Conflict and Social Order Theory

Social OrderAccording to the social order model, society is given a set of rules to regulate people behaviors and prevent anomie or “normlessness.” Society serves the interests of all sharing, a strong set of norms and values, though not being able to adhere to these cause people to feel out of place.

Most people accept this hierarchy as long as they see the system is fair. However, it is not fair, and this in turn becomes visible when it comes to occupations. Young people do not apply to specific jobs because they assume their qualifications are not well-built enough to obtain certain positions and therefore are exploited and oppressed in the workforce.

Conflict TheoryThe conflict models expresses that people are constantly competing and fighting for power and wealth. This leads to a division between different groups of people, causing inequality in power relations. This then leads to one group becoming dominant and all controlling while the other is inferior. Most people who want to escape this inequality and find a good job. However, good jobs that a common person is suitable for is rare.

When individuals try to achieve culturally defined goals and fail to, it’s because they have not been provided with the means to attain these goals. Young people, the subordinate group, may not apply for certain jobs because they feel they have no been provided with the means to acquire them. Society sets out common goals for all, but in reality many people are blocked from achieving them. If they people do not try to break these boundaries and challenge social order, society with not progress and people will remain at the bottom.

October 01, 2007After watching Professor Langan and Cheryl act out a qualitative interview between a homeless women and a social researcher I came up with the following ideas concerning the purpose, style and feel of the interview. I felt that the interview was done to observe how homeless women feel about the social assistance provided to them or in some cases not provided to them.

The interviewer wanted to know about the interviewees past experiences, changes she thought that needed to be made and views of what other people thought of her. The questions at the beginning were formal, and the interviewee seemed extremely uncomfortable and fidgety. The interviewer as well seemed to be a little nervous and not so sure of herself and her interviewing abilities.

However, once the interviewee and interviewer spoke further and were more comfortable with each others presence, there were more open ended questions being asked. These open ended questions leaded to a better flow in the interview and lead the interviewee to give more detailed stories about her experiences. Though, the interviewee was more open about her life and more detail was put into her stories, there was still a very professional manner to the interview, meaning that no formal friendship or bond was made.

While no formal friendship was made, the interviewer was still considerate and sensitive to the interviewee’s feelings and was responsive to certain situations. At the wrapping up of the interview it seemed that both the interviewer and interviewee were content about the results, as one got to voice her thoughts while someone listened, while the other collected the information intended for her study.

October 22, 2007Meryl Streeps lecture in the “Devil Wears Prada” addresses the question, “Can there be a science of the social?”1.Outline the philosophical stumbling blocks2.Discuss what Meryl Streep is saying (in her lecture to Anne Hathaway) using the sociological language of free will, choice and determinism.

  1. -science applied to the study of people-people are different and unique-people make their own choices-people behave in pattern ways2.

Anne Hathaway chose her sweater, however society shaped her decision. Society affects people without realizing it consciously and people will only understand this when they step back and look at the picture as a whole. Anne Hathaway believed she chose her sweater because of her personal preference, when in reality it was society that has influenced and produced her decisions.

Meryl Streep proved this by telling Anne Hathaway that reason she chose her sweater is because society, in this case the world of fashion, claims that the fashion and colour of the sweater is the “in” style. Meryl demonstrated that Anne chose a sweater without putting much thought into it, but in fact here thoughts were already shaped for her by what society had previously claimed to be the “in” style. Anne did not realize that the act of something as simple as choosing a sweater, because she liked the look or colour, was determined by previous causes that are external from her.

This shows peoples actions are highly predictable and that human behaviors are the result of social causes and not of “free will.”October 29, 2007How does a skeptical read of the article reveal contradictions and ambiguities about what the survey(s) is/are about?Does MacLean’s provide an objective presentation of the findings of the survey?After reviewing the excerpt in Maclean’s that claimed to reveal “the best and worst universities in Canada,” using the two surveys the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium, it is reasonable to say that the results are unreliable. For one, the answers of the students are not facts but opinions.

A university should not be labeled “good” or “bad” according to people’s thoughts and judgments because these cannot be proven to be true or false. As well, results can be contaminated due to biases. For example, if a student had or is currently having a bad school experience their answers to questions will reflect this.

Most of the questions asked in The National Survey of Student Engagement were used as an attempt to find out how students are using their time and how “engaged” they are with their schools, professors and peers. What is meant by engagement? Are they measuring engagement in class, outside of class on campus, engagement in their school work, or engagement in school clubs and organizations? Using the definition of “engagement” shows a lack of systematic thinking, it is too broad of a word to apply when attempting to measure how students are utilizing their time.

Which students took the survey? The NSSE only interviewed undergraduate students in first and forth year. What happened to all the people in-between? What about opinions of graduates and professors?How come all the universities did not participate? There were nine universities that did not take part in the surveys, so it is impossible to rate the “best” and the “worst” universities in Canada, if not all universities in Canada partook in the survey and evaluation.

Lastly, one must consider what programs are these participants enrolled in? A student studying Sociology will have a different perspective of their school, than a student studying Political Science. Both students have different courses, different professors, different requirements, and different goals and objectives. It is unrealistic to collect information from different students, in different majors, in different years, and group there answers all together to form one assessment.

November 05, 20071. Everyone knows that the United States is a sick society. I live in the United States so I must be sick.

This statement is a hasty generalization. It is hasty to say all of the United States is sick. It’s even worse to assume the United States is sick, and to include yourself as sick, without any sufficient evidence given to back up the statement2. My Aunt Sally, who is Catholic, married Harry, who is Protestant. The marriage lasted less than a year. That just goes to show that mixed marriages don’t work.

This statement is a hasty generalization. It is spurious to say all mixed marriages do not work, based on the example of one mixed marriage. One must consider other factors such as the couple simply not getting along anymore, them not wanting the same things from the marriage, the unfaithfulness of one partner, etc.

3. Teenagers eat too much greasy food, french-fries, pizza and chocolate. That’s why teenagers have acne.

This statement is a fallacy of the wrong cause, because although some teenagers do get acne from eating greasy foods there are other factors that lead to this conclusion. For example, changes in ones hormonal balance can lead to changes in skin.

4. Chris goes out on Monday night and has 10 drinks, whiskey and sods. Tuesday morning Chris awakens with a terrible hangover. Tuesday night, Chris has 10 drinks, gin and soda. Wednesday morning Chris awakens with a terriblehangover. Wednesday night, Chris has 10 drinks, tequila and soda. Thursday morning Chris awakens with a terrible hangover. Thursday night, Chris has 10 drinks, rum and soda. Friday morning Chris awakens with a terrible hangover. Friday night, Chris has 10 drinks, Scotch and soda. Saturday morning, Chris awakens with a terrible hangover and a revelation: Drinking soda causes terrible hangovers.

This statement is a fallacy of false cause because it is obvious there is no relationship between drinking soda and having a hangover. There is a cause and effect relationship with alcohol and hangovers. For most people drinking 10 alcoholic beverages in one night will lead to a hangover.

5. A lot of people say that Judge Smith is too lenient with criminals. But since Smith began serving as a judge 10 years ago, the crime rated has decreased 35%. Whatever Smith is doing, it’s right! Let’s reelect her!This statement is a fallacy of the wrong level because although the crime rate has decreased there is no evidence to support that this is because of Smith’s doings. One part of the reason crime rates have decreased may be because of Smith, but it is a fallacy to say that is the only reason.

6. My logic professor claims that if all the premises in a deductive argument are true and complete, the conclusion must be true.

I believe there is nothing wrong with this statement, because someone such as a professor is a reliable source because he or she is a professional in his or her trade.

7. My first year in college I took the required English class. The professor was a real jerk; he loved to make rude comments to students who gave wrong answers to his questions. That’s why I never took another English class.

This statement is a fallacy of the wrong level. The fact that this one English professor was rude, this says nothing about other English professors. An inference made about the one English Professor based on all English professors should not be trusted.

8. I had a friend in college, Lisa B. Every morning she poured her orange juice into a glass and then covered the glass with a paper napkin. The napkin would remain there until Lisa drank the juice. One day I asked her why she did this. “My mother told me to do that because the napkin keeps the vitamins from escaping the glass.”This statement is an appeal to unreliable authority. This statement is false, because the vitamins in juice cannot escape. Lisa’s mothers is most likely not an expert when it comes to the science of fluids, therefore she is not a reliable source. Lisa’s mother may have told her to do this to make sure no flies end up in her drink.

9. Everybody knows that you should “Look before you leap.”Everybody knows that “He who hesitates is lost.”This statement is an appeal to tradition. It is not entirely reliable to say “everybody knows,” even though most people may claim these statements to be entirely true, in fact they are not.

10. On my last trip to Reno, I accidentally wore my underwear backward. But I hit it big at the slot machines. Next time, just to be safe, I’m going to wear my underwear backward again.

This statement is an example of a fallacy of false cause. This relationship between wearing underwear backward and hitting it big at slot machines is spurious. It was merely luck that assisted him or her to hit big.