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Charles Horton Cooley Essay

… The first was the need to craft an understanding of societal facts that were the highlight of individual mental process. He found that the subjective processes were either caused or the effects of society processes. There was also the need to examine evolution of social dynamic conception which evaluates states of chaos as natural incident which created an opportunity for adaptive innovation. The last need is ensure that the people were capable of making informed moral decisions for current and future problems affecting the people. Cooley solution to the dilemma was creation of a mental social complex which he named the looking glass self. The mental social complex is formulated by understanding how ones self can be understood by another person. This theory was called the emphatic introspection theory. This theory applied to the person and the economic issues affecting the society with regards to the macro social problems that evolve with time. Cooley evaluated the economic institution as impossible to understand by evaluation of impersonal market forces. Sociological perspectives were logical towards the traditions of the society. The considered dissolution of tradition as a positive move that would result in to social growth and an intellectual process that would improve the public will (Ju 2010).

His concept of looking glass self is arguably his best work as it is accepted by psychologists' and sociologists in the modern world. The concept was build from William James's self idea where capacity reflection on own behaviour was included. According to Cooley, the views from other people greatly influence personal image. There is a relationship of how we view ourselves and how the society views us. According to his previous work, human nature and social order, self idea has three elements. Imagination of personal appearance to society is the first major element. The second element is imagination of appearance and the third element is self feeling which can be pride or any form of modification.

Contribution to the Conflict Theory and Functionalism Theory

According to the conflict theory, the laws are made by the minority of people in the society and are aimed at ensuring that their interests are protected. The laws are meant to controls the behaviour of the people in the society. In this theory, the poor are powerless and are likely to be convicted of crimes compared to the rich in the society. The crime rate among the poor is also significantly higher compared to the crime rate among the rich. This is due to the lack of opportunities among the poor to improve self. The poor do not have the skills needed to become productive thus a poor society.

Cooley's contribution to the field is that he supported that the society will always change in response to the social conflict. The way people behave will be determined by the meaning that people have on their behaviour. People who believe that hard work will improve the quality of life in the society are likely to an improved life; on the… [read more]

Social and Cultural Theory Study Essay

… The phrase 'looking-glass self' was used by Cooley to present the idea that "what we think of ourselves depends on what we think others think of us" ("Charles Horton Cooley,").

The human beings are living in groups, both large and… [read more]

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft Sociology Research Paper

… " (Dickens, 1854, p. 100) And Sissy's own father abandons her, not for selfish reasons, but because it is what is best for Sissy and her future.

The concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can also been seen in the relationship between Louisa and Mr. Bounderby. At first it seems that it should be the perfect relationship, he is a self-made man, and a supporter of the utilitarian point-of-view, while she is the product of a utilitarian household and education. However, the natural, organic, loving relationship between a husband and wife is not something that can be treated like a business proposal, as Bounderby does. When Louisa is tempted by a loving, caring relationship with James Harthouse, although she ultimately rejects him, she also then rejects her "marriage" to Bounderby. The artificially created relationship, most often associated with Gesellschaft, is the society which Bounderby is a part of and one which Louisa does not want to be. Bounderby sees the relationship as an alliance and something that Louisa should be honored to be part of, something that people do in that society. However, the spark of love that her relationship with Harthouse created, then went on to light the fire of community and love within her. She wanted to have the Gemeinschaft, the caring natural, organic social relationships that form between people who care about each other.

The point of Charles Dickens' "Hard Times" seems to be to point out the difference between the relationships between wealthy followers of the theory of utilitarianism and those between the socialist workers. Utilitarians seem to form artificial relationships, the kind that are formed in Tonnies' theory of Gesellschaft. They are business relationships, the kind without kindness and caring, the kind that only are beneficial to the wealthy themselves. Because of their utilitarianism, they believe that their decisions are the best for all, but they really only result in keeping the working class down and the wealthy in a position of power. But the socialist themes presented through the working class characters, their relationships and their personal attributes all seem to be better than those of the wealthy utilitarians. Sissy had a difficult upbringing in the circus, but the sense of community and the personal relationships that naturally formed during her time there made her kind and caring person. It is because she maintained that sense of community that has made her a better person in the eyes of Dickens. Old Stephen Blackwell is another example of how working class values seem to create the Gesellschaft of Tonnies within the characters of "Hard Times." He is a hard working, honest man with integrity because he came from the community of workers.

But opposite the socialist, kind and caring working class people, who form natural and supportive relationships between each other are the utilitarians like Bounderby. He is so wrapped up in his business "relationship" with his wife that he is unable to form a real, loving relationship with her. He believes that industrialized "society," or… [read more]

Cross Cultural Social Stratification Essay

… They consider a person's family background, his work, education and other such facets of life to be the key determinants of their social class. In this way, they believe that poverty is not a natural law but it eventually flourishes because people do not put in an effort. In this way, the class stratification provides a platform for individuals to work hard and get the best.

This difference in the outlook of the social class is merely because of the philosophy held by the functionalists. Since they place great importance in the fact that society runs because of its interdependent sectors, the social stratification system is seen to lie on the positive spectrum. The functionalist view of social stratification is put forward by people like Emile Durkheim, Kingsley Davis and several more. Functionalists understand the concept of social stratification on the basis of human needs and desires which make them different. For this purpose, society plays an essential role in providing and also limiting goals and opportunities to the individuals. In a similar manner, the society also encourages these individuals to exercise efforts, learn and develop skills to climb the ladder. Hence, the functionalists consider the social stratification as an essential framework to develop the best individuals and motivate the most capable ones to take the best positions in order to help the society operate successfully (Saha D, 2006).

Thus, no matter how the different sociologists perceive the idea, social stratification coexists with the creation of every society. It divides the whole society into different classes and groups which can clearly be distinguished on the economic, social and political basis. For this reason, all the sociological perspectives discussed above hold a view that reflects the true nature of the society.


Brown K, 2006, Introduction to Sociology AS Level, Polity Press.

Giddens A, 2001, Sociology, 4th Edition, Polity Press: Gill and MacMillan: Dublin

Goldthorpe, John H. 2000, On Sociology: Numbers, Narratives and the Integration of Research and Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saha D, 2006, Sociology of Social Stratification, Global Vision Publishing Ho

Solon, G. 2002, Cross-country differences in intergenerational earnings mobility,

Journal of Economic Perspective, Vol. 16, No. 3

Taylor F, 2007, Sociology: understanding a diverse society, Cengage Learning.

Weininger, Elliot…… [read more]

Gender a Society Is a Community Essay

… Gender

A society is a community of people who love in a particular and are related to each other either by relationships, cultures or norms. While a society includes people of both the gender, however, for a great deal of… [read more]

Individual Identity Essay

… Individuality

Individual Identity is Almost Entirely the Product of Social Structure

The question of individual identity has been debated by scholars for centuries. The question of whether the self derives from society, exists independent of society, or co-exists as an… [read more]

Human Society -- Economic Essay

… " He was speaking of the way the majority lived during 16th and 17th century Europe in which for 90% of the population, life was a continual struggle. Cities were crowded, noisy, and filthy; night soil was thrown out onto… [read more]

Social Welfare and Society Thesis

… In short, the Gilded Age era reflected out own in that there were "no strong counterveiling forces to balance the influence of corporations" (Jansson, p. 155).

Chapter 6: The Limited Welfare-Regulatory State of the Progressive Era

Progressivism was an urban, middle class reform movement of the late-19tha and early-20th Centuries that did attempt to deal with the social and economic problems of the United States in a limited way, almost always through regulations on the state and local levels. In many ways, the origins of social work as a modern profession and the welfare state can be traced back to this era, particularly to the work of Jane Addams at Hull house in Chicago and other urban reformers. Addams also supported national health insurance, public housing, old-age pensions and social security at the federal level, although these did not come about until the New Deal of the 1930s and Great Society of the 1960s (Jansson, p. 201). Early social workers like Addams soon came to understand that there was an "ethic of mutual assistance" in immigrant and ethnic communities that still exists today, and this was often the only form of welfare and social security that they had (Jansson, p. 169). This has changed little today with Latino and Asian communities in contemporary urban centers. In the post-1965 period, the U.S. again became the favorite destination for millions of refugees and economic migrants from poor countries, as it had been in the years 1880-1920. They again faced the same low wages and miserable housing and health care conditions that the earlier immigrants had, and also had no "right to safety net programs and protections that other working Americans receive" (Jansson, p. 200). Since the Progressive Era welfare state was more concerned with regulation of capitalism than social welfare and entitlement programs, present-day social workers "need to be familiar with the regulatory side of the American welfare state," especially regulations of wages, hours, workers' compensation, public health, food and drug safety and housing conditions, all of which had their origin in the Progressive Era (Jansson, p. 207).


Jansson, B.S. (2009). The Reluctant Welfare State: Engaging History to Advance Social Work…… [read more]

Sociology the Beauty Essay

… Sociology

The beauty of Sociology and perhaps the attribute that makes it so specific among human sciences is the fact that it helps one develop a sort of ability to view and analyze in an extremely profound manner, to discover connections where the common sense omits them, to find encoded answers. Sociology is a science which is far from being pure-theoretical and by these I refer not only to the fact that it has its own measure instruments and procedures, but to the wide applicability of the sociological concepts. One meets and analyses these concepts not only in the past and present society, but also in the constructions and reflections of the society which are the theatrical manifestations and the movies.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological content for the analysis of what I would like to call a great movie. The personal choice is "Cool Hand Luke," a memorable film in terms of plot, characters and interpretation. The reason for choosing this film stands on the great manner in which it manages to reflect the relationship among opposed groups of individuals.

The plot of the screen is simple and easy for one to follow. Lukas Jakson, the main character is arrested for cutting the heads off of parking meters while being drunk and sentenced to two years of prison in a prison camp in Florida. While being closed, this prisoner firstly known as the "War-Hero," due to his participation and recognized merits in the War, manages to win the respect of his peers and even of the informal leader of the prisoners, Dragline. In brief, he becomes determined to escape and has three attempts, the last one turning out to be fatal for him, as he is caught and shot by the authorities. Still, he becomes a legendary figure among the other prisoners, not only after his escaping attempts, but also due to his sarcastic spirit, courage and excellent way of dissimulation.

"Cool Hand Luke" provides numerous ways of being analyzed, depending on what aspects one wishes to detect. An extremely interesting approach would be the one of the main character- Lukas Jakson- a loner and, apparently, an individual unable to adapt to the norms of the society who ends up with becoming a myth for his peers. His psychological profile which finally leads him to a dramatic end would make an excellent subject for a paper in the area. Yet, I would like to observe and analyze him as related to the ones surrounding him and from the angle of the institutions, norms, values and relationships among individuals and groups that describe the society of the 1960's in America.

From a theoretical point-of-view, the movie relates to a major sociological theory which one knows as "the conflict theory." There are, in sociology, different approaches that, in time, became classic models of analyze, turning into theories. The conflict theory, together with the functional one and the one based on interaction are modern theoretical models based… [read more]

Perfect Society in Gulliver's Travels Research Paper

… Perfect Society in Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift was first published in 1726 and was a major success in England, despite the controversy that surrounded it, or perhaps it was because of this controversy. During the time that… [read more]

Sociology Wk-1 DQ-1. One Problem Essay

… Sociology

Wk-1 DQ-1. One problem in the workplace is drug abuse, both of legal and illegal substances. There are many possible causes of this problem but there are a number of impacts that can be easily identified. Productivity is reduced and both accidents and absenteeism is increased. At its worst, drug abuse in the workplace causes people to lose their jobs, which again also hurts the company, costing money in hiring and training replacement workers. One of the easier solutions to implement is drug testing that would prevent people with drug problems from being hired. In addition, zero tolerance policies and a clear set of stages for dismissal can help companies eliminate problem employees and/or help them overcome their addiction problems.

Wk-1 DQ-2. Group norms affect patterns of alcohol and drug use because group members often prefer to adhere to norms. If the norms are forgiving of abuse, then the group members are more likely to adopt abusive habits, but if the group norms run against abuse, then group members are less likely to use alcohol and drugs. The use of these substances affects the workplace by lowering productivity, increasing turnover, increasing accidents and increasing absenteeism.

Wk-2 DQ-1. The prison system can have a strong role in helping to rehabilitate criminals, especially those on shorter sentences and with less traumatic pasts. The prison system can, if used effectively, help criminals to overcome some of the roots causes of their criminality and also can help to provide them with an education and job skills that can help aid the transition back into free society. The family plays a strong role in helping to prevent criminality, by providing children with strong role models and a set of social norms that precludes criminal activity. Poverty is one of the root causes of poverty, and if social stratification is reduced, poor youth will find themselves with greater sense of opportunity. It is this opportunity, and the sense that they can find social justice, that will help prevent criminality at a root level.

Wk-2 DQ-2. Social institutions contribute to the poverty in many ways. Low levels of education and ingrained prejudices about the possibilities of youth in certain strata of society perpetuate the barriers to opportunity and success that many youth face. These barriers make it more difficult to escape poverty, perpetuating the problem. When social institutions such as law enforcement, the education system, the health care system and other elements of government fail to provide equal opportunity and treatment for all members of society, barriers to success again are perpetuated.

Wk-3 DQ-1. Gender inequality is perpetuated by both passive and active attitudes and ideologies. Active attitudes sometimes engender distrust between members of different genders, creating active barriers to opportunity. Passive attitudes can lead members of different genders into specific roles, with those roles themselves playing a role in inequality. Both genders can create the social norms that perpetuate gender roles, because they set the values by which people not only live their lives, but… [read more]

Sociology Australia Journal

… Sociology Australia

Sociology, Ethnic Identity, and Multiculturalism

I would like to write about cultural sensitivity this week because it is integral to understanding of how individuals and groups function within their societies. This concept allows us to look at groups of individuals with an emphasis on the whole group rather than the individual personalities and perspectives. This can be applied to relationships and social connectedness particularly when dealing with gender and sex. However, there are also biological factors that influence these groups and it is important to look at where the two intersect in order to truly develop an understanding of how groups of individuals perceive and respond to their society. It is the true exploration of the boundaries of the natural and social aspects of a culture that allows us as sociologists to consider issues on both large and small scales. In this manner, culture can inform sociological thought processes.

Sociology and Global Influences

The concept that resonated for me this week was that of the shift from looking at social inequality from a population and geographic specific phenomenon to that of a globalized issue. This ability to look at social inequality without barriers or borders as the societal issue that it is and focus our attention to the human capital, financial capital, and products that exist reframes this issue and the course of action taken as a result. Historically the view of social inequality as occurring primarily in impoverished areas has led to interventions targeted to those areas rather than approaching the issue from a global standpoint where the most results may be achieved. Social inequality occurs on many inter-reliant levels including global, local, national, and domestic and interventions will need to do the same.

Sociology and the Unequal Distribution of Resources

Given the current state of the economic crisis throughout the world right now, I was particularly drawn this week to the literature on Affluenza this week. It reminded me of a saying that I had read by Clare Forest that stated that within each person lies a bone-deep longing for freedom, self-respect, hope and the chance to make an important contribution to one's family, community, and…… [read more]

Sociological Theories Marx Weber Durkheim and Mosca Essay

… Sociological Theories

The theory of history from Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Mosca- There are a number of different modern social theories regarding the nature of society, social change, human's place within society and the idea of how integration and alienation… [read more]

Globalization and Sociology, or the Study Essay

… Globalization and Sociology

Sociology, or the study of society, was established to provide a means to better understand the world's social groups and the social activities that occur within them. Through this study, researchers could explain what was taking place… [read more]

Sociology Social Stratification Is the Ranking Essay

… Sociology

Social Stratification

Stratification is the ranking of an entire group of people in order to perpetuate inequality or unequal rewards and life chances. Social Status is the prestige, honor, respect, and lifestyle that is associated with different positions or groups within society. It is often influenced by occupation and schooling. It is possible for one to have a social class that differs from their social status. Behavior patterns, likes and dislikes, success in situations, who you meet, whom you marry, employment choices and chances are all seen as consequences of class. Likes and dislikes of each class are different and need to be learned and applied to those in the case of vertical mobility to be part of that social class. Stratification is motivated by lifestyle. We often demonstrate or express our status through consumer goods and behavior (Stratification Power, Class and Privilege, n.d.).

According to the functionalist perspective which is also called functionalism, each aspect of society is interdependent and contributes to society's functioning as a whole. The government, or state, provides education for the children of the family, which in turn pays taxes on which the state needs to keep itself running. The family is reliant upon the school to help children grow up to be able to have good jobs so that they can raise and support their own families. In the process, the children become law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, who in turn help to support the state. If it all works the way it is supposed to, the parts of society produce order, stability, and productivity. If it doesn't go well, the parts of society then must adapt to recapture a new order, stability, and productivity (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).

Functionalists believe that society is held together by social cohesion, in which members of the society agree upon, and work together to achieve, what is best for society as a whole. It is believed that social consensus takes on one of two forms:

Mechanical solidarity is a form of social cohesion that comes about when people in a society maintain similar values and beliefs and employ in similar types of work. This is usually found in traditional, simple societies such as those in which everyone herds cattle or farms.

Organic solidarity is a form of social cohesion that arises when the people in a society are interdependent, but yet have varying values and beliefs and engage in varying types of work. This solidarity most commonly occurs in industrialized, complex societies (Three Major Perspectives in Sociology, 2009).

The functionalist perspective achieved its greatest popularity among American sociologists during the 1940s and 1950s. During this time American functionalists focused on discovering the functions of human behavior. Among these American functionalist sociologists was Robert Merton, who divides human functions into two types: manifest functions which are intentional and obvious and latent functions which are unintentional and not obvious. A sociological approach in functionalism is the contemplation of the relationship between the functions of smaller parts and the… [read more]

Values in Society the Values of Modern Essay

… ¶ … Values in Society

The values of modern society, particularly in so-called sophisticated and civilized democracies, like the United States, are on the decline. Throughout the world there is an erosion of morals, values and standards in societies that… [read more]

Rational Utilitarian Thesis

… Utilitarianism and Society

Though it arose through the disciplines of philosophy, political science, and economics, utilitarianism or rationalism has many implications for sociology. Because it is concerned with the individual and the decisions of the individual, this theory holds that people are rational, make rational decisions, and are, generally, selfish, or at least they hold their best interests at heart. The question that society poses is whether or not individuals are rational actors at all, and whether or not their rational actions in their own self-interest can end up benefiting society. The two (the individual and society) can be reconciled by the fact that "utilitarianism does not begin and end with the individual; it goes on to balance the interest of all the individuals in the group, as Bentham's theory of utilitarianism suggested. The reformer argued that people not only think about what gives themselves pleasure and pain, but also allow themselves to think about the pleasure and pain of others, becoming compassionate and allowing the survival of society (131). In the 1950s, when the individual was brought back into society, the implications of this way of thinking on society were fully developed. While this reading has discussed many important applications for utilitarianism, or rationalism, I thought the most interesting aspects of the reading were the description of Homans's law, as well as the discussion of sociological markets. Both of these ideas have great implications for the field of sociology.

First, Homans's law is a theory that has significant implication for the individual, society, and the study of sociology. In fact, it is this theory that most accurately explains what others outside of the sociological discipline call peer pressure. Homans's law states that "the more individuals interact with each other, the more they come to like one another, the more similar they become to one another, and the more they tend to conform to a common standard" (134). This is of great interest to the individual because it attempts to explain groupthink and other group dynamics. In fact, Homans's theory allows sociologists to question whether or not an individual really exists. If an individual is simply a person who conforms to what other people are doing and thinking, then the ability of humans to think individualistically is questioned. In addition, this theory has implications for the individual, in that the individual in this model must always be on his or her guard against conformity if he or she wants to remain unique. Further, Homans's theory, which argues that groups following this process "develop a group culture that didn't exist before," and "enforce their standards on each other," has serious implications for society (135). Although Homans argued that the only time that this theory works is when "interaction…occurs within the same level of authority" (135), this clearly suggests how societies can become complacent under the most egregious terms, like dictators, tyrannical government, and even horrors like those that occurred during…… [read more]

Sociology - Welfare the Conceptual Problem Thesis

… Sociology - Welfare


Organized social welfare is not a new concept, dating to the middle of the 19th century in England and providing financial aid to the economically disadvantaged in the United States for most of the second half of the 20th century (Henslin, 2002 p196). In principle, it is intended to enable the poorest individuals and families in society to improve their lives and their life situations, but critics point out that at least in the U.S., the welfare concept may actually contribute to the opposite result, perpetuating poverty and dependency instead of alleviating it. The American welfare system comprises numerous different types of economic programs and financial aid, but the component that has caused the most social concern and provoked the greatest opposition is the Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC).

In 1996, after decades of debate and counterproposals, Congress enacted the Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act that completely restructured the national welfare system by eliminating direct federal aid and requiring individual states to administrate economic aid pursuant to strict capping limits and mandated enrollment in vocational training programs as a condition of continued eligibility for government assistance (Henslin, 2002 p200; Macionis, 2003 p294).

The Failed Purpose of Welfare:

Critics of the AFDC component of the federal welfare program succeeded in achieving national welfare reform partly by pointing out correctly that the institution into which the social initiative had evolved by the last decade of the 20th century was substantially different from that which it was originally designed to serve a particular social purpose. Specifically, the AFDC aspect of the federal welfare program was originally intended to provide appropriate assistance to children living in one-parent homes by virtue of divorce or the death of a parent; conversely, the AFDC program was not intended to encourage single parenthood or to provide a disincentive to marriage (Henslin, 2002 p200; Macionis, 2003 p294).

However, primarily because one of the eligibility requirements was that a mother be unmarried, the system was inherently flawed in that it penalized poor young people for getting married and, in effect, rewarded them for remaining technically single while having children out of the confines of traditional marriage. In addition to corrupting the social institution and draining public funds for a purpose other than that for which they were actually intended, the welfare system, and the AFDC component in particular, also undermined other important social objectives in the process. Major Criticisms:

By encouraging poor unmarried mothers to remain single, the federal welfare program undermined the objective of providing the most stable home environment possible for poor children. In general, single-parent families are a significant factor in juvenile delinquency (Schmalleger, 2007 p230) and contributes to both increased incidence of public education dropout rates and child sexual abuse (Schmalleger, 2007 p239), as well as to violence, particularly in low-income urban areas (Schaefer, 2001 p208).

In fact, by the time of Congressional action for welfare reform in 1996, the vast majority of the millions of families receiving… [read more]

Boudon 2001 Theories of Social Thesis

… Boudon 2001: Theories of Social

Does the author present a view of society?

Although he does not present his own view of society, the author presents several different views of society, espoused by leading theorists. These theorists do not have one prominent view of society, nor does the author suggest which view he finds the most valid, therefore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the author's view of society.

How does the author discuss the relationship between individual and society?

The author discusses the relationship between the individual and society by discussing the perspectives that different theorists have taken on this relationship. According to the author, Weber believes that sociology needs to be individualistic in its methodology, like economics. In fact, he espoused a theory now-known as individualism, which states that a "collective phenomenon is the outcome of individual actions, attitudes, beliefs, etc." Therefore, in order to understand any group "social" action, theorists like Weber believe that one must first understand the behavior of the individuals involved. Weber calls the understanding of individual actions "Verstehen."

In contrast to Weber's view that the study of sociology needs to focus on the individual, Parson believes it is impossible to consider any action strictly individual. Instead, human beings are "social actors" embedded in "systems of social roles." Therefore, these roles, rather than any individual actions, should be the smallest unit of social analysis. Parson's typology of the pattern variables includes a set of four binary attributes by which all roles can be characterized.

Merton built upon Parson's idea that roles define social actors, but went further by pointing out that people play multiple roles, and that they have to deal with the incompatibilities that necessarily arise as the result of these multiple roles. Merton's theory is described as functionalism, but many critics believe that functionalism is not scientifically fruitful, but is instead a means of legitimating existing social institutions. However, functionalism helps explain social phenomenon like class differences, which are difficult to explain on an individualistic basis, especially if one considers human desires as the motivation for human behavior in the context of a social matrix.

Some of those who have contributed most notably to sociology have not been sociologists.

Tullock believed that criminal behavior could be explained using neoclassical economic theories of behavior. Becker believed that even such seemingly irrational behaviors as addiction could be explained using a cost-benefit analysis, which is a classical economic theory. Coleman has developed Becker's theories. However, it is important to understand that cost-benefit…… [read more]

Author Present a View of Society Thesis

… ¶ … Society

Does the author present a view of society?

The author does present a number of competing views of society - with the focus on the interpretivist view of social interaction. Interpretivism refers to the theoretical stance or view that culture and context are central determining factors that need to be understood if one is to truly understand a particular culture. This view is contrasted with more quantitative and objectivist theories about the nature of society - such as the functionalist and Marxist views.

However, the author stresses that the subjective view or the qualitative analysis of society and culture and institutions like schools are essentials if one is to understand the culture and the school. This argument is underlined by the view that objectivity and measurement in the social sciences is not adequate to comprehend and understand the intricate nature of culture and the importance of context in the analysis of society.

The author explains the difference between functionalist and Marxist perspectives but shows how interpretivism is useful in the close observation of actual interaction between people and between the people in a school. These actions are interpreted in an attempt to understand the way that society and institutions function.

Therefore, interpretivism differs markedly from functionalism and Marxism in that it deals with the context of each particular school and situation and does not just apply overarching theories and rules. Interpretivism is important in that it acknowledges that the same action or behavior can be interpreted differently in different cultures and social contexts.

2. Does the author present a view of the self?

The main view of the self that this article presents is that the self from an interpretivist perspective is comprised of relationships and interaction with others that can vary and change according to context. Therefore, the self should be understood in the particular context or cultural milieu.

On the other hand, the author also presents a view of the self from the functionalist point-of-view; where the self is seen as an objective functioning unit in society; and from the Marxist perspective, where the emphasis is on how the self is subjugated by class structures and other elitist influences. The stress in this article is on the complex nature of the self and the importance of context and cultural environment in the way that the self is constituted. The article also ties the…… [read more]

Education Sociology Term Paper

… Education

Sociology and Education

While all three of the major sociological paradigms of the 20th century have provided valuable insight in the ways that education shapes human life and society, ultimately it is the theory of symbolic interactionalism that offers… [read more]

Sociology - Theories Feminists and Social Theory Term Paper

… Sociology - Theories

Feminists and social theory

As Smith asserts in Knowing Society form within: a Women's Standpoint (1994), many sociological analyses of society have an innate bias in that they view society from a certain determinate position. (Smith 389)… [read more]

Theoretical Perspectives Term Paper

… Theoretical Perspectives

Structural Functionalism

Structural functionalism is a theory or sociological perspective that sees society as essentially functionally integrated. As will be discussed in this paper, conflict theory contrasts with structural functionalism in that it views society as an amalgam… [read more]

Theory of Ideology Term Paper

… Ideology and Utopia central concept that is expounded in this article is that ideology is a relative concept in the context of modern discourse and that no single ideology is considered as the "truth." In this view, ideological norms and… [read more]

Marx Weber Durkheim Term Paper

… Sociology - Theorists

According to Karl Marx, the mode of production consists of productive forces and the relations of production. The former include desire, human labor power, and the means of production - which can be anything from tools and… [read more]

Sociology - Reality the Subjective Nature Term Paper

… Sociology - Reality


Human beings are the product of their experiences. While this is equally true of all biological organisms, the fundamental difference between the human mind and other higher forms of biological life is that humans are unique in their capacity to think about their lives (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005). Only human beings have the ability to think about their place in their families, their society, and especially, about their eventual demise.

Whereas animals live in the present exclusively and react by sheer instinct, human beings often devote substantial effort to understanding others and to the reason that things are what they are. Only humans think about the reality of their lives, but even the direction of that effort is largely dependent on the sum total of all the external influences on their lives.


From the moment we are born, we absorb data from the external world. Our parents and family are the primary determinants of our developing reality. Initially, our neural architecture is extremely flexible and we absorb whatever linguistic cues we receive from our parents and have the ability to learn any language with perfect pronunciation (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005).

The process is so automatic that children in bilingual homes often learn two languages simultaneously, long before they have any understanding about what language is or that they speak two instead of just one. By the time they become aware that they speak two languages bilingualism is already a fundamental component of their personal reality. Within the first few years of life, our language skills become more limited and learning new languages becomes more of an effort. Whereas in infancy we are capable of repeating every possible sound used in human language, by the time we are three or four years old we lose the ability to make any sounds that are not part of whatever language we learn from our parents.

Social Constructs and Reality:

The notion of social construct refers to the purely arbitrary nature of certain elements of human reality (Macionis 2002). Language is a good example, because all languages consist of meaningless sounds and combinations of sounds that have absolutely no meaning in and of themselves until someone decides to attach a particular significance to specific sounds. Listening to a foreign language with which one has no familiarity, it is often difficult to imagine that the strange sounds correspond to individual words that have any meaning at all.

Another typical example of social constructs that we may take for granted are the rules of the road: in one society drivers sit on the left side of vehicles and drive on the right; in others they sit on the right and drive on the left. Neither system is preferable for any reason and for that matter, neither is the designation of the color green for "go" and red for "stop." Nevertheless, the consequences of violating those social constructs can be deadly, regardless of the fact that either system… [read more]

Sociology - Hirschi and Delinquency Hirschi's Social Term Paper

… Sociology - Hirschi & Delinquency


Twentieth-century sociologist Travis Hirschi formulated his theory of social control, according to which he suggested an explanation for antisocial and criminal behavior. Hirschi believed that the most important element for ensuring appropriate social behavior in the individual is the social connection to the family of origin and to the community and the values and ideals valued in society (Henslin 2002). Specifically, Hirschi characterized four main pillars of social control in the form of: (1) Attachment, (2) Commitment, (3) Involvement, and (4) Belief, according to which those pillars related directly to delinquency and crime prevention (Henslin 2002).

Hirschi maintained that attachment to family relationships and other social groups encouraged social conformity to community ideals and behavior and that commitment to positive future goals, active involvement in legitimate social activities, and a strong shared belief in communal values and mores were essential to preventing unwanted behavior and criminality (Gerrig & Zimbardo 2005)). Conversely, relative detachment from family relationships and peer groups, lack of a future vision and commitment to pursuing legitimate opportunities, less involvement with organized social and professional endeavors, and minimal acceptance of communal social values correspond to increased likelihood of social deviance (Macionis 2002).

Hirschi's theories are particularly relevant to juvenile delinquency because adolescence is the period where many individuals begin to demonstrate a course of conduct that represents positive social conformity and positive goal orientation or deviance, rebellion, and a tendency toward social conflict and criminal activity.

Critical Analysis: In many respects, anecdotal observation might seem to validate Hirschi's theory of social control, particularly in the case of juvenile delinquency. Undoubtedly, in terms of relative likelihood of conformity to positive societal expectations, the greater one's exposure to positive role models (both at home and in the community) and the more opportunity one has to become involved in fulfilling social relationships in adolescence, the more insulated one would seem to be from negative influences that might contribute to delinquency. However, in other respects, Hirschi's theory of social control is so relativistic in principle that it is difficult to substantiate formally (Macionis 2002). For one thing, it is, necessarily, dependent on arbitrary assignment of what behaviors are characterized in society as "good" or "bad," as demonstrated repeatedly throughout recorded human social history, perhaps most dramatically by holocausts such as occurred in Nazi

Germany during World War II, and much more recently, by horrifically brutal episodes…… [read more]

Dynamics of Society Term Paper

… ¶ … Society

We live in a world which is inextricably changing, which faces constant new challenges and must adapt to an ever evolving environment. As history goes by, our society must adopt and adapt to the new circumstances and trends which make the world move forward.

It can be said that there are few societies which can be considered as pure and untouched by different modern technologies. There are tribes in Africa which still conduct their business according to the traditional rules of the hunters and gatherers societies. Also, in the wild parts of Australia the societies are traditional in their structure and evolution.

To a certain extent, all societies are touched by the technological bug. Despite the fact that there are different forms of government from democracies to tyranny, from capitalism to communism, every society has known the benefits and the costs of technology. This is due to the globalization process which tends to affect every corner of the world. China is a relevant example in this sense. Although the Chinese society is based on the dominant influence of the communist state, their form of economy has determined a slow but steady change in the social structure and behavior. In this sense, during the Cold War they were refused the access to information, the freedom of speech, and any democratic manifestation and, given the political situation in the country, with the communist party in total control of the society, people complied and managed to survive in the conditions in which no other Western citizen would have accepted. From this point-of-view, it can be underlined that societies and mentalities change, under various pressures, be they political, economic, or technological.

It cannot be pointed out precisely on a certain society which benefits from the advantages of all three types of social development, agrarian, industrial, and post industrial. It is fair to say however that societies are dominated by a certain trend. In the Chinese case, it is rather difficult to consider this aspect. On the one hand in the most crowded cities of the country, there is a technological-based society, despite communist control. Oh the other hand however, there are numerous country side places which…… [read more]

Women and Sociology the Sociological Imagination Term Paper

… Women and Sociology

The Sociological Imagination

In the year 1959, the American sociologist C. Wright Mills created the term "sociological imagination" as a means of describing a person's ability to connect personal aspects of one's individual life to larger historical forces. The implication of the sociological imagination is that people should strive to recognize that their personal problems are oftentimes a part of a larger social issue. By connecting one's personal life with the larger workings of society, you can often see how and why certain things in the society need to be changed. What is more, the sociological imagination helps individuals determine whether they are having a personal problem, or whether their problems are part of larger public issues. Those individuals struggling with poverty, for instance, who become imbued with a sociological imagination will consider that they are not wholly responsible for their situation - that there are social forces that have been complacent in placing them and making sure they remain in a state of poverty. Once this sociological imagination is reached, a person might then begin to take the correct steps to lift themselves out of poverty.

According to Mills, "nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps" owing to the fact that "their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, and neighborhood" (3). Owing to such trappings, individuals are thus prevented from coming to a fuller understanding of the sociological implications of their problems. What complicates this matter further is the fact that society is continually undergoing changes, and it is oftentimes difficult for individuals to keep track of all these changes when they are caught up in their own day-to-day struggles.

In a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine, reporter Roger Cohen traveled to Israel in order to write a profile on Tzipi Levni, who is described as the "daughter of Zionist militants, ex-spy, foreign minister and rising political star" (34). The article begins shortly after Cohen has conducted his first interview with Levni, when he receives a phone call from the politician in which she concernedly wishes to correct some things she said about her personal life: "I was thinking about this idea of me as a disciplined person," she begins, in response to an earlier question the reporter had asked her.

There are parts of me that are different. I prefer jeans to a suit, sneakers to high heels, markets to malls. You've just returned from Paris: I prefer the Quartier Latin to the Champs Elysees. In general, I don't like formality at all. It is just part of what I do. You know, when I was young, I went to the Sinai and worked as a waitress" (36).

This startling pronouncement by one of Israel's leading political figures infers that Levni herself has a keen understanding of the sociological imagination and all its implications. Speaking to a journalist, she is aware of the media's capability of manipulating things that… [read more]

Structural Inequality and Diversity Term Paper



The work of Jeffrey R.… [read more]

Malinowski's Functional Theory Term Paper

… Anthropology

Bronislaw Malinowski is one of the twentieth century's most prominent and influential anthropologists. He is highly regarded for his pioneering work in the field of ethnographic fieldwork, giving a major contribution to the study of Melanesia and of reciprocity. Malinowski's work can best be described as operating from a functionalist approach to society.

The majority of Malinowski's work occurred in the field, studying the cultures of numerous indigenous peoples. Early in his career, he traveled to what is now Papua New Guinea in order to study the local people. When World War One broke out, Malinowski found himself stranded on the island and, being forced out of loneliness, decided to participate in the Trobrainders society. During this time, he learned the native language and bonded closely with the people. It was also during this unintentional period of study that he developed his theory of participant observation, which is now a key functionalist approach to anthropological methodology.

Whereas prior to Malinowski's work, anthropologist tended to conduct their fieldwork through structured interviews while maintaining a difference, Malinowski's participant observation was based on an argument that anthropologists must have daily contact with their subjects if their intent is to adequately record the "imponderabilia of everyday life that is so essential to understanding a different culture." According to Malinowski's theory, the goal of the anthropologist is to "grasp the native's point-of-view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world."

Based on this fundamental belief of participation, Malinowski went on to develop the school of social anthropology known as functionalism. Malinowski's version of functionalism was established in contrast to Radcliffe-Brown's structural functionalism in that Malinowski argued that "culture functioned to meet the needs of individuals rather than society as a whole." Accordingly, "when the needs of individuals are met, who comprise society, then the needs of society are met."

Using a functionalist approach to anthropology, the feelings of people and their motives is essential to understanding the way a society functioned. The only way to truly gain this knowledge and understanding is through active participation within the society. Malinowski states, "Besides the firm outline of tribal constitution and crystallized cultural items which form the skeleton, besides the data of daily life and ordinary behavior, which are, so to speak, its flesh and blood, there is still be recorded the spirit- the natives' views and opinions and utterances." This recording of the spirit in order to understand a society is the essence of functionalism.

Specifically, functionalism is the sociological paradigm that attempts to explain all social institutions as being collective means necessary to fulfill an individual's basic biological needs. Functionalism also includes a social institution's ability to fulfill an individual's social needs, including the need for social stability.

As a theory, functionalism studies the structure and workings of a given society. A functionalist sees society as being comprised of inter-dependent segments which work together in order to fulfill the functions needed for the society as a whole to survive. To do this,… [read more]

Fragmentation in the Society Term Paper

… Durkheim, Fragmentation

What an amazing situation, being able to come back over a century later and see what has happened to society since I have been gone. My name is Emile Durkheim. It appears that some people now call me the "Father of Sociology." And one of the more modern scholars, Erving Goffman, even called me "God." I am honored.

However, I have not been thrust forward into time to boast about myself, but rather to see if my beliefs on fragmentation, alienation and anomie have found validity in this new century. As a brief overview, I believe that society is the glue that holds individuals together. When society becomes fragmented, or starts breaking down and apart, there also is "anomie," or a disintegration of social norms. These norms no longer can no longer control the activities of members in society. Individuals need rules and structure to help them find their way. Without such guidance and direction, the society sees a rise in both internal and external disarray -- alienation, depression, conflict, and deviance. For example, in an economic depression, the amount of anomie, crime, suicide, and deviance increase. I see in the Great Depression people jumped out of windows when they lost all their economic worth.

What a different world it is today! It is now called "flat," because the communication systems have made someone from India be "right next door" to someone in New York City. This amazing instrument called the Internet connects people globally with a click of the button. Also, I hear that "knowledge" is the product that people sell today, rather than something that is tangible. The only way to gain that knowledge is to be strongly competitive and be ahead of everyone else. Thus, the pace of change in both the individual's daily life and in the greater scheme of things such as technology and world politics is tremendous. What has this caused?

The Conference Board website reports that in 2005, half of all Americans are satisfied with their jobs, down from nearly 60% in 1995. However, among the 50% who say they are content, only 14% say they are "very satisfied." Additional survey results show that 40% of workers feel "disconnected" (alienated?) from their employers. Two-thirds do not even identify with or feel motivated to drive their organization's business goals and objectives. A quarter of employees are just "showing up to collect a paycheck." Most important to my theories, the report also states that "Rapid technological changes, rising productivity demands and changing employee expectations have all contributed to the decline in job satisfaction."

Studies performed since I was alive and well show that job satisfaction is clearly related to how workers feel about their self-worth. When people lose their jobs or are unhappy with what they are doing, they lose self-esteem and can become depressed. (Ah, I am vindicated.)

Your studies by the Center of Disease Control have also found that stress is linked to physical and mental health, as well as decreased… [read more]

Sociology Families, Delinquency and Crime Term Paper

… Sociology

Families, Delinquency and Crime

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and analyze the topic of delinquency and crime. Specifically, it will compare and contrast two sociological theories that apply to delinquent behaviors, including major theorists in the area of sociology and delinquent crime. Delinquency, combined with gang membership may be one of the most pervasive problems facing American society today. Sociologists discuss group influences, social conditioning, and other factors when they discuss the sociological approach to crime. They offer several theories for delinquency, including the cultural deviance theories and social control theories, which this paper will address.

The social control theory of juvenile delinquency believes that social learning and socialization, which teaches self-control and reduces the need to participate in antisocial or deviant behavior, can control delinquency. Two experts note, "Within the framework of social control theory, the more the youths are attached, committed, and believe in the moral validity of the social norms, the stronger are their social bonds and the less likely they are to commit delinquent acts (Geiger & Fischer, 1995, p. 69). The social control theory is broken down into four distinct types, which include direct, indirect, internal, and control through needs satisfaction. Direct control includes punishment for deviant behavior and rewards for normal, approved behavior. Indirect includes the youth's own choice not to engage in deviant behavior because of their own conscience or ego. Internal includes controls that help prevent deviant behavior because of what it would do to other close family members or friends, and finally, the needs satisfaction type that recognizes when all needs are met, there is no need for deviant behavior. This theory literally uses the beliefs and value systems of a person to show that deviant behavior comes when beliefs and values are skewed. Most often, beliefs and values are passed along to children from their families, which makes the family unit extremely responsible for the actions and belief systems of their children. Thus, children from happier more bonded and "normal" family units will have less of a need to commit deviant acts of juvenile delinquency and violence. One of the leading social control theorists, Hirschi said, "[C]hildren who are attached to many significant others and have various avenues of commitment have additional stakes in conformity and stronger beliefs in the moral validity of the social norms. They are therefore less likely to deviate" Geiger & Fischer, 1995, p. 69). This takes into account morals and societal values, and the agreed on cultural belief systems of a particular group, neighborhood, or community, as well.

In contrast, the cultural deviance theory is directly opposed to the social control theory. Cultural deviance theory proposes that the subculture and environment have vast influence on the juvenile, and pressures the juvenile to deviate from accepted norms and become delinquent and commit crimes. Expert Hirschi notes, "According to cultural deviance theories, the deviant conforms to a set of standards not accepted by a larger or more powerful society" (Hirschi, 2002, p. 3).… [read more]

Social Organizations Term Paper

… Sociology McDonald's

There are numerous sociological theories for how organizations come together, how they are maintained, how information flows within them, and how they ultimately extend beyond the actions of any single individual within them. Understanding the phenomenon of the… [read more]

Key Casual Agents for Durkheim Weber and Marx Term Paper

… Sociology

Concepts about rationalization introduced by Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx demonstrated the importance of role specialization and division of labor in inducing social change in society. As 'motors of social change,' the ideas of these three sociologists vary in their conceptual framework, but share their similarities when operationalized in the context of human experience. Among the first proponents of rationalization is Durkheim, wherein his concept of moral density explicitly demonstrated the role of division of labor in the creation of a rationalized, or organic, society. His concept of moral density stems from the existence of competition among humans, which resulted from the gradual decrease in material resource and the increase in social volume or population density. As a result of scarce resources, competition emerges, and individuals are only able to survive this competition if they learn to develop the skills or knowledge that they have. Similarly, Weber's concept of rationalization is best described by the concept of specialization of functions of people…… [read more]

Sociology of Religion Term Paper

… ¶ … Hanna Rosin's work Striking a Pose is a critical look at the exponential growth of the "yoga" movement in the United States. The work details information about yoga's exploding popularity as a form of both physical exercise and also religion, compared in Rosin's work to the popularity and commercial growth of Starbucks. The creative spirit of the United States, would seem to according to Rosin embrace such a practice, in an expressive manner, but Rosin also points out the oddity of the movement, "All though we are a society known for creative multi-tasking, it seems odd that we have mixed up our gym and our church." Rosin makes this comment within the context of a description of her own experience with yoga, as a place where the physical is tested and the mind is soothed by an intoning of the spiritual. (116) The sociology of religion is therefore explored through an American embrace of alternatives that intone individuality as well as loose spiritual guidance.

In Rosin's early days as a practitioner of yoga she retells the comical story of her first experience of yoga, not in a trendy Washington DC studio, where she lives or in the almost churchlike atmosphere of the opening of a new yoga studio in New York, she attended in conjunction with several notable celebrities, but in the living room of a yoga practitioners home, where she was enlightened more of the need to dress the part than to spiritually connect to her body and henceforth the world around her. Her description of all the scenes, that accompany the growth of yoga as a movement with different schools of thought and social pull, are sardonic but her point is well made. Yoga is fast becoming an alternative religion for millions of people in the United States, so much so that is it under the constant danger of being adulterated to meet the needs of the people who practice it. (116)

The sociology of the movement is well documented, when one looks at the stories, Rosin shares with regard to the manner in which yoga has evolved in the United States, to become what it is today. Yoga, for its practitioners is a way to multitask spiritual with physical. Get a work out and a spiritual boost in the same trendy location, despite the…… [read more]

Watergate Views of Authors Such as Emile Term Paper

… Watergate; views of authors such as Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, J. Alexander, Dinesh D'Souza and C. Wright Mills

Society is an organism that functions according to its own rules and has the interconnected mechanisms that allow it to regenerate just… [read more]

Technology, Society and Politics Term Paper

… Through Sziland's character, Rhodes was also able to point out how proponents of science and technology can make a conscious choice to use technology to improve human life, and not to destroy it. Evidently, Rhodes made a stand against self-interest use of technology, as opposed to Khun, who had generally categorized scientific revolution as an event beneficial to humankind, because it brings us closer to the "truth" about human life, existence, and even purpose on earth.

Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma" centered on discussing the effect that technology has over a society's economy. Focusing on the economic performance and movement in the computer business industry -- a sector dominated by established and entrant computer firms -- Christensen found out that technological innovation depended on existing applications and technology. Thus, technological development is sustained in order to further the economic efficiency of old and new technologies. The technologies' sustainability differs from the political perspective expressed by Kuhn: for Christensen, technology is continuous because it needs to sustain itself in order to thrive economically, as compared to Kuhn's assertion that technological development is deterministic, thus an isolated event in history.

Among the most important insights concerning technology is imparted through Levy's study on (computer) hackers and Toulmin's comparison of the modern society against societies that existed prior to 20th century. Both authors discussed the change in culture that occurred in modern society as technology gradually dominated the lifestyles and attitudes of people in it.

Levy argued that the emergence of techno-centric society led to a shift in the social order of the modern society. Those who were once considered as deviant individuals, because they possess extremely high intelligence yet introvert or anti-social behavior, are now considered "heroes" of modern society -- hackers. This change in the norm of the society, the conversion of deviant hackers to modern heroes in the computer-dominated society, was described as follows: " ... MIT ... The repository of the very brightest of those weird high school kids with owl-like glasses and underdeveloped pectorals who dazzled math teachers and flunked PE, who dreamed not of scoring on prom night, but of getting to the finals of the General Electric Science Fair competition."

Toulmin, meanwhile, discussed the characteristics of modernism caused by technological advancement and social progress as against the state of pre-20th century societies. For the author of "Cosmopolis," modernism paved the way for humanity to 'separate' "rationality and logic from rhetoric and emotions," and this was based on the fact that humanity would want to "think correctly," which was Toulmin's interpretation of truth-seeking (similar to Khun's achievement of truth through scientific revolution). Like Levy, Toulmin illustrated a social change in modern society: where once the norm used to be the expression of feelings and introspection of emotions, in the modern society, rationalism and objectivism prevailed human thinking. Thus, these changes in social norms led to the popularity and dominance of scientists and logicians, and proponents of natural and social sciences.


Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator's Dilemma: When… [read more]

Current Events Explained, Analyzed, and Perceived Social Term Paper

… Current Events Explained, Analyzed, And Perceived

Social Science Disciplines - Analysis

Current events may be explained through the disciplines of social science. Social scientists analyze events and issues based on scientific observations and the perceptives that are assigned to these… [read more]

Earth Abides Term Paper

… Earth Abides

The title of the novel is very descriptive of the central theme of the work as a whole. "Earth abides" comes from Ecclesiastes 1:4 --"one generation goeth, and another cometh, but the earth abideth forever." The book deals… [read more]

Sociology and Psychology Term Paper

… Sociology and Psychology

Social and Psychological concept of Identity:

Sociology refers to the scientific study of society while psychology refers to the study of individuals. However, psychology can be aptly described as the study of the mind. Conventionally, "Identity" was… [read more]

Sociological Theory the Sociology Term Paper

… What Marx's historical materialist analysis bore for 20th century society was skepticism about the promises of capitalism for humanity. He provided contrast to the popular belief that capitalism would bring benefit to society, particularly the proletariat class. Exposing the detriments of capitalism through the social conflict between the working and elite classes, Marx proved that "the single biggest obstacle placed in the way of progressive social change was the ability of the dominant classes to prevent the proletariat from attaining true 'class consciousness'" (199). Thus, by studying the important social components in a capitalist society, i.e., its technology and social relations of different classes of people, Marx had been able to recommend that a radical change in the social order through socialism would help alleviate, even eradicate, the existence of social conflict and oppression that were the characteristics of a capitalist society.

Randall Collin's "Sociological Insight" (Question No. 4)

a. Randall Collins introduced the concept of "non-obvious sociology" by giving focus on the role that social interactions among people in a society as the basis for identifying and analyzing the sociological meanings embedded in these interactions. Commonly identified as interactionism, non-obvious sociology gives importance to people as social actors and their daily actions as keys towards further understanding the nature and dynamics of humanity and its social environment. Basing his argument and position primarily on Durkheim's theory of rituals, Collins was able to explore and discover the 'hidden meanings' behind human nature and its dynamics, putting particular emphasis on interactions among people. Thus, as presented in the later chapters of the book, Collins was able to delve deeper into the various social phenomena that occur in human societies through the analysis of the people's daily interactions with each other -- that is, by applying interactionism in his analysis of these social phenomena.

b. In "Sociological Insight," Randall Collins expressed his argument that with the prevalence of rationalization in the new social order that was capitalism, there also existed a shift towards non-rationality or irrationality. Collins traced the progress towards this shift, asserting that with the dominance of rationality, human society had reacted towards its inefficiency by resorting to irrationality. Through the study of non-obvious or interactionist sociology, Collins identified the nature of modern society by providing examples of how rationalization's inefficiency led to the society's subsistence to irrational means of expression, belief, and traditions. The first example he presented was bureaucracy: it was created through the principle of rationalization, though it plummeted towards irrationality due to its inefficiency, which involved 'tedious delays made by paperwork and rules and regulations inappropriate at specific times.' Another example cited was the preponderance of war during the 20th century despite society's achievement of both social and intellectual development. Clearly, rationalization had been more detrimental than beneficial to the progress of society towards development.

c. Using interactionism in his sociological analysis of religion, Collins was able to explain how a seemingly irrational concept such as religion continued to prevail in a rational, capitalist society. In… [read more]

Emile Durkheim Views Society as Having Two Term Paper

… Emile Durkheim

Durkheim views society as having two types of solidarity. One type of which is called the mechanical solidarity and the other is called as organic Solidarity. Mechanical solidarity, according to Durkheim, is the basic form of solidarity that makes society an "organism" as intact rather than just an ensemble of the parts. On the other hand, organic solidarity refers to the social glue that is the outcome of the division of labor in the modern society. Below we define the differences between these kinds of the solidarities.

Mechanical Solidarity - Durkheim argues that mechanical solidarity is the social cohesion based upon the likeness and similarities among individuals in a society, and it is largely dependent on common rituals and routines. This kind of solidarity is common among prehistoric and pre-agricultural societies and lessens in as modernity increases.

Organic Solidarity - Durkheim argues in the advanced societies social cohesion is based upon the dependence of individuals on each other. As the societies progress, the mechanical solidarity begins to change into organic solidarity. If one person were to die, the society would not change, because all other members did exactly the same thing as the member that died. The collective conscience of a mechanical society is identical among all members, and the bond derives not from dependence on other individuals, but from the dependence on the total social system.

Therefore, in the industrial society, the division of labor increases.

Although in an advanced society individuals perform different tasks and often have different values and interests, the order and very survival of society depends on their reliance and dependence on…… [read more]

Durkheim Term Paper

… Critics found Durkheim's method to be very empirical and that he sought through all kinds of data to find evidence of the relationship and conditions expressed through these figures or statistics. In the process, he discovered patterns, which were not themselves the cause of the phenomenon of suicide, that the cause was social and that those observed patterns were merely suggestive of the underlying causes.

Durkheim'e method began with statistics on hand in the conduct of its work and in combination with observations. He was in search of social facts and social explanations and tried to establish these with data on suicides. Although his observations were almost entirely empirical and his discoveries failed to connect the occurrences of suicide to what his statistics suggested, Durkheim followed his own rules and in the most scientific and honest way possible with resources on hand.#


1. Elwell F.W. (2003). Emile durkheim's sociology. Rogers State University.

2. Gingrich, P. (1999). Social factors and suicide. University of Regina.

3. Hewlett School (2005). Durkheim's anomie. Crime and Deviance.

4. -- . Emile durkheim: the person.

5. -- . Durkheim and suicide.

6. Jones, RA (1986). Emile durkheim: an introduction to four major works. California: Sage Publications, Inc.

7. Wikipedia. (2005). Emile Durkheim. Media Wiki.… [read more]

Gemeinschaft and Gessellschaft. Second Term Paper

… This study includes which social rules and processes knit these people closer together, and which rules and processes separate people from society. This not only includes the study of individuals, but also individuals as members of specific groups, association and institutions. In the end, sociology is about the study of what drives humans to form communities, how these communities function and the complex sets of relationships and associations that form.

As mentioned, sociology does study how communities are formed and what binds these individuals together; however, more telling is sometimes the loss of community. Sociologists often concern themselves with aspects of social lives, such as Anomie, that separate individuals and groups from the societal group they were once a part of. Science, in any format, is not only concerned with how and why things work, but also how to fix things when they are broken.

Therefore it's not surprising that sociology can be seen as developing from a concern about loss of community. It was Auguste Comte, who first coined the term sociology. From the beginning he believed sociology could combine the study of history, psychology and economics and use this information to remedy societal ills, such as a loss of community. Those who followed after Comte, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Tonnies, and others, often focused their studies on alienation, disenfranchisement, and other seperations from society.


Social relationship in modern society differ greatly from those of feudal society. First, feudal society was "characterized by the legal subjection of a large part of the peasantry to a hereditary landholding elite exercising administrative and judicial power on the basis of reciprocal private undertakings" ("Feudal," 2005). These societal bonds were formed in an effort to achieve mutual benefits to both parties, protection and loyalty to the societal elite landholders and land earnings for the vassals.

There was not a strong central authority, in feudal society, as there is in modern society. Political power was dispersed across the numerous lords of the land. In addition, vassals' oaths to protect and serve these lords were voluntary. These social relationships were more in line with the business arrangements and partnerships of modern society. As such, feudal society member often developed relationships with more than one lord.

Feudal society was not a simple pyramid, with the King at the top, lords in the middle and vassals or peasants at the bottom. It was a complex network of relationships, due to the dispersed political power. As mentioned, it was not uncommon for a vassal to pledge his allegiance to more than one lord. This is in stark contrast to modern society where most citizens are aligned with one allegiance to their country of choice.


Anomie. (2 Dec. 2004). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from

Feudal society. (9 Jan. 2005). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. (18 Dec. 2004). Retrieved January 25, 2005, from…… [read more]

Welfare and Poverty Term Paper

… Poverty, Welfare and Sociology

Poverty: n. (1) being poor, need. (2) scarcity or lack. (Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus, American Edition, 1997)

Poverty is a term that promotes many different visions: children with hunger-bloated bellies in third-world countries; housing built… [read more]

Poverty and Welfare Term Paper

… Sociology of Poverty and Welfare

Defining elements in culture are those of language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects which are passed through generation to generation. Further culture can be separated into subgroups of material culture and nonmaterial culture.… [read more]

Sociology Nazi Germany Term Paper

… (Sociology 250: Max Weber)

Karl Marx, born in the year 1818, has been stated as being one of the most important and influential socialist thinkers of the time in which he was living, and even today. His political and social… [read more]

Sociology With the Emergence of Karl Marx Term Paper

… Sociology

With the emergence of Karl Marx's conflict theory, which posits that oppression against the working class by the elite class is inherent in a capitalist society, feminist ideology had developed. Feminism looks critically at the gender inequality that has… [read more]

Mcdonaldization of Society Term Paper

… ¶ … McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer

The book "The McDonaldization of Society" by George Ritzer provides a detailed discussion of the influence and effect of the fast food company McDonald's to the development of human society as it achieves, to the fullest, the triumph of rationalization of the capitalist system on the dawn of the 21st century. Through the model of McDonald's, Ritzer allows his readers to reflect on the culture that the fast food company had created for contemporary society, particularly in the context of American society. With the development of McDonald's as an institution in the American business sector and culture, it inevitably shaped the "fast food" society -- that is, products, services, as well as the lifestyle of people, reflects instantaneous production and accomplishment, respectively.

The author discusses the positive and negative effects of the McDonaldization of society. On one hand, the McDonaldization of American society is a manifestation of Max Weber's claim that society achieves rationalization -- that is, a society "...dominated by efficiency, predictability, calculability, and nonhuman technologies." Looking into this concept, McDonald's has indeed embodied Weber's theory of rationalization: in the McDonald's culture, every product is calculated and precisely measured, every service is standardized. In fact, the standardization of everything that the fast food company offers -- food, service, and even the ambience and 'look' of a McDonald's restaurant -- reflects an attempt to establish a culture wherein there is consistency and predictability in people's actions. That is, people line up to order their food on a standardized menu, the crew greets a standard greeting to all their customers, and when order is served, people seat in chairs…… [read more]

Sociology in Studying the Individual Term Paper

… Thus, as Charles Cooley posits in his theory of the 'looking glass self,' what we become is a product of the social interactions with other people in the society.

Thus, social isolation, which involves no interaction with the society at all, creates a detriment to the development of the individual. Social science research have always cited classic cases of individuals who were isolated in a small room for many years, and were found to display lack of knowledge of human communication and interaction. It is through social interaction that we learn and become able to accomplish things and activities everyday. Without socialization, an individual fails to recognize his/her fullest potential as a human being; it is only by interacting that we learn about our capabilities and limitations and ultimately, what we are and are not.


Santrock, J. (2001). Psychology. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co.

Schaeffer, R. (1998). Sociology: a brief introduction. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co.… [read more]

Juvenile Deviance on the Streets and in Schools Term Paper

… Sociology of Deviant Behavior

Violence, Deviant Behavior, Labeling and Conflict Theories in "Code of the Street" by Elijah Anderson

In the study of human society, people as social actors are analyzed based on their interactions with each other. Furthermore, it is through an analysis of people's interactions that social norms and rules are formulated -- that is, beliefs, behavior, and actions that are further reinforced and collectively followed by the members of the society.

Despite the establishment of these social norms and rules, there are still individuals who do not conform, or "deviate," from the established norms and rules in the society. Schaefer (1998) identifies deviance as a "behavior that violates the standards of conduct and/or expectations of a group or society" (160). Directly linked with the study of deviant behavior is the concept of social control, which regulates human behavior within society. Thus, deviance may include some form of social control in order to inculcate in society that deviant behavior are undesirable for the society. Social control may be formal or informal, wherein the former imposes a legal procedure, such as imprisonment, or simply, by making the individual an "outsider," isolated from his/her society and not welcomed to interact with other people.

In this paper, the researcher discusses and analyzes the occurrence of deviant behavior in the context of 'life on the street' or street life. Street life are predominated by people who live in "poor inner-city neighborhoods," which Elijah Anderson (1999) studies in his book, "Code of the Street." Applying the basic concepts associated in the study of the sociology of deviant behavior, this paper argues that Andersons' analysis of street life in "Code of the Street" puts into context the labeling theory of deviant behavior, wherein people's attitudes and behavior are associated with the "labels" that other people associate or give them as deviants in the society. In the texts that follow, this issue is discussed extensively, with references to both Schaefer and Anderson's discussions on deviant behavior.

In his book, Anderson identifies "code of the street" as the establishment of 'norms' among deviants -- that is, the cultivation of "indecent ways" that are actually a set of informal rules followed by street families and people, especially among the youth. Early on in the book, the author makes it clear that people adopt various "degrees of alienation," where people can identify them as such. Thus, street life may include the extreme form of alienation through the "criminal element(s)," people who are isolated and socially controlled by society through imprisonment (35). However, there are those street people who maintain two identities: the first identity is able to adapt to the normative view of the society, while…… [read more]

Sociology: Deviant Behavior Term Paper

… Starr also seems to be suggesting however that the norms in society are shifting based on increasing exposure to violent activity. Conflict theorists generally support the notion that with a shift in norms come a shift in rules and decisions.

Laws and rules are generally passed because they support the desires of the people, at least according to conflict theory. If people become de-sensitized, it is feasible to conclude that the laws and regulations may change at some point in time.

Generally within society the notion that gunfire and homicides are deviant behavior is widely accepted, and this fact is supported by laws and regulations. It is possible however that a shift is occurring in what is considered normal based on Starr's analysis of people's reactions to activity.

This could shift the majority opinion, rules and laws of the land enforcing the notion that some behavior is more acceptable than others. According to conflict theory this would largely be the result of society's decisions and rules regarding crime and deviance in general.


Rubington, E. & Weignberg, M.S. (1987). Deviance, the interactionist perspective. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Available:

Starr, R. (July-1993). "Instead of fighting deviance, Americans just get used to it."

Insight on the News, 9(29), p. 40.… [read more]

Wayward Puritans: A Study Term Paper

… The author states, "The Bible told him [the Puritan] the difference between right and wrong, and in his efforts to shape the world to those clear moralities he could be positively ferocious."

In early Puritan society, the ministers acted as the lawmakers, and so, societal control was based on the Bible's rules, and the minister's interpretations of those rules. To begin with, to be admitted as a member of Puritan society, one had to be a member of the church. Here is an example of societal control before the member could even join the society. Indeed, as the society thrived and new laws were enacted, they persecuted Quakers in much the same way they had been persecuted in England, and they suffered several "crime waves" of witchcraft and possession. The trial and banishment of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, and the persecution of the Quakers indicated society in New England was becoming even more conservative, and certainly more controlling of "deviant" members. Fearful of witches and the black arts, the society encouraged members to turn on each other in the name of "confession." Erickson writes, "As they [the possessed girls] became caught up in the enthusiasm of their new work, then, the girls began to reach into every corner of the community in a search for likely suspects."

The community encouraged this behavior in their maniacal search for deviants in league with the Devil, and this shows how the community's beliefs and fears controlled the deviant behavior. Anyone could be accused, and so, the rest of the community had to strictly adhere to every Puritan policy, or become suspect themselves. The mores were so strict that the slightest infraction could place a person in jeopardy, and this indicates just how controlling the society was, and how fearful it was of any deviant behavior, which is why they created so many controls.

The Puritans felt they were alone in the world, and so they had to enact harsh and strict societal controls over their lives. This societal control is evident in the way their lived their lives, and the way they used the Bible to define their activities. Deviant behavior was to be avoided at all costs, and to fit into this society, members had to believe, behave, and never question authority. Those who did were banished from the community, or even worse, put to death. This was strong societal control, and it is easy to see why the rest of the community tried to conform. Societal control that includes the threat of death is quite powerful, indeed.


Erikson, Kai. (1966). Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Erikson, Kai. (1966). Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance. New…… [read more]

Emile Durkheim Sociology Term Paper

… This is especially true if the society is heterogeneous. In a heterogeneous society people come from different cultures and religions and thus have different morals. There is always the likelihood that one set of individuals will be opposed to moral teaching that may be a contradiction to their culture or religion. Also, if the people making the decisions about moral standards are not representative of the entire society the "morality" being taught will always represent the In addition, one could also argue that public educational facilities are not designed to teach morality and should only concentrate on academic achievement.


The purpose of this discussion was to provide an overview of the theorist and his work. We found that Durkheim was born in a town and France and received his post secondary education in Paris at the Ecole Normale Superieure. He was also rejected because of his philosophies and original thoughts.

The discussion also focused on the work and evaluation of the validity of his theory of morality. We concluded that his theories were valid but were also complicated by the fact that many societies are heterogeneous and differing morals abound


Blend, C., Coser, L.A., Duncan, H.D., Folkman, J.D., Hinkle, R.C., Honigsheim, P., Kurauchi, K., Neyer, J., Parsons, T., Peyre, H., Richter, M., Salomon, A., & Wolff, K.H. (1960). Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917: A Collection of Essays, with Translations and a Bibliography (K W.H., Ed.). Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.

Durkheim, E. (1953). Sociology and Philosophy (Pocock, D.F., Trans.). New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, E., & Fauconnet, P. (1961). Moral Education: A Study in the Theory and Application of the Sociology of Education (E. K. Wilson, Ed.) (Schnurer, H., & K., E.W., Trans.). New York: Free Press.… [read more]

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