Quiz 1. Describe the role played by continuity and change in the ‘social construction’ perspective.
Modern life is faced with problems that flow from individuals attempting to sustain the individuality and independence of their existence against society's sovereign powers, the weight of external culture and historical heritage. It is this type of antagonism that stands for the conflict in modern living; men, being primitive, has to create their own existence in nature. The eighteenth century introduced liberation that grew historically in religion, mortality, economics and politics (Greasley, 1982). This was to allow for the manifestation of man's natural virtue; this characteristic is equal for every individual in the developing process with no inhibitions. The nineteenth century is thought to have promoted freedom and individuality, and their achievements that made an individual indispensable and unique, but who still maintains dependence on others.
An individual struggled to obtain a complete development, socialism, on the other hand, sought the same idea in the suppression of competition. In all cases, similar fundamental motives were used; resistance of individuals from being swallowed and leveled up in a modern social mechanism (Greasley, 1982).
In addressing products of modern aspects of contemporary life, there should be a strict examination of culture in relation to the body's soul. In dealing with a metropolis, the same approach is taken. The discussion demands an investigation of the relations between the social structure and an individual's way of life, as well as that, which form the existence of individuals. It deals with necessary adaptations in personality made so as to cope with external forces.
The psychological basis for the establishment of individuality in metropolis is a life of emotional intensification caused by the continuous and swift shift of internal and external stimuli.
Man has an existence that is dependent on various deterrence. The mind, for instance, is stimulated by the distinction between events that have preceded and that are happening. Impressions that are lasting, the contrast between habituated regularities and their course take up less mental strength as compared to rapidly changing images, the conspicuous distinctions of what is gained after one glance and the presence of violent stimuli. The intellectualistic nature of mental life in a metropolis, which is intelligible over that of small towns, bases on emotions and feelings. Small towns have their roots in mind levels that are unconscious and have a steady equilibrium in the development of customs (Simmel, 1950).
For a reason, its locus is in lucid; the conscious upper part of the mind is a force, which is the most adaptable. In its adjustment to contradictions and shifts in events, therefore, it does not need the inner upheavals and disturbances as a means of personalities that are more conservative and adapted to a similar rhythm. A metropolitan structure takes one thousand modifications as it develops a defense mechanism against any disruptions that threaten it (Simmel, 1950).
The reaction that is obtained from the metropolitan type is only rational and does not concern the emotional level. It creates a mental predominance by the intensification process of consciousness that is its cause. The metropolitan person's reaction to the events pertains to a category of mental activity that is least sensitive. It is also removed from the furthest personality depths. This intellectualistic character that is known as a defense of inner life from the metropolis dominance is transformed into various unique phenomena.
The seat of economy is the metropolis, it is because of contradictions and its many sided nature in commercial activities. This has given significance to the medium of exchange that could otherwise be obtained from a rural commercial activity. However, the domination of intellects and money economy are closely related to one another.
They share a common attitude called a matter of fact attitude in treatment, where the unrelenting hardness is combined with a formal justice. An individual, who is intellectualistic, is indifferent, thus, different to every personal things as they result into reactions and relationships that are not fully understood by methods that are purely rational. This is the same way, in which unique elements found in events never intrude any principle of money.
Money touches on aspects that are common to everyone; the value in exchange that cuts down on the individuality and quality to an entirely quantitative level. Every emotional relationship of an individual rests on the individuality, while the intellectual link uses the same approach towards people as that of numbers.
Quiz 10. Explain the significance of cities for contemporary social and mental life.
A definition of sociology that is intended for the city finds its basis in selecting elements of urban life that make it distinct in its mode of working.
A city can be defined as a fairly large and permanent settlement of individuals, who are socially heterogeneous. The theory of urbanism is thus formulated on the knowledge of existing social groups.
George Simmel (1950) suggests that the non-terminating contact of people's numbers and a city is supposed to be similar to a small town's reaction. This is where one is aware of every individual they meet, thus, those having a positive relationship would trigger a mental state that is unthinkable. When there is a multiplication of persons, while interacting in conditions that make a full personality contact impossible, there is a segmentalization of the relationships of humans.
There are justifications that focus on the selection of principles that make the definition of a city. For instance, saying that a city is made up of large numbers means that the settlement is a high density in the area, when compared to a large population in a small area. Density and large numbers form separate factors, thus, may be regarded as linked by various social consequences. Adding the idea of heterogeneity to numbers in population is questioned in its practicality.
Large numbers call for greater ranges in individual variations. When the numbers of participants for a process of interaction are large, the degree of differentiation between them becomes greater. The general composition of the population in a city relating to culture, traits and occupations is expected to be of a wider range than that of a rural life. The variations lead to a certain segregation that is felt through race, ethnicity, social and economic status of the community. There is a likelihood that in the modern structure, which comprises absence of long interaction and coexistence through bonds in kinship and a united generation, the acquaintances stand in a utility relationship, where the roles played by each individual are aimed at achieving an end.
A person, who lives in a metropolis, reckons people, whom he is associated with, namely merchants, customers and servants(Simmel, 1950). The relationship is distinct from that of a smaller circle, which in case of knowledge of the character, results into a tone that is emotional. The most crucial point is that looking at the economic psychological area, cultures that are less advanced in production, which was intended for customers, who order products and establish a relationship between a purchaser and producer.
Socialists in the contemporary life assessed the qualities that form urban structures into a theory. In spite of various challenges, the theory is considered the best in application. The knowledge of the urbanism, civilization and urbanization processes form the life in urban centers (Greasley, 1982). Formulating an approach that is socialist in nature for a city might go a step into focusing attention on all the inter-relations in peculiar qualities of the city as a way in human association.
Quiz 4. What role do symbols and symbolic objects play in social solidarity and conflict?
If the reality of everyday living is to be comprehended, then, there has to an account on character, before handling an analysis on sociology. A daily life presents itself in the form of a reality that is interpreted by man and has a subjective meaning of a coherent universe to them. In sociology, this reality is considered as the object for analysis. Sociology, when looked upon as a empirical science, achieves the understanding of various phenomena; the representation is taken as it appears (Berger & Luckmann, 1967).
The world of daily life has been taken for granted and termed a reality by ordinary members of the society. It is in their subjective conduct lifestyle. A creation of their actions and thoughts and these factors make it real. A suitable method for the foundations of everyday life is obtained from an analysis of phenomena. It is an empirical and descriptive method, but not a scientific approach. This is because the nature of empirical sciences is easily understood in society.
This phenomenological analysis in daily living refrains from all genetic or casual hypotheses. It is also not related to any ontological status of the analyzed phenomena. Human consciousness is usually intentional as it is directed and intended for objects. Apprehending the putative substratum of human consciousness is not achievable, in spite of any experiences with this consciousness from the outside physical world or that of innate reality (Berger & Luckmann, 1967).
Durkheim considered social facts as things, thus, forming the most fundamental rule. On the other hand, Weber looks at the present sense of sociology and actions as an object of cognition, which is subjective. The two ideas do not contradict each other in an antagonism way. A society does not have the characteristic of objective facticity (Berger & Luckmann, 1966). The only thing that makes up society is the activity, which shows a subjective meaning. This knowledge was known to Durkheim just in the same way that Weber knew about actions. This is considered as the dual character of society in light of subjective meaning and objective facticity. The question, however, is on the mechanism of transformation of subjective meaning to an objective facticity. Simple questioning is on how the activities of a human build this world of things.
An analysis on the phenomena shows that the various layers of known experiences and diverse structures of meaning made the routine and behavior. For instance, being bitten by a dog, would attract an experience that is from the feeling of this action; there would be a development of phobia by victims. The interesting idea is that of the quality of the consciousness (Schwalbe, 2005).
When presented with different objects, they come from all spheres of reality. Realities come in varied degrees. Some realities would come out as a reality per excellence. In most cases, it is the reality of everyday living; the privileged position has directly qualified it as a paramount reality. Thus, the tension related to consciousness is the greatest in everyday living. The manifestation that the latter has is characteristic of urgent, massive and most intense manner. The fact that this aspect cannot be ignored forces many to show a full attention. The daily experiences come in a wide awake state. This state of apprehending daily reality and existing is self evident and normal; this is because it makes up the human’s natural attitude (Schwalbe, 2005).
The realties that are concerned with everyday life seem to be objectified already; the objects were termed as objects, even before appearing on scene. The language that is used for everyday lifestyle gives a man the relevant objectifications, and it also posits the sense and meaning that they offer, thus, gives a man a daily meaning.
The realities show themselves as an inter-subjective world; one that allows sharing with other individuals. It is this inter-subjectivity that distinguishes everyday living from the other realties that man faces (Berger & Luckmann, 1967). In a dream, a victim is alone in his or her experiences, but the daily realities are common for all individuals. There has to be a continuous interaction with other people in the reality of everyday life. The entire attitude attributed to the world is also felt by other individuals in society as they are able to objectify. This reality is there as a compelling facticity and self-evident. The thought of any doubts in this area should not be there as humans are able to live in this reality (Schwalbe, 2005).
Quiz 2. How are ‘social facts’ made tangible and what are their effects on individuals? What enables socialization to succeed or fail?
Looking at the way how this idea suites the application in reality, it is essential to note how it affects vital areas like curiosity, hope and care. When considering a situation, where human beings would live for eternity, the answer would give varied reactions based on individual interests and beliefs. For instance, some people would consider it boring. They base their argument that it would be uninteresting for them to experience the same things and events forever. On the other hand, others think that life would be more interesting. The reason for this is the fact that living gives a man more knowledge on new things; thus, they would live to know more about the world. They believe that this would enlighten them on mysteries and complexities that are not resolved. This argument is seen to have a unique quality of promise. These individuals, who think of life with such positivity, are victims of hope, care and curiosity (Berger & Luckmann, 1967).
If curiosity was not found in the world, then there would be a curiosity on the nature of things and its system of working. This would leave the world in a state of backdrop, where life has to be endured until its end. The situation would be chaotic and without any objectives, the necessity to address basic needs would be absent, thus, no efforts would be used.
Hope is a force that seems to give people the drive towards putting an effort in life. If the world lacked hope, the situation would mean that no efforts would be used in developing achievements. These factors are the pillars for studying the social world, and their absence would affect the society's sociological mindfulness.
In many cases, the conditions faced by people would never influence these factors. There are cases that show a lot of hardships and similarities, thus, few of them have changed ideas. This is because of the limitation in attention for daily tasks (Schwalbe, 2005). There would be too much laxity in society that people would develop comfort in their status. The need for exploring the world and its social aspects would be absent.
The other argument is whether the lack of sociological mindfulness would ignite some sort of curiosity, hope and care. This mindfulness has the ability of making humans evade despair in trying to change the society overnight. For instance, it is considered stupid and silly for one to claim that they can succeed in establishing a change in a week’s time. This goes against the working of change, which claims that a change is realized if only efforts are implemented, while working together (Berger & Luckmann, 1967). The existing arrangements are challenged and new ones are created and implemented.
The drive of changing the world is unachievable for one individual. It takes the effort of those, who share the same idea that a change is achievable. The presence of communal efforts builds on hope, thus, suppressing a despair of the society.
Sociological mindfulness helps humans in the understanding that their efforts contribute a small proportion to change. The decisions that are made on a daily basis are key factors towards change (Schwalbe, 2005). Choosing to participate in communal aid, offering help to the destitute and even protesting against policies are the aspects that help in changing.
The application of sociological mindfulness is more inclined to understanding how the world works socially. This is despite its role in influencing curiosity, hope and care; people cannot do without them.
This type of mindfulness is a means towards an end. In this case, the end is having a society that is socially keen and updated (Berger & Luckmann, 1967). It shows on the necessary rectifications in society towards perfection. The society needs to have vital factors like curiosity for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Without having any hope, the social construction would have no efforts invested. The need for a better tomorrow would have no meaning to people. This would be devastating.