What is sociology

A formal definition of sociology would be to say that it is the scientific study of human society or of social problems. The discipline examines all aspects of human behaviour and, in particular, interpersonal relationships and the development of social structures. The sociological perspective is an insight on the things we take for granted. Behaviours like walking down a crowded pavement or waiting in line at a grocery store. Certain ways we act with certain rules we tend to follow to fit into a social setting. There are three major ways of understanding sociology.

The functionalist, conflict, and interactionist perspective. A functionalist view of society would be stable & well integrated. People are brought up to perform certain societal functions. & all aspects of society have a purpose that are needed for the long term survival of society. A conflict point of view is characterized by a struggle between groups. The people and social order are formed by force & authority. An interactionalist view of society is effected everyday through social interaction. People create their own social worlds through relationships and encounters with other people.

The social order is maintained by an understanding of everyday behaviour. Marx being a conflict theorist believed in class conflict, a society made up of two groups. Those who have the means to produce wealth and those who don’t. The capitalist class vs. the working class. A factory owner will gain income by allowing people to work for him. The people working for him must sell their labour power to survive. The rise and fall of different social structures will lead to more advanced social structures in the future.

We learn from our mistakes & build from our accomplishments. Marx called this perspective dialectical materialism, which depicts a world of becoming rather than being. Marx believed that religion, family organization, education and government make up the superstructure of society. Spencer viewed society as being very similar to a biological organism, that all different aspects of society have a special purpose to help it survive. He strongly believed in a Darwinian view of natural selection and applied the phrase “survival of the fittest” to the social world.

He thought that governments shouldn’t interfere with society so that we could evolve into more sophisticated beings. Spencer believed in a functionalist society which is made up of institutions like, family, religion, education, state, and economy. He claimed that knowledge was of two kinds, knowledge gained by the individual, and knowledge gained by race. He said that intuition, or knowledge learned unconsciously, was the inherited knowledge or experience of the race. Weber was an interactionist who studied the role religions play in economic development.

He became famous for his controversial theory of the Puritan, or Calvinistic, origin of capitalism. He believed the critical aspect of sociology is the intensions, values, beliefs, and attitudes that underlie peoples behaviour. He wanted to learn the meaning behind the actions. Through this method sociologists try to place themselves in the shoes of other people to identify what they think & feel. Weber stressed the importance of a value free sociology where sociologists should not let their personal biases affect the conduct of their research.

Cooley who was also an interactionist, talked about the looking glass self which is the way we think other people view ourselves. He said its an ongoing process sectioned into three phrases. Imagining how we appear to others, imagining how others judge our appearance, and then developing some sort of feeling on the basis of what we perceive others’ judgements to be. He also talked about self image, which is a temporary mental conception we have of ourselves. Self conception, a more over riding view of ourselves. shyness, & choking.

The three general types of sociological theory are positivistic, interpretive and critical theory. In determining which theory is the most appropriate for sociology to adopt, a basic understanding of each theory’s strengths and weaknesses is necessary. In defining each of these theories, it is important to determine the ontological basis or the theory’s basis for determining what is knowable; the epistemological basis or the theory’s relationship between the knower and the knowable; and, finally, the methodological basis or the theory’s method for gathering data and obtaining knowledge.

Social Security Reform

A little over 60 years ago the nation struggled through what was, up to then, the most dramatic crisis since the Civil War. The economy was uprooted after the crash of the stock market and the country’s financial stability destroyed. One of the many steps taken to alleviate the burden on the American people was that of the passing of Social Security Act of 1935 and its amendments by Congress and the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Under the provisions of the Act, the government would take on the responsibility of taxing the income of all working Americans and returning the money through numerous public benefits and programs. Now the nation faces an economic and political problem with the program instituted to earnestly help the people. In the first half of the next century the government will face the task of paying benefits to a large generation with funds it will not have. This year Social Security assistance accounts for over 20% of the federal budget and will make up even more for the years to follow.

Almost all political sides agree that Social Security must be reformed in some way before the baby-boomer generation begins to retire and collect. Social Security benefits refer to all those measures established by the government through legislation that help an individual or household to maintain an income of a certain level, insure income if one’s employment is lost, provide other assistance for disability, old age, survivors, and other forms of compensation.

Social Security may be defined through several characteristics: (1) participation is mandatory. Everyone, including children age 5 or older, is required to have a Social Security (2) Eligibility for benefits and levels of benefits depends on past contributions made by earners. (3) Benefit payments begin at a stipulated time such as at retirement from work, upon temporary unemployment, or with disability (4) Social-insurance benefits are means-tested – one’s wealth or lack does not determine whether benefits are granted (Compton’s). ) Currently SS funds are collected and distributed on a pay – as – you -go (PAYG) system in which Social Security taxes from individuals are immediately distributed by the means of the SS Administration as it sees best fit.

This means that taxes collected are not reserved for the individual who has paid them: in Rose 2 the current state he or she must rely on those persons paying SS taxes during the time of their retirement (Becker). For a number of these characteristics and future issues, the Social Security System must be reformed or completely abolished to meet the needs of tomorrow.

The leading concerns of Social Security that merits the immediate initiation of reform are the demographic and economic circumstances in the coming century. Even though “forecasting the economy and budget over such a long period is uncertain” there remain many “certainties” regarding problems facing Social Security in the first half of the 21st century (OMB, Budget Perspectives 23). The Federal Government’s responsibilities extend well beyond “the five- or six-year window” that has restricted the focus of recent budget analysis and debate.

Of these “certainties” are the mounting challenges posed from the baby-boomer generation. This generation, born in the years after World War II, is aging and will “begin to retire around the year 2005. By 2008, the first baby-boomers will become eligible for social security”(OMB 23). With the increased expenditures for baby-boomer group and pre-existing entitlements, a serious strain will be placed on the budget for the majority of the next 100 years.

As currently, the PAYG system has allowed for four workers to pay for every retiree. “But, when the baby boom generation retires, eventually only two workers will be paying for every retiree”(OMB, 1998 Budget 195). Long range projections from research done by the Congressional Budget Office last year observes that “Those fiscal demands could produce unattainably high levels of federal debt and taxes unless additional actions are taken to control federal spending” (OMB, Budget Perspectives 25).

The baby-boomer issue is not the only problem facing the future of the budget regarding Social Security. The Social Security Trustees Report projects that population growth is expected to slow over the next several decades. This slowdown is expected to lower the rate of population growth making older groups and retirees a very large percentage of the population. The labor force participation (by percentage) will therefore decline as the average age increases (OMB, 1998 Federal Budget 196).

This decrease in the number of Social Security paying workers will undoubtedly make for an abatement in the total amount of Social Security taxes collected each year to be distributed in services. As this occurs the Federal Government would have to borrow money to pay its obligations to those with Social Security assisted living, increasing the federal debt. Rose 3 Another criticism of social security is the attacks on the fact that it pays Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI)+ to those persons regardless of their wealth or lack of it thereof.

This practice, even though it was established to be non-discriminatory, has been rebuked by many persons of poorer backgrounds because it takes away from the extra benefits that they could be receiving and pay it to some persons who may not need it as extremely (Samuelson). Retired workers account for 61% of all social security recipients and of those 60% rely on it for half or more of their total income. Because this total amount usually is not too great, they feel they should be getting more by cutting the benefits paid to the other 40% that rely on it for half or less of their total income (OMB, 1998 Budget 196).

The criticisms of Social Security, or “Insecurity” as some have labeled it, have been discussed and now the issue about how to revise and fix these problems must be firmly addressed by the Government in its all-knowing, all-powerful stature. The Federal Budget for the US Government for the Fiscal Year of 1998 and it’s supplements address the aforementioned problems but state no incipient actions to solve any grievances or future obstacles, as predicted by the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Budget Office and many other private organizations, including Dow Jones (OMB, Budget – Perspectives 23-31).

The 1998 Budget section for Social Security reports that all of the segments of the OASDI Trust Funds would be all be insolvent by 2029, “but it does not constitute an imminent crisis” because the Social Security Trustees measure the Administration’s well-being for a period of 75 years. Obviously the baby-boomer and generation-X generations are in danger of not receiving Social Security benefits being paid in taxes right now. Unofficial proposals by legislators and leading financial experts have been proposing solutions for many years now, but they either do not have the power to introduce them or are politically apprehensive.

These proposals include, but are not limited to, privatization of social security in stocks, Personal Security Accounts (PSAs), raising taxes – lowering benefits, Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), and abolishment of many Social Security benefits. The most controversial and popular proposition offered has been that of privatization of some parts of the social security system. By this approach the government would invest 40% of the Social Security surplus into Wall Street on numerous private and public stocks.

This would give Rose 4 the Administration “a $1. 3 trillion stake in Corporate America by 2020” (McNamee, How We Should… ). This system would allow workers to also invest at least 11% of payroll taxes in their own accounts. Under the boldest plan, proposed by the Clinton Administration’s Advisory Council on Social Security, exactly 50% of the retirement fund would be “replaced with mandatory personal security accounts”, which would be invested in stocks or bonds (McNamee). The other 50% would finance basic government benefits for all retirees.

The privatization of accounts could theoretically reduce the length of time before the trusts go insolvent by substituting savings accounts for some part of Social Security’s PAYG system. This would ensure that the government would have a surplus of funds for entitlement expenditures. By 2020, PSAs could hold assets worth around $6. 0 trillion dollars if put on the market within a few years. “Such a huge balance [just for benefits] would give a kick to the nation’s capital stock and [spur] growth” (McNamee). But the Advisory Council and others have come up with this plan not to balance the economy, just fix Social Security.

The Council and Social Security Trustees have concluded that if nothing else is done to reserve funds for the upcoming insurgence of retirees, Social Security will exhaust the trusts by 2029, and PAYG “taxes will cover only 75% of promised benefits”. To ensure solvency for another 75 years Congress would have to choose now to privatize, raise “the 12. 4% payroll tax, cut benefits”, or all three (McNamee). The limitations of privatization also come into play when considering the best reform platform. Questions arise as to how the government could do this without taking over the market and the consequences if there were a crash.

Putting SS funds into the stock market for higher returns is agreed to be a very likely idea, but would individuals be willing to obey a compulsory law requiring letting the government manage funds on the stick market? There is also no true way to insulate investment planning from political pressures. If the market fell, the funds invested would go down also, and if they succeeded too well the stocks would raise interest rates on debt, hurting the economy (Business Week, How to Resecure SOCIAL SECURITY. ). Compulsory saving in stocks would also require tax increases or cuts in government spending (Samuelson).

Privatization, though, may be worth a try. Currently, the US Government can afford to experiment as there exists no immediate SS crisis, and if funds are not raised for saving the benefits being paid after the trusts go bankrupt will not be at paid at 100%. A small amount of investment therefore definitely seems worth a try. The next practical solution is seen as the very risky, at least to politicians hoping for reelection. That is the raising of the already high payroll tax at 12. 4% and the lowering of benefits Rose 5 to save for the coming tide of retirees and entitlements.

This controversial move would ensure that Social Security would be paid in full for at least 75 years, but is challenged greatly by those already on OASDI, who have strong political footholds. Interest-group politics can weigh in greatly. The American Association of Retired Persons, for one, pledges to keep Social Security as a government guaranteed plan. Labor, too, is opposed. Free-market agencies and business would favor any change, however (McNamee). Neither the Executive nor the Legislative Branches of the government are anywhere near willing to make a move like raising taxes and/or lowering benefits because of this.

A very practical, and yet controversial, method being proposed for saving is that of lowering the Cost Of Living, or making a Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA). Last year it was discovered that the consumer price index (CPI) has been over-stating the annual cost of living by 1. 1%. Social Security payments are directly tied to the CPI and determine the annual payment amounts. In other words, beneficiaries have been doing a little better than the true rate of inflation. Simply by reducing the CPI by 1. 1 percent a year the government could save approximately $1 trillion in 12 years (Thomas 2).

The benefit payments would still rise with the true cost of living, but the Social Security trust funds would be able to remain solvent well past the expectation dates proposed by the trustees. This simple solution also has been thwarted by political apprehension. US economist Daniel Patrick Moynihan states that “politicians are scared of each other and the AARP” (Thomas 2). It may be likely, though, that President Clinton will appoint a non-partisan committee to review the Social Security Issues and lower the CPI, and thus benefits, through protected legislative order, sparing any legislators.

The final proposal by radicals is to abolish many programs, including Medicare, which may not be necessary to the substantial living of some individuals. They also feel that a means test be established to decide who and who does not need assistance. These ideas have been mostly shot-down due to a favorable opinion of the Social Security system in general, and the fact that it requires more government regulation to institute the means tests. All of the plans are impractical, if implemented solely. Alone, each creates large practical risks for the system.

Perhaps the best plan is to drop economic ideals and to find a compromise in the different economic fervors that put the idea people at each other’s throats. A solution may be found to solve the different aspects of Social Security by combining different plans. The president needs to appoint an independent (completely independent) and non-partisan committee to propose a Rose 6 total solution that would ensure complete payment of all Social Security entitlements for at least the next 75 years. Perhaps with this, a real fix can come about so the up-coming generation (gen-X) will receive benefits that are currently being paid from earnings.

Social inequality essay

As we prosper through time, inequality is slowly less evident. A lot of people don’t realize that although things are improving with time, inequality is still prominent in our society. The people that are failing to realize that there still is inequality, are the fortunate ones. They rise well above the poverty line, and usually live relatively economically sound lives. They are the people who are supplied with our society’s benefits. The people that are in pursuit of social change, and constantly bring attention to issues of equal rights and privileges, are often the people that do not have them.

They are the ones who suffer daily from different levels of inequality. The majority of post-secondary students are considered to be privileged people. This tends to cause an ignorance, or lack of education, towards inequality because most of the students do not experience great levels of inequality. When our class was given our first quiz, everybody was able to feel a sense of inequality. As the class was divided into the different time groups, every student felt the unequal opportunity.

Even the students that were allotted the most time for the quiz were able to at least see the inequality. As different times were announced the less fortunate students began to complain, and the more fortunate ones realized that their once equal peers, were now placed in an unequal situation. Since most of the students do not experience great amounts of inequality, the unequal time distribution shocked them. Fortunately for myself, I have grown up in an upper-middle class family. Although my parents have always tried to educate me on inequality, I never experienced much of it.

During a class exercise I was placed in a group, and was given six minutes to complete my quiz. Although this was almost enough time for me to complete my quiz, I was definitely jealous of the students that were allotted more time. Even though the groups were arranged randomly, I still felt like I was treated unequally to my peers. I felt unequal to both my peers that had more, and less time, than me. The situation made me angry, and I wanted an explanation from the instructor for the unequal situation that was forced upon me.

I felt the injustice because I had a different time to write my quiz than a neighboring peer; who pays the same tuition, and attends the same class as I do. I wanted to know why some of my peers were given more time than I was, thus enabling them to possibly score higher on the quiz. This quiz was the first mark of the course, and was I worried that my first grade was going to be a poor one. When the instructor explained the purpose of the exercise I realized what an excellent point he had proven. He forced us in an unequal situation that was out of our control.

It was nothing we could have predicted or done anything about. This unique exercise put me on a new level of stratification that I was not used to. It made me feel how other people, not only in my society, but worldwide, feel about inequality everyday. The difference was that I was soon given an explanation, and returned to my regular level of stratification. Many people in our society are given no explanation to their forced inequality. Although the classroom exercise does not compare to the real world, it still stirred feelings of rage, helplessness and discouragement.

Looking through the window of the unequal situation changed my views on lower groups of society. It made me realize how difficult social mobility can be. I can understand the Davis-Moore thesis, which states that stratification has beneficial consequences. It is easy for people on the higher end of the stratification hierarchy to agree with this because they believe that the harder one works, the more they will achieve, thus promoting production in society. Individuals at lower ends of the stratification system disagree with that.

Their social status prevents them from achieving their best because all of the benefits and advantages are given to those of a higher status. The lower class is constantly denied society’s privileges, such as education. This tends to discourage them, often leaving them feeling helpless. Unfortunately this helplessness tends to be viewed by many higher class people as laziness. What is not realized is that social stratification is a character of society, and not just a reflection on individual differences. Stratification is universal but variable.

It involves beliefs and persists over generations (Macionis 220). The lower class often questions the point of its effort into an unforgiving society when the outcome is inevitable. This all ties in with the numerous reasons that cause poverty and homelessness. This ultimately creates a never-ending class system of inequality that so many are trying to dismantle. Class systems are based on individual achievement, which strongly ties in the Davis-Moore Thesis. Unfortunately social mobility is not evenly achieved amongst the levels of stratification.

The higher the level of stratification the easier social mobility tends to be. In the example of the class exercise, the level or stratification can be compared to the time given in each group. The more time the person had, the better chance they had at scoring higher on the quiz. The people who had more time on the quiz can be compared to individuals at higher levels of stratification. Lower classes of stratification are not given the same opportunities as higher classes. Lower classes have ascribed statuses that are difficult to rise up from.

For example, if an individual is born into a family where the children are forced to work to support the family, these children may be deprived of the opportunity to prosper. They have the ascribed status of a worker, and have little, if any chance of achieving a more successful status in life. If the individual’s family suffers a great deal of inequality, and the individual wishes to pursue extended levels of education for greater career opportunities, because of their ascribed circumstances they may not have the opportunity.

Most people look down upon lower classes, failing to realize that inequality deprives those people of the equal rights to prosperity. This occurs not only in a few societies, but all around the world. According to the social conflict paradigm, society is a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict, which generate social change. Power and privilege are distributed unequally by social class, race, gender and age. These inequalities are often reinforced in societal institutions (Macionis 19).

My participation in the class exercise allowed me to have an experience of life through the eyes a lower class individual. Even though the real world is much more extreme than the class exercise, I was still able to understand society and its levels of inequality. After experiencing society from a different perspective, I realize that although society has changed from the days of extreme inequality, it still needs much attention to equalizing the privileges between the different levels of stratification.

Social Security In the Future

It was early spring in the year 2048 and my bithday was coming up this August 26. I would be turning 70 years and retirring. I am not looking forward to it as much as I thought. My whole life I dreamed of moving to Florida and living on the beach when I retired. I planned on traveling a lot seeing the great sites the country has to offer. All of these plans have changed instead my yougest son is putting an addition on his house so that I could move in. I am very thankful for what he is doing, but I really don’t want to go. I want my privacy and I’m sure he wants his too.

There is no other choice I worked as ong as I could but I’m just getting to old. We all agree that I am not going into a nursing especially me. If the government would have told us that they couldn’t solve the Social Security crisis almost 30 years ago I would have prepared better. But instead they promised they could save it and the program would still be aruond when I retired. They obviously lied and now I have nothing. Moments later I hear music its my alarm clock. It was only a dream its April 1996 and I’m 18. The article about the Social Security in the paper had me thinking and I must have a bad dream.

The Presidential election will be coming up this November 96 and the uestion that many of Americans have on their mind is what are you going to about the Social Security crisis? This question has our nation divided between generations. The elder people of our nation (ages 50 and up) feel confident that Social Security will be there for them and that it should be left alone. On the other hand the Baby Boomers (ages 31-49) and Generation X (ages 18-30) lack this confidence fearing that they will never receive Social Security, and the money they put in would be a waste.

Many politicians are afraid to touch this issue because the elder still make a large number of the voting block. Speaking as a ember of Generation X it is our duty to vote for change in Social Security to ensure we will have something to look forward to when we retire. We can not wait any longer to defeat this crisis. The Social Security crisis is the threat of the Social Security system going bankrupt. Well its more than just a threat its the reality. The common belief is that Social Security is a saving fund where the government takes a certain percentage out of our weekly pay.

Then that money is put into a savings fund where it is held until we retire. When we retire the money is returned to us in monthly checks plus the interest. This is where we are wrong. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system where the current workforce pays for the present retirees, and then when they retire they will depend on the younger workforce to pay for them and so on and so on. Which is fine when you always have more workers then retirees.

This is the problem the government will face when the Baby Boomers retire in the year 2010. In 1950 there were 7. 2 workers for each retiree. Today there are 3. workers for every retiree, an by the year 2020 there will only be 2. 4 or less for each retiree. By the year 2010-2015 Social Security is projected by the government to pay out more money than it ould take in. Since the current Social Security took in a surplus of $60 billion last year with a projected total to be around $5 trillion they will have enough money to last another 10 years or so. All in all experts expect that Social Security will have spent every penny it has by the year 2030. In actuality the bankruptcy will probably happen about ten years sooner. See there is a catch to their surplus that not to many people know about.

The surplus is put in to government bonds so that government can use that money to support other programs and to pay of other debts. Also when the government igures out the national debt they subtract that surplus to make the national debt look smaller. The problem will come when Social Security needs that surplus to support its program and the government has to pay of these bonds. The United States will go further into debt having to severely raise taxes and drastically cut government programs. Or they won’t pay the their debt and the American retirees will be out trillions of dollars.

There are also two other contradicting factors that boggle the minds of almost all Americans. First as we all know the life expectancy of people is getting larger. In 1940 a man at the age of 65 could expect to live another 13 years; today they could expect to live another 17 years. The government figures by the year 2000 many people will have collected half as long as they have worked. The twisted part of the whole thing is that citizens are beginning retire and collect benefits earlier then ever. More than half of all retirees begin collecting benefits before they are 65.

The average at which people began collecting went from 68. 7 in 1950 to 63. 7 in 1991. The Government has tried to institute new polices and reform old ones, but they are falling short over the long run. In 1993 the President pushed a tax that stated 85% of Social Security became taxable income to people with substantial amount of other retirement savings such as pensions and personal savings. What they are telling is if you are one the smart people in America that pre-planned your retirement with other savings and not just Social Security they can put heavy tax on your Social Security checks.

Now you would have to pay twice once whiled you worked and again when you retire. Its has if you are being punished for doing the right thing. Another tactic many government official are trying to push is raising the payroll tax 2%. The current tax is 12. 4%, 6. 2% from the employee and 6. 2% from the employer. This would aid us temporarily, but would do nothing to stop the long term problem. “To maintain the systems solvency, taxes would have to be increased, or benefits cut, between one-half and 1 percent every 10 years” (Bosworth 36).

If you do the math you will realize by the time Generation X retires the payroll tax needed to keep Social Security going will have almost doubled. The higher tax rates will start some sort of recession with people getting far less out of their pay checks to live on. Anyway who wants pay more taxes. They would also like to cut many of the benefits that Social Security offers, but why should we pay more and receive less. The U. S. government has dug itself into a whole waiting to the last minute to save Social Security.

When by simple demographics years ago would have showed the same problem. They have to get it out of their heads that Social Security is such a great system that can be saved. Well it was great a the time, but as we know times change. The only way to save Social Security is to completely overhaul it. With the best way to overhaul is by the introduction of partially privatizing Social Security. It help bring Chile social security system out of bankruptcy. In 1981 Chile privatized it social security by requiring their workers to put 10% of their pretax wages in private pension funds.

The funds are carefully regulated, and workers can switch among trust fund managers for better returns or lower costs. They also receive periodic statements. Upon their retirement they receive their money to buy annuity. What ever is left can be passed onto their heirs. If there isn’t enough to provide a descent living the government steps in guaranteeing a minimum. Now Chile enjoys a high savings rate well over 20% of heir gross domestic product compared to the US’s 3. 2%. The plan has been pushed here heavily in the states by Senator Robert Kerry of Nebraska (D).

The plan would not allow people to drop out of Social Security completely like some other more radical plans, but to divert a percentage of their payroll tax into accounts that work like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s). The Senators plan proposes that 2% of the 12. 4% tax would be taken out and placed in private accounts set up by the government. The money would be one’s own personal account with compound interest (Congressional Digest 246). The Institute for Research on Economics of Taxation (IRET) adds, “that they would not be able to touch that money until they retiree or become disabled.

The money is theirs the government would not be allowed to touch it. If that person should die the money would be added to their estate” (Congressional Digest 248). The Cato Institute (a nonprofit public policy research foundation founded in 1977 whose publication, conferences, and seminars are designed to illuminate private sector, voluntary solutions to social and economic problems) also adds, “that those presently in the workforce would have the option of emaining in the current Social Security system or switching to the new private system.

Those entering the workforce after the implementation of the new private system would be required to participate in the new system. Thus the current system would be eventually phased out” (Congressional Digest 244). The plan also has guidelines to problems and questions that people have or arrive. First off people begin to question the safety of the government handling their own personal money. It a viable question considering our national debt and the way they spend tax money, but the there is a viable answer.

If you let eople drop totally out of Social Security and have their own pension plan there would be know way for the government to keep track and ensure that people are saving. Then when these people begin to retire and we find out that many of them never saved any money and will have no monthly retirement checks we will have a poverty struck elder class that the government would have to bail out. In conclusion to ensure that everyone has money set aside for retirement the government has to control the money. Another common critique is how much is 2% going to save?

It wills save a lot more than the average person thinks. Currently Social Security takes a dollar from the worker and gives it directly to the retiree with no growth or interest. The IRET states, “With compounding interest at a 7% real return, a dollar saved at age 20 would be worth $16 at age 60 and $32 at the age of 70” Congressional Digest). That’s more then the current system could ever own up to. Many critics also wanted to know what would the new system do about people who earned low wages and wouldn’t have a substantial amount of money set aside to pay for retirement.

The Cato institute proposes a minimum savings amount, acting as safety net. It would be a number to a similar to the minimum age where if the individual doesn’t meet the amount specified to earn a livable monthly payment the government would supplement the difference to bring the monthly income up to the correct level. The money would come out of the other 10. 4% that people still pay into. They also report considering the rate of return even someone making minimum wage their entire life would still have enough to meet the monthly requirement (Congressional Digest 244).

Concluding that the safety net would only support a scarce few. This would also keep our nations poverty level up. A questions many Americans have is where do we begin? You begin with all ge groups including people in their forties and fifties. For these people who are getting close to retirement and wouldn’t have a substantial amount saved up the government would take the benefits earned from year to date and put them into a bond. The bound would be put along with the 2% they begin saving.

The money would earn interest together so when these people retire they will be shore to receive the money they deserve and then some (Investment Company Institute Congressional Digest 252). The only problem the plan doesn’t solve is the problem that can’t be solved. This is how do you support the people already collecting their Social Security. Social Security will have to use their surplus, but as stated the government has already used this money. In order for people to get the money they deserve the government will have to cut their loses and pay back their bonds.

It will severely hurt the budget, but what choose is there. No plan would have been able to solve this dilemma it would have happened anyway. What more can you say? The time to change the Social Security system has come. The program considered by many to the prominent leg of the three legged retirement stool, along with pensions and personal savings, is growing eek. “the result for retirees almost certainly will mean that the one leg of three legged retirement stool is going to get wobblier” (Wechsler 25).

The government is going to have to act now to prepare for the future because if they wait any longer the leg mine as well just fall off. The government is there for the people and I’m sure they don’t want the suffering of Generation X retirees on their conscious. I don’t want this to happen. I would like to work hard in my life looking forward to luxury of retirement at the end, and as a citizen of this country I should be given that right. If the system goes bankrupt that luxury just maybe taken away.

The only way to ensure that Social Security will be around for the young people of this country is to instate the partially privatization plan. Years ago it was considered to radical of an idea, but now it seems that there really no other choice. It’s the only plan that shows some hard facts to support it goals unlike many of the other plans by Congress or President. You have read the argument and you now the facts I don’t know how anyone could think otherwise. It took Chile out of bankruptcy it will do the same for us to. What do have to lose.

Peter Berger’s “Invitation to Sociology”

In Peter Berger’s “Invitation to Sociology”, the sociological perspective was introduced. Berger asserts that it is important to examine new or emotionally or morally challenging situations from a sociological perspective in order to gain a clearer understanding of their true meanings. This perspective requires a person to observe a situation through objective eyes. It is important to “look beyond” the stereotypical establishments of a society and focus on their true, hidden meanings.

Consideration of all the hidden meanings of social customs, norms, deviations and taboos, allow one to establish an objective image about the truth behind it. This method can also be applied to understanding people. This questioning, Berger says, is the root influence of social change and personal understanding of others. To do this well, it involves much intellectual prowess and ability to reason. This was an intriguing discussion of the sociological perspective because it discussed how ordinary people might go about debunking the truths of their societies.

Examples of researching newspapers, talking to authorities, and questioning preset customs and definitions, much in the way we can redefine the concept of “love”, makes sense when superimposed upon a living society like ours. Berger identified the methodological nature of the sociological perspective in that it is not a distinct way of seeing others, but a means to examine others through a multifaceted scope.

Although it can be difficult, this method is common and can be seen in people’s attempts to understand the significance behind various personal situations. For example, when speaking to a significant other one might realize tension in their voice. “What is the cause for this” They might ask. Without being able to debunk the truth behind their “other’s” behavior they might never be able to learn an accurate answer. This method of thinking objectively is indispensable to our attempts to become better able to interact and understand one another’s actions.

Ann Levine and Naomi Neft’s article “Women in Today’s World” asserts that although the status of females in developed countries has vastly improved with society’s movement toward a more gender-equal condition, the majority of women remain in a dire state of oppression. Women are more impoverished, illiterate, unemployed, and more destitute than men. In spite of some women’s improvements under developed countries’ more progressive, gender-equal regimes, education, literacy rates, employment, civil rights, health, and public representation remain substandard for most of the world’s females.

Levine and Neft begin their argument discussing the majority of women in today’s world. These women live in areas untouched by changing laws and movements toward gender equality. These are women who remain repressed by their own religions and social laws, customs, and societal traditions and are unable to gain access to better education, jobs, and healthcare. Still prevalent in today’s world are “tracking” techniques that aim young women in foreign schools toward traditional feminine jobs and ancient religious regimes (like those of Islam) that suppress women’s decisions how to dress, socialize, and earn money.

Statistics regarding education, literacy rates, employment, civil rights, health, and public representation demonstrate that although the situations of more affluent and westernized females might be improving, global standards still indicate women to be the secondary gender. Levine and Neft indicate that women tend to be the majority gender in countries where there is a higher incidence of gender-equal movement and better living conditions. Westernized countries across the globe are havens for women because they can expect to live longer, make more of their own money, and escape the oppressive male-dominated regimes of other countries.

As a result of women successes and the pride they realize in their achievements, movements that promote feminism and equality develop. With attention toward the welfare of women of oppressive nations, their education, their general living conditions, and largely, their suffrage rights, feminist groups attempt to “level the playing field” and promote the advancement of rights to all the world’s women. Levine and Neft presented a successful and powerful argument thanks to their statistical evidence.

It is true that many countries (i. e. e United States, Australia, and England) allow women to succeed and enjoy the same rights and privileges as men, but these women account for only a small fraction of the 2. 8 billion women living on earth. As this linear, factual argument showed, still 70% of all impoverished people are women. Further categories of statistics (one for each point I outlined) supply evidence accounting for women’s overwhelming role in the impoverished population. The authors furthered their point by noting an example of modern-day oppression of women.

The Taliban movement of Afghanistan employs strict Islam law that forces women to be uneducated, unskilled, and unopened to free, social interaction with others… especially men. This supplies final substantiation of the authors’ argument, that women continue to be oppressed by their male-dominated societies. It is a bold undertaking for women to ally and promote a world movement to abandon sexist traditions. Although I have never lived in a third world or non-Westernized country, I have studied the conditions women suffer as “inferior” to men.

In National Geographic and various courses I have taken, these terrible conditions are depicted in full color. Gender inequality is a terrible trait of our global society, and unfortunately, a trait that might not be ready to change. In America we see gender bias towards women in voters’ unwillingness to elect more females into high office, and while this is not nearly as severe as the rest of the world, it indicates the lingering practice of gender inequality.

Existence of Man

For centuries man has grappled with the riddle of what it means to be a person. But the questions Who is man? and What is the meaning of life? are still unanswered. Yet, while man is still a long way from arriving at any acceptable definitions, there is deep within everyone the hint of an idea of what it means to be a whole person, that is happy, functioning and fulfilled. So, throughout history man has made a continuous search to find out what makes him whole. Every person is different so the special situation in which one person finds fulfillment can’t work for everyone.

But in the lives of those who ave found fulfillment there is a universal pattern. The universal pattern is that those who have found fulfillment have had a willingness to accept change and take risks. Conversely, those who have not found wholeness are characterized by an unconquerable desire to be safe, to be out of danger and to avoid risk. The first step in the search for identity is to answer the question, How do you see yourself? In the play No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre Estelle loses sight of her identity. She says “When I can’t see myself, I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist.

What a man sees himself as in the mirror largely etermines his actions during the day. Estelle had to look into the “mirror” of men to confirm her identity. A man is the number one determining factor in discovering who he is. Each individual must understand that he is responsible for his own pain, misery, unhappiness, or for his own joy. Man is not a product of what people have done or are now doing to us. Man has the power to become whatever he wants to be; to feel as much love or anger or joy as we want to feel.

Another subsequent factor in determining our identity is the image, name, or label given to us by society. In other words, what we believe other people hink of us. Most people participate in many groups friends, school, family, jobs, clubs, churches and more each contributing to our identity. We have to accept the death of the superman who is alone needing no one, inner directed and indifferent to his surroundings. We see in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment that when Raskolnkov separates himself from humanity by committing murder that he could not survive.

A person needs to understand that they are responsible for their own choices but they cannot discount the fact that there will always be a group that is essential to understanding their identity. There is a far more important area than how man sees himself or how society sees him, this area is where he has the most control over his own identity. The area in which he has most control over his own identity is in the area of what he is actually doing. In other words, man determines himself by the choices he makes.

Having this freedom of choice entails commitment and responsibility. Since individuals are free to choose their own path they must accept the responsibility of following their commitment wherever it leads. In the play No Exit by Sartre the characters Estelle and Garcin thought of hemselves as being nobler than what they were, when in reality the choices they made determined one to be a boy toy and the other to be a cruel coward. The Bible also gives us some insight on this point. What made Moses Moses? The fact that he made the choices he did.

If Moses had stayed in Pharaoh’s court, if Moses had stayed in the desserts of Midian, or if Moses had refused to go to Pharaoh, then he would not have been Moses. We have the freedom to choose and we become what we choose to do. Far to many people are locked into set patterns of thinking and living. People resist change vigorously satisfied with the dull normality of the same outines. One of the most vital ingredients to any fulfilling life is the ability to accept change and choose to risk. Change for most people does not always feel good but it is an important part in growing.

Most people fear change because they are afraid of the risks that it will bring. When people do not conquer their fear all growth stops. The fear of growing of old is what kept Estelle from being more than mere a boy toy. The fear of dying kept Garcin from being a great pacifist journalist. If a Congressional Medal of Honor winner had not conquered his fear of death, to jump out of a trench to save his uddy, his friend would be dead. If Moses had not conquered his fear of losing a comfortable life, Israel would still be slaves to Egypt.

If Columbus had not conquered his fear of falling off the earth, America would not have been settled. If my Dad had not conquered his fear of rejection, I would have never of been born. People need to look at their fear, consider all the options then move out and act boldly. People can stand outside their fear indefinitely and nothing will change. But everyone has within themselves the resources and the strengths to face and confront their fears, and to become the whole person they ant to become, they have to do it.

The questions Who is man? and What is the meaning of life? ay never be answered in our lifetime. But people can begin to lead more fulfilling lives by understanding and applying three closely related principles. People must begin to see themselves as being their own self and not just a product of society. After people realize that they are their own self they must realize they are what they do. The final step in living more fulfilling lives is to be open to change and risk. Breaking from this paralyzing fear will allow people to realize life is a gift and they will try to live every day to the fullest.

Social Security In the Future

It was early spring in the year 2048 and my bithday was coming up this August 26. I would be turning 70 years and retirring. I am not looking forward to it as much as I thought. My whole life I dreamed of moving to Florida and living on the beach when I retired. I planned on traveling a lot seeing the great sites the country has to offer. All of these plans have changed instead my yougest son is putting an addition on his house so that I could move in. I am very thankful for what he is doing, but I really don’t want to go. I want my privacy and I’m sure he wants his too.

There is no other choice I worked as ong as I could but I’m just getting to old. We all agree that I am not going into a nursing especially me. If the government would have told us that they couldn’t solve the Social Security crisis almost 30 years ago I would have prepared better. But instead they promised they could save it and the program would still be aruond when I retired. They obviously lied and now I have nothing. Moments later I hear music its my alarm clock. It was only a dream its April 1996 and I’m 18. The article about the Social Security in the paper had me thinking and I must have a bad dream.

The Presidential election will be coming up this November 96 and the uestion that many of Americans have on their mind is what are you going to about the Social Security crisis? This question has our nation divided between generations. The elder people of our nation (ages 50 and up) feel confident that Social Security will be there for them and that it should be left alone. On the other hand the Baby Boomers (ages 31-49) and Generation X (ages 18-30) lack this confidence fearing that they will never receive Social Security, and the money they put in would be a waste.

Many politicians are afraid to touch this issue because the elder still make a large number of the voting block. Speaking as a ember of Generation X it is our duty to vote for change in Social Security to ensure we will have something to look forward to when we retire. We can not wait any longer to defeat this crisis. The Social Security crisis is the threat of the Social Security system going bankrupt. Well its more than just a threat its the reality. The common belief is that Social Security is a saving fund where the government takes a certain percentage out of our weekly pay.

Then that money is put into a savings fund where it is held until we retire. When we retire the money is returned to us in monthly checks plus the interest. This is where we are wrong. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system where the current workforce pays for the present retirees, and then when they retire they will depend on the younger workforce to pay for them and so on and so on. Which is fine when you always have more workers then retirees. This is the problem the government will face when the Baby Boomers retire in the year 2010. In 1950 there were 7. 2 workers for each retiree.

Today there are 3. workers for every retiree, an by the year 2020 there will only be 2. 4 or less for each retiree. By the year 2010-2015 Social Security is projected by the government to pay out more money than it ould take in. Since the current Social Security took in a surplus of $60 billion last year with a projected total to be around $5 trillion they will have enough money to last another 10 years or so. All in all experts expect that Social Security will have spent every penny it has by the year 2030. In actuality the bankruptcy will probably happen about ten years sooner. See there is a catch to their surplus that not to many people know about.

The surplus is put in to government bonds so that government can use that money to support other programs and to pay of other debts. Also when the government igures out the national debt they subtract that surplus to make the national debt look smaller. The problem will come when Social Security needs that surplus to support its program and the government has to pay of these bonds. The United States will go further into debt having to severely raise taxes and drastically cut government programs. Or they won’t pay the their debt and the American retirees will be out trillions of dollars.

There are also two other contradicting factors that boggle the minds of almost all Americans. First as we all know the life expectancy of people is getting larger. In 1940 a man at the age of 65 could expect to live another 13 years; today they could expect to live another 17 years. The government figures by the year 2000 many people will have collected half as long as they have worked. The twisted part of the whole thing is that citizens are beginning retire and collect benefits earlier then ever. More than half of all retirees begin collecting benefits before they are 65.

The average at which people began collecting went from 68. 7 in 1950 to 63. 7 in 1991. The Government has tried to institute new polices and reform old ones, but they are falling short over the long run. In 1993 the President pushed a tax that stated 85% of Social Security became taxable income to people with substantial amount of other retirement savings such as pensions and personal savings. What they are telling is if you are one the smart people in America that pre-planned your retirement with other savings and not just Social Security they can put heavy tax on your Social Security checks.

Now you would have to pay twice once whiled you worked and again when you retire. Its has if you are being punished for doing the right thing. Another tactic many government official are trying to push is raising the payroll tax 2%. The current tax is 12. 4%, 6. 2% from the employee and 6. 2% from the employer. This would aid us temporarily, but would do nothing to stop the long term problem. “To maintain the systems solvency, taxes would have to be increased, or benefits cut, between one-half and 1 percent every 10 years” (Bosworth 36).

If you do the math you will realize by the time Generation X retires the payroll tax needed to keep Social Security going will have almost doubled. The higher tax rates will start some sort of recession with people getting far less out of their pay checks to live on. Anyway who wants pay more taxes. They would also like to cut many of the benefits that Social Security offers, but why should we pay more and receive less. The U. S. government has dug itself into a whole waiting to the last minute to save Social Security.

When by simple demographics years ago would have showed the same problem. They have to get it out of their heads that Social Security is such a great system that can be saved. Well it was great a the time, but as we know times change. The only way to save Social Security is to completely overhaul it. With the best way to overhaul is by the introduction of partially privatizing Social Security. It help bring Chile social security system out of bankruptcy. In 1981 Chile privatized it social security by requiring their workers to put 10% of their pretax wages in private pension funds.

The funds are carefully regulated, and workers can switch among trust fund managers for better returns or lower costs. They also receive periodic statements. Upon their retirement they receive their money to buy annuity. What ever is left can be passed onto their heirs. If there isn’t enough to provide a descent living the government steps in guaranteeing a minimum. Now Chile enjoys a high savings rate well over 20% of heir gross domestic product compared to the US’s 3. 2%. The plan has been pushed here heavily in the states by Senator Robert Kerry of Nebraska (D).

The plan would not allow people to drop out of Social Security completely like some other more radical plans, but to divert a percentage of their payroll tax into accounts that work like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s). The Senators plan proposes that 2% of the 12. 4% tax would be taken out and placed in private accounts set up by the government. The money would be one’s own personal account with compound interest (Congressional Digest 246). The Institute for Research on Economics of Taxation (IRET) adds, “that they would not be able to touch that money until they retiree or become disabled.

The money is theirs the government would not be allowed to touch it. If that person should die the money would be added to their estate” (Congressional Digest 248). The Cato Institute (a nonprofit public policy research foundation founded in 1977 whose publication, conferences, and seminars are designed to illuminate private sector, voluntary solutions to social and economic problems) also adds, “that those presently in the workforce would have the option of emaining in the current Social Security system or switching to the new private system.

Those entering the workforce after the implementation of the new private system would be required to participate in the new system. Thus the current system would be eventually phased out” (Congressional Digest 244). The plan also has guidelines to problems and questions that people have or arrive. First off people begin to question the safety of the government handling their own personal money. It a viable question considering our national debt and the way they spend tax money, but the there is a viable answer.

If you let eople drop totally out of Social Security and have their own pension plan there would be know way for the government to keep track and ensure that people are saving. Then when these people begin to retire and we find out that many of them never saved any money and will have no monthly retirement checks we will have a poverty struck elder class that the government would have to bail out. In conclusion to ensure that everyone has money set aside for retirement the government has to control the money. Another common critique is how much is 2% going to save?

It wills save a lot more than the average person thinks. Currently Social Security takes a dollar from the worker and gives it directly to the retiree with no growth or interest. The IRET states, “With compounding interest at a 7% real return, a dollar saved at age 20 would be worth $16 at age 60 and $32 at the age of 70” Congressional Digest). That’s more then the current system could ever own up to. Many critics also wanted to know what would the new system do about people who earned low wages and wouldn’t have a substantial amount of money set aside to pay for retirement.

The Cato institute proposes a minimum savings amount, acting as safety net. It would be a number to a similar to the minimum age where if the individual doesn’t meet the amount specified to earn a livable monthly payment the government would supplement the difference to bring the monthly income up to the correct level. The money would come out of the other 10. 4% that people still pay into. They also report considering the rate of return even someone making minimum wage their entire life would still have enough to meet the monthly requirement (Congressional Digest 244).

Concluding that the safety net would only support a scarce few. This would also keep our nations poverty level up. A questions many Americans have is where do we begin? You begin with all ge groups including people in their forties and fifties. For these people who are getting close to retirement and wouldn’t have a substantial amount saved up the government would take the benefits earned from year to date and put them into a bond. The bound would be put along with the 2% they begin saving.

The money would earn interest together so when these people retire they will be shore to receive the money they deserve and then some (Investment Company Institute Congressional Digest 252). The only problem the plan doesn’t solve is the problem that can’t be solved. This is how do you support the people already collecting their Social Security. Social Security will have to use their surplus, but as stated the government has already used this money. In order for people to get the money they deserve the government will have to cut their loses and pay back their bonds.

It will severely hurt the budget, but what choose is there. No plan would have been able to solve this dilemma it would have happened anyway. What more can you say? The time to change the Social Security system has come. The program considered by many to the prominent leg of the three legged retirement stool, along with pensions and personal savings, is growing eek. “the result for retirees almost certainly will mean that the one leg of three legged retirement stool is going to get wobblier” (Wechsler 25).

The government is going to have to act now to prepare for the future because if they wait any longer the leg mine as well just fall off. The government is there for the people and I’m sure they don’t want the suffering of Generation X retirees on their conscious. I don’t want this to happen. I would like to work hard in my life looking forward to luxury of retirement at the end, and as a citizen of this country I should be given that right. If the system goes bankrupt that luxury just maybe taken away.

The only way to ensure that Social Security will be around for the young people of this country is to instate the partially privatization plan. Years ago it was considered to radical of an idea, but now it seems that there really no other choice. It’s the only plan that shows some hard facts to support it goals unlike many of the other plans by Congress or President. You have read the argument and you now the facts I don’t know how anyone could think otherwise. It took Chile out of bankruptcy it will do the same for us to. What do have to lose.

Classical Social Theorists

When trying to compare three social theorists to each other, you must first try to understand the intricacies that are entangled within each theory itself. Theorists, by nature, create theories that can be debated from all angles but must be a tight fit in order to be considered applicable to society. Theology as a single entity is constructed from deep intellectual thought. When social theorist begin to develop there theoretical perspectives, they seem to have an overwhelming grasp on the concepts they try to convey to us.

Since it is extremely difficult to have such a complete strong hold on social issues such as family, politics and economics, it is important to know and understand the basic principles that underline the theories we study. To compare the theories of Georg Simmel, Vilfredo Pareto, and George Herbert Mead, I will first discuss the basic strengths and weaknesses of their theories. Simmel was a conflict theorist who sought to investigate “pure or formal sociology” by trying to understand the societal forms themselves.

Pure sociology refers to the investigation of the forms of interaction that underlie political, economic, religious, and sexual behaviors. Simmel was inspired by social differentiation and he was interested in the change that urbanization, industrialization brought to society (Li, Lecture). Unlike the work of Mead and Pareto, Simmel’s theories were non traditional and his topics varied throughout societies many issues. Simmel thought that by focusing on the basic properties of interaction, per se, that sociology could discover the underlining processes of social reality (Turner, P. 265).

Simmel’s web of group affiliations is a sociological analysis of how patterns of group participation are altered with social differentiation and the consequences of such alterations for people’s everyday behavior (Turner P. 268). People become attached to certain groups because of similarities of talents, inclinations and activities and other factors of which they have some control. Simmel first talked about this in his social differentiation which is seen by most as not being very use full in its early stages. Simmel saw society as Sociation /Association. He was interested in how people get connected.

He saw society as a web of intricate multiple relations between individuals. He said society was merely a name for a number of individuals associated by interaction (Li, Lecture). Simmel saw positive functions of conflict in the development of society. He said that competition forces people to establish ties with one another in a web of affiliation, and in groups, conflict increases the degree of social solidarity within each group and at the same time, decreases the level of tolerance for deviance. Aside from seeing conflict as a social form, Simmel also saw money as a social form.

Simmel’s Philosophy of Money is a stab at exposing how the forms of interaction affect the basic nature of social relations independently of their specific content. Simmel’s major contribution to sociology resides in his concern with the basic forms of interaction. Unlike Mead and Pareto, Simmel is hard to follow because he jumps from topic to topic, from the micro to the macro and from the historical past to contemporary situations in his time. But in the end, his goal is similar to all other theorists: to explain many empirical events with a few highly abstract models and principles.

Although he rejected many of the points of positivist doctrines, Vilfredo Pareto was somewhat of a positivist whose major contribution to sociology was his Circulation of Elites conspiracy theory documented in The Rise and Fall of the Elites. Also known as the Father of Mathematics, Pareto thought that economics limited itself to a single aspect of human action and therefore, devoted his studies to social theory. Pareto also thought that human affairs were largely guided by non logical, non traditional actions, or what he called “sentiments” (Li, Lecture).

In Pareto’s view, all human behavior is one of six instinctive drives which is seen by some as being just awkward terminology being used to emphasize a simple analytical and empirical point that human behavior is motivated in basic directions. Pareto’s theory of social change suggests that society is a system of forces in equilibrium. The logic being that prolonged movement in one direction tends to generate countervailing pressures, which at first half, and then reverse, the direction of change.

His Circulation of Elites is a fascinating conspiracy theory that says at any time political processes are dominated by elites whose members are either lions or foxes, using either force co-optation as methods of social control. Correspondingly, economic processes are dominated by elites, whose members are either rentiers or speculators. The criticism towards Pareto spawns from his work on sentiments, it is said that it is not very clear and hard to quantify and that it is inadequate to help us see motivational forces. Other criticisms were based on his micro perspective of looking at things and not taking the big picture into account.

Unlike Simmel who thought that society was derived from group power, network power and not on individual process, George Herbert Mead, a symbolic interactionist, focused his thought on the role taking of individual behaviors. By emphasizing the process underlying social structures, Mead presents a very dynamic view of society for not only is society shaped by role taking, it can be altered by the unchanged processes. Mead was the originator of the thought of Mind, Self, and Society. This thought is shaped by thinking about your individual self through mind and how society sees you.

Mead liked to look at the mind as something reflective; he said the mind was created by responses to environmental stimuli. He looked at the self as emerging out of the facility of using symbols and taking roles of others. He also said that there were two phases of self, the “I” which is spontaneous, inner creative and subjective, and the “me” which is the organized attitudes of others and the broader community. The “me” is derived from taking the role of others. What emerges from Meads view of society is not a vision of social structure but the underling patterns of social interaction from individualized role taking.

His perception on society was that it is maintained by virtue of human’s aptitude to role-take and to assume the perspective of generalized other (Li, Lecture). Mead had many different influences in his work. He borrowed ideas from the four biggest intellectual perspectives of his time: Utilitarianism, Darwinism, Pragmatism, and Behaviorism. For utilitarianism, Mead emphasized three points: actors seeking rewards, actors as attempting to adjust to a competitive situation, and actors as goal directed and instrumental in their behaviors.

This was criticized heavily by Pareto because Pareto believed in looking at society in a macro sense and thought that Meads utilitarianism perspectives and symbolic interactionist perspectives were only good when looking at society through micro lenses. Mead was interested in certain aspects of Darwinism. Mead argued that at birth, an infant is not a human. He said that infants acquire the unique behavioral capacities only as it adapts to social environments. Mead borrowed ideas from his intellectual peers who considered themselves pragmatists.

Mead believed in the concept that humans use facilities to adapt and survive, and therefore said that everyone who wishes to adapt and survive has to adopt pragmatism. Mead rejected extreme behaviorism but accepted its general principle: Behaviors are learned as a result of gratifications associated with them. His behaviorist ideals tie in with his thoughts on mind, self, and society because he believed that the most distinctive behaviors of humans are covert, involving thinking, reflection, and self-awareness. In retrospect, we can conclude that mead borrowed ideas from a number of intellectual perspectives.

Mead was not only influenced by these general intellectual perspectives, he also borrowed specific concepts from a variety of scholars, only some of whom worked within these general perspectives. Mead was able to take specific concepts and incorporate them into metaphors. In comparing the three theorists, one can draw similarities and conflicting views from each one of these theorists. While Pareto and Simmel look at society through a broad and generalized macro lenses, Mead with his symbolic interactionist perspective thought societies underlying structure could best be look at through a detailed micro lenses point of view.

While Pareto’s sociology was spawned from his thoughts on economics and positivist thinking, Simmel gathered his thoughts on social differentiation by extensive reading and his own way of not interacting with his intellectual peers, while Mead was heavily influenced with the intellectual perspectives of his time. In contrast, each one of these theorist brings it own intellectual perspective to the study of sociology. Simmel’s thoughts on web affiliation contradict the views of Pareto’s in that Pareto thought that the individual’s relationship to society was not as important as the society’s effect on the individual.

Meads view on the individual role taking determining the structure of social forms is in contrast to Simmel’s ideals on web affiliation in that society is structured on individual relationships with others not associations with one’s mind or self. Understanding the theories of these classic theorists is of huge importance because it was the beginning of intellectual thought and all of their views on society and such were mostly original and unedited. To compare the theories of the three aforementioned theorists is to first comprehend there analysis of society and to appreciate the value of there conflicting views.

The Social Imagination

C. W. Mills’ book ‘The Sociological Imagination’ was published in 1959. Mills is justly famous for his idea of the sociological imagination as it still provides sociologists with a set of guidelines with which to carry out social analysis. Sociological Imagination refers to the connection between individual difficulties and the social forces that are the possible reasons for them. The key and most important terms that form the basis of the sociological imagination are: biography; tradition; ‘private troubles’ and ‘public issues’.

Mills argued that in order to avoid becoming victims of a large nd seemingly distant event, we must learn to understand the relationship between private troubles and public issues. Mills writes “The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and external career of a variety of individuals” (Mills1959). The sociological imagination requires us to engage in the study of an individual’s biography; but to place that biography in the wider context of the history and tradition of the society in which that individual lives.

Mills suggests that a good tactic to use when trying to comprehend the idea of this ‘imagination’ is to use the ‘fruitful distinction’ between on the one hand ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and on the other, ‘the public issues of social structure’. (Mills1959). For mills there is an all too common trend of individuals perceiving there biographies as personal and private and segregated from society. While according to mills the lives of the individual are interwoven and interrelated to the society directly. For example a drug addict may see the trouble’ of addiction as a ‘private trouble’.

Clearly it is a private trouble, however for Mills the individual needs to recognise that it is one not unconnected with wider social forces. The central aspect of mills sociological imagination, that is “.. to see it whole. ” (Mills1959). It is my consideration that the aim of the sociological imagination is to try to allow the individual to see the ‘bigger picture’ giving them a perspective on there worth, involvement and influence within there society. This is analogous of making what was once clouded to being clear.

The producers of television programmes use a set of codes and conventions to communicate with their audience. These codes and conventions help to reinforce the myths’ about British society. Semiotics or the study of signs, demonstrates that when anything is represented, it acquires additional meanings.

Whether these additional meanings are deliberately used to signify others or not is irrespective, the fact that these meanings can be contributed to a sign holds the importance. Using an episode of the British soap-opera, “Eastenders” as an example, this reading will identify these additional meanings and show credence to their existence. The main area that will be concentrated upon will be power and the stereotype of the British villain and the myths that are associated with it.

Throughout the years, film and television have often used the stereotype of the British villain to add credence to a dubious character. Fifties and sixties fashions often reinforce this, the use of dark-coloured suits, slick hair styles and loyalty to family members can all be interpreted by the audience as attributes of the British villain. Although the characters portrayed in the programme are often a far cry away from the images of The Kray Twins and other legends from the history of British crime, the similarities visible when the tokens are identified are more obvious.

Steve Owen, the businessman who owns the local nightclub in Albert Square, is portrayed as a typical British villain; he is an icon to this image. His clothes are a connotative signifier to this belief. The sharp, dark suits which he wears evoke a mental image of power. He is male, strong and tall, the suit that he wears accentuates this, giving him the aura of all things powerful and masculine. Not only do his clothes signify power but also wealth. He is a businessman, and will only portray himself as a successful one.

As Marx suggested, “what makes them representative of the petit-bourgeois class, is that their minds, their consciousnesses do not extend beyond the limits which this class has set to its activities” (1852). If the producers were to make him walk the streets, for just one scene, in ordinary jeans and t-shirt, the reaction from the audience would be considerable. This example would only serve to show Steve’s decline into an ordinary life, far from the shady, intriguing life that the audience has become accustomed to.

His hair also serves as a connotative signifier. He is almost always shown with his jet-black hair slicked back, reminiscent of the old images of real villains from the past. This significant style conjures this image into the conscious of the viewer. Although it is obvious that he puts a lot of effort into his appearance, never is he pictured in front of a mirror, preening himself. This image would further confuse the viewer. Why would this man who is so concerned with his masculine persona, waste his time on such feminine traits?

But to look how he does must involve this kind of effort; it is the job of the programme producers to eliminate these signs of femininity and to only concentrate on how to use signifiers to the advantage of the character. Steve Owen’s strong regional accent also complements this image. It is evident that throughout the show’s history the stronger the character is supposed to be, the stronger the East-End accent. This accent is unmistakably related to masculinity, even when it is used by female characters it suggests strength and power.

Notice how Peggy Mitchell’s accent fluctuates from the calm, flat-accent when serving behind the bar to the intense East-End fury when confronted or disobeyed. Throughout history this accent has been used to suggest power. Looking back at plays such as Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”, the power that this gives to the menacing Bill Sykes, the way it instantly suggests which socio-economic group Nancy the young prostitute belongs and how from the moment that Mr. Brownlow speaks, the audience is assured of his virtue and high caliber.

Phil Mitchell is another character who is portrayed as a powerful villain in the show, but with subtle differences compared to Steve Owen. While Steve is concentrating on his aspiration to the bourgeois, though his means are anything but, Phil is slightly different. His principle concern is not wholly financial but that of pride, honour and family values. Phil does not walk around in expensive suits nor does he slick back his hair, but his image of power is as simple for the audience to appreciate as Steve’s. Phil’s power comes from the threat of violence.

It is not as if Phil isn’t wealthy, he does after all own stakes in many businesses and ventures around the local area but the way that he acquired them all stems from violence rather than shrewd business sense. If his financial assets haven’t been acquired legitimately, chances are they have been gained from illegal gambling, blackmail or extortion. However, as previously mentioned, he does not dress like a wealthy man. He is often un-shaven, wearing jeans and overalls, with what little hair he has cropped short. This gives the audience the instant impression that Phil is more of a brute than the successful Steve Owen.

This bestial representation also conjures the image of power to the viewer. He is seen as powerful in the more primitive sense; he is physically strong and is therefore a force to be reckoned with. Phil’s East-End accent is perhaps the strongest of all the characters. When he is portrayed as angry his gruff voice, coupled with the increased accent is often bordering on comedic. He is the epitome of power and strength, ruling by force to gain financial success. The characters of Steve Owen and Phil Mitchell are both portrayed with aspirations to becoming successful through their different approaches to crime.

They are also extremely competitive and hostile towards each other; Barthes wrote, “The petit-bourgeois is a man unable to imagine the Other. If he comes face to face with him, he blinds himself, ignores and denies him, or else transforms him into himself. “(1993, p151). Both of these men are concerned with wealth to illustrate their power and strength, although they have different methods of obtaining it, they are in essence, both aspiring to the same goal. Looking at this from a different point of view, Steve and Phil are portrayed as opposites regardless of the goal being the same.

They are never shown to experience either good or bad luck at the same time. One will inevitably loose something precious whilst the other gains something more precious at the same time, and although the characters are menacing at times, this predictability becomes apparent to the audience and thus takes away the strange appeal that many criminals have. Barthes suggests, “We find again here the figure of the scales: reality is first reduced to analogues: then it is weighed; finally, equality having been ascertained, it is got rid of.

Here also there is magical behaviour: both parties are dismissed because it is embarrassing to choose between them; one flees from an intolerable reality, reducing it to two opposites which balance each other only insomuch as they are purely formal, relieved of all their specific weight. ” (1993, p153) In conclusion, “Eastenders” gives a perfect example of how the codes and conventions used by the programme producers can reinforce myths about British life. The codes and conventions which have been illustrated in this reading are amongst many others used in all aspects of the characters’ lives on the programme.

The points covered previously show that from the mere image of the character Steve Owen and Phil Mitchell, an abundance of information can be gathered not only about them as characters but also of British culture as a whole. East-End accents do not by any means guarantee a criminal background but if this accent is put into context, used by a tall, dark-haired man, wearing an expensive dark suit, the conclusions that an audience might jump to are often not far from the truth from the stereotypes, images and myths that have been in our culture for a very long time.

Equality To All

The question has been raised: who is in control of curriculum in our school? Not just the choosing of the precise books, but who is in charge of the contents of the books that curriculum directors can choose from? Once the answers to these questions are found, what should be done if they point to one group?

So many problems in the United States have arisen when the people discover that one group is violating the peoples rights in some way by not allowing others power, that it would be logical to conclude that it would be perceived by many to be unfair if it is found that one interest group chooses what all American children learn, especially if that interest group is furthering their own interests by doing so. However, finding out the answers to these questions is quite difficult at best. The subject has been written about extensively, and since there are so many opinions, the unbiased truth is virtually impossible to come by.

In this topic, it has been at least suggested by others that everyone is biased, including our Supreme Court, so one must tread carefully in stating so-called “facts. ” Humanism and secular humanism and what they have to do with present educational curriculum will be discussed for the remainder. Though human nature tends to make all humans biased in some way, both sides of the argument have been researched and will be documented until fair conclusions can be made. First, the term “humanism” must be defined.

To do this fully, the definition of “humanism” will be given from the dictionary, and then humanists themselves will have a turn to define themselves. Merriam Websters Collegiate Dictionary terms “humanism” as “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; esp. : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individuals dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason. ” The same dictionary defines “doctrine” as “a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief: DOGMA.

To understand fully what this is pointing to, one must then look at the definition of “dogma””a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church. ” Most will agree that an accredited collegiate dictionary is an acceptable place to look for information, and here it is shown that humanism can be tied to a religion. People who claim to be humanist would also seem to be a good place to look for a formal term for humanism.

Rebecca Bushnell writes of early humanist pedagogy when she says, This is a humanism based on belief that people are largely responsible for what happens on this earth; committed to tolerance, attention to the differences among people and the need to treat them with equal respect; shaped by a cheerful acceptance of ambivalence and contradiction; and informed by an almost painful historical consciousness, which sees the past as estranged yet able to illuminate present concerns (8). ” This explanation definitely sounds like what most people want to feel, or at least what they claim to, but humanism is more than this.

Humanism is also defined by the worship of man; Curtis W. Reese writes, “There is a large element of faith in all religion. [Christianity has faith] in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of valuesHypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism. ” Another humanist deals with the humanistic beliefs in right and wrong: “In humanism right and wrong are defined in terms of consequence to human life (10). ”

To further clarify what humanists believe, more writings of humanists will prove that they consider humanism to be their religion. Gerald A. Larque, a man who signed the Humanist Manifesto II, writes, “Our religion is based upon the best that we know about our cosmos, our world, and ourselvesWe recognize our oneness with the cosmos and our spatial and temporal minutenessWe see ourselves as the highest life-form the evolutionary process has developed(11). ” The 1979 Humanist of the Year, who co-founded and edited The New Humanist, also believes humanism to be a religion: “Humanism in a naturalistic frame is validly a religion(7).

A Humanist Manifesto, also known as the Humanist Manifesto I, continually describes humanism as a religion. “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefsIn every field of human activity, the vital movement is now in the direction of a candid and explicit humanismreligious humanism (13). ” From the Humanist Manifesto II, one can see that Kurtz thinks of humanism as ” a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view” and that it offers a believer a formula for salvation and a future sanctuary (12).

Other humanists who claim humanism as their religion illustrate what “religion” means to them. Julian Huxley says in Religion Without Revelation, “There are whole religions which make no mention of God. The most notable example, as already mentioned, is that of Buddhism (14). ” Furthering this thought, “Religion, then,will mean a ruling commitment practiced by a community of individuals to what they believe creates, sustains, saves, and transforms human existence toward the greatest good (15). ” With this, one has sufficient information concerning basic humanism beliefs.

Besides the fact that humanists themselves admit to being a religious organization, there are several examples of how the American legal system treats humanismas a religion. In a Supreme Court case, Torcaso v. Watkins, a Notary Public from Maryland was reinstated after being fired for refusing to proclaim a belief in God. The Court recognized religions that do not believe in God as “real” religions when it wrote, “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others (7).

This statement will be considered later in the discussion. All formal humanist membership organizations in America claim 501(c )3 religious tax exempt status or deem themselves expressly religious. Dr. Paul Kurtz states, “Even the American Humanist Association (3,500 members)has a religious tax exemption (7). ” An editor of The Humanist magazine, Paul Blanshard says, “There has been another victory for those who would interpret the word “religion” very broadlythe appellate court reversed by a unanimous decision.

Now the F. O. R. [Fellowship of Reconciliation] is established as a “religious” organization, with full right to tax exemption (7). ” Tax-exempt status is serious business. In an article titled “The Religion of Democracy: Part II,” Rudolph Dreikurs argues that humanism should be thought of as religious because of the form and content. “The new religion will probably be humanistic. It will be concerned with man and not with God. ” This “new religion” will have new principles, new rituals, and new symbols (16).

Those involved in the humanist religion also have their own ministers, and “minister” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “one officiating or assisting the officiant in church worship. ” Harvard University has its own Humanist chaplain, Thomas Ferrick, who is also “one of the 34 full- and part-time chaplains that make up the United Ministry at Harvard and Radcliffe, and he also serves as executive director of the Humanist Association of Massachusetts local chapter (17). ” In Auburn Universitys Student/Faculty Directory, under “Auburn Pastors and Campus MinistersHumanist,” there is a Humanist Counselor for the students (7).

The University of Arizonas Student Handbook for 1990-1991 lists “Humanists” under the title “Religious Services” (7). These facts should only prove further that Humanism is a religion. Now that humanism is understood, it is time to link humanism with present-day educational curriculum. Paul Vitz conducted research on the censorship of students textbooks, funded by the National Institute of Education, a part of the federal government, and came to the conclusion that they are strongly biased for the Secular Humanist worldview.

Whether one calls it secular humanism, enlightenment universalism, skeptical modernism, or just plain permissive liberalism, the bottom line is that a very particular and narrow sectarian philosophy has taken control of American education (18). ” This seems to be a documented conclusion from an recognized institute, but yet it has not been fully discussed with the American public at large. Humanists themselves have admitted to the fact that they use the classroom to further their religion. John J.

Dunphy states in his A Religion for a New Age, “[T]he battle for humankinds future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being (19). ” Another man who calls himself a “Humanist minister”, Charles Francis Potter, says: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.

What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching? (20)” He then continues, “So very Humanistic is modern education that no religion has a future unless it be Humanism (20). ” These men obviously believe very strongly not only that humanism is being taught in American public schools, but also that it should overpower other religions.

John Dewey, who signed the Humanist Manifesto I, wrote a book, Education Today, in which he voices many opinions about education and how humanism should be implemented. “I believe thatit is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform(21)”. On page eighty he says, “We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion.

He also believes public education to be the vehicle by which this “deeper religion” is promoted (21). Now that it has been documented that the humanist religion is being funneled into public schools, it is time to give a few examples of the things in school curriculum that are humanist in nature. First, homosexuality is being pushed as acceptable behavior to students. The schools are teaching that it should be looked at as positive to have “full sexual adjustment without any hang-ups caused by outdated religious concepts. And our schools are the main tool used to teach the young people this human freedom (6).

Not only is homosexuality taught as “okay,” but they are also teaching the theory of evolution in full force. Teachers are not allowed to present any kind of argument for creationist theory; Jerry Bergman, Ph. D. , states, “In fact, it is often considered inappropriate to criticize evolution, let alone present the creationist position (6). ” This occurs without much argument, despite the fact that there are many books very critical of evolutionary theory “written by either evolutionists or by individuals who at least do not agree with the creationist perspective (6).

The biology textbook Of Pandas and People by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon was included by the trustees in Plano, Texas, in the school curriculum, and humanist educators lost all pretense of “tolerance” because the book “acknowledges the abundance of design manifest in the natural world and thus reasonably postulates an intelligent Designer (7). ” Homosexuality and evolution are just a couple examples of humanist perspective in the schools.

What Are The Most Important Features Of The Concept Of A Social System

A social system as a concept in sociological theory is one of great importance and indeed necessary. As a theoretical concept and component of theoretical explanation, it highlights the intricate nature of the society we live in. (Craib 1992) Talcott Parsons, a dominant functionalist theorist, focused much of his work on the concept of a social system. (Water 1994) Such a concept is indeed synonymous with his work.

Whilst there is no universal sociological definition of the concept, Parsons defined a social system as: a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect, actors who are motivated in terms of the tendency to the “optimization of gratification” and whose relation to their situations, including each other, is defined and mediated in terms of a system of culturally structured symbols. (cited in Wallace & Wolf 1999)

In order to fully grasp the features of Parsons’ social system it is necessary to examine such a concept in the context of his all-embracing system theory, or more in particular his theory of action. However, theoretical vices become apparent, thus it is imperative to briefly address the concept from an alternative perspective, such as Dahrendorf’s theory, in order to highlight varying features of the concept of a social system, but also the interpretative nature such a concept entails. Therefore this essay primarily will deal only with those highlights or ‘features’.

From a functionalist perspective, society is viewed as a system insofar as it is made up of parts, which mesh together. The basic unit of analysis is society, and its various parts are understood primarily in terms of their relationship to the whole. Craib 1992) The early functionalists often drew an analogy between society and organisms, such as the human body. Such an analogy involves the understanding of any organ of the body and its relationship to other bodily organs, and in particular its contribution to the maintenance of the body organism as a whole. Haralambos & van Krieken & Smith & Holborn 1996 p, 673))

In the same way, an understanding of any part of society requires an analysis of its relationship to other parts, and most importantly, of its contribution to the maintenance of society. Haralambos et al 1996 p, 673) As can be deduced from the above definition, Parsons takes a similar approach to the concept of a social system. Sociological perspectives are well known for their penetrating breadth, but also for their high level of abstractness, which may often have led to more confusion than clarification in discussing their relevance. Deflem 1998)

This is in fact a foundational feature of the concept of a social system, as well as most theoretical concepts, whereby the intricateness and complexity of the concept immediately becomes apparent. The abstractness therefore accentuates the inability to grasp its features at face value without delving further in to Parsons’ system theory. (Craib 1992) Parsons posits that the most empirically significant sociological theory must be concerned with complex systems, that is systems composed of many subsystems. The primary empirical type reference is to society, which is highly complex. Craib 1992)

He understands a modern social system to be a distinct entity, different from but interdependent with three other action systems or subsystems. Those of the culture system, personality system and the behavioural organism system. Waters 1994) Each system contributes specialised functions to any other subsystem as well as to the entire social system. Parsons’ functional references diverge from the structural components in a dynamic direction and serve the purpose of integrating, mediating between the system’s structure and that imposed by environing systems. Collins 1988)

Parsons attributes the functions of adaptation (A) to the behavioural organism, goal attainment (G) to the personality system; integration (I) to the social system; and latency (L) to the cultural system. Collins 1988) The structural elements of social system are treated as constants over certain ranges of variation. These four types of independently variable components include role (A), collectivity (G), norms (I) and value (L). (Waters 1994) These roughly cover the social structure from individual to social system and form the fundamental integrating principle in society. Deflem 1998) Put simply, if members of society are committed to the same values, they share a common identity, which provides a basis for unity and cooperation, and common goals.

Values provide a general conception of what is desirable and worthwhile. (Wallace et al 1999) Goals provide the direction in specific situations, while a common goal provides an incentive for cooperation. Role provides a means whereby values and goals are translated into action. The content of roles is structured in terms of norms which define the rights and obligations. Wallace et al 1999) Norms are then seen as specific expressions of values which tend to ensure that role behaviour is standardised.

These are referred to as ‘system needs’ and are essential to the functioning of the social system. (Wallace et al 1999) It is here that one can identify Parsons’ use of many concepts. A feature of his theory is indeed the conceptual relationships he establishes. (Craib 1992) The interpenetrating and interdependency of the subsystems are imperative to Parsons’ social system and evidently form an important feature of his use of the concept. Waters 1994) He conceived a social system to be ‘open’ in that it engaged in continual interchange of inputs and outputs with their environments.

Furthermore, another feature becomes apparent. The networking of each subsystem of the complex social system, as discussed above, can be seen at the appropriate level of reference as a social system in its own right. (Craib 1992) Moreover, it is essential to establish Parsons’ social system as one which is self- equilibrating. (Wallace et al 1999 p, 41) Whist this has been criticised as a functionalist vice, it is however, a feature of Parsons’ social system.

He asserts that the structured elements, (ie. ole, collectivity, norms and values) from the most general level – the central value system – to the most specific – normative conduct – the social system is infused with common values, thus providing the basis for social order. (Haralambos et al 1996) When values become institutionalised and behaviour structured in terms of them, the result is a stable system, a state of ‘social equilibrium’ when the various parts of the system are in a state of balance. Collins 1988) However, the maintenance of such a stable state is through socialisation and mechanisms of social control which discourage deviance and so maintain order in the system. Collins 1988)

How then, does Parsons account for social change? Indeed society is ever changing. Parsons’ approached this problem by arguing that although a certain degree of equilibrium is essential for the survival of societies, “no system is in a perfect state of equilibrium. (Haralambos et al 1996 p, 676) Although systems never attain complete equilibrium, they do however, move toward this state whereby a social systems reaction to a disturbance will lead to some degree of change, however small, in the system as a whole. He regarded change as a process of ‘social evolution’. (Craib 1992)

Parsons’ belief (however limited due to teleology) that the parts of the system will reorganise to bring back to normal is a feature of his social system as well as the functionalist perspective in general. Wallace et al 1999) It is necessary to establish a varying perspective of the ‘social system’ or society and the way in which an alternative theory offers different features of the same topic. Contrary to the functionalist perspective, conflict theorists, such as Darendorf, seek to examine the notion of society in terms of a composure of groups that have fundamentally different and conflicting interests. (Ritzer 1988) However, both perspectives share the use of a model of society as a whole and therefore adopt a structural approach.

Despite theoretical debates within the conflict perspective, an important feature of their ‘social system’ is the assertion that conflict does exist. Parsons’ and functionalists in general, more or less saw society as harmonious integrated wholes. Wallace et al 1999) Darendorf, also refers to the concept of a ‘system’. However, he does not see such a system to be in ‘equilibrium’. (Ritzer 1988) From an integrative perspective, that is, stemming from Marx and Webber, Darendorf argued that conflicts were no longer based on economic division.

Instead, he saw conflict as being concerned with power and authority. (Ritzer 1988) While Parsons’ saw society as being manifested by value consensus, Dahrendorf saw society’s interests as divided. Such a division highlights a feature of Dahrendorf’s social system. Haralambos et al 1996) Dahrendorf suggested that the existence of dominant and subordinate positions within ‘associations’ or organisations, produces a situation in which individuals have different interests. Craib 1992), those individuals in positions of dominance will seek to maintain the social structure that gives them more authority than others.

On the other hand, those in the positions of subordination will seek to change those aspects of the social structure that deprive them of authority. Such a conflict of interests is evident in all aspects of society. Collins 1988) Therefore there are many potential groups or ‘quasi-groups’ which could be in conflict with each other, while other groups may join together to pursue their common interest.

Dahrendorf firmly believed that while conflicts may be “channelled, institutionalised, and shorn of their more violent manifestations, they can never be eradicated from the human scene”. (Coser 1977 p, 581) It is therefore obvious that the concept of a social system has many features. This has become evident through the examination of a functionalist perspective of the social system and more in particular through Parsons grand theory of action.

Parsons established features that included the high level of abstraction of the concept and its relationship with many others. By addressing the concept in the context of Parsons’ theory, features such as an interpenetrating, interdependent and self-equilibrating social system becomes apparent. Such a system, and all its parts, will always reorganise to bring back to normal. Dahrendorf, on the other hand, highlighted a social system with a conflictual nature. One in which has its interests divided.

Social Security – a hot topic of debate today

Social Security is a hot topic of debate today, since most American’s believe that the system is near collapse. The trust fund that Americans have been paying into for Social Security is likely to dry up in 2029 due to the large number of baby boomers heading into retirement. Franklin Roosevelt set up Social security to help the people that had worked and Struggled all their lives in honest toil. Social security was set up to accomplish two main goals. The first goal of Social Security is to act as a disability or life insurance policy that protects almost all Americans.

Currently, there are seven million survivors of deceased orkers and four million disabled Americans that receive income support from Social Security. The second goal is to provide lifetime retirement benefits that rise with inflation. Social Security payments for retirees are needed to keep half of the elderly Americans above the poverty line. A large number of baby boomers believe that they won’t see a dime’s worth of Social Security benefits, and most younger people assume that once they have reached retirement the program will be gone. There have been many proposed solutions to the Social Security problem.

A first possible solution is to dramatically change the Social Security Payroll Tax. Another proposal is to change amount of benefits of the provided by Social Security. A third reform proposal includes investing Social Security money in stocks either by the government investing the money or by setting up mandatory IRA investing. Another major development in the future of Social Security is the recent proposals made by President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Social Security. In January of this year the Advisory Committee on Social Security presented a report of strategies to save Social Security.

Shortly after the 261 page report was released there was a huge increase of ebates and criticism over the future of Social Security. The issue facing American today is when and how to reform Social Security. Although the American public and political groups are unwilling to accept the burdens of social security reform, extensive reform is needed soon to continue paying the current benefits to American citizens. A change in the Social Security tax is a possible factor of reform to bring the Social Security program back on track. Currently the Social Security tax is a flat-rate tax paid on all employment earnings up to a specified limit.

Due to inflation the limit is increased every year currently t is just over $60,000. This tax is much harder on a lower income individual because the higher income individual is only taxed on their income that is below a certain amount set every year. It has been proposed that if the limit on the payroll tax were lifted, two-thirds of the projected Social Security deficit would be eliminated. Once the limit on the payroll tax is lifted a rise in the tax rate of the employers and the employees by 1. 1% is predicted to be enough to solve Social Security’s problems. This is assuming that two evasive actions take place.

First the government will have to keep its hands of this extra tax evenue gained by the tax increases. Second the proposed solution will only have a chance to work if it is started immediately while the baby boomers are still able to add a little more cash to the trust fund for there own retirement. This solution isn’t likely to be implemented by today’s political system. The advisory council on Social Security would not pursue the lift of the limit because the support of the wealthy voters for Social Security reform would be lost. Americans are also weary of Social Security tax increases.

The middle and lower class voters would also not support a Social Security tax increase. A recent poll by Money magazine found that 70% of the public is unwilling to pay more tax than the current 6. 2% rate. Another proposed solution to Social Security’s problems is a to decrease the amount of benefits received by retirees. The first way to reduce the amount of benefits that are being paid out is to adjust the CPI. Sen. Daniel Monynihan of New York (Dem. ) has proposed that a 1. 1% cut in annual cost-of-living adjustments for pensioners would be a reasonable solution to Social Securities problems.

The adjustment of the CPI would reflect the belief by many economists that the CPI overstates current nflation. He claims that this would almost completely solve the problems in the Social Security program by insuring that the expected inflow of funds would equal the expected outflow of benefits for future decades. An alternate approach to lowering the amount of paid benefits is to raise the retirement age. Currently the retirement age is expected to rise from 65 to 67 in 2037. A recent poll taken by Money magazine found that 70% were in favor of raising the retirement age to 67 by 2016.

This would decrease the amount of benefits being paid out, and give two more years for these individuals to put money into the ystem. Another proposed solution that would also lower the amount of benefits paid out is to cut benefits for the prosperous retirees with incomes above $50,000 dollars a year. The biggest problem with cutting benefits of any kind is that any politician that proposes cuts will instantly lose support by elderly that count for a major portion of the voters, so cutting benefits is almost impossible in our political system even if the cuts are very small.

A politician would also be unwise to implement benefit cuts only for prosperous retirees because the support of the wealthy would also be lost. The third major reform roposal consists of investing the Social Security tax in the stock market. The biggest question for this type of reform is whether taxpayers would decide where to invest there tax money or would the government choose for them. An individual on this type of plan would be required to invest a portion of there income in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank CDs, but not in gambling or other wild money making schemes.

The tax payer on this type of program would then be able to withdraw their investments once there reach retirement age. The government would also insure that the retire still receive a minimum return even if their nvestments fail. The biggest advantage of this IRA style approach would be that Americans will finally be in control of their own retirement fund. This proposal has many advantages for politicians and voters of all ages. There would no longer be debates about retirement ages and you could make your own choice on when to retire.

The debates on the how to measure the rate of inflation with the CPI to would no longer affect benefit payments. The stock market could flourish from the added revenue of future retirees. The increase in investing also could improve the state of the American economy. There are a few drawbacks for this ype of reform. The biggest is deciding how to finance Social Security for people retiring before this reform, since Social Security is run as a pay as you go system. Social Security is considered a pay as you go system because people paying Social Security now are paying for the already retired citizens.

Financing the retirement for people before the reform isn’t a proble, since the baby boomer generation is creating a $50 billion a year surplus. The baby boomer generation has also created a $500 billion surplus from recent years which will be enough to finance the their retirements. The other option is for the overnment to invest Social Security trust funds in the stock market. The advantage of this is that if market trends continue the government will generate gain an additional after inflation interest rate of about 7%. Although this option has many problems that will keep it from being a solution.

This option would give the government a massive control of the private economy. It is hard to believe that the government will be able to keep a hands off approach when it controls huge blocks of stock in companies. The American public doesn’t have enough faith in the government to trust that it will be able to invest such a arge sum of money without being swayed by political pressures. The new demand for the stocks will decrease the demand for bonds thus raising bond interest rates which could hurt the economy. This approach also doesn’t have a plan of action for slumps in today’s volatile market.

Recently, the White House’s 13 member Social Security Advisory Council released three reform approaches. These reform proposals are different variations of investing Social Security taxes in the stock market and the use of private savings accounts. In each proposal by the Advisory Council on Social Security the benefits of retirees are maintained nd taxs are also held at the same rate. The most popular of these approaches was supported by six of the members. This plan would keep Social Security a government-run retirement system.

It calls for a study of investing up to 40% of Social Security surpluses in the stock market. This plan is strongly backed by labor and retiree groups, but it may not be accepted because of fears of government ownership of the stock in private companies. The least favorite proposal among the council is only supported by two members. It would require all workers to put 1. 6% of pay into mandatory government-run individual accounts hat offer a choice of stock and bond investments. At retirement, account balances would be paid out as annuities for the life of the employee.

Few people are strong supporters of this variation, but it could be come a model for compromise among the councils three proposals. The final approach is supported by five of the council’s members. This plan would divert into savings accounts 5 percentage points of the 12. 4% payroll tax paid by workers 54 or younger and employers. The remaining 7. 4 percentage points of tax would help fund a the basic Social Security plan. This plan could become the standard plan for radical eformers, but it is likely that it will not be supported by congress.

The private savings accounts could be good for the economy. Instead of spending almost all taxes from today’s workers immediately as retiree benefits, the money will be placed in savings accounts that will grow by 2. 5% of the GDP every year. This rate will be maintained as long as stocks and bonds maintain the returns they have generated in the past century. My own proposal under ideal conditions would not use the approach of investing in the stock market. I am not that excited about investing in the stock market because I don’t believe that today’s ull market will last.

Although in order for my most aggressive type of approach to work there would have to be a substantial tax increase and an adjustment of the CPI, and I could never get enough support for my proposal from the wealthy or the retired citizens. In order to make a proposal that would have any chance of making it through the house and the senate I have already compromised on investing in the stock market to reduce the increase in taxes and to keep from decreasing benefits substantially. I propose that to begin reforming Social Security we need to first adjust the CPI.

This would cut down on the benefits or those receiving Social Security payments. Then I would propose that a law be passed to keep the governments hands off this money so we can gradually work our way away from the pay as you go system into a system that would insure everyone over 35 would be receive benefits under the traditional system. Everyone under 35 would start having by having 4 percentage points of there Social Security tax put into individual IRA’s. The percentage of the Social Security tax that is put in the IRA’s would be gradually increased until the benefits for everyone over 35 have been paid for.

After everyone over 35 have had there benefits accounted or in the budget the amount of the Social Security tax invested in IRA’s will stop at 8. 5 percentage points of the 12. 4% rate. The left over Social Security tax will then be invested in government Treasuries, or it would pay for a basic insurance plan that would be provided to the public. The amount of the tax invested in either of these areas would completely depend on America’s demand for benefits from the insurance. This insurance would cover the same goals of the current system, and it would provide an allowance to anyone that doesn’t meet a minimum benefit level from their IRA’s.

What Is Sociology

This article is designed primarily for those who are completely new to sociology and would like some help and guidance as to the exact nature of the subject-matter of sociology. However new you are to sociology it is probable that you have an idea, however vague and general, regarding what sociology is supposed to be about. It may be that you have an idea that sociology is ‘about’ people. And you would be right to think so. We might start then by noting that sociology is one of the human sciences and as such it is a subject to be distinguished from the so-called ‘physical sciences’.

Sociology is the study of humanity. However this description of sociology is only partially correct. To say that sociology is about people and humanity is not enough to distinguish it from the other subjects in the human sciences. For it is equally the case that Psychology, Social Policy, Economics and Social History, amongst others, are all in some sense about people and humanity. Thus the fact that sociology is about people and humanity gets us only part way along the road to a full definition of the subject. We might also suggest that sociology is ‘about’ society.

This helps in so far as it adds another component to our full definition. But again it is not enough to fully define the subject. For all of the aforementioned human sciences are not only about people and humanity but about society too. Sociology is also concerned with human culture. A provisional definition of culture used by sociologists is that of ‘ a way of life’. Sociology has always concerned itself with the study of culture and this would fit in with what we already know about sociology; namely it the study of people in society.

Many have suggested that we can define sociology as the subject that deals with and explains social interaction. Here sociology is characterised by the fact that it examines the informal and formal social relationships engaged in by individuals. Sociologists might typically observe and explain types of interactions which take place between individuals. So to include this idea of social interaction in any definition of sociology is helpful. However the inclusion of social interaction does not establish sociology’s distinctiveness when it is considered alongside, for example psychology.

Psychology, just like sociology, also involves the study of human interaction. There may be a way of differentiating sociology. We could suggest that whereas Psychology studies human interaction of individuals; sociology studies the interaction that occurs within and between social groups. In this sense sociology would be described as a subject that places individuals in their social context as members of social groups, communities and as members of social institutions such as work or their place within a family or again their position within an educational institution.

Psychology on the other hand appears to examine individuals as solitary and somewhat isolated beings. Indeed one might formalise the differences of approach by suggesting that psychology takes as its starting point the individual whereas sociology begins with the idea of the wider social networks and societies within which individuals are to be found. This idea falls in nicely with the widespread perception of sociology as being a subject which takes ‘the wider context’ or ‘the wider picture’ into account and seeks to place individuals into that wider social framework.

We have done well thus far: We have begun to distinguish sociology as a social science, furthermore we have already amassed a number of key terms associated with sociology. So far we have a number of components of a definition: We have also noted a number of key ideas within sociology: But as if to exasperate you let me again ask you to consider that what we have at the moment is very useful indeed but that it is still inadequate and for at least two reasons: Social Psychology, a specialism within Psychology, does study social groups.

Furthermore a social science such as Political Science does seek to contextualise the (largely political) relationships of human interaction. We might alternatively propose that sociology is the study of the external relations which individuals engage in. That is the relationship with other people as well the relationships individuals have with social institutions. Whereas Psychology examines the internal workings of the individual in terms of their mental processes. But again there are aspects of psychology which examine external relations whilst there are aspects of sociology which examine the ‘internal’ workings of individuals’ minds.

In one sense we might have to admit here that Psychology and Sociology experience significant and sufficient overlaps so as to conclude that they are so close that we cannot finally distinguish them in any complete sense. Many have taken this view of the relationship between psychology and sociology and it is not unreasonable position to take. But I feel it not only leaves us with a partial definition of sociology (and by implication with a partial definition of Psychology) but it also means that we are left with a distorted understanding of what has been sociology’s main objective since it’s beginnings in the early years of the 19th century.

For it seems to me that sociology is to be defined as the ‘study of social order’. Sociology is a subject made up of competing theories on society. All the differing theories within sociology are best described as basically involved in the project of describing and explaining ‘social order’. In other words sociology has always sought to understand how the components of society, the social relationships and the social institutions, contribute to, or deflect from the continued existence of ‘society’. This is not to suggest that sociology is not concerned with social conflict and social change too.

However these concerns are essentially one’s which derive from, and supplement, the major objective of understanding social order. If we cast an eye back historically to the very beginnings of sociology we can note a number of important features associated with the ‘birth’ of the subject. Firstly it can be argued that sociology is a development of, as well as a reaction to, two significant events which occurred in 18th century Europe: The first of these events was ‘The Enlightenment’. ‘The Enlightenment’ was a revolution in ideas.

Briefly put, it had two centres in the European cities of Edinburgh in Scotland and Paris in France. Philosphers and social theorists of the period were seeking to change the way we understood humanity. They were seeking to overthrow the dogma of the Church and in particular of the clerics and to devise an alternative view of humanity based upon rational thinking and empirically based sciences. It is clear that some of these thinkers were what we might now judge to be ‘sociologists’, men like Adam Ferguson and Comte De Montequeiue; women such as Mary Wollstonecraft.

But sociology proper was to arrive later. For the term ‘sociology’ is not coined until after the second great event of the 18th century; the French Revolution. For the French Revolution, had shaken not just France and the rest of Europe to its foundations, but North America too. The old absolutist Monarchies were either overthrown or seriously under threat as new classes appeared on the political stage and demanded democratic representation and citizens Rights. A new set of ideologies, of nationalism, appeared to force the pace of social change.

Sociology’ arrives in the wake of these two events. The term ‘sociology’ is coined by a man named Auguste De Comte. He is conventionally understood to be the first ‘proper’ sociologist. Along with his countryman Henri Saint-Simon they set about devising a ‘science of society’. A ‘science’ in the manner set down by the scientists and philosophers of the Enlightenment. One leading Enlightenment philosopher had been Immanuel Kant. This German philosopher had issued the proclamation that still to this day defines the principal objective of the Enlightenment: ‘Dare to Know’!

Briefly put Kant had defined the role of the philosopher as ‘investigator’ (compare this view with that of the British philosopher, John Locke, who, a hundred years earlier had defined the role of the philosopher as an ‘underlabourer’ (to the scientist). Comte and Saint-Simon ‘dared to know’ about this entity; ‘society’. But, and this is a controversial point, their ‘daring-ness’ (! ) was somewhat constrained by the contexts in which they lived as well as the social interests they saw themselves as representing.

Robert Nisbet, a 20th century North American sociologist, describes them as seeking to assist with the ‘conservative reaction’ then dominant in post-revolutionary France by developing a plan or schema for a well ordered society. Nisbet suggests that Comte and Saint-Simon were acting as ‘spokespersons’ for the new industrial classes whose main objective was stability. Sociology doesn’t ‘get going’ however as the institutionalised and professional discipline that we know today until the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

And this is an extremely uneven and gradual process. It begins in France largely through the efforts of one of the so-called ‘founding fathers’ of sociology Emile Durkheim. It spreads to the then new nation of Germany largely through the efforts of other ‘founding fathers’ such as Max Weber and to a lesser extent Georg Simmel. And all the time this new sociology is, as it were, ‘looking over its shoulder’ or to put it as the philosopher, Jacques Derrida, might; this new subject of sociology was ‘haunted’ by another type of explanation of society: The social theory of Marxism!

The Canadian sociologist Irving Zeitlin once put forward the thesis that mainstream sociology has, ever since its early days, been in ‘debate with the ghost of Marx’. Karl Marx had earlier in the 19th century developed a rigorous social theory of human society. He had rejected the idea of sociology and rejected the idea of regarding himself as a sociologist. Yet it is testimony to the force and pervasiveness of his arguments that sociology has sought to incorporate his theory as part of the ‘sociological tradition’ and he is now seen as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the subject.

Sociology then is co-extensive with modern industrial society. Just when modern societies emerge so too does sociology. We might take time here to note here that this means sociology had very particular beginnings and reflected particular sets of interests. Point 1: We saw that sociology’s beginnings were distinctly European. This has led to the criticism that sociology is ethnocentric. There were black writers in the 19th century such as W. B. Du Bois, but they are only now being accepted for their true value.

Point 2: Did you notice all the ‘founding mothers’? No? Nor did I! Again there is a criticism that sociology is a male enterprise which has for a long time failed to give adequate consideration to women’s needs and issues. This has led to charges of it being ethnocentric. Furthermore it is significant that sociology is a male enterprise from its very beginnings. So sociology had its beginnings as a white, male, middle-class and European enterprise. If you are going to study it is up to you to determine the extent to which it has ‘mended it ways’.

Social Reproduction and Cutural Capital

Teachers are committed to challenging all students to succeed, whatever their abilities, interests, social and cultural background, gender, prior attainment or aspirations. As future teachers, we need to know the aspects of society, so that we can ensure that each one of our students is successful and achieves his or her potential through the education provided. In this paper, I will be using the articles from the Social Class/Race and School Finance section of the class to evaluate the effects of social stratification, cultural capital, and social reproduction, school financing, and school environment.

Social stratification lies at the core of society and of the discipline of sociology. Social inequality is a fundamental aspect of virtually all social processes, and a person’s position in the stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his or her behavior, attitudes, and life chances. Social stratification links almost all aspects of society together, and therefore understanding what is happening to social stratification helps us understand a wide range of other changes in society.

In the article “Social Class Differences In Family-School Relationships: The Importance of Cultural Capital” by Annette Laureau, summarizes a study of family-school relations and cultural capital. The results(of the study) suggest that social class position and class culture becomes a form of cultural capital in the school setting(Laureau, 1987). The families of working class lacked money, time, individual educational attainment, value of education, and high expectation on their children where as the middle-class families had all the advantages to support their children’s achievement at school. Lareau shows the effortful evidence that parents with resources will be able help their children attain much

This research uses the concepts of social and cultural capital to student behavior. Social capital may take the form of information-sharing channels and networks, as well as social norms, values, and expected behaviors. High status cultural signals include the attitudes, preferences, knowledge, behaviors, possessions, and credentials that function as informal academic standards, and that are generally defined by the dominant class.

Individuals who lack the required cultural capital may lower their educational aspirations or self-select out of particular situations (e. , not enroll in higher education) because they do not know the particular cultural norms, overperform to compensate for their less- valued cultural resources, or receive fewer rewards for their educational investment. Teachers in both school interpreted parental involvement as a refection of the value parents places on their children’s The social reproduction theory can be widely seen in the American educational system. Social reproduction is the theory that children tend to lead lives like those of where they where raised socially and economically.

Social reproduction works in that children born/raised into a poor society where education is less valued and where a strong back and arm will get you a few dollars a week tends to lead those children towards a poor life. In the popular mind, school is the great equalizer: By providing a level playing field where the low and the mighty compete on an equal basis, schooling reminders social inequality superfluous (MacLeod, 1995, pg. 11). Reproduction theories, in contrast, show that schools actually reinforce social inequality while pretending to the opposite.

The book “Ain’t No Makin It” by Jay MacLeod represent strong evidence of the influence of cultural capital and the theory of social reproduction. “Ain’t No Makin It” is a ethnography about two “gangs” in the projects of Clarendon Heights and their struggles of social reproduction. The two groups of teens, the Hallway Hangers and in the Brothers, show the struggle of being in a poverished society. The Hallway Hangers where slackers, drug users, and alcoholics, but not so much by choice, but by the environment that they where raised in.

The Hallway Hangers had little asperations, predicting that they would be either dead or criminals in 20 years. The Hallway Hanger lacked in parental involvement, good role models, and came from broken homes. The majority of the group believed that their parents didn’t really care that they weren’t doing well in school, as long as they had a job, which hardly any paid over minimum wage. The Hallway Hanger parents lacked ambitions for their sons, giving little hope for them to succeed. The Brothers, where a group of African American, who had aspiration to do well in school and in society.

The Brothers worked hard to get good grades, didn’t drink or do drugs, and looked to the future. The Brothers where typical low-class families, like those of the Hallway Hangers. The families had low educational achievement and obtained unskilled jobs, but where different in some ways. The families of the Brothers showed discipline and movement in the social stratification which did provide the Brothers an advantage. Because some of the brother had movement in the social stratification, they could possibly see light of a better future.

In the end, neither the Brothers or Hallway Hangers made dvancement in the social stratification, showing that because of their lack of cultural capital and because of social reproduction, they where destine not to achieve. Parental involvement and behaviors can be a determinate factor of a child’s future educational achievement. Children of parents with inferior education achievements will tend to have children that have a depressed education and visa versa of children of parents which have high education. Parents of the working-class deprive there children because they may not have the resources to help their children ith their education.

The parents may not have the education to help a child with homework because they lack the knowledge. The parents also may lack the time to help their children and lose track of the child’s involvement in school.. The lack of money can deprive the child of further educational opportunities because the parents may not be able to provide educational resources. In Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol documents the devastating inequalities in American schools, focusing on public education’s “savage inequalities” between affluent districts and poor districts.

Kozal tells about the horrifying and shocking conditions of poor schools. Almost anyone who visits in the schools of East St. Louis, even for a short time, comes away profoundly shaken. These are innocent children, after all. They have done nothing wrong. They have committed no crime. They are too young to have offended us in any way at all. One searches for some way to understand why a society as rich and, frequently, as generous as ours would leave these children in their penury and squalor for so long-and with so little public indignation.

Is this just a strange mistake of history? Is it unusual? Is it an American anomaly(Kozal, 1991, Life on the Mississippi)? “Martin Luther King Junior High School,” notes the Post-Dispatch in a story published in the early spring of 1989, “was evacuated Friday afternoon after sewage flowed into the kitchen…. The kitchen was closed and students were sent home. ” On Monday, the paper continues, “East St. Louis Senior High School was awash in sewage for the second time this year. ” The school had to be shut because of “fumes and backed-up toilets. ”

Sewage flowed into the basement, through the floor, then up into the kitchen and the students’ bathrooms. The backup, we read, “occurred in the food preparation areas(Kozal, 1991, Life on the Mississippi). Education in the inner cities is deemed to be one of the worst problems in our public schools. Education in the inner cities need money, support, dedication of administrators and faculty, and family involvement. Reading levels are the lowest in the poorest schools(Kozal, 1991, Other People’s Children). A key consideration in rebuilding schools is to link the schools to the community. Considering the impact on our society, it would make more sense to spend money on preparing our hildren for the future instead of spending a great deal more money in the future on public assistance and prisons to support them.

The nicest buildings in the city are the Federal Court and the City Hall– which also holds the jail… (Kozol, Life on the Mississippi). ” Educational funding is not the only issue, it is however certainly central to the problem. Additional funds could be the beginning of change in the inner city schools. Repairing existing buildings or constructing of new schools, updating lab equipment, technology, and texts, and hiring qualified staff embers would help to improve the education these students receive.

Improving the learning environment is the first step to rebuilding our inner city schools. More importantly, programs for the students and families will improve their future. The educational systems in America have many faults, but if more people become aware, things can only improve. It is hard to make any pinpoint decisions to improve the educational system because it is such a epic problem. I believe as a future teacher, I may be able change things, and with time maybe equal education for everyone won’t be just a far away dream.

An Honest Look Into The Life Of A Working Class Black Person

Slims Table, written by Mitchell Duneier has been called a “true stereotype buster” due to its content in which it truthfully examines the lifestyles of working class black men. The book is designed to break the common misconceptions imbedded in a majority of peoples minds over how a black man lives his life and why he in a sense “does what he does,” “thinks what he thinks,” and “acts the way he acts. ” Prior to the writing of this book by Duneier, there were many common stereotypes of a working class black man, which often caused negative attitudes towards them.

Although many of them are still existent and quiet prevalent, Duneier sought to try and break these misconceptions in hopes to try and bridge the gap, which has for so long been expanding between blacks and whites. Slims Table, appears to be written in a two-fold manner, in that Duneier tries to explain and debunk two different, yet equally important ideologies that have long since been associated to the black working class.

Duneier tries to show the solidarity of the black working class with the way he presents the book, however, there is an underlying tone in which he is trying to show that the black race, in particular the struggling working class, “Is in no way hopelessly wrecked by the power of “white privilege” or racism. ” He tries to debunk the unfortunate and yet demoralizing caricatures that for so long have been placed upon the heads of the black working class, with such associations as poor, uneducated, unskilled and probably the most negative of all, useless.

Yet, it is the manner in which he manages to bring all of this out, which is most impressing. He remains quite unassuming and appearingly non-subjective, yet he is stating his points and supporting them all the way through the book. The setting for Slims Table primarily takes place in a cafeteria on the South Side of Chicago. There a character, known as Mitch, whom we can conclude is the author finds himself, a white man in a predominately black area, studying the lifestyles of many of the black men he encounters. The title of the book is derived from a group of people that Mitch meets in a cafeteria and befriends.

He often refers to them as “the regulars” because as a routine they always meet in the cafeteria to discuss the days that they have had. Mitch later finds out they’ve been gathering there for over 10 years. As Mitch observes, the apparent “leader” of the group is a man named Slim, who is a black mechanic that works down in a back alley garage in one of the ghetto areas of Chicago. However, Mitch notes that he is one of the best mechanics he has ever known, which serves to try, right in the beginning of the book to debunk the stereotypes that have been attached to the black working class.

Mitch does interact with many of the people he meets in the cafeteria, however, much of his observations are done from the “outside,” a pseudo-objective, observant point of view. He is constantly observing how these men interact with each other, how they act on their own and more importantly, what kind of values and morals they uphold and believe in. The book is filled with many different stories involving the men Mitch meets in the Valois Cafe, which is what the cafeteria was known as, as well as many commentative asides, which Mitch uses to speak directly to the reader.

He often times tries to surmise what has occurred in the particular excerpt that he has just told. There has been some criticism given to this due to the fact that often times, the character “Mitch” has restated what the reader will surely have concluded after reading the particular excerpt told from him his point of view; whereby losing the flow of the story and possibly the interest of the reader. However, it is these excerpts and mini-stories which allows Duneier to facilitate his argument against the forbearing stereotypes.

In the beginning of the book, one story he recounts is how Slim befriends an older white man names Bart. At first, Slim simply gives the man rides home, after all, it would be typically wrong for a black and white man to be friends with the prevalent beliefs in race relations. Or is it? This is one of the questions “Mitch” observes as he recounts the story. We see that over time, Slim and Bart actually develop a sort of unspoken friendship, something that could be seen between them. Bart eventually dies, and one can see that Slim did feel a bit of pain for his death.

In another one of his observances, Mitch recounts a story about how he notices that over time, he always finds the same people gathering together in the cafe. This seemed to interest him, so he studied it further. He found that it wasn’t because these black-working men had no home to go to, no job to work at, or anybody to care about. But rather they felt a sort of homeliness and family-style atmosphere in the cafeteria. As Mitch interviews a police officer he finds that many people are happier going to a place where they have people to talk to you and relate with.

Here another stereotype can be debunked. Surely a common thought would be that these black men attend the cafeteria because they are looking for a cheap meal, or because they have no place to go, when that actually isn’t the case at all. In fact, Mitch finds that they all have jobs, they all have homes and they all have at least someone to care about, even if that person is someone they met in the caf. The reason they choose to attend the cafeteria is because it gives them a feeling of family and normality, something every person needs to have.

Mitch goes on to debunk many other stereotypes throughout this book, however, there is one in particular, which seems to be quite empowering. He shows comparisons of the “underclass” and the “middle-class. ” He tries to show the differences in beliefs that these two groups of people have about each other. He makes comments on how the students are bussed around the University of Chicago, because the surrounding area, where most of these men live, and is where the Valois caf is located, is considered to quite dangerous. Here Mitch observes the pride and strong values these men had.

He sees that these men are strong men, not physically but morally. They care about each other and have respect for each other, something the people sitting on the bus can’t see from behind the plexi-glass windows. Slims Table, appearingly seems to be a book about a man who recounts various stories about the men he meets while he is on the South Side of Chicago. However, it is a book that encompasses so much more. The book recounts various stories about the men he meets; however, as it progresses the reader can see the book is really about trying to show what these men are all about.

In those observations, it can be seen that these men truly debunk the conventional stereotypes associated with the black working class. They are strong-willed and contain aspiring values and morals. As the book begins to conclude itself, the reader finds, the author reflecting back on his whole experience with these men in the Valois Cafeteria. Duneier states that these men that met at “Slims Table” day in and day out, truly impressed him. He states that they truly try and embody the beliefs and ideas created about the black working man, according to Drake and Cayton’s Black Metropolis.

These men try and live up to the standards set far back when the black ghetto wasn’t perhaps considered an area of desecration and violence. However, Duneier concludes his book by conceding to the fact that many of those beliefs still do exist in modern day society. He ends his book with a powerful quote. After completing a conversation with a man he knows in a bookstore, he states after some discourse, “When we stop trying to feel good about ourselves, or to increase our power by asserting our innocence, we begin to look for answers by searching for truth.

Slims Table is all about this quote. Mitchell Duneier felt it was time to search for the truth in regards to the black working class. He wanted to try and address the long-term myths about them, and although he conceded that he may not have gotten the whole picture, after all it would be pretty hard to; he truly did feel that his work allowed people to see what the black working man, living in a ghetto, is all about.

It’s A Right Handed World

In virtually every society throughout history, there has been discrimination against left-handed people. Left-handers have always been considered evil, sinister, weaker, or inferior people, and many of them have faced violent efforts to convert them to being right-handed. Even through the middle of the twentieth century, most left-handers were still being forced to write with their right hand. While there is not nearly as much active persecution against left-handers today, there is still a great deal of bias against them.

There is bias against left-handers in the design of tools and equipment they have to use, and in the instructions that they must learn from. We allow left-handers into our classrooms, into our workplaces, and on our playing fields, but we still make it difficult for them to fit in and to feel comfortable. The issues affecting left-handed people are much more serious than most people realize. There are many things that right-handed people take for granted that are more difficult for left-handers.

This includes many basic skills taught in school, such as learning to write, learning to use scissors, and learning various crafts, hobbies, sports, and other activities. If we don’t teach left-handed children just as well as we teach right-handers, they are more likely to lose interest in school and to lose confidence in themselves. It is not exactly clear how all left-handers fare in our society, but indications are that many are not doing well. Studies show a higher dropout rate for left-handers, and a higher percentage of them among the criminal element and among the underachievers of society.

Some studies indicate that left-handers are more vulnerable to various accidents, addictions, and afflictions that can actually shorten their lives. These studies are not large enough to be conclusive, and there are still many conflicting theories and opinions, but their implications are alarming. Not all left-handers have a difficult time living in a right-handed world, and many of them are offended by implications that left-handers need any kind of help. Many people believe that being left-handed is a special privilege, and that the challenge of being a lefty has made them stronger.

There are many happy, healthy, and successful left-handers, including some of our most famous artists, athletes, entertainers, and politicians. These are the most visible of all left-handed people, while the ones with the biggest problems are less likely to be noticed and less likely to be heard from. In between the extremes are the rest of the left-handers, and there are varying opinions about how much of an issue being left-handed has been for them. Almost every left-hander seems to have one particular thing that bothers him or her the most. Many older left-handers have bitter memories about the way their parents and teachers treated them.

Younger left-handers have had an easier time of things, but they still have many complaints and frustrations. How would this world, or this school, be different if left-handed people were a majority? First of all, a right-handed person might be writing an article like this complaining about the injustices towards the right-handed. Binders would open from the left and handles of pencil sharpeners would be on the left side. Authors would write books on famous left-handed and not on right-handed people. Lastly, there would be left-handed scissors for all! These are a few of the many adjustments that can be made.

The Family Essay

One of the main institutions in society is found within the household and is popularly known as The Family. It is here, in the family, where the commencement of society takes place. It is amongst this unit that the origin of womens oppression began with the constant power struggle between man and woman. With the nuclear family slowly being thrown out the window and the new dual-earner family creeping in to takes its place, its no wonder that womens positions have changed radically over the past one hundred years.

The key work here to this being position, because although womens position has changed, their workload has not. With this radical change many issues can be addressed, particularly, to the womens role and how it has remained fairly constant over the years. A closer examination will look at the development of gender inequality within the family as a result of the ever-changing issue. A second issue that needs to be inspected is that the family roles have changed in regards to family make-up as women have moved into the work force.

This growing capital effort to increase standards of living by pushing every family member into the paid labour force has taken a toll on the family unit. The final issue that will be investigated in this report is how the traditional sex roles have remained constant, even with womens ever-changing family position over the years. For decades, commencing back to the time when patriarchy was the norm and women were their husbands property, men have oppressed women. This ideology of patriarchy existed way before it was ever examined by sociologists and it was accepted as a natural or biological way of living.

It wasnt until the 1960’s when feminist groups began to explore patriarchy and at the same time began to exploit it, that patriarchy was established. Feminists at that time, and even still today, believe that patriarchy operates to achieve and maintain gender inequality and is the essential key to womens present subordination. Not only does patriarchy exist in the pubic domain of the paid labour force, but also in the private domain of the household, or better yet, the family.

With patriarchy by its side, gender inequality has developed into one of the biggest controversies amongst sociologists, feminist groups, and women. In modern day society women are working their way into the labour force, and expanding their roles to include working outside the home as well as being wives and mothers (Kaufman, 1999, 440). As women are moving into the paid labour force, they continue to work longer hours than do their husbands on household tasks, and there is little evidence that mens proportionate share of the family work has changed much during the past decade or so (Blair, 1991, 91).

Although women are moving into the paid labour force at a fairly fast pace, according to Kaufman, mens involvement in domestic roles has increased but at a slower pace than womens entrance into the labour market (Kaufman, 1999, 440). Womens entrance into the labour market evolved rather rapidly from approximately less than 30% in the 1960’s to currently more than 45% of women are in the paid labour force (Levin, class note, Womens Studies). There are many reasons for the increase of womens labour force participation.

The main fact being that the North American standard of living has increased drastically in the past decades, and that double-incomes are needed in order to survive. Along with the increase in standard of living, divorce rates are increasing leaving women with children to support on their own, and therefore, women must find outside work. There are also fewer children to raise, therefore, women have more time to work and raise their children. Also, there is a great change in societal attitudes that push women into the work force.

Finally, with pay equity policies having been established, it is much easier for women to find work that will pay enough to support her and her family. Historical factors have weighed heavily on women’s current status. In the nineteenth century, attitudes toward women were very different to the present attitudes placed upon them now. In the nineteenth century, there was a great need for women to work. Working class women had jobs in clothing factories, or worked as seamstress. Their work was more domestic-related. Middle class women were not expected to work. There were some jobs, but they were very limited.

Middle class women were more expected to teach, to support themselves, until they found a husband. During this time there was a lower value place on a womens work than that of a mans. Therefore, women were paid less to do the same work as men were. This lower value on womens work accounted for androcentric biases, which put men at a higher standing in their work. Men were often paid more for dangerous, dirty, and physical work such as mining. On the contrary, women who worked, per say as nurses whom also did heavy lifting and dirty work, were undervalued and underpaid.

These biases brought into play occupational segregation, which implied that men and women tend to do different jobs because of their gender. According to Luhaorg and Zivian, women have remained concentrated in predominately female occupations, i. e. , clerical, sales, and service occupations,… while men enjoy a much more heterogeneous occupational structure; no major occupational category being dominant (Luhaorg, 1995, 608). Luckily for women, in the 1980’s, federal law declared solutions to their two major problems involving the work force.

Pay equity was established to solve the problem of the wage gap, which enforced that people who work the exact same jobs were to earn the exact same pay. The second solution that was established by the government was employment equity, which helped with occupational segregation and gave employers a set of strategies to follow in order to provide women the same opportunities in the labour market as men. With these regulations set into place, women moved into the work force during the 1980’s at full force, and have continued to do so. Not only did this put pressure on the paid labour force, but it also put pressure on the family unit.

In order to carry out its daily functions as a family, the modern family depends heavily on all the institutions of a society for support. Where as in the past, the family was an independent unit that depended on nothing and no one. With this in mind, the family and the fact that the majority of families have both spouses working outside the home means that dual-earners and dual-career families are becoming the norm in American society (Mintz, 1996, 805). Indeed there are many positive outcomes to having both spouses in the paid labour force, but at the same time there are many stresses for these families (Mintz, 1996, 805).

According to Mintz, these stresses usually revolve around balancing the demand of the paid labour and the demand of the family labour (Mintz, 1996, 805). Throughout the years, the family unit has changed drastically. With dual earner families being the most popular types of families. Three types of dual earner family ideologies were identified by Lye. Those three are the Traditional, Modern, and Egalitarian. As the trend of double income family household increases, the breakdown of the traditional system (Lye, 1993, 157) due to women entering the paid labour force has had profound transformation with respect to family life and gender roles.

The Traditional family as identified by Mintz and Mahalik is described briefly as marriage based on a form on benevolent male dominance couple with clearly specialized roles that are assigned on the basis of gender (Mintz and Mahalik, 1996, 806). To further explain this, the traditional family is a women who identifies with her activities at home and the man bases his identification on his paid work. Generally, the wife is to have less power than her husband does in relation to all aspects of their marriage.

The second type of family, the Egalitarian Family, is described by Mintz and Mahalik as a rejection of both of these ideas (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806) referring to the traditional family. Further explained, the Egalitarian Family is the husband and wife identifying with the same sphere, home and work, or identifying with the same balance between the two spheres of home and work. In this family relationship, the power amongst both the man and the woman is to be distributed evenly, and the same value is to be held upon both husband and wifes paid and unpaid work.

The third type of family is the Modern Family. Mintz and Mahalik describe this type of family as representing a middle position within the marriage (Mintz & Mahalik, 1996, 806). The modern family, also known as the transitional family, is further explained by a wife who is to identify with activities both related to paid and unpaid labour, where as the husband is to relate his identification to strictly his paid work. With the explanation of these three types of families, it is easy to say that along with the types of families changing, the roles of the family have also changed.

Taking a closer look at womens roles, and comparing them to mens roles, Lye said that changing family and gender role attitudes are indicative of a weakening of traditional normative constraints that used to offer the well-defined adult roles of husband-father-breadwinner and wife-mother-homemaker so that diverse range of adult roles are now acceptable and coexist. ” Referring to the different types of families above, Lye clearly explains that it is also possible to have many different types of family roles and expectations working together in the same familial.

Lye also believes that the effects of mens and womens attitudes vary according to their spouses attitudes and to be greater where husbands and wives disagree (Lye 1993, 160). Therefore, men and womens roles strongly depend on the expectations and attitudes that they have set in regards to family roles or gender roles. Having different views concerning family life reduces marital satisfaction of the balancing (Lye, 1993, 183). It is locating an equilibrium that couples find difficult to do in regards to family life and gender roles.

Even today as women are entering the workforce, Kaufman found that wives do four-fifths of the cooking, laundry, and shopping as well as two-thirds of the child care, cleaning, and dishwashing (Kaufman, 1999, 440). For example, Blair & Lichter found that wives perform 96% of the cooking, 92% of the dishwashing, 90% of the vacuuming, 94% of the bed making, and 94% of the diapering of children (Blair, 1991, 93). At the other end of the scale, Blair and Lichter found that husbands performed 86% of household repairs, 80% of the disciplining of children, 75% of the lawn mowing, and 77% of the snow shovelling (Blair, 1991, 93).

These percentages seem rather irrelevant due to the fact that division of household labour is much more than who does what. Blair and Lichter discuss three prominent theories of the division of household labour. They are time availability, power theory, and gender role. The theory of time availability relates to the fact that if a spouse is working full-time outside the home, it is more difficult for he or she to perform the daily household tasks.

Blair and Lichter described this theory as the partner with the most available time presumably will assume the greatest share of household duties. Although this theory seems irrelevant in the explanation of why men do less work in the household, it does not explain why women are still doing the same amount even when she works the same hours as her husband. The power theory is a gender segregated theory that suggests that because women are of lower status to their husband, in regards to paid labour force earnings, the mens paid labour force job is more prestigious than his wifes.

Blair and Lichter raise an issue when they say that family power, which is typically measured by the personal resource of each spouse may also affect the allocation of domestic tasks by reinforcing traditional assignments of tasks by gender (Blair, 1991, 94). Although this theory does make sense, family power is not always divided by who makes more money. The third theory identified by Blair and Lichter is the gender role ideology, and the fact that by nature women are socialised to perform related to tasks to their femininity, as well as men are raised to perform related tasked to their masculinity.

This theory is more related to traditional sex roles of the expressive wife and the instrumental husband. Blair and Lichter report that females are more likely to be assigned to traditional female orientated tasks, such as cleaning, washing, and cooking (Blair, 1991, 94). Whereas men are more likely to perform male dominated tasks such as snow shovelling, taking out the garbage, car repairs, lawn mowing, and household repairs. In addition to these three theories, the personal satisfaction that one receives from the household labour can also be applied.

It is expected that generally wives receive greater satisfaction from particular household task performed, and according to Pittmans article about one third of men agreed that it was not their own household standards that were being performed but indeed it was actually the standards of their wives (Pittman et al. , 1999, 748). It is common knowledge that women care more about the physical appearance of their household than men do. So therefore, it is probable that women are still doing a majority of the domestic work on top of her paid work, because she is simply more concerned with her homes appearance.

Women, even those employed full time continue to work longer hours than do their husbands on household tasks (Blair, 1991, 91). This is true even today, because they are pressured by the traditional sex roles and attitudes that continue to reinforce the conventional definition of men and womens work in todays society. Women have been performing majority of household tasks for decades, and they will continue to do so until domestic work becomes a paid labour.

The Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling starts to form itself very early on. From the moment a woman enters the work force after college, she is faced with much discrimination and unjust belief that she will not be able to do as well of a job than a man. A man and a woman, who both have the same education and training for a job, will have a considerable gap in their yearly income. In a first year job, a man will make approximately $14,619 compared to a woman who will make only $12,201. That is a pay gap of 17%(Gender Pay 1). There is no reason why there should be any gap in their incomes during the first year of their jobs.

They have both had the same formal education and both have the same qualifications necessary for the job, yet they are being treated unequally. The woman has not shown herself to be incapable of accomplishing her job and has given her employer no reason to doubt her commitment to her career other than the simple fact that she is a woman. And this discrimination does not go away. After five years of constant working, at the same rate and level as each other, the pay gap actually increases. A male will get paid an average of $28,119 while a female only receives $22,851 (Gender Pay 1).

This is how things have been done for years. The man typically gets paid more money and holds more executive jobs than women do, simply because they are males. A man will be paid an average of 47% more than females in the course of their lives (Gender Pay 1). Although this is wrong, this has been tradition for so long, both men and women have accepted this way of thinking as right and have just gone along with it. There have been changes in regards to women in top positions within the last few years. However, although those advances are positive, they are still nowhere equal.

A certain statistic may say that there has been a 14% increase in the number of women in executive jobs for a certain company. However, although that increase is no doubt positive, it fails to tell the true story. That increase is only increases from a very minute number, if not zero, of women who previously held that position. Another thing that that statistic fails to mention is that the most of them include women in that position as that company from all of its worldwide locations. In other words, only 14% of executives around that world for a certain company are women (Misleading 1).

So even though this may be an improvement on womens behalf from years ago, it is still nowhere equal. Men and women must work hard together to make things equal. Its not the profession that has the glass ceiling, someone has put it there (Brower 162). Men need to change their attitudes and actions towards women in the workplace. They need to abandon believing that they are superior to women. Most men truly believe that a woman is simply not capable of doing as well of a job, or better, than a man can do. Therefore, they become extremely unsupportive of women and fail to recognize their accomplishments.

They decline to give women raises, higher executive positions, more responsibility and overall respect. Many men have very subtle and low-key ways of showing their discrimination. These men know that it is unlawful to discriminate against women, so they do it ways that can have no reprimanding consequences. They will go out to lunch, dinner or drinks with the guys, claiming that it is just a time for male bonding. But the truth of the matter is that most business relationships develop over these bonding times therefore, leaving the female employees out of the equation (Brower 160).

Other men are not so subtle. Male bosses often deliberately overlook a female employee for a promotion by making bogus credentials that only a male would be able to fulfill (Brower 162). Men arent planning to become pregnant and take maternity leave as often as a woman does. My mother has come into contact with both types of men. She has been scanned over for a business lunch or dinner just because she is a woman. She has also had male clients wish to speak with the man in charge instead of talking to her (Brzostowski). These are the types of men who put up the glass ceiling for women.

They still carry prehistoric thoughts that women cannot be committed to a career because they belong at home, taking care of the house, and raising the family. Women in the past never had many rights. In the past, a womans power was always restricted over her own future. They were forced to depend on the men. In society, the men were the ones who represented the women. A woman was depicted as her husbands wife and her childrens mother. These women worked in the home usually producing cloth, sewing, or being a cook or nurse to her family. But this is the year 2000.

Women want to be independent, they want to succeed in a career for themselves, hey want it alland they can to it all. But another thing that men fail to understand is that some women do not have a choice. Some never get married or have a family of their own, so they have no choice but to throw themselves into their job. Others are single parents, divorced or widowed, needing to work in order to support themselves and their children. Men and their unfair and preposterous beliefs toward women in the workplace makes it sometimes impossible for women to have any chance of succeeding.

But it also causes many women to believe that they are not equal and that it is okay for them to be treated differently from men. Male dominance has been prevalent since the earliest records of man, because of this; women in most societies have been at a disadvantage in most aspects in life. Since the industrial revolution the importance of the traditional’ farm household activities of women, like agriculture and textiles, have long been taken over by factories. Since most men now work away from home, the basic lower-status housework has been solely put upon the women.

This division of labor caused even more dominance over females, basically making the female a subordinate worker to the dominating boss (husband). This gender discrimination is so deeply rooted in our society that it causes problems for women in every aspect of their life. This oppressed minority which is actually a statistical majority of the U. S. population is exploited at work, school, at home, in the media, and in politics, with one type of oppression reinforcing another. This interior colonization of women is undoubtedly ignored and is taught and basically accepted since the conception.

Segregation starts in the very first minutes that a young boy and girl is born. The boy gets wrapped in the little blue blanket and the girl gets put in the little pink blanket. Girls are looked upon as pretty and delicate, while the little boy, who practically looks the same, is seen as big, strong, and very attentive. No matter how little this situation seems it shows how the genders are being put into two different categories from day one, thus making the discrimination between the two sexes seem normal before the children even have a chance to see themselves for who they are.

As these young girls grow up, they are exposed to even more gender stereotyping. It starts with their earliest readings in children books; where they find women only doing feminine actions and jobs, while males in the books are the ones doing courageous acts and jobs, taking the initiative to overcome impossible situations. As these girls start to grow up, the mass media, through the means of advertisements in newspapers, billboards, TV, and magazines, only see women pictured in feminine situations.

For example, according to the textbook, ads for women generally tend to put them with beauty (modeling, make-up, fashions, and beauty) and household (cooking appliances, cleaning appliances, and food) themes. Having women being judged generally by their attractiveness, basing their self-esteem on beauty (furthering their sex object identity), simultaneously banging the housewife identity into their heads. On the other hand the mass media tends to portrait the males in manly advertisements judging them primarily on what they do.

These portraits that are painted by the mass media further the patriarchal society that is already established, and helps make gender domains stronger. All families in America, for a long time, have been based upon established roles between the husband and wife. Through the presence of these womens roles and mans roles the two genders are suppose to act a certain way. Since these roles have been a part of the American culture for so long, women are expected to be subordinate to men. For example, making them dinner after work, doing the laundry and conception and care of children.

They lose much of the major decision making of the family, since society regards the male bringing in money so highly. This lack of power within the family is so institutionalized it gives them such meaningless position when it comes to major things in their life such as: employment, laws, politics, and even their very own body. This meaningless position can be seen in the idea that women do not even get rewarded when they do play the womens role. Women do not get praised for their bearing of children or household work, nor do they gain any power within their family for this.

The power that men hold over women keeps them in a constant state of subordination. This power conflict over women has become so severe that it is not all too uncommon for a man to go so far as to beat his wife. The amount of physical and sexual abuse of women in this society proves this point well. Domestic violence is the most common injury to women, statistically proven millions of women are yearly abuse by their male counter parts. Women in relationships are expected to give themselves, whether willingly or not, to the mans sexual inhibitions.

Another point that shows mans thought of his power over women is the idea of rape in America. The males aggression and lack of respect for women in America make the U. S. have, by far, the most women raped every year. But, because the society is so male dominated these problems are not easily solved. Law officials are often quick to blame the women on most accounts. This patriarchal gender stratification has been carried out of the family and into the work place also. Because men look at females through the womens roles, they have not been able to compete with men in job positions, incomes, or advancement within the work place.

Men, with the idea of women being less capable, are quick to judge women, even if their have better credentials. A common problem for women trying to break into traditionally male occupations is the pre-existing male information and support network. This remains a problem once women are hired. For example only relatively recently have women workers broken into traditionally male-dominated sectors of the auto industry. Until gender stratification is abolished at the family level women will never have equal opportunities in other aspects of life.

When women and men are taught from birth that women are mentally and physically inept compared to men the gender roles will prevail. Womens role and mens roles in society will only slowly improve unless some drastic changes are made. It is not an easy thing to change such an institutionalized social order. Huge efforts at the legislative, in the court, law enforcement, Constitutional rights, and especially by man itself are at need to adjust the society in order for equality and equity of women to happen. Women are the first who need to change in this situation in order for there to ever be a modification and a shatter of this glass ceiling.

They must believe that they cannot only succeed, but also that they deserve a chance to succeed. Because the notion that women do not belong in the workplace has been around for so long, women have started to believe that they have no place in a career and at least have no place in the upper level, executive job. A friend of mine puts it best when she stated, Everyone around me believed that it was the mans right to get a promotion before me or the other women in our department, so I just kind of accepted it too. Until one day I realized I deserved it just as much-if not more-than they did. (Budzinski).

Believing that they deserve a better job and equal treatment is the first step that a woman needs to take. Although she will come across many men who will try to hold her back, a woman needs to press on. There are a few simple, obvious success factors that a woman can follow to help her succeed first. Firs, a good track record of achievements will show her boss that she has the attitudes to handle a higher executive position. She has to have the willingness to take career risks. A woman cannot be afraid of herself. She must go out there and give it her all, even if it means taking some risks.

But most importantly, she must have the desire to succeed. She has to want it bad enough, and be willing to do whatever it takes to make is as far as she want to go (Center for Creative et al 24-32). There are many other things that a woman can do, but these are just examples of some basic rules that she can follow. But they will not help if she does not believe. Any woman has the potential to break down the glass ceiling; they just have to use their assets to the best of their ability. It is true that things are getting better for women in the workplace.

They are beginning to make little cracks in the glass ceiling, but things are still nowhere near to being equal. In order for that to happen, men and women need to work together as a team. Men, as well as women, have to do their part. They both must first believe that women are equal to men, and then they must act upon it. It is possible. It is an uphill battle every day, but if we continue to show these men that we are not going away, and if we make our voices heard, they will have no choice but to listen to us and make changes (Brower 160).

Women and men move up in their companies to a point, but eventually you find that men keep moving and women stop(Brower). Women belong in the kitchen. Women are the ones who should take care of their children. Men bring home the bacon. These types of standards were placed upon men and women many years ago. According to old ways of thinking, men are the ones who are supposed to go out into the real world and make all the money. But these old ways of thinking are still the current beliefs too. The men are the ones who are supposed to support their family and do all of the manly handiwork around the house.

Women are supposed to be the passive ones. They are the ones who clean the house, do the shopping, cook, and take care of the children. Stereotypes and social norms play a huge role in the earnings differences between males and females. I agree with her that these two factors did play a huge role in our society explaining differences by sex. Most women decided to get married, become pregnant, and stay home to raise the children, while the men went to work to support the family. This demanded womens jobs to be different from mens with less stress, tension, and physical strain.

This difference existed because traditionally the mothers were required to stay home and raise the children. Women are not traditionally the working types. But as the years have gone by, women have become tired of being passive and want to have their own career and own life. However, something stands in their way—the glass ceiling. This ceiling is an imaginary one that exists for women in the workplace. It represents a line that few women are ever able to cross throughout their lives. On the other side of that line exists a world of corporate executives, heightened responsibility and higher paying jobs.

This is an area that most women can never get to because of that glass ceiling. In the year 2000, the glass ceiling still exists. This ceiling cannot be broken until women are treated as equals. The only way that equality will come about is if both men and women modify their beliefs and actions. I think that today some women are still silent about not being promoted and having different results of earnings than the men even though having equal experience and education. This silence will always exist among some women causing a difference of earnings among men and women to exist for some time still.

Also, some firms tend to hire men more often than women for many reasons. A man is known to be more aggressive than a woman is. Some firms tent to advance more men than women and segregate the different occupations that exist in the firm by their sex. These are basically social norms placed by people in our society due to the major one that men are the dominant figures and that they always will be. I think that a huge impact on the difference among earnings between men and women is because they each enter the labor force with different reasons, tastes, expectations, or maybe qualifications.

One of them may be able to work longer hours or in an unpleasant environment where in return they receive higher pay. Most of us will probably agree that this description fits a mans role more than a womans does. This would be one stereotype that can cause a woman to earn less than a man would. Because women tend to concentrate more on low-paying jobs, their earning rates are lower compared to men. Large earnings differentials exist among male and females occupations and probably will for the next decades. Women might have made some progress toward integrating these occupations due to the fact of human capital investments.

For example, many moms go back to college after raising their kids to earn a better degree so that they can obtain a higher income job. But these women still have not reached equality with men regarding earnings. Many women are reentering the labor force after staying home to raise young children. Slow income growth continues to encourage the need for dual-earner families; ranks of single women are growing also. These trends might continue to grow and develop where the workingwomen can become the majority of the workforce in the future.

There really cant be any policies implemented to address this difference in earnings. Our society has placed stereotypes and social norms that will always exist among us. Women must be allowed to compete freely in all occupations. They must demand and receive equal wages for equal work. But women now work for pay in greater numbers, in more occupations, and far more years of their lives than ever before, but too many still settle for compensation far below what it should be, and too many still find their potential curbed by the glass ceiling.

Sociology And Religion

This paper is from a catholic feminist’s perceptive that the church, as an institution, is structured as a pyramid modeled on the patriarchal family with the custom of father-right. The patriarchal decision-maker has the power to shape, form and control the “poor of the world” (McCormick, pg. 240) mirroring the aspect of the conflict theory. The poor of the world are the people who work for the institution of the Church controlled by the patriarchal power elite. These established masses of people feel no control, which cause anxiety and they continue to perform their means of production as a formed unit.

The power elite’s fear of being overthrown by the poor of the world is fueled with sheer determination and consistency to stay on top. In the article “Sociology and Sexuality” women and women’s sexuality is stated to be oppressed with the poor of the people and is examined through human rights, religious desacralization, religious sacralization, women’s human rights and social conditioning. The concern for human rights is for the two-thirds of the people who live below the level of endurance but have the knowledge of the lack of social relations in the world of distributing goods.

The poor is aware of their civil rights to take part in decisions that will affect their lives such as developing resources of places where they would live instead of having those resources used in the interest of the powerful nations of the world and multinational corporations. The right to life of these people is systematically denied in social systems. Liberation Theology is a direct approach in being freed from this structure. This is where people mediate on the Gospel in company with the poor and by the mandate of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World to help and work with the poor for their own liberation.

This movement aroused the re-ordering of priorities for the structure of the church, which was visible in the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the church to where the people of the church are first priority rather than the hierarchy structure in serving needs. With this structural change, people are beginning to see the need to change and recognized the development of human beings and not on the rule of elite’s in the model of fathers over children. Self-representation is part of the process of the development of people.

Pope Paul in the Development of Peoples and again in The Eightieth Year Letter on the anniversary of Rerum Novarum called Christians to initiate action on this transformed structure that eliminated the injustices of exploiting the two-thirds of the world. In turn, religion started to desacralize as the patriarchal family modeled for business firms, industry, government, educational systems and other organization because the un-represented people were learning that the people who make decisions for others make them against nonmembers.

Religion and science affirmed the sacredness of hierarchy and theocracy but today the amount of exploitation by elite in government and industries question these affirmations and instead of father-right it is human right with the inferior groups claiming what is theirs. Human rights create equal opportunity available for all races. The more inferior groups realize and recognize the presuppositions of superiority through social conditioning then the more they can do to demand changes for their civil rights.

The human rights cause in the rise of desacralization of religion relies also on women’s roles and significance in religious sacralization, which was developed out of fear of human extinction while serving the elite. Women were encouraged to bear children for existence and the church reinforced sexuality as the common ethic of Western society. Now, since there is an immense population base with advances in science proving to propagate the race through methods such as cloning, there is no longer the fear of human population dying out and women are no longer encouraged to bear children as a struggle for existence.

Planned population takes away the need of fertilization through women and once women are recognized for not having to satisfy these urges then they will be recognized as people fully capable of feelings such as sexual and the roles of men and women can share a common life-style. Although women’s knowledge of her own self-being is recognized, the male represents a dominant consciousness of his role which prevails and cant be retracted and women’s human right to professional training needs to be provided in more schools.

Women have taken on enormous tasks to create equality with the male such as choosing ministry as their life’s vocation, but they are challenged by the image that remains clear of the patriarchal family. It is said that we as humans accept social conditioning, which is a natural function necessary at one time, but no longer necessary for survival. Conditioning usually serves the interest of a group that has power to preserve what is to its advantage to retain. Studies show males are more susceptible than females to cultural conditionings, especially in areas of sexuality.

Questions of sexuality are concentrated on issues like birth control, abortion, divorce, premarital sex and the possibility of married clergy but men are not aware of the general problem of the male-dominated theological language, liturgy, and religious education denying women a place to celebrate life in the church. The theological language has its roots through patriarchal family terms because of generic masculinity. For example, the word Father referring to “your Father who is in Heaven” (247) allows paternal exploitation to grow.

Through women’s research of human life they discover their common oppression with the poor. Although the poor of the people and women are trying to construct a structural change of the church from the pyramidal patriarchal family to a new circular symbol of unity, they have enormous implications of conditioning that makes it hard to break the pattern of this strongly grounded pyramid. Men still write about and research priesthood without considering the issue the ordination of women. The development of human beings and not on the rule of elite’s in the model of fathers over children needs to be further recognized.

Ethical Hazing Essay

When one hears the word “hazing,” the typically first impression is that of a fraternity member with a paddle in one hand, beer in another and a young “pledge” bent over being struck by the wooden paddle. This is defiantly a case of classic hazing, however many other forms have been created and made public in the recent past. Other fields such as military, sorority, high school and athletic teams have begun to come under the same scrutiny fraternities have been for years. For someone who has never been “hazed” the issue can be quite complicated and some ignorant conclusions may be made.

Hazing has different, but yet very similar definitions from various institutions. The first thing I noticed here was that fraternities were the only institution that the American College Dictionary directly addresses. Obviously the FIPG listed above goes into more detail regarding fraternity actions and focus on those activities Hazing is defined by the FIPG (Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group) as: “Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.

Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution.

The American College Dictionary goes on to define the action of “haze” as: “1. To persecute or harass with meaningless, difficult or humiliating acts. 2. To initiate, as into a college Fraternity, by exacting humiliating performances from or playing rough practical jokes. One problem I see with the definitions above is they are very subjective. One could obviously place events such as physical assault or public humiliation such as nudity into hazing, however one could also interpret hazing as asking a “pledge” to answer the phone because it is may produce discomfort.

State legislations over the past twenty years have begun to outlaw hazing in their respective states, however many of the statues again directly address Greek hazing a fallacy I will address directly later. 42 of the 50 states currently have laws against hazing. The eight states without such laws are: Below is the State of Kansas Statute. 21-3434. Promoting or permitting hazing. (a) No social or fraternal organization shall promote or permit hazing. )

Hazing is intentionally, coercing, demanding or encouraging another person to perform as a condition of membership in a social or fraternal organization, any act which could reasonably be expected to result in great bodily harm, disfigurement or death or which is done in a manner whereby great bodily harm, disfigurement or death could be inflicted. Concerning fraternity hazing one several underlying themes nationwide are occurring. Every national headquarters has an anti-hazing policy, which it preaches to its chapters.

Many National Greek organizations have even changed the language from “pledge” to associate, citing that the very word “pledge” is a form of hazing. Several factors for the local chapters continuing to haze include: “hard to break tradition; I had to do it and so should they, they need to learn to respect us before we initiate them. ” Indeed several fallacies could be made in these arguments and we will touch on those later. In actuality a national trend is for the intensity of sorority hazing to be rising, while the extremities of fraternities have calmed down.

Proof of this can be obtained simply by speaking with older men who belonged in fraternities and what transpired not just through an “Initiation-Week” but also throughout the entire pledge semester. By extremities I mean fear for ones life, physical paddling, severe public humiliation and major physical tasks such as finding ones way back home. One possible reason for the decline or less severe initiation activities may be due to the extreme negative exposure a National and local fraternity experiences when in the spotlight.

Local and national media sources seemingly flock to the story of fraternity hazing and focus on the “victims” side of the story. Another reason for less hazing is the severe punishment a chapter may receive for a reported and proven case. The Chi Phi fraternity in Atlanta, Georgia was closed and suspended for two years, levied hefty monetary fines and sentenced to massive amounts of community service from the university.

Sorority insiders, older sorority members and those expelled from the organization explain that the sorority form of initiation and hazing is much more private, meaning within the chapter house or secluded areas, and becoming much more extreme in the ways of embarrassment and ridicule. Such activities include nudity, sexual acts and defamatory chanting. Concerning the fallacy of hazing only involving Greek organizations is one that is recently been the base of many arguments from pro-hazers. Other organizations known for hazing such high schools, athletic teams and my focus the military are in many ways “getting away” with hazing.

The very basis for boot camp and military training is essentially hazing by the various state laws and definitions. Yet, we do not read or hear of a military institution being shut down because a soldier was “discomforted” by the drill instructors actions. This further illustrates the bias shown in the Kansas and other state statute when the wording specifically targets fraternal organizations yet fails to mentions the other institutions and categories known and evolving into hazers such as the military, athletic teams, high schools and even in the job market.

The simple wording of the definition is so broad and vague nearly every facet of life could be interpreted in its context. With the pecking orders of corporations and the “all nighters” college students experience, the argument could be made that employees and students are being hazed on a daily basis, but no headlines are published, no colleges shut down, not businesses fined. This is a preview of the arguments for and against what legislations and other institutions have defined as “hazing. ” Myth #1: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities primarily.

Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools and other types of clubs and/or, organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise. Myth #2: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline. Fact: First of all, respect must be EARNED–not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.

Myth #3: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can’t be considered hazing. Fact: In states that have laws against hazing consent of the victim can’t be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action it may not be true consent when considering the peer pressure and desire to belong to the group. “If you have to ask if it’s hazing, it is. If in doubt, call your advisor/coach/national office. If you won’t pick up the phone, you have your answer.

Don’t B. S. yourself. If you haze, you have low self-esteem. Possible physical injury – many people have physical weaknesses of which sometimes even they are unaware. If injury occurs, current officers, the university, and the organization can be sued and held liable. ” “Can create the attitude that pledgeship is a hardship, not an educational period, and that initiation is the end of one’s work for the organization instead of the beginning. This can create a general lack of participating and/or interest in the membership. In programs with a lack of sufficient sleep and strenuous activities designed to make the pledge less cognizant of what is really happening, the new initiate can be robbed of the true meaning and appreciation of the formal ceremony.

Also, as scholarship is supposed to have priority, these programs can in fact be very detrimental to one’s academic achievement. Failure to stop hazing will result in death… ” One may argue that the main reason National Headquarters of Greek Organizations banned hazing is due to the legislation passed in various states and a liability arises when a local chapter participates is risky initiation behaviors.

The counterpoint to the argument is the times are changing and if the principles and values published, adopted and believed by the fraternity are indeed true, then hazing is an unnecessary part of the Greek experience. One aspect I immediately see between the arguments of pro and anti-hazing are that the proponents of hazing, which are addressed later, are those that have “been through” the experience of the acts defined and subjectively interpreted as hazing. The main problem I personally have with those who speak out against hazing may not have had any real life experience being “hazed.

Are these activist trying to prevent someone else the same harmful experience they went through or are they “shooting from the hip” and simply basing their opinions and assumptions about hazing on the many media stereotypes such as the famed Animal House and horror story headlines on the extreme levels? The above “myths vs. facts” upon first glance is a cut and dry stance with all the issues clearly defined. After I took a second glance the facts were underlined with various opinions from the authors and presented in the context to his desires.

Obviously the anti-hazing sentiment most valid and strong point for hazing being immoral or unethical is that hazing is illegal and that some cases people have been killed. This is certainly a strong element that is very hard to argue against. Yet, arguments for hazing run as strong and deep as those who oppose it. Before we get into the flip side argument of hazing, from the interviews I conducted, written opinions and horror stories from the past, nearly all those questioned are in disagreement with what transpired in times when there were no laws against hazing.

Physical beatings with paddles and experiments, which claim to be trust building, but in fact have their similarities to a mild form of torture and activities that endanger lives are NOT supported by pro-hazers. As stated before the definition of hazing and its corresponding subjectivity are what complicate the pro-hazers standpoint. Today’s form of Greek hazing is radically different from that of the distant past according to various sources that have had real experience being both hazed and being the hazer.

A common theme found in the following passages and those whom I have spoken with is that the initiation phase helps build teamwork, teaches one how to be humble, respect authority and look at the experience as a life long lesson in which its tools are used on a daily basis in the real world. Let us begin the counterpoint argument with several opinions of military hazing: “Don’t you think that in some organizations, like the military, where you’re teaching people how to kill and endure the agony of bullet wounds and lost limbs, that hazing will actually make you tougher.

I remember the first layground fight I was in as a child. I got beat up because I wasn’t ready to handle the physical pain and endurance of the fight. But it effectively prepared me for the next. This is the purpose of hazing. If you cant take a little hazing, then I cannot expect you back me up in the worse scenarios of gorilla warfare. It is this warfare that makes it possible, ultimately, for you to possess the freedom even to have this web site” The opinions of fraternity members in their “defense” of hazing stems deep and sincere due to their incredible amount of investments of time and finances.

Sororities are much so the same way. Ideas such as a semester or week of hardship is nothing compared to a lifetime of memories and reflections of how the initiation process has helped prepare them for a productive life without crime and deviant behaviors. “For example, a properly conducted scavenger hunt, even if the hunt is for meaningless objects, people, etc. , teaches teamwork.

Please tell me what is so terrible about teamwork? ” “As far as requiring lower classmen or pledges to address upperclassmen or brothers/sisters by formal titles (Mr. Miss), I think you’re way off base. When the people subjected to these incidents of “hazing” enter into the workforce, they will have to address superiors, and sometimes even peers, according to a rank or title. Why is it wrong to prepare people for these “hardships”? ” “My first hell week as a sister I began to question the reason why we do things that we do. But I found out that there’s a reason for everything. The pledges are never in any real harm. They are not forced to eat or consume anything. And they are free to walk at any time.

It teaches them how to work as a team. It teaches them so much. I can’t put it into words. Well, my point is that hazing has a purpose in every facet of life today. It is an important way to earn respect. The military I believe has been the biggest offender, not Greeks. ” “The definition of hazing includes: “creation of excessive fatigue”. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that University creates excessive fatigue. In light of this, I would like to move to ban post secondary education. It creates excessive fatigue.

On a side note, road trips are a mandatory part of University life as well. And as to the comment that “having power and control over others” can be considered hazing, I’m wondering if you have an employer. If so, if you decided not to perform the tasks up to standard for your employer, would you be fired? My guess is yes. While extreme hazing (anal rape with the hook end of a field hockey stick or something like that) should be forbidden, regular hazing, (which seems to have been blown extremely out of proportion) should be used by institutions to create a sense of unity.

Of my own personal views it is difficult to give a definite yes or no in support of hazing. Being the president of a fraternity my insights are from an experienced based point of view. I do see the points and fallacies in both arguments. From a utilitarian point of view, the actual act of hazing is legitimate due to the majority of a chapter receiving the “pleasers” of hazing the pledges. However, the military is basically an anti –utilitarian process by one person such as a drill instructor inflicting displeasure to the majority of people.

One fallacy from the anti-hazing viewpoint is that assumptions may be being made without the proper experience to back them up. Another is that hazing has been training our soldiers. 85% of the presidents of the United States have been Greek, with most of them being in a time when hazing was legal. With those facts it is difficult to object to hazing. When someone says “I am pro-hazing” it has a negative context that they approve of the ancient methods and brandings, murders and binge drinking.

A similar effect when someone says they are pro-choice it has the effect they are not religious and approve of murder. The bottom line for me is that hazing in its older forms is defiantly outdated and NOT necessary in today’s society and is indeed unethical. However, I am fully in support of activities that teach teamwork, a true sense of brotherhood and education about the chapter or institution they are about to join and prepares them for the real world experience after college.

Taking the Hard Road

Working class autobiographies “illuminated how social position, or location in social hierarchies, [were] internalized as identity” (Maynes 3). Where otherwise the only source of information of the past would be statistics and those of historians, the autobiographies give the reader a feel of what the working classes were going through in a more personal way. The conditions in which they lived and the politics or beliefs they lived by can be examined for differences or qualities they might share. Unfortunately, there are many difficulties in autobiographies.

The working class rarely wrote autobiographies themselves. Often the autobiographers were, although they were classified as working-class, more then the average worker. They had a greater grasp of their reading and writing skills then the average laborer and usually thought themselves exemplary enough in some way to justify an autobiography. Maynes reveals, “The views they [the autobiographers] reveal come from a very particular location within working-class culture” (43). On page four, Sebastian Commissaire is quoted as declaring in his autobiography, “workers don’t write memoirs.

Similarly, in order for a person to write an autobiography, he or she must have a particular reason begin writing in the first place. The numbers of autobiographies rise with the amount of influence of political and labor organizations (39). So there are difficulties in obtaining an autobiography by someone who has a full on working class perspective without the militancy, and even then, the perspective is distorted. Since the author is focused on the childhood of the writers, he or she must often depend on writing from memory, and then work usually contains false memories if not actual lies.

In addition, many authors used a narrative form similar to works they grew up with, that of picaresque, fairy tales, and sermons. This gave the works an air of fairy tales though the realism is still very evident (34 – 37). The only thing one could really get from these writings is an understanding of how people thought and made sense of their environment. These insights are used by Maynes to “trace the construction of class identities” (5) which is the basis of her book.

Society’s Restraint to Social Reform

Of the many chatted words in the social reform vocabulary of Canadians today, the term workfare seems to stimulate much debate and emotion. Along with the notions of self-sufficiency, employability enhancement, and work disincentives, it is the concept of workfare that causes the most tension between it’s government and business supporters and it’s anti-poverty and social justice critics. In actuality, workfare is a contraction of the concept of “working for welfare” which basically refers to the requirement that recipients perform unpaid work as a condition of receiving social assistance.

Recent debates on the subject of welfare are far from unique. They are all simply contemporary attempts to decide if we live in a just society or not. This debate has been a major concern throughout history. Similarly, the provision of financial assistance to the able-bodied working-age poor has always been controversial. On one side are those who articulate the feelings and views of the poor, namely, the Permissive Position, who see them as victims of our society and deserving of community support.

The problems of the poor range from personal (abandonment or death of the family income earner) to the social (racial rejudice in the job market) and economic (collapse in the market demand for their often limited skills due to an economic recession or shift in technology). The Permissive View reveals that all participants in society are deserving of the unconditional legal right to social security without any relation to the individual’s behaviour.

It is believed that any society which can afford to supply the basic needs of life to every individual of that society but does not, can be accused of imposing life-long deprivation or death to those needy individuals. The reason for the needy individual being in that situation, hether they are willing to work, or their actions while receiving support have almost no weight in their ability to acquire this welfare support. This view is presently not withheld in society, for if it was, the stereotype of the ‘Typical Welfare Recipient’ would be unheard of.

On the other side, the Individualists believe that generous aid to the poor is a poisoned chalice that encourages the poor to pursue a life of poverty opposing their own long-term interests as well of those of society in general. Here, high values are placed on personal choice. Each participant in society s a responsible individual who is able to make his own decisions in order to manipulate the progression of his own life. In conjunction with this opinion, if you are given the freedom to make these decisions, then surely you must accept the consequences of those decisions.

An individual must also work part of his time for others (by means of government taxing on earned income). Those in society who support potential welfare recipients do not give out of charity, but contrastingly are forced to do it when told by the Government. Each person in society contains ownership of their own body and labour. Therefore anything arned by this body and labour in our Free Market System is deserved entirely by that individual. Any means of deducting from these earnings to support others is equivalent to criminal activity. Potential welfare recipients should only be supported by voluntary funding.

For this side, welfare ultimately endangers society by weakening two of it’s moral foundations: that able-bodied adults should be engaged in some combination of working, learning and child rearing; and secondly, that both parents should assume all applicable responsibilities of raising their children. (5) In combination of the two previous views, the Puritan View basically nvolves the idea that within a society which has the ability to sufficiently support all of it’s individuals, all participants in the society should have the legal right to Government supplied welfare benefits.

However, the individual’s initiative to work is held strongly to this right. Potential welfare recipients are classified as a responsibility of the Government. The resources required to support the needy are taken by means of taxation from the earnings of the working public. This generates an obligation to work. Hence, if an individual does not make the sacrifice of his time and energy to ontribute their earnings to this fund, they are not entitled to acquire any part of it when in need unless a justifiable reason such as disability is present for the individual’s inability to work.

The right to acquire welfare funds is highly conditional on how an individual accounts for his failure in working toward his life’s progression by his own efforts. Two strong beliefs of the Puritan Position are; Firstly, those on welfare should definitely not receive a higher income than the working poor, and secondly, incentives for welfare recipients to work must be evident. The distinction between the “deserving” and “non-deserving” poor is as vident now as it was in the Poor Laws of the 16th and 17th centuries. 1)

The former were the elderly, the disabled, the sick, single mothers and dependent children, all of whom were unable to meet their needs by participating in the labour force and, therefore, were considered worthy of receiving assistance. The latter were able-bodied adults who were often forced to do some kind of work as a condition of obtaining relief as a means of subsistence. Those who refused this work requirement were presumably not really in need.

Throughout our own history of public assistance, the non-deserving poor always got harsher reatment and fewer benefits than their deserving counterparts. Due to it’s mandatory nature, historically, workfare has been viewed as a forceful measure. Two other program strategies are now in use as well. Namely, a service strategy, and a financial strategy. (8) The former includes support services for the work participant, such as counselling, child care, and training. The latter includes a higher rate of benefits for those who participate in work programs than someone would receive from social assistance alone.

To actually show that workfare does not work, we must observe the United States, which has had federally mandated workfare programs for welfare recipients since 1967. Although the research on American workfare programs is inconclusive to some extent, many findings suggest that workfare is ineffective in reducing welfare costs and moving people from the welfare rolls into adequate employment. It was found that low-cost programs with few support services and a focus on immediate job placements had extremely limited effects.

These did not produce sizable savings or reduce poverty or reduce large numbers of people from welfare. (9) Furthermore, While expensive programs with xtensive supports and services were more likely to place people in employment, there was a definite point of diminishing returns where the expenses outweighed the benefits. (10) Even the limited success by some American workfare programs is highly questionable. Largely missing from the research is the discussion of workfare’s major limitation: The lack of available adequate jobs.

In the wide scheme of things, it doesn’t matter whether the program is mandatory with no frills or voluntary and comprehensive if there are no jobs to fill. This is the “Achilles Heel” of all workfare programs. Even if some individuals manage o find jobs and get off welfare, if the unemployment rate for the area does not change, it is obvious that there has already been a displacement of some people in the workforce. What actually occurs is a shuffling of some people into the workforce and some out, with no net increase in the number of jobs.

Workfare only increases the competition for jobs, it doesn’t create them (except for those who manage and deliver the programs, generally not welfare recipients). In addition, the few jobs that workfare participants do get tend to be either temporary, so the person returns to welfare, or low-paying with inimal benefits, so that people are not moved out of poverty, but merely from the category of “non-working poor” to “working poor”. (11) Another issue largely ignored in Canada as well are health and safety conditions affecting workfare participants.

For example, in New Brunswick an unusually high accident rate has been reported among welfare recipients who took part in provincial work programs. Given the overall failure of workfare programs to reduce welfare expenditures, reduce poverty, and move people into adequate and permanent jobs, workfare should not even be discussed as a viable social reform option today. Politicians and the business establishment only call for workfare because it helps to protect their privileged positions in our society.

Workfare serves to preserve the status quo by: i. reating the illusion that politicians are actually doing something meaningful about the deficit and welfare. ii. increasing the reserve pool of available labour which can be called upon at any time to carry out society’s dangerous and menial jobs. iii. increasing the competition for scarce jobs, which tends to keep wages down and profits up. iv. reinforcing the attitude that people on welfare are largely responsible or our economic and social ills, that they are lazy, deviants who will not work unless forced to do so.

Workfare creates the assumption that unemployment is caused by personal choice or lack of work ethic. However, due to the fact that we have well over one million people in Canada actively looking for work, this is a ridiculous assumption. Fifteen thousand people lined up one day in Oshawa in January to apply for one of a few hundred possible jobs at General Motors. The problem is not one of a lost worth ethic or personal pathology. The problem is a lack of jobs, and workfare undoubtedly does nothing to compensate or eliminate this problem.

College Fraternities Essay

A fraternity, as defined by the The American Heritage Dictionary is “a chiefly social organization of male college students, usually designated by Greek letters. “(pg. 523) This definition, however, is very limited and leaves plenty of space for short sighted people to believe the stereotype conveyed by the popular media, where fraternity members are depicted as drunks who accomplish nothing either scholastically or socially.

Unfortunately, both this definition and media portrayals fail to mention the fact that membership in a fraternity is a life-long experience that helps its members develop social, rganizational, and study skills during college, and that teaches true, everlasting friendship. As a matter of fact, fraternities have a long tradition of high academic achievement, and most of our nation’s presidents were members of a Greek association. According to Irving Klepper, the first fraternity (Phi Beta Kappa) was founded for “social and literary purposes” at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia on December 5th 1776.

After half a century of existence, it became and has since remained a scholarship honor society. Throughout the nineteenth century, many new fraternities were founded, but none of these were permanent. Then, in 1825, the Kappa Alpha Fraternity (now Kappa Alpha Society) was born at Union College. Two years later, Sigma Phi and Delta Phi had been founded at the same college, constituting the so-called Union Triad which was, in a large measure, the pattern for the American Fraternity system.

By the end of the nineteenth century there were over thirty general fraternities in this country (pg. 18). Today’s fraternities still have all the characteristics and precepts of he their past fraternities: “the charm and mystery of secrecy, a ritual, oaths of fidelity, a grip, a motto, a badge, a background of high idealism, a strong tie of friendship and comradeship, and urge for sharing its values through nationwide expansion. ” (Klepper pg. 18) In addition, today’s fraternities help their members develop many skills which are used in and out of college.

During membership in a fraternity, one must learn leadership skills, because the chapter has to be run in a business-like manner and because it embraces different offices (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Scribe, tc.. ) which are held by its members. These offices closely resemble the ones of real business. Additionally, since membership in a fraternity is seen as a great achievement by other Greek associations’ members, every brother must be able to uphold that office at any time. Organization is a must for every member of a fraternity.

Fund raising activities and community service always have a high priority in every chapter, and each member is required to organize and/or take part in many of these activities as a pledge, a brother and an alumnus. This helps individuals ithin the group to develop organization and planning. In addition, since the fraternity might be located in a house, each brother must learn household organization for his brothers well being. Fraternities are famous for their energetic social gatherings (parties) which require all of their members to be socially active and outspoken when the occasion calls for it.

This helps fraternity members develop very strong social skills. Since the act of one member reflects over the acts of all the others, self-control and awareness of actions are mandatory. In addition, when he brothers live in fraternity houses, this adds to the development of social skills in the way that a member must be able to deal and live with different kinds of people in different situations. Since there are people of different scholastic levels in a fraternity, the member of the fraternity have access to a great deal of knowledge on many different school subjects.

It is normal for fraternities to organize study groups regularly during the school year and especially before exams. In addition, members might also use the opinion and advice of other embers about the faculty in their favor, and most fraternities keep test files and other such study aids available for the benefit of their members. Most fraternity members are also eligible to receive a number of different scholarships and awards based on academic excellence, leadership, and personal achievement which can contribute to both the resume and the self-esteem of the person receiving such an honor.

Fraternities are also well known for their support toward their community. In fact, other than the usual, chapter-run projects, many chapters equire their associate members to organize and participate in their own community service project before they can be initiated into full membership. This helps the fraternity to enhance their image, increase their popularity and their members’ awareness toward the community. It is common for some fraternity members to stay active after graduating from college. In this way they can help the chapter in many ways and especially as “advisor of the real world.

It is also a positive experience for the graduate member, who will be able to keep in contact with he new and old members of his chapter. As Sidney S. Suntag wrote “I know of no better way to keep young than to associate with young people”(pg. 15). Even if some members are not able to remain active, the chapter can always count on them, since the spirit of fraternal brotherhood never dies. It is common for fraternities to build their houses and fund their activities with the support of their alumni. The number of alumni for a given fraternity in any urban area can range from a few dozen to several thousand.

But the most important gift a fraternity can offer is a true and verlasting friendship that transcends the normal bonds between friends and ties them together as brothers for life. It is something no other organization can offer, and the bond that is formed between fraternity brothers is felt throughout the whole organization and not just local chapters. This explains why, when greeks of the same fraternity meet is felt like a reunion between blood brothers. Clearly, a feeling of comradeship is present not only within each fraternity, but between all of the members of Greek organizations.

This can only lead to positive relations with the Greek community of a college or niversity, which is always fairly numerous at those institutions which have Greek organizations. As Brian Abramson stated in his interview, “If you look at any Greek organization at Florida International University, or any other College or University, you can find a catalogue of services which that organization provides for the benefit of the greater community through the service projects which it conducts every semester. ” Tau Epsilon Phi, for example, participates in Bowling for Kids’ Sake every Spring, a tradition which began several years ago.

Every fraternity has its own special philanthropy, as well as other ublic service projects which that fraternity takes part in from time to time. In fact, cooperating in public service not only provides the members of the brotherhood with valuable connections in the community, but it also serves to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood which hold the members together. To keep true to the feeling of brotherhood in a fraternity, every member must be trustworthy and at the same time must be able to trust every other member which makes the bond of brotherhood even stronger.

Unfortunately, a lot of people overlook fraternities during college because of the ominous, ver-present rumors about hazing. This image is also a part of the popular stereotype of fraternity members. Hazing, as defined by the Fraternity Executive Association is “Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises to produce mental, or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule. “(pg. 48) As John P. Nykolaiszyn puts it, “If anyone is caught hazing, not only can fines be imposed upon the individuals, but conviction and even jail time could result.

Organizations which practice hazing also run the isk of losing their charter and being closed down. As Mr. Nykolaiszyn states in his letter to the editor, “While some organizations may choose to haze and humiliate the people who try to rush them, that is in no way an accurate portrayal of all Greeks. ” He goes on to point out the fact that, “Greek life is not just about partying and drinking. Greek life helps to build character, self-esteem and life long friendships. “(12) It is indeed very sad that many people are stuck with the “Animal House” view of fraternities and avoid looking into what fraternities are really all about.

Pitfalls Of Herbal Supplements

As we prosper through time, inequality is slowly less evident. A lot of people don’t realize that although things are improving with time, inequality is still prominent in our society. The people that are failing to realize that there still is inequality, are the fortunate ones. They rise well above the poverty line, and usually live relatively economically sound lives. They are the people who are supplied with our society’s benefits. The people that are in pursuit of social change, and constantly bring attention to issues of equal rights and privileges, are often the people that do not have them.

They are the ones who suffer daily from different levels of inequality. The majority of post-secondary students are considered to be privileged people. This tends to cause an ignorance, or lack of education, towards inequality because most of the students do not experience great levels of inequality. When our class was given our first quiz, everybody was able to feel a sense of inequality. As the class was divided into the different time groups, every student felt the unequal opportunity.

Even the students that were allotted the most time for the quiz were able to at least see the inequality. As different times were announced the less fortunate students began to complain, and the more fortunate ones realized that their once equal peers, were now placed in an unequal situation. Since most of the students do not experience great amounts of inequality, the unequal time distribution shocked them. Fortunately for myself, I have grown up in an upper-middle class family. Although my parents have always tried to educate me on inequality, I never experienced much of it.

During a class exercise I was placed in a group, and was given six minutes to complete my quiz. Although this was almost enough time for me to complete my quiz, I was definitely jealous of the students that were allotted more time. Even though the groups were arranged randomly, I still felt like I was treated unequally to my peers. I felt unequal to both my peers that had more, and less time, than me. The situation made me angry, and I wanted an explanation from the instructor for the unequal situation that was forced upon me.

I felt the injustice because I had a different time to write my quiz than a neighboring peer; who pays the same tuition, and attends the same class as I do. I wanted to know why some of my peers were given more time than I was, thus enabling them to possibly score higher on the quiz. This quiz was the first mark of the course, and was I worried that my first grade was going to be a poor one. When the instructor explained the purpose of the exercise I realized what an excellent point he had proven. He forced us in an unequal situation that was out of our control.

It was nothing we could have predicted or done anything about. This unique exercise put me on a new level of stratification that I was not used to. It made me feel how other people, not only in my society, but worldwide, feel about inequality everyday. The difference was that I was soon given an explanation, and returned to my regular level of stratification. Many people in our society are given no explanation to their forced inequality. Although the classroom exercise does not compare to the real world, it still stirred feelings of rage, helplessness and discouragement.

Looking through the window of the unequal situation changed my views on lower groups of society. It made me realize how difficult social mobility can be. I can understand the Davis-Moore thesis, which states that stratification has beneficial consequences. It is easy for people on the higher end of the stratification hierarchy to agree with this because they believe that the harder one works, the more they will achieve, thus promoting production in society. Individuals at lower ends of the stratification system disagree with that.

Their social status prevents them from achieving their best because all of the benefits and advantages are given to those of a higher status. The lower class is constantly denied society’s privileges, such as education. This tends to discourage them, often leaving them feeling helpless. Unfortunately this helplessness tends to be viewed by many higher class people as laziness. What is not realized is that social stratification is a character of society, and not just a reflection on individual differences. Stratification is universal but variable.

It involves beliefs and persists over generations (Macionis 220). The lower class often questions the point of its effort into an unforgiving society when the outcome is inevitable. This all ties in with the numerous reasons that cause poverty and homelessness. This ultimately creates a never-ending class system of inequality that so many are trying to dismantle. Class systems are based on individual achievement, which strongly ties in the Davis-Moore Thesis. Unfortunately social mobility is not evenly achieved amongst the levels of stratification.

The higher the level of stratification the easier social mobility tends to be. In the example of the class exercise, the level or stratification can be compared to the time given in each group. The more time the person had, the better chance they had at scoring higher on the quiz. The people who had more time on the quiz can be compared to individuals at higher levels of stratification. Lower classes of stratification are not given the same opportunities as higher classes. Lower classes have ascribed statuses that are difficult to rise up from.

For example, if an individual is born into a family where the children are forced to work to support the family, these children may be deprived of the opportunity to prosper. They have the ascribed status of a worker, and have little, if any chance of achieving a more successful status in life. If the individual’s family suffers a great deal of inequality, and the individual wishes to pursue extended levels of education for greater career opportunities, because of their ascribed circumstances they may not have the opportunity.

Most people look down upon lower classes, failing to realize that inequality deprives those people of the equal rights to prosperity. This occurs not only in a few societies, but all around the world. According to the social conflict paradigm, society is a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict, which generate social change. Power and privilege are distributed unequally by social class, race, gender and age. These inequalities are often reinforced in societal institutions (Macionis 19).

My participation in the class exercise allowed me to have an experience of life through the eyes a lower class individual. Even though the real world is much more extreme than the class exercise, I was still able to understand society and its levels of inequality. After experiencing society from a different perspective, I realize that although society has changed from the days of extreme inequality, it still needs much attention to equalizing the privileges between the different levels of stratification.

Feminism in Medea

The play Medea by Euripides challenges the dominant views of femininity in the patriarchal society of the Greeks. While pursuing her ambition Medea disregards many of the feminine stereotypes/ characteristics of the patriarchal Greek society. She questions the inequality of women in a patriarchal society, contradicts Jason’s chauvinist beliefs, challenges the stereotype that women are weak and passive and completely disregards the feminine role of motherhood.

Feminism is the belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas and institutions. This belief is confirmed in ancient Greece where the status of women was very low. Aristotle describes the relationship between men and women during that time period:

‘It is the best for all tame animals to be ruled by human beings. For this is how they are kept alive. In the same way, the relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.’ Aristotle, Politica, ed. Loeb Classical Library, 1254 b 10-14.

Plato ascribes the inferior status of women to degeneration from men:

“It is only males who are created directly by the gods and are given souls. Those who live rightly return to the stars, but those who are ‘cowards or [lead unrighteous lives] may with reason be supposed to have changed into the nature of women in the second generation’. This downward progress may continue through successive reincarnations unless reversed. In this situation, obviously it is only men who are complete human beings and can hope for ultimate fulfillment; the best a woman can hope for is to become a man” (Plato, Timaeus 90e).

In Greek society, a woman was confined within the parental home until a husband was chosen for her. Then she was transferred to the home of her husband where she was to fulfill her principal function, the bearing and rearing children.

Medea shows the inequality of women in Greek society. The betrayal of Medea by Jason through his marriage to another woman enrages Medea. She begins to question the role and position of women in a patriarchal society. “Are we women not the wretchedness? We scratch and save a dowry to buy a man…Our lives depends on how his lordship feels. For better for worse we can’t divorce him.”(p.8, Medea). However, “a husband tired of domesticity, Goes out sees friends and enjoys himself….”(p.8and 9, Medea). Medea compares the virtual slavery of women to the absolute freedom of men, showing the inequality and disempowerment of women in society at that time.

Jason’s chauvinist beliefs are put under the microscope. Jason airs his views about what all women want: “If they’re (women) happy in bed, they’re happy everywhere”. By comparing Medea’s pure feminism to Jason’s selfish chauvinism, Euripides brokers sympathy and support for feminism from the audience.

Medea questions the firmly held belief in Greek society that women are weak and passive. Wanting revenge on Jason for his betrayal of her, Medea must take control of the situation, a stereotypical masculine quality. Though she cannot become a man or take power like a man, she perceives her ability to take vengeance with the same kind of forceful determination that a man would demonstrate in her situation. “I’ll kill the children…Then, when all Jason’s hopes, his palace hopes, are gone I’ll leave this land”(p.27 Medea) She makes the ultimate sacrifice, her children’s lives, in order to decisively take control of her life and become independent of Jason, showing that she is neither weak nor passive. Medea challenges the feminine stereotypes of weakness and passiveness by taking control of her life.

Medea challenges society’s views of her matriarchal role in a patriarchal society. She is in a situation where she must struggle between her want for independence and her motherhood instincts: “My heart all dagger. Do it. Don’t flinch. You must. Come, hand: the sword. This course must run. No weakness. No…memories. Flesh of your flesh! Forget you loved them for one short day, forget. Then weep, wretch, weep, Who killed to prove your love.(p.42, Medea) Medea is forced to take drastic steps in order to achieve her feminist goals of freedom and independence.

She must kill her children and lose the sympathy of the audience. Earlier in the play the chorus, who reflect the dominant values and ideology of the time, agreed with her views on women being disempowered and how she was wronged by Jason:”…what you do is far from just: deserting her” (p.19,Medea). However, at this point in the play the chorus no longer sympathizes with Medea and her actions and actually plead with her: “On our knees we beg you- think again. Your children must not die.”(p.29, Medea).

This reveals the most significant part of the play in which the audience, who instead of supporting Medea now are shocked and disgraced by her. The loss of sympathy for Medea because of her plans of infanticide is a tool showing that the matriarchal stereotype of women is a belief that is still firmly held by society. The ‘motherhood’ and ‘nurturing’ role are both characteristics concerning femininity that Medea out rightly disregards when she kills her children.

Medea’s questions the inequality of women in a patriarchal society, contradicts Jason’s chauvinist beliefs, challenges the stereotype that women are weak and passive and completely disregards the feminine role of motherhood. In society today many people believe Medea to be a pioneer of feminism, even though her society/chorus scorns Medea after she killed her children. Medea still reveals many good and relevant stereotypes, such as the ‘motherhood’ and ‘nurturing’ roles that women still object to and fight against today.

Carols Ideas in “Main Street”

Sinclair Lewis makes point of the efforts that Carol produces to reform her new home. These efforts can be perceived by the townspeople as unwelcomed and unsuccessful. Some of Carols ideas are ludicrous, out of proportion and not ready for the slow-moving town.

She tries several different approaches to reforming the town from the moment of her arrival. She goes from architectural reform to poetic reform to artistic to introducing liberalism to amusing social functions. All of these tactics she hopes will spring forth a reform movement to beautify and culturalize the town and people.

Her initial attempts at bringing the town out of its shell consisted of throwing fun and exciting parties. Such as her Chinese house-warming party on page 66. She plans this social event as a way to bring the people out of their normal funeral parlor routine of sitting in a circle and making small talk. For the moment she is successful, but soon after she implements sledding, skiing and skating outings, people begin to recoil back into their normal routines.

Again, Carol is frustrated with the progress of the town, and she soon feels rejected by the social elite at the Jolly Seventeen club on page 78. Her attempts to open the minds of the Jolly Seventeen to the issues of the lower class, backfires into a discussion of foreign incompetencies and laziness. Her reputation becomes the antithesis of Gopher Prairie social beliefs and structure. After presumably months of social reclusion, Carol is coerced to attend a meeting of the Thanatopsis club.

She is revitalized and excited about this new opportunity she has been given to discuss a favorite topic of English poetry. Assuming an in-depth reading of selected poems and lively discussions will take up the time, she is startled by the biographical and historical information that is shown off as great literary papers. Her idea of starting a dramatics association after a night of charades, becomes such in the weeks to follow. She experiences the overwhelming control of small town politics and agreement with association that is exhibited in the play selection process.

Her choice for the leading lady is dictated by the longing for social acceptance and the simple art of sucking up. She ascertains that her vision of the perfect play has been tainted by the unmotivated, unreliable and unscrupulous cast she has assembled. The consistent snide, off-handed remarks and unannounced, unwanted suggestions echo the toils of community theater groups across the present Midwest. Carol has wonderful aspirations and ideas to help awaken the sleepy town of Gopher Prairie, but she is held back by the stiff, stubborn close-mindedness of the small town.

The obstacles she encounters are her own self-criticisms. It is quite true that the townswomen gossip about her to no end, but if she could stop and listen, they gossip about each other just as much. She does not comprehend that the common means of conversation in the town are achieved through the criticizing of others. Carol will never attain her dream village if she does not learn how to communicate with, understand and work with the people of Gopher Prairie.

Daisy Miller: the Incongruity Between Reality and Appearance

The idea of subtext is a metaphor for the manner in which the European-American social circle in Europe misunderstands the true character of Daisy Miller. She is innocent and uncultured and incautious but the circle sees only the surface of her character and the actions that character takes. They imagine a member of their social circle, thus someone with the experience and knowledge to understand and exaggerate the mores and codes of the European culture, acting in the way that Daisy Miller does. They do not take the time to look beneath this pretense to find that she is naturally innocent, acting on impulse instead of caution and convention.

She rebels not by having a great knowledge of the rules which bind the society and consciously deciding to throw them out the window, but by being limited in her scope of experience and by refusing to change her natural ways in order to please a culture to which she does not belong. She oversteps even these bounds but not in the manner for which she will be ridiculed and rejected by her compatriots. The great theme of the disparity between reality and appearance is at its greatest strength in the relationship between Winterbourne and Daisy because of the conflict which roars inside of Winterbourne regarding the appearance he cannot overcome and the reality he cannot accept. He constantly asks himself, should she know better? Yet he does not realize that she does not know better and will ruin herself because of it.

Knowledge as evil versus inexperience as innocence: James explores the type of an American girl who is innocent of the knowledge of evil and immorality. However, she is immersed in an environment of an elusive evil, concentrated in Rome and symbolized mainly in the dark foreshadowing of Daisy’s ruin in the shadowed cavernous scene of the Colosseum. One better understands the hypocritical evil of the Euro-American social circle when they gossip about Daisy’s behavior through vespers at St. Peters, symbolic of the evil of their experience and knowledge. Daisy’s lack of knowledge and experience deceives Winterbourne who is incapable of seeing life through the lens of inexperience after leaving America. He thus fails to understand her inexperience as innocence.

Outward action versus inward meditation: This theme focuses on the problems of communication, especially in regards to the relationship between Daisy and Winterbourne, and the differences in types of character. Daisy is a character who reacts on impulse to the world around her and will say something or act without hesitation. Winterbourne, on the other hand, more representative of the European American circle, acts on pretense frequently and will often contain his feelings inwardly.

He meditates on Daisy’s character repeatedly, trying to decide how to view her, but usually overthinks the situation. Winterbourne attempts to apply the conventional rules he has accepted since leaving America to Daisy without realizing that she is not dissecting the world with the same meditating process that he undertakes.

Nature versus urbanity: A rather broad theme which acts as a vehicle to illustrate the conflicts between natural response and convention and social custom. Rousseau believed that natural man’s innocence and purity was destroyed by the rigid rules of formalized civil society. By referring to the Golden Age in chapter four, the reader is reminded of the philosophic notions of nature’s ruin at the hands of civilization. James is likely implying subtextually that Daisy’s position in a sort of Golden Age is a state of innocence and goodness, not something to be insulted or ridiculed by characters such as Mrs. Costello.

Daisy, as her name symbolizes, is simple and natural whereas her companion, the “beautiful Italian”, is an imitation of a gentleman, urbane and artificial. The urbanity symbolized in the formal civilized setting of Rome overwhelms the natural innocence of Daisy and she succumbs to harsh condemnation, incaution, and a lack of love. Nature overcomes urbanity in the end, as Giovanelli confesses Daisy’s innocence to Winterbourne.

The Power of Conformity in the Novel Babbitt

In the Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt, the character of Babbitt is completely controlled by the power of conformity. Conformity is so powerful that even after babbitt realizes the stifling nature of the society in which he lives he is powerless to change his fate as a member of conformist society.

George F. Babbitt is a man who is completely controlled by the conformist society in which he lives. Pressure to conform lies in all aspects of Babbitt’s life. Relationships, family, social life, and business are all based on his ability to conform to Zenith’s preset standards of thought and action. All of Babbitt’s thoughts are controlled by society. Thoughts that are not those of society are frowned upon. “What he feels and thinks is what is currently popular to feel and think. Only once during the two years that we have him under view, does he venture upon an idea that is remotely original-and that time the heresy almost ruins him.”(Bloom)

At first the reader sees Babbitt as a person more than happy to conform to the standards set for him by the rest of society. Babbitt goes about his normal routine praising modern technology, material possessions and social status as ways to measure the worth of an individual. In fact the readers first encounter with Babbitt sees him praising modern technology. “It was the best of nationally advertised and quantitatively produced alarm-clocks, with all modern attachments, including cathedral chime, intermittent alarm, and a phosphorescent dial. Babbitt was proud of being awakened by such a rich device.”(Babbitt pg.3) Babbitt praises the technology of his alarm clock only because it is a symbol of material worth and therefore social status.

All of Babbitt’s actions and thoughts are controlled by the standards of Zenith. “His every action is related to the phenomena of that society. It is not what he feels and aspires to that moves him primarily; it is what the folks around him will think.”(Mencken). All of Babbitt’s thoughts are those of society, and thoughts that are not society’s are ridiculed Babbitt works simply to raise his social status by means of increasing his material worth. Babbitt belongs to many popular clubs, the purposes of which he does not even completely understand.

Why does Babbitt do these things? Babbitt does these things to perform for the other members of society. He does everything expected of him even if he does not expect those things of himself. Babbitt does these things in hope of improving his social status. This conformist man is exactly who Sinclair Lewis wanted to show the reader, a man who’s life is based on the ideals and standards of others. “Villages-overgrown towns-three -quarters of a million people still dressing, eating, building houses, attending church, to make an impression on their neighbors.” (Lewis). This is what Lewis thought of American society and he used Babbitt to voice his opinions to his readers. In fact that passage was intended to be included in the original introduction of Babbitt, which was never published.

Babbitt does well in conformist society because in the beginning of the novel he accepts all the standards, goals, ideals, likes, and dislikes of society. Babbitt’s though mirrors all those around him and he is therefore accepted in society. At first Babbitt lives in the illusion of happiness. The happiness Babbitt experiences is not genuine because he has replaced his desires with those of society. Since Babbitt is controlled by society his goals are also controlled by it.

The goals set by society are economic and material worth, social standing, and conservative thought. Since Babbitt has achieved, at least in part, these goals he is in a sense fooled into believing he is truly happy. Babbitt’s true desires however are not those of society he dreams of nature instead of modernization, young women instead of his wife, adventure instead of standardization, and he secretly sympathizes with certain groups he is supposed to despise because of their non-conformist nature. Babbitt can dimly see the flaws in his life but feels powerless to change his fate and become a better man. Babbitt feels the pressure of conformist society and begins to witness the control it has over his life.

The true awakening of Babbitt to the nature of conformist society springs from his friendship with Paul Riesling. Paul is Babbitt’s only true friend and is the extreme example of the stifling conformity in Zenith. Zenith’s harsh conformity demands that people give up their dreams and goals causing them to become unhappy later in life. Paul is one of the only characters who can see Zenith for what it really is. Paul tells Babbitt that Zenith is a place of cutthroat competition and conformity. He says that the conformity in Zenith has ruined his dreams of becoming a fiddler, and instead forced him to become a tar roofing salesman. He makes a very important observation about the citizens of Zenith. “one third of ’em are sure enough satisfied with their wifes and kids and their friends and their offices; and one third feel kind of restless but won’t admit it; and one third are miserable and know it.”(Babbitt pg.64-65).

This statement is the most accurate description of Zenith in the novel. This portraits a place in which two thirds of it’s inhabitants are unhappy with their lives due to the power that conformity has on their lives stifling their dreams. Paul realizes that these people are helpless to fight their unhappiness because conformity has trapped them into a life which does not satisfy them. Babbitt fits into the second class, those who are restless but won’t admit it. Throughout the novel, however we will see Babbitt move into the third class of openly miserable people.

Riesling already fits into that class. In an attempt to lighten Paul’s spirits Babbitt suggests a trip to the woods of Maine where him and Paul will fish and hunt. Babbitt hopes that time away from Zilla will help Paul and that maybe the trip could help to cure the restlessness he has been feeling. This trip is when babbitt begins to realize that he is discontent with his life and must try to improve it.. The realization that he does not want to end up as unhappy as Paul prompts Babbitt to completely rebel against the conformist society in which he lives, and fight for the life he wants. When eventually Paul shoots his wife out of discontent Babbitt realizes he must rebel against society and prevent himself from suffering the same fate as Paul.

After the unfortunate incident between Paul and his wife Babbitt realizes that he must make an attempt to escape from conformist society, and attempt to improve his life. Babbitt can see that his life would be better without conformity. “This individual trapped in an environment, catching glimmerings of something more desirable beyond it, struggling to grasp them”(Schorer).

Unfortunately the means that Babbitt chooses to rebel against society are poorly chosen. Babbitt’s first attempt at rebellion is that he changes his political outlook and joins the political crusade of Seneca Doane. Next Babbitt supports workers in a strike. When this attempt fails Babbitt looks towards other women as a source of comfort and rebellion. Babbitt has always dreamed of romance and therefore starts an affair with Tanis Judique a member of a wild set called “the bunch”. “His greatest adventure is his affair with Tanis Judique- and here he exercises his fancy, transforming her and her friends into persons the are not.”(Light).

Babbitt tries to convince himself that he is happier living a life of non-conformity. Babbitt’s attempts of rebellion are poorly chosen. Babbitt’s approach to rebellion is to radical, and causes him to be ridiculed, and cast out by the rest of conformist society. Babbitt loses many friends because of his non-conformist actions, and he begins to see the true power of conformity. Babbitt’s friends and family turn away from him. Society rejects him because his new ideas do not fit their pre-conceived standards. Babbitt begins to feel trapped between his own ideals and goals and the pressure he constantly receives from family and friends to rejoin conformist society.

Late one night Babbitt’s wife complains of pains in her side. Mrs. Babbitt is diagnosed with appendicitis. This tragic event is all that is needed to crumble the now weakened resistance that Babbitt has held against conformist society. Babbitt worried about his wife swears loyalty to conformity and all the values he had previously fought.

At the end of the novel Babbitt is almost the same man he was at the beginning of the novel, except for one major difference. Babbitt now has no hallucinations about his life. He accepts his fate as a miserable member of conformist society. Babbitt now realizes the terrible fate that Zenith sets for it’s citizens. When Babbitt’s son asks him permission to quit college and elope Babbitt approves in hope that his son will fare better against the power of conformity than he has.

“I’ve never done a single thing I’ve wanted to in my whole life! I don’t know’s I’ve accomplished anything except just get alongmaybe you can carry things on further. I don’t know but I do get a sneaking kind of pleasure out of that fact that you knew what you wanted to do and did it. Well, those folks in there will try to bully you, and tame you down. Tell ’em go to the devil! I’ll back you. Take your factory job, if you want to. Don’t be scared of the family. No, nor all of Zenith. Nor of yourself the way I’ve been. Go ahead, old man! The world is yours!”.(Babbitt pg 401) In this meaningful ending passage Babbitt admits his failure in life to his son, and tells him to go after his dreams. He hopes that his son will not fear life, himself, or Zenith the way he did. Babbitt realizes that fear is how conformity captures it’s victims, and that without fear anything is possible.

In the city of Zenith the power of conformity is too strong to battle, and even when it’s power is realized it is impossible to battle. Conformity traps the fearful into unhappy lives, and forces it’s will upon them. Once captured by conformity it is impossible to escape it’s grasp. Some Hope however exists for a newer generation including Babbitt’s son to conquer conformity and aspire to carry out their dreams.

Nisa The Life And Words Of Kung Woman By Marjorie

In this paper I am going to discuss the book Nisa The Life and Words of a Kung Woman, by Marjorie Shostak. In doing this I will describe the culture of the Kung people, a small hunter-gatherer tribe in Africa. Then I will go on with telling about their sociocultural systems that I have read about in this book. To rap things up I will tell my prediction where the Kung population is headed into the future. I will use explanations from the book to help me describe my prediction.

Kung culture is a very simple culture. The norms in this society are hard to define; norms are shared rules that define how people are supposed to behave under certain circumstances. Take marriage for example In the book Nisa explains how a women can marry more than once in her lifetime, a Kung girl is actually married several times before she stays with one man. These appeared to me as trial marriages, the women are too young to want the marriage and usually are the ones to end it. Even after long marriage involving children things such as death and divorce/ separation occur and a woman finds a new husband. So as you can see the norms in the Kung culture are much different than that of our own norms.

Even when marriage is involved the idea of having lovers was not shunned. Although some women do not engage in this act, it is a very common thing among the Kung. The norm here is to have a lover to keep that young playful and loving attraction alive with someone, even after things have began to settle with your husband. Nisa explains, Even my mother had lovers. Id be with her when she met them. But my father, if he had them, I didnt know She recalls many situations like this, as do most Kung children. I remember, when I was still small, seeing my mother with one man. He met her, took her, and made love to her. I sat nearby and waited. When she came back carrying firewood, I thought, I am going to tell! Then I thought, Should I tell Daddy or shouldnt I? But when we arrived back at the village, I didnt say anything. I thought if I told, my father would kill my mother. Most children fear their fathers beatings, therefore, will not tell on their mothers.

Values, standards by which a society defines what is desirable and undesirable, in Kung society mainly involve things dealing with sex. The sex they value is not the same sex that our society views it. It is not about looks or big breasts or broad shoulders. They place no value on looks, although Nisa does comment on good-looking people, there is no comments made directly towards ugly people. They do not emphasize on peoples bad looks; therefore, they do not have to feel self conscious of their looks. When derogatory comments are made its about peoples genitals. Once when she was too young to have sex she would decline sex play by saying, You, Tuma, youve got an enormous penis! I dont want to be with someone like that! He said, Were going to play and have sex with Big-Vagina over there. He meant me. They used this as a way of insulting each other. When it comes to sex having big genitals is a bad thing, therefore, the values in the society are much different from our own.

The socialization/ enculturation process of a new Kung child starts at day one. Enculturation is the process of social interaction through which people learn their culture. When the mother is feeling well enough after the birth, which is usually a few days or as soon as the milk comes in, the baby will go gathering with the mother. That there involves a large part of the culture of everyday life. Although not much is expected of the Kung children their curiosity makes up for it. Children are willing and eager to learn to hunt and gather, as do the adults. Young males are able to learn about hunting by following their fathers on a hunt. They carefully watch their fathers hunt and learn from them the skills to make a good kill, although some experience is necessary. So from day one the child is taught the norms, values, and beliefs of the society.

Social structure, the sum of the patterns of relationships within a society, as presented in Nisa shows that much goes into a society. The only recognized status, a recognized position that a person occupies within a society, is that men actually go out and hunt for food. Both women and men gather food, but the men actually organize hunts. All Kung people are equal and even when it comes to the religious healers men and women are equal, although most healers are men. Even down to raising children both sexes are equally involved. This keeps the society equal, there is no headman to make a ruling, and everyone has an opportunity to have the same chances.

In families the mother and father have equal roles. They both provide food and they both support their children. Their decisions about their children are always equal, although it seems that the mother gets the final say in what the final decisions are. The men on the other hand often beat their wives if they feel it is needed. One time after her husband caught her with a lover her lover was beat, then hours later she was beat. She describes, When he finished, he came back again, grabbed my arm, and hit memy back, my body, all over. He hit me until my back started to swell again and it stood out, as before. The headman said Enough! Youll kill her. In most cases if the beating gets too bad and out of hand others in the village step in and stop the husband, in this case it is the headman of her husbands tribe. So in a way each gender has his or her own kind of power.

The religious trance dances are taken very seriously, and religion is a large part of Kung culture. In some cases it is a matter of life and death. Both men and women have the chance to become a healer and enter trance. When you first learn how to go into a trance a drug is taken to induce trance. Women feel that this is very painful and in turn dont want to become healers. Also it is considered bad for you to trance while you are either pregnant or breast-feeding, which makes it difficult for women to be healers. But they still do it and can if they want to. Most trance dances are healing ones and last anywhere from one to five days. They report that they talk to God to ask for a persons soul back. The Kung truly believe that this works, unless the God wont give the soul back. Then the ill person dies soon after the trance. Being a healer would be considered an achieved status, a status that results at least in part from a persons specific actions.

Interceding with the spirits and drawing out their invisible arrows is the task of Kung healers, men and women who possess the powerful healing force called n/um. N/um generally remains dormant in a healer until an effort is made to activate it. Shostak explains what the meaning of n/um.

Nisa tells about the healing experience, N/um is powerful, but it is also very tricky. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesnt, because God doesnt always want a sick person to get better. Sometimes he tells a healer in trance, Today I want this sick person. Tomorrow, too. But the next day, if you try to cure her, then I will help you. I will let you have her for awhile. God watches the sick person, and the healer trances for her. Finally, God says, All right, I only made her slightly sick. Now, she can get up. When she feels better, she thinks, Oh, if this healer hadnt been here, I would have surely died. Hes given me my life back again. Thats n/uma very helpful thing.

I know how to cure people to drum-medicine songs. An elderly uncle taught me a few years ago. He struck me with spiritual medicine arrows; thats how everyone starts. Now when the drum starts sounding, dong dong dong, my n/um grabs me. Thats when I can cure people and make them better. As said by Nisa.

Trances dont seem as important anymore since the Kung culture has been entered by different tribes. When Shostak was doing her research the Kung people would go to her for things such as tobacco and medicine. Nisa goes to get her husband and niece medicine because she thought a trance dance would not help them. The Kung culture has started to diminish in this sense. More and more people have begun to live on their land and have the Kung work for them. This is pulling them away from their hunting and gathering background.

The older people such as Nisa choose to stay in the bush and stick to the old way of life, but the younger Kung has begun to go to school and make money. If this continues to happen the Kung culture will become extinct. Working for the Hereros isnt good. I wont do it again you dont get enough for your work. They only give you food. They dont give you money to buy blankets or clothing. Nisa feels the other tribes cheat her.

In conclusion I feel that the Kung culture is very endanger of becoming extinct. We can find out a lot of things from these people. Life does not need to be so complicated as we now have it. Once they have become industrialized there is no going back to the simple bush life. They will soon forget what it foods are good, what game in near by and how to survive against predators. So my theory is that they will loose the innocence of their simple bush life, and eventually become more industrialized.

Bibliography

1. Shostak, Marjorie, Nisa The Life and Words of a Kung Woman, 1981, Harvard University Press, Cambridge , Massachusetts
2. DeCourse, Christopher R., Scupin, Raymond, Anthropology a Global Perspective, 1998, Prentice-Hall Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

 

Social Inquality Essay

As we prosper through time, inequality is slowly less evident. A lot of people don’t realize that although things are improving with time, inequality is still prominent in our society. The people that are failing to realize that there still is inequality, are the fortunate ones. They rise well above the poverty line, and usually live relatively economically sound lives. They are the people who are supplied with our society’s benefits. The people that are in pursuit of social change, and constantly bring attention to issues of equal rights and privileges, are often the people that do not have them.

They are the ones who suffer daily from different levels of inequality. The majority of post-secondary students are considered to be privileged people. This tends to cause an ignorance, or lack of education, towards inequality because most of the students do not experience great levels of inequality. When our class was given our first quiz, everybody was able to feel a sense of inequality. As the class was divided into the different time groups, every student felt the unequal opportunity.

Even the students that were allotted the most time for the quiz were able to at least see the inequality. As different times were announced the less fortunate students began to complain, and the more fortunate ones realized that their once equal peers, were now placed in an unequal situation. Since most of the students do not experience great amounts of inequality, the unequal time distribution shocked them. Fortunately for myself, I have grown up in an upper-middle class family. Although my parents have always tried to educate me on inequality, I never experienced much of it.

During a class exercise I was placed in a group, and was given six minutes to complete my quiz. Although this was almost enough time for me to complete my quiz, I was definitely jealous of the students that were allotted more time. Even though the groups were arranged randomly, I still felt like I was treated unequally to my peers. I felt unequal to both my peers that had more, and less time, than me. The situation made me angry, and I wanted an explanation from the instructor for the unequal situation that was forced upon me.

I felt the injustice because I had a different time to write my quiz than a neighboring peer; who pays the same tuition, and attends the same class as I do. I wanted to know why some of my peers were given more time than I was, thus enabling them to possibly score higher on the quiz. This quiz was the first mark of the course, and was I worried that my first grade was going to be a poor one. When the instructor explained the purpose of the exercise I realized what an excellent point he had proven. He forced us in an unequal situation that was out of our control.

It was nothing we could have predicted or done anything about. This unique exercise put me on a new level of stratification that I was not used to. It made me feel how other people, not only in my society, but worldwide, feel about inequality everyday. The difference was that I was soon given an explanation, and returned to my regular level of stratification. Many people in our society are given no explanation to their forced inequality. Although the classroom exercise does not compare to the real world, it still stirred feelings of rage, helplessness and discouragement.

Looking through the window of the unequal situation changed my views on lower groups of society. It made me realize how difficult social mobility can be. I can understand the Davis-Moore thesis, which states that stratification has beneficial consequences. It is easy for people on the higher end of the stratification hierarchy to agree with this because they believe that the harder one works, the more they will achieve, thus promoting production in society. Individuals at lower ends of the stratification system disagree with that.

Their social status prevents them from achieving their best because all of the benefits and advantages are given to those of a higher status. The lower class is constantly denied society’s privileges, such as education. This tends to discourage them, often leaving them feeling helpless. Unfortunately this helplessness tends to be viewed by many higher class people as laziness. What is not realized is that social stratification is a character of society, and not just a reflection on individual differences. Stratification is universal but variable.

It involves beliefs and persists over generations (Macionis 220). The lower class often questions the point of its effort into an unforgiving society when the outcome is inevitable. This all ties in with the numerous reasons that cause poverty and homelessness. This ultimately creates a never-ending class system of inequality that so many are trying to dismantle. Class systems are based on individual achievement, which strongly ties in the Davis-Moore Thesis. Unfortunately social mobility is not evenly achieved amongst the levels of stratification.

The higher the level of stratification the easier social mobility tends to be. In the example of the class exercise, the level or stratification can be compared to the time given in each group. The more time the person had, the better chance they had at scoring higher on the quiz. The people who had more time on the quiz can be compared to individuals at higher levels of stratification. Lower classes of stratification are not given the same opportunities as higher classes. Lower classes have ascribed statuses that are difficult to rise up from.

For example, if an individual is born into a family where the children are forced to work to support the family, these children may be deprived of the opportunity to prosper. They have the ascribed status of a worker, and have little, if any chance of achieving a more successful status in life. If the individual’s family suffers a great deal of inequality, and the individual wishes to pursue extended levels of education for greater career opportunities, because of their ascribed circumstances they may not have the opportunity.

Most people look down upon lower classes, failing to realize that inequality deprives those people of the equal rights to prosperity. This occurs not only in a few societies, but all around the world. According to the social conflict paradigm, society is a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict, which generate social change. Power and privilege are distributed unequally by social class, race, gender and age. These inequalities are often reinforced in societal institutions (Macionis 19).

My participation in the class exercise allowed me to have an experience of life through the eyes a lower class individual. Even though the real world is much more extreme than the class exercise, I was still able to understand society and its levels of inequality. After experiencing society from a different perspective, I realize that although society has changed from the days of extreme inequality, it still needs much attention to equalizing the privileges between the different levels of stratification.

Introduction to Sociology

No thinker in the 19th Century has had such a direct, deliberate and powerful influence upon mankind as Karl Marx, and now his concept of Marxism is a major perspective in modern sociology. Karl Marx’s revolutionary philosophies lead to the practice of socialism and communism, then ultimately the overthrow of an entire capitalist society and the state institutions that had brought it into being, through the Communist Revolutions in Eastern Europe and China during the last century.

The main concepts that create the theory of Marxism are: a criticism of capitalism, classless society and classical political economics. Karl Marx’s famous theories to help define Marxism include: dialectical materialism, the law of development and the mode of production. Within his lifetime, a new revolutionary practice was formed, and Marx’s name would be forever associated with that practice (Kreis, 2003). The German-born Karl Marx was a philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary, and possibly the most influential socialist thinker to emerge from the nineteenth century (Kreis, 2003).

He completed the greater art of his work between 1844 and 1883, during periods of democratic nationalism, trade unionism and revolution. He had an acute sense of injustice and was repelled by the rhetoric of the intellectuals, who were remote from reality, and the self-righteous contentment of the bourgeoisie, as he found they were hypocritical and blinded by their wealth and status (Kreis, 2003). Fredrich Engels was essentially a social philosopher, and was the co- founder of the modern communist theory with Karl Marx.

In 1847 Engels and Marx began writing a pamphlet based on Engels’ The Principles of Communism. The 12,000-word pamphlet was finished in six weeks, written in such a manner as to make communist theory understandable to a wide audience. It was named The Communist Manifesto and was published in February 1848. After Marx’s death in 1883 Engels devoted the rest of his life to editing and translating Marx’s writings. Marxism can sometimes be defined as the theory of dialectical materialism based on communist practice.

Dialectical Materialism is a way of understanding reality; whether thoughts, emotions, or the material world. The materialist dialectic is the theoretical foundation of Marxism, while being communist is the practice of Marxism (Marxists. org, 2003), where communists actively support the interests of the working class and live to unite workers regardless of gender, nationality, race or ideology (Perry, 2002). Dialectics in Marx referred to opposing forces in reality: internal and inherent forces whose mutual conflicts produce metamorphoses.

Men are products of their environment in general and their economic environment in particular (Sowell, 1985). This dialectical idea of self-destruction hrough self-fulfillment is predominantly stating that the culture destroys itself by perfecting itself (Wolton, 1996). Marx distinguished five broad stages in the formation of a bourgeois society. He named these Modes of Production. In Marx’s writings the five major historical modes of production are: primitive communism, the ancient mode of production, Asiatic mode of production, feudism and capitalism (Evans, 1993; Perry, 2002).

Social development from the lowest stage to the highest was marked by increases in human powers of production, the laboration of the division of labour, and the rise of the institution of private property. The contradictions within the highest existing stage (i. e. : a bourgeois society) would lead to its replacement by a still higher stage: communism (Evans, 1993). Socialism and communism were conceived as future modes of production that would liberate humanity from exploitation and oppression, using the general increase in the productive forces for the general good.

Marx and Engel maintained that this mode of production opened a new possibility of a classless society: socialism. They devoted their ife’s work to the achievement of this goal (Perry, 2002). In modern capitalism, large capitalist employers exploit workers by not paying them the full worth of their labour. Marx considered that the progression of capitalism, each technical advance and each accretion of productivity, was bought at the price of the exploitation and suffering of workers (Evans, 1993).

In his theory on the capitalist system, Marx referrers to the de-humanisation of the worker, with the implication that this system of production denies them something that is their due as human beings. He argued that capitalism had either destroyed morality or turned it into a palpable lie (Wilde, 1998). As the capitalist system grew richer, the majority of people in it became impoverished (Evans, 1993). Marxism is a necessary point of exodus for understanding capitalism’s deep structure (Kennedy, 2001).

What passed for Marxism became the official religion of the Soviet Union and in turn Eastern Europe, China and various other parts of the globe (Roseberry, 1997). From being the inspiration of the labour movement or persecuted revolutionaries it was transformed into its opposite: a state deology. Marxism-Leninism became a new political term. It was a label of Lenin’s approach to Marxism at the beginning of the twentieth century, in a capitalist Russia emerging from Feudalism.

Marxism-Leninism was the official state political theory of the former Soviet State and was enforced throughout most of the former Eastern European socialist governments of the twentieth century (Evans, 1993). Marxism claims to be a universal theory, a theory that can comprehend the dynamics and conflicts of society in their totality. Marxism rejects the dea that there needs to be different theories to explain different experiences. Marxism claims its method can be used to explain quite clearly the experience of women and ethnic oppression.

It sees the repression of women and society’s ethnic groups resulting from the general formation of society as a whole (Wolton, 1996). The experience of women and ethnic groups can be elucidated from the broader analysis of the workings of a capitalist society. The privatised and isolated experience of women is a result of their responsibility of the home and family. The formation of a capitalist society has to be taken into account in understanding women’s oppression (Wolton, 1996; Perry 2002).

Despite fierce criticism of Marxism from feminist and Black Nationalist historians, Marxists were consequently amongst pioneers of woman’s and black history. Shelia Rowbotham’s Hidden From History (1973) helped to open up the field of radical women’s history, while Marxists C. L. R. James, Eric Williams and Eugene Genovese’s work on black slavery and Peter Fryer’s Staying Power (1984) on the black xperience in Britain played a similar role in black history (Perry, 2002).

Marx was able to construct metaphysics, an epistemology, a social theory, a philosophy of history, a political philosophy and a theory of revolution (Kennedy & Galtz 1996). He was a man whose ideas, insightfulness and importance even non-Marxists cannot deny. His analysis of the capitalist mode of production serves as a near history of the Industrial Revolution in England. His discourse on alienation is as provocative today as it was when he first discussed it in 1844.

His analysis of society although devised in he course of an effort to understand the mid-nineteenth-century-capitalist world resulted in the construction of a set of concepts, which work remarkably well when applied to any era. Marx was an intellectual, a philosopher, historian and revolutionary whose total life experience was that of the 19th century. Marxist concepts have helped historians and sociologists ask new questions and change the way society is viewed. The concept of Marxism helped form the society of the twentieth century and ultimately the society we know today.

The Comparative Method

Sociologists have embraced what is known as the comparative method as the most efficient way to expose taken-for-granted ‘truths’ or laws that people have adopted. But what is this comparative method and how does it work? Are there any advantages/disadvantages to exposing these false ‘truths’. What forms or variations of the comparative method exist? In the pages to follow I will attempt to give you some insight and understanding of what the comparative method is, and how it works.

The comparative method, simply put, is the process of comparing two things in our case societies, or the people that make up society) and seeing if the result of the comparison shows a difference between the two. The comparative method attempts to dereify (the process of exposing misinterpreted norms. Norms that society consider natural and inevitable characteristics of human existence) reified (the human created norms or ‘truths’) beliefs. Obviously there are various ways in which a nomi (a labeled, sometime constructed, norm or truth) can be exposed. Which form of the comparative method should one use however?

The answer, whichever one applies to the ‘truth’ in question. For example, you certainly would not do a cross-gender form of comparison if you wished to expose whether or not homosexuality has always been feared and looked down upon by most people throughout history. No, rather you would perform a historical comparison of two or more different societies to see if these beliefs always existed, or, whether or not this is a newly constructed belief. Let’s look at little more closely at the above mentioned historical comparison and see how the comparative method works with a specific example.

There is no question that in today’s western society there is a lot of fear nd trepidation towards people who are labeled ‘homosexual’. The question we will attempt to answer however is whether or not it has always been like this and is this a universal truth. In ancient Greek societies people had a very different opinion of men that slept with men. For example, it was considered quite an honor for a family with a young boy under the age of 10, to be given the privilege on an older man of high society taking their son into his house. The young boy would go and live with this older man.

The older man would have sex with the young oy on a regular basis until the boy developed facial hair. It was not until then that the boy was considered a man. Society thought that an older mans, of great reputation, semen would help the boy develop into a fine young man. Once the boy developed the facial hair, the sex between the two would stop. The older man’s job was finished. Obviously this would be considered an atrocious and disgusting act these days. The older man in this case would certainly go to jail for the ‘crimes’ that he had committed.

However, in Ancient Greece this was not only considered perfectly normal, ut as I already stated, it was an honor and a gift that not every boy was ‘lucky’ enough to be given. Therefore, we can conclude from this comparison that homophobia, as we know it, is not a natural truth, nor is it a universal belief. Rather it is a socially constructed belief that many people have taken for granted as an inevitable part of human existence. It is important at this point to clarify something however. It is said that the role of the sociologist is a descriptive one as opposed to a prescriptive one.

That is to say that the sociologist should describe the arious practices, customs and structures that exist in various societies rather than suggest to people which one is actually the correct belief or the ‘real’ truth. Cross-gender comparisons is another commonly used comparison used to reveal socially constructed truths. In Carol Gilligan’s book ‘In a different voice’ we find a fine example of a cross-gender comparison. She states that most people believe that the majority of people, both men and women, view morale issues in the same way.

However, through empirical data collection, Carol Gilligan concludes that this is not most often the case. Rather, she states that men tend to approach moral issues quite differently than women. Where as men view morale issues with a “don’t interfere with my rights” view, women focus more on the “responsibility” end of the morale involved. Thus we can conclude, thanks to the comparative method, that the constructed truth that all people view morale issues the same is not a correct one. Another quick example of a cross-gender comparison would be that of the house-wife.

Still today most men view the role of the married woman as one that involves being a house-wife, in the traditional sense of the term. However, women today certainly would not view themselves in the same manner. The data collected from a comparison such as this could help to dereify this socially constructed truth. Cross-class comparisons is also a comparison commonly used when attempting to expose constructed truths between two classes. i. e. lower-class, upper-class, middle-class. For an example I refer to my lecture notes. Our professor gave us a fine example of a cross-class comparison involving his own life.

He was from a middle-class family and attended a public school where he got involved with various kids from the middle and lower class. He grew up in this type of environment and accepted it as the his life as the way society was. To him, there was not another lifestyle. This was life. Several events occurred and because of these events our professor was moved, by his parents, to a private school. This private school and the ‘new’ society that accompanied it resulted in a form of culture shock for him. All of a sudden he was placed in a new world, a world that he never even knew existed.

As you can see, our professor socially constructed the view that society was like the one that he lived in when he went to his public chool, hung around with middle and lower-class friends, and did what middle and lower-class kids did. When he was afforded the chance to compare that type of lifestyle to one of the upper-class he dereified his constructed view and his eyes opened to a new reality and a new view of the way society was. Another major comparative form is that of the cross-generational. This one is fairly straight forward. The name basically says it all.

In fact, it’s much like the historical comparison method but on a much smaller scale. I believe that in order for it to be termed cross-generational, the enerations that are being analyzed have to be living at the same time. Otherwise it becomes a historical comparison. Karen Anderson gives an example of a cross-generational comparison in her book Sociology : A Critical Introduction (1996, pg. 12). “Canadians pride themselves on their tolerance and lack of prejudice. But we do not need to look very far into our history to find examples of taken-for-granted understandings that have led to discriminatory and prejudicial treatment.

Some segments of the population have been classified as undesirable and thus as unwanted or undeserving outsiders… Anderson is pointing out that the constructed view in Canada is that we pride ourselves on the fact that we have very little prejudice in Canada. She goes on to point out that this is not at all the case. She gives the example of Canada’s history of immigration. She discusses the fact that a lot of Chinese people were allowed to immigrate to Canada, much to the dismay of current residents and already established European immigrants, during the time when the transcontinental railroad was being built.

Sir John A. Macdonald was the Prime Minister at this time and defended his eputation by telling the people of Canada, who were very disturbed by his actions, that the Chinese immigrants would live in Western Canada just temporarily. To reassure the people further Macdonald said “… no fear of a permanent degradation of the country by a mongrel race”. This would be considered horrific these days. Most Canadians would not even realize that their country was very closed to the idea of the immigration of certain types of people.

The social idea that Canada is, and always have been, a very tolerant country is exposed as a false, constructed truth through this ross-generational comparison. Finally we come to the last major comparative form. That of the cross-cultural. Cross-cultural comparison consists of comparing two societies or cultures in an attempt to reveal and expose some socially constructed ‘truths’ in order to prove that they are not universal but rather they are relative to each society. There are literally thousands of differences between almost every culture that people would be surely shocked to learn of.

For the next example I will show how the cross-cultural comparative method dereifies some of the onstructed so-called universal-truths that people in our society may have. India differs in it’s customs considerably from that of Canada or Northern America. For example, in Western Civilization families sit together when they attend church, in India this is not acceptable at all. Men and women must sit on opposite sides of the church. Men and women in India for the most part will not eat together, whereas in Western civilization it is a common practice and is actually looked upon as a good time for a little family bonding.

In India it is considered rude to eat with both hands at he table. The right had is solely used for eating and the left for drinking. Obviously we have a completely different practice in Western society. Another shock that a Westerner might face if he/she were to travel to India would be the fact that it is still considered a major social impropriety for a man to even touch a woman in public. In North America public displays of affection can been seen everywhere. . (Stott, John. Down To Earth. 1980. Pg. 12-15) These are all prime examples of Western universal truths that are exposed when compared to another culture.

One of the major benefits for exposing these truths through the comparative method is the fact that dereifying accepted truths leads to a decrease in ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the act of interpreting all societies through one’s own cultural lenses and believing that there idea of truths are the only correct ones. This could lead to the imposing of one’s own beliefs onto other societies. In other words, comparing, exposing, and dereifying helps educate and eliminate ignorance when it comes to social ‘truths’. However, there is a danger to exposing social constructs.

It ould lead to one taking on the perceptive of a radical relativist (all truths are correct) or a nihilistic view (the belief that all truths are relative and therefore there are no truths). Obviously this is a very negative, and possibly a destructive, way of thinking. As you can see, the comparative method is an essential part of a sociologists practice. Without it there would be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding between people and societies. Hopefully I have shown by example the various forms of the comparative method and how each of them applies to society and how they attempt to expose falsities.

Cliques – Small Groups

Cliques are small groups of between two and twelve people most of the time. Cliques are mall enough that the members feel that they know each other better than do people outside the clique. Members of a clique share common activities and friendships. They are social settings in which adolescents hang out, talk to each other, and form closer friendships. Groups of friends, called cliques can be important for social upgrading, but in most cases the enormous power and effects of these cliques can create alienation, exclusion, and destructive results.

In my high school, as well as every other high school in America there are social groups of individuals, called cliques , that effect every individual whether they are an insider or an outsider. Generally there are the cool cliques , the athletic cliques, the punk (goth, freak) clique, the surfer clique, the smart clique, and the average clique. Almost everyone finds their place in one of these cliques, but there are always a few outsiders who go through high school never knowing where they belong. These are the people who are constantly ridiculed, picked on , and talked about day in and day out.

The effects can be devastating, even deadly. In Littleton, Colorado two outcast teenagers came into school one day and began shooting, targeting the athletes and other students who had made their lives awful by ridiculing them constantly. Seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stormed their suburban Denver school with guns and bombs on April 20 1999, killing 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives. Augustana University education professor Larry Brendtro explained kids who feel powerless and rejected are capable of doing horrible things.

A high school student, Jason Sanchez understands why the two outsiders snapped by saying If you go to school, and you dont have friends, it drives you to insanity. So what do these lonely outcast kids do if everyone rejects them? Roger Rosenblatt discusses in his article, Welcome to the Works of the Trench Coat, how kids will discover self-worth by hating an enemy. The kids of Columbine for example look alike; they conceal differences. People who are attracted to clans and cults seek to lose their individuality and discover power and pride in a group.

As individuals, the killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were vulnerable, taunted by the other tribes in school– the cliques, the athletes– as geeks and nerds. The end result as a young girl involved in the murders reported was, He just put a gun to my head, and he started laughing and saying it was all because people were mean to him last year. The social warfare of cliques has no limits or boundaries; anything can and will happen. Columbine High School is only one example of how high school cliques can be damaging to teenagers.

Deviant Behavior Essay

Deviant Behavior Sociologists use the term deviance to refer to any violation of norms- whether the infraction is a minor as jaywalking, or as serious as murder. This deceptively simple definition takes us to the heart of the sociological perspective of deviance, which sociologist Howard S. Becker identified this way: it is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant. In other words, peoples behaviors must be viewers from the framework of the culture in which they take place. To be considered deviant, a person may not even have to do anything.

Sociologist Erving Goffman used the term stigma to refer to attributes that describe people. These attributes include violations of the norms of ability (blindness, deafness, and mental handicaps) and the norms of appearance (a facial birthmark, obesity). They also include involuntary membership in-groups, such as being a victim of aids or the brother of a rapist. The stigma becomes a persons master status, defining him or her as deviant. Recall from chapter 4 that a master status cuts across all other statues that a person obtains or occupies.

In my study of deviant behavior, I sat at a stop sign at the corner of Greenwich streets and North 12th street and watched 30 different cars as they approached a stop sign. The rule that I was taught when approaching a stop sign is that you stop over the white line (if there is one), look both ways, count to 3, and then proceed through the intersection. 30 cars I watched and only 13% of them followed the rule. If it was because of the type of car or age of the person driving, I have no idea, but only 13% stopped! % slowed down at least, at least to see if a police officer was there I guess, but I dont want to judge them on why they did it.

6% of the cars didnt even slow down to look if there was someone there. Out of the 13% that stopped completely, 6 % of those people where elderly, 7% where young people around my age (but I couldnt really tell because I was about 30 feet away). This clearly could be defined as deviant behavior. Those people that didnt even think to slow down couldve seriously hurt someone if they walked across the street at the wrong time. And then those people would have really been deviant.

Space Bubble Essay

On todays episode of Know Your Principles of Sociology, the question is how important are the mundane rules of life? Our contestants in Dr. Marins class helped us out with finding the answer. To answer this they simply violated an unwritten social norm that people live by in our culture. They decided to violate the space theory. Weather it be to randomly hug people or sit extremely close to them, these brave young souls went to the farthest ends to observe and document the expressions of those being violated and those of others witnessing it.

We now will go to one of the students to tell us about the experiment. In article 14 of Cargan and Ballantines text Sociological Footprints, they discuss the variable of nonverbal communication. Anyone can learn the words of a language but to understand the gestures and facial expressions is difficult unless raised in that culture. That is why understanding nonverbal communication is important, cause without this knowledge then outsiders would be confused and problems may occur. In our experiment we decided to invade peoples personal bubble.

To do this we secretly videotaped them while others went up and got close to them. Now normally in an American society we have our space and we do not like it when strangers intrude on that space. If done then the typical reaction is to step back and gain the space between back. That is not the only way to annoy peoples space. One can sit down right next to another when all the other seats or tables are empty. These are examples of space violations; and that is exactly what we did.

We started by observing what happened when one of us went up to a stranger and sat abnormally close to them while they were studying at the library. We did this numerous times and with different genders of people to obtain different types of responses. The group and I went even further as to go up and hug random people. Needless to say that they were surprised and were left confused and uncomfortable. We did all of this while videotaping them so we could document the reactions of each. For our results we saw that gender of the violator played a big variable in the response.

When one of us guys went up to a girl they were either thought that they were being hit on and reacted to us with the approval or disapproval of a first impression, or they laughed and caught on to the fact that something was up. Either way they were left disturbed and uncomfortable. When guys went up and hugged other guys the reaction was one of complete disturbance. They did not know how to respond and did not like the idea of possibly being hit on by a homosexual. Similar reactions occurred when women went up to women, and when women went up to men.

I might add that some of the guys liked the possibility of being hit on by a lady due to the fact that most of the time it is the other way around, but that is another sociological trait. In conclusion, our experiment illustrated that our culture always is uncomfortable with the idea of the bubble being popped. In each case the victim was in wonderment as to what was going on and how he or she should respond. Our culture has its unwritten rules and follows these rules in everyday life. We learn them from day one and disturbed when someone breaks one of these rules. We showed you that in our experiment.

Love In Today’s Society

A key to understanding Sociology and the Social Sciences in general is to evaluate subjects through time and compare and contrast characteristics that have changed and those that have remained the same. For this assignment I have elected to access three sources dealing with love; in three distinct time periods in the modern era. First we will survey one of the first popular mediums for the expression of love; that of poetry. I have chosen a poem by W. H. Auden to represent the early portion of this century- specifically the 1930s and 1940s. I knew I had to include a song from my idol Jim Morrison.

Not only is e the perfect voice of the volatile sex revolution of the 1960s and 1970s; his work captures the profile of a rock star who undoubtedly acquired his domineering attitude from the endless worship of submissive women. Lastly we enter the modern era with a article from my favorite magazine Men’s Health on the mistakes a man must avoid in order to please his lover. As we shall see, the increased freedom is very interesting in our first representation to the last. My goal is to show how love has changed. I hope to show what is accepted in our society today, compared with only several decades ago.

Application My sources run the gamut of ideas in the subject of love. I think Auden’s poem is the best representation of what has been termed courtly love. This seems logical, since this Romantic Era type of love was a pre-cursor to what we know as modern love. The author takes the troubadour role in his crooning style of praising his love’s qualities. He idealizes his mate and is satisfied just being in the same room as she. There are not any ulterior motives evident. Auden would be categorized as a heavenly lover, in that his love is more lofty and sacred.

There is definite contrast to this idealism though. In his last lines the author, without reservation tells of his sorrow at his loss of her to another. Morrison’s Love Her Madly could almost be interpreted as a form of limerance. He has this extreme fondness for his subject: Don’t ya love her madly? Anyone who knows the story of Jim Morrison knows that the topic of love and all that comes with it was an integral facet of his being. He is a good example of love in the context of a super-star entertainer. Morrison’s songs, and most others found in the entertainment world cannot compare with reality.

These people do not lead normal lives. Their depiction of such things as love may even be accurate portrayals of their lives, but should not be taken to represent society as a whole. Love was quite important to Morrison- provided that he had it often and with different partners. One woman could never contain his sexual urges. In this reality many sociological concepts are found. Morrison cohabited with numerous women, mainly his life-long steady girlfriend Pamela. Morrison’s male domineering attitude is evident in his line “Wanna be her daddy.

While women were beginning to experience more equality during this eriod, males were still seen as dominant. He does show signs of compassion with his line: Don’t ya love her as she’s walking out the door. Like she did one thousand times before. This shows that he was not as worried about being a man as some may have thought. He lost his love once again and he is not afraid to admit it. Even so, Morrison’s primary style of love was definitely ludus. He had no reservations about playing the field. Pre- marital sex was easily brushed aside by Morrison in this era when society was more accepting of free love.

Our Men’s Health article is best understood by using the two gender’s sexual scripts- or blueprints of our sexuality, to sort out society’s expected roles. 50 Ways To Peeve Your Lover does a decent job of informing men of the mistakes that women recognize in their sexual demeanor. Due to sexual scripts themselves, there are many learned behaviors and attitudes that men possess that they have always known as the best way. Men, due to the fact that they are less open to criticism and less willing to express their feelings, they are more subject to doing things the wrong way and never even realizing it.

No-noes like squeezing a woman’s breast because they think it turns her on, failing to ask her questions during sex, not complementing her, and other forms of improper etiquette may be what is holding back many couples from happier and more successful relationships. Critique These three representations of love were all the norms in their time but would be out of context if switched to another. People may appreciate Auden’s simplicity and purity of loves’ demeanor, but it is safe to say that it would not do very well in today’s’ society that urns for lust and sex over honest love.

Society wants to be entertained and taken to a fantasy world- one that is different and more exciting than their own. In the early 20ieth century and before I’m sure that people were satisfied reading a poem like this for the simple fact that it was a depiction of their feelings at the time- but written by a person that could write more eloquently than themselves. They were entertained by such works because they captured their mood in words. As music evolved with society along with it, the poet took on a new form of expression. Music was perfect- it has often been thought of as sexual in nature.

Words along with music symbolized an era of increased freedom and experimentation as the walls that portrayed sex as “a bad thing” began to crumble. Morrison’s portrayal of loose standards of sex, while exaggerated for society in general, are still accurate in that this was a more liberal time than previous decades. Songs such as this made it more accepted for teens and other impressionable youngsters both to have sex and see it in a kinder light. Articles such as our Men’s Health example have become the norm in today’s increasingly open and less moral society.

While the church’s forbidding f such an open discussion of sex was more adhered to in the past, people today are more comfortable talking about this and other topics that they want to hear about. We have already realized the myth that just because sex was not as discussed back then did not mean that people refrained from talking about it and doing it in secret. In fact, we know that ancient cultures such as those in Italy had an even greater sex culture than we do today. Many will say that this attitude is a better approach because it gets feelings out in the open, instead of keeping them locked up inside.

Thus people are more honest with each other nd can work their difficulties out before they explode. Conclusion It is definitely true that attitudes on love have changed in the last decade. Social structures and norms have fluctuated and have influenced people’s decisions in their own lives as well as their perceptions of others. Many people would rather return to the innocent times of Auden where love seemingly was true and carried no strings. There does seem to be a problem with the increased fragmentation of society in regards to finding love today. Gone are the days when you married your high school sweet-heart and lived happily ver after.

Increased mobility and the ease of travel has left love more available and open. People need more help today from outside services like dating hotlines and the help of marriage counselors and physchologists to sort out their troubles. It follows though that society is more complex and therefore better. Women have more rights and more say in society. There is no doubt that females were exploited more in the past than today. While society’s attitudes have changed over the years and will continue to change, one thing remains the same: love is a driving force in our lives.

Structures Of Resisitance

The nature of interaction between traditional agrarian society and the modern world has remained a controversial debate amongst anthropologists, sociologists and political theorists. It remains contentious as to whether the dominance of modern values over traditional is desirable; whether the arrival of the market and modern commerce betters or worsens the conditions of rural society and its relationship with the metropol; whether such change is received with apprehension or optimism by the members of rural society.

Joel Migdal, for example, puts forth certain arguments proposing the concept of culture contactthat exposure and contact are the causes of change. Migdal identifies three reasons suggesting why such change would be likely to occur: (1) The benefits of the modern far outweigh the benefits of the traditional. (2) The individual is free from severe institutional restraints which would prevent him from making an unimpeded decision. )

Those individuals who select the new are rational and are optimisers, and those individuals who do not accept the modern fail to do so because of wrong or nonrational values. Most theorists, however, tend to agree that modern society, for good or bad, is clearly encroaching on traditional agrarian society and gradually moulding its values, economic systems and sociopolitical institutions into variants of the modern equivalent.

However, this consensus fails to account for one extremely significant fact: that despite the overwhelming economic, political and cultural dominance of the modern world, traditional agrarian structures continue to persist in various forms: the feudal estates of Third World countries, plantations and latifundismos in Southern Italy and much of Latin America, and so on. The questions thus arise: why do such traditional social relations persist in spite of the modern impulse?

Why do customs and rituals and social codes play such an important part in determining rural society? Why do inefficient labour-intensive technology and archaic labour organisation systems continue to determine the process of economic production? And why do state attempts at modernising rural production continually face defeat and fail to effect conclusive change? This paper attempts to answer these and other questions through an analysis of two similar anachronistic structures that exist in the contemporary world: the Italian latifondo and the Latin American latifundismo.

Both structures are organised in a very similar manner, and an analysis of both presents a holistic picture of their social and economic organisation. The paper begins by describing the administrative structure of the latifondo, and then goes on to suggest that the socioeconomic peculiarities of the enterprise may be at least partially explained by the rational voluntarist behaviour of the landlord, who allows old structures to persist in light of their cultural peculiarity. In The Mafia of a Sicilian Village, Anton Blok describes the Sicilian latifondo as being in its main features involutionary.

Blok invokes this term while alluding to a complex process in which certain structures undergo internalisation and fixity, as suggested by Clifford Geertz in Agricultural Involution. Involution, according to Geertz, refers to the overdriving of an established form in such a way that it becomes rigid through an inward elaboration of detail. Bloks study of the latifondo leads him to conclude that this agrarian enterprise underwent such a process at both the social and the economic level.

Before further exploring this process, however, it is necessary to first understand the power structure and organisation of the Sicilian latifondo. According to Blok, the latifondo was typically leased out to a gabelloto, who in turn hired a number of permanent employees to manage the enterprise. These administrators generally comprised an overseer (soprastante) and a number of field guards (campieri). The overseer was the gabellotos man of confidence he dealt with the peasants set to work on the estates and took care of the general protection of the enterprise.

The campieri assisted the overseer in his work, and constituted a kind of private police force which, in the absence of an efficient formal control apparatus, claimed to maintain law and order in the countryside. This hierarchical structure is replicated in Latin American latifundios, as described by Ernest Feder in Latifundios and Agricultural Labour. Feder further describes the Latin American latifundismo as being characterised by absentee landlordism.

He asserts that for the rural worker almost every estate owner is an absenteeist, as the bulk of the large estates is managed by administrators; the latter appearing to be Latin American counterparts of the soprastanti. This administrative structure has several important repercussions for the socioeconomic structural evolution (involution) of the latifondo. James C. Scott describes involution in agrarian enterprises at the economic level as involving the shift to more labour intensive techniques in return for minute, but vital, increments in yield per unit of land.

Essential to note here is that this shift is likely to occur even while more productive, capital intensive technologies are available. Whereas capital investment in agrarian technologies by cultivators or entrepreneurs could potentially boost agricultural productivity and allow for greater agricultural surplus production in the long run, they prefer instead to intensify the established form and concentrate on traditional labour intensive techniques, which are only able to provide a limited return.

It is this voluntary adherence to traditional labour intensive technologies in the presence of more productive alternatives that characterises the process of involution. This peculiar behaviour may be explained in light of the administrative structure of the latifondo as described earlier. The primary characteristic of indirect management (Feders absentee landlordism) is the administrations lack of long term goals regarding farm productivity.

Such visionary objectives may only exist when the administrator forges strong ties with the land, be they in the form of active involvement of resident owner-cultivators or tenure security for sharecroppers, so that there exists an incentive to incur sunk costs in the present for future gains. The existing land arrangements, however, left little need to incur such costs. Whereas the owners of the Sicilian latifondo were generally absent from the picture, having leased the land to gabelloti, the latter were merely entrepreneurs who preferred to indulge in conspicuous consumption and refrained from long-term investment.

Meanwhile, the Sicilian sharecropping peasant . . . lacked any security of tenure over time. In fact, his position with regard to employment did not basically differ from that of the landless labourer, thereby leaving him too with little incentive to undertake productive investment. Consequently, the latifondo characteristically faced a lack of investments from the side of both cultivators and entrepreneurs. The latter . . . engaged in ruthless exploitation of the land and labour rather than undertake long-term investment. As true rent capitalists they skimmed off the proceeds. . . P]rofits did not return to the land, but instead were used to acquire more land or were spent on urban living.

Finally, the indirect character of management (functioning through the gabelloto-soprastante administrative heirarchy) further impeded institutional change, as the soprastante was allowed to operate only within a strictly limited sphere of action and therefore had no jurisdiction (and little incentive) to induce any radical managerial reform. Feder concludes: Absentee landlordism is a guarantee that customary methods of farming are strictly observed though they may be antiquated.

Most administrators are not allowed to introduce changes in the farming pattern, and landlords hesitate to introduce them because this may require changes in the tenure status of the workers. Therefore the high rate of absenteeism is an obstacle to technological progress and improved farming. Management practices cannot improve beyond that permitted by the sparse interest and knowledge of farming of most absentee landlords, and the limited abilities and responsibilities of administrators. Meanwhile, the status quo suited the gabelloti on various other fronts.

For example, [a]ll contracts were arranged with the obvious aim that the gabelloti share only minimally in the risks of production, which largely devolved upon staff and peasants. Consequently, the former had little desire to introduce any technological change that may subsequently cause renegotiation of contracts. At the economic level, therefore, the latifondo continued to function with antiquated technology and rigid management. Instead of evolving, it underwent an involution whereby traditional technology, organisation and administration increased in complexity, became more rigid and inflexible, but did not alter in any significant way.

Traditional means of operation were constantly reified and labour effort intensified in an effort to extract the most surplus out of a decadent system. This intensification met little resistance: [n]ot living on the land and even physically separated from it by fixed residence in agro-towns, the peasants could less easily lay claim to it and thereby challenge large landownership. Eugen Weber even goes on to question whether such radical action would have any appeal for the peasantry, to whom innovation was almost inconceivable.

Routine ruled: the structural balance attained by a long process of trial and error, reinforced by isolation and physical circumstances. Such routine connoted not mindless labour but precious experience, what had worked and hence would work again, the accumulated wisdom without which life could not be maintained. A similar argument is put forth by James Scott in The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Scott suggests that in opposition to the accumulative preference of urban capitalist society, the primary concern of the peasantry is subsistence.

Because of a tendency towards leisure preference and the sheer lack of economic security, Scott explains the peasants reverence of custom and tradition as reflections of an ingrained risk-aversiveness developed over the ages. The safety-first maxim, a logical consequence of the econlogical dependence of peasant livelihood, embodies a relative preference for subsistence security over high average income. Scott further argues that this security mindedness make[s] abstract economic sense [and] finds expression in a wide array of actual choices, institutions and values in peasant society.

It is therefore a vast break from tradition and custom for the peasants to collectivise and attempt to resist the landlord; such instances of organised revolt, as suggested by Scott, are few and far between. With oppressor and oppressed buying into the structure, it is hardly surprising that the economic involution of the latifondo was closely accompanied by a social involution, which exhibited similar trends towards complexity and inflexibility. Feder argues:

Besides being complex, the social structure of the estate tends to be rigid from the point of view of economic development. . . . An autocratic organisation is well adapted to having orders from above carried out efficiently . . . However, this efficiency is the highest when matters go their usual way, in a routine manner. . . . [W]hile the landed elite has no interest in the peasants aspirations and keeps aloof from their world, it is still keenly aware of its obligations to keep the peasants in check and subservient.

It can achieve this simply through inactionas the social structure automatically ensures obedience up to a pointor actively, through coercion, sanctions and total hostility to any peasant organisation. The peasants obedience of tradition thus made the landlords job easier; where grievances did arise, they could be ignored, or at worst suppressed, without having to significantly alter the social structure. Blok, for example, suggests that the fragmented occupational structure of the peasant class . . . stifled the emergence of class consciousness and enduring interest groups among the labour force.

This lack of desire and ability to organise collective action was reinforced through the evolution of an entire culture of violence, deriving its roots from the criteria underlying the process of administrator selection. As a rule, strong men were recruited for this post, from those who were able to make themselves respectedinspire fearamong the people of the state as well as outsiders. The overseers authority was reinforced by strong-arm men, a private police force. The post of overseer was sought after by most, because it was permanent, came with various benefits and allowed for tremendous social power.

As the ability to inspire fear was a prerequisite to attaining this post, dominating and violent behaviour began to be perceived as desirable. This resulted in the evolution of a social code of honour that laid down strict rules and criteria for the functioning of society; in Sicilian society, this code was known as the mafia. Blok asserts: mafia provided the large estate with its mainstay. . . . [P]hysical violence dominated the social relationships through which the large estates were exploited.

In this way mafiosi kept restive peasants in submission, while opening up avenues for upwardly mobile peasants who qualified in the use of violence. It is important to note that this social code evolved in response to a need to maintain the status quo, and was subsequently complicated and institutionalised till it came to dominate all spheres of life in Sicilian society. This was the social involution associated with the latifondoinward elaboration of detail of an established social need, making it rigid and codifying it in social norms.

Although the social rules by which the mafia operated remained for the large part unwritten, similar processes of social involution elsewhere went to the extent of actually transcribing these laws. Scott Andersons study of Albania, for example, reveals such a codified set of social norms: [T]he traditional laws and loyalties of the village . . . are spelled out in the kanun . . . , a book of rules and oaths. By the dictates of the kanun . . . ones primary alliance is to clan and community, not to the state. The implications of such socioeconomic involution are manifold.

At an economic level, it appears that one reason why rural areas appear hesitant to adopt new technology is because of the involutionary administrative structure and organisationnew technology means change and change is unpopular with the adminstration; consequently, the enterprise is so structured as to prevent change. Social codes evolve to complement this process of involution, becoming codified in the culture of the society and forming a rigid institution which embeds itself firmly in the social structure and becomes more and more elaborate with time.

The socioeconomic institutions resulting from this involution thereby display increasing complexity and inflexibility, and become extremely resistant to outside pressures. This further implies that nothing short of revolutionary and committed intervention would be able to significantly alter these institutions. If such intervention is attempted in a half-hearted manner by the state, which is at the best of times completely alien to rural society, it is bound to have only limited success.

Blok describes various attempts by the Fascist government to introduce new agrarian technologies and to implement agrarian reform; as may be expected, the new techniques of cultivation were applied on a small scale, the Fascist agrarian policy did not promote the development of more intensive methods of cultivation and inhibited the expansion of a more balanced agriculture, and even after the post-Fascist agrarian reform law of 1950, the type of agriculture that had always characterised the inland region did not substantially change . , even though huge funds were allocated for improvement. It is testament to the longevity of involutionary enterprises that the latifondismo of Sicily manage to survive to date. Of Albania, Anderson similarly concludes: Communism never actually modernised Albania, but merely put the old ways, the village ways, in a kind of deep freezemuch as Tito did in Yugoslavia following World War II. The collapse of the state and the national economy has led many Albanians to once again openly embrace the . . . kanun.

We may therefore conclude that such socioeconomic structures, which at first glance appear to be anachronistic in the extreme and anomalous in the context of contemporary modes of production and social organisation, appear to defiantly face the challenge presented by modern society by undergoing a process of involutionary change. This process involves the rigidification and complication of existing structures and a strengthening of the implicit social relationships, making these structures less vulnerable to the advent of commercialisation and state intervention.

Enterprises based on these structures constitute a subculture in the larger society, and codes of social conduct evolve that present an opposition to prevailing legal and social organisation. Attempts by the state to enforce institutional change are unlikely to succeed in the absence of radical and committed reform and a breaking-down of such involuted codestill such institutional reform occurs, it is unlikely that rural society will modernise per se.

Did Someone Say Respect

In todays community there are many different problems, from road rage to child abuse, they are all there. So which one of these problems is worth focusing on? The answer to this question is, all of the above. Each problem needs individual attention in order to be taken care of. Lately the problems are all connected with one important attribute, respect. This thing we call respect has almost vanished from todays community. A college student at Gilbert Chandler perceived, Respect has to be earned, the same as love. To get respect is to give respect.

This is a commendable thought, but is it a rational one? Here the issue can be argued that, if someone disrespects you it does not give you the right to disrespect him or her back. That is what respect is all about, concern. Everyone needs to take concern for others even when the others may not have concern for them. Road rage is just one of the many problems in the community that can be solved by respect. It is believed that road rage begins the minute a person is about to walk in the door of their car. The attitude needs to be set in driving mood.

When there is failure of this attitude, road rage begins. If a person gets up late and knows they must be at work they will be in a selfish mood. This mood causes him or her to become open to feeling fury the moment someone makes a bad move on the road. For instance, this person crosses an elderly man who is on his way to get his monthly medication. He makes the mistake of cutting of the person to the side of him, the late driver. Now it can be argued that the elderly man should not even be aloud on the road, but that is where the disrespect begins.

Instead of getting mad, the driving mode should be set to give respect for the mistaken driver and move on with the drive to work. This act of concern lessens the probability for dilemmas that could follow. It has not been forgotten that there are drivers who purposely cut others off in disrespect. That issue can be solved in the same way. There is no reasoning with respect. There should be respect at all times. Vandalism is another key problem in the community. There have been 318,400 arrests made for vandalism not including the passed three years.

Juveniles alone, hold 42. ercent of the chart of arrests made in the United States. In the United States juveniles are arrested for only one-fifth of all the crime that takes place. What does this say for the parental control in todays community? It happens everywhere, not just the home but school, work, public parks, restaurants, and everywhere else. This act of disrespect can be easily solved if people took concern for other peoples places and things. The dream that everyone has, of being able to feel secure of the things we all own and love, is showing no progress to see it come true.

Everyone wonders how this sense of violation happened. That would be when people started to disrespect each other. If people learned how important it is to respect each other and their things, the word vandalism might never have to be used again. Abuse is another threatening problem in todays community. To hurt or injure anyone by maltreatment or to misuse the power accompanying an office position is all abuse. So its not only physical, mental abuse as well. Not all abuse is domestic however.

Charts show that there have been 32,060 arrests for rape up to 1997. When is the number high enough to start to fix this crime of disrespect? Some have failed and will fail in the game of life from this horrible problem. This is not aimed at the victim but the abuser. Let us not forget the disrespect one might have upon them self in abuse. Drug dependence, alcoholism, and misuse of anabolic steroids are all examples of self-abuse. Drug abuse defiantly wins the prize on the crime chart, 1,583,600 arrests.

Which is not including the driving under the influence arrests, adding 1,477,300 to the list or the 734,800 additional arrests made just from drunkenness. These abusers cannot possibly have care or respect for themselves if they can hurt them self or another person. If respectable was one of the abusers attributes they would never have abused or been abused. If this challenge of respect is to hard for any person, they probably do not have respect for themselves. So, that college student could have been right when he said respect has to be earned, that is, if he was talking about respecting himself.

The Advantages Of Stupidity

Most people say being stupid will lead no where. They claim that it is the worst possible condition in which to spend one’s life, and if possible, it should be completely avoided. They would even suggest if the symptoms of stupidity are caught in the early stages, it could easily be treated by a surgeon. The most effective method used to do this is the chainsaw technique, later described in volume two. Yet, perhaps if people took a closer look at some of the advantages stupidity had to offer, they wouldn’t have such a negative attitude toward it.

After reading this paper, one will understand the advantages of stupidity. Admittedly, stupidity has certain disadvantages. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. And being stupid doesn’t make it any fruitier. Being stupid can annoy even the most sensitive people. If one acts stupid, and does it in the wrong crowd, like a group of adults, it will seem more immature than funny. If one is forced to act stupid while dealing with lower life forms, for example, high school teachers, one may encounter barriers such as cruelty and insensitivity, with the utterance of statements like, “Think with your head straight! or, “You have a brain, use it. ” Yet these are all true, there are still many advantages to stupidity.

The first advantage is very easy to understand. Stupid people are never asked to do a lot. Many have noticed that people tend to steer away from someone they feel may be stupid. This is for a very good reason. The stupidity which they posses makes a name for themselves, a name which can be very difficult to shake. Possibly, it is a word, which describes the working habits of the person, such as “crappy”. Yet, this creates a positive situation for the stupid person.

They will have a lot of free time on their hands for more of life’s truly meaningful pleasures. Some of these activities are combing facial hair, and counting the pixels on a Sony TV. Now, there has been a rumor going around that suggests that stupid people have low expectations. This is true. They are so stupid that they don’t realize great from O. K. They could have a Sanyo cordless phone, but would probably choose instead an alarm clock telephone, because it comes free with their sense-a-matic folding bed. And someone with the “advantage” of stupidity might have a hard time doing certain tasks, or setting things up.

Yet this isn’t all bad. For example, if a stupid person leaves the chore, and comes back to it later, no one will be able to understand it. Would they get fired from their job? No. For the very simple reason that no one would understand their work except for them. The job would have to be given back to the stupid person, perhaps with a higher salary, or someone would do it for them, leaving them with even more free time! Free time is great for brainstorming (Admittedly this seems to be a bad choice of words! ). Yet the ideas stupid people create tend to be original.

For example, when was the last time someone stupid said something, and made them think about it? It seems that people are always talking about someone else’s dumb idea. An example of such an idea would be, “How many stories will that English teacher drop before having a stroke? ” This would suggest that stupid people may have the upper hand when it comes to thinking up original ideas. In fact, the next time someone wants an original idea for something, they should try talking to their local, community stupid person.

The reason for this is that while a stupid person thinks with his head, he does not do so an organized manner. This is why they have so much creativity. By thinking in this fashion, their ideas have a natural tendency to flow more easily, without the interruptions, which occur from the editing of thoughts that logical people would have normally. Thus if someone else should say to one, “That was a stupid idea! ” one should merely look that person straight in the eye, and say, “Thank-you! ” This also means that the saying, “Stupid minds think alike. ” is not true.

All stupid minds have different ideas, each idea being original. One of the final advantages of stupidity is that stupid people are always remembered, even after graduation day. It has been noticed how a quiet person is always hard to detect, and often remains anonymous. There is a very good reason for this. The mind has a hard time keeping quiet people in its memory track. But it is much easier and pleasing for the mind to remember someone really stupid. Anyway, when was the last time someone laughed at an idiot in a 12th grade class? When was the last time someone laughed at the little kid at the back of the room?

The evidence here proves how stupid people last longer in someone’s thoughts. The largest advantage that arises from stupidity is that it takes up 2/3 of DNA storage space, which is excellent for keeping stupidity in the family. Thus, stupidity clearly has many advantages, as long as someone is smart enough to use them! It is important to understand that stupid people are like all other humans physically. Yet, because of the difference between smart and stupid people, smart human beings should give them some breathing space. Teachers can learn that someone graced with stupidity deserves more respect. After all, they are special.

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is set in late Victorian England, a time of social reform. Society was rediscovering art in its many forms yet as a consequence, The Upper class continued their program of suppressed inferiority. The lower classes were treated with disdain and disgust and the animosity between the groups was easily visible. Essentially, the late Victorian era was the beginning of a mini cultural renaissance, yet Upper Class society, which forms the basis of the play was rigidly controlled by a set of unwritten rules, a code of conduct as it may, in which all were expected to conform with.

This code referred to a number of things, including the way they ate, dressed, and spoke. The 19th Century saw many important alliances formed politically between Queen Victoria and her Prime Ministers. This was typified by her friendship with Benjamin Disraeli. Together they formed a number of political partnerships, none of which was more important than the Reform Act. The Reform Act greatly annoyed the upper class, which considered the idea of any man being allowed to vote as simply disgraceful.

The Victorian era saw legislation concerning labour and industry, which began to intrude on the power of the Upper class over the working class labourers. In fact by the late 1880s Lower classes were working less hours, while their wages continued to increase. This allowed many to enjoy luxuries that until then were considered only possible by the Upper Classes. Women, even the ones of the Upper Class were still considered unequal of men even at this stage in history, even though the monarch was a woman. Yet, towards the end of the 19th Century, Women rebelled against their stereotypes.

They began to seek smaller families so as to escape the child-breeding, household running typecast. Women became active in the social scene with charities, churches, local politics and the arts. Colleges became open to women in the 1870s and many pursued an education. However, Professional Careers were still “off limits”. The Importance of Being Earnest is a play in the comedy of manners style. The comedy of manners by definition is a witty, cerebral and dramatic form of comedy that satirizes the ways and disposition of a social class.

Style itself is a depiction of behavior, not just a shallow manner of expression. The Importance of Being Earnest depicts this to the absolute maximum. The play satirizes the ways of late Victorian upper class and their social etiquette. This satirical view is closely bound to the atmosphere of the time. The play itself deals itself with a typical Comedy of Manners storyline, the trivial social standards, love affairs and the aim of gaining the most money with the least effort. These subject matters are transfixed into a witty dialogue of which is usually a focal point of Comedy of Manners material.

The play criticizes and upholds the Upper classes ideals at the same time. Oscar Wildes satirical view of the Upper class is a paradox in itself as he was part of it. The Importance of Being Earnest also supports elements of the well-made play. Original productions of The Importance of Being Earnest were staged in conventional theatres in the confines of the Proscenium Arch. The actors performed in a fourth wall style, where essential the Actor/Audience is non existent, and the actors play only to themselves, as if there is a wall between them and the audience.

The Importance of Being Earnest used the ideas of realism and thrust them upon the stage. Ultra realistic props were used to create a world in which nothing seems out of place. Scenery was so intricately painted that the world seems unbelievably real. The Importance of Being Earnest has often being criticized for its emphasis on language, even to the stage where it could best be presented with minimal or no actor movement whatsoever. While many use this a reason to be critical, from a theatrical perspective the language is as close to perfect as you are ever likely to find.

Wilde creates this effect in a number of ways. Firstly, his use of the paradox as a comic device, although not widespread the joke of the paradox lies in its unpredictability, “I hear that her hair has gone quite gold from grief” or perhaps “An engagement should come on a girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter of which she could be allowed to arrange for herself”. The importance of the paradox here is not its ludicrousness, but the unanticipated wisdom that the statement actually makes.

Another of Wildes literary tricks is alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of consonantal sounds in words close together, particularly using letters at the beginning of words or stressed syllables. This can be observed in many of his phrases, which emphasise important sections of the plot. Wilde uses puns as another comic influence. A pun is a play on words, often uncovering multiple meanings. Wilde uses a mix of all of these methods to create a language, which is complex, yet incredibly enthralling.

During our production my role was to design tickets to suite our style of performance. There were a number of processes in which I had to go through to uncover my final finished product. Firstly, I research anything remotely to do with Victorian society and ticketing. This started with the looking into books and documents of the time and even finding older examples of Victorian work. This led into the first drafting process. After coming up with a design, some discussion was had in a group and we finalized the design and the wording that was to be printed on the tickets.

After some thought, I went with the gold cardboard which visually very impressive. Subsequently, I presented a finished product to the class and after some confusion about dates and times, I went into full-scale production. To save money, we printed the tickets on a laser printer instead of an actual printer, but the quality was surprisingly good. So after 2 weeks of refinement and a number of drafts the tickets were completed. The tickets themselves use a uniform old style font which is elegant yet still readable.

Sociology And Its Components

Many of times I have attempted to comprehend the actions of other people. I always wanted to know why people of different genders, descents, and colors had certain cultural, societal, and religious beliefs. It became apparent to me that all persons are a direct reflection of their atmosphere. In other words all persons unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) reflect and imitate their atmosphere and the things that they see it them. Various cultures carry their own individual stereotypes and belief system.

The reason for this is that people place arbitrary meanings on lifes occurrences based upon those of the ndividuals which preceded them. Thought patterns of an individual are all dependent upon the teachings We perceive and understand the physical and social world based on the meanings we attach to people, things, and actions. To put it simply our minds are all guided by the force of “other minds” that are “more developed” than our own. This is all a part of Sociological study. These studies look at the predominant attitudes, behavior, and types of relationships within a society.

A society is a group of people who have a similar cultural background and live in a specific geographical area. but before we et into this however Lets take a step back and look at the field in which these studies derive from. Sociology is a social science that studies individuals, groups, and institutions that make up human society. It is an observation of how people relate to one another and to their environments. They also study the formation of groups; the causes of various forms of social behavior; and the role of churches, schools, and other institutions within a society.

Social behavior is studied extensively in the field of sociology. Sociologist usually work with small groups and observe attitude change, conformity, eadership, morale, and other forms of behavior. They also study the way the members of a group respond to one another and to other groups. The sociological perspective is based on the assumption that for a given collectively there is a collective reality that can be studied in it’s own right. Various cultures develop their own cultural practices based on the traditions of their predecessors.

In these societies, standards of behavior are passed on from one generation to the next. Because of this, these various cultures all carry and practice unique ideologies. The ideologies are developed by socialization. Socialization is the complex process by which individuals come to learn and perform behavior expected of them by society. Socialization teaches habits, ideas, attitudes, and values. This is one of the principle ways by which society preserve themselves. Learning plays an important part in socialization.

A person must acquire a wide range of information and skills to participate in the activities of a family, a play group, a school group, a business, or a political system. From the family, children learn such basic functions as proper etiquette, hygiene, and association with other peer groups. They also learn the basic alues, beliefs, and goals of the family. For example, they learn what it is to be male or female, what to believe as truth and falsehood, and what to value in human relations. This process varies with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

This is what makes society so unique and profound. In most societies, socialization begins in infancy and continues throughout a person’s life. Other agencies, especially the school, have taken over some of the socialization functions of the family. As individuals advance through successive stages of school, they continually discard some attitudes and roles and take n new ones. Other important elements that influence an individual’s social behavior include friends and co-workers, religious institutions, television, motion pictures, and various kinds of reading matter.

People learn much of their culture through imitation and experience. They also acquire culture through observation, paying attention to what goes on around them and seeing examples of what their society considers right and wrong. This is what makes each society different in our every day lives. For example, Arabs tend to stand closer together when speaking to one another than most Europeans do. No one instructs them to do so, but they learn the behavior as part of their culture. Another example of how socialization affects individual cultures can be found in the roles we as individuals play in society.

Race, Gender, Religious affiliation, and ethnicity are some of the factors which attribute to collective realities in a society. This can be found in the various taboos that different cultures have. For example in various parts of the world, the clothes you wear are seen as a mark of the respect in which you hold the people of the countries you are visiting. In Many parts of Asia it is viewed as an insult to wear Shorts and T-shirts. Asians tend not to wear shorts regardless of how hot it is.

A westerner who is not aware of this taboo can be in danger of ridicule or punishment because they do not carry the same moral code of that society. In 1988, in Los Angeles, an entertainer from Thailand was convicted of the murder of a young Laotian. The entertainer was singing in an after-hours club when the audience member put his foot on a chair with the sole directed at the entertainer. When the club closed, the entertainer followed the man and shot him. The reason was that among Southeast Asians, showing or directing the sole of the shoe to another person is considered a grievous insult.

An incident also took place in Hong Kong a few years ago because of a hand signal miscommunication. A television station there took an annual picture of all their entertainers before the Chinese New Year. As a joke, famous Kung-fu actor Jackie Chan, who recently played the main actor in the movie “Rush Hour,” held his fist with his middle finger stuck out on top of the head of an actress who stood in front of him. When his photo appeared in the ewspapers, the station received dozens of calls from Westerners living in Hong Kong complaining about the indecent gesture.

As many of us may know in western culture, the middle finger represents an indecent gesture, However when Chan applied this gesture, he meant to suggest that his friend had grown horns on her head for fun. Chan refused to apologize because his gesture was not intended to be an insult as the gesture is not considered indecent in Chinese Society. Examples such as these may seem funny, but severe punishment might have come to those who failed to observe the rules in an arlier time and today as well.

Another Example of cultural differences may be found in religion. many denominations hold Sunday as their “holy” day or day of Sabbath. Where as others feel that it should be held on Saturday. seventh day Adventist are a sect which feel that it is the latter. So on Saturday they are to stray away from all secular practices. This includes watching television, listening to radio or partaking in any activities which is not in reverence of their religion. To a Christian however this practice would seem absurd. Their reality does not carry the same beliefs.

Although these are just a few examples it gives you an idea of how a persons geographical location and cultural background can shape their individuals belief. Many of which are not practiced by other cultures. If you wanted to better understand a persons ways or why it is that people of different ethnic backgrounds have different beliefs and practices. It would be best to start with trying to understand that persons culture and their socialization process. Once you begin to grasp an understanding and they way they have grew up then it will be easier to understand why they do things in a certain way.

Evaluate the usefulness of this perspective in understanding social life and social interaction

No thinker in the 19th Century has had such a direct, deliberate and powerful influence upon mankind as Karl Marx, and now his concept of Marxism is a major perspective in modern sociology. Karl Marxs revolutionary philosophies lead to the practice of socialism and communism, then ultimately the overthrow of an entire capitalist society and the state institutions that had brought it into being, through the Communist Revolutions in Eastern Europe and China during the last century. The main concepts that create the theory of Marxism are: a criticism of capitalism, a classless society and classical political economics.

Karl Marxs famous theories to help define Marxism include: dialectical materialism, the law of development and the mode of production. Within his lifetime, a new revolutionary practice was formed, and Marx’s name would be forever associated with that practice (Kreis, 2003). The German-born Karl Marx was a philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary, and possibly the most influential socialist thinker to emerge from the nineteenth century (Kreis, 2003). He completed the greater part of his work between 1844 and 1883, during periods of democratic nationalism, trade unionism and revolution.

He had an acute sense of injustice and was repelled by the rhetoric of the intellectuals, who were remote from reality, and the self-righteous contentment of the bourgeoisie, as he found they were hypocritical and blinded by their wealth and status (Kreis, 2003). Fredrich Engels was essentially a social philosopher, and was the co-founder of the modern communist theory with Karl Marx. In 1847 Engels and Marx began writing a pamphlet based on Engels’ The Principles of Communism. The 12,000-word pamphlet was finished in six weeks, written in such a manner as to make communist theory understandable to a wide audience.

It was named The Communist Manifesto and was published in February 1848. After Marx’s death in 1883 Engels devoted the rest of his life to editing and translating Marx’s writings. Marxism can sometimes be defined as the theory of dialectical materialism based on communist practice. Dialectical Materialism is a way of understanding reality; whether thoughts, emotions, or the material world. The materialist dialectic is the theoretical foundation of Marxism, while being communist is the practice of Marxism (Marxists. rg, 2003), where communists actively support the interests of the working class and live to unite workers regardless of gender, nationality, race or ideology (Perry, 2002). Dialectics in Marx referred to opposing forces in reality: internal and inherent forces whose mutual conflicts produce metamorphoses. Men are products of their environment in general and their economic environment in particular (Sowell, 1985). This dialectical idea of self-destruction through self-fulfillment is predominantly stating that the culture destroys itself by perfecting itself (Wolton, 1996).

Marx distinguished five broad stages in the formation of a bourgeois society. He named these Modes of Production. In Marxs writings the five major historical modes of production are: primitive communism, the ancient mode of production, Asiatic mode of production, feudism and capitalism (Evans, 1993; Perry, 2002). Social development from the lowest stage to the highest was marked by increases in human powers of production, the elaboration of the division of labour, and the rise of the institution of private property.

The contradictions within the highest existing stage (i. e. : a bourgeois society) would lead to its replacement by a still higher stage: communism (Evans, 1993). Socialism and communism were conceived as future modes of production that would liberate humanity from exploitation and oppression, using the general increase in the productive forces for the general good. Marx and Engel maintained that this mode of production opened a new possibility of a classless society: socialism. They devoted their lifes work to the achievement of this goal (Perry, 2002).

In modern capitalism, large capitalist employers exploit workers by not paying them the full worth of their labour. Marx considered that the progression of capitalism, each technical advance and each accretion of productivity, was bought at the price of the exploitation and suffering of workers (Evans, 1993). In his theory on the capitalist system, Marx referrers to the de-humanisation of the worker, with the implication that this system of production denies them something that is their due as human beings.

He argued that capitalism had either destroyed morality or turned it into a palpable lie (Wilde, 1998). As the capitalist system grew richer, the majority of people in it became impoverished (Evans, 1993). Marxism is a necessary point of exodus for understanding capitalism’s deep structure (Kennedy, 2001). What passed for Marxism became the official religion of the Soviet Union and in turn Eastern Europe, China and various other parts of the globe (Roseberry, 1997). From being the inspiration of the labour movement or persecuted revolutionaries it was transformed into its opposite: a state ideology.

Marxism-Leninism became a new political term. It was a label of Lenins approach to Marxism at the beginning of the twentieth century, in a capitalist Russia emerging from Feudalism. Marxism-Leninism was the official state political theory of the former Soviet State and was enforced throughout most of the former Eastern European socialist governments of the twentieth century (Evans, 1993). Marxism claims to be a universal theory, a theory that can comprehend the dynamics and conflicts of society in their totality.

Marxism rejects the idea that there needs to be different theories to explain different experiences. Marxism claims its method can be used to explain quite clearly the experience of women and ethnic oppression. It sees the repression of women and societys ethnic groups resulting from the general formation of society as a whole (Wolton, 1996). The experience of women and ethnic groups can be elucidated from the broader analysis of the workings of a capitalist society. The privatised and isolated experience of women is a result of their responsibility of the home and family.

The formation of a capitalist society has to be taken into account in understanding womens oppression (Wolton, 1996; Perry 2002). Despite fierce criticism of Marxism from feminist and Black Nationalist historians, Marxists were consequently amongst pioneers of womans and black history. Shelia Rowbothams Hidden From History (1973) helped to open up the field of radical womens history, while Marxists C. L. R. James, Eric Williams and Eugene Genoveses work on black slavery and Peter Fryers Staying Power (1984) on the black experience in Britain played a similar role in black history (Perry, 2002).

Marx was able to construct metaphysics, an epistemology, a social theory, a philosophy of history, a political philosophy and a theory of revolution (Kennedy & Galtz 1996). He was a man whose ideas, insightfulness and importance even non-Marxists cannot deny. His analysis of the capitalist mode of production serves as a near history of the Industrial Revolution in England. His discourse on alienation is as provocative today as it was when he first discussed it in 1844.

His analysis of society although devised in the course of an effort to understand the mid-nineteenth-century-capitalist world resulted in the construction of a set of concepts, which work remarkably well when applied to any era. Marx was an intellectual, a philosopher, historian and revolutionary whose total life experience was that of the 19th century. Marxist concepts have helped historians and sociologists ask new questions and change the way society is viewed. The concept of Marxism helped form the society of the twentieth century and ultimately the society we know today.

Intro to Sociology

When asked about transsexuals, Mildred Brown, author of True Selves quoted that it is a “dilemma of feeling trapped in the wrong physical gender. ” Transsexuality is a phenomenon, which really has not been scientifically examined. Through talk shows such as Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones or the Maury Show, society tends to see a one-sided view on this matter. While watching the Maury Show, “Man or Woman”, the audience’s reaction to the transsexuals on stage were not of disgust but more of awe.

They were in awe that a man could look so much like a woman and how some women showed very masculine features. The guests on this show were inevitably labeled as “freaks” regardless of whether it was verbally spoken or not. The talk show was a brief one. Maury Povich, the host, introduced 12 beautiful women onto the stage. There were two black women, five Hispanic women, and five white women on stage. They all flaunted their flawless bodies. Some were voluptuous; others were more on the thinner side, yet none of them seemed to be any “different” than any other model/porn star.

All the guests on this show were in their mid twenties to their mid thirties. The theme of this show was for the audience to see if they could tell the difference between a man and a woman. Watching the faces in the audience, I noted that each and every one of them were judging all the guests. were 100% men, and some were 100% women. They all stood in a line and for each one, the cross-dressing guests would either prove the audience wrong or right in their judgments. On more than half of the guests, the audience was proven wrong.

It was incredible to see some of these guests strut their bodies as the opposite gender. Some of the men looked so much like women that the audience was in complete shock when they revealed their true gender. Now came the interrogation. I call this an interrogation because all these guests are individually put on under the spotlight. Maury Povich digs under their skin to try to expose how “freakish” they really are. The audience is silent and their faces are wrinkled in confusion to try to understand why the guests are the way they are and who or what made them become like this.

The guests sit on their chairs with their head held up high, legs crossed, gloating under all the attention they are receiving. It didn’t matter whether the attention was negative or positive. Maury Povich, smile painted on his face and a probing voice begins the interrogation. Sara, or as he called himself, a twenty four year old stripper was one guest on the show. He had a frail body and a pretty face and in no way did he show any masculinity in the way he talked. His body language was very feminine as well and when asked why he cross-dressed; he replied, “I feel more beautiful as a woman than as a man”.

Perhaps the lack of attention he received as a man had changed his mentality in getting some physical attention as a woman. Sara also noted that he was not a homosexual. What did this make him? A straight man that cross-dressed. Alicia, another guest on the show was a transsexual. She had gone under surgery two years before the show was taped and when asked what made her want a sex change, she talked about her life story as a child and as an adolescent. When other children would taunt him because he liked to play with dolls instead of roughing it out on the playground like other boys.

Alicia’s situation was more emotional. Whether he was born with more estrogen in his system or not was a question, but as far as Alicia could remember, she had always liked to be feminine Joshua Gamson states that many of the transsexuals featured on these talk shows are conned into “expressing themselves” whereas in reality, they were put on the show to be ridiculed by the audience so ratings could go up. “The producers need to keep their program as close to standard assumptions about sexuality as they can, even as they invite guests precisely because they defy those assumptions. Pg. 162)

He points out that sometimes the guests want to be misunderstood for the attention. They like the feeling of being unique and not conforming to society’s standards or follow their values. It is what they want to do to feel alive. Gamson also points out that some transgenders want to go all the way and become the opposite gender rather than living under the pressure of being a homosexual. In “Sounds of Silence” by Edward and Mildred Hall, the intimate look at body language also comes into view.

All the guests on the show seemed to hold a certain confidence in themselves. The way they arched their backs and their hand graceful hand movements showed that they were not afraid of judgement. They all wanted to be on the show to be either understood or misunderstood. I also observed how Maury was conversing with them. I noticed that hosts like Jerry Springer or Ricki Lake would roll their eyes around a lot or give looks of disgust, or even put down their heads in the act of being embarrassed for their guests.

If you observe a person conversing, you’ll notice that he indicates he’s listening by nodding his head. He also makes the “Hmm” noises. If he agrees with what is being said, he may give a vigorous nod to show pleasure or affirmation … if a participant wants to terminate the conversation, he may start shifting his body position, stretching legs, crossing or uncrossing them … the more the speaker becomes aware he has lost his audience.

Sociology: The Comparative Method

Sociologists have embraced what is known as the comparative method as the most efficient way to expose taken-for-granted ‘truths’ or laws that people have adopted. But what is this comparative method and how does it work? Are there any advantages/disadvantages to exposing these false ‘truths’. What forms or variations of the comparative method exist? In the pages to follow I will attempt to give you some insight and understanding of what the comparative method is, and how it works.

The comparative method, simply put, is the process of comparing two hings (in our case societies, or the people that make up society) and seeing if the result of the comparison shows a difference between the two. The comparative method attempts to dereify (the process of exposing misinterpreted norms. Norms that society consider natural and inevitable characteristics of human existence) reified (the human created norms or ‘truths’) beliefs. Obviously there are various ways in which a nomi (a labeled, sometime constructed, norm or truth) can be exposed. Which form of the comparative method should one use however?

The answer, whichever one applies to the ‘truth’ in question. For example, you certainly would not do a cross-gender form of comparison if you wished to expose whether or not homosexuality has always been feared and looked down upon by most people throughout history. No, rather you would perform a historical comparison of two or more different societies to see if these beliefs always existed, or, whether or not this is a newly constructed belief. Let’s look at little more closely at the above mentioned historical comparison and see how the comparative method works with a specific example.

There is no question that in today’s western society there is a lot of fear and trepidation towards people who are labeled ‘homosexual’. The question we will attempt to answer however is whether or not it has always been like this and is this a universal truth. In ancient Greek societies people had a very different opinion of men that slept with men. For example, it was considered quite an honor for a family with a young boy under the age of 10, to be given the privilege on an older man of high society taking their son into his house. The young boy would go and ive with this older man.

The older man would have sex with the young boy on a regular basis until the boy developed facial hair. It was not until then that the boy was considered a man. Society thought that an older mans, of great reputation, semen would help the boy develop into a fine young man. Once the boy developed the facial hair, the sex between the two would stop. The older man’s job was finished. Obviously this would be considered an atrocious and disgusting act these days. The older man in this case would certainly go to jail for the ‘crimes’ that he had committed.

However, in Ancient Greece this was not only considered perfectly normal, but as I already stated, it was an honor and a gift that not every boy was ‘lucky’ enough to be given. Therefore, we can conclude from this comparison that homophobia, as we know it, is not a natural truth, nor is it a universal belief. Rather it is a socially constructed belief that many people have taken for granted as an inevitable part of human existence. It is important at this point to clarify something however. It is said that the role of the sociologist is a descriptive one as opposed to a rescriptive one.

That is to say that the sociologist should describe the various practices, customs and structures that exist in various societies rather than suggest to people which one is actually the correct belief or the ‘real’ truth. Cross-gender comparisons is another commonly used comparison used to reveal socially constructed truths. In Carol Gilligan’s book ‘In a different voice’ we find a fine example of a cross-gender comparison. She states that most people believe that the majority of people, both men and women, view morale issues in the same way.

However, through empirical data collection, Carol Gilligan concludes that this is not most often the case. Rather, she states that men tend to approach moral issues quite differently than women. Where as men view morale issues with a “don’t interfere with my rights” view, women focus more on the “responsibility” end of the morale involved. Thus we can conclude, thanks to the comparative method, that the constructed truth that all people view morale issues the same is not a correct one. Another quick example of a cross-gender comparison would be that of the house-wife.

Still today most men iew the role of the married woman as one that involves being a house-wife, in the traditional sense of the term. However, women today certainly would not view themselves in the same manner. The data collected from a comparison such as this could help to dereify this socially constructed truth. Cross-class comparisons is also a comparison commonly used when attempting to expose constructed truths between two classes. i. e. lower-class, upper-class, middle-class. For an example I refer to my lecture notes. Our professor gave us a fine example of a cross-class comparison involving his own life.

He was from a middle-class family and attended a public school where he got involved with various kids from the middle and lower class. He grew up in this type of environment and accepted it as the his life as the way society was. To him, there was not another lifestyle. This was life. Several events occurred and because of these events our professor was moved, by his parents, to a private school. This private school and the ‘new’ society that accompanied it resulted in a form of culture shock for him. All of a sudden he was placed in a new world, a world that he never even knew existed.

As you can see, our professor socially constructed the view that society was like the one that he lived in when he went to his public school, hung around with middle and lower- class friends, and did what middle and lower-class kids did. When he was afforded the chance to compare that type of lifestyle to one of the upper-class he dereified his constructed view and his eyes opened to a new reality and a new view of the way society was. Another major comparative form is that of the cross-generational. This one is fairly straight forward. The name basically says it all.

In fact, it’s uch like the historical comparison method but on a much smaller scale. I believe that in order for it to be termed cross-generational, the generations that are being analyzed have to be living at the same time. Otherwise it becomes a historical comparison. Karen Anderson gives an example of a cross- generational comparison in her book Sociology : A Critical Introduction (1996, pg. 12). “Canadians pride themselves on their tolerance and lack of prejudice. But we do not need to look very far into our history to find examples of taken-for-granted understandings that have led to discriminatory and rejudicial treatment.

Some segments of the population have been classified as undesirable and thus as unwanted or undeserving outsiders… ” Anderson is pointing out that the constructed view in Canada is that we pride ourselves on the fact that we have very little prejudice in Canada. She goes on to point out that this is not at all the case. She gives the example of Canada’s history of immigration. She discusses the fact that a lot of Chinese people were allowed to immigrate to Canada, much to the dismay of current residents and already established European immigrants, during the time when the ranscontinental railroad was being built.

Sir John A. Macdonald was the Prime Minister at this time and defended his reputation by telling the people of Canada, who were very disturbed by his actions, that the Chinese immigrants would live in Western Canada just temporarily. To reassure the people further Macdonald said “… no fear of a permanent degradation of the country by a mongrel race”. This would be considered horrific these days. Most Canadians would not even realize that their country was very closed to the idea of the immigration of certain types of people.

The social idea that Canada is, and lways have been, a very tolerant country is exposed as a false, constructed truth through this cross-generational comparison. Finally we come to the last major comparative form. That of the cross- cultural. Cross-cultural comparison consists of comparing two societies or cultures in an attempt to reveal and expose some socially constructed ‘truths’ in order to prove that they are not universal but rather they are relative to each society. There are literally thousands of differences between almost every culture that people would be surely shocked to learn of.

For the next example I ill show how the cross-cultural comparative method dereifies some of the constructed so-called universal-truths that people in our society may have. India differs in it’s customs considerably from that of Canada or Northern America. For example, in Western Civilization families sit together when they attend church, in India this is not acceptable at all. Men and women must sit on opposite sides of the church. Men and women in India for the most part will not eat together, whereas in Western civilization it is a common practice and is actually looked upon as a good time for a little family bonding.

In India it is onsidered rude to eat with both hands at the table. The right had is solely used for eating and the left for drinking. Obviously we have a completely different practice in Western society. Another shock that a Westerner might face if he/she were to travel to India would be the fact that it is still considered a major social impropriety for a man to even touch a woman in public. In North America public displays of affection can been seen everywhere. . (Stott, John. Down To Earth. 1980. Pg. 12-15) These are all prime examples of Western universal truths that are exposed when compared to another culture.

One of the major benefits for exposing these truths through the comparative method is the fact that dereifying accepted truths leads to a decrease in ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the act of interpreting all societies through one’s own cultural lenses and believing that there idea of truths are the only correct ones. This could lead to the imposing of one’s own beliefs onto other societies. In other words, comparing, exposing, and dereifying helps educate and eliminate ignorance when it comes to social ‘truths’. However, there is a danger to exposing social constructs.

It could ead to one taking on the perceptive of a radical relativist (all truths are correct) or a nihilistic view (the belief that all truths are relative and therefore there are no truths). Obviously this is a very negative, and possibly a destructive, way of thinking. As you can see, the comparative method is an essential part of a sociologists practice. Without it there would be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding between people and societies. Hopefully I have shown by example the various forms of the comparative method and how each of them applies to society and how they attempt to expose falsities.

Is Ethnography a Suitable method for Research on Residential Satisfaction and Community Participation

Ethnography within its wider field of research is described as the study of people’s behaviour in terms of social contexts, with emphasis on interaction in everyday situations (Lindsay, 1997). It is further defined as research that constitutes the art and science of describing a group or culture (Fetterman, 1989).

However, the specific definition that will be used throughout this work, is that of its role within qualitative research, which is summarised by Wainwright (1997) in his paper in The Qualitative Report, stating that ethnography can be distinguished as: … he attempt to obtain an in-depth understanding of the meanings and ‘definitions of the situation’ presented by informants, rather than the quantitative ‘measurement’ of their characteristics or behaviour’; pp1. The technique of ethnography is a holistic approach, in order to achieve a complete and comprehensive picture of a social group (Fetterman, 1989).

There are two main techniques within ethnography, that is firstly, interviews, and secondly, observational methods of participant and non-participant forms (Goetz and LeCompte, 1984; Hammersley, 1990; Lindsay, 1997; Wainwright, 1997). This discussion aims to analyse ethnography as a method of qualitative research and discuss its usefulness in a research question based around residential satisfaction and community participation.

This will be achieved by analysing the main advantages and disadvantages of both methods of ethnography; that of interviews and observation techniques, with a holistic approach. Hereafter, assessment of the direct usefulness of the method relating explicitly to the two research variables of residential satisfaction and community participation. An overall critique summary and conclusion will follow this, on ethnography’s context and suitability in such a study. The first form of ethnographic research is interviews.

These are where a respondent is asked a number of questions by the interviewer, and the interviewer records the answers. Interviews can be of the in depth conversational type, which are like guided conversations, where the interviewer converses with the respondent; or the second type, which is a semi-structured interview in a format similar to an oral questionnaire. There is also a immense range of varying techniques within both of these forms, an example being closed or open ended questions (Lindsay, 1997; Wainwright, 1997).

When comparing the advantages of interviews with the method of observational research, it is obvious that interviews are far cheaper and much faster in generating data, being able to be completed in an hour or so. Hence, respondent numbers are usually higher than a research based upon observational techniques (Haralambos, 1986). Interviews also have the advantage of enabling the interviewer to examine quite complex issues, in a great depth of understanding as the interviewer is actually asking the respondent and receiving specific answers.

Answers are available to compare with the interviewers personal observations, rather than just having simply observations (Hammersley, 1990; Hammersley, 1992). The main disadvantages of interviews is the problem of ‘interviewer bias’ where the interviewer influences and directs the answer given by the respondent by his presence, or inadequate interviewing skills, in the fact that particular answers may be expected and this may transmit to the respondent and influence his or her reply (Haralambos, 1986; Lindsay, 1997).

Additionally, difficulties also arise from the effect that discussions are artificial situations, especially when comparing this method with observational techniques. Respondents frequently tell researchers what they think they want to hear, and also what might be more acceptable than what actually goes on or is true (Lindsay, 1997). Another disadvantage of interviews as a technique of ethnography are that they tend to be a relatively expensive.

However, this cost may be far lower than observational studies, especially those of more involved participant observation. The second major technique in ethnography are observational methods of research originate from social researchers views that to fully understand and comprehend social activities and groups, it is necessary to join them, and see things from within. Researchers using this technique tend to place less on stricter scientific methods and statistics and more on their own personal observations.

The two approaches are participant observation, and non-participant observation (Lindsay, 1997; Wainwright, 1997). Participant observation is one aspect of observational ethnography. As the traditional method of field anthropology, participant observation is where the researcher has access to a community and spends time living within it, joining the group as a full member, participating in activities and is accepted by the group (Lindsay, 1997). The second form of observational qualitative research is non-participant observation.

This is where the observer does not infiltrate the group itself, or join in with group activities, but watches their behaviour, by various means such as following the group around, and asking them questions. A technique frequently used within this research is film, photographic, audio or video methods for recording information (Lindsay, 1997). The benefits that observational studies have over interviews in general, are that they are particularly useful in gaining in depth information, below the surface of peoples answers, to the motives behind them, and why people actually behave they way they do.

Moreover, this type of research gives detailed information especially where the interviewer wants to grasp respondents experiences from a bottom-up approach, and it is a useful method in situations where interviews or questionnaires are deemed unsuitable, such as football matches (Lindsay, 1997). Nevertheless, participant and non-participant observational qualitative ethnographic researches have there own specific benefits and downfalls.

The advantages that participation observation has, is that as a group member, the observer is able to have deep contact with the group, as a confidante and hence enables a fuller understanding of motives behind group action or behaviour and a greater profundity of information generated, compared to surface answers that interviewing and non-participant observation generate (Fetterman, 1989; Wainwright, 1997). In terms of the disadvantages and difficulties that participant observation holds to qualitative research, is the very question of the role and objectivity of the observer within the group itself as a member, and observer.

As Lindsay (1997) summarises quite nicely: ‘It has always posed the greatest problems of intersubjectivity’; pp62. with any bias making the whole observation quite dubious. As Wainwright (1997) highlights, another bias of the observer, the group itself may be influenced by the very presence of the observer, thus altering their normal set of behaviour. Ethical questions arise more frequently with this form of research (Lindsay, 1997), and the community you are studying might put you yourself in ethical difficulties.

An example of this would be deviant or criminal behaviour, although it must be pointed out that even within interviews, respondents who are unclear about researchers roles, do inform researcher of criminal activity and this equally draws into question the researchers own morality and respondent confidentiality issues (Lindsay, 1997). Additionally, there is the difficulty of the lack of generated statistical information that is produced as a confirmation to the observers study.

A high level of commitment required for the research in comparison to other studies, as it is in the form of a longitudinal study, and therefore creates a very time consuming entity (Lindsay, 1997). Non participant observation has many similar advantages of participation observation. The main accretions for using non participant observational ethnographical techniques, are that groups who are difficult to study in any other technique may be considered by the researcher, for instance when it is undesirable to interact with individuals, non participant observation means this is not necessary.

Another benefit, is that the researcher exerts a minimal influence on the groups actions, and it is perceived that the results in being able to study a groups ‘normal’ behaviour, without any outside influences from the researcher ( Haralambos, 1986). However, other advantages are less significant than participant observation as the studies are not in so much detail. These forms the main disadvantages, in that results can be considered only superficially, as a consequence of the observer not joining group activities and therefore only getting the outside view, as it is all based upon observation.

Other downfalls, are that the method also lacks statistical support evidence for any outcomes of the research ( Haralambos, 1986; Wainwright, 1997). The various aspects for and against quantitative ethnographic research have now been discussed in a generalised sense, therefore the question that now follows is whether this form of research is valid for the specific variables of residential satisfaction and how it affects community participation.

However, the suitability of the method depends on several factors, namely the major determinants comprising the purpose of the research; who the data and information is required by; what scale is it applied to, and many other related aspects. The aims and objectives of the research study on residential satisfaction and community participation is to discover whether the prior has an effect on the latter, in short, does the extent of residential satisfaction have an impact or significance on the magnitude of community participation.

The focus group is a limited community of individuals who will be either questioned, observed, or both on the extent of how residentially satisfied they are, followed by further research on the extent that they participate towards their community (Lindsay, 1997). Undertaking such a study as this is rife with difficulties and questionable validity. Firstly, it is difficult to state a specific physical boundary in studies relating to community, as these will often be fuzzy, with no clear limits. Community is the whole psychology of a group, rather than just a place in the physical sense.

Haralambos, 1986; Lindsay, 1997). Ethnography, concerns studies at small scales, almost case study level. This is quite appropriate for studies regarding community, as although no physical boundaries exist, in general if you are talking about a communities based around a physical area, ignoring those such as the ‘gay community’ or ‘academic community’, the micro level that the research produces is quite suitable, as generalisations are not valid. This links with the detailed nature of ethnographic research as a close up view of the social unit (Fetterman, 1989).

An immediate union with ethnographic research and research based around community studies, is the in-depth nature of the interview and observation techniques. These are inherently important in such research studies, as no two communities are the same, they all possess differing factors that form a uniqueness. The ethnographer is often characterised by their ability to keep an open mind, and to note biases and preconceived notions about how people behave or what they think, just like any other researcher in any other fields.

The very notion of the choice of problem, the people to study, and where the geographical area is in itself biased, giving the researcher two possible options, to a ‘typical site’ or produce a multi-site study, or as some academics have suggested from everyday life experiences, where the researcher has literally found him or herself in a certain location to study a circumstance. However, the function of biases is both positive and negative (Fetterman, 1989; Wainwright, 1997).

Quantitative research also appears to be the most obvious form of community research, due to the nature of the variables of residential satisfaction and community participation. To attempt to quantify such a subjective pair of variables must be perceived as questionable, due to the inherent nature of ambiguity within studies concerning communities. An additional factor that effects the suitability of ethnography as a method to research the two specific variables regarding residential satisfaction and community participation are that ethnographic research methods relate directly to the rigor of the interviewer themselves.

Their gender, ethnicity, status characteristics, and even attitudes are all part of the research process, (Wainwright, 1997). Through looking at the main methods of ethnography and their advantages and disadvantages it is can be critically summarised that ethnography constitutes a very valid method of qualitative research, and despite its long list of downfalls and disadvantages, ethnography can produce extremely detailed results of localised studies.

It is particularly useful in reflecting people’s ideas, rather than generalised quantitative study for reflecting the wider picture or generalising on ideas. Ethnography is in-depth research, similar to case study material, and therefore if research on residential satisfaction was based around a small scale community, then the research would be appropriate. The main downfall of using ethnography is the questions that is poses regarding the validity of the research (Hammersley, 1990).

Nonetheless, its validity, from the last 10 years is becoming more accepted and stronger in academic and scientific circles (Wainwright, 1997). Notoriously, ethnographic research depends on a variety of factors. It is exceptionally broad in its nature and the main conclusive findings are the subjective, ambiguous nature to the study, means that there is no right or wrong answers in whether ethnography is valid, relevant or appropriate in a study relating to how residential satisfaction influences community participation.

Community studies and ethnography produces such a vast range of factors that must be considered, those of the purpose of the study; the scale of the community; type of community; the type of respondents relating to the status of the researcher; how the community itself is chosen in the first place, and a whole range of other inter-related questions.

As Hammersley (1992) resolves, it depends on the particular set of circumstances. Ethnography in its very nature is ambiguous and very subjective. It does hold some form of relevance in sociological studies, although still, scientists will always question its relevance due to its qualitative nature (Hammersley, 1992; Wainwright, 1997).

Social Layering Of Victorian Society

Social classes have been around since the dawn of civilization where you were classified by the survival skills that you possess and your ability to use them. Unfortunately also since the dawn of civilization there has been the conflict between the upper classes looking down upon the people below them. The Victorian era was no different lifestyles were most commonly meager and those who had a more luxurious lifestyle avoided contact with the other class. The main difference between these classes is their dress. During the day men usually wear a lounge suit.

This suit resembles what is now the three-piece suit. The lounge suit first became popular in the 1850s, it was very large and baggy but developed in the 1860s to the more tailored version. This suit was most common because of its economical price. Most often men wore this suit in plaid with just the top one of the four buttoned. Though other suits of the time had buttons covered with fabric, collectively silk, the lounge suit buttons were not. These lounge suit were daily wear for the wealthier groups and those with a job did not require manual labor, for the lower class this suit was most likely their best.

Evening wear, however, consisted of a black tail coat black pants and white vest or black vest. The shirt and bow tie were also white and heavily starched. A gentleman would also were white gloves coming in contact with a lady’s bare hands was considered crude not to mention the fact that the seat from a man’s hands could stain a woman’s dress. Another thing that separated the classes is the behavior when in the ballroom and in the company of a woman. When in the ballroom men and women where to be as well behaved as possible, as is today.

Men had more controlling positions than ladies and were required to escort a lady anywhere in the ballroom. It was considered taboo to be seen wandering without an escort. Other rules include the ejection of loud talking and/or laughing and also a married couple should not dance together but if they do this is a display of a husband’s abundance of care for his wife. A lady furthermore, cannot refuse to dance with one gentleman and then accept another gentleman in the same dance. Men would often help a lady over a bad crossing or down from a difficult coach without even know them and continue on like nothing had happened.

When meeting a lady for the first time she is not required to say anything in return immediately whereas men are required to not only life their hat but to speak right away. Ballroom manners were of course reserved for the upper classes. Though the people of high social standing were often though of as perfect they to had their own dirty secrets. Although on the surface the gentlemen of this era seemed more polite and restrained they are no better than the men of today are. These gentlemen spit, which went along with the mostly American behavior of chewing and smoking tobacco.

This was done most frequently outright by the lower classes. Unlike the lower classes the wealthy had rules even when inviting someone to visit. The more working class citizens would simply walk over or send the message though someone that might see them later. The affluent would, like in the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, send out a formal invite rarely asking in person. Also common were visiting cards. While not readily used by common people the visiting card held much importance to the well to do.

So many factors were accounted for when giving and receiving a greeting card, fashion of engraving, texture, and even when it was left would send a message to the recipient. Not to be confused with a business card, a visiting card served as a way to keep track of that had invited you and where unlike business cards, which suggested that, you need to pay a debt to the company. If the receiver lived far away it was, however, acceptable to mail it either folded in half if it is for the whole house or folded at the corner if it was for a lady. Transportation also separated the classes.

The lower class most commonly walked while the more prominent took a coach or the newly invented train. The train was not the same train that you think of today. The majority of train resembled coaches without the horse. Today we have engineers, conductors, first class, coach, cars, roofs on all the cars, lights, and heat. Then engineers and conductors were called drivers and guards. The cars were referred to as carriages. The carriages were separated from each other and there was no way to move from one section to the next. The more “economical” carriages were cattle cars which had no roof or any form of protection from the elements.

Riding in these cars meant arriving at your destination frost bitten and beaten. The first class carriages were not much better they had protection from the wind and rain but they were still cold. The only way that a person could keep warm was the ask the guard for a metal foot warmer which was filled with hot water. Carriages also had no light to see at night passengers often brought their own candles. Trains also lacked bathrooms and dining cars, passengers also brought these women could bring chamber pots and men could bring hoses to put under their pants.

If they chose not to then they would have to wait for the next station, which could be awhile since the fastest train was a sluggish 55-mph. The classes of the Victorian era had one last division and this was in their schooling. While the more money holding children would have a governess if you were a girl and a clergyman if you were a boy. This was the children’s schooling until they went off seek higher education. The less wealthy children were taught a trade early in life and were working at a very young age, school was not the first priority.

This was not, after all, satisfactory for the church because the thought of child not know god because they could not read alarmed them that was when the church started Sunday school. These formed what is now elementary schools, whose popularity gained them a grant of 30,000 pounds. The schools were much like colleges today with what they called monitors ,now teacher’s assistants, and student to teacher ratio of 500-1. As you can see the classes of the Victorian era were just as layered and contrasted as today or any other time the wealthy take only the best whereas the poor try to be like the wealthy.

Prejudice and Racism in Canada Sociology

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character” (Martin Luther King Jr. ) Ku Klux Klan. Neo Nazis. The Aryan Nations. The American Nazi Party. What are these groups? Why are they present in a land of supposed equality of all men? They are there because there are millions of Americans that believe in their message of white pride. The African American population is growing and Americans are now a mixed group of people. Black people are white people’s neighbours, doctors, friends.

With a growing unity between the two races, why does racism continue? The answer is simple. Racists from many years ago raise their kids in clans and white supremacy groups and teach them the ways of hatred. These kids grow up “brain-washed” that black people are their enemies and, taught by example, will continue this trend (The Volume Library; 1988). The Ku Klux Klan has been around since the end of the civil war. It is a roller coaster of a history. From extreme power, to rapid decline, and slow reemergence (Software Toolworks Encyclopedia; 1992).

The clan, who is notorious for its violence, has a relatively innocent beginning. It was formed from some veterans from the confederate army and was first called the Kuklos Clan which, in Greek, meant Circle Clan. One person thought it would be a good idea to call it the “Ku Klux Klan” as a parody of the fraternity names which always had three Greek alphabet letters in it. They created the Clan to be mischievous and to do it without anyone knowing who they were which accounts for their costumes and masks. They, like most whites, were upset that the black people were ree because black people were a constant reminder of the bitter defeat of the South. So to have fun they terrorized black people.

Eventually the group grew, fluctuating, but grew to become the first white supremacy group in America and with that growth, their hatred grew as well into what was seen in the early and middle 1900’s and what is seen today. Along with the KKK, other anti-black, pro-white groups formed and stemmed out all over the U. S. A. The Neo Nazis who are more commonly know by the term “Skin Heads”, are a growing force in hate groups. There hatred of Hispanics, Jews, Blacks, and others are now the fastest growing force in America.

The Skin Head movement is usually done by the younger kids. These kids are drawn to the Aryan Nations and Neo Nazis by the promise of free drugs, free booze, heavy metal music, ultimate freedom and rebellion. A lot of these kids stay because of family troubles at home and, like in a gang, feel like they have a family with the group and feel loved. “The skinheads are a family… A lot of us don’t have what you’d call a home” commented Joshua, who is a 16 year old recruiter in California (United They Hate; Michael Kronenwetter).

The race war was in full force by the 1960’s. With the growth of white supremacy and their groups, black too had a weapon. Martin Luther King Jr. lead his people to march in Washington to end segregation and to form black unity for an equal and better America. Malcolm X, who was a Muslim, may have come from a different religion than his Christian counterpart, but had a very similar message and a similar fate. Both were assassinated. Today the hate groups of America have spread into Canada and are particularly common in Manitoba.

The major sects are of the same name as their American cousins with a very similar message. Racism, despite much opposition, will never end. As long as there is fighting among a Jew and a Palestinian or hatred between a white and a black, Racism will be there. Only a utopian society can achieve such a dream. It is in human nature to have a few people that do not understand or possibly hate those who are different but, in fact, we are not different, we are judgmental and we are discriminatory, we segregate. We are unique individuals but among races we are equal and the same.

Sociology Science

II) Sociology is the study of social behavior, which means it describes and explains society, or the rules of the group. Social behavior is any behavior that has been, or is being, conditions to any degree by interaction with others. When you read this definition you begin to understand the complexity of sociology. We deal with sociology every day of our lives, since we are always doing or interacting with someone or something. There are six essential categories of behavior that are used to study and understand social behavior. They are perception, emotions, thought and speech, physical motion, posturing and costuming.

In todays world there are many social issues or rules that everyone follows or understands. The most important principle of social constraint is self perception. These are the prescriptions of behavior – when, where, and how to feel and act. Another way to put it is a system of rules we all follow in society. We depend on society to tell us who we are, what is important, and what we should do about it. These are seen as our survival guide, and well-being of every member of the group. We learn each day what is accepted socially. What the social rules are and how they pertain to us as an individual.

This is how we respond not to the environment or situation we are in, but how we were learned or trained by society to respond. Society being a set of beliefs on how to go about living. III) I deal with social issues everyday, from the clothes I choose to wear, to the car I am going to drive, to what career I will choose. I dont want to been seen in society as someone different, so I follow other leads in my daily decision, making sure what I choose is socially correct in my environment. We think that we are our own individual when the truth is we are not, from our social etiquette, to how we think, feel and act, we are what society makes us.

This in part makes us feel secure, because if everyone else in society does it, then it is ok for us to do the same. What I perceive as right and wrong though is not always the way others will see it too. For example I may not feel the same others would about certain social issues such as gun laws, capital punishment or abortion. The kinds of groups we belong to help shape the person we become. There are many structures of sociology such as age, sex, race and religion. I make many decisions in the course of living every day, and I make these decisions within the context of society; our family, school, career and the larger world.

Each day the social world guides my life choices. I also deal with society rules because of my gender. Being a women I am seen by many as only a child bearer, or someone who does not, or can not have a career, and sometime seen as incompetent. I need to prove to myself and others by trying to change how societies look at women by succeeding in where society says I can not succeed. I hope in taking this class, I will get a better understanding of Sociology, and that it will help make sense of my own experience in society. I hope to become better informed and more socially aware member of society.

Sociology – Answered Questions

1)Please explain thoroughly how the conflict perspective seeks to understand deviance and deviants in the United States. Please give clear and appropriate examples to support all of your responses. [Worth 10 points]. When it comes to the conflict perspective and deviance, researchers have discovered one of the most influential lines of theory and research (Quinney, 1980; Chambliss and Seidman, 1982; Swaaningen, 1997; Arrigo, 1999). Marxist criminologists see deviance as a product of the exploitative nature of the ruling class. Deviance is a behavior that the rich and powerful see as hreatening to their interests.

An example of the conflict perspective relating to deviance is white- collar crimes. (Edwin Sutherland 1940,1983}) White-collar crime is any crime committed by respectable and high status people in the course of their occupations. (Lower status people commit crimes of the streets; higher status people engage in crimes of the suites). (Nader and Green, 1972; D. R. Simon, 1998). Examples of these crimes include: price fixing, illegal rebates, embezzlement, manufacture of hazardous products, toxic pollution and more. ( Geis Meier, and Salinger, 1995; J. W. Coleman, 1977; Calavita,Pontell, and Tillman, 1999). Although the costs of these crimes are higher than lower status crimes, and these crimes are more harmful to society, tolerance is shown and leniency is shown because of their high-class position. In the end penalties are both tougher and more likely to be imposed for crimes committed by lower class people than those of higher social classes. The conflict approach to deviance underscores the relativity of deviance. The conflict perspective when applied to the study of deviant behavior emphasizes social inequality and power differentials.

The most powerful members of society are said to determine group norms, and consequently who will be regarded as deviant. Conflict theorists relate deviance to capitalism pointing the relationship between race, ethnicity, and crime. 2)Please explain deviance and discuss the relationship between race and deviance as it relates to crime and criminal behavior. Please consider differences in perception among groups or people who define persons as deviant. [Worth 10 points]. Deviance is any behavior that departs from societal of group norms. Ex: criminal behavior; violations of significant social norms)

These significant orms are those that are highly important to either most members in a society or to the members with the most power. When it comes to race and deviance relating to certain crimes and criminal behavior, it is proven that there is differential treatment that minorities receive in the American criminal justice system. There are actual statistics showing that African Americans and Latinos are treated more severely and harshly than whites at all points in the criminal justice process.

Examples range from arrest through indictment, conviction, sentencing and parole. (Skolnick, 1998; Schaefer, 2000). In most cases when the criminal offense is the same, Latinos and African Americans will be the first to be convicted, and serve more time in prison than whites. (Huizinga and Elliott, 1987; Bridges and Crutchfield, 1988; Klein, Turner and Petersilia, 1988) There are several reasons for this differential treatment between African Americans and whites when it comes to committing crimes.

For example, minorities do not have the economic resources to buy good legal services. Thus the outcome of their trials will most likely not be in their favor. Another factor is that that rimes against whites tend to be punished more that the crimes against minorities. (McManus, 1985). The reason for this is that society sees minority interest as less important than the interest of whites. The best example of all is victim discounting, which reduces the seriousness of crimes directed against members of lower social classes. Gibbons, 1985). In conclusion, if the victim is less valuable, the crime is less serious, and the penalty is less severe. 3)

Please define socialization and discuss why this process is so vital to human survival in any given culture. [Worth 10 points] Socialization is the process of learning to participate in-group life through the acquisition of culture. As humans learn the culture around them, certain patterns of behavior are adopted. This learning process begins at birth and continues into old age.

This process so vital to human survival in cultures because, the nature of humans is shaped by socialization. Human beings at birth are helpless and without knowledge of their societies way of thinking, feeling and behaving. For example, if a human infant is to learn how to participate in social life, much cultural learning has to take place. Nearly all the human ocial behavior we consider natural and normal is learned. Learning about the countless aspects of social life begins at birth and continues throughout life. (A life- long process).

Successful socialization enables people to fit into all kinds of social groups. Otherwise without socialization, humans could not survive. 4)Please explain the theory on the development of self as advanced by George Herbert Mead. Compare and contrast his theory to the looking glass self as advanced by Charles Horton Cooley. [Worth 20 points]. The theory on the development of the self as advanced by George Herbert Mead onsists of several concepts. George Herbert Mead believes that ones self-concept is not equally influenced by everyone, some people are more important to us than others. Ex. Significant others).

Mead also believes that we engage in role taking (the process which allows us to take the viewpoint of another individual and then respond to ourselves from that imagined viewpoint) to help develop self. This consists of three stages: the imitation stage (around one or two years, child imitates physical and verbal behavior of a significant other without fully understanding), play stage (acting and thinking as a child magines another person would), and game stage (children learn to engage in more sophisticated role taking.

Mead believes the self is composed of two separable parts: the me and the I. The me is self- formed through socialization. The I interacts constantly with the me as we conduct ourselves in social situations. Cooley believed self- concept is an image of oneself as an entity separate from other people— that still stands today. He also believes that children learn to judge themselves in terms of how they imagine others will react to them. We serve as mirrors for the development of self. Cooley).

He called this concept the looking glass self. A self-concept based on our perception of others judgments of us. ) We use others as mirrors reflecting back our imagined reactions of them to us. According to Cooley, the, looking glass self is the product of a three-stage process that is constantly taking place. First we imagine how we appear to others. Next, we imagine the reaction of others to our imagined appearance. Finally, we evaluate ourselves according to how we imaged others have judged us. The result of this process is negative or positive self-evaluation.