of the society and also the government through the bloggers views. Blogs gained popularity during elections and the recent war in Iraq.

Blue-collar Crime - Blue-collar crime is any crime committed by an individual from a lower social class as opposed to white-collar crime which is associated with crime committed by individuals of a higher social class. There may be more white collar crime than blue collar crime. Those employed in relatively unskilled environments and living in inner-city areas have fewer "situations" to exploit.

Bourgeois Class - Bourgeois was originally a citizen or freeman of a city or burgh, as distinct from a peasant or a gentleman. Now, bourgeois is any member of the middle class. "Bourgeois" was formally a legal category in society, defined by conditions such as length of residence and source of income. Bourgeois was originally a (particularly French) citizen or freeman of a city or burgh.

Bracketing - Bracketing approach focuses on revealing the beliefs, ideas and values that are simply taken for granted in the social world. By suspending belief in the naturalness and normality of the social world (placing what are normally automatic assumptions in ‘brackets’) bracketing reveals the underlying thinking and values that people bring to bear in understanding the world and engaging in social action.

Brave New World - ‘Brave new world’ is the the title of a 1932 book by futurist and social critic, Aldous L Huxley (1894-1963). In the ‘brave new world’ Huxley imagines the authorities of society use new technologies, drugs and instruments of propaganda like subliminal advertising to keep people happy and unaware or unconcerned about what is actually happening to them and their communities.

Bride Price - 'Bride price' is the transfer of wealth or possessions by the groom or, more typically, his family, to the bride's family on marriage. 'Bride price' is a payment of money or goods made to a bride or her parents by the bridegroom or his parents.

Broken Window Theory - Broken window theory suggests promoting walking-the-beat form of policing on the basis that indicators of neighbourhood disrepair such as a broken window foster criminality. The logic is that signs of neighbourhood decay lead residents to withdraw from public life of the neighbourhood and thereby reduce the efficacy of informal social control, leaving the area open for serious criminal misdemeanours.

Brown vs Topeka Board of Education - 'Brown vs Topeka Board of Education' was a case before the Supreme Court of the United States which resulted in a 1954 ruling that set aside a Kansas statute that permitted cities of over 15,000 to maintain separate schools for blacks and whites. The court ruled that all segregation in public schools was inherently unequal, thus beginning the desegregation of schooling and eventually of other public places and programs.

Bureaucracy - Bureaucracy is a formal organization with clearly defined objectives, a hierarchy of specialized roles and systematic processes of direction and administration. Bureaucracy can be found in earlier times in history in administration of agricultural irrigation systems, the Roman army, the Catholic church, though it is prominently visible in the large-scale administration of agencies of the modern state and modern business corporations.