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The Rationalization of Society
In this paper, I address concepts related to sociology and how they define human relations and interactions. The social development witnessed in today’s world is a result of the rationalization of the human behaviors. Before the modern civilization characterized by technological and economic development came into place, people lived in small communities defined by culture and social behaviors. Thus, with the increase of knowledge and science, rationalization of the societies came into place. Rationalization denoted the application of efficient and practical results which came to dominate the affairs of human beings. This came into play upon removal of the cultural and traditional orientation of social lives that had been put in place to help protect initial practices and provide a barrier to a rational society. As a result, a need to remove the barriers at a cost of traditional way of life emerged. Some communities and societies completely lost their identity because of the more progressive societies. The concept of a rational society became submerged by the widespread acceptance of what has been described as the rational society built around the idea that human beings occupy a higher echelon in the creation ladder (Beniger, 1998).
The result of the rationalization of the society included people organizing themselves into political, economic, and social groups that defined their unique identities. There was also the industrial revolution characterized by many formal organizations. The social and political interactions begun to be founded on clear cut levels and labor started to be divided based on skills and experiences. Before the rationalization, human societies were founded on informal rules and codes. Rationalization brought about written rules and laws as well as an increase in bureaucracy to govern people’s lives. Furthermore because of the division of labor, some workers started feeling alienated as labor was based on rules, functions, and roles that a person could perform rather than their characteristics. Rationalization also had the ramification of the emergence of volunteer association based on some mutual interest, such as religious groups, hospitals, and political parties to accomplish temporary or permanent tasks.
Most often, the organizational culture is confused to the climate or the daily moods of the employees in that organization. In contrast, culture is a result of everything done in an organization including the way in which the organization is managed. Culture inherently shapes the processes and systems that help in providing services to customers. As such, beliefs and morals of an organization have their foundation in its cultural tenets. As an influential factor to what people does in the organization, culture, more often, affects the productivity of the workers in an organization. Among the strongest impacts of culture on the behavioral mannerism of workers include what they want or not want to believe as well as how to react and feel. As a great influencer to the productivity within a company, culture can be shaped from a management point of view. This will help to clarify the goal of an organization, develop a facilitative decision-making structure, encourage organizational integration, formulate a management style that reflects the organization culture, and develop a strong and efficient human resource. Moreover, organization culture should be defined by the way the organization compensates its workers through salaries, wages, and other motivational facilities.
Scientists have identified several factors that come up in different management styles. One of the theories that scientist developed is that people do not behave naturally in a rational manner. The theory supposes that human beings are the most paradoxical creations. As such, they always act with a self-centered and chest-jumping approach to winning as opposed to losing. Because of this mannerism amongst people, an organization must formulate a cultural approach that helps it handle some of the irrational employees. The approach should allow management to ostracize, discipline, and criticize their irrational employees while also providing an environment which can allow it to be criticized in return. Notably, in the process of formulating an organizational culture, an organization forges a path through which employees are guided. Additionally, the fact that human beings are experimental and thrill-seeker means that the culture of the organization must put into consideration all those conditions that characterize general human behaviors.
How the Social Worlds Wield Power?
The social world is characterized by a number of power structures that dominate the way people interact with one another in any given social setting. Any organized society has a center of power that could be described as coercive which includes the power of money. This is commonly described as the economic power. In fact, it represents one of the very high influential powers that an individual can have against the others. The economic power has brought about the global stratification witnessed today in terms of economic blocks, economic partners, and even national and international communities. Power is thus practiced through social control which is simply “the attempts by society to regulate thoughts behaviors of individuals” (McLeod, 2013). Without this power, the world would not move forward. Nevertheless, some powers are destructive in their own exercise. For instance, the gender inequality and sexual superiority that characterizes most societies in the world is retrogressive in the sense that it undermines one section of the human society.
A sociologist view of what constitutes a social class is a group of people in the same position in terms of their economic production systems. The importance of a social class is that it has financial, beneficial, and stability attachments. People who occupy the same social class tend to unconsciously be aware of other members in their group. Thus, they will automatically form groups based on their similar characteristics. Furthermore, many American sociologists identify five social classes in America including the elite who occupy the upper class, the upper middle class, lower middle class, the working, and the poor class. Each of these social classes has unique identifiable characteristics defined in terms of economic and political powers.
Functionalist theory posits that social stratification is formed by hierarchical patterns that can be observed and that such patterns are both inevitable and desirable. For instance, functionalist theorist Davis argued that occupation differences as a pattern of social stratification is a function of the functional importance of each person involved. The argument of conflict theory is that social order is a result of coercion and power. This theory was advanced by Karl Marx. It identifies a society as fragmented into units depending on the economic and social resources. The social stratification is sustained through domination of power in the hands of people with the greatest social, political, and economic resources (Smyth, 1999).
The concept of gender roles was brought about by the division of labor and contributed to the engendered social behaviors among human beings. As a result, gender became an identifiable social construct that provided the distinction between men and women in terms of their roles and functions. Because of the division of labor, peer groups started having a conventional approach to gendered social norms and thus behaved depending on their gender role. According to Cheshire (2000), gender roles, in a social setting, denote a collection of behavioral and social norms that a particular society considers to be appropriate to female or male members in that society.
This kind of characterization is impeded in the society through roles that are traditionally labeled as being male-oriented or female-oriented. It is a common conception that male and female have different physical formulations. However, the definition of gender roles is not summarily a result of the physiological differences, but rather ideological differences. The ideological differences endeavor to perpetuate the male supremacy outlook and maintain the status quo that males are superior to females. This view characterized many early societies and still forms an important practice in some parts of the world. Rise in feminism as well as the fact that societies have become more civilized has enabled a reverse in the gender roles, or at least a removal of the notion that men cannot do some jobs as well as women cannot be employed in some professionals.
Some experts see the breaking of the gender barriers as evolution of man rather than a revolution. Nowadays, it is common to find women in such professions as were previously dominated by males like medicine and law, engineering and information technology, among other high flying jobs. Moreover, the modern woman is no longer a housewife or a homemaker as it used to be the case. Nevertheless, the change in the gender roles must be interrogated in terms of women empowerment that has seen more women joining the workforce and abandoning their traditional roles as housewives. On the other hand, men are more willing to take up previously stereotyped roles like nursing which were exclusively reserves of women.
Race and Ethnicity, the Elderly
Henslin (2012) observed that people who are beyond the age of 65 years should be considered as elderly. Such people always have a common interest in terms of their aspirations and needs, health and information, among other needs. Therefore, they form a special group of people in the society. As noted by Henslin (2012), the age can become a defining feature in the life of any member of the society as their ages greatly affect the various things that they can do in the society. As elderly members of the society, these people are expected to exhibit a certain behavior and to have different strength and willingness to achieve particular ambitions. Analysis of situations across the world shows that the elderly are vulnerable to certain social factors that influence their social status as social elders. Among the social factors that influence the life of the elderly people include their social security, financial security, healthcare, and the general lifestyle.
On the other hand, the connotation of race and ethnicity is a construct of the social behaviors which identifies the significant social differences and similarities in accordance to the biological makeup of certain people. Race has been one of the controversial topics since civilization. In fact, the former Japanese Prime Minister claimed that the average Japanese was more intelligence than the average American because of the presence of Blacks and Hispanics in America. Apparently, the premier assumed that since Japan was a racial homogeneous society, their intelligence could not be diffused by other racial elements. Apart from the biological differences like the skin color, which is the single most distinction between races, the inherent non observable traits like intelligence and aspiration among different races and ethnicity have been found to be the same.
Race and ethnicity have been identified as the mothers of the social terms like minority groups and therefore help to perpetuate stereotyping of negative characterization like inferiority. Like any other social group, and in addition to the identifiable physical features like skin color, race and ethnic groups could be identified by social factors like their economic or political power within a state or a country. Different ethnicities and races around the globe, and especially in multiracial countries like US, have been identified by the kind of treatment; discrimination by other majority races. Races and ethnic groups are characterized by their discrimination in the hand of other groups, their socially visible characteristics, and their strong sense of oneness. They also tend to easily marry from within.
The existing theories of aging are informed by three social perspectives. The functionalist theories have focused on the role that elders play in the society in terms of their function. On the other hand, the conflict perspective theory of social aging focuses on the odds that exist between the elderly people and other groups in a particular society. The final theory is the symbolic interactionist perspective that seeks to dissect how aged people can be identified from the way they interact with the rest of society. Each of these social perspectives characterizes the society in a manner that uniquely identifies people with similar social characteristics. That is, in terms of their age, race, economic or social power among others. For instance, the functionalist social perspective uses the synergy of systems operating within the society to measure how different sections of the society work in unity to ensure that the society functions. The theory posits that the elderly is a special functional part of the society as most of those in the age group hold not only the wisdom of the society, but also the material resources.
The discovery that elderly people occupied a distinct state in the course of their lives as witnessed in the change of activities and roles presented an approach that is groundbreaking to the elderly people’s study contribution to social development. Nevertheless, this view is no longer popular among the sociologists who study elderly people. Therefore, it is now commonly acceptable that elderly people tend to withdraw from the society independently. The view no longer represents a trend of how old people behave in all societies around the world. A number of sociologists including Havinghurst (1961), Neugarten (1964), Havinghurst, Neugarten, and Tobin (1968) argued that activity theory relied on the social involvement that proposes that the happiness of an elderly person depended on the activity or involvement of that person in the social matters.
Capitalism and Socialism
The pros and cons of socialism and capitalism have led to arguments and critics by people who view the two in different and antagonistic perspectives. In the current American economy, the two economic systems may be of great importance as well as disadvantageous in many ways. First, capitalism is of great importance as it leads to the increase of marketplace opportunities for an individual to experience personal economic growth. This makes it important for entrepreneurs to boost their personal and communal statuses for the overall growth of the society. Under this type of economy, hard work is rewarded accordingly (Werbach, 2009). Consumers, in this type of economy, have the opportunity to work towards personal riches as well as financial freedom. A point to note is that markets usually result from a capitalist economy. At the moment, American economy requires more competition, especially in innovation and technological sectors. This will be of great importance to further economic development and growth of the American economy. Looking at the great American companies which are technology based, such as Apple and Facebook, it is cogently true that innovation, a production of capitalism, has contributed a lot to the development of the American economy.
Capitalism is advantageous because companies and consumers do the regulation of the free market. Conclusively, capitalism in the American society is seen as a rapid growth catalyst. Capitalism cultivates the spirit of hard work and innovation in individuals and has been responsible for great inventions in all spheres of life (Polychroniou, 2009). Companies, such as Apple, have built a good image of the US making it one of the spots where innovative minds operate successfully. Some countries are described as dreamlands simple because capitalism has enabled people to be independent and thus able to contribute to the social growth. Americans view themselves as people who love and are willing to do their best in innovation.
Similarly, capitalism in the US is advantages because it allows everyone to contribute to the social and economic development of their countries. For instance, the private media do appeal to the emotions and has become the engine of the society. Moreover, the larger organizations that have been developed through capitalism encourage corporate development of their societies through foundations. Such organization-managed foundations contribute in matters to do with education, health, security, and environment in the society. Overall, capitalist economies are usually driven venture capitalists who value the efforts of individuals to become independent socially and economically and therefore contribute to the awakening of the whole society in terms of development and power. As stated earlier, capitalism encourages monopolization of the market to people who are hard working and therefore ensure that people who deserve to leave a better life in the society are accessed to such provisions.
In a capitalist economy, big companies get bigger as monopolistic behavior take place to its maximum level. There is establishment of legal labor practices as companies are driven solely by their profit motives. Considering the fact that capitalism does require a continual growth, capitalist have become the greatest crusaders for environmental conservation at a time when nature is conspiring to make the environment inhabitable to human beings. In the US, as a nation, capitalism has been lauded as the engine on which the society became the most socially, economically, and politically developed in the whole world (Polychroniou, 2009). Private investments and innovation have contributed largely to the growing and sprawling economy in America at a time other nations are struggling with similar resources and capacity. Poor people who are innovative and able to apply their knowledge have managed to become rich in societies that encourage capitalism. As discussed, capitalism can create bad images to the country as it encourages individualism among people of one nation against the other. This forms the element of narcissism, in the negative perspective.
Capitalism and socialism are two societal features that require immediate attention. Socialism does not allow independency in an individual. The two practices play the game of pretence by involving people in awkward situations which logically does not allow them to publicize success. The above analysis highlights the advantages brought about through capitalism as evident in different countries. Capitalism and socialism are economic systems that have a direct impact on the triumph or crash of the country.
Education, Religion, Medicine and Health
Mercy killing of terminally ill or aged people in what is known as euthanasia is a controversial topic in many countries. Some countries have enacted laws that govern the way the practice is performed. Morally speaking, the killing of people with their own consent is a disturbing undertaking even though the very people can be said to have granted permission to be assisted to die. Countries like Netherlands have legalized euthanasia and many patients with terminal conditions feel in control of their lives. It is for a reason that they can ask for legal end of their life whenever they feel that they are overcome by their conditions. This is not the case in America where the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that there was no constitutional protection for people who wanted to have assisted death (Pappas, 2012).
Even though the Supreme Court ruled against euthanasia in America, a number of states have passed laws like the Death with Dignity Act of 1994 in Oregon that seeks to help people with terminal conditions have control of their lives. Statistics from countries where such laws have been enacted shows that the cases of euthanasia in those countries are falling. It is for a reason that people feel that they are in control of their lives whenever they are faced with a life-limiting condition. While I strongly advocate for euthanasia to aged people with terminal conditions, it will be against my moral convictions to contemplate United States enacting a law that allows euthanasia for infants who are extremely deformed. It is unfortunate that the Royal Dutch Medical Association endorsed the euthanasia of infants and newborns with extreme disabilities. This will be an open affront to the human rights of infants who have no right to choose if they should leave or not (Ryan & Mandy, 2011).
People’s socioeconomic status has the tendency to define the behaviors that they can participate in. For example, it is expected that people with socioeconomic difficulty are not able to secure better healthcare engage in activities that are harmful to their health like smoking and taking alcohol. The tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors by people who are disadvantaged socioeconomically is higher unlike those with the ability of providing themselves with better health care. Thus, this establishes the health disparities between people with varying socioeconomic status as well as health behaviors among people from different social backgrounds. Interestingly, the difference or disparity is not only evident in the health sector, but also other societal sectors such as security and education.
The fact that social and economic conditions do determine the kind of social behaviors that a person is likely to engage in highlights the impact of social status on the lives of people. The socioeconomic status can bring about the sense of deprivation, stress, and inequality to people who occupy a socially disadvantaged position. This will affect their diversity and capacity to cope with socially stressing factors. In response, such people indulge in self-destructive activities, such as overreacting or smoking that brings a form of relaxation and pleasure to them as it helps them regulate their moods as disadvantaged people. This kind of self-medicating or coping approach ensures that the cost of living is limited to the individual’s ability to meet it. Consequently, the socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals make decisions to engage in healthy challenging behaviors.
Urbanization and Population, Social Movements and Collective Behavior, Social Change and the Environment
The contemporary life in which more people are moving in the cities is becoming rampant even as people’s social behaviors are changing. The social movements contribute to the integration of different cultural and social practices leading to a whole new culture that is dynamic as it is dependent on the population of people who are coming into the city. Henslin (2012) has noted that the sprawling population in the cities carries with it a set of behaviors in which a large number of people participate. This kind of behavior might partly be spontaneous and partly planned so that it is difficult to monitor how the behaviors develop. In trying to develop a certain set of behavior, some people tend to dissociate themselves from the rest of the group. Some even develop a sense of being an alien to what is happening around them. Thus, they are not motivated to participate in the forces that shape the behavior in the city. When the behaviors are finally formed, they join the implementers of such behaviors even though this might happen unconsciously.
Herbert Gans (1982) categorized people who live in the city as cosmopolites who are attracted by the culture, restaurants, and everything else in the city. He observed that they mostly consist of musicians, intellectuals, and students. The other group is the unmarried and childless people who only live in the city because they want to be near their job places and enjoy the facilities in the city. The third group is the ethnic villagers who have recently migrated into the city and mostly identify themselves with various ethnic groups. Such people are mostly found in certain neighborhoods with strong social bonds and a strong sense of community.
Before the invention of the modern systems of communications, social communication was defined by informal systems of communications that made it difficult to verify the truth about the communication. One of the ways in which information was passed from one person to another, and supposedly is still popular in some societies, is through rumors. Some sociologists like Rosnow (1991) argued that rumors played a significant role within the social structure due to the fact that it helps explain uncertain or ambiguous events. The sociologist argued that talking about unsubstantiated information acted as a catharsis by reducing the anxiety associated with a story. As such, Rosnow identified some factors that characterized rumors such as being out-come relevant to the person listening to the rumor, presenting the element of uncertainty, contributing to the increase in personal anxiety, and holding some form of credibility.
As the society has continued to evolve, new methods of communicating information have come into the scene. Good examples are urban legends that help to pass across unfounded information. However, the essential purpose of rumors, like any other form of communication in the society, is to tell a story and pass information. Thus, any society is knit together by the quality of information that it has in regard to the interactions of its people. This helps to form social relationships with listeners, attract their attention and to maintain their status. Agreeably, not all rumor, urban legends, and other stories have the ultimate effect that communication might have but rather a form of establishing social relationships based on certain mutual interests. This normally happens in social settings that have highly developed communication systems including language. This way, the rumor or urban legend is passed in a language that does appeal to the highest number of listeners.
Sociological Perspective to the Social World
The modern world is driven around on various sociological perspectives that people from different backgrounds hold. Any given society has its culture which is the values that members in a given setting hold to. The cultural norms determine the values which inform the ideals that a given social group holds. These people interact with one another in accordance to a given set of principles and rules that everyone is expected to follow. The contemporary society is made up of social issues like marriage, language, and interaction that highlight the social development level in that society. The sociological imagination posits that human understanding of the environment around them leads to a feeling of frustration. It is for a reason that such knowledge leads to the realization of the human powerlessness. The feeling that human beings have become spectators in a game they are supposed to be playing implies that they will continue to experience social and political hopelessness while also experiencing political illusion.
As a way of understanding the cultural and social setting guiding the lives of a group of people one has to understand the rules and codes which they observe. If the rules and codes are imposed on the people by a certain figure or there is a general feeling that a particular practice is obsolete or has stopped to serve its purpose, the group may become defiant of that rule. This kind of defiance is expressed through social control or political demonstrations which seek to remove the enforcing element from power and put a new social identity of power. The general conception within a social setting is that a society must be guided by a set of rules that defines how people interact with each other while observing their rights and those of other members of the society.
Article Review: Federal Judge Rules That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in Utah. December 20 2013, New York Times
The American society is a diverse group of people in terms of culture. Culture describes a blueprint or design for living in society or a system of expectations and goals widely shared within society. It also represents a system of values and norms. As a result of their diversity, there has been back and forth in the enactment of some of the social behaviors that some people see as offensive. One of the controversial topics on this list is the same-sex marriage which has already become popular in many states in America. Sociologically, marriage is supposed to be between two people of the opposite sex who are grown enough to make decisions as regards their social lives. Despite the assurance from the Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a right, many of such marriages in states that do not allow for same sex marriage have ended up in courts. While making a ruling on the topic of social behaviors, the Judge at Udah court noted that same-sex marriage is “the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.” It raises a question concerning what constitutes a traditional marriage and the factors that led to the society deciding that a good/moral marriage is the one that only involve a man and woman of a certain age. The sociological concept of deviant behavior which highlights the behaviors that are not acceptable in society is the one that is at stake in this article.
Different governments feel that they are stakeholders in controlling the sexual activities of its people given that they impact on the provision of services like medical and education. These can be viewed in terms of economic, political, and social impact that the sexual activities have on such societies. While international bodies have been constituted to look into the issue of human sex versus human rights, states feel that it is difficult for such internationally constituted bodies to represent agreeable political and legal ideologies with regard to sexual activities of a locally constituted jurisdiction such as a country or a committee. This is further contained in the sexual theories that support the idea that human sex and sexuality cannot be universal. Thus, each state has the responsibility to set up policies and laws that are in tandem with the morals and values within its boundaries. In effect, there is a false consciousness that denotes a lack of awareness about the stratification system as well as inability to realize that people in a society in the same stratification behave in similar manner.
The motivation for different states to regulate and control sexual activities is vested in the fact that legal reforms in human sex and sexuality face a complex path. The concept of social control which is the tendency to regulate thoughts behaviors of individuals is challenged through the same behaviors that they seek to regulate. The complexity includes the need to compromise on the political, social, and economic ideologies which sometimes might be counterproductive to the long held views and practices of their societies. For instance, even though some governments have ratified the international convention on human rights, it is still difficult for some to adhere to the requirement of non-discrimination of people on grounds of their sexual orientation. The argument is that such compromises would contradict the morals and values of their societies. Different religious groups still advocate for the conventional approaches to sexuality. It is where human sex is only supposed to occur between adult people of the opposite sex. Interestingly, what constitutes an adult person also vary from one society to another.
The debate surrounding human sex and sexuality borders on the realization of human rights in many societies and the fact that social conflict becomes entrenched as the society becomes more developed. In social conflict a society is characterized by inequality and conflict which give way to social change. Theoretically, activities that are considered as affront to the values and norms of the society have been in existence since human civilization. A good example is homosexuality. However, these issues have found space in the national and international space because of the need to achieve human rights alongside offering protection to those who are vulnerable to such perverse sexual behaviors. Some of the sexual behaviors, such as sex with underage people, rape, and bestiality have been criminalized by the state for moral reasons. While it is unlikely that some states might one day legalize rape, the continued lobby by human rights organizations is likely to lead to a widespread legalization of same-sex marriage and prostitution on grounds of human rights. The medical and health concerns such as the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases also permeate the discussions on sexual regulations. It is for a reason that harsh regulations on sexual activities such commercial sex-work commonly known as prostitution have been identified as the cause of the widespread of sexually transmitted diseases. On this basis, several governments have reconsidered their otherwise extreme stand on the issues of contraceptives like condoms to improve the safety of prostitutes.
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