PSAT Critical Reading : Considering Analogous Concepts in Social Science / History Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Considering Analogous Concepts In Social Science / History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

A middle-class individual works at a typical job and is thus able to achieve monetary success and afford an education. This individual is best described by which of the following terms?

Possible Answers:

Rebel

Conformist

Innovator

Retreatist

Correct answer:

Conformist

Explanation:

Conformist

The middle-class individual is a conformist because he/she accepts the goals of society (success or education) and the institutionalized goals set forth to achieve them (a middle-class job). This is supported by the passage.

Example Question #2 : Considering Analogous Concepts In Social Science / History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

An individual decides to move to the wilderness and abandon his job and goals in return for seclusion and independence. This individual is best described by which of the following terms?

Possible Answers:

Retreatist

Conformist

Rebel

Innovator

Correct answer:

Retreatist

Explanation:

The individual is a retreatist. He has rejected both cutural norms and means in return for independence and seclusion. The individual rejects both norms and means; therefore, he is best described as a retreatist as indicated by the passage in its third paragraph when it states, "retreatists reject both norms and means."

Example Question #83 : Identifying And Analyzing Important Details In Social Science Or History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

A drug dealer accepts society's cultural goals but obtains them through illicit activities. This individual is best described by which of the following terms?

Possible Answers:

Innovator

Rebel

Ritualist

Retreatist

Conformist

Correct answer:

Innovator

Explanation:

The drug dealer in the scenario accepts societal norms of goals; however, the individual does not accept the institutionalized means to achieve them. Instead, the individual uses a new set of illicit means to obtain the goals of wealth and status, so he or she is best described as an "innovator." In its third paragraph, the passage states, "An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them," supporting this answer.

Example Question #84 : Identifying And Analyzing Important Details In Social Science Or History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

An individual despises cultural norms and means. He decides to establish a commune with a new set of goals and means to achieve them. Which of the following terms best describes this individual?

Possible Answers:

Ritualist

Rebel

Innovator

Retreatist

Conformist

Correct answer:

Rebel

Explanation:

The individual is best described as rebellious because he has rejected society's traditional norms and means and created his own counter-culture. This is supported by evidence in the passage's third paragraph when it is stated, "rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals."

Example Question #85 : Identifying And Analyzing Important Details In Social Science Or History Passages

"The Sociology of Deviance" by Joseph Ritchie (2014)

Sociologically, deviance is defined as behaviors or actions that violate informal or formal social sanctions. A formal social sanction is one set by a proper authority, such as a state or federal legislature. Formal laws and sanctions are often enforced and propagated by an official body or organization, such as police departments and court houses. Informal sanctions are known as "folkways" and "mores." Informal sanctions are not proposed as law and are enforced by informal means such as exclusion, avoidance, or negative sentiments. Deviance and the enforcement of social norms, both formal and informal, play important roles in the construction of society and its values.

Sociologist Emile Durkheim hypothesized that deviance is an important and necessary part of the organization of society. He stated that deviance performs the following functions: it affirms cultural norms, defines moral boundaries, strengthens society’s bonds through its enforcement, and advances social revolution. This is considered to be a structural-functionalist theory because it outlines deviance’s function in the structure and construction of society.

Robert Merton outlined deviance as the product of the interactions between an individual’s cultural goals and the means to obtain these goals as produced by society or institutions. Cultural goals can be described as financial success, acquisition of academic degrees, or the pursuit of "the American Dream." Institutionalized means are best described as society’s proposed paths to achieve cultural goals. Merton hypothesized that the acceptance or rejection of cultural goals and institutionalized means of achievement defined an individual’s level of deviance. Conformists accept cultural norms and institutionalized means while retreatists reject both norms and means. An innovator will accept cultural goals but reject the institutionalized means to obtain them. A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms. Lastly, rebellious individuals will create a counter-culture that not only rejects a society's goals and means, but also creates new cultural norms and means to achieve these goals.

Deviance plays a role in society that has been studied by various sociologists. Some feel that it is a necessary element utilized in the structure and function of society, while others feel that it defines an individual’s outlook on societal norms and means of achievement. Deviance can be described as behavior that goes against the grain of conduct deemed acceptable by society. The phenomena that exist in its composition and purpose will continue to be studied by researchers in an effort to better understand society and culture.

An individual works at a minimum wage job. This person has little chance of social mobility and has lost sight of society's goals of success. This individual is best described by which of the following terms?

Possible Answers:

Ritualist

Innovator

Retreatist

Rebel

Conformist

Correct answer:

Ritualist

Explanation:

The individual is best described as a ritualist because he or she has lost sight of and rejected society's goals of success in what could be described as a "dead-end" job. In doing so, he or she has accepted society's means to achieve success through work. The individual has accepted means of success and rejected cultural goals; therefore, he or she can be described as a ritualist, as in its third paragraph, the passage states, "A ritualist will embrace the rules set forth by society but will lose sight of and reject cultural norms."

Example Question #1 : Considering Analogous Concepts In Social Science / History Passages

Adapted from “Queen of the Sea’s Awful Fate on Her First Trip Out” from The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), April 28, 1912.

The giant Titanic of the White Star Line, the biggest ship afloat when she sailed from Southampton, England, on April 10, on her maiden voyage to the Port of New York, lies to-day a broken wreck, 2,760 fathoms beneath the ocean's surface, some 800 miles from shore off the great Newfoundland Banks. The ship that was unsinkable, in the minds of her makers and the men that ran her, has been sunk. The Queen of the Seas is less to-day than one of her lifeboats which bobs up and down on the broken surface of the Hudson River, safe between the piers of the White Star Line.

And in her sinking the Titanic exacted greater toll than humanity ever before had been made to pay for its efforts to conquer the sea. Of the 2,340 persons composing passengers and crew of the big liner, only 705 ever reached this port. More than two-thirds of those who embarked on the Titanic for her maiden Journey--1,635 persons exactly--went down with her when she snubbed her nose beneath the waves, hung, quivering an instant, half above and half below the surface, and then started her downward plunge to the bottom, nearly two miles below.

Since then the cable ships Mackay-Bennett and Minia have been at the scene of the wreck searching for bodies. Some have been identified by articles in the clothing and are now on their way to Halifax aboard the Mackay-Bennett. Altogether 205 had been picked up last Thursday. The steamship is due there this morning. Others were recommitted to the sea after it had been found that they were unrecognizable. The Minia will remain at the scene of the disaster for some days to come, and it will not be until there is a fair certainty that everybody recoverable has been found that the search will be abandoned.

It was collision with an iceberg which caused the destruction of the Titanic, and those who would moralize over the great ship's loss can see in such a meeting the hand of Fate, which required the greatest example of man's handiwork afloat on the sea to point its protest against his ambition. For it seems certain that nothing less than an iceberg could have withstood collision with the enormous Titanic. Than her no ship which sails the seas was better prepared to meet unexpected encounters with others. Even a war vessel, the heaviest Dreadnought, probably must have succumbed to the rushing impetus of the monster Titanic had they jostled each other in the narrow lanes of the ocean. It had to be something greater than any ship afloat to sink the Titanic, and that something was supplied in the tremendous berg, eight-ninths of whose bulk skulked beneath the waves while it presented a paltry lump of ice, some 120 feet in height to do combat with the steamship.

Which of the following most agrees with the point of view expressed in this article?

Possible Answers:

It is wrong to risk further human life in rescue attempts after disasters.

Humanity should be careful in its efforts to develop technology.

More focus needs to be placed on developing airplanes.

Technology will, except in certain circumstances, always overcome nature.

Correct answer:

Humanity should be careful in its efforts to develop technology.

Explanation:

In the second paragraph the author states, “And in her sinking the Titanic exacted greater toll than humanity ever before had been made to pay for its efforts to conquer the sea.” In the fourth paragraph, the author discusses how Fate, which can also be thought of as a higher power, was the only thing that could have sunk the Titanic. “It was collision with an iceberg which caused the destruction of the Titanic, and those who would moralize over the great ship's loss can see in such a meeting the hand of Fate, which required the greatest example of man's handiwork afloat on the sea to point its protest against his ambition.” The final words “point its protest against his ambition” indicate that the author believes mankind was punished by Fate for being too ambitious. The idea of simply avoiding sea disasters by re-investing that energy in air travel would seem to miss the point of the article. There is no implication whatsoever in the article that rescue attempts should not be made following disasters.

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