Sociology Glossary

A Glossary of Sociology Concepts used by The Other Sociologist.

This is an evolving document I will add to from time to time.

  • Applied sociology: non-academic researchers and activists who work with clients and community groups primarily outside universities.
  • Blackface: exaggerated stage makeup that has been historically used to ridicule and subjugate African Americans in comedy acts, plays and movies. William Mahar has traced the history of blackface to an appropriation of Italian and English play conventions, which were adopted in American minstrels (musical acts and skits) in the early 1800s. (From my Images of Otherness post.)
  • Eating the Other: Term used by bell hooks in Black Looks: Race and Representation. Refers to pop culture’s fascination with portraying non-white or Indigenous cultures as primitive, exotic, uncivilised, violent and threatening to ‘Western’ people (women especially). This term also addresses how popular culture repackages and exploits indigenous religions in reductionist and insensitive ways. (From my Images of Otherness post.)
  • Habitus: a term popularised by Pierre Bourdieu. It refers to a lifetime process of socialisation where people absorb ideas about history and culture, and reproduce them without a conscious appreciation of how their ideas of reality came to be formed.
  • Otherness: refers to groups that are defined as being different from the norm, marginalised, fetishised or rendered invisible from mainstream society. (Read more on my Otherness page.)
  • Sociology: the study of culture and its impact upon social membership in different societies.
  • White privilege: the process by which a dominant White culture “normalises” White experiences so that members of the dominant group do not see how racial relations are set up to benefit them. Refer to Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack.

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