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The substantial increase in the birth rate (from 1947 to approximately 1966), following the Second World War creating a population bulge slowly working its way through the age structure of society and affecting everything from classroom space, chances of promotion and pension funds. The baby boom was most apparent in Canada, United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. In 1996 the baby boom generation were 33% of the Canadian population. This large ‘bulge’ may partially explain the labour market problems and high unemployment Canada has had for the past decade or more. See: BIRTH RATE / CULT OF DOMESTICITY / ECHO GENERATION / .

The rapid decline in Canada's birth rate following the baby boom years of 1947 to 1966. The baby bust generation then followed from 1967 to 1979 as the fertility rate of Canadian women declined to less than half of the rate during the boom years. After 1979 women born in the boom years began to have children leading to an echo boom or echo generation.

As used by ethnomethodologists refers to commonsense reasoning and to the way that members of society, and sociologists as well, use background knowledge of culture and social structure as an unstated source of guidance in their reasoning.

A designated group of First Nation's individuals, identified in the Indian Act , and usually historically related to each other by kinship and area of residence for whom land and moneys are administered in common.

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. See: MODE OF PRODUCTION / .

In this case, regarding an alleged crime of drug trafficking, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the test of mens rea (criminal intent) could be, to some extent, subjective. It did not have to depend on what a reasonable citizen might have thought or intended in the situation, but could take into account whether the particular defendant had a mistaken, but reasonable and honest belief, that they were not committing a crime.

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’.

Discovered by Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754) when he noticed that many phenomena cluster around an average value and in so doing form a bell shaped curve. The heights of Canadians for examples cluster around the average height and if all heights were graphed a bell shaped curve would appear. The normal curve is a similar idea, and has a similar shape, but is a theoretical curve (or one derived from mathematical manipulation rather than observation) and was developed by Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) to depict the effects of random variation. For example, if you collect 100 samples from a population in which you know the average value of a phenomenon (eg: support for a political party), the means of the 100 samples will cluster around the true mean (the population mean) according to the characteristics of the normal curve. The normal curve is symmetrical so that if we draw a line from the highest point of the curve to the base, half of the curve will lie on one side and half on the other. Further approximately 68% of the area of the entire curve is located between lines drawn at plus and minus one standard deviation (a standardized amount of deviation from the mean), and 95% of the area of the curve lies between lines drawn at plus and minus 2 standard deviations. In the example of drawing 100 samples from a population it can now be said that 95 of the means obtained from these samples will fall within plus or minus 2 standard deviations of the true mean. Once the calculation of standard deviation is learned one can then calculate the sampling error when doing sampling and estimate the value of a phenomenon in a population based on one sample. This is what is implied when an opinion poll in the newspaper reports that ‘a sample of this size is accurate to within plus or minus x%, 19 times out of 20’ (i.e., 95% of the time).

A male who takes on the roles of women and who may also dress as a woman and engage in sexual intimacy with men. More recently, the term ‘Two Spirits’, which has traditional roots, has been preferred. This status was found in several North American First Nation's cultures and is interpreted as a way of integrating deviant members into cohesive, small societies. While the term 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. Both of these terms are important parts of the anthropology of gender and sexuality and reveal the social or cultural construction of gender. See: AMAZON / .

A barrier of barbed wire and, later, of concrete and minefields built in 1961 between the eastern (communist controlled) 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 Berlin. With the uprising against communism in east Germany in 1989, 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. See: COLD WAR / .

A system of family descent where blood links and rights of inheritance through both male and female ancestors are of equal importance. See: MATRILINEAL SOCIETIES / PATRILINEAL DESCENT / .

Established by the Canadian government in 1963 and active until 1969, the Commission was charged with the responsibility of examining the status and role of French in Canadian governmental and other public institutions and in the social life of Canada. Later, the Commission also examined the place of other ethnic cultures in Canadian society. The most important outcome of the Commission's work was the Federal government's adoption of official bilingualism enshrined in the Official Languages Act, 1969.

BILL 101
Passed by the Parti Quebecois government of Quebec in 1977 and creating a ‘charter’ for the French language, this Bill was a further development of Bill 22 enacted by the Liberal government of Robert Bourassa in 1974. The Bill had first been introduced by the new elected Parti Quebecois government as Bill 1, to symbolically express the reclamation of the province and the French language from the English. The draft of Bill 1 was withdrawn under pressure, but substantially reintroduced as Bill 101. This Bill declares French to be the language of government, work and instruction in the province of Quebec and forces immigrants to attend school in French (with limited exceptions). The law was found to conflict with Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution Act of 1982 and was struck down by Quebec's Superior Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. Quebec responded by restoring the law using the notwithstanding provision of the Constitution that allows parliament and provincial legislatures to override certain Charter provisions. The event intensified Quebec's deep resentment of the adoption of Canada's 1982 Constitution without the agreement of Quebec's legislature.

The Canadian Bill of rights was adopted by the Conservative government of John Diefenbaker in 1960 and was a significant, but not extremely useful, step in the evolution of human rights legislation in Canada. The Bill was not part of the nation's highest law (the constitution) so it could be amended like any other piece of legislation and covered only federal legislation. See: CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS / .

The total inhabitable area of land, air and water. Within the biosphere the basic unit of analysis or study is the ecosystem.

Calculated as the number of births in a given population during a particular year divided by the actual population and then multiplied by 1000 to give a birth rate per 1,000 of the population. The resulting figure is known as the ‘crude birth rate’. Generally, to observe trends and predict population growth, demographers (statistical analysts of population) use ‘fertility rates’ which relate the number of births not to total population but to the population of women in their child-bearing years (usually defined as from 15 to 49 years of age). See: BABY BOOM / FERTILITY RATE / .

British North America Act. Passed by the British Parliament in 1867, creating the nation of Canada. The BNA Act was the constitution of Canada as it provided the legal framework in which the political relations of the peoples of the nation were to be carried out. The most distinctive feature of the BNA Act is its division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. This Act provided no means for its own amendment and this could be only be done by Britain's parliament at Canada's request. In 1982 Canada adopted a new constitution that established complete constitutional autonomy from Britain and the BNA Act was then renamed the Constitution Act 1867. See: CONSTITUTION / .

From the French meaning a citizen of a city or burgh. In feudal time the cities had become the place of business and residence of a growing class of merchants, professionals and crafts persons, who came to be seen as having a social status between the peasant class and the land owning or aristocratic class. Hence the idea that they were the middle class. This new middle class came to feel oppressed by the traditions and restrictions of feudalism and aristocratic rule and eventually were able to grasp power and transform social values. They are associated with the bloodless revolution of Great Britain in 1688 and the French Revolution in 1789. This new class also had a distinctive life style that came to be referred to as ‘bourgeois’. The term bourgeois class, or bourgeoisie, was used by Marx to refer to the corporate or capitalist class in modern societies that is thought, particularly in socialist ideas, to be also a ruling class.

See: family, bourgeois

A term derived from Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and describing a method used by phenomenological sociologists and ethnomethodologists. This 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’) it reveals the underlying thinking and values that people bring to bear in understanding the world and engaging in social action. This analysis then gives the researcher the information necessary to investigate the ordinary methods social members use to comprehend the social world and give it reality and concreteness. See: PROBLEMATIC / .

A domestic subsidiary of a parent corporation headquartered in another country. Branch plants, usually of United States corporations, are a prominent feature of the Canadian economy. There is great controversy about the role of branch plants, some analysts view them as an important engine of Canadian economic development while others claim that they have helped to obstruct the autonomous development of the Canadian economy and maintain a state of national technological and economic dependency.

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.

The transfer of wealth or possessions by the groom or, more typically, his family, to the bride's family on marriage.

The title of a 1982 article by criminologist James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. This simple theory argues that a broken window left unrepaired will make a building look uncared for or abandoned and soon attract vandals to break all the other windows. If this is so, then prevention of crime will be accomplished by steps like painting over graffitti, keeping buildings in good repair, maintaining clean streets and parks and responding effectively to petty street crime. These actions make citizens feel safer and when they frequent public places criminal activity is less likely to occur. Many jurisdictions in North America have adopted practices based on this perspective.

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. This ruling began the desegregation of schooling and eventually of other public places and programs. In the early decades of the twentieth century the Supreme Court had found that segregation was constitutional and America became increasingly racially divided.

A formal organization with defined objectives, a hierarchy of specialized roles and systematic processes of direction and administration. Bureaucracy is found in earlier times in history, for example in administration of agricultural irrigation systems, the Roman army, the Catholic church, but it becomes most prominent in the large-scale administration of agencies of the modern state and modern business corporations. Max Weber (1864-1920) gave particular attention to bureaucracy and saw this form of social organization becoming dominant in modern society due to the commitment to the value of rationalization - the organization of social activity so as to most efficiently achieve goals. See: RATIONALIZATION / .

Formed in 1976, largely in response to the nationalist policies of the Trudeau (Liberal) government, the Council is a group of 150 leading Canadian corporations (many foreign owned or foreign controlled) dedicated to shaping economic and social policy so as to achieve a quite specific agenda. The group supported free trade (and may have initiated the early discussion on this topic) and it has been speculated that it provided much of the policy for the Conservative government elected in 1984. For sociologists the group is of interest as a visible demonstration of the social and political linking of corporations.

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names