Free Essays

Free Practical Sociology Essay

1. Introduction

In the following I will assess a research article ‘No place called home: the causes and social consequences of the UK housing ‘bubble’’ by Bone and O’Reilly (2010).A short summary of the article will be included. The article will then be discussed in terms of a model from Burawoy’s typography, identifying which model seems to best fit the research paper, and pointing out the features of that model in terms of the paper. The model selected will be evaluated in terms of practising sociology, with reference to wider literature. Finally, the conclusion will summarise the reasons why the model selected is the best to explain the research paper.

Bone and O’Reilly’s paper looks at the ‘housing bubble’ in the UK, the phenomenon which saw house prices increase significantly between 1995 and 2007 (OECD 2011). Rather than the usual economic perspective, they take a sociological approach, looking at the impact of rising prices and the consequent lack of affordability of housing on society overall. They carry out an extensive analysis of a range of primary and secondary data from numerous sources. They suggest that if house prices are out of the reach of most people, the “bedrock of stable individual family and community life” (Bone and O’Reilly 2010, p. 231) is upturned. The issue is a social problem, rather than a social phenomenon, as more people are unable to afford decent quality housing, demand for social housing increases, people in low standard accommodation also increases (Riley 2005).

Some suggest that gender is a key explanatory variable for analysing the housing bubble: not only are the financial institutions responsible for the rise in prices male-dominated, the impact of the bursting bubble is disproportionally felt by women (Walby 2009). Another analysis is driven by class; from a Marxist perspective the construction worker, a member of the working class, is exploited throughout the lifecycle of the property by banks and other financial institutions (Lund 2011).

Within the UK, government policy regarding housing provision seems to be largely in tune with a “neo-classical economic orthodoxy” (Bone and O’Reilly 2010, p. 232), which translates 19th century laissez faire policies into contemporary language, and which assumes that the free market in housing is the most efficient and fair system for allocating homes. However, the free market approach has never, it has been claimed, resulted in adequate provision of housing which is affordable for low income groups (Leckie 2003), and the impact of housing ‘bubbles’ such as the one discussed by Bone and O’Reilly (2010) have a number of negative social consequences. There is a need to investigate the nature of these consequences and the impact of the housing bubble upon society as a whole.

2. Burawoy’s Model and the Paper

Burawoy wants to make sociology more relevant to a wider audience (Nichol 2007). He distinguishes four dimensions:, professional, policy, public and critical (Quah 2005). These dimensions can be seen as a matrix created by two answers to each of two questions about the discipline: “knowledge for whom?” and “knowledge for what?” (Buraway 2005, p. 269). The two possible types of knowledge (instrumental and reflexive), and the two possible types of audience (academic and non-academic) define the four types of sociology. The type which seems to most closely fit the paper discussed is public sociology, although it also has elements of the other types. Burawoy himself suggests that distinctions between the types are blurred (Nichol 2007). Public sociology is characterised by reflexive, rather than instrumental knowledge, and is written for a non-academic audience. Reflexive knowledge looks at the “value premises of society as well as our profession” (Burawoy 2005, p. 269), with instrumental knowledge having a problem-solving nature and lack of questioning of the parameters which constrain it.Burawoy also suggests that public sociology is characterised by communicative models of knowledge, consensus models of truth, legitimacy models of relevance, designated public models of accountability, public dialogue models of politics, and faddishness as a pathology.Public sociology, further, can be either ‘traditional’ or ‘organic’. Traditional public sociology occurs when sociologist’s work simply happens to make its way into the public realm. Organic public sociology occurs where the sociologist works closely with the public (Burawoy 2005).

Bone and O’Reilly’s paper reports the results of an ongoing survey into the social consequences of the recent increase inUKhouse prices. The survey includes a number of data sources including media and academic texts, internet housing forums and case histories. The rationale for carrying out the research is to show that “secure and affordable housing” is “an essential foundation of stable and cohesive societies” (Bone and O’Reilly 2010, p. 231) through an analysis of the various data sources. There are a number of key findings. Bone and O’Reilly suggest that the causes of boom are not, as has been argued, increased demand and lack of supply: rather, the banking and financial industries have played a key part in creating the rise in prices, together with the ‘buy-to-let’ movement and property developers, supported by the UK government. The social consequences of the boom have been severe, with houses seen as an investment rather than a place to live. A large number of people have been priced out of the housing market. This has led to feelings of disenfranchisement, depression and anger. Family life has been undermined, as well as the community life. Areas deteriorate physically, and people delay having families. There are also inconsistencies between government policy on housing and their wider objectives. The authors conclude that the housing boom has benefited investors at the expense of communities. Government policies around housing have a high social and moral cost. Cheaper housing, particularly for those on a low income and young families, is needed in order to restore social equilibrium, cohesiveness and fairness.

The methodology used in the research is a mixture of secondary research, drawing upon published sources, and primary research, carrying out case studies amongst those affected by the housing boom.Although there is some detail about information sources, the authors do not explicitly discuss or attempt to justify this methodology, nor discuss any possible shortfalls in collecting the data.

The conclusion suggests that the author’s hope for change as a result of the research. By offering a perspective other than an economic one on the housing price boom, they seem to want to challenge current public policy on house prices, on social, economic and moral grounds,. Their paper is a call to change policy in order to act in the long-term interests of the public overall, rather than in the interests of a small, powerful minority. It is not clear who funded the research, as the authors do not discuss it, but given the critical stance it is unlikely it is funded by government.

The model chosen as most appropriate to this paper is ‘public sociology’. The features which characterise this model are:

Reflexive knowledge
Non-academic audience
Communicative mode of knowing
Consensual model of truth
Relevance model of legitimacy
Designated public models of accountability
Public dialogue models of politics
Pathology – faddishness
Either ‘traditional’ or ‘organic’.

The paper demonstrates reflexive, rather than instrumental knowledge.It does not just collect views of the people interviewed or summarise the data collected about the housing market, but rather uses the data gathered to support the idea that public policy on housing needs to be revised. For example figures regarding house prices and mortgage lending are used to support the idea that “excessive and risky” lending was taking place (Bone and O’Reilly 2010, p. 236).

Although the paper appears in an academic journal, the British Journal of Sociology, which suggests the primary audience is academic, the language used in the article is straightforward and can be understood without specialist knowledge. This suggests the article is also targeted at a non-academic audience, and hence can have a life beyond the constraints of the academic world.

The mode of knowledge featured in the paper is clearly not theoretical, and theoretical concepts are barely discussed. Nor is it foundational, associated with critical sociology and questioning the theoretical tenets of the discipline. Rather, it has elements of ‘concrete’ knowledge, associated with policy sociology, as it deals with specifics, but more predominantly features ‘communicative’ knowledge, knowing as sharing and disseminating information. The discussion of the ‘buy-to-let’ phenomena, for example, does not merely state facts about buy-to-let, but aims to communicate a message about the destabilisation of the market.

In regards to the mode of truth assumed by the article, a consensual model, in which the sociologist aims to work with the public to achieve agreement about the world, is used. For example the authors use examples from case studies to draw a conclusion about the extent to which society has disenfranchised the young and less well-off.

In terms of legitimacy, the paper primarily utilises the relevance model associated with public sociology, in that the argument aims to be relevant to the current housing situation and the best interests of the majority. However, it also tries to put across a moral vision, which Burawoy associates with critical sociology, by suggesting that there is a moral imperative to provide good quality housing to all, and to some extent displays the pragmatism associated with policy sociology, in that the authors justify their conclusions on economic grounds as well as social and moral.

The accountability of the authors is c that of the ‘designated publics’ of the public sociology model: their aim is to suggest improvements in the good of the wider public and society as a whole, rather than looking to their academic peers, paying clients or intellectuals.

In terms of policy, Bone and O’Reilly’s paper displays elements of three of the four of Burawoy’s models. They are concerned with professional self-interest, but there is also an element of policy intervention, associated with policy sociology. For example, their conclusions include suggestions forUKgovernment regarding the need to address the housing crisis. While they do not explicitly articulate the ‘internal debate’ associated with critical sociology, their paper is intended to stimulate a wider debate. Finally, the paper also fits into the ‘designated publics’ model of public sociology, as they want to inform a more general audience in addition to government.

In terms of the associated pathology, the closest seems to be ‘dogmatism’, associated with critical sociology, rather than the ‘faddishness’ associated with public sociology. Occasionally the authors seem to state their case rather than clearly prove or argue it from the evidence they give. For example, in the section discussing buy-to-let and the private rented market, the authors could have considered whether it is possible to change the market typical of theUKto one more akin to the German one, rather than dismissing it as an option.

Finally, in terms of the ‘traditional’ and ‘organic’ dichotomy, the paper seems closer to the ‘organic’ type of public sociology, as the authors sought the views of the public through forums and case studies to actively engage with a wide range of opinions.

3. Evaluation of the model

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to the ‘public sociology’ model of practicing sociology.

Public sociology offers a way for sociology to provide value to society in general and the public. In addition, by becoming aware of the complexities of the outside world, sociologists can improve their practice and the discipline as a whole (Nyden et al 2011). While the benefits offered to the discipline are not obvious from Bone and O’Reilly’s paper, it is a clear attempt to contribute something to public debate about housing.

In terms of critiques of the model, many concern the relationship between professional and public sociology. It has been suggested, for example, that there is no need to identify a unique type of sociology, but that professional sociology, for example, could extend its public face (Nichols 2007). Some also suggest that professional sociologists already take on public roles (Goldberg and van den Berg 2009). Goldberg and van den Berg (2009) also argue that the hegemony of professional sociologists depicted by Burawoy does not, in fact, exist. Holmwood (2007) suggests that Burawoy’s argument depends on seeing the sociologist as at once citizen and scientist, and that this in turn undermines the value of sociology as professional practice and also of the notion of public sociology in its entirety by compromising the professionally neutral stance. Others have also suggested that the partisan nature of public sociology is a problem: it has been said that public sociology has an ideological leaning towards Marxism, and could be seen as a way to reinvent left-wing approaches for contemporary society (Nichols 2007).From a different viewpoint, Jeffries claims that there is also little information about how Burawoy’s ideas can be interpreted into the education of sociologists (Jeffries 2009).

While these criticisms seem valid, the debate about the relationship between the professional sociologist and the public sociologist hardly touches upon the research paper in question. However, the issue of neutrality or bias to one viewpoint is a feature of the paper, which seems to reject market capitalism in favour of a left-leaning, egalitarian focus.

4. Conclusion

The above has used one of four types distinguished by Burawoy (2005) to characterise types of sociology. The model selected as most appropriate was that of ‘public’ sociology, which seems the closest fit to the paper by Bone and O’Reilly (2005), as it attempts to apply sociological perspectives to a matter of wider public concern: the negative impact of the recent house price ‘bubble’. Although the paper is written in an accessible way, and makes clear points regarding the causes and outcomes of the bubble, and also recommends addressing the issue of housing for economic, social and moral reasons, it also has elements in common with other of Burawoy’s categories.

5. References

Bone, J and O’Reilly, K (2010) ‘No place called home: the causes and social

consequences of the UKhousing ‘bubble’’, The British Journal of Sociology, 61:2, 231-253.

Burawoy, M (2005). ‘2004 American sociological association presidential address: For public sociology’, British Journal of Sociology, 56:2, 259-294.

Goldberg, A and van den Berg, A (2009) ‘What Do Public Sociologists DoA Critique of Burawoy’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 34:3

Holmwood, J (2007) ‘Sociology as Public Discourse and Professional Practice: A Critique of Michael Burawoy’, Sociological Theory, 25:1, 46-66.

Jeffries, V (2009) Handbook of public sociology, Rowman & Littlefield.

Leckie, S (2003) National perspectives on housing rights, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers,The Hague,Netherlands

Lund, B (2011) Understanding Housing Policy, The Policy Press,Bristol.

Nichols, L T (2007) Public sociology: the contemporary debate, Transaction Publishers,New BrunswickNJ.

Nyden, G and Hossfeld, L (2011) Public Sociology: Research, Action, and Change, Pine Forge Press, 2011 / Sage,London.

OECD (2011) OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2011, OECDPublishing,UK

Quah, S R (2005) ‘Four sociologies, multiple roles’, The British Journal of Sociology, 56:3.

Riley, G (2011) Housing Market Economics, Tutor2u Limited,UK

Walby, S (2009) ‘Gender and the Financial Crisis’, [online] (cited 27th July 2011), available from

Free Essays

Sociology Essay: Impact of Globalization Trends


Globalization is a widely discussed and contested topic. The process of globalization has profound impacts on the capacity of a nation to formulate its policies. It is accompanied by a seemingly endless process of change within education (Peters, 1992). Globalization is one main issue that is increasingly attracting the attention of most academicians, researchers and policy makers. It has gained relevance in the context of higher education. Education is an important driver of growth and poverty reduction. Education policies have been in existence for quite some time and have played an important role in the development policy. The most recent wave of globalization is likely to have profound effects on education structures and policies across the world.

What is globalization?

‘Globalisation’ is a term that describes the process of integrating societies by removing legal, political and geographical constraints (Trowler, 1998). Vulliamy (2004) describes it as a process which is rapidly integrating the world into one economic space via an increasingly networked global telecommunication system. A study by Tikly (2003), suggest globalization as an inevitable and largely irresistible phenomenon that contains opportunities and threats for national development. Globalization is therefore seen to be concerned principally with integration into global and regional markets underpinned by technologies

Although internationalization is not new to education policies, the forces and tensions under the umbrella concept of globalization constitute dramatically different environment in which education institutions and policy makers operate in (Marginson, 1999). The changes to which education structures inUKand around the globe is exposed are complex and varied (Marginson, 1999). Nonetheless, the globalization concept indicates that these changes are somehow interrelated. For the purpose of this analysis, we will stress the following tendencies within the overall force of globalization:

Restructuring of the economic world system due to rapid integration of the world economy resulting from a transformation to a post industrial knowledge economy and increasingly liberalized trade and commerce.
Rise of network society due to technological advancements and the expansion of the internet
Increasing virtual mobility of people, knowledge and capital resulting from the development of new transport facilities, expansion of the internet and increasingly world integrated community
Complex cultural developments whereby we have an increasing cultural exchange and multicultural reality on the one hand of homogeneity and cultural differentiation and segregation on the other hand.
Erosion of the nation state and a widening of the gap between socio-political regulation and economic activity.

Such is the nature and complexities of forces associated with globalization. These forces define the social environment in which education structures and policies operate in (Green, 1999). Further, these forces condition the context in which education policies and structures have to operate and profoundly alter people’s experience of both formal and informal education (Green, 1995). For example, most institutions are transformed to become targets of corporate expansion and sites for branding. A more detailed explanation will be discussed below.

Impact of globalization on education structures and policies

Globalisation has profound impacts on education structures and policies. The impact is profound but also diverse, depending on the locality within the global arena. While there is often a danger of oversimplification and generalisation when dealing with globalisation, diversity has to be recognised and promoted to a certain extent. Various views have been expressed in literature with regard to the impact of contemporary globalization on the processes and structure of education worldwide.

1. Direct impacts on both the curriculum and pedagogy

Carnoy (1999) suggests direct impacts on both the curriculum and pedagogy. There is little evidence however to support such an assessment. Whilst attempts have been made to inject global awareness on school curricula in western industrialized countries, these have generally remained very low status add-ons. Carnoy (1999) continues to argue that whilst the direct impacts on pedagogy and curriculum are limited, the more general influences of economic restructuring and political ideologies are immense. For instance, globalization is putting considerable premium on highly skilled and flexible workers in an organisation hence increasing the demand for university education.

2. Emerging ‘bordeless’ higher education market

The most visible manifestation of globalisation in the education sector is the emerging ‘bordeless’higher education market. Globalization leads to huge increases in worldwide demand for higher education through opportunities created by the internet and new communication technologies which in turn shape an environment in which providers can expand their supply of educational facilities (Breier, 2001). Universities fromAustralia, North America, Europe andEnglandare reaching out their educational provisions to the international market by actively recruiting international students through establishing branch campuses or via distance education, e-learning and other transnational activities (Breier, 2001).

These increasing demands bring new providers into the market. The business of borderless education comprises various forms and developments including the emergence of corporate universities, professional association that are directly active in higher education, and media companies delivering educational programmes among others (Alao & Kayode, 2005). These new providers extensively use the Internet and ICT as a delivery channel.

3. Erosion of national regulatory and policy framework

Globalization is also associated with the erosion of national regulatory and policy frameworks in which institutions are embedded (Slattery, 1995). The policy framework is subject to erosion in an increasingly international environment marked by globalizing professions, liberalized market place, mobility of skilled labour, and international competition between institutions (Slattery, 1995). Most institutions acknowledge this and thus develop consortia, partnerships and networks to strengthen their position in the global arena. Schemes such as the European Credit transfer system and mobility programmes such as UMAP and SOCRATES can be developed to stimulate internationalization in higher education with respect to the various national policy frameworks (Dearden et al, 2002). There is need for an international regulatory framework that transcends the eroded national policy framework and steer to some extent the global integration of higher education system.

4. Create new and tremendously important demands and exigencies towards universities as knowledge centre’s

Consequently, globalization creates new and tremendously important demands and exigencies towards universities as knowledge centers (Dearden et al, 2005). Research and development is crucial in any knowledge and information driven society. Globalization of research and development leads to a more mobile and highly competitive international market of researchers. Moreover, universities are called upon to take up responsibilities in the society, deepen democracy, act as mediators and to function as centre’s of critical debate. These higher demands placed upon them create tensions in institutions and stimulate other organizations to engage in such kind of activities.

5.Increasing demand for higher education worldwide

Finally, the continuing trend of globalization is expected to increase the demand for higher education worldwide. In the developed world, the society will always ask for highly qualified and flexible workers. Modernization, economic development and demographic pressure increase the demand for higher education in most parts of the world (Blanden & Machin, 2004). Governments and local institutions generally lack enough resources to deal with the increasing demand hence leaving an unmet demand to the international and virtual providers. This demand not only grows quantitatively but also becomes more diverse. The internet together with new technologies are increasingly providing new opportunities for more flexible delivery of higher education, thus increasing demand in some countries and meeting demands in others where traditional institutions have failed. These developments brought by globalization underpin the assertion that higher education will emerge as one of the booming markets in future (Blanden & Machin, 2004).

The need for an international regulatory framework

There is a big difference in the way countries deal with private universities and transnational higher education.GreeceandIsrael, for instance, rarely recognize their diplomas and degrees (Blanden, Gregg & Machin, 2005). While other countries residing in the developing world such asMalaysiarecognize their incapacity to meet the increasing demand and thus welcome foreign providers (Blanden, Gregg & Machin, 2005). Principally, there is no reason to oppose a positive and open attitude towards transnational higher education and private universities.

In modern policy approach, it must be recognized that private and transnational institutions are also capable of fulfilling public functions. Despite the fact that traditional higher education institutions have a specific tradition and academic culture to defend, it should be amenable to competitors from diverse backgrounds. It therefore becomes imperative to have in place international and sustainable policy framework that deals with private and transnational providers.


The globalization trends are leading to a wide spread changes that are impacting on education worldwide. Nation states acknowledge this and have developed reforms to their educational systems in response to modernizing ideas and international trends. It should be noted that globalization represents a new and distinct shift in the relationship between states and supranational forces and that its impact on education is profound in a range of ways. Whilst this analysis does not present an exhaustive listing of the impact of globalization on education, it does bring out key dynamics and highlight important areas of action for academicians and policy makers with respect to globalization.

(1557 words)


Alao & Kayode (2005), Emerging Perspectives on Educational Assessment in an Era of Postmodernism, Commissioned paper presented at 31st Annual conference on International Association for Educational Assessment.

Blanden.J.P., Gregg & Machin.S (2005), Educational inequality and intergenerational mobility, The economics of education in theUnited Kingdom, Princeton,PrincetonUniversitypress.

Blanden.J & Machin.S (2004), Educational inequality and the expansion ofUKhigher education, Scottish Journal of political economy, Vol 54, PP.230-49

Breier.M (2001), Curriculum Restructuring in Higher Education in Post-ApartheidSouth Africa,Pretoria

Carnoy (1999), Education, globalization and nation state,Oxford,Oxforduniversity press

Dearden.L, Emmerson.C, Frayne & Meghir.C (2005), Education subsidies and school drop-out rates

Dearden.L, Mcintosh.C, Myck.M & Vignoles.A (2002), The returns to academic and vocational qualifications inBritain, Bulletin of economic research, Vol 54, PP. 249-75

Green.A (1999), Education and globalization in Europe andEast Asia: convergent and divergent trends, Journal of education policy, Vol 14, pp.55-71

Green.M.F (1995), Transforming British higher education: a view from across theAtlantic, Higher Education, Vol 29, pp.225-239

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Peters M (1992), Performance and Accountability in ‘Post-industrial Society’: the crisis of the British universities, Studies in Higher Education, Vol 17, PP.123-139.

Slattery, P. (1995) Curriculum development in the post modern era,New York, Garland Publishing

Tikly (2003), Globalisation, knowledge economy and comparative education, vol 41, pp. 117-149

Trowler P.R (1998), Academics responding to change: new higher education frameworks and academic cultures, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Vulliamy.G (2004), the impact of globalization on qualitative research in comparative and international education, journal of comparative and international education, Vol 34, pp.261-284

Free Essays

Sociology Essay: Impact of Heroin on Families


In today’s global world, there has been rising cases of drug abuse. Illicit use of Opiates, especially heroin has dominated most parts of the world with more than 281,000 heroin users in England and more than 50,000 drug users in Scotland. UK currently has the highest the rates of illicit drug use in the European Union (Setdon, 2008).Research conducted in the past has been focused on the causes and consequences of heroin abuse primarily from the standpoint of the addict. There has been a scant coverage on the policy framework with regard to drug abuse. It is thus worth exploring on this menacing drug in quest to look for ways and means of eradicating it. As such, this paper involves an analysis of heroin and its impact on the families. The paper further provides an in depth view on the policy developments with evidence to back the claims.


A delve on heroin would be incomplete without exploring its historical background. The passing of the 1914 Harrison Act in US banned the use of cocaine and opiates. After the passing of the act, regular users in US switched to heroin, which at the time was not regulated by this Act. This drug was not considered addictive for quite sometime. In the mid 1920s, intravenous injection of heroin became popular but was later banned by the US government. While in UK, emergency drug controls were introduced under the wartime defense of the realm act in 1916. Opiates were not its main concern. However, the Dangerous Act of 1920 made possession of opiates and cocaine’s illegal unless prescribed by the doctor.

Global problems of illicit drugs pose various challenges to the international community. Heroin in particular can be detrimental to the life of the community. Despite the growing concern on illicit drug use, it is striking to note that the current drug policies are inadequate. Lack of adequate approaches and models to guide policy makers is a major hindrance to solving the drug menace.

2Literature review

According to Hunt (1974), heroin is associated with epidemics. The notion of the drug epidemics stem from the fact that drug use is a learned behaviour transmitted from person to person. Western countries have experienced one discrete heroin epidemic. For example, studies have shown that United States and Netherlands experienced the epidemic of heroin use in the late 1960’s and since then each country has had moderate levels of initiation. Nordt & Stohler (2006) has particularly shown this with regard to Zurich which underwent a major epidemic in 1995. Studies for UK by Parker & Egginton (1998), showed two epidemics prevalent in 1980’s and 1990’s.

De Angelis et al (2004) studied the prevalence of heroin addiction in UK while using sophisticated modelling techniques and found that the prevalence of heroin addiction in the UK grew from 1968 to 2000, with rapid growth in the 1990’s. Frischer & Ditton (2001) analyzed the drug prevalence for Glasgow that showed a high incidence of heroin injection from 1985 to 1995. The drug menace is still prominent in most areas around the globe. Research studies have not fully explored on the impacts of such continuing trends. Furthermore, explanations offered are opportunistic and still not well integrated. What is most striking is that the socio-economic effects of opiate use have not been fully reflected in the public domain or policy discourse.


3.1 Impact of heroin use on the family

Heroin is a dangerous illicit drug that has devastating effects on the user and the wider community. Research studies on various countries have shown a very high level of consistency in the adverse effects associated with heroin use. The problems facing the families of the drug users are diverse and complex. McDonald et al (2002) summarized these problems by highlighting four key areas. These are: physical and psychological impacts, financial and employment effects and wider societal impacts.

3.1.1 Physical and psychological impacts

The findings from various studies have indicated serious dire consequences on the physical and psychological well being of the family members. Heroin use in most families in the UK often leads to heightened negative emotions that result in contradictory feelings towards the user. This contributes to stress hence resulting in higher physical and psychological morbidity of the family members. Studies by Copollo et al (2000) suggests that every drug user in the UK will in most cases have a significant negative impact on the wellbeing of one of the members of the family. Echoing the findings from Copollo et al (2000), Bernard (2005) found that parents and siblings experience anxiety which is greatly compounded by the sense of being powerless when coping with the effect of these drugs in their lives.

3.1.2 Financial and employment effects

Studies have further revealed that financial pressures on families often stem from various factors linked to drug use. These include the treatment cost, repaying and remedying theft on the part of the user. Also heroin use has been associated with the vicious cycle of poverty.

3.1.3 Impact on wider social life of family members

Generally, opiate use often results in the wider social life of the family members becoming circumscribed by social isolation and withdrawal by trying to conceal the problem. Frequently, this drug menace leads to deterioration in family relationships which is exacerbated by increased risk of domestic violence. Conflicts and tensions on the part of those coping with drug users lead to marital and family break up (Seddon, 2000).

Consequently, this drug menace is often associated with crime. Unsurprisingly, a vast number of users turn to a life of crime in an attempt to fuel their addiction to the illegal opiate. There is strong evidence that problematic use of illicit drugs, notably cocaine and heroin, is responsible for amplifying offending behavior. The drug use is associated with acquisitive crime such as burglary and shoplifting. According to a report by the UK drug policy commission, the current value of illegal drugs in UK market stand at ?5bn annually. In England and Wales, it is estimated that the drug related crime costs roughly around 13.5 billion pounds.

Studies by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (2003) have invariably indicated heroin and cocaine to be of greater influence on crime levels than Cannabis. Despite the rapid expansion of cannabis market in the UK, it is surprising to see heroin and cocaine extremely influential in fueling the crime levels (Bancroft et al, 2002).Clearly, there is urgent need for interventions to be put in place to solve this drug menace.

While most of these adverse effects derive directly from opiate use and the associated behaviours, there are other external factors contributing to stress in the drug users families. Three such stressors are common in UK. The first stressor is the stigma associated with heroin use. Stigma adds significantly to the stress levels and further inhibits parents from seeking help.

The second stressor stems from lack of available information. Copollo (2000) provides evidence on lack of information being an important contributor to the stress levels experienced by these families. While McDonald et al (2002) argue that much of the available information is from questionable sources like the media. Last but not the least is the treatment system for the user. While treatment may be available, most families coping with opiate misuse have indicated high levels of dissatisfaction with the treatment system. Much criticism has been on the long waiting lists for treatment which often result in frustration.

4Policy responses

Over the past few years, the UK drug policy has focused on four key areas namely: prevention of drug use, supply reduction, treatment of problematic drug users and enforcement of drug laws.

4.1 Supply reduction

While the British drug policy has emphasized increasing drug seizures in an attempt to reduce the supply of illicit drugs into the market, research by PMSU (2003) has revealed that this policy approach would not make any significant difference in drug availability in the market. In the 2002 Drug Strategy Update, amendments were made by the government to include reduction of available drugs through increased seizures. As initially predicted, increased seizures have not reduced the availability of drugs in the market. More recent reports have indicated heroin to be selling at around ?54 per gram while a two-tier market for cocaine has developed with a selling price of ?50 per gram. Despite the fall in prices, drug selling still remains an attractive activity. The policy on supply reduction clearly doesn’t work effectively

4.2 Enforcement of drug laws

The government has been responsive on reducing drug related crimes through disruption of the drug market and arrest of the drug dealers and users. Little evidence is however available that targeting retailers and distributors of illicit drugs would lead to substantial reduction in drug use. Available studies in UK have indicated that the crackdowns often result in changes rather than reduction in drug use (SOURCE).

4.3 Prevention of drug use

For sometime now, it has been argued that drug use and the associated crimes may be reduced through prevention (SOURCE). While this holds true, little evidence is available to prove these claims. Moreover, the impacts of prevention programmes tend to be small. Current evidence on drug prevention by Godfrettson et al (2002) shows that it is difficult to apply evidence of prevention on best practice.

4.4 Treatment of problematic users

Treatment of drug addiction has its roots in the US penal system. Recently, there has been increased focus of putting treatment of addiction in the context of criminal justice system. In line with the rapid expansion of treatment, various criminal justice system initiatives have been developed such as the Drug Abstinence Requirement, Criminal Justice Intervention Programme, Drug Treatment and Testing Order among others. These initiatives derive their basis from the notion that drug treatment reduces offences. Available evidence has proved this notion to be true. It should however be noted that while treatment can be effective for cocaine and crack users, engaging and retaining the users of heroin is much harder.

5Various interests involved

The frequent use and widespread availability of drugs sets the stage for potential abuse among the users which is the main burden facing the society. Below are some of the various interests involved.

5.1 Financial constraint

Problematic use of drugs poses financial constraints on the economy of a country and the world at large. For example, $23.5 million was the projected estimate for the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice fund and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme fund in the annual period of 2010. However, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Commission on Narcotics’ Drug approved a general budget of $21.8 million for both funds (Godfrey, Stewart & Gossop, 2010). The approved budget is far below the projected estimate and this affect the various provisions and undermines the effort of combating drug related crimes. Clearly, there is urgent need for measures to be taken by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime towards addressing these financial challenges.

5.2 Drug service user groups

These user groups are fundamental in developing user involvement. The groups provide access to expert opinion and solidarity to the users (Eaton, 2007).While these user groups are critical in user involvement, studies have shown that they provide only a partial solution to the challenge of developing user involvement. Moreover, there is proof of evidence of conflict between the agency and user expectations. Such problems arise due to the inability of drug users to form effective groups.

6 Approaches to the policy framework

It is high time to rethink of our existing drug control laws. Policy makers need to develop a new constitution for drug control. Research collaboration must be set up to look at new approaches to drug control by reviewing international approaches and joining forces with experts from drug enforcement, medicine control, regulation, public and trading standards.

Instead of advocating for war on drugs, a new drug policy needs to be put in place that calls for the management of the problem. The legal, economic and political complexity of managing drug problems is a clue to what must replace the drug prohibition approach. The policy however cannot be revised by independently focusing on the criminal justice and correctional system. Care of addicts, especially opiate addicts need to be placed in the hands of private physicians and not the police.

While drug treatment has proved to be the best way of tackling drug related crimes and reducing drug use, it should be noted that treatment is only the beginning and not an end in itself. There is need for a wider support for it to be effective. Therefore, a new drug strategy must be developed with focus on recovery. Besides treating their dependence, this approach reintegrates them into the family and makes them productive members of the society. Taking a recovery based approach to drug policy is perhaps the best method of combating this social vice.


From the findings above, it can be concluded that the impact of heroin abuse on the family and wider society is immense. From a policy standpoint, there is need for development new tentative policies. Appropriate approaches and models must be developed to guide policy makers in incorporating drug issues in the policy framework.

(2,203 words)


Hunt. L.G. (1974), Recent Spread of Heroin Use in the United States, American Journal of Public Health Affairs, Vol 74: pp.16–23.

Nordt, C. & Stohler.R (2006), Incidence of Heroin Use in Zurich, Switzerland; a Treatment Case Register Analysis,’ The Lancet 367: 1830–4.

Parker, H. & Egginton.R (undated), Managing Local Heroin–Crack Problems, Manchester University

De Angelis. D., Hickman.M. & Yang.S (2004), Estimating Long-term Trends in the Incidence and Prevalence of Opiate Use/Injecting Drug use and Number of Former Users, American Journal of Epidemiology Vol 160: pp.994–1004

Ditton, J. & Frischer.M (2001), Computerised Projection of Future Heroin Epidemics: A Necessity for the 21st Century, Journal of Substance Use and Abuse Vol 36, pp.151–66

McDonald, D., Russell, P., Bland, N., Morrison, A., & De la Cruz. C. (2002), Supporting families and careers of drug users: A review, Scottish Executive – Effective Interventions Unit

Copollo (2000), Responding to addiction in the family: Natural and assisted change in coping behavior, University of Birmingham, Unpublished PhD thesis

Barnard, M. (2005), Drugs in the Family: The Impact on Parents and Siblings, London

PMSU (2003) SU Drugs Report. Phase 1 report: Understanding the issues, London: Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit

Godfrettson. C., G. Eaton, C. McDougall & Culyer. A. (2002), The Economic and Social Costs of Class A Drug use in England and Wales, Home Office Research Study 249, London: Home Office

Seddon.T (2008), Youth, heroin, crack: a review of recent British trends, University of Manchester, vol 108, pp 237-248

Seddon, T. (2000), Explaining the Drug–Crime Link: Theoretical, Policy and

Research Issues, Journal of Social Policy 29(1): 95–107

Bancroft, A., Carty, A., Cunningham-Burley, S. & Backett-Milburn, K. (2002), Support for the families of drug users: A review of the Literature, Scottish Executive – Effective Interventions Unit

Eaton. G., Davies.C, English.L, Lodwick.A, Bellis.M.A & McVeigh.J. (2007), United Kingdom Drug Situation: Annual Report to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, London.

Godfrey.C., Stewart.D & Gossop.M (2010), Economic analysis of costs and consequences of the treatment of drug misuse: 2-year outcome data from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS), Vol 99, pp.697–707.

Free Essays

Sociology Dissertation Topics

1.0 Introduction
A number of issues that fall within the category of social science form the foundation of an in-depth and extensive research on any sociology topic. This article provides suggestions into a number of sociology dissertation topics covering ten areas of study under social science.

Contrary to other dissertation topics on our site Journal, we have presented these as suggestions for a topic you could use. That way you could frame the exact topic how you’d like based on the suggestions presented.

2.0 Categories and subsequent list of dissertation titles
2.1 Sociology of religion

2.1.1. Different genders have dissimilar relations on sexual and gender issues. Analyze the relation flanked by sexual issues and gender based on different religions

2.1.2. Cross religious beliefs in the world vary according to the customs and practices of a country. Provide an assessment into the cross religious values and beliefs with reference to the United Kingdom

2.1.3. Religion and educations are closely linked in modern studies of social science. Investigate the connection between education and religion emphasizing on the two aspects as a social institute

2.1.4. Advancement in technology and increased freedom of the media has created different perceptions on religion. Discuss the role of electronic and print media in the United Kingdom in creating different perceptions concerning different religions

2.1.5. Social change has taken over the world. Discuss this statement with reference to the link between social change and religion

2.1.6. Inter-faith accords are necessary for peaceful coexistence of different religions. With reference to the UK, explore grounds on which of reaching common religious grounds through inter-faith connections

2.1.7 The society’s social structure is rapidly changing in the modern world. Critically analyze the role of religious institutions in the UK and their effect on the social structure of the community

2.1.8 Discuss ways in which social interactions among people with dissimilar religious beliefs have orchestrated religious diffusion

2.1.9 Discuss the significance of religion and its impact on marriages in the modern world

2.1.10 Politics has a close relation with religion. Explore possible ways in which political behavior may be connected to religion with reference to the UK.

2.2. Sociology and education

2.2.1 Social exclusion of young people in schools has changed the structure of the education system. With reference to UK public school, analyze the education structure based on socially excluded people

2.2.2 Discuss the impact of sociological policies on education history after World War II with relevance to the UK

2.2.3 Explore the connection between academic performance and teacher’s motivation level with reference to public schools

2.2.4 Discuss the impact of social assistance and guidance in primary and secondary schools in the UK

2.2.5 Explore the effect of the school background on children’s acuity toward the larger society

2.2.6 With reference to UK’s scholarship policies on higher education, explore the effect of such policies on social stratification on the society

2.2.7 Compare and contrast sociological and economic outcomes of UK’s education curriculum on students

2.2.8 Analyze the educational environment by public UK public schools toward establishing inter-faith affiliations among students

2.2.9 With reference to Marx’s Conflict Theory on education, examine the UK public system and the sociology concept pin the conflict theory

2.2.10 Explore possible avenues through which the UK public school system can reduce the gap in education for marginalized groups

2.3. Cultural sociology

2.3.1 To what extent do foreign cultures brought in by immigrants affect the indigenous values and practices in the UK?

2.3.2 Provide a critical analysis into the aspect if cultural lags in the modern society with reference to the UK

2.3.3 Foreigners can have cultural upsets to places they are unfamiliar. Explore the types and scope of cultural distress that an alien from Asia of Africa may encounter in the UK

2.3.4 Social interactions among cultures are necessary for peaceful co-existence. Discuss the positive and negative facets of social interaction among sub-cultures in the UK

2.3.5 To what extent do you agree that Marx’s Conflict theory applies to societies in the UK?

2.3.6 Provide a critical analysis of the different subcultures existing in the UK. Limit your scope geographically

2.3.7 Examine the historical changes of UK’s popular culture today and 100 years ago

2.3.8 Analyze Marx Webbers rationalism theory and explain its relation to the social structure of the UK society

2.3.9 Critically analyze the changing trends in societal norms in the UK, making comparison UK’s culture decades ago

2.3.10 Examine the shifting fundamentals of counterculture with reference to the UK society

2.4. Comparative Sociology

2.4.1 Compare Japan’s culture as a capitalist state with the UK as a welfare state

2.4.2 Critically analyze the aspects of social inequality drawing comparisons on Communism vs. Capitalism

2.4.3 Examine the facets of determining the social development of an individual under the democratic and totalitarian systems

2.4.4 Compare and contrast the responsibility and impact of religion in shaping social aspects of the Arab and American societies

2.4.5 America and Britain have different education systems. Compare the two systems and their roles in shaping societal norms

2.4.6 Family is the basic unit of any society. Provide a comparative analysis of the family structure in the Arab and British societies

2.4.7 Compare marriage as an institution in the American and Indian societies

2.4.8 Immigration in the UK has diffused its culture. Explain whether the UK has maintained its providing a comparative analysis of various cultures in the modern British society.

2.4.9 Compare the practices and trends in labor markets in Asia and the UK

2.4.10 Focusing your research on Africa and America compare gender issues affecting these two societies and their impact.

2.5. Political Sociology

2.5.1 Examine the trends and dimensions of gender voting in the American and British political systems

2.5.2 Explore the impacts of increased globalization on the political landscape and state politics in the UK

2.5.3 Social issues mainly drive power politics in the America society. Discuss the extent to which this statement is true

2.5.4 Examine the power and influence of minority interests in mainstream UK power politics

2.5.5 Discuss the extent to which British power politics conform to Marx’s views on social class.

2.5.6 Discuss the effects of political power struggles among the society’s elite groups on the social welfare of the people

2.5.7 Critically analyze UK’s state welfare structure and its impact on social aspects and trends

2.5.8 Discuss the extent to which democracy can apply in a capitalist state society

2.5.9 Examine the link between religion and politics as the leading social institutions of the world today

2.5.10 Compare the balanced-legal and charismatic models of leadership in the UK and assess their suitability to the contemporary society

2.6. Economic Sociology

2.6.1 Evaluate capitalism and communism economic models and their effects on the social pecking order

2.6.2 Conduct an analysis into the sociological magnitudes and proportions of consumer spending in the UK

2.6.3 To what extent does the UK economy relate to Marx’s criticism of capitalism?

2.6.4 Explain the social transforms experienced in the UK during economic transition from the Agrarian revolution to the modern informational upheaval

2.6.5 Discuss the extent to which the informal economy can engender internal socio-economic growth in the UK

2.6.6 Provide a critical analysis explaining whether the communist economic model can suit the current UK society

2.6.7 Discuss the social effects of augmented worldwide labor immigration on UK’s society

2.6.8 Examine the effect of the professional (white collar) and manual (blue-collar) jobs on the social divide in the modern British societies

2.6.9 Discuss the family relationships of a contemporary UK household focusing on the intra family relationships and their effect on the society

2.6.10 Explore the negative effects of the recent global financial crisis on the UK economy and its impact on the social stratification of the labor markets.

2.7. Industrial Sociology

2.7.1 Social communication is an essential organizational aspect. Discus the social scope of basic communication within a corporation

2.7.2 Provide a detailed analysis of the social organization of an archetypal extensive corporation in the UK

2.7.3 Creating a balance between management and social requirements is necessary in any organization. Examine ways that managers can create this balance and argue whether the relationship should be based on organizational objectives or social requirements

2.7.4 Explore the connection between employee performance based on productivity and motivation

2.7.5 Trade unions play a critical role in the social well-being of workers. Discuss the shifting trends in the role of trade unions as champions of social well being of UK workers

2.7.6 Technology has necessitated automation of everything including workers. Discuss the effects of automation on the social well being of employees by UK organizations

2.7.7 Discuss the connection between culturally sensitive organizational policies and employee satisfaction and performance

2.7.8 Explore the possible ways through which organizations can handle cultural multiplicity and develop cultural synchronization

2.7.9 Explore the fundamental facets of modern UK industrial societies

2.7.10 Discuss the role of corporate social responsibility in influencing societal values and practices

2.8. Sociology of Criminology

2.8.1 Examine the historical background of social reasons behind the increased street gangs in the UK

2.8.2 Describe the aspect of increased alcohol consumption as a major social reason for augmenting crime in the UK streets

2.8.3 Discuss the social alternatives toward crime prevention arguing whether corporal punishment is the sole option for preventing crime

2.8.4 Criminal activities involving knives have been on the increase. Explain the social reasons behind augmenting knife felony in the UK society

2.8.5 Criminal agencies have been reported to abuse crime reporters. Explore whether there are any indications of cruelty in crime coverage or reporting

2.8.6 Provide an analysis examining whether there is a link between ethnical and gender magnitudes to criminal activities in the UK

2.8.7 Criminal statistics in the UK have been questioned and termed as not reflecting the status quo. Comment on the statistical collection methods of crime and the effect of untrue data on society

2.8.8 Deviance has taken a wider scope in the UK. Discuss the major scope of deviance in the modern UK society

2.8.9 Provide a critical analysis into the British government’s crime prevention and control policies

2.8.10 Explore the scope of Durkheim’s ideology on Anomie and whether the proposal is the major reason for augmenting criminal activities among the youth in the UK

2.9. Marriage and Family Sociology

2.9.1 Discuss the historical perspective of the family as basic societal unit, its structure and size in relation to the UK family

2.9.2 Explore the diversified sub-cultural marriages among various cultures in the UK

2.9.3 Discuss the shifting trends of women empowerment and fertility rates within the scope of marriage with reference to the UK

2.9.4 Explain the significance of child-parent relationships and its effect on family dynamics in modern UK societies

2.9.5 Discuss the impact of familial brutality on the functions and image of the family

2.9.6 Domestic aggressions have increased in recent years. Explain the social issues behind domestic aggression with reference to the UK

2.9.7 Explain the major reason for increasing divorce rates in America and the UK focusing on the social causes

2.9.8 Compare the family relations depicted by a nuclear and extended family focusing on their advantages and disadvantages

2.9.9 Analyze the effect of varying and periodical shifts in social trends on the basic structure of a UK family

2.9.10 Analyze the temperament and scope of UK’s residential trends and patterns and their effects on the societal values and practices

2.10. Gender Sociology

2.10. 1 Examine the changing gender roles, specifically women emancipation and autonomy on the role of women in the society

2.10.2 Media has a pivotal role in shaping gender roles. Discuss the media’s role in determining gender roles in modern societies

2.10.3 Examine the impact of increased participation of women in politics and its effects on their roles in society

2.10.4 Does religion have any role to play in influencing or shaping gender roleDiscuss the validity of this statement with reference to UK political system

2.10.5 Shifting trends in developing countries have equipped women with more bargaining power in the family. Discuss the extent of female bargaining power on the changing roles of women in society

2.10.6 Explore the possible social aspects that determine and influence societal gender relations

2.10.7 Discuss the historical reason behind the exclusion of women from education with reference to their roles

2.10.8 Contrast the roles and functions of the traditional woman with the increased autonomy and freedom of the modern woman focusing on gender equality in modern societies

2.10.9 Examine gender policies in workplaces and discuss the role of such policies in shaping gender quality and eliminating gender discrimination

2.10.10 Discuss the reasons and causes of increased gender discrimination against women in developing countries with specific attention to African countries

3.0 How to structure a sociology dissertation
Title page
Abstract: This includes a precis of the entire dissertation
Table of contents
Introduction: This section introduces the research study and recaps the scope of the study. This section also recaps the objectives and aims of the study, problem statement and the methodology.
Literature review: This section covers an extensive research on previously published and unpublished information pertaining to the study topic. The rationale for including this section is to delve into the weaknesses and strengths of existing research and develop a framework for literature for the study topic. It must include exploratory model on relevant theoretical frameworks and conclude with the research questions that will be answered by the research
Methodology: This section outlines how the study was conducted with subtitles explaining strategies used, philosophical considerations, collection of data and analysis. The sections must also highlight the data reliability and validity, limitations of the research, as well as the ethical concerns.
Results: This section covers the results of the research stressing on raw data collected rather than elucidations and inferences.
Discussion: This section includes detailed discussions of the results drawing inferences from the literature review. The discussion must elucidate each study question while discussing whether the evidence presented support the research hypothesis
Conclusion: This section concludes the research based on discussed material. It may include any shortcomings of existing research and recommendations for future research.
References: Includes a list of material used in the research and must follow the format stated
Appendices: Includes interview scripts, questionnaires, research budget, work plan and any statistical outputs.

Free Essays

To what extent did classical sociology fear potential conflict and breakdown in modern industrial society?


In all complex societies there were scholars who developed systematic thought about morals, social organization people and nature, the cosmos and religion. Many of these systems of thought were concerned with understanding the origin of society and offered explanations of the existing social structure.” (Ray 1999:2) This paper will examine the work of Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx. Although differences exist in the direction, vision and content within the works of Durkheim and Marx they nevertheless present illuminating, powerful, political and intellectual insights to the question our essay aims to address; we shall look at both theorists response to our question in turn. (Jones 2008)

One of the most effective sociological theories of social conflict has been produced by Karl Marx. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx asserts that capitalism is a necessary stage prior to the establishment of communism in all modern societies (just as feudalism was a necessary forerunner to capitalism). This evolution of one form of society to another comes as a result of conflict around the system of production, and especially in the relations of production. (Marx and Engels 1952:73) Marx’s believed that conflict of the classes in society were reflected through industrial conflicts. Built on capitalist means of production, Marx distinguishes between three major classes which make up modern industrial society; these classes are the Bourgeoisies, who own the means of production, such as machinery and factory buildings, whose income is gained in the form of profit. Then there are the landlords/Rentiers whose source of income is rent. The classes that follow are the proletariat, the working class that acquire income through selling their own labour for wages. Marx’s theory of class connotes that class interest is a force which transforms concealed class membership into a struggle. Because of parallel class circumstances individuals identify with one another and act similarly, they build communities based on mutual dependence and shared interests consistent with a common income of profit or wage. And from such common interests classes are constructed, and according to Marx, individuals form classes to the degree that their interests employ them in a struggle with the opposite class.

Modern industrial society presents class systems with unique ‘modes of production’. “For Marx, a social class was a group of people who occupied a similar position in relation to the forces of production in society. The basis of social class, then, lay in the relations of production – the relations between employers and employees, for example.” (Marx and Engels 1952:73)Marx maintained that each phase of history is constructed of class systems battling with class struggles which make up a hierarchy (Bottomore 1966) of “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, Lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight. A fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” (Marx and Engels 1952:73) “The emphasis on conflict in Marx’s theory of social revolution highlights the key role of social classes, and the struggle between classes with different and opposed interests” (Marx and Engels 1952:73)

Modern industrial society is the epoch of the bourgeoisie; this has progressively simplified the conflict of class to bourgeoisie versus proletariat. (Marx and Engels 1952) The emergence of the bourgeoisie has torn all powerful forces and reduced them to wage labours. Where the bourgeoisie have had leverage patriarchal and feudal relations come to an end. When bourgeoisie gain the upper hand, feudal bonds that tie man to his ‘natural superiors’ are striped and men is left at the mercy of ‘cash payment’ and ‘self interest’. (Marx and Engels 1952) Self centred calculation of modern industrialism has drowned the ‘heavily ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism.’(Marx and Engels 1952:75) Marx further states that true essence of family has been tainted by the bourgeoisie notion of money relation. The worth of man has been reduced to mere ‘exchange value’. The once honoured and revered callings, such as priesthood, lawyer, poet, physician, and man of science are merely looked upon as paid wage labourers under the bourgeoisie regime. Invaluable, egalitarian freedom has been exchanged for the new unconscionable freedom called Free Trade. (Marx and Engels 1952) This new unconscionable freedom breeds exploitation which leads to alienation (or loss of control over ones product, its value and the process of its production).

According to Marx the bourgeoisie have created the very class that will be at war with them – the modern working class proletarians. The proletariat, sells his labour for a wage, in order for work to be available his labour must increase capital; to his own detriment the proletariat is a commodity (living by exchange in order to obtain goods they need). Being a commodity leaves the proletariat exposed to competition and subject to the fluctuations of the market. “the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. …as the repulsiveness of work increases, the wage decreases. …as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases.” (Marx and Engels 1952:76) There is persistent competition between the buyer (bourgeoisie) and the seller (proletariat); the wage labourer wants an increase in his wages whilst the capitalist fights to keep wages down. (Hadden 1998) In competition are buyers for the market share, they also seek for skilled labour at cheap prices (Hadden 1998). When Marx referred to the reserve army of labour, he was explaining that returns are often maximised when capital travels from one industry to another, so it is the same with labour, it must move and as a result is kept stagnant in cheap and underemployed labour. (Hadden 1998) Throughout the process, the capitalist’s aims for the exchange value of goods he possessed to increase. (Hadden 1998)

“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old.” (Marsh P74) The growth of capitalism expands inequality of life conditions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. As a result of the increased homogenisation within each class struggle, individuals are generalised to coalitions across factories. Increasingly class conflict becomes manifested at societal levels. Consciousness of class increases, policies and common interests are organized, and the use of and struggle for political power occurs, and classes become political forces. Power over production (example capital), is a determinant of political power according to Marx. Capital bestows political power, which the bourgeois class readily uses to protect and legitimatize and their property and consequent social relations. In modern industrial society or a mature capitalist society, the business of the state is that of the bourgeoisie, relations among classes have become political (Jones 2008). “Finally, divisions between the classes widen, and the state of the exploited worker deteriorates to the point where social structure collapses and the class struggle is transformed into a proletarian revolution. The workers’ triumph will eliminate the basis of class division in property through public ownership of the means of production. With the basis of classes thus wiped away, a classless society will ensue (by definition), and since political power to protect the bourgeoisie against the workers is unnecessary, political authority and the state will wither away” (Rummel 1977:).

Emile Durkheim’s concerns were primarily about social solidarity which is social order, stability and integration. (Hadden 1998) His response to modernity was for a modern society that maintained harmony and order, (Jones 2008) he endeavoured to create a social science that ensured such a society existed. (Jones 2008) Social structures according to Durkheim are composed of norms and values. Socialisation makes up individuals within society; during the process of socialisation individuals believe that they are in total control of their own lives and make their own decisions, however, Durkheim stresses that it is not the case, choices are in reality made for the individual. Social practices have already been established for us and we conform to the structures already established for us, individuals learn collectively held social rules conducts and behaviours which Durkheim refers to as social facts. (Jones 2008)

In order to avoid potential conflict and breakdown and maintain solidarity in society, Durkheim believed that social order had to be achieved. During pre-modern and traditional societies solidarity was automatically achieved, for uniform or mechanical solidarity was a result of the simplified division of labour. This ensured a society that held commonly accepted rules of behaviour and saw life through the same eyes thus avoiding conflict. However, modern industrial society presents highly complex division of labour, there are many more roles to be occupied and lifestyles choices are so different that social solidarity is extremely difficult to achieve. According to Durkheim the latter is the main problem of modern industrial society. The forces that divide people are so deep that social disintegration is a real threat for society. When addressing the subject of the division of labour and social differentiation, Durkheim writes of the feared social integration found in modern industrial society. (Jones 2008)

“There is a professional ethic of the lawyer and the judge, the soldier and the priest, etc. But if one attempted to fix in a little more precise language the current ideas on what ought to be the relations of employer and employee, of worker and manager, of tradesmen in competition, to themselves or to the public, what indecisive formulas would be obtained! Some generalizations, without point, about the faithfulness and devotion workers of all sorts owe to those who employ them, about the moderation with which employers must use their economic advantages, a certain reprobation of all competition too openly dishonest, for all untempered exploitation of the consumer; that is about all the moral conscience of these trades contains. Moreover, most of these precepts are devoid of all juridical character, they are sanctioned only by opinion, not by law; and it is well known how indulgent opinion is concerning the manner in which these vague obligations are fulfilled. The most blameworthy acts are so often absolved by success that the boundary between what is permitted and what is prohibited, what is just and what is unjust, has nothing fixed about it, but seems susceptible to almost arbitrary change by individuals. An ethic so unprecise and inconsistent cannot constitute a discipline. The result is that all this sphere of collective life is, in large part, freed from the moderating action of regulation.” (Durkheim 1902:78)

Furthermore, Durkheim decried modern industrial society for encouraging individualism amongst individuals who when left to their own devices are innately anti social, self-centred, greedy, insatiable and overly competitive. “Naturally, we are not inclined to thwart and restrain ourselves; if, then, we are not invited, at each moment, to exercise this restraint without which there is no ethic, how can we learn the habitIf in the task that occupies almost all our time we follow no other rule than that of our well-understood interest, how can we learn to depend upon disinterestedness, on self-forgetfulness, on sacrificeIn this way, the absence of all economic discipline cannot fail to extend its effects beyond the economic world, and consequently weaken public morality.” (Durkheim 1902:79) We not only are naturally dangerously individualistic according to Durkheim, institutions of modernity are structured to applaud and boost individualism which results in moral deregulation, a condition Durkheim termed anomie. Unless the promotion of anomie is checked by counter-balancing social structural forces and encouraging social integration and cohesion, then social order and solidarity are under threat. (Jones 2008)

Despite the doom and gloom of modern Industrial society, Durkheim sees hope in the various roles we play through the division of labour resulting in differing lifestyles. The key to individual and societal survival hangs of the fact that these roles are interdependent. The only we manage to survive living our own lives is because others are living their lives also. The reason a particular task needs to be performed in this modern economy is because roles are interdependent, all other tasks depend on the role being fulfilled. We are all interdependent on each other for our survival. Organic solidarity needs to be achieved; however anomie sets in and creates conflicts and breakdown in society. The core of Durkheim’s theory concerns itself with this question: how can we understand that the outcome of our destinies depends on our interdependence and as a result conduct our behaviour in a fashion that promotes organic solidarity(Jones 2008)

In conclusion

Rational understanding of modern industrial society was a major issue for both Marx and Durkheim.


Free Essays

Sociology Essay


Studies of language have provided an interesting insight into the workings of culture and the individual within the framework. Three concepts will be examined to understand the interaction between language and culture in the context of transnational societies. These areas are: i) social network theory; ii) the nature of transnational communities and the impact of language; and iii) Sapir-Whorfian Theory. This paper will provide an annotated bibliography of three articles; each will examine one of these key concepts.

Social Network Theory:

He (2010). The Heart of Heritage: Sociological Dimensions of Heritage Language Learning

He’s article examines the effect of migration and language immersion to the heritage language (HL). The impact of the new social network and immersion in English and American culture has a negative effect on the HL (He, 2010). Resultantly, language attrition occurs with the HL, even when the person is an adult in a diaspora community. To understand why this is social networks theory has to be applied at the micro and macro level, in to understand how culture and society affect language throughout a person’s life (Gibbons & Ramirez, 2004). The maintenance of the HL is an important factor to diaspora communities (Byon, 2003). However, this cannot prevent change in the linguistic form, because the wider social networks of American English has an impact on the HL (He, 2008). This is recognised as a side-effect of culture mixing (Harris, 2006; Schupbach, 2008). Consequently, when immersion occurs then this language becomes dominant, which negatively affects the HL.

An illustration of this is the Brazilian Nikkei (Japanese that migrated to Brazil in the early 20th Century). The Nikkei have used their ties to find jobs in Japan, where it has been observed that cultural ties have allowed for assimilation (Knight, 2002). However, their HL has undergone a significant level of attrition and pigeon Japanese has been created. The inference is that language can diminish, but this does not necessarily affect cultural ties. Language attrition is a by-product of language shift, which results from the contact/clash between languages (De Bot & Stoessel, 2002).

The study of He (2010) indicates attrition occurs in all learners of a second language when a person is immersed in the culture of the language. He’s (2010) findings are supported. Fairclough (2001) argues the impact of the new culture and language, which requiring some level of assimilation to function (Fairclough, 2001). Consequently, in a multicultural society there can be mixing of languages, language assimilation and language attrition, which depends on the level of immersion (Giles, 1984). However, a high level of language assimilation/accommodation can affect the cultural psyche of the migrant. Resultantly, the migrant does not want to return to their homeland (Hojat et al, 2010).

First language attrition is commonly seen in large urban societies, due to language borrowing. Thus, a person will borrow from other languages and dialects, because it is acceptable within the ‘new’ society of linking cultures (Harris, 2006; Schupbach, 2008). Alternatively, there are also trends to preserve minority languages, such as Welsh through social networking (Honeycutt & Cunliffe, 2010).

Language learning has a broader effect than just language assimilation; rather there can be preservation of the HL also (Honeycutt & Cunliffe, 2010). The problems of language attrition in Chinese Diasporas can be modified by creating a new social network, which is devoted to HL preservation (He, 2010). Thus, the article concludes that:

“Heritage language learning [and maintenance] has the potential to transform all parties involved in the socialization process” (He, 2010, p.78).

Thus, social networks’ effect on language and culture can be problematic for migrant communities, because as the person assimilates to the state’s language attrition occurs. This can be identified when living in large urban areas, such as London. First language skills are degraded and/or communities borrow from one another, which can be seen in the borrowing from West Indian communities. Using the same theory a diaspora community can be created, which is dedicated to HL maintenance, or even cultural utilisation of traditional language usage.

Transnational Communities:

Haller & Landolt (2005). The Transnational Dimensions of Identity Formation: Adult Children of Immigrants in Miami:

Language is an integral part of the culture; however, the precise effect of language is debated. The link between language and the person’s development, according to some theorists, is significant (Haller & Landolt, 2005). The transnational community is an interesting phenomenon in the context of the language and culture mix. A transnational community is a migrant community that can live anywhere in the world, because of the strong ties to their homeland (Gammage et al. 2005, pp.62). Thus, the diaspora community has a binding culture and nationality that transcends borders (Singer, 2004; Singer et al, 2001).

Alfonso, Kokot & Toloyan (2004) identify that the diaspora survives on a perceived “transnational networks. Identifications with imagined homelands and nation states, as well as de-territorialised cultures and origins are seen as central for the construction of the diasporic identities” (p.73).The binding factors of the diaspora community are language, history and culture (Walter, 2001; Cohen, 2008).

The study by Haller & Landolt (2008) explores the links between language, history and culture within the diasporic community of migrant families in Miami. An important binding factor is language, even in the youth. There is a level of attrition; however, communities want to retain a connection to the homeland. A central factor in this illusion is the HL. The retention of HL for American-born children of migrants is through creating a connection to the illusory homeland. The most effective method is taking the child to the homeland (Portes et al. 2002). This means the transnational can be attained through perpetuation the diaspora myth. Resultantly, “the relationships between the home and homeland, the existence of multiple homes, diverse home-making practices and the intersections of home, memory, identity and belonging” (Blunt & Dowling, 2006, p.199) become a fundamental part of the diaspora community (i.e. a home away from home). Haller & Landolt (2008) identify that an effective method of maintaining the myth is through continual ties to the homeland, such as trips to the homeland.

The role of language plays a central role in the diaspora, because it allows the migrant community to retain the HL. A diaspora community can also have strong ties to the language and culture of the resident state, in order to prevent marginalisation (Wahlbeck, 2002). HL retention is an effective tool for basing the illusory tie to the homeland on. Haller & Landolt (2008) identify that the dual ties (i.e. homeland and resident state) are central to the Cuban elite in Miami, which has empowered this Hispanic community through all echelons of the Miami culture.

In the West Indian community of London, cultural ties are especially important. The West Indian patois is retained with the close ties with home, which means that assimilating into English society does not require the patios to be lost, albeit is an English dialect. Thus, language assimilation does not prevent the retention of HL and culture, as long as a transnational identity is created upon the language tie.

Sapir-Whorfian Theory:

Zahedi (2008). Determinist Inquiries: Debates on the Foundation of Language

Zahedi explores the different models of language determinism, in order to show that limiting analysis to just the Sapir- Whorfian Hypothesis is misplaced. His hypothesis may help to explain how law and social/cultural norms are developed, but it is not an exclusive form of determinism.

Sapir-Whorfian Theory is centred on language determinism. There are two forms of determinism that arise out of this theory, which are soft and hard linguistic determinism. The strong model “is often called the prison house view of language – that is, the limits of language are the limits of the world” (Mooney, 2010, p.32). The soft model identifies language has some effect on the thought processes of the person. The latter model is more convincing. It provides that there is an inextricable link between language and the person, which will mean the adult in a transnational community, will be influenced by perceptions and values that stem from their culture and language (Lam et al, 2012). Determinists argue that thought processes are affected by language (Boroditsky 2001; Boroditsky, et al 2001, 2003, 2004). Nevertheless, this approach fails to recognise the fluidity of language, which is seen in the development of diaspora communities (Canagarajah, 2007; Haughen, 1972).

The perceptions and the ideology of the researcher influence their examination of language, its language links to culture and impact of the person (Zahedi, 2008). Hence, the best model of determinism is ascertained by the researcher’s methodological approach. The empiricist is best suited to the Sapir- Whorfian Hypothesis, because it focuses on linguistic relativity and linguistic determinism (Mooney, 2010).

The strong form that “language determines thought” (Zahedi, 2008, p.29) has been rejected. Instead the viable form is the soft approach, which states language affects thought patterns (Bilik, 2002; Zahedi, 2008). This has been supported by a number of studies (Boroditsky 2001; Boroditsky, et al 2001, 2003, 2004). This is an anthropological approach to language (i.e. externalist approach). Thus, language develops in a flexibly, especially when different cultures clash (Bilik, 2002).

Culture clash will have two effects, the first is that the language will adapt to the new community (Collinge, 2002, p. 254; De Bot & Stoessel, 2002). Thus, a broader understanding of language needs to be engaged with, such as the Saussurean approach. The Saussurean is an internalist approach, which identifies the arbitrariness of linguistic signs identified in the externalist framework (Zahedi, 2008, p.25).

This article argues both the internalist and externalist approaches to language are necessary. Thus, Zahedi (2008) argues that just focusing on Sapir- Whorfian determinism will limit sociological understandings of language. A broader application of language and culture is essential, especially in the multicultural or transnational community (Safar, 2004). This is because clashes between cultures or resident state and HL preservation can change the perceptions of the person (Knight, 2002). The application to the Multicultural London is interesting, because the use of West Indian patios in other communities is clearly identifiable. It seems that this language has become part of the urban landscape. Thus, applying a narrow assimilative approach is not appropriate. Rather, a mixed approach to determinism is necessary, in order to understand how language affects the person and its connection to the social landscape (i.e. the link between West Indian patois and London’s urban landscape. .


Alfonsi, C, Kokot, W & Toloyan, K (2004). Diaspora, Identity and Religion: New Directions in Theory and Research London: Routledge

Bilik, N. (2002). The Ethnicity of Anthropology in China: Discursive Diversity and Linguistic Relativity. Critique of Anthropology Vol 22, No 2, 133-148

Blunt, A. (2007). “Cultural Geographies of Migration: Mobility, Transnationality and Diaspora” Progress in Human GeographyVol. 31, Iss 5: 684-694

Blunt, A. and Dowling, R. (2006) Home. London: Routledge

Boroditsky, L, Phillips W, and Schmidt., LA. (2004) Can Quirks of Grammar Affect the Way You ThinkGrammatical Gender Categories and the Mental Representation of Objects. Manuscript. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

Boroditsky, L,. Schmidt, LA and Phillips, W (2003). Sex, Syntax and Semantics. in Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought, edited by D. Gentner and S. Goldin-Meadow. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press., pp. 61-67

Byon, A. (2003). Language socialization and Korean as a heritage language: A study of

Canagarajah, S. (2007). Lingua Franca English, Multilingual Communities, and Language Acquisition. Modern Language Journal Vol 91, pp. 923-939

Cohen, R (2008). Global Diasporas: An Introduction London: Routledge

Collinge, NE. (2002). An Encyclopaedia of Language Taylor & Francis

De Bot, K and Stoessel, S. (2002). Introduction: Language and Social Networks. International Journal of the Sociology of the Language Vol. 2002. Iss. 153. 1-7

Fairclough, N. (2001). Language and Culture London: Longman

Gammage, S. Paul, A. Machado, M. & Benitez, M. (2005). Gender Migration and Transnational Communities. A Draft Prepared for the Inter-American Foundation April 2005 Washington DC. Retrieved from:

Gibbons, J., & Ramirez, E. (2004). Maintaining a minority language: A case study of Hispanic Teenagers. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters

Giles, H. (Ed). (1984). The dynamics of speech accommodation. International Journal of the Sociology of Language pp. 46

Haller, W and Landolt, P. (2005). The Transnational Dimensions of Identity Formation: Adult Children of Immigrants in Miami Identity Formation 1182-1209

Harris, R. (2006) New Ethnicities and Language Use. London: Palgrave

Hawaiian classrooms. Language, Culture and Curriculum Vol 16, 269–283

He, AW. (2010). The Heart of Heritage: Sociological Dimensions of Heritage Language Learning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 30, 66-82

Hojat, M., D, Foroughi, H. Mahmoudi, & F. Holakouee. (2010). A Desire to Return to the Country of Birth as a Function of Language Preference: An Empirical Study with Iranian Immigrants in the United States. International Migration, Vol 48 Iss. 3, 158-173

Honeycutt, C & Cunliffe, D. (2010). The Use of the Welsh Language on Facebook: An initial investigation. Information, Communication & Society Vol. 13, Iss. 2 226-248

Knight, WA. (2002). Conceptualising Transnational Community Formation: Migrants, Sojourners and Diasporas in a Globalised Era. Canadian Studies in Population Vol. 29, Iss. 1, 1-30

Lam, SEL and Warriner, DS. (2012). Transnationalism and Literacy: Investigating the Mobility of People, Languages, Texts and Practices in Contexts of Migration. Research Reading Quarterly Vol 47, iss. 2, pp. 191

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Singer, A. S. Friedman, I. Cheung and M. Price (2001) “The World in A Zip Code: Greater Washington D.C. as a New Region of Immigration,” Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, Brookings Greater Washington Research Program, The Brookings Institution.

Walter, B. (2001), Outsiders inside: whiteness, place and Irish women. London: Routledge

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Free Essays

Sociology as a Science

More… The case for sociology as a science * 1. The Case for Sociology as a Science 1. Introduction In this paper, I try to put forward several points in favor of sociology as a science. In the course of argument, I will also discuss the problems of ” value free” sociology and scope of sociology. 2. What is science? To answer the question if sociology is a science or not, first we need to know what is science, otherwise the question does not make much sense. Actually current philosophical views on the nature of science are diverse, and largely liberalized from previous views.

First, they no longer accept strong criteria of falsification as a scientific method. There are several ways to formulate falsification, but her e I mean something like this: scientific theories should make observable predictions and we should discard a theory if we find only one discrepancy between a prediction of the theory and an observation. Because even physics cannot meet such a strong criteria, now philosophers like Lakatos (1970) admit tolerance to such failure to some extent. Another new movement in philosophy is the attack on the universal laws.

Cartwright (1983) argued that seemingly universal physical laws are not really universal, from logical point of view. This and other reasons (note1), Cartwright (1983) and Hacking (1983) presented a new view of science in which piecemeal “models”, instead of universal laws and theories, play the central role of scientific investigation . Here, “models” means oversimplified mental pictures of structure. For example, planetary model of atoms is long known as an oversimplification, but still it is widely used by chemists as a convenient way for thinking about chemical reactions.

Feature Article – Sociology Test

I do not have enough space to give a definition of science, but these considerations will be enough to help our judgment on the status of sociology. 3. Is sociology a science? With the analysis of science in the previous section in mind, let us turn to sociology. Early sociologists tried to establish sociology as a science, and their arguments are mainly on the methodology of sociology. Comte claimed that sociology uses four different kinds of methodologies, namely observation, experiment, comparison and historical research as a special case of comparison (CST pp. 9-90, SCS pp. 42-54). These are the methodology used in several other scientific fields, especially in biology. So if his sociology had really followed these methods, it would have been a strong case for sociology as a science. But actually he never did empirical research (CST p. 110), so we cannot take his argument at the face value. But his argument influenced on other sociologists, especially Durkheim. For Durkheim, sociology is a study o f social facts (CST p. 185). A social fact is ” a thing that is external to, and coercive of, the actor” (ibid. emphasis original). Because they are external, social facts cannot be investigated by introspection (ibid. ). We should use empirical research. A typical use of this methodology is in his analysis of suicide (CST p. 195). Durkheim used statistics on suicide rate to establish his argument that suicide is a social phenomenon. He refused alternative hypotheses because their predictions did not agree with the actual statistical data. This is an admirable attempt of empirical research of society, but there are several problems.

Durkheim applied too strict criteria of falsification to rival accounts. Adoption of these strict criteria is suicidal for sociology, because it is hard for a sociological theory to make a precise prediction, let alone to make a precise and correct prediction (and without this, the falsification criteria do not work). Another related problem is in his reject ion of introspection as a sociological method. This restricts the scope of sociology too narrowly, and in fact even Durkheim’s own study becomes impossible.

For example, Durkheim’s definition of suicide is “any case of death ‘resulting directly of indirectly from a positive or negative act of an individual against himself, which he knows must produce this result'” (ED p. 32). But, without using introspection, how can we decide if ‘he knows’ the result or not, from external evidence only? I think that Weber’s methodology provides an answer to these problems. His key word in this point is “Verstehen,” a German word for “understanding” or “interpretation” (CST pp. 222 -224, FMW pp. 55-56).

According to him, we can “understand” other people’s motivation through introspection of our own intentions, and this kind of knowledge is necessary for sociology. This is exactly what Durkheim denied as a method of sociology, but as we saw above even Durkheim himself used this “understanding” in his actual work. But, o f course, the problem is if this is permissible as a scientific method. Strong falsification of a theory is almost impossible by such “interpreted” facts, because if an interpreted fact runs counter to the theory we can just change the interpretation.

But, as we saw in the last section, such strong falsification is given up by philosophers of science as too strict a criteria. Moreover, the arbitrariness of interpretation is not as great as one might worry. For example, Comte’s three stage theory (the detail of the theory does not matter here) has no follower today because there is no way we can reasonably interpret the evolution of society as obeying such a law. In this case we can say that Comte’s theory was falsified.

As far as we have this minimal possibility of falsification, we can admit “Verstehen” as a scientific method of sociology, thus ” interpretive” sociology as a science. Before we proceed to next section, I would like to make a brief remark on the use of models in sociology. One of the reason people may argue against sociology as a science is the lack of the sociological theory. We have Marx’s theory, Durkheim’s theory, Weber’s theory and so on, but none of them are shared by all sociologists.

This seems to make a strong contrast with other fields of science where scientists agree on the basic theories. But, as we saw in the last section, some philosophers think that even in other scientific field what scientists are working on are piecemeal models, not a universal theory. And as f or such models, we can find abundant models shared by many sociologists. Actually, this is what Weber called “ideal types” (CST pp225-228). Ideal types are constructed through exaggerating some features of real cases. By comparing with ideal types we can find characteristics of each real case.

These ideal types are useful conceptual tools for sociology just in the same sense as the planetary model of atoms is a useful conceptual tool for chemists. So, in this point, the difference between sociology and other scientific fields is not so great as it seems to be. 4. On “value free” sociology. To talk about “value free” sociology, I introduce a distinction made by philosophers recently (e. g. Laudan 1984). This is the distinction between “epistemic values” and non-epistemic values. Epistemic values are related to a special type of question “what should we accept as knowledge (or a fact)? Logical consistency, empirical adequacy, simplicity etc. are the criteria to answer such a question, and they ar e called epistemic values. On the other hand, other values are supposed to be used to answer the broader question “what should we do? ” These are non-epistemic values. With this distinction, we will find that the claims of ” value free” sociology made by ea rly sociologists were actually the claims for independence of epistemic values from other values in sociology (even though they are not conscious about this distinction). First, let us see the case of Spencer.

Spencer distinguished several kind s of emotional biases, and claimed that we should exclude these biases from sociological research (CST pp. 124-125). None of these biases are epistemic value as characterized above. Moreover, the Spencer’s claim that we should exclude these biases is a value judgment, but this is an epistemic value judgment, and as far as this claim itself is not affected emotional biases, to apply such a value to sociology should be O. K. So Spencer’s argument agrees with my definition of “value free” sociology. The same argument applies to Weber.

Weber says that teachers should not exploit the circumstances in a lecture room to imprint upon the students his personal political views (FMW pp. 146-147), because the task of teacher is to teach his students to recognize” facts that are inconvenient for their party opinions” (FMW p. 147). Again this is a value judgment, but epistemic one. Apparently sociology (or any other science) cannot be free from all values (because the ideal of “value free” sociology itself is a value), but at least it can be free from non-epistemic kinds of values, when we decide what is a fact and what is not.

I guess even Marx can agree this notion of “value free” sociology to some extent. Of course in Marx’s theory the value judgment and the theory are inseparably related, but his actual arguments show that he distinguished these two things. For example, Marx criticizes Ricardo in “Theory of Surplus Value,” but the primary reason he criticizes Ricardo is not that Ricardo is capitalist, but that Ricardo’s conceptual scheme is insufficient because it cannot deal with certain cases (KM pp. 398-409). Thus the criteria for this judgment is pistemic values, not other kinds of value. I think that this way of argument gives Marx’s theory its persuasiveness. Of course I admit non-epistemic values and sociology have many interrelationships. For example, the choice of research topic is influenced the sociologist’s personal values, and sometimes a result of sociological research has immediate normative implications (e. g. Marx’s analysis on alienated labor; KM pp. 77-87). But still, I think, at the point of accepting something as a fact, we should be free from non-epistemic values. 5. On the scope of sociology

Comte thought that sociology is the study of social statics (social structure) and social dynamics (social change) (CST p. 94). Durkheim thought that sociology should deal with social facts. Simmel claimed that “everything which was not science of external nature must be science of society” (SCS p. 29). Does any of them have the right answer? I don’t think that there is anything right or wrong on this topic, but my own preference is Simmel’s answer quoted here. I think that Comte’s and Durkheim’s answers tried to restrict the subject fie ld of sociology to establish sociology as a independent scientific field.

But now no one would doubt sociology is an independent field (even though someone might object that it is not a “scientific” field). In this situation, such a conscious self restriction of subject matter is nothing but an obstacle to interdisciplinary cooperations with psychology and other neighbor fields. This is why I like Simmel’s answer. 6. Conclusion According to the liberalized philosophical view on science, there is nothing wrong with admitting Weber’s “Verstehen” and “ideal types” as scientific method, thus admitting sociology using these methods as a science.

Recent distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic values makes the claim of “value free” sociology intelligible, and I think it is a reasonable position if taken in the sense I defined. I also briefly talked about the scope of sociology, and argued that we should not be restrictive on the subject matter of sociology. For example, even in physics, the scientists in closely related fields sometimes accept mutually inconsistent theories in each field and have no problem. This shows that

Free Essays

Antz Movie – Sociology

ANTZ 1. Define social class. Name at least two social classes depicted in the movie. ·Social class: a defined set by social stratification where people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories ·Social Classes in ANTZ i. Worker ants ii. Soldier ants iii. Royal ants 2. Who make up the underclass in the ant colony? ·The underclass in the ant colony is considered to be the worker ants. 3. Give one example of social mobility in the movie. An example of social mobility in the movie is when “Z” and his friend, Weaver the soldier, switch jobs before the royal review. This change can be though of as vertical mobility since “Z’s” rank is considered to be upward and Weaver’s downward. 4. What does the term “life chances” mean? What are the life chances of the ants in the movie? ·A life chance is the likeliness of obtaining and maintaining the material and nonmaterial things in life. According to the book, life chances decreased as social class level declines.

In the movie, the royal ants appeared to eat the good of the land, while the worker ants moved the good of the land or earth. 5. Define class consciousness. Give one example of class consciousness depicted in the movie. ·Class consciousness: Awareness of one’s place in a system of social classes as it relates to the class struggle. ·There are several instances where the ants become class conscious. The scene where “Z” is talking to Aztec shows that they understand what class they are in, but choose to take different outlooks on it.

The fighting scene in the bar where the worker ants fight against the soldiers is also another instance. 6. Define false consciousness. Give one example of false consciousness depicted in the movie. ·False consciousness is depicted in the movie when the worker ants accept what the General Mandible says when he break up the rallies that emerged after “Z” kidnaps the princess. Throughout the movie a dominant ant gave orders to worker ants and they accepted them, which is what false consciousness is; the acceptance of the dominant ideology. . Define lifestyle. What are the lifestyle differences of the ants in the movie? ·Lifestyle: the differences in the way people live among social classes ·In the movie the perspective of what other ants did weren’t always correct. In the movie “Z” believed that the princess had no real labor to do while he had tons of earth to move daily. The biggest lifestyle difference in the movie is probably behavior and an understanding of who one is. 8. Is the ant colony a caste system? If yes, explain how. In the movie ANTZ there is a scene where the antlings are assigned worker or soldier. Because of that scene it is safe to say yes, the ant colony is caste system. 9. Use one of the sociological perspectives to explain the stratification as depicted in the movie. ·The functionalist perspective seems to fit with the movie because each aspect of the ant’s colony is interdependent and contributes to their colony’s functioning as a whole. 10. How does the movie ANTZ relate to social stratification? In the movie we were introduced to ants as workers, soldiers, and royalty. They all had a meaningful purpose, but were viewed differently among the social classes. No matter who was upper or lower the ants couldn’t survive if everyone wasn’t accounted for and active. It is their acting like a colony that they survive in this movie. This is the same with social stratification. Social Stratification can be viewed as functional for the social order because it motivates people to undertake all the jobs necessary for the society to survive.

Free Essays

Sociology 100 Final Exam

Chapter 8 Sex Distinction – the biological distinction between females and males. Incest Taboo – a norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain relatives. 1960 Birth Control – New technology also played a part in the sexual revolution. The birth control pill, introduced in 1960, not only prevented pregnancy but also made sex more convenient. Premarital Sex – sexual intercourse before marriage – among young people. Sexual Orientation – a person’s romantic and emotional attraction to another person.

Homophobia – discomfort over close personal interaction with people thought to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Prostitution – the selling of sexual service. 90k Reported Rapes – more than 90,000 women each year report to the police that they have been raped. Uneven Enforcement – enforcement of prostitution laws is uneven at best, especially when it comes to who is and is not likely to be arrested. Abortion – the deliberate termination of a pregnancy. Chapter 9 Decent Values – Elijah Anderson explains that in poor urban neighborhoods, most people manage to conform to conventional or “decent” values.

Stigma – a powerfully negative label that greatly changes a person’s self-concept and social identity. Social Inequality – who or what is labeled deviant depends on which categories of people hold power in a society. Corporate Crime – the illegal actions of a corporation or people acting on its behalf. *Arrest of Women – couldn’t find a fact to define this one! Victimless Crimes – violations of law in which there are no obvious victims. High Risk – people with high arrest rates are also at higher risk of being victims of crime.

Due Process – the idea that the criminal justice system should operate under the rule of law – guides the actions of police, court officials, and corrections officers. Decline of Executions – as a public concern about the death penalty has increased, the use of capital punishment has declined, falling from 74 executions in 1997 to 37 in 2008. No Elimination of Crime – criminal justice system cannot eliminate crime. Chapter 10 Structural Social Mobility – a shift in the social position of large numbers of people due more to changes in society itself than to individual efforts.

Ideology – cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of inequality. Socioeconomic Status – a composite ranking based on various dimensions of social inequality. Conspicuous Consumption – buying and using products because of the “statement” they make about social position. Davis-Moore Thesis – states not only that social stratification is universal but also that it is necessary to make society highly productive. Chapter 11 Median Income – a recent survey of families by the Federal Reserve found that median wealth for minority families.

Upper Class – many upper-class people are business owners, executives in large corporations, or senior government officials. Marriage Age: 26/28 – the average age at marriage has moved upward four years (to 25. 6 years for women and 27. 5 years for men). Feminization of Poverty – the trend of women making up an increasing proportion of the poor. Homeless Mentally Ill: 25% – One-third of homeless people are substance abusers, and one-fourth is mentally ill. Chapter 12 High-Income Countries – the nations with the highest overall standards of living.

Global Stratification – the full extent of global stratification reflects both differences among countries and internal stratification. 100 Million Kids Black-market – 100 million of the world’s children are orphaned or have left their families altogether, sleeping and living on the streets as best they can or perhaps trying to migrate to the US. Modernization Theory – a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences between nations.

Free Essays

Sociology: Marx, Weber & Feminist Theory

1. Classical Marxist theories have served as a springboard of inspiration for a variety of contemporary theorists challenging the existing state of society and seeking social justice and a fair society. Consequently, feminist standpoint theories, theories that represent a specific disposition, align with common themes found throughout Marxist interpretations of society, with an emphasis on the development of individual schemas dependent upon the relationship between the individual and their economic and material conditions.

Although the foundation of the separation of and disparities between classes is applicable in feminist standpoint theory, feminist theories contribute an entirely unorthodox dimension to the Eurocentric, masculinist dominated sociological discourse about oppression: gender. Marx’s theories of society developed around what he considered an unfair and unjust society in which two classes existed, determined by the coincidence of birth, which Marx coined the bourgeois, the owners of the means of production, and the proletariat, the wage earning laborers who become alienated from their work due to social constraints.

Marx believed in historical materialism and class struggle, demonstrating that the private ownership of the means of production enabled the bourgeois to maintain power over the larger, powerless proletariats who provided the labor for the means of production. As a repercussion of this disparity of power Marx concluded social and moral problems were inherent to a capitalist system, which forced competition and created unnecessary antagonisms, essentially isolating the proletariat in their social position for generations.

Feminist standpoint theories corroborate the essence of Marx’s disposition regarding the injustice found in society, as it is acknowledged that there is a clear disparity of power in society among stratified groups of people. Yet instead of focusing on the owner of the means of production versus the wage laborers or proletariats, feminist standpoint theories extend the argument to include the dimension of gender and emphasize the necessity of including feminist experiences.

According to feminist standpoint theories, the concrete experience of females and males is historically different, as they are required by society to play very different roles. Feminist theories build on Marx’s standpoint of experience based on social class and include the systematic oppression in a society that devalues women’s knowledge and experiences. One feminist standpoint theorist in particular demonstrated the subtle differences between standpoint theories and Marx’s theories on society.

Patricia Hill Collins’ matrix of domination theory agrees that there is a top-down power struggle in society that forces and controls unwilling victims, yet also notes that an individual has the ability to be the oppressor, a member of an oppressed group or both simultaneously, citing gender and class as variables of oppression. Collins continues to purport that it is the oppressed or subordinate individuals and groups in society who possess the most comprehensive social knowledge of power structures and their affects on these individuals and groups due to their social positions.

Marx sought change in society and attempted to inspire a revolution amongst the proletariat, with an overthrow of the capitalist system. Collins seeks to understand the struggle with a more complex perspective, contributing the observation that people simultaneously experience and resist oppression, implying that there is more control in the hands of the oppressed than what was previously thought. Just as Marx challenged the capitalist system, feminist standpoint theory further challenges the existing male-biased conventional knowledge.

In both theories there exists the implication that the experiences of individuals is shaped by their social position, and a hierarchy of power relations exists among those who have and those who have not, or the oppressor and the oppressed. However, although Marx’s theories on society and feminist standpoint theories share the emphasis on individual experience being shaped by social position, Marx focused on class from an economic standpoint while feminist theory added to the discussion of social injustice by incorporating a new dimension, gender.

While Marx was more interested in social justice for the proletariat, feminist standpoint theory extended this social justice to include the day to day concrete experiences of females with respect to their different knowledge of the world, as well as various other subordinate groups whose perspectives are often left out of the discourse on society. In conclusion, the comprehensive discussion of class relations that has been ongoing for centuries has continued to evolve over time and space, xtending the concepts of social justice and a fair society to various subordinate groups. I support Marx’s theories of society serving as a significant platform for the descending schools of thought to build off of, with shared goals of social justice and a fair society. The differences can be attributed to the historical context of the development of these theories, with the discourse of sociology seen as an ongoing continuum.

Sociological implications are inspirational, as it has been seen that within the discussion of social justice subordinate groups are gaining attention and credibility, and I believe it can be concluded that because of this criticism of the existent state of society, society has begun to improve. With the emersion of Marxist inspired feminist standpoint theory in the middle of the 20th century, women’s experiences have been acknowledged and improved because of their visibility in academic discourse.

I support the Marxist call for an examination of subordination in the existent social structure, accompanied by feminist standpoint theories that extend to include all subordinate groups that struggle with societal constraints. 2. The structure of the critiques of science and knowledge provided by Foucault parallel the central concepts and arguments found in the feminist critiques of science and positivism, yet the focus of topics are differentiated along gender lines and the quest for the origins of truth, or the acceptance that truth itself is subjective.

Both Foucault and feminist critiques share a common theme of mistrust of authoritative power, and the social injustice stemming from this authoritative power. As a post-positivist philosopher with an interest in power relations and the ability of power to dominate western culture, Foucault offers criticisms of science and knowledge rooted in the distrust he maintained for the developments of science representing improved reference and authority.

Foucault emphasized the quest to discover the roots of truth values in the social context of science but rejected an account of science as ideological and argued that the discourse of scientific knowledge is constraining of what scientists themselves can see, but more significantly is productive and enabling for the production and solving of problems, the construction of data, and therefore the production of new knowledge to be interpreted widely s valid, or universal truth. For post-modernists, such as Foucault, science is nothing more than an allegation derived from subjective orientations, or a social construction. Feminist theorists corroborate this belief and interpret the power and injustice stemming from science with a different sociological perspective, a female standpoint.

Feminist theorists believe mainstream science is a product of a patriarchy, and despite being portrayed as universal, value-free and neutral in its pursuit of truth or knowledge deemed valuable for all, it is actually organized in a way that systematically oppresses and harms women based on their gender. Feminists believe that the production of knowledge is a social activity, embedded in a certain culture and worldview, echoing the social construction of knowledge purported by Foucault.

Feminist critics of science have noted that Western science, as it has developed since the Enlightenment, is determined by political, economic and social conditions, which are based on a patriarchal order. Feminists go on to note that women themselves were left out of the development of science, and as a consequence of being perceived as closer to nature than men with respect to their capacity for feelings and emotions, were ruled out as unfit for reasoning abilities.

Foucault’s main concern throughout his lifetime of publications revolved around the relationship between power and knowledge, and how one affected the other. Citing Nietzsche’s considerations of a will to power motivating human behavior with the declining of traditional values losing power over society is built upon by Foucault’s further analysis of knowledge ceasing to be liberating and instead becoming a mode of surveillance, regulation, and discipline. Foucault also argued that power itself creates new objects of knowledge and accumulates new bodies of information.

The feminist critiques on positivism shares common characteristics with Foucault’s critical theories of science and knowledge, as feminists tend to adopt an anti-positivist, anti-science position due largely to the male dominated social science research. Despite positivist views put forth by such classical theorists as Emile Durkheim, supporting the necessity of objectivity in research, feminist critiques argue for subjectivity. According to feminist critique, male social science researchers like

Durkheim claimed objectivity by citing non-involvement in social problems, enabling them to distance themselves from their human subjects of research and omitting their research goals, as well as claimed scientific truth for their theories by imitating quantitative methods of the natural sciences. In an effort to parallel the natural sciences with sociology, furthering the notion that science is in fact objective, Durkheim conducted a study on suicide and measured it using the scientific method and quantifiable observations.

The feminist criticism notes the results of paralleling the natural sciences with sociology were often blatantly untrue and biased against women, with science and social science being manipulated to harm women, for example by neglecting to appropriate equal value of their experiences with that of their male counterparts. Most significantly, feminist critique argues the pursuit of objectivity in science and the pursuit of truth are impossible, and by pretending that they are possible the scientific community is deceiving the public.

In conclusion, feminist critiques of science and positivism are directly paralleled with the concepts found in Foucault’s critiques of science and knowledge. In both instances, I support the arguments that center on the need to understand the ambiguity and cultural context of the notion of universal truth and for scientific and social research to be sensitive to the dangers of objectivity regarding such truth. I believe the scientific approach is useful but misguided as subjectivity is inherent in the search for truth and knowledge.

These critiques have significant sociological implications as the existing state of male-centered scientific research is being challenged in a way that will be productive for the various sub-groups within society, particularly along gender lines. 3. The concept of modernity generally refers to a post-feudal historical period that is characterized by the move away from feudalism and toward capitalism, accompanied by all of the ripple effects initiated by capitalism, such as the industrialization and secularization of society that is maintained and controlled through extensive surveillance. Modernity ocuses on the affects that the rise of capitalism has had on social relations, and notes Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber as influential theorists commenting on this phenomenon. For the purposes of this assignment, I will be focusing on the concepts and analyses of Marx and Weber. Karl Marx is perhaps the first in a series of late 19th and early 20th century theorists who initiated the call for an empirical approach to social science, theorizing about the rise of modernity accompanied by the simultaneous decline in traditional societies and advocating for a change in the means of production in order to enable social justice.

Marx’s analysis of modernity reveals his conceptualization of modern society as being dictated by the rapid advancement of productive forces of modern industry, and the corresponding relationships of production between the capitalist and the wage laborers. In addition, Marx also examined the concept of class interest, which seeks to further the life of capitalism as those individuals or groups who have power work to retain this power at the despair of the subordinate, socially powerless individuals and groups.

The rapid advancement of major innovations after the Enlightenment period known as modernity stood in stark contrast to the incremental development of even the most complex pre-modern societies, which saw productive forces developing at a much slower pace, over hundreds or thousands of years as compared to modern times, with swift growth and change. This alarming contrast fascinated Marx who traced the spawning of modern capitalism in the Communist Manifesto, citing this record speed as the heat which generated the creation of the global division of labor and a greater variety of productive forces than anytime before.

Ultimately, Marx’s approach is best known as an effort to come to terms with the unprecedentedly rapid development of the new capitalist world and the consequential development and adaptation of social constraints. Marx concluded that modernity was a social construction of mankind, and as a creation of mankind, mankind could reverse it and with the public class-consciousness acknowledging this rule, revolution, followed by utopia, was inevitable. In contrast, Max Weber found that social life did not evolve according to his rule, and, unlike Marx, Weber did not anticipate a definitive end of modernity but instead viewed modernity and the outlook of mankind as an open query, with an answer impossible to predict. Weber’s disposition on modernity transformed modern society into a metaphorical iron cage. The iron cage represents society’s entanglement with the modern, mechanized transformation of society initially thought to be controllable, with the ability to detangle itself from the machines at any time, like a cloak that can be removed.

Throughout history, however, Marx notes that this entanglement has become permanent and the individual has been locked in a cage by a modern society, with the implementation of more social control manifest in excessive bureaucracy. Karl Marx and Max Weber have made significant contributions to the field of sociology, and I support both theorists in their arguments. I believe that Marx was correct in regards to his conceptualization of the social structure being of man’s creation and therefore within the realm of change under the direction of man. However I believe that limitations exist in the idealistic nature of his utopian dream.

Maintaining a utopian objective as the goal of social change exposes the inherently distorted analysis of sociological phenomenon, as there is neglect of examining social issues from a micro, day-to-day orientation essentially proving the existence of a Eurocentric male bias historically found within the study of sociology. I also agree with Weber’s connection between the Protestant work ethic and the consequent rise of capitalism as is found in his work The Protestant Work Ethic, which implicates religion as the engine that enabled the rapid development of capitalism.

However I find limitations with the primacy placed on the influence of religion as the sole engine for capitalism…. Marx and Weber lived and worked in a distinctive scholarly moment in time, after theological persuasive power had declined and while sociological analysis maintained a fresh outlook on classical theories. During this moment in time Marx and Weber also experienced the rapid transformation of society dictated by modern forces, which would influence their focus and work.

Marx and Weber, who’s work has been critiqued and contributed to by future theorists as society continues to rapidly transform into a fully mechanized, technologically dependent society, holds sociological implications in the theorists whose work has been influenced by their analysis of modernity. 4. The Marxist perspective on work and capitalism is paralleled in many ways with Max Weber’s perspective on these issues, with subtle differences stemming from the causation of capitalism.

For Marx, the theory of historical materialism held that all human institutions, including religion, were based on economic foundations, with the implication that the economic foundations came first. In contrast, Weber’s The Protestant Ethic challenges this assertion and instead implicates a religious movement as responsible for fostering capitalism, yet doesn’t fully discount the theories of Marx. According to Marx, it is historical materialism that fuels the engine of society.

Historical materialism examines the causes of developments and changes in human society in regards to the collective production of life necessities, with non-economic characteristics of society, such as religious ideologies, seen as a repercussion of its economic activity. The emphasis on material objects, or commodities, during the newly mechanized time period influenced the construction of a labor class that performed activities that were detached from their personal identities.

As private ownership over the means of production reduces the role of the worker to that of a cog in a machine, as Marx astutely determined, the worker becomes an expendable object that performs routinzed tasks. For Marx, working simply for money, in essence seen as a means to an end, and neglecting the creative potential for labor itself was analogous to selling one’s soul. Weber, on the other hand, did not fully discount Marx’s theories but added to them and incidentally sparked a conversation that has become a historically significant and enduring sociological debate.

Weber proposed that ideology fostered capitalism, in part resulting from the absence of assurances from religious authorities. Weber argued that Protestants began to look for other signs that they were saved, and, spurred on by Calvinist ideas of predestination, in which individuals identified their central duty to prove their salvation accompanied by the rejection of having too much wealth, capitalism prospered. Essentially self-confidence replaced the priestly assurance of God’s kindness, and a way for this self-confidence to anifest itself and be measured was with worldly success, and profit became a visible blessing from God that enabled followers to feel confidence that they were going to heaven. This enthusiasm toward achieving self-confidence through the production of profits encapsulates the Spirit of Capitalism, and it was within this spirit that capitalism flourished. Weber described a paradox regarding this Protestant work ethic.

On the one hand, Protestants desperately sought the accumulation of worldly wealth in an attempt to give them self-confidence that God has chosen them and they will be granted salvation. However, on the other hand, Protestants were also deeply passionate about frivolous purchasing of luxuries being perceived as a sin, accompanied by complex limitations for extricating the money. In order to resolve this paradox the money was invested, giving life to the class distinctions along the lines of those who possess, and those who do not.

Adam Smith paved the way for this phenomenon of investment and class divergence, citing the existence of those who work hard and those who do not, and that over time those who work hard and can be motivated will accumulate wealth. I applaud Weber’s theoretical surfacing of the irony of the Protestant work ethic, which views ideology as being composed of the need to be posthumously saved through their religion, and yet this motivational work ethic would inspire the distribution of excessive earnings to maintain their religious ideals, spawning and encouraging capitalism.

Marxist perspectives are limited by the need for further examination of the causes and continuations of capitalism throughout the current state of society, particularly with respect to the rapid transformation and globalization of the economy. If further analysis reveals the causation of capitalism and the structure that continues to keep it running, then it may reveal implications that mankind can control the economic and social conditions of humanity. With the appropriate critiques of capitalism in a contemporary society there may be a potential for social justice. . Social action and interaction can be explained in a number of ways, and in the field of sociology exists two major theoretical orientations that aim to discover whether the hierarchy of influence between individuals and society is macro, with society influencing the individual, or micro, with the individual influencing society. Herbert Blumer’s interpretation of symbolic interactionism demonstrates the process of interaction from a micro perspective, demonstrated in the formation of meanings for individuals.

As John Dewey influenced Blumer, Blumer believed human beings are best understood in relation to their environment and used this concept as inspiration for the study of human group life and conduct. Blumer outlines his micro theory of symbolic interactionsim with three central principles. The first principle, meaning, states that humans act toward people and things, based upon the meanings they have given to those people or things, and meaning is a central influence on human behavior. The second principle regards language as a means by which to negotiate through symbols.

According to Blumer, it is by engaging in acts of speech with other individuals that humans come to identify meaning, enabling the development of discourse. The third and final principle is thought, which is based on language, and is a mental representation of conversation or dialogue, requiring role taking and imagining different points of view. Essentially, Blumer supported the micro perspective of individuals influencing society because he believed the language and meaning of language explains social action. In contrast, Talcott Parsons’ macro approach to social action and interaction reveals a different conclusion.

Parsons developed the theory of functionalism, which serves as a framework that views society as a complex system, whose parts work together in order to promote stability and solidarity. Parsons’ approach views society with a broad focus on the social structures that shape society as a whole, adopting a macro orientation to social action. Looking simultaneously at social structure and social functions, the theory of functionalism tackles society as a whole in terms of the functions that compose elements. These elements mostly include norms, traditions, customs and institutions.

For example, it is like the human body; the individual parts work together for the functioning of the body as a whole. Functionalists such as Parsons support the notion that a social role is created due to the repetition of behaviors in interactions with the reinforcement of expectations. The role that is created is defined by Parsons as the regular, repetition of participation in concrete social interactions with specific role-partners. Eventually, Parsons’ concept of roles was formed into a collective definition that is functional as they assist society in servicing and satisfying its functional needs, enabling society to run smoothly.

I support both Blumer’s micro level orientation as well as Parsons’ macro orientated theoretical arguments in that they acknowledge the capabilities of the individual and the adaptability of society, implicating a dialogue between the two entities. However I believe limitations exist in that both theorists place primacy of one orientation over the other, and as a result are neglecting a holistic approach. Research questions that have emerged from functionalist theories add new depth and dimension to the basic concept of functionalism.

For instance, emergent theorists have inquired about functionalists’ tendency to see only the benefits of various institutional relationships brought to society, posing the question of whether or not institutions can be oppressive and exploitative. Further emergent research questions address whether or not social institutions create social constraints, and controversially ponder why anything should change if it is already functional to society. Ultimately this discourse inspires sociological thought to continue developing and evolving over time. 6.

Traditionally, theorists and theories that generally support one of two orientations have dominated the discipline of sociology. The first orientation is regarded as a macro-perspective, with an analysis of society focused on the larger overall structure of society, placing an emphasis on social systems and institutions, or structure, and the ensuing tendency for the structure to dominate the individual. The second orientation can be described as a zoomed in image of society, with a focus on the every day individual and group interactions, with the implication that the individual is being dominated by the structure of society.

It is through these two distinct lenses that sociologists have contributed to the larger discourse regarding social justice and equality, yet the disconnect manifests in the perceptive cohesion of these two orientations. Contemporary sociologists, such as Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration and the empowerment theory in feminist thought, have sparked a revolution in sociological thought with the unorthodox notion that the actor, or individual, and the agency, the structure, are in fact of equal primacy, and represent a duality rather than a hierarchy.

In addition to bringing this connection to the surface of sociological discourse, many contemporary theorists’ theories are challenging the limitations of solely using one orientation in the effort to balance humanity’s understanding that individual’s posses the will to maintain social relations based on the comprehension of power, social reproduction, and institutional constraints. Giddens developed the theory of structuration, and, like many other contemporary theorists like Pierre Bourdieu, the theory supports the integration of macro and micro orientations.

The structuration theory centers on the consensual duality of structure and agency, where the agent and the structure intersect, arguing that they are a dichotomy where one wouldn’t exist without the other. Giddens argues that the individual, or agency, is essentially responsible for their surroundings as they are reflexive and possess the ability to adapt to the ever-changing social structures and institutions, which also adapt to the individuals’ behavior, creating an ongoing dialogue between the two entities.

The argument for a rejection of primacy between the agency and structure includes the objective of literal social change that can result from social scientific knowledge of society. Giddens continues to argue that it is the individuals’ motives that dictate the larger plan of action and the routinized practices determine what the action will manifest as. According to this logic Giddens proposes that individuals therefore have the ability to change their actions, which produce unintended and inevitable consequences, influencing future actions.

Giddens critiques sociologists for placing too much emphasis on the constraints of social structure when he believes it is only through this activity of the individual agent that structure, or rules and resources, can exist at all. In fact, Giddens purports that a social structure or system is composed of a set of produced and reproduced relations between agents. It is this belief in the duality of agency and structure, as well as the desire to alter the discourse to ncorporate an integrated orientation rather than independent orientations, that Giddens has significantly contributed to the discussion and debate of macro and micro orientations, citing the inability for one to exist without the other. Despite criticism of structuration as inadequate, Giddens’ work continues to influence and inspire contemporary social thought.

Feminist thought and the empowerment theory takes an additional step back from sociological discourse to evaluate the misconception of objectivity found in Eurocentric, male dominated standpoints and argue for the need to take a subjective perspective in order to achieve any social change. Additionally, feminist thought advocates for the integration of orientations to examine the individual’s experience as equivalent, or dualistic, with the social structure in which the individual plays an active role in shaping.

It is also deemed necessary that the interrelationships between the individual, groups and society are examined from a subjective, integrated orientation in order to make the leap from social theory to social practice. According to feminist thought, by making the previously personal world of the individual political the barrier between the individual and society is broken down and lays the foundation for individuals to influence and experience social change.

The empowerment theory suggests that production and maintenance of society is dependent upon the individuals who are socially considered undesirable, casting these occupations as invisible in society and, accompanied by a societal ideology that lacks public appreciation for these occupations, the undesirable individuals also believe their work is invisible, revealing the distortion of societal components. It is within feminist thought that the empowerment theory extends not only to women, but any subordinate, oppressed group or individual within the larger society.

This emerging connection between the personal and political identity parallels Giddens’ support of integrating the macro and micro orientations in order to achieve any significant social change, and I support both approaches. I believe that with the integration of the orientations true social change can be achieved, and that further examination of the intersection between agency and structure can enhance the limitations of past sociological thought. By creating and maintaining a boundary between these two worlds and rejecting the notion of a duality, a cognitive dissonance will continue to remain in the lives of oppressed and arginalized individuals without any hope for societal change. Contemporary sociologists must continue to transcend this boundary, accepting the inherent subjectivity found in any social science and focusing on fostering a productive sociological discourse with the goal of social justice. As Marx a stoutly stated in the mid-19th century, philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it. 7. As the grand theory is considered the most abstract level of sociological theory, the initial intentions of such a theory are discussed in an abstract, idealistic way.

Grand Theory, a term created by American sociologist C. Wright Mills, refers to the preference for formal organization and the arrangement of concepts over understanding the social world. The concept of an overarching, grand sociological theory can be applicable in an idealistic setting, where each diverse aspect of society is equitably dealt with and examined to formulate widely accepted conclusions about the world. However, the emphasis tends to focus on concepts that are generally disconnected from the concrete, every day realities of societal life.

I believe that an adapted version of a grand theory in sociology is necessary to the extent that it has the ability to provide a structured framework in an otherwise incredibly complex social world. However, I also believe the grand theory should not be accepted as universal but instead should be considered a continuous work in progress that is added to over time as traditionally invisible issues continue to surface, creating multiple new dimensions of potential thought. Throughout sociological history the theoretical supporters and critics of a grand theory have been numerous.

Karl Marx’s Historical Materialism, Anthony Giddens’ The Juggernaut of Modernity, and Talcott Parsons’ Actions Theory each offer various uses and perspectives of grand theory concepts. The evolution of the concept of a grand theory can be seen throughout these noteworthy theorists’ work. For example, Marx’s work with the grand theory of historical materialism put forth a streamlined argument that stated economic relations were the foundation of social structure, regardless of any other variable.

Embedded in this theory is the idea of an overarching, universal definition of social structure contingent solely upon economic and material relations. This revolutionary idea may have been appropriate in the historical context of the theory, yet weaknesses in the universal concept of a grand theory appear in the absence of any other variable which undoubtedly impacted the social structure of Marx’s time.

Anthony Giddens uses the concept of a grand theory to examine modernity, differentiating from the streamlined definition of society as purported by Marx by including a complex assortment of variables, which contribute to modernity. Giddens relates modernity to an overpowering force that transcends everything in its path with the implication that it is uncontrollable. Giddens also suggests that the overpowering force of modernity is dynamic, with the consequences of actions unforeseeable and uncontrollable, yet it manages to adjust based on reflexive actions, creating new societal problems in the process.

Overall, Giddens’ interpretation of grand theory offers a more complex framework for analyzing society in modernity, yet it is left open ended as Giddens anticipates the creation of a new slew of issues that will plague society based on the adjustments made from previous issues. Talcott Parsons is credited with the continuing the quest toward the theoretical evolutionary development of structural functionalism and established what can be defined as a grand theory of action systems, despite the fact that Parsons himself declined to identify it as a grand theory.

Parsons contributes to the discussion of grand theories in that he expanded the theory to consist of influence from various disciplines aside from sociology, including psychological, economical, political and religious components. Parsons also connected the concepts of motives as part of our actions, and determined that social science must take ends, purposes and ideals into consideration when creating a grand theory. Parsons attempted to integrate all of the social sciences within an overarching, grand theoretical framework that aimed to include aspects of both macro and micro orientations.

Tracing the evolution of the concept of a grand theory reveals the irony rooted in the quest for such a grand theory, which is that despite attempts to create universal truths regarding society independent of time and space, such independence is not possible. Marx, Giddens and Parsons each lived in their own, slightly different time periods and as a result one can observe the variations in their concepts of grand theories.

I believe that the evolution of a grand theory is a continuous one with no particular end, because as Giddens suggested, the flexibility of society to adapt to societal issues in turn creates new societal issues, suggesting the permanence of such an analytical cycle. 8. Among Emile Durkheim’s plethora of contributions to sociological theory emerges an unorthodox, evolutionary approach, which considered society to be like an organism, distinguishing two central characteristics as structure and function. Durkheim’s contributions also include helping establish and define the field of sociology as an academic order.

Durkheim expanded the limitations of the study of sociology when he argued that sociologists should study particular features of collective, or group, life. He suggested that society exists independently of the individuals in it, as societies influence individuals through established norms, sentiments, and social facts. Durkheim contributed the inquiry of study regarding modern society and its ability to remain cohesive despite the individualism and self-sufficiency of each person, as well as the study of social facts representing features of the group that cannot be examined independently of either the collective or the individual.

Emile Durkheim’s writings are recognized for forming the foundation of functionalist thought, which remains among the oldest and most dominant theoretical perspectives in the study of sociology. The foundations of functionalism center on two categories: the individual organism and society being seen as analogous, and the examination of the objective social world with the application of the scientific method.

Durkheim was one of the first sociologists to make use of scientific and statistical data to conduct sociological research, such as with his famous work Suicide, using real data to examine the phenomenon of suicide among religious groups. By incorporating the scientific method as a central method of research, Durkheim implicitly contributed the assertion that the social world can be studied in the same ways as the physical world. Regarding Durkheim’s relation to structuralism, he was concerned with the question of how particular societies are able to maintain stability internally and are capable of survival over time.

Durkheim discussed structuralism in two variations, with the first referring to the pre-industrial societies that were structured on equivalent parts connected by shared values, and the second referring to more complex post-industrial societies that are connected through specialization and strong interdependence. The essence of Durkheim’s relation to structuralism and functionalism is the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, with society being greater than the individuals.

Talcott Parsons offers a contemporary perspective on the concepts of structuralism and builds on Durkheim’s interpretation by discussing structuralism as a framework to examine society as a complex system whose parts work together in order to promote solidarity and stability. The focus on Parsons’ work is on the social structures that shape society as a whole, determining that each individual has a set of expectations based on other’s actions and reactions to that individual’s own behavior.

Parsons also contributes the idea of the role, established through the repetition of behaviors and interactions dictated by social structure and that become recognized as normal. This concept of roles evolved into the groups of roles that harmonize each other and ultimately fulfill functions for society, in the sense that they assist society in operating and running smoothly. In conclusion, the concepts put forth by the theories of functionalism and structuralism has had a significant impact on the study of sociology.

Durkheim utilized the scientific method, and for this leap to a parallel with the natural sciences and hence more validity I am in support. However, Durkheim’s scientific method was perceived from an inherently Eurocentric male standpoint, and consequently produced misleading results. Emile Durkheim is ascribed with forming the foundation of thought in the functionalist orientation, and continued to attempt revolutions in sociological thought throughout his life’s work. Talcott Parsons is one of many contemporary theorists who have built upon Durkheim’s original theory y contributing contemporary rationalizations and have enhanced the sociological discussion regarding the macro evaluation of a modern functioning society. I support Parsons’ concept of social roles that are dictated on social expectations and are controlled by social structure, yet I find limitations in the neglect of an analysis of the social roles for subordinate individuals and groups, and without this analysis social justice will remain an idealistic theory. 9. The theoretical contributions and approaches of sociological theorists such as W.

E. B. Du Bois and Patricia Hill Collins are significant in the conversation of sociological history as they take the unorthodox approach of delving into the perception of historically invisible issues regarding race and gender. For instance, Du Bois approaches the subject of race that centers on describing and explaining the actual, instead of theoretical, daily life conditions of African Americans, such as the threat of racially motivated violence like lynching, and the psychological damage of being separate but equal under Jim Crow laws.

This brought a clearness of vision of specific phenomenon to the sociological conversation, with a focus on race, and an extension to any colored group that has experienced Eurocentric imperialism. In regards to racism, Du Bois granted the primary responsibility of the social construction of racism on capitalism, and Du Bois was sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his work. Du Bois utilized deductive analysis, accompanied by empirical observation, to examine the experience of African Americans throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Du Bois was primarily focused on variables that had been ignored by his sociological predecessors with particular attention paid to the intersection of race and class. He was interested in how the intersection of these variables contributes to broader cultural patterns dictating the stratification of individuals along lines of race and class and the shaping of individuals’ perceptions and experiences. Du Bois offers his conceptualization of race in comparing the variety of races around the world, with the U. S. housing two of the most extreme examples of race on the planet.

As a result, the concept of the double consciousness exists, as African Americans may ask themselves on daily occasions what identity is truly theirs. For instance, one might ask, am I American or am I black? Can I be both? Does being black give me more of an obligation to assert my nationality than European immigrants would? Further, the double consciousness is the sense of “otherness” that prevents this uniform sense of self in accordance with the American image and produces a sense of two-ness, both American and black.

In addition, Du Bois’ concept of the veil represents the distance that is felt socially between people of separate races, most significantly keeping the less dominant group, blacks, out of the dominant group’s, white, world. Patricia Hill Collins continues to build on the concepts highlighted by Du Bois’ work, and instead of extending his conversation about race and class Collins adopts an unconventional method of examining the intersection of race and gender.

Collins emphasizes the specific experiences of black women as intersecting categories of oppression, with the goal of extending the discourse into other oppressed individuals and social groups. Collins’ theorizes that black women stand at the focal point where two historically powerful systems of oppression meet: gender and race, focusing on black women as outsiders within the larger, white male dominated society. According to Collins, by acknowledging this intersection of oppression, the possibility to see into other social injustices.

Collins identifies three aspects of every day life in which black women are affected by and manage their race and definitions of identity in the greater American culture. These three aspects are known as safe spaces where black women are able to articulate their thoughts and feelings without the social pressure of mainstream society, which creates the double consciousness experienced by racial divide. The creation of the safe space is essential for the survival of oppressed groups, as they provide a unique place away from the ruling ideologies.

For instance, one safe space for black women is in their relationships with each other. By empowering themselves in their own relationships, black women are able to help each other learn the knowledge to survive. Other safe spaces include black women’s blues traditions, followed by black female literature and poetry. Through these art forms, black women are able to approach the concepts of social injustice in a non-threatening manner.

Collins also adds that groups must identify themselves, instead of letting other identify them. In conclusion, W. E. B. Du Bois and Patricia Hill Collins have made significant contributions to the sociological discussion of social injustice by forcing the issues of racial, class, and gender inequalities to the surface of social discourse. I find the work of Collins to be an extension of what Du Bois began, and I support the shared goal for both theorists in their quest for social justice for all subordinate groups.

In fact, I believe that the combination of work from Du Bois and Collins epitomizes the essence of micro sociology, as they are able to articulate the invisible yet powerful social constraints that subordinate individuals and groups experience, and represents a transcendence of sociological thought above Eurocentric male standpoints. Their work has left deep impressions on current and future sociological theorists and essentially opened the door for the study of other socially oppressed groups.

Free Essays

Technology: Sociology and James Stacey Taylor

Kenneth Hunter Dr. Carpenter PL401 13 November 2012 James Stacey Taylor “In Praise of Big Brother” This essay will argue the point on why we should learn to stop worrying and love (some) government surveillance. James Stacey Taylor’s idea about government surveillance monitoring each state will blow you away or open your eyes. I will draw attention to some good points, bad points, and my beliefs and why I think this way about his view. By the end of this essay I hope to have answered your entire question on this topic of interest. Which is government surveillance could be a positive or negative problem for people?

The first inquiry to be address is how Dyson explained his pessimistic doubts that technological innovations frequently serve to increase social oppression and inequality. I will answer this in a two part answers, in which I will tell you how Dyson look at technology was used and who benefited from the changes. Dyson started addressing his pessimistic doubts with examples from history and his own life. He talked about how technology started out in the fourteenth century with printing becoming the first technology transformation in Europe.

With this new invention, people all through Europe had the able to have books to read and educate themselves as well as their fellow countrymen by educating themselves. The technology of printing gave power to the reproduction of the Bible which led directly to the Protestant Reformation in Northern Europe. By using the technology the Protestant ethic carried it with perpetual striving for social justice a vision that was seldom achieved. The next things Dyson begin pointing out was the sensibleness of technology which led the way for social justice during the next two centuries.

Dyson talked about how public services such as clean water, sewage treatment, antibiotics and vaccines helped with bring the gap between rich and poor closer. The reason for this as he pointed out was these technologies were effective in protecting the rich from contagion and sickness if also available to poor. So, with being said in some countries where public health technologies are in enforced by law there is no large gaps. He also talked about how technologies starting making synthetic materials to bridge the gaps by introduced fake furs, brilliant colors and silk.

By doing this everyone was able to afford clothes of fashion and no was able to tell a person social class by the clothes they wore. So where does the social oppression exactly begin for people? Will I believe it start with new technology and gadgets introduce to social as new a improve way to something done. What I mean by this statement for example the IPhone or any smartphone. While everyone has a cellphone to communicate with friend and family a simple function so we think. Then technology comes along a change the game with apps, internet, and built-in cameras all in a phone that cost about $600 in the beginning.

Only people that could afford this new slack technology were the people with money and then newer one hit the social world pushing the older version to be affordable for everyone. So, point is like a new toy we get at Christmas time that you didn’t want your friends to touch because we have to keep it for self. Until we are bored and no longer wanting to play with it and the newest has wears off, we are more apt to allow others to enjoy it, as long as there is something better or newer to replace the old one. So, gaps are made with each turn of new technology pushing the way.

In conclusion, Dyson hope technology is used to equally by everyone rich and poor. I believe he pointed out everything that would equally shared by all people no matter their social status. Technology and Social Justice will always have some type of gaps between people because money is driving force behind new technology. Dyson never pointed this out but know these gaps were between rich and poor. At the end of his essay said there was no harm to hope. I can see your point on this because Kurzweil took you on ride on many things.

From a computer storage stand point look at what we start with 250mb and now we are at 3Tb for storing information. We are growing at a rate that could way out of control or in our control that is the question? We have to understand what direction these things are taking us because it will be a limit to our growth. Kurzweil know that with growth in time bad things would follow and would have to be ready to protect our self. While reading the case against perfection by Michael Sandel he pointed out a lot of thing we do as humans to modify ourselves by technology. Things like muscles in nhancement to improve our muscle loss from old age but when technology is used for performance enhancement, running, weight lifting, and home slugger are just to name a few. The able to change person genes before even being born is wrong on so many levels. The ethics surrounding this theory wouldn’t allow humans to humans anymore. Everyone is born different for a reason and everyone is given their on gift at birth. By using this type of technology to change who we are would cause more chaos then good. Like Sandel pointed with the cloned sheep Dolly which died prematurely with abnormalities was unsafe.

The sad truth behind all this type of technology is no matter how we try to change or improve it the cycle death in the end. Sandel point I believe is we have a right to choose our own path in life and should only everything to change our unique able to be different. In “Preventing a Brave New World” (pp. 317-329), Leon Kass concludes that reproductive and therapeutic cloning of human embryos is unethical. What are the exact steps in Kass’s argument for this conclusion? What is your assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this argument?

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Sociology and People

Hannah Wisnewski Period 4 Sociology Mr. Taylor Essays for Test 1. Clarify how folkways, mores, and laws vary in importance within American society. Give examples of each. Their importance of folkways, mores and laws within American society is that, in combination, they help maintain a civil society. Folkways are rules or standards that cover ways of thinking, feeling, and behavior but lack moral overtones. Folkways are socially accepted however not morally significant. They are norms for everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of tradition.

But if the folkway is broken there is no moral or legal consequence. Folkways in the United States consist of supporting school activities, speaking to other students in the hall, and if male, removing hats in church. In society today we find people who always wear shorts with a suit or who talk loudly odd but society doesn’t consider them immoral. However if someone has obnoxious behavior at a party after excessive drinking can bring in strong negative reactions from others. Mores are strict norms that control moral and ethical behavior. Mores deal with morality which is the right and wrong.

Mores are norms of great moral significance. Conformity to mores conveys strong social approval whereas violation conveys strong disapproval. Following folkways is generally a matter of personal choice; though conformity to mores is a social requirement. An example of a more would be if someone attends church in the nude, s/he would offend most people of that culture and be morally shunned. Laws are norms that are formally defined and enforced by officials. Folkways and mores emerge together slowly and unconsciously created whereas laws were created and enforced.

Mores are an important source for laws, for instant at one point the norm against murder hadn’t been written down. Then society advanced and the norm against murder became formally defined and enforced. Folkways can lead into and become mores or laws. An example of a law is smoking. Up until the 1970’s smoking when mounting health convinced many people that smoking should be limited or banned in public places. As society developed, many states picked up the law against smoking in airports, government buildings, restaurants, and other open general public places. . Which theory of deviance best explains why people do deviant acts? Why? Which theory does not explain why people do deviant acts? Why? I think the control theory best explains why people do deviant acts because they conform to social norms depends on the presence of strong bonds between individuals and society. Social bonds control the behavior of people and thus preventing deviant acts. Most people do not conform since they do not want to “lose face” with family, friends, or classmates. Control theory is broken into 4 parts first and foremost attachment.

This is when an individual has strong attachment to groups or other individuals. Next is commitment which is great commitment to goal the more likely a person would be to conform. The commitment is greater than the commitment of people who do not believe they can compete within the system. Next in the four is involvement which is participation in approved social activities increases the probability of conformity. Besides positively focusing an individual’s time and energy and the participation p connects contact with valuable opinions.

Last is belief in norms and values of society promotes conformity. This belief appropriateness for the rules of social life strengthens peoples resolve no to deviate from those norms. I think the strain theory does not explain why people do deviant acts because it is merely a hypothesis of Durkheim’s concept of anomie, whereas control is the social bonds controlling the behavior of people. There are four parts to the strain theory, first is innovation which an individual accepts the goal of success but uses illegal means to achieve it this is the most obvious type of deviant response.

An example of innovation is robbery, drug dealing and other criminal acts. Next is ritualism where the individual rejects the goal but continues to use the legitimate means. This is where people go through the motions without really believing the process. This could be a teacher going through daily lessons however not caring about the way the students turn out. Retreatism is a deviant response in which both the legitimate means and the approved goals are rejected.

Alcoholics and drug addicts are retreatists, thus meaning they are not successful nor seek to be successful. Rebellion is people who both reject success and the approved means for achieving it. However at the same time they additionally add a new set of goals and means. Some of the militia group members demonstrate this response. However they live alone to pursue the goal of changing society by doing deviant things, such as creating their own currency, deliberately violating gun laws, and threatening violent behavior against law enforcement. . America’s prisons are at a crisis. Explain how bad the prison problem has become. What are some alternatives to prison? How would you solve the prison crisis? The problem with the prisons is that they have become increasingly over populated. Some alternatives to prison are a combination of prison and probation which a mixed or split sentence known as shock probation which is designed to shock offenders into recognizing the realities of prison life. Prisoner’s serve part of their sentence in an institution and rest on probation.

Another alternative is a community-based program. These programs are designed to reintroduce criminals into society. At this time the prisoners will have the opportunity to become part of society however under professional guidance and supervision. The next alternative is diversion strategy which is aimed at preventing, or greatly reducing the offender’s involvement in the criminal justice system. This alternative involves a referral to a community-based treatment program rather than a prison or a probationary program.

If I could solve the prison crisis personally I would just build more prisons out in the middle of nowhere so I can keep everyone safe and protected. I feel like if an individual is in prison for something they have done then they deserve to be there away from society. Personally I don’t feel like going from prison to prohibition really does much because who’s to say they will not commit crime again? Maybe this time even worse than the last because the individual (criminal) could want revenge.

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Sociology and Family Members

Family SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology Instructor: Sheila Farr November, 12th 2012 The sociological institutions I have chosen for this paper is family. “The family is the first group of people with whom the child has contact, and they are the most important, especially in the early years. They provide food, shelter, care, education, and support. They describe and define the world to the developing child. They teach values, morals, and beliefs. ” (Vissing, 2011) A person is defined by the family and they are taught how to live a certain way, but as they grow up society start to influence their decisions.

In this paper I will evaluate the impact Sociological theories: Functionalism, Conflict, and Interactionism, will have on a family. How does each theory apply to the selected sociological institution? “The family is regarded as the most basic institution for all individuals because it is directly responsible for the care and protection of its members. The family consists of people who are biologically related but may also contain people with whom we live and people with whom we have close emotional bonds. (Vissing, 2011) The way Functionalism applies to a family is functionalist sociologists developed an analysis which showed that the family had evolved into a superior form. Studies by Murdock, Goode, and others were able to show that the family, in changing its form, had been left free to concentrate on the most important functions. Parsons (1956) saw the two most important functions to be the socialization of the young and the stabilization of the adult personality. “The functionalist view of the family is the notion of ‘fit’.

The isolated nuclear family was seen to be a good ‘fit’ for post-war American society. The family had been left free to make a good job of rearing the children, with more ‘professional’ parents working alongside teachers and childcare experts. The family was also able to concentrate on the demanding relationship between husband and wife. The family provided both the child and the adult with the physical and emotional support needed for their roles in society. It also provided the motivation to be successful in an industrial world which laid stress on achievement by individual effort.

The functionalist account of the positive role of the family in society coincided with a period of strong public support for the American family. Berger and Berger (1983) argue that this was a period when the American family was seen as a success, particularly in the way it placed the needs of the individual at the heart of family life. ” (Wilson, A, (1985) pg. 21) The way Conflict applies to a family is the conflict role can be intense and uncomfortable, as people feel forced to make choices between work and family.

Relatives may be upset when major conflicts occurs such as “financial pressures and money management; trying to balance home, work, community, and personal responsibilities; infidelity; decision making and conflict resolution; dealing with health problems; addressing personal, educational, and occupational needs of family members; maintaining a home and household; dealing with substance abuse, crime, or domestic violence problems; co-parenting; divorce and stepfamilies; and dealing with aging parents. A family shoulders a tremendous responsibility and usually requires assistance from others as a result. For some people work may come first and may be seen as a violation of the role of being a dedicated family member. Individuals may feel a sense of being “damned if I do, damned if I don’t,” no matter what they end up doing. Often work comes first because responsible adults feel that they cannot care for their family if they lose their job.

When people feel important at work and home, they have a greater sense of generatively; when they do not feel valued or do work that isn’t inherently meaningful, the feelings of stagnation and alienation occur. When people feel competent and happy, the systems perspective holds that they may transfer those feelings to other areas of life, whereas when people feel stagnant and hopeless, those feelings likewise impact other aspects of their personal world. The way Interactionism applies to a family, Symbolic interaction theory analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on behaviors.

A close emotional bond exists with them, what they think of us really matters, especially in the early years when children are being socialized to understand both themselves and their place in the world. ” (Vissing, 2011) What are the similarities? What are the differences? The similarities between the theories are how they affect a family as a whole. Functionalism impact the functionality of family when everyone doing their part and there are no problems and, Conflict affects the family relationship as a whole, and Interactionism affects how the family interact with one another and other people.

The differences between the theories are, functionalism is about the morals and values that are taught to a family to help them thrive in society, Conflict is based on outside influence that impact the family, and interactionism focuses on the behaviors family members pick up from socializing with different groups of people. How does each theory affect the views of the individual who is part of a family? Functionalism affects the views of the as a whole family, each individual person plays a role in how the family functions in society.

Conflict affects the views of the individual because that person will struggle for to be heard, they will disagree and their actions will cause stress in the family. Interactionism affects the views of individual because they are learning new things as they socialize with others. They may start to act and dress differently and do things they never done before. How does each theory affect the approach to social change within the selected institution? Functionalism, see social changes as undesirable because of the various parts of society will compensate naturally for any problems that may arise.

The way they approach social change is by not taking an active role in changes in their social environment, if things are going good they like for it to stay that way. Even if the family can benefit from the changes, they don’t won’t to run the risk of causing problems for themselves or their family. The family prefers to let the changes happen naturally without interfering. Conflict, approach to social change is by putting the changes into perspective. The social conflict can have a positive impact, when properly understood, in promoting groups to find common ground, form alliances, define core values, and identify the differences.

Interactionism, approach to social change in family is people can chose to embrace the morals and values they were taught or reject them. Every individual has their own set of beliefs in a family and these beliefs are exercised depending on the individual. Family unit does not operate as a collective, even though it is believed to do so. Each individual in the family has different values that are attributed to age, associations, values, etc. A child could have complete different view on a particular subject than their parents.

Within the Sociological institution selected, how does each theory affect the views of society? Functionalism, view society as functioning best when there is agreement about the social values and norms. “Conflict can have a positive impact on society views, when properly understood, in promoting groups to find common ground, form alliances, define core values, and identify the differences. ” (Harper, N) Interactionism, society imposes a different set of values that can influence family member to do things different from the norm. To conclude, each theory has a different impact on a family.

They each give insight into how society impacts a family and individual members. As person venture in the world they start to see things in different way. Functionalism is believed to focus on the family being close and being in agreement on thing. They appear to have no problem cause of the agreement to not interact with any changes and just to let them happen and go with the flow. “From a functionalist point of view, the family may change form and be quite diverse in its composition, but families have always existed and will continue to exist because what they do is so important.

Children are born to people who will love and care for them, and are socialized about how to care for themselves and be a productive member of society. Families are the link to most of the other institutions. ” Conflict, causes a family to weight the pros and cons of different situations because the child is now older and they are influenced by what they see from other social institutions. “From a conflict approach, families may not receive the support or assistance they need to adequately do all the things that are required of them.

Some families function well, many need help, and other families are fragile or dysfunctional. The ability of the family to function depends on how the rest of the institutions interface with them. Conflict theorists acknowledge that the family cannot adequately do its job without contributions from the other social institutions. ” Interactionism, is about the habits family members pick up from socializing and being apart and around different groups of people. “Symbolic interactionists focus on the messages that family members receive and impart to each other.

Since the family is in the position of having the most intense interactions when children’s identities and bodies are being formed, what they say and do will have a significant impact on them (Cherlin, 2009; Benokratis, 2010; Lamanna & Riedmann, 2011). ” (Vissing, 2011) Reference: Harper, N. Journeys into Justice Retrieved from: http://www. journeysintojustice. com/author. htm Vissing, Y. (2011) Introduction to Sociology. Salem State University. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Wilson, Adrian. Family. Routledge, 1985. p 21. Retrieved from: http://site. ebrary. com/lib/ashford/Doc? id=5003764&ppg=31

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Sociology of Mass Media

Sociology of mass media – Advertising and democracy are connected. People are required by their political system to hold individual opinions. In addition, people look at the mass media for information on political matters. Therefore, they looked for information from the news, political debates, and political advertising so that they could evaluate their leaders and vote on public policy. – In covering a political campaign, the media choose which issues or topics to emphasize, thereby setting the campaign’s agenda.

Therefore, the media create an agenda setting; the ability to affect cognitive change among individuals by telling people what to think about, not what to think. This would then influence Quebec voters’ decisions. – Political Advertising and campaign coverage would have an impact on Quebec voters in influencing their decisions by including these into their campaigns: •Patriotism: The ad stresses the candidate’s love of and service to his/her country. •Gender: The ad presents the candidate as appropriately “manly” (or feminine) to make viewers trust him/her. Facts and Figures: The ad uses facts and statistics to support the candidate’s policies. •Issues: Reporters need to push for details on positions and ask tough questions on major issues, not accepting generalities. They need to bounce one candidate’s position off other candidates to create an intelligent discussion forum from which voters can make informed choices •Depth: On talk-show appearances, reporters need to offer something more than what voters can see and hear for themselves.

Analysis and depth add a fresh dimension that is not redundant to what the audience already knows. •Inside coverage: reporters need to cover the machinery of the campaigns: who runs things and how, what history do they bring to a campaign. – Voters would be influenced by these presented campaign coverage and would use these to make a decisive vote.

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Classical Sociology

Dustin Jones There were many social theorists from the period of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This period of time is regarded as the period of the Enlightenment. A few of the major figures of this particular “movement” were Rene Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. They altered the way in which the social world was viewed and helped pave the way for other classical social theorists to explain the individual’s role in society.

Karl Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville, Henri De Saint-Simon, and Emile Durkheim are only the names of a few classical social theorists who set out to explore the role of an individual within society. These men believed that Reason, along with the application of a scientific approach, would be able to positively change the world and break through to a new form of power and authority. Although the ideas and theories of these men give rise to far greater advancement in sociological theory, there is a failure in intuition, and thus, a failure of the classical sociological element.

The first section of this paper includes an explanation of classical sociology along with an overview of the theories associated with some of the greatest sociologists of this time. The next section of this paper explores reasons and explanations for the failure of classical social theory and interpretations to why before-mentioned theories were compromised. The final section of this paper summarizes some of the conclusions drawn about the failure of this particular ideology. I. Classical Sociology/Theories Explained Classical sociology includes the idea that people can change the course of history through developmental progress.

The object of study was society itself. The development of modern, industrial, and capitalist societies was believed to have separated people from the traditional way of living. The explanations and theories derived from them were a way to correlate the new society with the structure, organization, and dynamics derived from the social world. One form of classical sociological theory attempts to establish a causal relationship for institutions while another form of sociological theory argues that the causal explanation for these institutions is not justifiable. The approach is not pertinent, but what is ertinent is classical sociology explains the interaction of individuals in society, and paves the way for advancement to an explanation of the contemporary world. On page 2 in Classical Sociological Theory: A Reader, Ian McIntosh states: “The more optimistic Enlightenment thinkers thought that Reason could guide a process of positive change in the world and individuals could influence the course of history in the name of ‘Progress’. Such ‘Progress’ could, it was hoped, free the individual from the yoke and shackles of traditional forms of power and authority- embodied by religion and the myriad ties of feudal obligation. Karl Marx was one of these great social thinkers who explains society in terms of social class and the material of the worker. He felt there was great conflict between the capitalists and the working class. The term capitalist is synonymous with the bourgeoisie: these were the people who controlled the land, the factories, and sought the most interest in personal gain. He believed that the value of anything is basically the amount of labor which it takes to produce it. In this way, he felt that profit can only be made by any surplus after the amount of labor it takes to feed, clothe, and shelter a man is produced.

From this theory, he believed in the exploitation of labor. He believed that with the rise of industrialization, profits would actually fall because each industry is trying to keep up with the next guy: the cost manufacturers make for machinery goes up while what is being produced drops. Karl Marx also gives a fairly detailed description of the fall of capitalism. He believed that the downfall of capitalism was inevitable. Over time, the decline in the rate of profit would be one of the factors contributing to the downfall of capitalism.

The idea is that the productive tools used for industrialization are badly utilized when workers are unemployed and goods produced are no longer meeting effective demands. Capitalism begins to move toward a huge industrial monopoly (Collins, Makowsky, p. 37). This affects the smaller capitalists who are forced to join the proletariat. The unemployment keeps high competition for jobs while those who are looking for change become more and more agitated. He believed that the economy would reach a point where the only obstacle standing in the way is a revolt within the working class and the initialization of socialism.

Alexis de Tocqueville, also known as the Last Gentleman, also believed in the working class as a great supporter for the economy, and found much inspiration for the establishment of democracy after his visit to the United States. He was a great pessimist of his time and did not much believe in progress, which is exactly what other sociologists were aiming for in their research. He was one of the first foreigners to recognize the American project for a better life: freedom. He saw the coming of democracy as more than just a social or economic development; he thought that God had his hand in giving democracy to the people.

One of the first things that stood out to Alexis de Tocqueville upon his arrival to the United States is the display of equality. One example in this display of equality which he noticed is that the relationship between the employer and the employee was strikingly different. In France, where Tocqueville is from, this type of relationship could be compared to a master and his servant; but in the United States, he notices that the employee is actually under contract to share labor. He also noticed that there was a lack of the simulated bonds of property which he had been so accustomed to back home.

In the United States, personal relationships were strengthened by bonds of personal affection. This is due to the fact that family members were no longer trying to control one another for the sake of keeping any sort of wealth and ownership within the family. People were allowed to make their own decisions and were free to fall in love with whomever they choose. On page 109, in his Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville states: “Here and there, in the midst of American society, you meet with men, full of fanatical and almost wild enthusiasm, which hardly exists in Europe. Emile Durkheim was someone who might say that crime in America is the glue with which people are held together. This is represented in his belief that crime helped to bring a society closer together. Meetings were held in which people would congregate to discuss the criminal activity of the community, thus enhancing the relationships within society. When a person is punished for his crime, then the recognition of that punishment is a reaffirmation of the law and helps to strengthen the bond of society.

He also explains that criminal behavior can help to establish new ideas within a society and in turn, help that society to develop (Marsh, Gaynor, p. 97). Durkheim also came to the realization that all religions have sacred objects and that these sacred objects are a creation of society. If people pursue a high moral character by living up to the codes formed by these religions, this will reflect individualism as well as enhance social unity. II. Failure of Sociological Theories One of the major objections to Karl Marx’s ideology is the criticism brought forth to his labor theory of value.

According to John R. Pottenger, in The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science, he believes that within the labor theory of value, assumptions based on values must be “purged” in order to create an objective perspective of social science, but since valued are not able to be “purged”, as he states, then this particular theory is open to speculation. Once mankind developed an industry strong enough which required the use of machines and tools to produce profit, Marx did not make any distinction between the idea of capital and labor.

The use of machines was actually operated by the labor force and was not meant to replace the labor force, but they helped in establishing more wealth. Another problem with which Karl Marx did not discern was his idea that the labor force would use the power of politics to overthrow capitalism and strengthen political gain. The working class actually uses the power of politics to cultivate and modify capitalism in a way which is better suited for society. With the improvement of technology, there came an increase in employment opportunities, thus creating more jobs and strengthening the working class as a whole.

This only helped to solidify the establishment of a capitalistic society. One of the biggest problems with Marx’s ideology which supports the failure of classical sociological theory is he underestimated the role that he and his ideas play in shaping history. Through the observation of Marx’s ideology, it is where society finds that supply and demand makes much more sense and that democracy is the basis for a well-rounded economy. Alexis de Tocqueville is a great supporter for this democracy, but some of his ideas about equality were flawed.

He used the word democracy as if it were synonymous with equality. In this way, he felt that there was much more equality in the United States than there really was. He did not understand the social classes which were introduced to him in the United States and believed that the middle class were the poor people. This gave him the perception that equality was more wide-spread than it really was. This correlates to the idea that no matter how deeply democracy is rooted within a society, it is not able to help all of those in need.

One of the biggest setbacks to Emile Durkheim’s theory for criminal activity is that crime creates constant tension between members of a society. Criminal activity is known to tear families apart, create havoc, and in some instances, is a focal point for the deterioration of a particular society. Also, an increase in crime rate can bring an increase of frightened civilians who live in that society. Although criminal activity is a normal part of society, as Durkheim would say it is, it does not undermine the fact that it brings about a kind of pain and suffering, a lower quality of life if you will.

III. Conclusions The most prominent factor in establishing the paradoxical failure of classical sociological theory is the rise in information technology which has brought about a better global economy. (Haferkamp, p. 218) There has been an increase in the sharing of information along with a way to actually restructure the capitalist society. Also, the social theories that have been attributed to this period of “Enlightenment” were substantiated by societal norms of a period of time that was considered to be modern.

What is considered to be “modern” times has drastically changed between now and then, and as such, theories pertinent to that day and time are no longer relevant. Industry is booming, technology is far more advanced, criminal activity is on the rise, and what is considered to be societal norms is much different. Also, the application of these sociological theories to what was considered to be societal norms does not include any use of an experimental method for testing hypotheses. With an experimental method for conducting research, researchers are able to manipulate one variable while comparing its effects to a different constant variable.

The problem with non-experimental methods for conducting research, as is the case for classical sociological theories, is that the hypotheses are difficult to prove, and if or when they are proven, it normally requires a long period of time. In correlation to this idea, the fact that these are “theories” suggests to the reader that they have not yet been proven, and with the lack of scientific experiential data, may never be proven. Another significant factor contributing to the failure of classical sociological theory is the success in social change in the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to Melvyn Dubofsky, in The State and Labor in Modern America, he states that “reformers and working-class leaders stressed collective action, more individualistic forms of thought dominated national culture, institutions, and legal doctrines. ” He goes on to describe the way in which workers began to unite and form collective revolutions for the advancement of class, race, or gender. This shift in social reform has strengthened individualism and accentuated the positive effects of capitalism where people have continued to attribute failure to classical sociological theories. IV. Summary

Classical sociological theory helped to explain social change and structure of society which aided in the establishment of the contemporary world. Karl Marx’s prediction of the fall of capitalism failed to see its day due to the fact that the working class has used the structure of capitalism to better establish their place among society. When reflecting upon the ideas and works of Alexis de Tocqueville, it is understood that no matter how deeply ingrained capitalism might be within a particular society, there are those who do not reap the benefits capitalism attempts to offer for all people.

One of the principle notions which stand out after reviewing some of the works by these classical sociologists is that their personal objectives and theories failed to be achieved. Capitalism has continued to flourish, the industrial revolution has come to an end, and a new era of technological advancement has dawned. Bibliography Collins, Randall, & Makowsky, Michael. (2005). The Discovery of Society. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Dasilva, Fabio B. , & Pressler, Charles A. (1996). Sociology and Interpretation: From Weber to Habermas.

Albany, NY: New York State University of New York Press. Dubofsky, Melvyn. (1994). The State and Labor in Modern America. North Carolina: Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Press. Haferkamp, Hans. (1992). Social Change and Modernity. California: Berkeley University of California Press. Marsh, Ian, & Melville, Gaynor. (2006). Theories of Crime. New York: Taylor and Francis Routledge. McIntosh, Ian. (1997). Classical Sociological Theory: A Reader. Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press. Nielsen, Donald A. (1999).

Three Faces of God: Society, Religion, and the Categories of Totality in the Philosophy of Emile Durkheim. New York: Albany State University of New York Press. Pines, Christopher L. (1993). Ideology and False Consciousness: Marx and His Historical Progenitors. Albany, NY: New York State University of New York Press. Pottenger, John R. (1989). The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science. New York: Albany State University of New York Press. Tocqueville, Alexis De. Democracy in America. (Book II). Champaign, IL: Project Gutenberg.

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Chapter 1 * Sociology helps people gain insight into themselves and into society, so they can live more satisfying, self-determined, and responsible lives * Paying attention to and making sense of the social world in a sociological way = being sociologically mindful * To be mindful of a thing is to see and appreciate its unique qualities.

Ex: mindful of a person = beyond stereotypes and prejudices * People have to be understood in terms of ideas, feelings, desires, bodies, and habits * Sociological mindfulness = practice of seeing how the social world works * Mindfulness helps us see how our lives are intertwined and how our words and deeds help or harm others in nonobvious ways. Ex. acism * Failing to be mindful = diminish or own and others’ chances of living good lives * Mindfulness can help decrease the amount of hatred and conflict in the world * American individualism inhibits sociological mindfulness because it prevents us from seeing our interdependence with others Chapter 2 * Shared belief is enormously consequential along side shared ideas * The social world is made of: patterns of activity; without ideas we would have no society * The social world depends on ideas invented by human beings * Reasons why the social world is durable: . People refuse to doubt the ideas that hold it together 2. People hold tightly b/c these ideas tell them right from wrong 3. Ideas allow people to feel good about themselves * Most ideas exist only in people’s heads, or are embodied in habit; the invisibility of the ideas that hold the social world together is part of what makes it seem so real. * Invisible b/c they are built into habit. Ex: brushing teeth.

Guiding ideas are still there, but only visible as habits * Someone finds a solution to a problem, other people see that it works and adopt it, and eventually the solution becomes “what everyone does” * Every society is built on a set of practices and to change these practices is very risky. Those who benefit from them are the ones least likely to want to change it (conservative attitude) * The failure to see the social world as humanly made is called reification; the social world is just there.

Ex: “computer technology is the major force behind changes in our economy today” makes the economy seem independent of human beings * Reification makes the people and their choices disappear; the tendency to reify is strong because it can be hard to see where, how, and by whom decisions are made * Reification makes it hard to hold anyone accountable for the good or bad results arising from their actions * Reification makes us feel powerless b/c the social world comes to seem like a place that is beyond human control; we are confusing its reality; forgetting to be mindful of the social world as a humanly made place * People invent and categorize themselves; these things are defined into existence * Ex: race is a result from the invention of schemes for sorting people into groups so is gender * If we did not label things, we wouldn’t produce certain kinds of people to classify * Identities derive from invented categories, they are not apart of nature * The rules we use to decide which ideas are true are also invented. Ex: truth from books, word of mouth, or proven by science? * Not everyone has an equal say in deciding what is real and true, and truth often bends toward power * The social world could not continue to exist if we did not reenact it every day, in our thoughts, feelings, and behavior * The making of the social world is a collaboration; we can’t make anything social by ourselves Chapter 3 * How you grow up is basically what you continue to see.

Ex: men treating women as subordinates at home = that’s what he’s going to expect from women at work * Part of being sociologically mindful is seeing how our actions in one part of life are the causes and consequences of what happens elsewhere; take larger views of things * Pay attention to how different parts of society are connected then we are less likely to make wasteful and destructive choices * One thing leads to another; to see consequences we must first see connections * There is often a connection to a set of ideas that make inequality seem acceptable * Actions are reinforced by what is seen = tradition. Ex: children seeing their parents hiring a person of lesser wealth to clean up after them, learn that people who are rich enough do not have to take responsibility for cleaning up the messes they make * Our actions and the ideas we use to justify them can have intended and unintended consequences because of how the social world works; the social world labels everything based on tradition * Sociological mindfulness can help us see more of what must be taken into account in seeking solutions to moral problems. Ex: connections between abortion and women’s freedom and equality. Social world full of signs called indexes; and to interpret it sociologically is to see its connection to some aspect of how the social world works * Sociologically mindful means trying to see how conditions, customs, and events might be signs that point to other things. Ex: conditions in inner-city areas are indexes of how our economy works. * Our customary ways of doing things encode messages about us; read as signs of what we value and what we fear * People who organize schools are mainly concerned with turning students into good workers * Although things in the present do not merely point to or refer to the past; they carry it with them; knowledge itself is the past living in our minds and habits b/c everything connects to the past * The past shapes how we think and act today; Understanding how people define the past and how they feel about it is part of being sociologically mindful.

Ex: men treating women in demeaning ways without realizing it * If we are sociologically mindful about how parts of the social world are connected, we will pay attention to how seemingly little things can reinforce bigger problems * Being sociologically mindful means thinking about how the choices we make today might affect other people, even society as a whole, in the future Chapter 4 * Feelings depend on what happens throughout the day and interaction shapes one’s mood * Sociological mindfulness help us see how our feelings depend on what happens during certain encounters * If we are sociologically mindful we see that individual achievement is an illusion b/c achievement is not really individual it always grows out of a person’s ties to others. Ex: being taken care of as a baby, others giving us opportunities to develop, existence of institutions, and etc. * Mindfulness of the nterdependence we have helps us avoid being egotistical, selfish, and ungrateful * What we know and how we know are the results of our ties to others; we are limited in what we can know about the world and about ourselves, unless we move around and get a bit of experiences * A perspective takes shape b/c of commonalities and differences * People who do similar kinds of work, solve similar kinds of problems, earn their money in similar ways, and relate to others in similar ways will tend to develop a shared outlook on the world * Differences in knowledge and feelings are not natural, but rather the results of how categories (ex: men and women) are defined and how the people in these categories are taught to feel, think, and act * Sociological mindfulness helps us to see that our individual point of view is really a result of how we learn to relate to others. * Those in more powerful groups will generally know less about people in less powerful groups. Powerful people are even likely to know less about themselves. Kind of like the cost of power is ignorance about one’s self and others. (Ex: it seems likely that blacks will know more about whites than whites know about blacks) * What we know depends on the nature of our relationships with others.

Being sociologically mindful would mean going beyond individualism and appreciating how those relationships make us what we are * Our behaviors affect and are affected by others therefore mindfulness means taking more things into account before we act (Ex: smoking, violent sports, having babies) * Sociological mindfulness is the practice of reexamining our choices and paying attention to how our choices have consequences for others Chapter 5 * The social life makes us human and turns us into certain kinds of people; everyone is a result of the interaction between these two influences * The workings of our minds, the possession of self-consciousness, our desires and hopes, and our feelings about ourselves, arise out of social life * We often fail to be mindful of what we have in common with others and exaggerate the differences, however our similarities with others are essential to being human. “The first step to becoming an individual is to recognize that you are not one” * What we become as people depends on the ature of our ties to others, and language gives us the power to develop our individual humanity and to connect with others in distinctly human ways * We gather meanings to ourselves from the culture we live in; meaning we gather (ex: black or white, gay or straight, democrat, liberal) give us a sense of who we are * Part of becoming human is the process of coming to know who and what we are * We depend on each other to maintain a coherent and stable sense of who and what we are as persons; identities are public meanings that determine much of what goes on between people and let us interpret ourselves to others quickly * Acquiring language and developing self-awareness are essential to becoming human and to being able to function in the social world (prerequisites to being self-regulating * We are no less interdependent in becoming human than in being human * Valued identities are a source of self-esteem; if you are attached to your identities, you will try to act in ways that uphold them.

If we are attached to certain ideas we will tend to do things that affirm rather than contradict those ideas * Self-regulation also requires silent knowledge = unspoken knowledge; knowing how to do something without necessarily being able to explain it * Reason does not keep us from hurting ourselves and others b/c human beings always think of ways to make cruelty and violence seem reasonable * Our responses can be either sympathetic or empathetic; we are emotionally responsive to others to protect our own feelings * Feelings about one’s self are affected by the real or imagined reactions of others * The force of tradition arises in large part from our emotional responsiveness to others, which rises from our ability to imagine how others are judging us, and desire to feel good about ourselves * Sometimes we become to responsive to judgments and feel compelled to do things we know aren’t right * Cutting-off may occur when members of a dominant group feel shame and guilt at the suffering they have caused others; if our actions are the source of a person’s pain we may be unresponsive emotionally * Deciding not to care about certain audiences can be a way to resist oppression * How we organize ourselves to live together also affects the creation of human beings; by being sociologically mindful we do not only see how we become human but how we might live more humanely * Behavior is a product of circumstance not just personality; emotions arise from interactions with others * Part of becoming human is learning what we are supposed to feel in different situations, how to properly display emotions, and how to manage our own feelings and the feelings of others * Thinking aimed at changing how we feel is called emotion work

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Evidence Based Practice

Evidence –based practice has been gaining acceptance and momentum in the social services professions. As evidence related to specific programs and inventions mount, social service practitioners and organizations around the world have increasingly begun to implement evidence-based programs as a strategy for creating better outcomes for children, families and adults. Unfortunately, the science of evaluating efficacious and effective programs and interventions has far out spaced the science of implementing them.

A gap exists between what we know works and being able to utilize what works in practice (Maynard, August 2009). The article allows you to question why it is so hard for people to understand concepts, theories and research that they have studied. The information that they know and have studied is being put in to practice. How can practitioners evaluate and come to conclusions on their studies of clients and don’t implement what they have studied? We all have clients that we use certain interventions for and we know what works for them but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for all of them.

If 10 people are researched on a new technique that you have learned and they all respond positively to it, that doesn’t mean that the next 10 people you work with will respond the same way. While reviewing the article, consideration to the method the author is trying to implement came into question. Citations were by many appropriate sources. The citations show that she did research and was able to supplement her ideas with other sources besides herself. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she was able to find that source without doing the bottom-up search.

The evidence points at a top-down search which would be logical. It is more feasible and less time consuming. She could read each and every source and find the information required then she would be fulfilling the bottom-up search. She was using many different resources to write the article. The author portrayed many good points in this article.

She discussed how social service agencies can be learning organizations and they are (a) systems thinking, “allows us to look for and identify patterns and see the rganization as a dynamic system that impacts, and is impacted by, individuals and events inside and outside the organization” (Senge, 1990), (b) personal mastery, “people with high levels of personal mastery are more committed, take more initiative, have a broader and deeper sense of responsibility in their work and learn faster” (Senge, 1990) (c) mental models, “people expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open the influence of others” (Senge, 1990) (c) building shared vision, “building a shared vision takes time and grows as a result of interactions between individuals within the organization and the sharing of individuals’ visions” (Senge, 1990) and (d) team learning, “creating structures and processes that shift the organizations toward a commitment to learning provides a solid foundation for building a learning organization. The research was unbiased when defending the article. She informed the reader of the research that was performed by many other sources and allowed an opening for discussion whether it is valid or not.

The research is not completed it is open ended for question and improvement. She expresses that “evidence based practice calls for different types of social service organizations that can learn on a continuous basis and adapt quickly and responsively to knowledge, research and the changes in the field that are occurring at a rapid pace” (Maynard, August 2009). She has great insight and theories to help agencies to improve and practice what they know. The article was based off of other sources and what they know and can teach us. More in depth personal research from the author and from the sources could provide a more in depth picture of how evidence-based practice can be dissected.

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Sociology Paper

Option B Movie Analysis Watching movies is a leisurely activity enjoyed by many people. Not only are movies enjoyable to get a good laugh, cry, or just to relax to, but there are many things to be learned from movies as well. For this project I choose to examine two movies from a sociological perspective. The two movies I chose are, Law Abiding Citizen and 8 Mile. Law Abiding Citizen Law Abiding Citizen is a story of a man who takes justice into his own hands after the legal system fails to bring justice on the murderer of his wife and children.

Instead of convicting the murder for a longer sentence, the lawyer plays it safe by making a deal with the murderer to convict for a shorter sentence; which in turn keeps his conviction percentage high. Questions for Law Abiding Citizen 1. What was the main issue the movie was expressing? Both individuals interviewed found that the main issue was that the main character Clyde is determined to bring down the corrupted law system that failed to bring his wife and daughter justice. 2. How was this issue presented?

Both individuals agreed that this was apparent because the first five minutes of the movie show the murder take place and the rest is Clyde’s actions to bring down the law system. 3. What sociological issue was presented? Individual A believes the sociological issue presented is the relationships between the law system and Clyde. Individual B believes that the sociological issue presented deals with how crime and punishment affects society’s views on justice. 4. How was the sociological issue presented? Both individuals agree that these issues were straightforward in the plot.

The issues were represented by the characters actions in the movie. 5. How did the movie distort social reality? Both individuals believe that the events that took place in the movie are extremely exaggerated. Although they both believe that the justice system has many flaws they don’t believe that a person would be able to commit all the acts that Clyde committed without being caught. 6. How did the characters in the movie show deviancy? Individual A says that that all the murders that took place were deviant.

Individual B agrees but also includes that the lawyer making deals with murderers is deviant because it doesn’t help society overall. 7. Why do you think that the characters had deviant behavior? Both individuals agree that Clyde was deviant because of the death of his family. Individual B adds that the lawyer’s deviant deal making is a quest for a higher career status. 8. Whose behavior do you find was more deviant? Both individuals find that Clyde is the most deviant because he caused the most deaths but they both understand why Clyde did what he did and take his side over anybody else’s in the movie. . Do you agree with the law system’s justice or Clyde’s form of justice? Both individuals agree with Clyde’s form of justice in the movie, but both think that in real life they would not act out in Clyde’s manner. 10. Whose act was more deviant in your opinion Clyde’s or the murder? Both individuals find that Clyde is the most deviant but they take his side over the murderer because they both feel they connected more with Clyde and his motives. I found that the main concept in Law Abiding Citizen was deviancy. Deviancy can be defined in many different ways.

For example Howard Becker defined deviance as not that act but the reaction of others to the act. The textbook on the other hand defines deviance as, any behavior or physical appearance that is socially challenged and or condemned because it departs from the norms and expectations of some groups. In Law Abiding Citizen, Clyde, who has witnessed the murder of his wife and daughter, displays behavior that could be defined as deviant. Ten years after the death of his loved ones he decides to take justice into his own hands. An example of his deviancy includes brutally murdering his family’s murderer.

He does this by injecting him with adrenaline, sewing his eyelids open, placing him below a mirror, and cutting him limb by limb. Throughout the movie he murders more people that failed to bring his families murderer to justice. It is interesting to analyze the deviant acts by Howard Becker’s definition of deviancy. In the beginning of the movie a woman and daughter are murdered and the reaction I had towards the killer was disgust and anger. Later on in the movie when Clyde murder’s the murderer, it is much more graphic scene but my reaction to the act was not disgust and anger.

In this scene I feel that I, as well as other viewers understand his motives. Both of the individuals I interviewed felt the same way. By Howard Becker’s definition the more graphic and torture some murder in this case was less deviant because of our reaction to the act. Clyde turned to deviancy. I feel that his deviancy relates to Robert Merton’s strain theory. Robert Merton’s strain theory analyzes what happens when people are socialized into desirably cultural goals but denied the institutional means to achieve those goals. Merton uses this term to explain why good people turn to crime.

I believe this relates to Clyde because before the crime, he was a productive member of society, he supported his family and worked as an engineer. Unfortunately the justice system did not provide the institutional means of providing him closure on the crimes committed. He then felt the need to take action and provide justice himself. Another concept that goes along with strain theory is anomie. The book defines anomie as, a state in which the ties attaching the individual to the group are disrupted due to dramatic changes in circumstances.

Emile Durkheim used the term anomie as a detachment from norms that usually guide ones behaviors. Emile Durkheim stated that this usually accompanies a lack in social integration. He also stated that the less socially integrated individuals are, the more likely they are to do harm to themselves and others. The behavior of Clyde shows that he is not socially integrated and he displays anomie. This was triggered by the death of his family members and the lack of support given by the justice system. 8 Mile 8 Mile is based off of Eminem’s life.

It shows the struggles of growing up surrounded by poverty, drugs, alcohol, and gangs. The main character Jimmy (based off of Eminem) struggles with poverty and a drug addicted mother with an abusive boyfriend all while trying to establish himself in the music industry. Other barriers he faces include competing gangs and a weak support system. Questions for 8 Mile 1. What was the main issue the movie was expressing? Both individuals agree that there were many struggles present in the movie from poverty to gangs. 2. What sociological issue was presented?

Individual A says that the issue was conflicting power struggles between gangs. Individual B says that the issue was how poverty affects people. 3. How were the sociological issues presented? Individual A says that the struggles between gangs were shown through the numerous fights and through the rap battles. Individual B says that the affects of poverty are shown through the acting out behavior of various characters as well as the mother’s need to stay with an abusive boyfriend for his money. 4. How did the movie distort social reality?

Both individuals believe that the movie realistically portrays social relationships but neither one entirely sure because they have not lived in any areas similar to the part of Detroit in the movie. 5. Why do you think that the characters in the movie showed deviancy? Both individuals believed it was because they were born into it and don’t know how to live in another life style. 6. What are the ‘battles’ in 8 Mile? Both individuals stated that the battles in 8 mile were a way of the local lyrical minds to show off their talent against one in other to score a deal with a record label. . Why do the characters In 8 Mile participate in these battles? Both individuals said they participate in these battles to further themselves and possibly make it big. 8. Was the burning of the old house acceptable? Individual A said that they completely accepted that they burn the house down since no one lived in it anymore and it just served as a place for violence to take place. Individual B said they did not accept the burning of the house mainly because it still could have served as a shelter to the homeless. 9. What do you think was Eminem’s major setback?

Both individuals said that poverty was the biggest thing holding Eminem back. 10. Why was it his major setback? Both individuals said that if it weren’t for his poverty, he would have never have been in all of the situations that he was in. Also though, if it weren’t for his poverty he wouldn’t be rapping about a lot of what he usually raps about so it helped him in a way also. There were many sociological aspects of the movie 8 mile. The movie did not go into depth in a particular sociological issue but many were present. One of the issues was the struggling family relationship.

The family relationship in the movie was not healthy. The mother was a single mother living in extreme poverty. We learned in class that poverty is the primary strain in a one-parent family. In the movie the mother dates a guy who abuses her and her children. She continues to stay in the relationship out of fear of not being able to provide a home and food for her family. Another issue that is presented is the conflicts that arise when social classes conflict. In the movie there is a house where a young girl from a low class family got raped (as social class decreases being a victim to crime increases).

The house is an abandoned house that remains standing until the characters from the movie decide to burn it down. They come to the conclusion that if the house was on the “other side” of 8 mile (the territory of another social class) that it would have been demolished by now. They then take it into their own hands to burn the house down. This is only one of the actions performed by the characters that could be considered deviant. The reasons for the deviancy in this movie vary from the deviancy in Law Abiding Citizen. The characters in 8 mile have deviant behavior, such as stealing, weapon use, fighting, and vandalism.

I believe their deviance is best explained by the differential association theory used in symbolic interactionism. The differential association theory, coined by Edwin Sutherland, says that people learn to either deviate or conform to society’s norms through the different groups with whom they associate. Most of the characters in the movie were born into a low class life style. One of the characters was portrayed as having a status inconsistency. Status inconsistency is when a person has characteristics high in one area of status and low in another. One of the members of Jimmy’s rival gang is a great example of status inconsistency.

He is a member of a gang, walks the streets, is involved in fighting yet he attended Cranbrook and has two educated, happily married parents. I have watched both Law Abiding Citizen and 8 Mile on numerous other occasions before watching these movies again for this project. In the past I never took as much time to think about the driving forces behind the characters behavior and social contexts. As a result this project helped me analyze the movies from a new perspective. It was very interesting to see the concepts I have learned about in class be portrayed in the media.

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Sociology: Midterm Exam, Explain the Effects of Sociology

Each human is born into differing sets of cultural and sociological circumstances that make each individual differ from one another in various ways. Culture would be classified as the moral standards, knowledge, beliefs, customs, and whatever other habits man can and will create in a society. This “Culture” affects each individual passively, or unintentionally, but yet very effectively. Corresponding to this would be the society that an individual is born into. Differing cultures create Societies; societies are made up of cultural relations with others of the same and agreeing culture.

Cultures are separated out into “social classes” naturally because of major differences in cultural habits, beliefs, customs, etc. Social classes are differing cultures: cultures that cannot easily coincide. A person might be born into the American culture, usually referred to as “western culture”, and thus he would be immediately different from those of an “eastern culture”, say those of Iraq or Iran. The differing cultures are obviously based on the differing base of beliefs, the different customs, habits, moral standards, and much, much more!

Then there are sociological differences that we refer to as social class. While there is much of the western culture throughout the world, there are even widely differing cultures within the culture itself. These are what form society and social classes. While there is one culture on the east coast of the United States, you will find that the culture on the west coast is completely separate and distinct. One of the more distinct examples that can be given is of those from the south versus those from elsewhere in the United States.

Feature Article – Sociology Test

Because of the culture that children are born into, they are immediately immersed in a society that would demand respect and modesty in everyday living. It can be noted that the cultural standard in the southern United States is made up of higher moral standards than other states. Morals are one of the factors that make a culture differ from another. Just by sheer consequence, this culture creates a society that is considerably higher than those surrounding. In history it can be noted that men from the south tended to be more upper class citizens having those of a differing culture under them as working class individuals.

African Americans are from a differing culture, which in turn makes the society that they create clash with the society of other cultures. You will find many different social classes that are together in one culture. For instance, Bill Gates would be part of a social class that some farmer from Iowa would not be able to relate to. Generally there are 4 major social classes. These would be the Upper Class (a small percentage), the Middle Class, the Working Class (constituting of most people), and the Lower Class.

As well as any average person from the rural town life would not be of the same social class as the president of the United States. A person can be born into a certain social class, but they can also work to attain a higher social class from the point in which they have begun. For the ease of consideration we will chose someone from rural farm country in either Illinois or Iowa; These people are born to their parents into the working class and or lower class that they are part of. There have been people that have risen from the Lower Class up to the position of President, like our current president Mr. Barak Obama.

Through natural means, and providential circumstances he was able to get an education and work his way up through the classes, and after many years of work, sits as the current President. Education is a part of each individual’s social class. One of the major factors that separate the Working Class from the Middle Class is their education. People that have taken the time, money and energy to get an education and secure a degree or certificate in some specific area, are of a higher class and social status than those that are just working to provide for themselves in a workforce where no degree is needed.

Culture is similar to Social class in that each individual is born into them without any choice, and that they are passively trained to be part of that class. But, a culture is the influence of certain standards, morals, habits, and such that will influence the person, whereas a society is only made up of relationships and certain goals and objectives. By joining together into a social class, the society can achieve what they would not be able to on an individual basis.

The same is true for a culture, but to a lesser degree because there are many more cultures than there are social classes. Another term that can be used to describe culture would be: learned behavior patterns. In conclusion, there are many cultures and many social standards throughout the world that affect every person either in a negative or a positive way. Every individual has the influence of their culture and social class on them, to the point that they make distinctions about whom they will associate with and who they are able to have deep or shallow relationships.

These are some of the factors that will limit the amount of people that a person is “able” to marry. The person under consideration must be of a certain culture, in most cases, as well as be of an equal or greater social class. In my opinion, it is the wide distances between these social classes and foreign cultures that cause the many clashes in civilization, causing war and riots among lower people. If people were able to over-come these Sociological differences, then all men would be able to live more peaceably together.

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Thinking About Diversity

The dimensions of cultural diversity are categorized as primary dimensions and secondary dimensions. Primary dimensions are generally considered fixed and involuntary. Age, gender, race, and ethnic heritage would be examples of primary dimensions. People do not have a choice of when they are born and thus their age. Gender, race, and ethnic heritage are also not open to choice. Mental and physical abilities are also usually defined as primary dimensions of diversity. Specific biological functions of the brain can be considered primary dimensions of diversity, but knowledge and education can improve mental ability.

It is also possible to improve physical ability to a certain extent by incorporating healthy diet and physical conditioning into one’s lifestyle. Physical ability is listed as a primary dimension of cultural diversity because height, bone structure, and other physical attributes are genetic and not open to choice. Sexual orientation is also a primary dimension of diversity. Secondary dimensions of diversity include attributes that are considered less central to social identity. These dimensions can change based on life experiences. They include where one lives and works, socioeconomic status, education, and religion.

Ethnic, Cultural, or Other Groups I Identify With I am a Black female who identifies with the Black community as well as other ethnic groups. I was born and raised in a large metropolitan city. I am a product of my big city upbringing. I believe that being raised in a large city has equipped me to be comfortable in many settings and with people from any group or cultural background. The Black culture and history is very important to my lifestyle. I work with young men and women in the Black community to advise them on career paths and encourage them to make positive life choices.

As a woman, I am very concerned with many of the issues that are affecting women. The rise in teen pregnancy is one issue that I address with young women I encounter. Violence against women is also a problem that is prevalent in society. Women continue to be subordinated and discriminated against, and the struggle to change the situation is one of my top priorities. My social circle is made up of professionals who enjoy cultural pursuits such as plays, music, concerts, and charitable activities. Diversity and Inclusion Diversity refers to any mixture of items characterized by differences and similarities, (Harvey & Allard, 2009, p. 11). This definition refers not just to people but also to the differences and similarities of functions or conditions along a given dimension. In identifying diversity in an organization, it is also important to identify the similarities within a group. When management accesses a group of ethnically diverse individuals, if they focus on the similarities among them, it will be easier to build common ground and mutual respect.

Inclusion is a technique that organizations can use to optimize the benefits of a culturally diverse workplace. Rather than just focusing on cultural diversity as a quota to fill, organizations can use the cultural, ethnic, and experiential differences of employees to add creativity, new ideas, and new strategies. When every individual thinks that he or she is operating in a safe environment, they can be comfortable sharing innovative ideas that may not follow the traditional concepts of the organization. Importance of Workplace Diversity Training Effective workplace diversity training can benefit an organization in many ways.

Increased productivity can result when employees appreciate and learn from the cultural or ethnic differences of their fellow employees. Workplace diversity training will increase the emotional intelligence of individuals which will increase their tolerance of differences. Emotional intelligence is awareness of self, managing self, self motivation, awareness of the emotions in others, and managing interpersonal relationships, (Harvey & Allard, 2009). Emotional intelligence and emotional maturity can allow individuals to be open to the possibility of considering differing opinions and strategies.

More openness among team members within an organization will increase creativity, cooperation, and collaboration. When cultural and ethnic diversity are successfully managed within an organization, minority employees will feel acceptance and comfort which will encourage them to express innovative ideas without fear of repression or ridicule. The majority employees will be given the opportunity to expand their acceptance and knowledge of different values, beliefs, and opinions. Workplace Culture and Inclusion I have had the opportunity to work in large and small organizations. During high school, I worked in a large department store.

There were many races, ethnic groups and ages. The age groups in the workplace were in three categories. There were older workers who had worked in the store for many years and had made it a career. These employees spent most of their free time socializing with each other, such as breaks and lunches. They were generally very friendly and helpful to new employees. The second category was made up of managers ranging in age from about 25 to 40. Most of the managers were college educated and were hired specifically as managers. There were also managers who had started at an entry-level position and worked their way up to management.

The third category, which I belonged to, was made up of young high school and college students. This category generally socialized with each other. I do not recall any negative interactions based on race, culture, sexual orientation, or ethnic heritage. Throughout my career I have worked with a variety of ethnic groups, races and ages in a variety of corporate settings. I have always been fortunate to work in very inclusive organizational settings. I have not worked in an organization that discriminated against employees based on their diverse ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

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Social Work in the Justice System

This paper explores the many facets social work provides in collaboration with the criminal justice system escaping widespread notice as well as the roles played in the judicial court systems. This paper takes a look at the point and the many purposes of forensic social work.

Covering their role in multidisciplinary mitigation teams and collaboration between social workers and lawyers in criminal defense also the type service social work practitioners provide to inmate populations; the active involvement in an inmate’s daily life both during their sentence as well as the service and assistance a forensic social worker will be providing following an inmate’s release and reintegration back into society.

A field of social work not widely publicized or acknowledged by the majority of the American population, pointing out the lack of interest in the field by the Universities offering accredited social Work degree programs and the educational opportunities lost because of the lack of acknowledgement of this field of social work practice. The Field of Forensic Social Work It’s Function in the Criminal Justice System and the Populations Who Benefit Forensic Social work is not a field widely known to students like myself.

For those majoring in Social work in colleges and universities throughout the United States this particular field of social work practice is not really offered as often as other courses like helping skills or social policy. It’s an issue I see as becoming a problem in the near future because of the field and its functions. The educational opportunities presented in teaching forensic social work are in my opinion in my opinion. Its functions alone include policy and program development. Mediation, advocacy and arbitration, teaching, training and supervision as well as ehavioral science research and analysis just to name a few.

We the students are at a loss by a lack of acknowledgement of the field Forensic Social work and it not being an offered course taught within our curriculum is a travesty to the future of the social work profession and the population forensic social workers advocate for. The objective of this paper is to bring to light a field in social work not widely publicized or acknowledged by a large majority of universities offering social work programs.

Escaping widespread notice, a substantial number of social workers function in the space in which mental health concepts and the law form a gestalt says (Hughes & O’Neil. (1983). Most of those whose social work service fall under core areas that make up the field of forensic social work don’t even know it. Why is it then, that in a field in which the services provide so much to those with so little, with a tremendous base of knowledge utilizing a broad base of skill, skill spanning across many other fields not just in “basic” social work practices.

Parallel to the growing field of forensic psychiatry in the criminal justice system is the growing field of forensic social work. It’s development is dependent on that of forensic psychiatry; For this reason forensic social work it goes unobserved (Hughes, et. al. , 1983). I want to shed some much deserved light on this neglected field of service. It is a field of social work that needs to be preserved in its collaboration with the criminal justice system.

Stewart Sinclair points out that “Forensic Social Work continues to work directly with patients and to maintain a vital link between the family and the institution. ” (S. Sinclair, 2002 ,Sam Peckinpah’s forensic social work blues: will the tin star keep shining) Forensic Social work is not a field widely known to students such as myself. For those majoring in Social work in colleges and universities in the United States this particular field of social work practice is not offered as often as other courses such as helping skills or theory and practice.

It’s an issue I see as becoming a problem in the near future because of the field’s functions. The educational opportunity presented in teaching forensic social work is valuable. The functions alone include policy and program development. Mediation, advocacy and arbitration, teaching, training and supervision as well as behavioral science research and analysis just to name a few. We the students are at a loss by a lack of acknowledgement of Forensic Social work and it not being an offered course in our curriculum.

Brownell and Roberts (2002) operationally define forensic social work as ‘policies, practices and social work roles with juvenile and adult offenders and victims of crimes’ (Brownell P & Roberts AR 2002, A century of social work in criminal justice and correctional settings, Journal of Offender rehabilitation, 35 (2) 1-17, pg. 3) As times progressed a growing knowledge and understanding of mental illness and psychiatric problems became more of a deciding factor in the task of determining just and effective dispositions.

The criminal justice system is not equipped to provide the proper type of facilitation needed to accommodate. Instead judges and lawyers reached out to community mental health agencies but they too were unable to adequately provide resources needed. According to Gary Whitmer (1983) resulting from this dilemma the courts adjudicate with a sense of futility, knowing that it is not the defendant’s reasoned criminal intent but an illness that had brought him or her to court and that, if left untreated, this illness will bring the defendant back to court sooner then later.

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is a not-for-profit organization that has been providing high quality appellate and post-conviction representation to indigent persons since 1988. The office of the Appellate Defenders fills an important need in the criminal justice system and advocacy for the destitute. OAD is the second longest-standing institutional indigent defense office and oldest provider of appellate representation to indigent persons convicted of felonies. (www. ppellatedefender. org ) Attorneys participate in the Office of Appellate Defender’s comprehensive training program, which focuses on appellate advocacy, client relations, procedural and substantive criminal law. The up and coming collaboration between the fields of Public defense and forensic social work is monumental in the need for holistic trial representation.

But the need for holistic representation does not end at sentencing. According to The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers describes the ”catch basin for the reakdown of social services inside communities” depicting the defense function within the criminal justice system given by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The assistance that social workers can provide is an appellate office takes on the role of assisting with the legal representation thorough investigation, mitigation and counseling. Social workers also provide institutional advocacy on behalf of clients. Another important function provided is that of case management, support and necessary referrals for clients preparing for release. (M. Rothstien, Reaching through the Prison Wall; 2000)

The value of social works to assist in the interview, evaluation, crisis response, short-term case work, negotiation and referrals in trial offices is admirable. For criminal justice offices, social worker involvement practice generally focuses on investigations and mitigation; the importance of forensic social work in the role of legal representation. . (M. Rothstine; 2000) The National Institute of Justice research in action journal issue from February 1999 gives an in-depth focus on case management in the criminal justice system.

The services provided are much like if not identical to the processes thought by Professor Blake in theory and Practice I. These include intake, assessment, classification, referral, intervention, monitoring, evaluation and advocacy. (National Institution of Justice/ Feburary1999 p. 3) All of which are association with the majority if not all of the fields that make up Social Work. During the assessment stage of the case management process the interview leads into the documentation of individual history. Each individual walking this earth has a unique story to tell.

And these stories paint the picture that portrays where we are in our lives at any given point in time. The job of a multidisciplinary mitigation team is to link client’s history, life circumstances, and the commission of the crime accurately and clearly. Often complex, it reveals that the client’s behavior stems from a number of integrating factors. In their article, “From Misery to Mission: Forensic Social Work on Multidisciplinary Mitigation Teams,” Guin, Noble and Merrill(2003) provide mitigating factors and circumstances inking characteristics and history to criminal behavior in the representation on behalf of defendants in capital cases (Guin, Noble, and Merrill/ From Misery to Mission: Forensic Social Works on Multidisciplinary Mitigation teams) “The capital mitigation process comes to life when a social worker, using a life history model of investigation, assumes the role of mitigation specialist, who, by capitalizing on social work theory and research, practice knowledge and skills yields vital information that, through objective presentation of fact, guides sentencing decisions. (p. 424)

Social Workers are given the task of one of the most important components of building an understanding of the individual you’re advocating for and conceptualizing a rundown of an individual’s life history. Documenting of a defendant’s life history a forensic social worker is gaining insight on possible links to the development of criminal behavior. The intake is a way of establishing a rapport and may involve crisis intervention. The interview is almost always performed face to face and may be videotaped for later use in a court of law.

Next is the assessment phase. This phase involves interviews, substance abuse evaluations, and specialized psychological evaluations. Some of the bases covered include family medical history for any red flags involving mental illness, significant incidents of past trauma, this may include both physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. Another aspect that is a much importance is the family dynamic. Some criminals come from a childhood of moving from foster home to foster home until aging out of the system at the age of 18.

Others may come from a financial comfortable family with a dog and a white picket fence. According to The National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW), the forensic social work practitioner provides: consultation, education & training, diagnosis, treatment and recommendations in various agencies. In addition, the NOFSW also points out that within the field of forensic social work, a clinician may undertake policy, program development, mediation, advocacy, and arbitration. Green; Thrope; Traupmann; the Sprawling Thicket Australian Social Work/June 2005) Barker and Branson (2000) summarize the Field of Forensic Social Work narrowing it down to 10 core areas.

Some of these areas: 1. testifying in courts of law as expert witness. 2. Systematically evaluating individuals so that the resulting information can be used in court or by legal authorities. 3. Investigating cases where criminal conduct may have occurred and presenting the results to judges, juries, and other law authorities. . Recommending to the courts of law ways to resolve, punish or rehabilitate those found guilty of criminal acts or negligence in civil actions. Also included in the 10 core areas of Barker and Branson’s Legal aspects of Professional Practice in the forensic social work field are to; facilitate the court ordered sentence of the convicted person, monitoring and reporting progress to the courts. 6. Mediate between individuals and groups involved in disputed and conflicts. 7. Testify about professional standards of social work to facilitate cases of possible malpractice or unethical conduct. 8. Facilitate development and enforcement of licensing laws to regulate professional practice. 10. Maintain relationships with their own clients that uphold the letter and spirit of the law and ethical principals of their profession. (Barker & Branson Legal aspects of Professional Practice, 2000)

Mark Cameron and Elizabeth Keenan created a practice model that is adapted from the structures offered by Grenscavage and Norcross known as The Common Factors Model. Cameron and Keenan provide three addition new and potentially useful conceptualizations. First, is the conceptualization developed on the basis of ways in which factors function in practice as condition and process that are activated and; Facilitated by strategies and skills for change? Second is the System of Action. Suggesting that conditions and processes interact as a “system of action”; factors reciprocally influence each other, inevitably producing change.

The third conceptualization is based on Locus of practice competencies. Finally common factors are convinced as pertaining not only to the social worker and the client, but all those involved in the change work, including family, informal social supporters, and helpers in social services, education, health care organizations, and the judicial system. ” (Cameron & Keenan; The Common Factors Model; p. 65) Roberts and Brownell (1995) define Forensic Social work as “the practice specialty in social work that focuses on Law and educating law professional about social welfare issues and social workers about the legal aspects of their objectives” as defined by Barker,(p. 60). They go on to pen a section entitled Professional Recognition of forensic social work as a Field of Practice.

This is an important part of why I chose to do my capstone paper on Forensic Social work in the first place. I’ve came to realize what little attention is given to this particular field of social work practice in general. Roberts and Brownell (1995) discuss the need for social workers them selves to recognize that a specialization in forensics has developed in recent years not just in social work but among other professional groups such as psychology, psychiatry and nursing. A Century of Forensic Social Work: Bridging the Past to the Present, 1999) The fact that there should be a distinct and prominent role for forensic social workers; the need to recognize that this area of practice; if we were to consider social work in corrections and probation, forensic mental health, substance abuse, family/criminal court, domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, it is a natural outgrowth of the leadership exerted by Jane Adams, Julia Lathrop and other prominent forensic social workers in the late 1800’s.

Free Essays

For the Love of Sports

In this paper, I will apply the functionalist theory to answer the question: “Why are people fanatically interested in playing and watching sports? ” Culture, social structure, and social interaction play major roles in contributing to the reasons why people are fanatically interested in sports. Sport fans have a personal connection to their sport and/or team because it represents something that is important to them: city, state, favorite player, their past or future, hobby, and entertainment.

Culture consists of the shared ways of life and the shared understandings that people develop as they live together (Coakley, 2009, p. 5). I grew up in a house with my two Uncles who were very influential to my fascination with playing and watching sports. They boxed and also played baseball. Their athletic abilities were exceptional and were represented by the numerous trophies that filled the trophy case in our home. It was no surprise that I took a liking to sports because I was surrounded by it everyday of my life.

I would go to the baseball field and watch them play baseball and I went to the gym and watched them train for boxing. My Uncles would also set up pick up leagues for my friends and me. These actions by my Uncles contributed to me becoming a fan of sports. Today I have the same influence on my sons that my Uncles had on me. My sons grew up watching me watch, play and coach sports so it has become a part of their life. They are both athletes that watch and play all the sports that were part of their culture. Many athletes today grew up with sports in their home.

Michael Jordon’s sons play basketball, Ken Griffey Jr. played baseball for the Cincinnati Reds where his father, Ken Griffey Sr. , once played and Bob and Brian Griese both won Super Bowls while playing in the NFL. Social interaction consists of people taking each other into account and, in the process, influencing each other’s feelings, thoughts and actions; social structure consists of the established patterns of relationships and social arrangements that take shape as people live, work and play with each other (Coakley, 2009, p. ).

I remember when I was stationed over in Afghanistan. My friend and I would get up really early in the morning to watch football. He was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and I really disliked the Steelers but would get up with him to watch them play because he would watch my games with me. However, through the social interaction with my friend I would catch myself cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers because they were his favorite team. Social interaction is a critical part of why people play and watch sports.

Sports create opportunities for conversation that enable people to form and nurture relationships and even enhance their status as they describe and critique athletes, games, teams, coaching decisions and the content of media commentaries (Coakley, 2009, p. 18). Everyone in my office where I work is a sports fan. We will spend all day Sunday, while the games are on, texting each other talking about our fantasy football team. Monday mornings are our soap box to discuss all the football action from Sunday. Like ESPN analyst we break down each game and player and this goes on all day.

The emotional intensity, group camaraderie, and sense of accomplishment that often occur in sports make sport participation more memorable than other activities (Coakley, 2009, p. 18). Every Wednesday the guys and I from work play very competitive but fun basketball. It has provided us with very memorable moments and camaraderie that is forever lasting. I was at my son’s football banquet yesterday and I bumped into to a friend of mine who use to play ball with us and we talked for almost 30 minutes about the basketball that we use to play on Wednesday when he was there.

Sport is both a constituent, and a constitutor, of the broader social context in which it is located. It is a vehicle through which the forces and relations of societal power are covertly communicated and, if infrequently, explicitly challenged, to the benefit of some groups within society, yet to the detriment of others (Zirin, 2008, p. 29). Sport fans have a connection to their sports or sport teams because they represent their city, state and/or community.

They watch their favorite team on television or attend the game live to cheer their team to victory over the other team and the fans that cheer for them. Sports and sport teams can, and often do, reflect and represent specific locations and local identities (Crawford, 2004, p. 52). Greenville High School and T. L. Weston were the two high schools that divided my town. Greenville High represented the north side and the south side was represented by T. L. Weston. It was considered a rival game whenever these two teams played each other.

The communities for each team came out in full force wearing team colors and other replica to represent the high school in their community. Winning this game would give one side of the town bragging rights over the other. Both sides of the stadium were always packed with fans for both teams. A town divided by two football teams that represented their community but brought together by their love for sports. In conclusion, culture, social interaction and structures influence the actions and relationships of sports fans and contribute to their fanatic obsession with watching and playing sports.

Culture can influence what team you cheer for, what sport you like to watch or play, and what kind of sports fan you are. Social interaction and structure provide a forum to discuss your favorite team, cheer with other sport fans, talk about the game you watched on TV, and the opportunity to play the game with friends who also enjoy sports. Many sport fans share the same values and that is their love for sports, even though they may not be cheering for the same team. Sports develop relationships, build camaraderie and gives sports fans something to own outside of themselves.

Free Essays

The Mirror of the Other and America: The Multinational Society

The issues explored in “The Mirror of the Other” and “America: The Multinational Society” point out problems I society that are compounded by the “mono-cultural” attitudes that Reed and Fuentes tell us to try and avoid. Social problems that take part in “mono-cultural” attitudes include racism, poverty, and ageism. Carlos Fuentes talks about the interactions between Hispanic culture and Americans inside the United States. In “America: The Multinational Society”, Ishmael Reed discusses the fact that many cultures influence the United States more than people think.

Ishmael Reed believes strongly in the “western” influence, and incorporates many ideas from it. “By which they mean, presumably, a civilization created by the people of Europe, as if Europe can be viewed in monolithic terms” (Reed p256). Racism in todays culture filled United States is at an all-time high. The Hispanic culture and the American culture coexist whether we like it or not. “The two cultures coexist, rubbing shoulders and questioning each other. We have too many common problems, which demand cooperation and understanding in a new world context, to clash as much as we do” (Fuentes, p251-252).

Fuentes would believe that “mono-cultural” attitudes are curable and seen as a disease. Fuentes would address this problem by coming together and living with our differences cooperatively and peacefully. Reed would also agree to come together as one and not be racist. “Such blurring of cultural styles occurs in everyday life in the United States to a greater extent than anyone can imagine and is probably more prevalent than the sensational conflict between people of different backgrounds that is played up and often encouraged by the media”(Reed, p257).

Poverty is the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support. We live in the world’s wealthiest nation. Yet 13 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty. In most areas, a family of four needs to earn twice the poverty line to provide children with basic necessities. The “mono-cultural” attitude towards poverty needs to stop. All cultures need to come together as one and conquer what Hispanics and Americans live through.

Fuentes has his own view on family and the way we should act and also pursue closeness with our siblings. “And of course there is the family – family commitment, fighting to keep the family together, perhaps not avoiding poverty but certainly avoiding a lonely poverty”(Fuentes p252). Ageism is a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment. Fuentes states that elders are like a storybook and are never shunned from society.

The care and respect for the elders is something called respeto, the respect for experience and continuity, less than awe at change and novelty. This respect is not limited to old age in itself; in a basically oral culture, the old are the ones who remember stories, who have the store of memory” (Fuentes p252). In Fuentes’s mind the elderly are respected to the highest degree. In his culture the elderly are perceived as a royalty and are of the highest honor.

One could almost say that when an old man or an old woman dies in the Hispanic world, a whole library dies with the person” (Fuentes p252). When going through “The Mirror of the Other” and “America: The Multinational Society” there are many social problems that take on “mono-cultural” ideas. Fuentes and Reed challenge this by giving their own ideas. They address problems like racism, poverty, and ageism by giving their answers of combining cultures. Each author takes on these problems with their own ideas and resolutions to stop these social issues.

Free Essays

Performance Orientation

The degree to which a collective encourages and rewards (and should encourage and reward) group members for performance improvement and excellence. Assertiveness. The degree to which individuals are (and should be) assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in their relationships with others. Future Orientation. The extent to which individuals engage (and should engage) in future-oriented behaviors such as delaying gratification, planning, and investing in the future.

Organizations in countries with high future oriented practices like Singapore and Switzerland tend to have longer term horizons and more systematic planning processes, but they tend to be averse to risk taking and opportunistic decision making. Humane Orientation. The degree to which a collective encourages and rewards ( and should encourage and reward) individuals for being fair, altruistic, generous, caring, and kind to others. Countries like Egypt and Malaysia rank very high on this cultural practice Institutional Collectivism.

The degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward (and should encourage and reward) collective distribution of resources and collective action Organizations in collectivistic countries like Singapore and Sweden tend to emphasize group performance and rewards In-Group Collectivism. The degree to which individuals express (and should express) pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families. Societies like Egypt and Russia take pride in their families and also take pride in the organizations that employ them.

Gender Egalitarianism. The degree to which a collective minimizes (and should minimize) gender inequality. Egypt and South Korea were among the most male dominated societies in GLOBE. Organizations not operating in gender egalitarian societies tend to discourage tolerance for diversity of ideas and individual. Power Distance. The degree to which members of a collective expect (and should expect) power to be distributed equally. A high power distance score reflects unequal power distribution in a society.

Countries that scored high on this cultural practice are more stratified economically, socially, and politically; those in positions of authority expect, and receive, obedience. Uncertainty Avoidance. The extent to which a society, organization, or group relies (and should rely) on social norms, rules, and procedures to alleviate unpredictability of future events. The greater the desire to avoid uncertainty, the more people seek orderliness, consistency, structure, formal procedures and laws to cover situations in their daily lives.

Free Essays

Sociocultural Forces

Before starting to plan to franchise a Mc Donald’s in another country. They obtain the relevant information from the target market in addition to the individual customers of the organization. They find out the shifts in areas like the consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns of the market. Fundamentally, this is the key condition for executing a suitable customer relationship management system. Some of the Sociocultural forces from the countries where they were planning to enter that Mc Donald’s took into consideration Cultural

Cultural: McDonald’s international restaurants satisfy local tastes and customs by offering unique products, services and other items to the menu. Customers in Norway can order McLaks – a fresh grilled salmon sandwich with dill sauce on a whole-grain bun. McDonald’s fans in the Netherlands can have vegetable burger and in Italy and Greece customers can help themselves at a fresh salad bar.

Population Changes: Changes in population demographics have many potential consequences for organizations. As the total population changes, the demand for products and services also changes. When McDonald’s opens restaurants in a new country, the jobs it creates stimulate the national economy and broaden the local tax base. Besides the new jobs directly linked with McDonald’s restaurants, the company indirectly supports other segments of a country’s workforce by hiring local construction firms and purchasing from local suppliers, local farmers and local distributors.

Educational Levels: All the staff and employees at McDonald’s are given a handsome salary package and attractive incentives in accordance with the level at which the person is working. That’s why employees at McDonald’s in other countries are satisfied and motivated. Higher educational levels allow people to earn higher incomes than would have been possible otherwise. The increase in income has created opportunities to purchase additional goods and services, and to raise the overall standard of living of a large segment of the population.

The educational level has also led to increased expectations of workers, and has increased job mobility. Workers are less accepting of undesirable working conditions than were workers a generation ago. Better working conditions, stable employment, and opportunities for training and development are a few of the demands businesses confront more frequently as the result of a more educated workforce.

Norms and Values: McDonald’s has an open-door culture; any employee can go to the Restaurant Manager and can discuss any problem or new ideas for the improvement of the restaurant. Nobody has any hang-ups; everybody does everything. McDonald’s also believes in value to the customer, that is, why prices are value oriented “… nothing sells forever unless it is value for money.”

Norms (standard accepted forms of behavior) and values (attitudes toward right and wrong), differ across time and between geographical areas. Lifestyles differ as well among different ethnic groups. As an example, the application in the United States of Japanese-influenced approaches to management has caused firms to reevaluate the concept of quality. Customers have also come to expect increasing quality in products. Many firms have found it necessary to reexamine production and marketing strategies to respond to changes in consumer expectations.

Social Responsibility : is the expectation that a business or individual will strive to improve the welfare of society. From a business perspective, this translates into the public expecting businesses to take active steps to make society better by virtue of the business being in existence. McDonald’s is firmly committed to give back to the community where we operate. They are happy to become involved because they recognize that organizations have a role to play in helping communities to work successfully.

Free Essays

Social Exclusion and Discrimination

Do we, as citizens, have the ability to be included, to function and to participate fully in the varied aspects of today’s society? This essay will look at defining the terms described in the title by exploring research and theories that measure these problems. The essay will identify a group of people who experience one of these struggles, citing evidence to confirm this. The essay will also look at what can be done to prevent people being excluded, oppressed and discriminated against.Sociology is the study of human social behaviour, especially the study of the backgrounds, groups, establishments, and development of human society, and some theories help to decide why and how to choose between alternative distinctions (Payne 2005). Theories are statements of ideas, and Fook (2002) states that putting names to things help provide explanations and understanding of practice. Payne (2005, p6) stated that “ Because social work is a practical action in a complex world, a theory must offer a model of explicit guidance. ” There are different sociological theories on social influences, and these are interesting in their comparisons.

Emile Durkheim was a structural functionalist. He was also a positivist, believing that society conforms to unwavering laws and that there is an objective reality(Giddens 2001). He operated within a framework that sees society as a complex structure or system in which the parts work together to promote cohesion and stability (Dubois & Prade 1990). Structure in this context refers to any stable pattern of social behaviour; the function aspect is the examination of the consequences of individual actions for the operation of society as a whole.

This perspective basically perceives all different parts of a society come together and work as one whole part, in which power is underplayed. This could mean that if an individual or group does not work with the rest of society then they may be excluded. Howe (2002) explains that sociology would be the backbone of the structural perspective within social work and would look at the political, economic and material environment in which people find themselves.

He goes on to say that this theory encompasses an anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory perspective and that poverty, inequality and lack of social justice can seriously disadvantage some people and that these disadvantages can contribute to poor social functioning. Structural theorists maintain that these people are not a problem to society but that society has become a problem for them. However, functionalism is often criticized for not adequately explaining change, and placing too much order on order and stability. (Haralambos et al 2004) The conflict theorists view the society from an objective and hierarchical point of view.

In this perspective some individuals are inferior to society. The basis of social order is power or intimidation and the only way to change within the society is through a power struggle in which there is a lot of competition. Social class is extremely important in this perspective for it defines an individual’s place in the pyramid of power. Karl Marx was the originator of the conflict theory and described societies like Britain as capitalist systems whereby rich employers and business owners with capital set up businesses which exploit working classes to generate maximum profits (Macionis & Plummer 2008).

Therefore, according to this theory, the working classes could be discriminated against. Social exclusion is a multidimensional, dynamic concept which emphasises the processes of change through which individuals or groups are excluded from the mainstream of society and their life chances reduced. (Philip & Shucksmith 1999. ) There is no agreed definition of social exclusion, but there are considered to be conditions that many agree are contributing factors.

Shaw et al (2006) described social exclusion as affecting individuals or areas that suffer from linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low income, poor housing, bad health, high crime and family breakdowns. So it has been found that living in a deprived area can drive a person into extreme poverty and/or social exclusion. (Haan et al. 1987, p 989). Therefore, we can conclude that social exclusion is mainly associated with the above circumstances but it is also linked to a lack of social support, social position and empowerment.

White (1998) describes the processes leading to social exclusion – including economic change, demographic change, changes to welfare systems and processes of segregation and separation of certain minority groups. Social exclusion is not just about individuals, it can refer to whole communities within which everyone can be affected. For example, areas with high levels of unemployment and deprivation. Sooman & Macintyre (1995) reported that studies in Glasgow showed differences in self-reported health between local areas, with more advantaged areas showing fewer health problems.

In the mid 1990’s, this country was distinguished by high levels of social exclusion, with the highest rates in Europe of jobless households and teenage pregnancies (www. socialexclusionunit. gov. uk). Many of these figures worsened during the 1990’s and crime, poverty, exclusion from school and drug/alcohol dependency became significant problems. Nowadays, the concept of social exclusion is taking over from poverty. It does not just mean poor income, it suggests something more than social inequality and so it carries the risk of a multi-tier society or the relegation to the status of the welfare dependent. Robbins, cited in Alcock, 1997).

We could, of course, ask the question why is social exclusion a problem? Why should we care about someone who does not participate in key activities of the society in which he or she lives? (Burchardt et al, 2002). After all, not everybody chooses to conform to social norms. So, what if an individual has used their personal autonomy to deliberately exclude themselves from society? A recluse who prefers solitude to company, a youth who chooses to join a criminal gang rather than pursue a career, or the rich people who lock themselves away at the other end of the social scale?

Do all these people constitute a social problem, and if so, is it the same kind of problem as those who are socially excluded for reasons beyond their control? (British Journal of Psychiatry 2007. 191). There is, in society, an expectation that people conform to social norms, and if someone behaves or looks differently from what is expected then they could be subject to discrimination, whether their lifestyle is their own choice or has been forced upon them. To discriminate, briefly defined, means to victimize or favour a group or individual because of social, economic, race, gender or religious reasons.

The law in Britain recognises two kinds of discrimination; direct and indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when, as defined above, a group or individual is targeted for specific reasons. Indirect discrimination can happen when there are rules or regulations set in place which could exclude certain people. For instance, an employer may state that no hats or headwear are to be worn in the workplace. This could indirectly discriminate against people of certain ethnicity whose religion states that they cover their heads.

Discrimination and social exclusion have certain similarities and can be compared by drawing attention to the different types of social discrimination experienced by people. Discriminatory behaviours take many forms but they all involve some sort of exclusion or rejection. These behaviours can be looked at in different ways – for example, anthropologically. Anthropology as a discipline gives powerful insight to personal views and asks the fundamental question, how and why do human beings behave the way they do (Bronowski 1952) and compares the historical development of human society.

This can be used in social work by enabling workers to understand different human behaviours and why they may be a product of society. As stated above, discrimination and social exclusion can have similar aspects but a key difference between them are the consequences that can come from discrimination, such as the policies put in place to ensure fair practice for those people who could be discriminated against by illness, age or gender. The core examples of these are the Disability, Age and Sex Discrimination policies now in place.

These policies ensure that, legally, people can no longer be discriminated against for having a disability, being too old or too young or because of their gender. The social composition of a population affects the ways in which social discrimination is exercised. In a society with people of multiple identities, for example ethnicity and religion, individuals or groups are likely to face discriminatory problems in multiple ways. The extent and types of discrimination will depend on peoples’ status in the population.

Similarly, oppression is also multifaceted and can be caused by fear of someone different, or someone who does not conform to what is thought to be the norm in social standing. It is important to recognise the common themes across the areas of exclusion, discrimination and oppression. Thompson (2006, p40) stated that: “Oppression can be defined as inhuman or degrading treatment of individuals or groups; hardship and injustice brought about by the dominance of one group over another.

There are many parallels between the experiences of people with disabilities, gender issues, homosexuals and ethnic minorities but oppression and discrimination cannot be explained merely by peoples’ personal prejudices. Oppression does not derive simply from individual actions, it can be built into structural and institutional patterns and organisational policies. (Thompson 2001) The fact that we live in a highly stratified society means that inequalities are part of the social order and there are inevitably winners and losers. (Thompson 2001) Rooney (1987) gives an example of this.

He describes how a local authority used a word of mouth process to recruit home-help staff. When there were vacancies for these jobs, the existing predominantly white employees would be asked to pass on information of the vacancies to friends and/or family. This meant that knowledge of the posts would only be passed on to a predominantly white group of people, some of whom would be interviewed and consequently employed. Because of this, black and ethnic minorities were systematically excluded, even though it may have been unintentional.

There are many authorities and organisations that can be seen as being guilty of this kind of institutional oppression, with the ideas of powerful groups becoming dominant over the minority as quoted by Marx in 1845 “The ideas of the ruling class are, in every age, the ruling ideas. ” Whilst anyone can experience social exclusion, discrimination or oppression, it has been found that certain groups are more vulnerable to them and that they are all linked to a certain degree. It is usually a combination of factors that contribute to social exclusion, thus making it a multidimensional process and not caused by a single unique factor.

Madanipour et al 1998, cited in Byrne 2005). One group in particular that experience social exclusion are people that suffer from mental illness. It could be that the majority of negative attitudes towards mental illness are simply a reflection of the lack of understanding of various mental health conditions, and this could have a bearing on any initiative to combat such prejudice in the future. Link et al (1999) reported that though there has been some improvement of general understanding, the public, largely, does wish to maintain social distance from the mentally ill.

Hocking (2003) found that people with schizophrenia, specifically, were subject to discrimination in housing, education and employment. Although the public perception of mental illness has been studied vastly, there are few studies to date that concentrate on how the public perceive mental illness within the workplace. Williams and Wilkins (1998) reported that when human resources officers were given vignettes of job applications where the applicants had very similar skills and qualifications, applicants who described themselves as having depression significantly reduced their chance of employment compared to that of applicants with diabetes.

Baldwin and Johnson (2004) stated that workers with mental health problems were subject to a greater discrimination and suffered a lower employability ranking than workers suffering from a physical illness. Research also acknowledges that mental illness receives a greater amount of negativity than that of a physical illness. Britt (2000) reported that among military service members there was a strong belief that admitting to psychological or mental health problems at work would make them more discriminated against than admitting to physical problems.

Over half of the participants of the report believed that a military service member’s career would be negatively affected by admitting a psychological problem and just under half actually admitted that they would maintain a distance from a co-worker has he or she disclosed a psychological problem. Rush et al (2005) identified 3 known misconceptions linked to people with mental illness: i)They are homicidal maniacs that should be avoided ii) They are rebellious free spirits iii) They have childlike perceptions of the world

The most measurable of these is the first one – which could explain some of the exclusion, discrimination and oppression suffered by people with mental health problems. The government has encouraged action in the employment of people with mental illness through its action plan on social exclusion (Social Exclusion Task Force 2006), but levels of unemployment are still significantly high for sufferers even though most of them want to, and are able to work. They usually end up on long term benefit and suffer social exclusion in the form of deprivation, isolation and physical, as well as mental, ill health.

Social support is of crucial importance to individuals and groups with mental health problems, and, maybe if there was more trust between people, along with more community cohesion and empowerment, there might be a greater understanding of the difficulties encountered by people with mental health problems and society would discriminate less. In conclusion then, it would seem that there are many similarities between social exclusion, discrimination and oppression. All of these subjects evoke a strong, emotive response from those affected by them.

In the UK alone, there are still thousands of people who are in poverty, homeless or have mental health problems and who are consequently excluded from aspects of society or discriminated against. This is despite interventions from health and social care workers from all sectors, the government and educational facilities. PCTs and providers are working hard and making significant progress in improving the accessibility and quality of primary health care in order to keep people healthier for longer and reduce health inequalities (www. wdc. org. uk).

Community social work, which was used at the introduction of the welfare state, is going through a regeneration period and the introduction of Sure Start and Family Centres on what the government describes as ‘Sink Estates’ enables the socially excluded to access services and skills to enable them to feel part of society. As with all government initiatives, people regard services with suspicion but social workers are in a position to build trusting and therapeutic relationships within the community.

Therefore, although progress is slow, it is not unattainable. There is now evidence, however, which demonstrates that we need to go further to improve the way we meet the primary health care needs of the most socially excluded people within our society, as socially excluded clients often do not show up on needs assessments. The ‘Inclusion Health study (www. swdc. org. uk) has also produced an excellent supporting evidence pack which commissioners can use to help build the case for improvement.

There is a clear need for people who work with socially excluded people to stay within a framework of guidelines. For example, social workers need to develop an understanding of the problems that can occur within people’s lives and employ anti-oppressive practice in all aspects of care. It is possible that socially excluded groups feel disempowered and unable to do anything to help themselves and it is the duty of the social worker to hand back power to the service user whilst recognising the personal, cultural and social factors affecting the individual or family in question.

There needs to be adequate assessments linked to helping people to solve problems and a sound knowledge of what can cause exclusion or discrimination by using research based evidence. Howe (1993) emphasized the importance of process in evaluation and there are several ways to implement this; for example through personal perceptions, evidence from service users, colleagues and supervisors and advice from other professionals or individuals involved. In short however, the only way to eliminate exclusion of any sort is to raise awareness in the shortfalls of society and eradicate prejudice, bigotry and ignorance.

Free Essays

Sociology and Modernity

Modernity is one phrase that is complex to define. This is because no precise definition of modernity that is globally accepted has been decided upon. This is inclusive of the sociology field that has seen so many theories brought about to define modernity. However, we can have a general definition defining modernity as a post-middle age era that is discernible with a drastic change from the pre-modern concept of agrarianism to a world of industrialization, capitalism, urbanization, rationalization and general social change that was tremendously adopted by the entire world, though having its root origins in Europe in the times around 1700.

Renaissance was the immediate time that preceded modernity; renaissance in this case referring to the last moments of the middle-aged era. This era was all about scientific and industrial revolution that saw the rise of many inventions that have come to define the modernity of modernization. The social change can be attributed to the enlightenment of human kind as Immanuel Kant stated in one of his famous books. Many definitions have been thus brought up in the field of sociology and by different philosophers. Karl Marx defines modernity as a capitalist revolution.

Capitalism is a state of economic status that is based on individualism in that an individual invests in different ownerships or businesses for the sole purpose of personal benefits or for profit motive. He therefore sees modernity as an evil phenomenon and seriously criticizes it. On the other hand, Max Weber defines modernity on the basis of personal beliefs that eventually lead to the social changes that occur in modernization. He sees modernity as a trend that leads to the reduction in traditional values and beefs up rationalization that he so much fears would eventually corrode off humanity.

He is so pessimistic on the effects of modernity given the mean definition that he gives to the phenomenon. The last of the philosophers to provide a definition in our essay will be Emile Durkheim. Durkheim at least had an optimistic definition of modernity, though not entirely optimistic. He defined modernity on the basis of labor division. He believed that modernity would bring in the world the concept of diversification of economic activities in the human society. He saw modernization as a shift of change in the way the community operated; the solidarity change from mechanical to organic.

On the pessimistic side, he however dreads anomie, a state that describes minimal moral guidance provided to individuals in the society (Calhoun, Gerteis, and Moody 46). As defined in the introductory part, modernity carries along different social changes and cultural values that define a clear-cut difference from the same elements that were experienced in the pre-modern age. Modernity has greatly affected the basis of the family in the world today. The family as an institution, coupled with many other things like marriage, morality and religion have all been compromised.

In the pre-modern age, the morality of the society stemmed from the family institution. Thus, the cautiousness that was always involved in the upbringing of a moral family was the number one priority by the family heads at that time (Macionis 4). Politics has undergone dynamic transformation due to the effect modernity. In the pre-modern days, politics was not as dominative as it is in the modern world. Modernity has caused governments to have a very dominative hand by heavily regulating its citizens by very intricate and uncongenial bureaucratic formation.

The economy is another entity that has defined modernity. In the pre-modern era, economy was defined by agrarian productivity. This can even be demonstrated by the Feudalist system of government that existed in Europe. This system of a political system involved land being exchanged in turn for services. It was a system where the lords, who were the land owners, gave out land to vassals, who were the tenants. The land in this kind of political system was referred to as fief. However, the economy in the modern society has completely taken a twist, with capitalism being the system.

Capitalism centered on the personal interests and profits motive of either an individual or a country. This means no rational prioritization will be taken if at all a country or an individual has the aim of making profit. This is a system that was widely condemned by philosophers such as Karl Marx (Calhoun, Gerteis, Moody, Pfaff, and Virk 122). The different philosophers who came up with the various definitions of modernity had varied expectations and predictions that would come along modernity. Karl Marx had a very pessimistic view of modernity.

He highly criticized capitalism, an economy system that he claimed set in with modernity. He sees capitalism as a profit motivated system and therefore a selfish system. He also feared the rise of classes in the society, something that he describes as the baby of capitalism. He abhorrently condemns capitalism as greed and self interest and had very pessimistic expectations of the modern world. He foresees challenges such as extreme poverty while other countries swam in a lot of wealth, all with the advent of a capitalist economy.

Max Weber, with his definition of modernity being based on human rationality, had his fears on the degradation of humanity. Weber was also pessimistic on the way modernity would transform the world. He foresaw the alienation of social justice that would set in as a result of the change in individuals beliefs brought about by modernity (Calhoun et al 122). Among these three philosophers, Emile Durkheim at least had an optimistic view of the setting in of modernity. With his definition of modernity being based on the division of labor, he saw modernity bringing in drastic growth of the economy.

This would occur due to labor diversification and specialization that would equally distribute human resource to every economic activity. His expectations for the advent of modernity were therefore high. Despite him having these positive expectations, he had a fear of anomie. This is a state where there is slow degradation of morals in the society due to disregard of moral guidance by human who would have all their minds set towards the development of the economy. The subject of modernity has always raised a lot of arguments. Many philosophers have brought up theories trying to define modernity but no articular theory has been globally accepted to define modernity.

With this essay though, we have had an overview of the various definitions of modernity by the three philosophers: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. We have also seen their premonitions, feelings and expectations of modernity. Different aspects of modernity and the change of these aspects that affect modernity have been discussed and compared to with the pre-modern age. However, even with all these, it should still be clear that there still exists no precise definition of modernity and the term is open to any belief that any person could come up with.

Free Essays

What Are the Key Ideas Behind the Risk Thesis

Undoubtedly, insecurity, fear and risk have come to dominate more mundane aspects of our everyday life. Social policy theorists, such as Paul Johnson defines social risk as ‘The probability weighted uncertainty that derives from the changing and dynamic world in which people lives. ’(quoted in Alcock et al. 2008:21). In the following essay the concept of ‘risk society’ will be explored even further in order to examine the key ideas of the risk thesis and how those relate to social policy and the welfare state.

After some light has been shed on historical notions of risk, the focus of the essay will move to a contemporary society. Here it can be clearly seen to what extent risks have evolved in relation to the times we live in and this will be especially explored in the terms of individualization, unemployment, health, terrorism and environmental concerns. Risks theorists have outlined three main discourses in European thought upon risk. According to Giddens (1999), all previous cultures were characterized by Pre-Renaissance thoughts. It can be argued that risks were seen as the products of fate, destiny and will of the gods.

However, nowadays the idea of risk is strongly linked to modernity, defined by authors such as Beck and Giddens as ‘the process and institutions of industrialization. (quoted in Kemshall 2002:4). As a result of modernization, there are not only ‘external risks’, coming from the impact of nature upon us, but also ‘manufactures risks’ which are products of human activity, for instance environmental risks or even social ones because our personal futures are increasingly open and therefore, it is possible for individuals to assess the calculability of risk taken.

On the other hand, it can be suggested that post- modernity has challenge the ‘myth of calculability’, because as Giddens states: ‘post- modernity offers little help as to which options should be selected. (quoted in Kemshall 2002: 5). Sociologists such as Beck and Giddens clearly examine the fact that the movement form pre-modern societies to modernity and late modernity have lead to greater uncertainties in our contemporary society such as poverty, unemployment and ecological disasters.

Undoubtedly we live in a ‘risk society’. Beck (1992) argues that the successful development of technology helps us to produce enough to meet people’s essential needs, however it creates a ‘boomerang affect’ because as Beck points out technology and science create more problems than simply solving them. It can be argued that those who benefits form production and consumption suffer its consequences. To support his theory, Beck provides us with many emperical evidences which illustrate the problem of risk society.

It is true that thanks to development in agriculture, the rich countries no longer have problems with shortage food, but the plentiful supply of processed food has created consequences of health problems such as obesity. Similarly, atomic energy helps to produce energy supplies but it creates serious health risk because of nuclear waste and accidents such as those more recently (oil spill in America) and those in the past (Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster).

Particularly, Beck outlines the fact that those disasters are global concerns, rather than local and affect all people, regardless of age or class, because you cannot protect yourself against them by having a high income. In the term of unemployment, Beck also argues that it affects all classes. For example the financial crisis of United Kingdom in 2007-2010 affected not only working class but also middle class people.

Therefore social inequality is individualized because people experience risk as individuals rather than a members of a particular class. Drawing upon ideas of Beck and Giddens, Nettleton and Burrows (1998) argues that increased risks in our contemporary societies made individuals to be more ‘encouraged to make life-style choices and life-planning decisions. ’(cited in Kemshall 2002:43. For example, education become increasing important is shaping our future as we know that by having high qualification there is more opportunity to have better- paid job.

The increasing of consumerism in our societies made people to pay more attention to money as it provided higher standards of living. The fact that there are more uncertainties in employment and even higher educated people struggle to find jobs, it is necessary for people to move out and thus, geographical mobility allows individuals to move form jobs to jobs on global scale. Therefore, people experience this as individuals rather than members of class.

Nettleton and Burrows also argue that those uncertainties in employment which create fear f losing a job and consequences of living in bad conditions, led people to be more aware of the future and secure themselves in the fulfilment of their basic needs by investing money, creating saving accounts and paying private insurances. However is it true that all classes are able to afford it? Nevertheless, people experience the environmental risk to the same extent but it doesn’t mean that the notion of class is less unimportant in the risk society thesis. Beck wrongly assumes that there is the decline of class, because class differences still continue to affect life expectancy and people experiences unemployment in different ways.

For example, it is obvious that people who have higher status within society can afford better life and even of they are about to lose a job, their better qualification give them an opportunity to find a job much more quicker than lower status person. It can also be argued that the development of the technology has a result in declining of manufacturing industry which was the basis of working class identities and it has left them struggling to find new job in the face of high unemployment.

Moreover, working class people are more at disadvantage because as a result of cultural and material deprivation, they do not have an opportunity to do better at education and thus gain better qualification and pursuit themselves in the job career perspectives. Colin Gill (1985) argues that technological and scientific change and deindustrialization ‘threatens to reduce in the workforce in numerous occupations’ such as warehouse workers, postal staff or mineworkers.

Karl Marx (1978) also argues that working class are more likely to be unemployment as a result of capitalists system. Sociologists argue that the risk of unemployment and the effect of unemployment affect both society and personal feelings. Sinfield (1981) argues that unemployment ‘devalues or debates the standard or quality of life in society’. (gouted in Haralambos 2004: 670). He (1981) argues that high unemployment reduced the chance of equality of opportunity being achieved and people feel less secure and may have their standards of living threatened.

The other social effects relate to lack of sense of identity of people who lose their jobs, sense of obligatory activates that works provides, lack of a sense of purpose and freedom and control outside work creates the possibility of engaging time leisure activities that are costly. On the other hand, the personal effects of unemployment affect health and financial income. Some argues people’s health is more affected by unemployment because the statistics show that unemployment men have higher death rates compared to employment ones.

People also experience greater risk of depression and stress, which has a result in many health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks or cancer caused by smoking. Loss of financial income means that people live in bad conditions. Council’s houses are often small and located in marginalized districts. People are more likely to be at risk of poverty which affects both material and cultural deprivation. For example, recent Government figures show that children form low income families are more likely to eat less fruits than their counterparts.

Overall, unemployment restricts people’s possibilities to secure the basic needs such as food, good housing or health treatments. However the successful use of National Health Service over the last 50 years, adapt the needs of health care to demographic changes. NHS provide people with free access to health care, but people with better income status are able to afford private medical insurance and use the private sectors which provide more effective health services. As Clark et al points out, ‘this has been paralleled by a ‘result culture….

Consumer choice and right have also contributed to public expectations, in the terms not only of access of treatment, but also of its timeliness and excellence. ’ (quoted in Kemshall 2002:55). Thos all evidences prove the fact that Beck’s theory based on the idea of decline of class in the contemporary society, is invalid. As we see people experience the risk in different ways as some of them are affected most than others. Particularly, lower income people are at greater risk of poverty due to unemployment. Now the purpose of the essay needs to move one to the idea of social policy as social risk management.

Looking at the historical notion of social policy as risk management the 18th and 19th century Britain have introduced many policies to cope with risk, for example, the introduction of compulsory elementary schools for children of all classes in 1880, self-help organizations (saving banks) and Charity Organization Society or the Poor Law. Jordan (1998) argues that the new politics of welfare: ‘Third Way’, ‘emphasizes equality of opportunity rather than outcome and rights to education and training rather than benefits….

It provides for ‘genuine’ needs to be met, with far stricter testing for the authenticity if the claims from unemployment and disability. ’ (quoted in Kemshall 2002:32) According to Jordan (1998), this new politics of welfare state is increasingly associated with ‘New Labour ‘and Blair. The new programme of Third Way is based on key factors such as social justice, social responsibility and obligations, the labour market as a mechanism for achieving social justice and based on reward for merit and an emphasis upon meritocracy.

Thus, as Kemshall (2002 :37) argues ‘social policy reform and programmes are now pursued through the labour market and the social engineering of ‘opportunities’ to contribute [through] education and workplace. Social investment in human capital is viewed as more economically productive and efficient that retrospective alleviation of individuals need through a state benefits system. ’ The Labour government introduced a number of new designed policies which are based on the idea of encouraging unemployment back into works.

It was done through the introduction of New Deal scheme which was based ‘Gateway’ advice, where young unemployment people have been offered four options (for example, full time education or employment in voluntary sectors). If people refused them, they lost the right to benefits. The introduction of minimum wage and Job Seeker Allowance was also to encourage people to back to work. As Kemshall (2002: 37) states ‘a social policy of ‘Third Way’ actively [promoted] risk taking and a positive attitude to risk has gained currency, and is advocated as the most effective response to the dilemmas of ‘risk society’.

However Keefe and Hordley (2002) pointed out that ‘whether Labour policies will succeed in continuing to keep unemployment low remain to be seen. Levels of unemployment were beginning to creep up again by 2003. (quoted in Haralambos 2004:669). Similarly Giddnes argues that the welfare state is ill equipped to meet the risks set by economic globalization and a needs centred welfare state is based upon the pooling risk, rather than the pooling of resources. According to Giddens there is still much focus on benefits and the dependency of ‘need culture’ is seen as a barrier to economic flexibility.

The purpose of the essay was to identify the key idea of the risk thesis and how those relate to social policy. Considering both historical and contemporary perspectives on ‘risk society’ we can clearly see the patter of changes of the notion of risk over the time. The work of the sociologists such as Beck and Giddens helps us to understand the difference between ‘external’ and ‘manufactures’ risk as well as they outline the argument that risk is more associated with modernity and late modernity.

The essay is based of the idea of risk which is due to individualization and unemployment. Undoubtedly, our contemporary societies are less stable so the fear of unemployment dominates our lives as it affects our standards of living. However risk society thesis are criticised on several ground, such as those of Beck as his theory fails to recognize the fact that people are differently exposed to modernization risk.

Beck fails to recognize the relationships between risk distribution, conflict and inequality, by wrongly assuming that individuals as equally concerned by risk. As Taylor Gooby states ‘Membership of the working class is associated with a much higher risk of fall in living standards and also ‘The risk society is class ideology masquerading as social theory: It serves the interests of those already privileged in a more flexible society by obscuring the needs and aspirations of the more vulnerable who already bear most of the burdens of social change’. Taylor-Gooby, 1999).

Form my point of view; the concept of risk is relevant to social policy, because policies are regarded as risk management. It can be clearly seen in the historical outline and new politics of ‘Third Way’ programme as it demonstrated us how social policies try to tackle the unemployment. However the description of contemporary society by Beck and Giddens left us to critically question some certain aspect and the theory should reflect the ‘idealistic’ rather than ‘materialistic’ nature of the concept of risk.

Free Essays

The Sociological Imagination – Obesity in United States

Obesity has become a large and dark reality in United States. For someone who does not have sociological imagination being overweight is the result of bad personal choices or genetic predisposition. Being overweight might have been the result of past individual struggles that were caused by wrong individual decision-making or behavior. For those who get the interplay of the heart of sociological imagination this is a complex social issue that is the result of patterns of modern economic and social life.

Obesity’s effect in society can be seeing in the number of life-long and potentially life-threatening diseases and conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. People who get sociological imagination would most likely blame how the increase in these diseases put pressure on the health care system in the United States; thus, causing the taxation of already overcrowded hospitals and overworked health care professionals. They might also think that the impact on obesity is linked to diseases that contribute to early death and create an economic burden.

A sociological imagination might blame these to the public policies that contribute to the problem are restaurant industries that serve inexpensive and easy-access foods with high calories and low nutrition. A demographer is someone who statistically studies the human population. According to Dr. Crosnoe, in order to compare different populations, we need national or international data. As a demographer, I want to find out the rate of obesity in each state, what ethnicity and race has the highest obesity rate, and the lifespan in United States.

I would survey the human population in the United Sates to find the characteristics of the population in obesity. According to CDC report, non-Hispanic black is at 36. 8% and Hispanics is at 30. 7%. Thus, a demographer might hypothesizes that family influence is the causes of obesity. Too often Americans eat out; consume large meals and high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition. I can use this survey to rank racial groups in the United States.

I can look at the trend of lifestyle behaviors such as what a person eats and his or her level of physical activity. Obesity continues to be a major health problem in the United States, leading to high rates of mortality. A historical sociologist is someone who studies trends across time using historical data. As a historical sociologist I want to know the factors that causes obesity, change in lifestyle. As a historical sociologist might hypothesizes that technology changes affect the obesity rate to go up since the 80s.

I can look at how technology has made our lives easier and at the same time, made people lazy. For example, today, more people drive long distances to work instead of walking, live in neighborhoods without sidewalks, tend to eat out or get take out instead of cooking, or have vending machines with high-calorie, high-fat snacks at their workplace. Health-care providers must pay closer attention to obesity, and importantly, do their part to prevent obesity by focusing on children and adolescents who are only slightly or moderately overweight.

Free Essays

Development of Social and Emotional Identity

The interview was conducted with an adolescent 18 year-old sophomore at a Alternative Education Program named Phil (fictitious name for confidentiality). Phil was a senior athlete, majored in English and was on the honor roll. The interviewer asked the question, “How would you describe yourself,” Phil sat up straight and stated that he had some problems during his elementary, middle and high school because of his choice of peers some who smoked marijuana. Phil denies any psychiatric illness during this time. Phil relates that at the age of three, he struggled with his parents and siblings over autonomy issues, although his parents were very involved in his academic goals. The first years of school are an important if not critical arena time for social, identity and conflict-management skills. Gibbs, J.T., (1987)

Phil stated as hockey practice began, he had a falling out with his teammates due to a girl he was dating which was a peer’s ex-girlfriend. Phil relates that he realized social acceptance from his peers to be very important at this time. Phil stated ‘feeling intense negative feelings from his teammates had leaded him to withdrawal”. Phil states that being an unpopular student made him react in ways that are inappropriate to the situation; he tried to join others by calling attention to himself, talking about other students, inserting his own opinions and feelings and asking informational questions just to fit in with people. In Phil’s sophomore year, he realized that he had to make accurate judgments about the social competence of his peers.

When asked the question “How important is popularity at school?” Phil stated that popularity is a measure of a student’s social standing with peers. Studies that include observation of elementary, middle and high school student in the classroom and in the playground show that popular students have specific positive qualities that appeal to peers (and to their teachers, too) Gibbs, J.T., (1987). Phil also stated, “The students are people who value other people and know their own value to other people. Students are sought out as friends, and actively seek others out for friendship” (Phil, 2010)

Phil, he states that social status can change at the drop of a baseball cap, such as the popular students are well liked by many children ( and adults), disliked by few, and they have emotionally close, long-lasting one-to-one friendships with peers. These students make friends easily and well, and they keep them. Their friendships are intimate and satisfying. Phil mentioned that he realized what he had been through and the sad truth is, once a student in elementary, middle and high school is rejected, because of their social status seems to be more a matter of default than the product of a specific behavior style. He goes on to say, “if one thing has become clear it is that social emotional and identity status becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” (Phil, 2010)

For most teenagers, adolescence is a time of fast growth physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. This period is mark by developing a sense of identity, self-esteem, and relationships with peers (Reference here). Although teens may experience new encounters and abilities during this period, it also can be painful as they try to make sense of the world and their place in it.

Phil went on to say that in some students, the hyperawareness of social performance can bring on social anxiety and insecurity and shyness symptoms, as well a new image of themselves as shy and eager around others. In addition to Phil’s statement, he replied that the emphasis on emotional control of middle and high school students’ gives way to mature social problem solving in which emotion and social reasoning become integrated. Increasing maturity also brings the ability to make finer distinctions in the social behavior and acceptability of their peers (Phil, 2010).

As the interview culminates, Phil mentions that even if victimized elementary, middle and high school students change the way they are with peers, they will not become popular overnight. It takes time to change negative reputation among peers. Phil states that increasing the social opportunities of all students, and those who have been victimized would help individual outcomes. Troubled children and students need to experience positive social interactions that can benefit many aspects of their lives (Phil, 2010).