The Memorial of Michael Jackson is considered to be one of the most significant events in the world of music and in the cultural life of America. Lots of fans and people, who respected Michael Jackson, gathered in order to honor this wonderful singer, this king of Pop music, this celebrity, and this man. In spite of numerous discussion, which took place around Michael Jackson for a long period of time, this man remains the symbol of popular American music, and his contribution to culture will be always remembered.
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In this paper, we will analyze three approaches, which appeared during the memorial, devoted to Michael Jackson and his life. These three approaches are the structural-functional approach that is concentrated on social structures, manifest and latent functions, and the social dysfunctions; the social-conflict approach that tells about possible race and gender conflicts around the person; and, finally, the symbolic-interaction approach that aims at examining human interactions within concrete social settings and interpreting stimulus and response.
First of all, the structural-functional approach helps to define the social structure of this memorial. The relations, which unite people all over the world, are closely connected to Michael Jackson and his contribution to the world of music. People, who were present at that memorial service, were not Jackson’s fans only. His family, his relatives, and his close friends were eager to support this event and provide Jackson’s fans with one more chance to be as close to their idol as possible. To my mind, the major manifest function of this memorial is to give people a chance to remember once again why so many people admire Jackson’s works and Jackson himself.
This memorial is one more chance to learn something new about the King and be happy. However, certain latent functions of this memorial may take place here. First, people want to have some rumors to talk about; this is why past actions of Jackson cannot but be discussed. Second, this death has lots of secrets, and its investigation will help to make some money. Finally, Jackson was a really popular personality, and he cannot be forgotten. Social dysfunctions are all those emotional problems, which appeared as a result of the development of the memorial service. Fear to be forgotten, fear to be blamed into something, and fear to cause much more rumors as for the life and death of Michael Jackson – these are the major examples of social dysfunctions of this memorial.
The social-conflict approach is also crucially important for the Memorial of Michael Jackson. The major point is connected, of course, to the change of race. Jackson was born black and died white. Is it one more thing to concentrate on? Is it possible that black people have more chances to live ling lives and white people face numerous problems? Lots of women and even men cannot agree that this person, who was known for his dirty affairs with little children, deserves such attention and admiration. This conflict between genders and races will never be solved, and people will always have something to tell as for this issue.
The symbolic-interaction approach underlines how different the interactions may be within the same situation. Just look at the reaction of Jackson’s little daughter, Paris, (Paris Jackson Speaks at Michael Jackson Memorial, 2009): her tears and her grief were so true. The video with The Memorial of Michael Jackson (2009) demonstrates that some people still find enough powers to sing (Mariah Carey) and tell wonderful speeches in honor of Michael Jackson (Jackson’s family friend, Pastor Lucious Smith). However, some people just did not find a minute to visit this ceremony and support the family members. This is why this very approach helps to analyze that even such sad social setting cannot destroy the image of a person, who could be dangerous for children and for society in general.
The Memorial of Michael Jackson – The Memorial from Los Angeles California. Web.