I have learned a lot of course material that will help me in my everyday life and make better choices as well as understanding concepts much clearer than what I had knew before. I really benefited and learned a lot on the sociological perspective. A core concept throughout class that I found very interesting and intriguing was on the sociological imagination. The term sociological imagination was coined by the American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 to describe the type of insight offered by the discipline of sociology. The main idea of this concept is to reconcile two different and abstract concepts of social reality like, “individual” and “society”. We can apply the concept of the sociological imagination to any behavior. Take the simple act of drinking a cup of coffee for example. We could argue that coffee is not just a drink, but rather it has symbolic value as part of day-to-day social rituals. Often the ritual of drinking coffee is much more important than the act of consuming the coffee itself. For example, two people who meet “to have coffee” together are probably more interested in meeting and chatting than in what they drink. In all societies, eating and drinking are occasions for social interaction and the performance of rituals, which offer a great deal of subject matter for sociological study. A second dimension to a cup of coffee has to do with its use as a drug. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a drug that has stimulating effects on the brain. For many, this is the reason why they drink coffee. Still a third dimension to a cup of coffee is tied to social and economic relationships. The growing, packaging, distributing, and marketing of coffee are global enterprises that affect many cultures, social groups, and organizations within those cultures. A fourth dimension to a cup of coffee relates to past social and economic development, etc ,etc. It is fascinating on just how a small example can be expanded and expanded into smaller and smaller fragments.
The social construction of race is an extremely interesting phenomenon to me as well. Where many people look at race as an all-encompassing factor, in truth it is only an aesthetic detail which Darwin could explain was caused due to the setting of their conception. Race is a prescribed difference, yet why has skin color been the sole determiner of race. People have different colored hair as well. Could hair color been the separator of peoples? It very well could have been if circumstances were different. How about eye color? Again skin color was chosen, but truthfully it is one of many differences that could have been chosen.
Among the many concepts I learned about in this class, the global sociological imagination, and race has allowed me to attempt to always recognize the breadth of sociology. I have and will take what I have learned in this class and apply them to what is happening everyday for the rest of my life.
Males and females are opposite in the way their bodies function to reproduce. Sex refers to one’s biological identity of being male or female while gender refers to the socially learned expectations and behaviors associated with being male or female. Sex is biologically assigned while gender is culturally learned.The cultural origin of gender becomes especially apparent when we look at other cultures. In Western industrialized societies such as Canada, people tend to think of masculinity and femininity in different terms, with men and women distinctly different and opposites. Other cultures, however, challenge this assumption and have less distinct views of masculinity and femininity. Gender roles adopted during childhood normally continue into adulthood. At home, people have certain presumptions about decision-making, child-rearing practices, financial responsibilities, and so forth. At work, people also have presumptions about power, the division of labor, and organizational structures. None of this is meant to imply that gender roles, in and of themselves, are good or bad; they merely exist. Gender roles are realities in almost everyone’s life. The key to live happy is to be who you are, express your voice and while doing that making sure not to hurt others or affect a society in a negative way.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/ or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. The victims, who are mostly women and children, are deprived of their normal lives and compelled to provide their labour or sexual services, through a variety of coercive practices all for the direct profit of their perpetrators. Exploitation often occurs through intimidation, force, sexual assault and threats of violence to themselves or their families. In Canada, those who are likely to be at-risk include persons who are socially or economically disadvantaged, such as some Aboriginal women, youth and children, migrants and new immigrants, teenaged runaways, children who are in protection, as well as girls and women, who may be lured to large urban centres or who move or migrate there voluntarily. It is a very sad way to live and an approach to life, justice needs to be justified for people who are doing basically, slavery work.
The question was asked in class, ‘how can we un-create race?’ In groups we came up with different ideas; however the main staple was to teach and educate those that race is not biological and it is in fact a social construct. This of course is easier said than done, as even those highly educated can be stubborn when it comes to un-learning preconceived notions, and accepting new knowledge. This of course can make it even more challenging for those who are uneducated, and were brought up to believe a certain set of knowledge. This though should not deter educators as even if one is shown the light, it becomes worth it. Certainly, obvious physical differences—some of which are inherited—exist between humans. But how these variations form the basis for social prejudice and discrimination has nothing to do with genetics but rather with a social phenomenon related to outward appearances. Racism, then, is prejudice based on socially significant physical features. A racist believes that certain people are superior, or inferior, to others in light of racial differences. Racists approve of segregation, or the social and physical separation of classes of people.
Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian story teller, who speaks about the single story through her own life experiences. TED talks are podcasts where a variety of people from around the world speak about a variety of issues. Adichie speaks about her time growing up in Nigeria, and the stories that were available to her at that time. She speaks about how the stories she was reading were not stories about little girls growing up in Nigeria, or anywhere else in Africa, but rather about little girls growing up in England and places such as this. They spoke about things that were foreign to her, yet, when she began writing at a young age, these were the things she wrote about. The stories were engrained in her to the point that she disassociated herself with her own culture in these stories, and wrote about cultures she had never experienced.
This was a very interesting revelation. Viewing these foreign stories and interpreting them as the only way to write shows how people can be affected by things such as stories, or other mediums of storytelling. Children are affected, and can carry the notions these stories portray with them into adulthood. In reverse, she spoke of people who had been told stories of Nigerians, and Africans and have thought this to be the gospel truth. In reality these were just terrible stereotypes written that had been taken as truth. Adichie was lucky enough to come to the conclusion that she did not relate to these stories. She critically looked at the stories that were placed in front of her and debunked them. She does not consider herself a sociologist; however the approach she took in analyzing these stories, makes her seem like a practised sociologist. She primarily writes stories for Nigerian people to read, so they have fiction to relate to.
The main objective of this video is to show the Gacaca courts. These courts are continuing the effort within Rwanda to bring peace to their nation. By charging those who were involved in the genocide, many victims will finally find some sort of peace. The video shows the preceding’s over a man accused of taking part in the genocide, where he denies actively participating. Witnesses are brought forth, and due course is taken to charge this man. He is treated innocent until proven guilty, for if the court cannot come to a conclusion then he will be declared innocent. The differences between this court system and that of Western are found in the setting. The courts proceedings are held outdoors, in what looks to be a grass field. This comes across slightly informal (that and the fact that the judge is wearing sunglasses) however, the court is respected by those in attendance, and only once (upon emotional distress) does an individual speak out. Respect can be felt towards this court.
This video illustrates that race is not biology. Many people believe this to be the case, and this belief has come to fruition due to the fact that this is how is race is presented. Race is promoted to culture, politics, and the economy. As mentioned earlier, the job market can push aside those ascribed to one race, and promote another instead. However this is also found when it comes to politics as well. When this film was made, in the United States, there had never been a non-white president. Since then, President Barrack Obama has won the presidential race. However, even with this step in race equality, many voted for him because of his race, or did not vote for him for the same reason. This is where the minds of the masses reside when it comes to politics. To vote for the ‘black’ candidate, or to vote for the ‘white’ candidate. Instead of looking at their foreign policy, or their other polices, the voter only looks skin deep. In order to stop this notion, at this level, the masses must be educated to see that race is socially constructed, and the only way to stop it from moving forward, is to make a proactive approach, one person at a time.