The social experience evolves around different dimensions that influence people's everyday experiences and realities in life. Inherent in every event, interaction, individual, and even tangible material/artifact are reflective of a specific kind of social order. Everything is social, and using this premise, this Sociology Portfolio provides a survey of literature and relevant material that illustrate the role that social experience plays in the development of current and essential issues affecting people's lives across nations/countries in the world.
This survey of relevant materials on sociology provides different scenarios in which sociology and its principles and concepts are applied in "real world" issues and problems societies face today. These literature materials are journal (scholarly) articles as well as popular ones, taken from newspapers and/or magazines. Two (2) films are also included to demonstrate how social issues are depicted on "reel," as interpreted realistically or artistically (symbolically) in the film.
The first part of the portfolio has three (3) summaries of journal articles discussing issues that are local (U.S. domestic) and international in scope. Moore and Hagedorn's (2011) analysis of the proliferation of female gangs in the U.S. illustrate the plight of marginalized women in contemporary U.S. society. At an international level, the U.S., as well as its ally countries, figured significantly in current socio-political issues prevalent in countries across the globe. Kilby (2002) provided a critical analysis of the role of the U.S. In promoting financial assistance programs to countries it considers as "third world" or are developing / underdeveloped. And in its war on terror, the U.S. And its Western allies have also encompassed their roles to also providing asylum to political allies in conflict-ridden and war-torn countries.
Newspaper and magazine articles also provided coverage to social issues that are popular and also both domestic and international in scope. While journal articles provided in-depth analysis of social issues, the newspaper and magazine articles surveyed are mainly factual accounts or summarized commentary on issues that are relevant to the U.S., on both domestic and international levels. Domestic issues include the increasing, yet often neglected domestic issue of poverty and hunger in the U.S. (Hilliker, 2008 and Grebmer, 2008). These issues are deemed "neglected" because of the seemingly more coverage given to international politics U.S. is involved, compared to just as important issues happening locally and within American society. Other topics covered in the articles include international issues such as the discussion of developing and underdeveloping countries analyzed from the U.S. perspective, U.S. financial aid given to, this time, Latin American countries, and the less popular issue of female subservience in male-dominant Afghan society.
Lastly, two (2) thought-provoking films discussing the theme of capitalism and its "dark side" or detrimental effects are included in this portfolio. Fight Club, a movie adapted from the novel of the same title by Chuck Palahniuk, discusses the abolishment of capitalism as plotted by the Narrator and his alter-ego Tyler. Also a movie adaptation of the book, John Le Carre's The Constant Gardener depicts the role of Western countries in developing countries today, and how, despite the contribution of capitalism to progress in countries all over the world, the cost of bringing in capitalism is equivalent to sacrificing human lives and demoralization of societies, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries.
Moore, J. & Hagedorn, J. (2001). "Female Gangs: A Focus on Research." Juvenile Justice Bulletin. U.S. Department of Justice- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/186159.pdf on 2 May 2011.
According to Moore & Hagedorn (2001), much research has been given to gangs primarily because they involve issues of social concern. Further, "that concern stems from typically masculine acts of vandalism, violence, and other serious threats" (1). To prove this point, National Youth Violence Prevention Research Center noted that teen gang members are more likely than their non-gang member counterparts to commit serious and violent offenses or crimes. Reasons for joining gangs usually involve the following: prestige and recognition, a sense of belonging, protection in order to decrease apprehension of potential victimization, financial gain which is usually seen by them as not achievable via legal means.
Aside from these primary reasons, there are also secondary pull factors in to gangs. These include the following: by virtue of tradition or having another family member who's a member of a gang, fear from being pressured as a potential member, proximity of certain individuals to gangs found in neighborhood, a retort to a middle-class living, or simply out of boredom. Economic and family reasons are also driving girls to gangs. The changes on welfare system have been proven to be a barrier as women tended to rely on welfare payment. With no significant means to tender legitimate employment, they often resort to gangs.
Kilby, P. (2007). "The Australian aid program: dealing with poverty?" Australian Journal of International Affairs, 114-129.
Discussing the current economic state of Third World countries nowadays is synonymous to discussing poverty in this 'type' of countries, which are mainly found in the Asian and South American regions. In fact, ever since the conception of modernism in the Western world, the concept of a 'Third World' country existing in geographically big regions in the world led to numerous studies exploring and determining how countries identified as 'third worldly' can be elevated to a 'Second World,' and eventually, 'First World' status (like the United States and Britain). Kilby proposed a way to look at the problem of third world poverty, which is to look at them from a different perspective, through scientific thinking. Scientific thinking allows end-users of reports and decision makers to come up with solutions to problems in a more responsive manner. Under the scientific thinking approach, third world poverty is analyzed objectively -- ideally, through statistics and trends. Kilby cited the AusAID program to poor, developing countries as an example of scientific thinking as another approach to solving poverty and eradicating it. The author argued that one of the weaknesses of the Aus AID program is that it attempts to solve the poverty problem by providing aid and prescribing solutions that are not applicable to the third world nations it intended to help. Instead of helping out these nations, no change took effect in the recipient country's economic growth, as a result of inappropriately thinking that economic growth means poverty reduction (115). In this particular example, Kilby unrooted conceptual and operational weaknesses in defining third world poverty and poverty from a 'Western perspective.'
Vaughan, R. And J. Segrott. (2002). "Understanding the decision-making of asylum seekers." Home Office Research Study, (243).
Terrorist attacks against the U.S. In the past decade and its declaration of an all-out war to countries harboring terrorists, particularly in the Middle Eastern region, have brought about more than just a renewed debate on the issue of terrorism. It has also sparked new debates that question the admissibility of refugees seeking asylum in other countries, which are, more often than not, enemy state/nation of a refugee's native country. In the study, Understanding the Decision-Making of Asylum Seekers by Vaughan Robinson and Jeremy Segrott (2002) provides an in-depth looking at the different reasons and motivations why asylum seekers choose the United Kingdom (UK) as their 'destination' or host country of choice. The rationale behind this study is to better understand and determine whether asylum seekers were aware of the benefits and favorable conditions that they would receive when they stay in the UK compared to other European or North American countries. The authors addressed that more than just understanding asylum seekers' knowledge of the potential benefits of living in the UK, the study also would inform both the government and citizens of the country how asylum seekers' decision-making are motivated more by need rather than want (i.e., a conscious effort to go to a destination or host country with the best benefits or 'rewards' upon seeking asylum). Results of the study showed that choosing UK as the destination or host country for asylum seekers is primarily an economic decision, wherein the asylum-seeker would have the greater convenience while at the same time, enjoy the same high income and social status that the s/he has 'enjoyed' prior to leaving his/her native country/country of origin.
Hilliker, Joel and Robert Morley. "The Cause of the Crisis People Won't Face." The Philadelphia Trumpet November-December 2008: 8-9. Available at: http://www.thetrumpet.com/?q=5536.3858.0.0
It comes as a wonder how the world's sole superpower -- the United States of America (U.S.) -- has currently been deluged with problems both man-made and through the forces of nature. In the past years, its weakness as a nation has been stressed especially in light of the socio-economic battles it has fought domestically and internationally. Poverty is a key issue of great import as reflected in its recent economic and financial meltdown that has reverberated across the globe. While mainstream scholars and analysts refuse to recognize that the crisis is brought about by the social cesspool of greed and corruption in doing business. Appropriately called "America's 9/11," the crisis brought…