Motives and Mechanisms

1) List Weber's four types of social action.


The Problem of Social Order

1) Provide one brief example of social disorder in Montegrano.



1) List at least one totem Durkheim discusses in his analysis of

Australian religious groups.

2) Describe the crime story told by Cohen and Vandello at the beginning of

their essay.



1) What does Freud mean by the "narcissism of minor differences"?

2) According to Durkheim, who is more likely to commit suicide - a student

living in a fraternity or dormitory?  Why?



1)      According to Horne, how did the public come to disapprove of drunken driving?

2)      According to Goffman, what are “open regions”?


Power and Authority

1) How is charismatic authority legitimated?

2) Why don't the students, described in the Willis reading, try to do well

in school?

3) How is bureaucratic authority legitimated?


Spontaneous Order

1)      What is a zero-sum game?

2)      From the Schelling reading, describe the “dying seminar”.

3)      What is a “sucker’s payoff” defined by Axelrod?

4)      What kind of industry was observed by Adam Smith to illustrate the benefits of the division of labor?







There is much concern about what happens in Afghanistan after the US military deposes the current Taliban regime. President Bush is now advocating some kind of nation-building strategy to foster social order in this mountainous society characterized by strife for power between several contentious ethnoreligious groups. Based on the lectures and readings in this course, identify different ways of creating social order that the U.S. government may decide to promote.


[For the basic background information on social conditions and current situation in Afghanistan, see the following websites: 

Note, however, that neither a comprehensive discussion of Afghanistan’s history, culture, and society, nor a detailed assessment of the actual American policy toward the Taliban regime are the objectives of your essay. Instead, focus on the general possibilities for creating social order in a deeply divided and war-torn country such as Afghanistan]





This exam has two parts. The first part is designed to test your understanding of Durkheim’s theory of suicide. You should describe the theory–including the outcome Durkheim is trying to explain, the cause(s) he identifies, and the mechanisms/behavioral assumptions linking the cause to the effect. You should also explain the implications of his theory for understanding social order.


The second part of the exam is designed to test your ability to apply theories to new empirical situations. International terrorism has become a topic of heightened interest to Americans. Apply Durkheim’s theory to explain terrorism. Under what conditions would we expect to see more or less terrorism? What does the theory suggest about ways of reducing terrorism? Be sure to explain how the causes, mechanism, and outcomes that you describe are related to those that Durkheim identifies in his theory.





Choose three of the following theorists: Durkheim (Suicide), Hobbes, Smith, or Tocqueville. Describe each scholar’s theory. Be sure to identify and discuss the causes, outcomes, mechanisms, and logic of the arguments. Also describe the contribution of each to our understanding of the problem of order.


Many Americans view drug use as a serious problem. Apply the three theories you described above to the problem of drug use in the United States. What would each theory identify as the cause of the problem? What policy solution does each theory suggest? Be sure to explicitly connect the theoretical concepts and mechanisms to the empirical indicators and solutions that you discuss.





Technological changes are thought to affect social life. One such change is the introduction and spread of the internet. People are interested in the kinds of effects the internet will have. Your task on this exam is to use two of the theories that we have discussed to address this issue. Choose one theory from the Meaning section and a second theory from the Values and Norms section. Describe each theory (50% of grade). Then apply each theory – what would each predict about the effect that the internet will have on social life (50% of grade)?





Currently the United States, as well as others in the international community, are very concerned about a potential threat from Iraq. They believe that Iraq is producing weapons of mass destruction and may also be facilitating terrorism. Kofi Anan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has asked you – an expert on the problem of social order – to provide advice on ways of responding to this threat. He would like you to suggest various possible strategies and the likely consequences of each.


To answer his question, you should refer to the various theories of social order we have discussed in class. Choose one theory from the Groups and Networks section, one theory from the Power and Authority section, and one theory from either the Meaning or the Norms and Values section. Describe each theory – including causal relations, causal mechanisms, and the logic of the argument. Then apply the theory to the question raised by the United Nations. Make sure that the connection between your policy recommendations and the underlying theory is clear, and that your discussion is logical. Your discussion should be comprehensible to someone with no knowledge of sociological theory or of the various solutions to the problem of order.





For complete questions (including response choices and correct answers), please email Michael Hechter or Christine Horne.


1.              Theories help to...

2.            Superior social theories..

3.            Researchers find a strong association between adults’ levels of education and their  income.  This is an example of…

4.         A causal mechanism tells us..

5.            Instrumental rationality guides human action when individuals

6.         How is a theory defined ?

7.             Durkheim's Suicide is perceived as a theory because:

8.         Which of the following arguments is NOT correct with respect to causal mechanisms?

9.         Which of the following arguments is NOT true based on Max Weber’s typology of social action?

10.        To Karl Marx, if the meaning and concept of "woman" in modern society is different from that in horticultural society, it is because:

11.        Sir Thomas More’s choice to be executed was motivated by…

12.        Max Weber classifies four types of social action in order to….

13.        From Durkheim’s “ The Origin of Beliefs”:

            An individual or collective subject is said to inspire respect when the representation that expresses it in consciousness has such power that it calls forth or inhibits conduct automatically, irrespective of any utilitarian calculation of helpful or harmful results.

            Which of Max Weber’s four types of action orientation will be ruled out based on the above argument?

14.        In terms of behavioral mechanisms, shared meaning most clearly leads to…

15.        All of the following are transformational mechanisms EXCEPT…

16.        Which of the following is a situational mechanism?

17.        The coordination of activities in society requires…

18.            Montegrano is an interesting case of social disorder because the town exhibits surprisingly little…

19.        The ability to accurately communicate meaning is a ____________ condition but NOT a ____________ condition for social order.

20.            According to Marx, morality, religion and ideology are all determined by….

21.            Durkheim argued that sensation of the divine is aroused by….

22.        Which of the following claims is NOT true?

23.        Which of the following does NOT capture Durkheim’s concept of symbol in his essay, The Origins of Beliefs?

24.        Sacred objects demand respect….

25.        Fleck argues that scientific facts are….

26.            According to Fleck, a single word in our language….

27.            According to Mead, the individual’s attitude towards a new political issue is mainly determined by….

28.        Cohen and Vandello attribute higher homicide rates in the American South to…

29.               According to George Herbert Mead, the organized community or social group which gives to the individual his unity of self is called:

30.               According to Mead, the organization of the self is rendered possible because there is a logic in:

31.               In a society where property rights are institutionalized, the claim, "This is my property. I shall control it" involves an organized attitude with reference to property which is common to all the members in the society. The argument well illustrates:

32.        Values are ________ criteria for evaluation while norms are __________ criteria for evaluation.

33.        Social norms are enforced by….

34.            According to Freud, civilization results in…

35.            Complete Durkheim’s proposition:  egoistic suicide varies ___________ with the degree of __________ of society.

36.        The above proposition predicts that…

37.            According to Freud, the establishment of civilization rests mainly on:

38.        When we have an idea of stealing something, an inner voice reminds us that it is wrong to do so. According to Freud, individuals don’t steal for all the following reasons except:

39.            According to Durkheim, the key cause of egoistic suicide is:

40.            Durkheim notes that suicide is lowest in…

41.        Based on Durkheim’s theory, which of the following is the most likely to commit anomic suicide?

42.            According to Durkheim, the cause of suicide is:

43.        The Jews may once have set restrictions on eating pork because of their fear of trichinosis, but after this disease is no longer a threat they continue following this practice because:

44.        Which of the following social roles is NOT a good example of the exposed position, as defined by Goffman?

45.        In Goffman’s essay on behavior in public places, “opening persons” refers to…

46.            According to Goffman, why would a man “walking in the grass looking for a key he has dropped…comment on his predicament to a lone passing stranger”?

47.        “Free-riders” are individuals who…

48.        We would not expect free-riders to be punished because….

49.        In Altruistic Punishment in Humans, Fehr and Gachter found that individuals impose punishment on free riders because of:

50.        The principal difference between value and norm theories of social order lies in

51.        That smoking is prohibited becomes a norm because:

52.        For Marx and Engels, individuals in a given social class are…

53.        Marx and Engels felt that religion….

54.            According to normative theories, social environments…

55.        Based on Durkheim’s ideas, we would expect Amish teens (after rumspringa) to commit to the Amish lifestyle because…

56.            According to Hobbes, conflicts of interest lead to…

57.            According to Weber, governments are more effective to the extent that…

58.        Ideal bureaucracies are all of the following EXCEPT:

59.            Obedience is owed to the person who occupies a position of authority and not to enacted rules in situations of…

60.        Which of the following types of authority is most fleeting?

61.        The University of Washington is an example of a…

62.        If individuals show their respect to a particular person under one circumstance but not under another, this person's authority is most likely built on:

63.        The Rajneesh movement presented a threat to…

64.        Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of bureaucratic authority?

65.        Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of patrimonial authority?

66.            According to Weber, the routinization of charisma leads to….

67.        In Learning to Labor, Willis found that…

68.            According to Willis, what is the relationship between counter-school culture and shop floor culture?

69.            According to Hayek, rational egoism is __________ to the creation of beneficial social order.

70.        You will begin to dress more formally, according to Schelling, when ___________ dresses more formally.

71.        For Smith, the division of labor creates a…

72.        For Smith, the division of labor…

73.            According to Smith, state regulation…

74.        In the one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma, a rational egoist…

75.        In the infinitely repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma, a player’s optimal strategy is to…

76.        In the one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma, pursuit of self-interest…

77.        Lengthy trench warfare in World War I led to…

78.        Which of the following arguments about spontaneous order is NOT correct?

79.        Which of the following is NOT an example of spontaneous order?

80.            Schelling's neighborhood segregation model is a good example of spontaneous order because...

81.            Axelrod's contribution to our understanding of spontaneous order is that …

82.            According to Axelrod, Tit-for-Tat is an effective strategy to promote mutual cooperation if …..

83.        In The Wealth of Nations, Smith proposes three conditions, conjoint with the division of labor, which contribute to the increase of productivity.  Which of the following is NOT one of them?

84.            Compare Hobbes’ and Smith's theories of social order: Which description of them is false?

85.        Which of the following points is NOT made by Smith?

86.            Schelling’s Model:


The Rule: individuals will move out if half of their neighbors do not belong to the same group. Neighbors are defined as the people living to the north (top), south (bottom), east (right) and west (left) on the grid.

# = member of group 1                        O = member of group 2


Then which of the following is a possible final equilibrium?


87.               According to Simmel, labor unions have a…

88.               Simmel argues that extensive rational group affiliations promote…

89.               Granovetter argues that social order is inhibited by a lack of…

90.               Network theorists hope to…

91.               Gellner provides examples to show that trust is the product of…

92.               Ibn Khaldun’s analysis of Muslim society…

93.               Tocqueville wrote that “it is by the enjoyment of a dangerous freedom that Americans….

94.               Hechter, Friedman, and Kanazawa show that, in general, the regulation of behavior by local groups….

95.               To Simmel, multiple group affiliations help...

96.               In The Strength of Weak Ties, Granovetter argues that...

97.               According to Granovetter, weak ties help to reduce _________ conflicts

98.               According to Gellner, the only effective way to prevent property from being stolen in a pastoral environment is…

99.               According to Tocqueville, membership in productive voluntary associations promotes social order because….

100.            According to Hechter, Friedman, and Kanazawa, membership in productive voluntary associations promotes social order because….