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Inequalities in Patterns of Interaction

Inequalities in Patterns of Interaction

Author: Paul Hannan

Recognize characteristics and examples of different forms of inequality in society.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain, Images from, Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on inequalities and patterns of interaction. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial. So today, we're looking at some inequalities in the patterns of interaction. So what exactly does that mean?

[INAUDIBLE] will give you a couple of different examples of how different groups interact with each other. So the first one to look at is segregation. Segregation is just the idea that groups are kept apart from each other. So in the United States America, we've had segregation before with Jim Crow laws, where African-Americans were kept separate from whites in the South. One of the most famous places where segregation happened was actually in South Africa, and that's where you get the term "apartheid."

Apartheid is the official government policy of segregation. And again, it comes from this South African tradition of apartheid, where the white Dutch South Africans kept the black South Africans apart from each other. Now, segregation doesn't always lead to genocide, but genocide is another way that groups interact. And genocide is when there's a mass killing of one group of people. So recently, there have been some examples of genocide happening in places like Kosovo.

Probably the most historically salient example that we can think of is the Nazis and the Nazis systematically killing off a group of people-- the Jews and other minorities that they disagreed with. Now, pluralism is a society where all groups have equal power. It doesn't mean that all groups all converge and intermingle together and become a group, but it's just that all groups have equal power.

We here in the United States like to say we're a pluralist society, that we really let different cultural groups have power. There are some arguments that that's not necessarily true in America. But as an ideal, that's what we kind of stand up for as an ideal for the United States America-- is that all cultural groups should have equal power.

Now, assimilation is actually when a group is changing to join the dominant group. So this happens when someone or a group of people move here-- and it can be talking about an individual or group of individuals and how these immigrants change the way they act to join the dominant culture. It doesn't mean that they become carbon copies of the dominant culture, but it's a process of adapting dominant culture ideas and morals and cultural traits-- and just adopting the general dominant culture. Then we have a term that's kind of similar, and that's miscegenation. And this is a mixture of racial groups by biological means. So it means when two different groups, well, get together and have kids and those kids then are a mixture of different racial groups.

So today's takeaway message-- segregation is when groups are kept apart from each other and apartheid was the official government policy of segregation. And that term comes from South Africa. And genocide is the mass killing of one group of people. Pluralism is the idea that all members, all different groups, within a society of equal power. Miscegenation is the mixture of racial groups by biological means. And assimilation is how a group changes to join the dominant culture.

Well, that's a for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know

An extreme form of segregation that is encoded in law.


When people of a minority group abandon their cultural traditions and adopt the cultural traditions of the dominant majority.


The mass killing of one group of people by another group of people.


Race Mixing between people, especially with respect to offspring.


A situation in which unique cultural traditions are upheld, but people are united under the umbrella of civic society or polity.


When groups are kept apart from each other.