This is not hubris or the idea that the author of this response is any "better" than that of Giddens. However, sociology texts and summaries seem to leave out the idea that some actions, thought patterns and mindsets that are cultural and/or societal in nature make little to no logical or basic sense in the grand scheme of things. However, perhaps a covering of that dynamic would be too prone to bias and what not for a textbook like this (Giddens, 2011).
The third chapter of the Giddens text is a very good read because it focuses on something that is a common thread to us all, that being socializing with other people including family and non-family as well as general life course and aging. This is something that everyone needs to know but, maddeningly enough, a lot of people fail to grasp completely, if at all. However, one kvetch about this chapter is a fairly casual summary of life course, how important it is and what actions can truly throw one's life off-kilter is not covered nearly as much in depth as it should be. This is not to say that the book should be a motivational book or proselytize to its reader. However, there are a lot of people making decisions that are clearly bad for their future such as having kids too early, having kids out of wedlock or not finishing high school and that vein of thought is not really covered all that well given that it's clear that such actions are highly destructive and counterproductive to a solid and promising future. I guess Giddens was trying to avoid controversial statements and/or appearances of bias but clearly stating facts is not bias. it's not that hard to leave race and gender out of the discussion while still making the point (Giddens, 2011).
Another thing is that the book's third chapter is perhaps not modern or inclusive enough of real-world situations and examples that are pervasive in today's society. They really should be mentioned in this chapter or at least covered more in-depth than they are. The heavy (some say over-use) of the internet for social circle creation and fostering, cyber-bullying, online dating, the introduction of technology to children and so forth are all modern issues and/or problems that should be covered at great length when speaking about socialization…… [Read More]
Symbolic-interactionism is a dynamic theory of society that emphasizes process and change over institution and structure. In Symbolic Interactionism, Joel Charon describes the theory and applies it to a more general study of sociology. In Terrorism and the Politics of Fear, David Altheide applies various theories of sociology including symbolic-interactionism toward understanding how a society collectively agrees upon fear-based symbols and messages.
In Chapter 11, "Society," Joel M. Charon defines society from a symbolic-interactionism perspective. The symbolic-interactionism perspective defines society as "individuals in action," as opposed to a static entity (p. 152). Emphasizing the interactions between individuals, or between individuals and entities, the symbolic-interactionism approach stresses factors like social processes and social change. According to Charon, there are three qualities of society that make it viable from a symbolic-interactionism perspective. These three qualities include ongoing social symbolic interaction; cooperation or interdependence; and culture.
Ongoing social symbolic interaction refers to the symbolic means of communication that are critical to any social organization, even the smallest and loosest relationships. Communication is symbolic in the sense that words, actions, and other symbols impart a collective meaning. There are agreements as to what words and actions mean, and the act and result of that agreement is the solidification of society. A culture could not exist without ongoing symbolic interaction. Symbolic interaction includes role definition and role taking by individual members of the society. Roles are highly symbolic.
Cooperation and cooperative action refer to the fulfillment of either individual or collective goals via individual action. The goals do not have to be shared in precisely the same way, and the individuals participating in the society might have different goals. Yet the individuals in the society are willing to pool resources including information and energy, so that together they can accomplish individual goals. There are certainly shared values that enable cooperative action. Society is viable when individuals "work together despite their personal differences" (Charon p. 155). Societies are formed when individuals act cooperatively and interdependently. Cooperation requires ongoing communication (such as ongoing social symbolic interaction), mutual role taking (also a form of symbolic interaction), defining others as social objects, defining social objects together, and developing goals in interaction (Charon p. 155-156).
Culture is the final of Charon's three components of society. Culture is what develops over time, as ongoing social symbolic interaction and cooperative action take place.…… [Read More]
And as we have gained greater scientific, medical, technological and ideological diffusiveness, theorists from every discipline concerning human matters have required their own lens for examination. For instance, the text by Conrad & Gabe (1999) focuses the whole of its discussion on the relationship between social systems and our ever-growing body of knowledge on systems specific to the physical makeup of the human being. Indeed, the authors provide an extremely compelling impetus for the continually expanding and splintering discourse under the sociology umbrella, demonstrating that with fundamental changes in our knowledge of human anatomy, genetics and evolutionary processes must come changes in the way we interpret social systems related to these dimensions of the species. Conrad & Gabe point out that "sociologists have researched other areas of genetics, including the social construction of genetic knowledge, the emergence and implications of genetic testing, the social control potential of genetic information and the commercialization of genetic biotechnology." (p. 5)
Such instances demonstrate that perspectives on the relationship between genetic patterns and social forces shift, and sometimes diverge in profoundly new directions, based on a continually growing understanding of internal, familial and hereditary human systems. This is similarly the case as external human systems shift, transform or evolve. Indeed, sociology has long concerned itself with the implications of 'modernity' to the human experience as well as to the way that human beings organize, conflict and differentiate. To this end, van Krieken (1997) argues that human beings are not to be understood as this static and definable entity but are instead only understood in light of the sociological forces that have molded them over time. Van Krieken contends "that such a conception of human identity enables us to improve our understanding of a range of theoretical issues, including the relation between social structure and action and the rationality of human action, as well as revealing the historical roots of a number of long-term trends which are usually treated as changes typical of the second half of the…… [Read More]
When functionalists consider the preponderance of social deviance, they make a note of the positive role that inappropriate behavior plays in maintaining the health of a society. By soliciting outrage in others, a deviant can clarify and reinforce social norms while strengthening a group's sense of community togetherness (Harris, n.d.).
The conflict perspective, which stemmed originally out of Karl Marx's writings on class struggles, presents society in a different light than do the functionalists. While the functionalist perspective focuses on the positive aspects of society that contribute to its stability, the conflict perspective focuses on the negative, conflicted, and ever-changing nature of a society. Unlike functionalists who defend the status quo, avoid social change, and believe people cooperate to effect social order; conflict theorists challenge the status quo, encourage social change, and believe rich and powerful people force social order on the poor and the weak (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).
During the 1940s and 1950s American sociologists generally ignored the conflict perspective in favor of the functionalist. But during the tumultuous 1960s, American sociologists began taking a considerable interest in conflict theory. It was during this time that Marx's idea that the key conflict in society was strictly economic was expanded. Modern day conflict theorists find social conflict between any groups in which the potential for inequality exists: racial, gender, religious, political, and economic. Conflict theorists feel that unequal groups usually have conflicting values and agendas, causing them to compete against one another. This constant competition between groups forms the basis for the ever-changing nature of society (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).
Critics of the conflict perspective often point to its overly negative view of society. The theory ultimately characterizes humanitarian efforts, altruism, democracy, civil rights, and other positive aspects of society to capitalistic designs in order to control the masses and not to the inherent interests in preserving society and social order (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).
In…… [Read More]
Nazi Germany and how it would be analyzed by Karl Marx, Max Weber and/or Emile Durkheim
Max Weber, born in 1864, is one of the best-known and most popular scholars of 'sociology', as well as of 'economic work'. One of his best contributions to the cause of economics as well as to sociology is his work entitled "Vertstehen" or what is also known as the theory of 'Interpretative Sociology' and his thinking on 'positivism'. Weber's theory of Verstehen is often seen as being very controversial and questionable. His view is that any research that is connected to history or sociology or economics must be approached with a particular idea or concept, or what is called a 'conceptual apparatus'. This apparatus was referred to be Weber as the 'ideal type', meaning that when an individual needs to understand or comprehend a particular sociological phenomenon, the various 'actions' of the different participants of the phenomena, and not stop at merely describing the phenomenon in itself. (Max Weber, 1864-1920)
However, the problem here is that one cannot actually comprehend interpretation unless and until the individual attempts to classify that particular within the phenomenon as belonging to that previously decided upon 'ideal type'. This was probably the reason that Max Weber described the 'Ideal Type' of behavior in four broad categories. The first ideal behavior was described as the 'rational means to rational ends', the second one as being 'the rational means to irrational ends', the third one was described, as being 'guided by emotion' and the fourth one was the 'guided by custom or habit'. Max Weber himself acknowledged the fact that utilizing the 'ideal type' for describing his theories was essentially abstract, but stated that it was an important means of understanding the various social phenomena that involved human behavior in all its intricacies, wherein an ideal type would help classify this intricate behavior into several ideal types, and this in turn would make it much easier to understand and interpret various social phenomena. (Max Weber, 1864-1920)
It is important at this point to understand the person that Max Weber was. Born into a household with strictly Protestant views, and with seven other siblings competing for his parents' attention, Max Weber was constantly striving for individuality and tried to oppose authority, both parental as well as political…… [Read More]
"They've got their rules and we've got nothing to do with that" or "He has to learn the rules, just like anybody else" are key phrases which sustain this idea.
The two opponent groups are both looking to improve their performances in terms of privilege and power. The scene in which the prisoners are working and the pavement of the street and become motivated to work rapidly is also representative, as it points out their success in front of the authorities, therefore the earning of a privilege, more free time. On the other hand, the working conditions, the punishments they are being submitted to ("spending a night in the box") show the difference of status and the inequality between the two groups, which is the genesis of the conflict. Same does the appellative "boss" used with high frequency along the movie.
It is interesting to analyze the concept of "group cohesion" which is extremely obvious at least in the case of the prisoners. The way they manage to live together and somehow make their common life easier, their emotions, all of these are a result of their social interaction and a proof that they adhere to the same values and principles. The group cohesion is mostly obvious through the touching scenes in the movie, like the one where Luke returns from his attempt to escape and peers treat him with compassion or through the relationship of sincere friendship that Luke and Dragline develop.
Another sociological concept that appears in the construction of characters and that explains events and behavior is the term of "deviant behavior" that one can attribute to the main character, Luke. He ignores laws when being arrested and overlooks the sheriff through his attitude, and in general, he does not seem to conform to the prevailing rules and norms of living imposed, which is exactly the definition of a "deviant behavior."
Although the general line of the action follows the idea of conflict among individuals, one must take into account the fact that, both in the real life, and in movies is hard to define situations that coincide to a specific approach in all their aspects. Society is "dynamic" and complex, which means that one can observe various…… [Read More]
This week's additional readings resonated for me that for many the unequal distribution of wealth and assets can take away healthy opportunities to make these contributions and can turn into feelings of hopelessness, depression, violence, as well as self-destructive tendencies. In a society that is as wealthy as Austraila, it is still amazing that so many individuals experience feelings of deprivation and poverty.
Sociology and Health
I enjoyed reading about health this week and understanding that a sociological perspective speaks to more than just the physical or biological health of an individual or society but also includes social factors. We often look at health in terms of the specific momentary physical ailments or diseases rather than whole person. When applied to women one can see that sociology can impact health beyond physical in the manner in which health services are delivered to this population. There is a significant emphasis on reproductive health in women who are in their reproductive years without attention being paid to the needs of specific groups of women. Looking through a sociological lens allows us to identify the connection between social factors such as income, housing, and education with physical health and overall well-being.
Sociology, Order and Power
My friends asked me what I learned in Person and Society this week and I explained that I was intrigued by the notion of conformity and deviance being social constructs. One often thinks of social norms as being understood in a given society but the leap is not often made to the inclusion of deviance a social construction as well rather we believe that persons who are deviant are somehow lacking in the moral values that other individuals possess. This allows for an individual emphasis rather than a society-based responsibility. Yet once processed it makes sense that if behavior norms are established by society then all behavior…… [Read More]
(Frazer 8) to this end she develops the categories of "affirmation" and "transformation." In understanding Frazer's view it is imperative to bear in mind that older regimes of theory cannot achieve the synthesis that she is looking for and that new and more creative modes of political and social theory are necessary.
In essence what Fraser suggests is that in order to overcome this antimony between redistribution and recognition and to avoid the various reductive theories that have previously been put forward, she suggests a synthesis of various aspect of both critical theory as well as post -structural and deconstructive theory. In her view this would serve to overcome the false separation of these two central political and social elements.
In the final analysis Frazer's theory is based on a number of interrelated views. The first is that, " the redistribution - recognition dilemma is real" (Fraser 13). Secondly, Frazer notes that this dilemma can be "softened" by the search for perspectives and theoretical approaches that "...minimize conflicts between redistribution and recognition in cases where both must be pursued simultaneously" (Fraser 13). Importantly in this analysis is that various facets of the redistribution - recognition dilemma cut across and intersects with one another.
As a result and in conclusion, Fraser does not posit a vague or ephemeral solution to this problem but one which interrogates and attempts to find a theoretical locus that is based in pragmatic reality. In this regard she alludes to the combination of socialism and deconstruction as a theoretical basis to the central question of justice for all.
3. The politics of difference and multiculturalism and the Eurocentrism of social theory.
One of the central critiques of disciplines in the humanities that occurred in the latter part of the twentieth century was the critique of Eurocentrism. Simply stated, this refers to the process of European expansionism that the conquest of the world by countries like Great Britain and the subsequent colonialism that accompanied these events. As many theorists have pointed out, this was not only colonization of territory but also of identity and the mind.
The central concern and critique of Eurocentrism is that certain modes of thought and perceptions about reality, society, culture and identity were favored and promoted by the colonialists. In sociological terms this refers to the…… [Read More]
The difference between micro and macro perspectives in sociology is that the latter looks into the role of social institutions in influencing social life and interaction, while the former is centered on studying social interaction itself, which happens between individuals or people who are also members of the society.
The distinction between the two perspectives become easier to understand when applied in the context of a particular social phenomenon, such as the proliferation of gang membership among members of minority communities such as Latinos, Asians, and other marginalized sectors in American society. Looking at this social phenomenon in a micro perspective, gang membership is analyzed and interpreted as one way for people to seek companionship and feel belonged to a group, having lived in a society where sometimes, racial or cultural differences are not tolerated. Gang membership at the micro perspective is considered an individual's way of creating an identity for himself/herself through the image of the gang or group he/she belongs to.
At the macro-level perspective, gangs continue to emerge and gang behavior perpetuate in the society because of the social institutions that tolerate a system that seeks to further marginalize these minorities who are members of criminal gangs. The prison system is an example of a social institution that reinforces criminal behavior among gang members: the portrayal of the prison system as an institution that promotes punishment and social exclusion instead of rehabilitation results to people resorting once again to gang membership because their social system cannot support their need for belongingness and acceptance in their community/society. This example illustrates how micro and macro perspectives differ, yet complement each other in discussing social phenomena in human society.
2. A correlational relationship is an empirically measured relationship between variables in which the variables are found to change together. This may be differentiated with causal relationships, which are empirically measured relationships between two variables in which a change in one…… [Read More]
Sociology, Identity, and Families
I would like to write about the concept of self in sociology this week because I have learned to evaluate the relationship between the internal and external self and the influence that society plays on developing who we are as individuals. When taken in the perspective of how we view children in society as influential and subject to the perspectives of key people, one would believe that we develop our identity based upon a culmination of all of our experiences and social influences. The institutions of education and religion are believed to be process by which socialization and identity development occur in the external world and therefore our external self is the result of these factors. Society and family are viewed as the agents by which individuals are molded into the people they are to become and this can be best accomplished through the use of structure and discipline. Yet one must also take into account the individual internal factors that make us more or less likely to be influenced by external forces. It is the merger of the external and internal forces that allow us to fully develop and individuate.
Sociology, Age, and Identity
This week I particularly connected with the concept of youth and their ability to develop an identity within the context of social stigmas that are associated with the transition to adulthood. Youth in their normal maturation process go through a natural period of individualization that is often viewed as rebellion and characterized as troubled behavior. The readings this week helped me to reflect on how these stigmas associated with a normal life process may impact the formation of self as a positive and contributing member of society. If one continues the logic of last week with society playing a significant role in shaping how children develop through the use of institutional influences, then one can see how society may view this natural rebellion as a failure of such institutions. One must consider whether…… [Read More]
Trey Parker and Matt Stone's television show South Park is a sociological show by nature. Every episode is imbued with the sociological imagination, and asks the viewer to think critically as well as comically about situational psychology and sociology. This is true for the Season 7 Episode 5, entitled "Fat Butt and Pancake Head." The theme of the episode is ethnic and linguistic stereotyping and issues related to diversity in America. "Fat Butt and Pancake Head" begins with a set of South Park Elementary School presentations on Latino contributions to American society. Most of the students give straightforward reports about contributions of Latinos to American society, but Eric Cartman's report is different. Instead of offering a dry explication of how Latinos are present in every sector of society, he paints a caricature of Latina superstar Jennifer Lopez on his hand. The caricature has an exaggerated accent and makes references to eating "tacos and burritos," even though Jennifer Lopez is Puerto Rican and not Mexican. The performance draws on every stereotype about Latino culture, and is overtly politically incorrect. Kyle, Cartman's friend, is infuriated because the hand puppet is a big hit with the Latino community leaders in the school auditorium. The Latinos in the crowd applaud Cartman's efforts and Cartman wins the prize for best presentation.
Cartman's hand puppet then becomes famous, out staging the real Jennifer Lopez and causing the record executives to fire her. Ben Affleck, Lopez's beau at the time, leaves the real Lopez for Eric's hand. The two are about to get married. However, the real Jennifer Lopez is upset and chases down Eric and the hand puppet. Cornered and prepared to end the ruse, Cartman reveals that the Jennifer Lopez on his hand is actually an alias of con artist Mitch Connor. He kills off both Lopez and Connor in front of a crowd of people. The episode ends with the real Jennifer Lopez working at a Mexican-themed fast food restaurant and complaining about her position.
This multi-layered South Park episode offers ample opportunity for sociological exploration and analysis. The most obvious issue that the episode raises is related to ethnic stereotyping. Cartman is an unapologetic bigot. His performance in "Fat Butt and Pancake Face" is very much true to character. In prior episodes, Cartman proves his bigotry against gays, Jews, women, and blacks. This time, Cartman's stereotyping against the Latino community…… [Read More]
There is some suggestion on observation that many students of the dominant norm on campus do not engage in activities that might help Asian or other minority students feel as though they were members of a unique family or society with no racial or cultural boundaries. Rather, there is much in the way of stereotypical behaviors observed among the subtype population and the larger student body (Anderson & Taylor, 2006).
It seems however, many administrators, regardless of student behavior, are supportive of efforts by the subtype class to promote greater awareness among the dominant culture of cultural similarities. For example, in the environment explored, there are weekly meetings held as noted by flyers that suggest a "diversity" day be held bi-annually. On this day professors may interact with students and require subtypes and dominant typed students to interact with one another in focus group activities that require conversation, communication and mutual understanding.
If the campus were to increase its efforts at actually diversifying the student population on campus, and make efforts to recruit minority students from local, regional and national schools, the college would definitely demonstrate its inclination toward acceptance and diversity. This is not to say the subtype population does not have a duty to attend to however. On observation the subtype population seemed reserved and limited many of their communications to those that they new best. This typically meant other Asian students with whom they could identify with. It appears many consider themselves a victim of "cultural bias" as many students appear outnumbered in class, which may result in fears of discrimination or stereotyping (Andersen & Taylor, 2006; Shostak & McKay, (1971).
To help create change on campus, subcultures may want to offer the dominant culture opportunities to share their insights and cultural and ethical preferences. Likewise members of the dominant class can work to avoid establishing "normative" behaviors, and instead embrace the notion that all students are alike and have equal ability…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Individuals group themselves through the process of social identification as woman or nurse, etc. This classification enables the individual to define his social environment. Thus, identification answers the question "Who am I?" To some extent. Through the involvement with reference groups in social situations, individuals set up social identities.
Three major functions offered by the reference groups are: the determination of the traits, competencies, and values for a specific social identity. Individuals form two identities, namely, a 'global' identity and a 'role-specific' identity. The identity that is depicted in all circumstances is global identity. The role-specific identity is used for the communication with reference group response from group members. In social situations, the reference groups refer to one's co-workers, friends, etc. The identity-specific reference groups offer the social feedback, which is imperative in the development of the perceived self. Thus, the possible hierarchy for identities is global identity and then role-specific identity. (a Self-Concept-based model of Work Motivation)
Identity is thus one of the main themes in literature and cultural studies. For nearly two decades, identity proved to be a matter of deliberation for psychoanalytic, poststructuralist, and cultural materialist criticism in regions varying from postcolonial and ethnic studies to feminism and queer theory. Academics came to the conclusion that social or cultural identity, as a foundation for political action, is hypothetically illogical and politically destructive. We need to take the condemnations that have been aimed at the idea of identity, because we want to save identity from the disgrace into which it has fallen and we need to reconsider and get back identity.… [Read More]
Sociology: Changing Societies in a Diverse World (Fourth Edition)
George J. Bryjak & Michael P. Soroka
Chapter One Summary of Key Concepts
Sociology is the field of study which seeks to "describe, explain, and predict human social patterns" from a scientific perspective. And though Sociology is part of the social sciences (such as psychology and anthropology), it is quite set apart from the other disciplines in social science; that is because it emphasizes the study of social groups - and how those social groups shape the thoughts and actions of humans.
The two phases of modernization: the first phase was the Industrial Revolution, which had a dramatic effect on countries like the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand; the second phase began post-WWI and continues now. Globalization alludes to the movement of industry - jobs, people and capital - from one society (and country) to another, as economies grow, throughout the world. Also, part of Globalization is the movement of values and other cultural characteristics with those industries and people. One down-side of Globalization is that if one interrelated economy hits a roadblock, the economies elsewhere in the world that fed or are fed by that slowed down economy, or are partially dependent upon that economy, can also suffer slow-downs. It has a ripple effect.
Sociology is a "debunking science" because it looks for "levels of reality" other than utilizing those already listed in official explanations and definitions. In Positivism, decisions are reached based on available scientific knowledge, whereas intuition means a person uses his best immediate extemporaneous response, judgment and sensory experience about something, not based on fact or previous research. Comte's contribution was to bring sociology into a more scientific genre; and he believed knowledge can only be based on what one sees, touches, feels, hears and tastes. The downside to Comte: he was wrong in his belief that social laws would determine the outcome of societal progression.
Durkheim's four categories of suicide: Altruistic suicide (people over-involved in a group, and have strong inner convictions); egoistic suicide (under-involved, under-committed individuals simply want a way out); anomic suicide (a person never reaches the social status nor achieves out-of-control desires and…… [Read More]
Instead, the welfare system encouraged perpetual social dependency and provided a reason for poor people not to work at all when the most reliable method of achieving financial independence (besides continuing education) is precisely, to begin working at minimum wage jobs while gradually learning skills and establishing contacts and a record of regular employment that are essential in the long- term goal of qualifying for better work in time (Healey, 2003 p56).
The Need for Welfare Reform:
While elements of government assistance programs are still subject to epidemic abuse (Schmalleger, 2007 p104), the reconfiguration mandated by Congress in 1996 are designed to rectify some of the most glaring problems plaguing the federally administrated programs previously. First and foremost, the new state-run welfare programs must, by federal law, establish caps limiting welfare eligibility to discourage perpetual (even permanent) reliance on public funds as a substitute for making the necessary effort and commitment to seek gainful employment in the long-term (Macionis, 2003 p295). Under federal law, the maximum period of eligibility s two years and many states have rightfully shortened that period even further (Henslin, 2002 p200).
Second, since the 1996 reforms, state-run public assistance programs must also require enrollment in vocational training programs and mandatory adult supervision for unwed teenage parents pursuant to which welfare recipients who fail to participate and unwed teenage parents who fail to accept appropriate adult supervision lose their remaining welfare eligibility. Third, under the new reforms, welfare recipients must accept offers of employment irrespective of their pay scale and may not purposely choose to remain on the public dole instead of working (Macionis, 2003 p295).
Critics of the welfare reforms suggest that terminating welfare benefits and imposing stricter eligibility requirements are inappropriately harsh and disproportionately harmful to the poorest segment of society and prejudicial against racial and ethnic minorities who are over-represented in the poorest neighborhoods. Similarly, opponents of welfare reforms equate financial assistance…… [Read More]
The third reason that I chose Marx is the apparently cyclical nature of change and restriction. The last century has seen some tremendous social changes. The 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the Sexual Revolution changed the face of modern America. However, there seems to have been a pendulum swing back to more restrictive behavior. It is now considered more appropriate to be openly sexist and racist than it was in the 1980s. In fact, propaganda has promoted the idea of the white, middle-class, Christian male as being the target of discrimination, even though this group still maintains almost all of the status-related privilege that it had prior to either of those movements, still getting more opportunities and greater benefits, as a group, than racial minorities, women, or religious minorities. One example of this is a chain e-mail I received that said something along the lines of "Dear God, why is there violence in schools?" God's reply was, "Don't ask me, I'm not allowed in schools." Emails like this perpetuate the myth that there has been an attack on religious freedom, despite the fact that there has never been any federal judgment outlawing any type of individual prayer in schools; on the contrary, judgments have prohibited group prayer that would infringe upon religious freedom. The attitude seems to be that any behavior that inhibits the right of the majority group to set standards and mores for the entire society is somehow discrimination. This pendulum swing seems to occur after ever civil rights advance.
For the above three reasons, I believe that Marx is a very relevant theorist. Moreover, I think there is an important distinction between social conflict theory and communism, which many people ignore because Marx openly linked social conflict to capitalism. "Capitalism's dirty secret is that it is not a realm of harmony and mutual benefit but a system in which one class systematically extracts profit from another. How could this fail to be unjust? Yet it is notable that Marx never concludes this, and in Capital he goes as far as to say that such exchange is 'by no means an injustice'" (Wolff, 2010). This is a very interesting perspective because Marx the scholar has oftentimes been confused with Marx with political…… [Read More]
Individuals who never come into contact with other societies may live their entire lives without the slightest idea that other societies exist, much less that other social norms and practices besides the ones to which they are accustomed as their reality are possible.
This element of human reality is also responsible for some of the worst recorded human behavior. On one hand, certain parts of human moral thinking is inherent as a natural part of us (Kluger 2007). On the other hand, so much of human morality is determined by subjective social constructs, that practically anything is acceptable to us, even to those of us who are inherently inclined to be good people.
History has shown many times that if the social construct within a given society presents cannibalism, or slavery, or the sacrifice of virgins to volcanoes, or even the systematic mechanized mass-murder of millions as acceptable, few individuals will have the capacity to consider those norms objectively, or from outside of the social constructs of their society. In that regard, the eminent 20th century scientist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein made the following eloquent observation in a 1946 essay about American Slavery and the 20th century racial prejudices and inequality of black Americans:
large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition - besides inherited aptitudes and qualities - which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions." (Einstein 1946)
It is precisely that phenomenon that explains how the learned men who drafted the United States Constitution could have included a specific provision detailing the rights of slave owners to reclaim their "property" in the event their slaves escaped to free states until the "Fugitive Slave Clause" was repealed by the Thirteenth Amendment.
Prior to 1865, even the brilliant legal minds of Supreme Court justices entertained highly technical legal arguments, all the while seemingly ignorant of the fundamental immorality and…… [Read More]
In those cases, "deviance" from socially accepted values would be considered a positive response rather than "delinquency" in an objective sense.
Alternate ideas, such as differential association formulated by Sutherland (Pfohl
1994), in particular, demonstrate that even in contemporary American society, social values are extremely subjective and that specific populations - most notably, incarcerated prisoners - form their own societal norms and shared values that contradict those of larger society and that those mores are as powerful and likely to shape future behavior among adolescents exposed to them for long periods (Scmalleger 1997).
Similarly, modern criminologists (Pinizzotto, et al. 2007) detail the extent to which violent criminal street gangs fulfill the same role as families of origin in many
American communities. Furthermore, many Baby Boomers of the so-called hippie generation also would seem to contradict Hirschi's theory in that, especially when viewed retrospectively, behavior that was considered "deviant" or "delinquent" at the time was motivated by specific independent moral beliefs that simply contradicted those of their culture. Likewise, the applicability of Hirschi's theory is further contradicted by contemporary examples on both ends of the behavioral spectrum. Specifically, children seemingly blessed with all the advantages postulated by Hirschi often exhibit delinquent tendencies despite strong previous social ties and community involvement. Conversely, children deprived of all the positive elements described by Hirschi as corresponding to socially desirable behavior often strive even harder to achieve positive goals to overcome their initial disadvantages (Kerik, 2002). Finally, Hirschi also fails to account for the contribution of genetic predisposition and other purely biological influences on human behavior, or to address deviance when it occurs within a single family in which some children who are exposed to the same social benefits and opportunities as their siblings become delinquent while the others do not.… [Read More]
The South district of my town is primarily comprised of African-Americans with a white/black ratio of 15% 85%. The area is known for the highest level of crime as compared to any other area in and around the city. This enables the oppressive motive behind those who empower such ignorance as they base their final opinions, which dictate their actions, on the entire culture or population of African-Americans in association to one person and their actions. Almost as if a single criminal is appointed to represent his entire race through his actions simply because he is part of that race. This is stereotyping at its clearest existence. Though one would be correct in assuming that the lower end communities in my town and in other towns across the world are likely to accompany higher crime rates, higher poverty standards and an abundance of welfare recipient families; it would not be correct to assume that these areas are as they are simply because of the primary ethnic groups that orchestrate their populations. In the deepest consideration of early history, especially American history, it is apparent that the suppression of slaves and other African-Americans has carried on through the years in the form of constant cycles into each generation, and exacerbating the poverties that inflict many black communities.
Another example of the segregation and outright racism that I have witnessed within my community depicts the ideas and notions of profiling. I believe the local police, who may not employ a single black officer - at least from what I have seen, have become conditioned to target blacks foremost from whites. Though these instances today are likely to not be deliberate, the long-time conditioning that once remained on the force of every police department across the country creates a level of unconscious profiling (Jackson, 1994). I have seen many grocery patrons confronted by security or other employees abut shoplifting when they had done absolutely nothing to provoke such suspicions.
The segregation within this town is consistent in many forms, both subtle and harsh. However, the progression of earlier times in civil rights and equality has undeniably begun the redirection of some of these remaining aspects of segregation.… [Read More]