Consequently, by searching through a person’s history and observing their fundamental socioeconomic conditions, glimpsing their future may be possible. So with this information at our side, what can one say about oneself? The obvious pillars in society that envelope me are school and family. School is a mini-society by itself. It has social classes, structure, currency (grades), leaders, and followers. School, for the typical teenage male, is both the physical and social location in which they spend the most time and effort.
This is caused by their many interactions between their friends and teachers (but mostly their friends) and by the fact that they spend around 6-8 hour in school, which comprises a large portion of their 14-hour day. School is further characterized by smaller groups (general groups such as age/grade), which are divided into even smaller congregations, often called cliques. In every major school, there are the athletes, nerds, drama members, etc. These groups are characterized by their socioeconomic position. School essential components include grades, extracurricular activities, social class, etc. which are individual characteristics that contribute to a larger sociological viewpoint of a clique. Cliques can overlap depending on the same sociological locations as well; I could fit the athlete clique as well as the geek clique. So what are the meanings and functions of the particular features and structures within the school environment? Grades provided distinct separation between intellectual minds and nonintellectual minds. The mentality of getting good grades versus being lazy is a huge separation in school and in society as a whole.
The school environment causes natural polarization of peoples with similar backgrounds, attitudes, or any other factors that would form certain peer groups, or ‘cliques’. This is particularly observable in the High School setting, as the predominant social groups are composed of adolescents who are beginning their socialization process. This socialization forms various groupings or factions that ...
It is impossible for a school to have “school unity” due to the presence of grades, which, in effect, are judging the academic profile of the student. Mills writes “the distinction with which the sociological imagination works is between ‘the personal troubles of milieu’ and the ‘public issues of social structure. ’” Grades are a “personal trouble of the milieu” as they affect personal issues, such as family, self-esteem, college application, etc. Nonetheless, when grades start grouping people together, it can become a “public issue of social structure. Although positive groups may form, such as a study group which push its members faster and farther than without (such as certain studious people at SST), they can also form negative crowds. For example, gangs start forming from nefarious groups during their middle and high school years. Oftentimes, this begins with poor grades, struggles in school, family difficulties, and self-esteem problems. All of these are personal troubles but when they form a small society that wreaks havoc upon larger societies, it becomes a public issue.
They become a destructive force within society, bringing potential for the collapse of essential social pillars. Similarly, racism starts with personal differences, such as skin color, athleticism, manners of speaking, which are all individual features within the school environment, but then evolve into an international problem with whole populations being discriminated against. This has occurred throughout history; in America, first it was the African Americans, then the Chinese, followed by the Muslim nations, and finally Mexicans.
Modern racism now includes many varieties of Asians, especially recent immigrants who are having a lot of success. These are examples of the discrimination that occurs when people are separated by socioeconomic conditions, where resources are limited and discrimination occurs to prevent others from attaining a resource. These examples show what we consider personal troubles may actually be public issues if they become widespread. Social structure in modern times, compared to recent history, causes teenagers to spend as much time away from their parents as possible.
Family is one of the oldest and most common human institutions. Since prehistoric times, the family has been an important organisation in society. Most people grow up in a family and as adults, establish a family of their own. One main type of family is known as a nuclear family. A nuclear family is made up when a couple have children, the parents and their children make up a nuclear family, in ...
This is a large social change from the 1960; the nuclear family was a very tight-knit sociological structure where there were strong bonds between the parents and children that provided a base of discipline and a foundation of ethics. In addition, these nuclear families often had extended family living nearby, such as grandparents, who were considered wise and very much respected. Their advice was treated valuable (as it should be) and were sources of discipline and ethics. In modern times, however, the nuclear family has changed from one parent working and one arent at home (at least one adult to be responsible for the kid) to both parents working and the child let loose. This is caused due to the major changes in economics where both parents need to work to keep the family afloat economically. Thus, the economy largely affects familial structure, as it is a pillar of society in general. I am fortunate enough, however, to have parents who have flexible work hours and can telecommute often, thus giving me a solid base of discipline and ethics in which I can use to propel myself above the norm.
Others, however, are not as fortunate to have family surrounding them every step of the way and aiding in the pursuit of success. Furthermore, the nuclear family lives far from the extended family, thus the wisdom of the elders cannot be passed down through the generations. This technological advancement, consisting of internet, cars, planes, and other such devices, have resulted in the breakdown of the old family structures. With the economy causing more people to work and fewer people practicing housekeeping, the socioeconomic powerhouses of economy and technology have significantly changed family life.
On the other hand, any immigrant families, since they arrived in America as usually one big familiar group, have kept the older and traditional extended family-like homes while transitioning slowly to the nuclear. The difference is that grandparents and other relatives often stay near the same area. In my family, for example, my grandparents live down one block from my house and when I was young, I often stayed over there while my parents were working. Even now, we have a tight-knit family structure where all members who are available come and eat dinner on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
As a direct result of the September 11 terrorist attacks, both government and law enforcement officials have implemented surveillance technologies designed to deter future terrorist attacks. Officials continue to scrutinize whether the implementation of these technologies will in fact prevent another national tragedy. As a nation, we are now faced with the reality of having to sacrifice individual ...
The differences that most people come up with in this era compared to previous eras is the technological advancements. Although we may view, ourselves as in the period of highest of technology, society is always advancing, thus no matter what epoch we are in, we will always be in the “technology” era. The concept of new is assumed to be “better” in technology and engineering. Recently, we have discovered that “new” technology often requires existing infrastructure, which does not exist in second and third world countries.
This is why, instead of developing ultra-advanced novel technology, we are designing methods to bring technology to everyone in the world. This policy, called intermediate technology, is not driving our rate of invention as fast as the exponential growth curve indicates society should be. The second major pillar of change in this society is the structure of economic success with relation to government policies. In the 60-80s, the process towards success was important, arguably more than the success itself. There were strong policies of honesty, integrity, discipline, that were enforced by federal policies.
The government and economy have stranglehold in controlling education; education’s funding is controlled by both and through what it allows to be taught, affects the next generation’s mentality. The government of today places a large portion of the funding towards helping the slower kids learn rather than aiding the faster kids who will make up the forefront of the next generation. This directly affects people like me, who learn faster than usual but are hindered by the slower rates of teaching. With these facts, one can see that, indeed, the success-driven society of today was driven by the economy and government of yesterday.
Business, society and government are placed in different situations depending on what the conflict may be. According to the case “Dickinson’s needle sticks”, all three different sectors were placed in a different position where society was seen to have no voice or empowerment. The society in this case were the nurses, patients and any health care workers using Dickinson’s needles. These sectors ...
If one looks through an even broader sociological perspective, it is easy to find the beginning of the success-driven society –– capitalism. Capitalism, and its corresponding Protestant ethic, caused the money/success happy society to form. While capitalism began to sprout during the Industrial Revolution, it did not truly begin to flourish until globalization of international trade, which occurred in the last quarter of the 20th century. Again, technological forces are at work; with advancements, we can share ideas, information, products, and culture all over the world in an instant.
With the invention of the internet, I can communicate across the nation quickly, respond to professor’s lecture at Harvard, request algae species from Brazil, and order medical supplies from India or China. With this incredible tool at our disposal, the possibilities of prosperity in the new age are limitless to anyone with just internet access. In conclusion, after careful analysis of the sociological factors, one can see that the inner pillars of school and family are really dominated by the overarching factors forces of the government, technology, and the economy.
These three major factors influence people to become who they are as individuals and citizens in society. These all-encompassing forces affect nearly every part of American life, from food and clothes to iPods and healthcare. The sociological imagination is a tool to view the impacts of the major forces on individuals and create, as Mills says, “a lucid summation of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening with themselves. ” Bibliography Mills, C. W. “The Sociological Imagination. ” Oxford University Press, 1959. Web. 18 Sept. 2012.