Why is sociology a useful subject?
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For individuals to coexist peacefully with one another in a society full of different individuals of different cultures, with different personalities and behavioural patterns, it is important for individuals to not only understand one another, but also to formulate mechanisms of accommodating each other. Therefore, to understand fully the functioning of a society and relationships that exist within specific social settings, sociology as a discipline offers a systematic way of understanding occurrences in the society. That is, through sociology, individuals are able to understand how different systems within the society integrate with one another for the wellbeing of society. Therefore, the primary functions of sociology include identifying social problems, finding solutions to such problems, and devising mechanisms of reconstructing the society. These functions are of significance to a society, because not only do they help a society preserve its culture and resources, but also they are important in promoting of health relationships and democracy in a society or among societies (Giddens & Griffith, 2006, pp. 4-20).
Sociology as a systematic method of studying the society offers individuals a chance of understanding the significance of different institutions that are the primary building blocks of a society. In the process of analysing the role of these institutions, sociology provides a methodology of ascertaining human contributions to the wellbeing of these institutions. Such institutions include homes, learning institutions, the church, political bodies, workplaces, and health institutions. Understanding of the functioning of these institutions is of great significance to the wellbeing of not only an individual, but also the entire society, for it helps in the formulation of appropriate measures of strengthening them. In addition, because of the complex nature of the society, sociology offers a mechanism of planning a society. It achieves this through carrying out scientific investigations, whose results are important in implementing correct social planning strategies. Further, through developing and implementing correct social planning strategies and developmental plans, sociology gives developmental bodies a chance of solving the numerous societal problems that may exist in specific societies (102-118).
Another important role of sociology is adding value to human dignity. Through scientific inquiry, sociology provides not only sociologists, but also the entire society a methodology of understanding human behaviour; hence, formulate appropriate strategies of dealing with deviant behaviours in the society. For example, it is through sociological studies that the society has changed its way of treating crime perpetrators. Prior to inclusion of scientific sociological concepts in the study of criminal behaviour, the society greatly detested criminals. However, currently the society has learnt to appreciate criminals through providing them with rehabilitation facilities hence, the significance of sociology. Closely related with upholding of human dignity is the enrichment of the human culture. Through scientific investigations, sociology offers individuals a rational method of understanding their cultures and values hence, promoting the acceptance of diverse cultures within communities. In a society with diverse cultures, likelihoods of disagreements arising are high. Hence, to tame such conflicts, it is of great significance for individuals to appreciate other cultures or social norms cherished by other societies. Therefore, through using information from scientific sociological investigations, individuals are able to conciliate and tolerate one another hence, achieving a peaceful society where love, peace, and endurance are primary driving factor (pp.292-305).
How can sociologists contribute to understanding climate change?
Primarily, climate change is a product of human activities; hence, to solve the problem, it is important to consider all aspects of human life that contribute to the worsening of the situation. Considering this, sociology offers a platform of understanding contributions of human beings to climate change across varying socio-economic groups; hence, helping in formulating workable solutions to the problem of climate change. As far as many may argue that, climate change is more of a physical problem; it is so hard to use technical responses in solving the varying nature of social, cultural, and behavioural orientations of a society and their contributions to climate change. Therefore, this makes it necessary to use the expertise of environmental sociologists to advance, understand, and formulate appropriate mechanisms of dealing with the climate change anarchy (Nagel, Dietz, & Broadbent, 2008, pp. 6-9).
Environmental sociologists play the critical role of investigating and theorising the nature of relationship that exists between human beings and their ecosystems. To understand this, sociologists critically analyse the social and political dynamics that make people to adopt different lifestyles in diverse living conditions. This goes hand in hand with examining the organisation, reaction to different environmental forces, and methodologies that human beings use to adapt to varying environmental conditions. Considering this, there are many sociological contributions that can help researchers and policy makers find viable solutions to the climate change anarchy. Such contributions include; to start with, sociology can offer a methodology of understanding the economy of societies.
Such understanding offers researchers and policy makers a chance of appreciating the complex nature of relationship that exist between national economies, political bodies, the society, and environmental degradation. Using political economy quantitative scientific approaches, policy makers can be able to formulate mitigating measures that can work in different socio-economic societies, with little antagonism. Secondly, through application of sociological theories from an ecological perspective, sociology provides a way of understanding the socio-spatial dynamics related with climate change; hence, formulate viable climate change mitigating strategies. Further, Because sociology can hep to model the social causes and impacts of environmental change, through the use of data from bio-physical environments, sociologist can greatly aid in formulating appropriate measures of dealing with the climate change problem (pp. 12-18).
To deal fully with the climate change problem, it is important for policy makers to understand fully the cultural and systems of a society, them being the primary elements that shape a society’s resource consumption behaviour, climate ideologies held, and attitudes towards any environmental conservation initiative. Therefore, sociology can provide insightful ideas of understanding the broad dimension of social factors related with the climate change problem. For example, using social construction theories, sociology offers a wide scope of understanding environmental disasters associated with environmental degradation, from a political a political, policymakers, and media perspective. On the other hand, through the application of organisational sociology strategies used in studying the internal structures and working of organisations, sociology can help to understand roles organisations play as far as environmental degradation is concerned. This is of great significance in formulating environmental degradation mitigating strategies, from an organisational point of view (pp. 22-26).
“Both youth cultures and terrorism can be seen as examples of deviance” Explain and discuss
Deviance primary involves the act of going against a set of values and norms cherished by a specific social group. Because of the varying ways in which different societies define, it is not wrong for one to argue that, deviance is a consequence of the judgmental attitude held by a society, through application of specific definitive rules. Deviance takes two main forms namely primary and secondary deviance. Primary deviation is acting or behaving in a manner that goes against norms and values that members of a certain society of individuals cherish. Contrary to this, secondary deviance goes far beyond the non-normalization of behaviours detested by certain social groups; hence, it incorporates the concept of punishment to any body perceived to have gone against set rules. By reacting in a punitive way towards deviants, it means that, societies detest certain types of behaviours it considers wrong.
Therefore, criminal acts such as terrorism are acts of deviance, because terrorism acts violate both national and international criminal laws. Terrorism acts can disintegrate the social systems of a society hence, going against the norms that define the peaceful co-existence of a society. Although majority of terror gangs are affiliated to certain religious, social, or political groups that may value or sponsor their acts, the pursuance of such acts only satisfy the selfish need of such groups, at the expense of people. Therefore, although their societies may support such acts, to their victims, such acts violate laws and norms that define the nature of relationships that should exist between them. On the other hand, majority of terrorism activities are initiated by individuals who hold personalized radical views, which they claim are initiated by their communities, but in the real sense the opposite is the case. Generally, although terrorist activities may be supported by certain subcultures, such subcultures hold radicalised views, which are not representative of the entire society; hence, terrorism acts are acts of deviance (Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 266-270).
Youth cultures to larger extent alienate the youth from other members of the society. With the existence of the modern nation states and societies that have greatly contributed to the differentiation of the society into subcultures defined by age, the youths tend to disobey majority of societal cherished social systems. Most youths have a tendency of forming their own social norms that they adore and respect, regardless of prevailing social norm s of a society. In addition, majority of the young people tend to associate themselves with groups that promote their identities. Hence, in most cases, for them to fit into such groups, youths are always ready to do anything at their disposal to win the confidence of their group mates. This is very dangerous to the peaceful co-existence of the society, because in most cases youth cultures never conform to society norms. Further, in most cases, because majority of the youth do not have any economic means of sustaining themselves, most of them tend to involve themselves in criminal activities hence, greatly jeopardising the Stability of a society. Considering this, participating in youth cultures is an act of deviance from the set norms (Epstein, 2002, pp. 3-23).
What role does culture play in influencing an individual’s life choices? Illustrate your answer with a discussion of either gender or religion
Culture is one of the primary tools that societies use to define practices, values, and norms that are acceptable within a specific social setting. It encompasses a society’s survival mechanisms, rule and regulations defining a society’s activities, value systems, and beliefs that give a society its identity. Therefore, because of such beliefs, different societies have different ways of segregating different roles and functions, which men and women should partake in, regardless of their social status. This to larger extent is the primary determinant of the quality of ones life’s choices, because depending on a society’s terms of role definition, one can be either an independent or a dependent member of a society.. Therefore, culture can greatly influence an individual’s life choices, as it is the primary determinant of how the society will socialise individuals into its systems, for one to thrive happily in certain social settings. As per most cultural beliefs, most women should have less personal autonomy, a small quantity of resources, and limited authority of participating in any decision making exercise as compared to men. The scenario becomes worse when it comes to issues affecting their wellbeing and existence. Considering this, cultural influences on one’s life choices as many, because if individuals do not conform to their society’s cultural beliefs, they are termed as social deviants. Although many individuals may argue that, most modern societies have embraced change, hence appreciate all genders equally, still disparities exist in the way societies perceive man and women (Schoefthaler, 2006, pp. 1-3).
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Just like men, women also have personal life preferences, although because culturally it is their role to take care of home-related chores, majority of women tend to prefer less energy taxing duties in any nation building exercise. In most social settings, men are the primary family providers hence, it is their duty to struggle and find more life sustaining opportunities. In addition to influences of culture on role differentiation among men and women, culture can also affect ones career choices. For example, although in most present societies, women have also ventured into studying science related courses, there numbers are minimal as compared to the number of men majoring in science related courses. Further, although individuals of all genders have equal access to education in most countries, most women rarely pursue their studies to higher educational levels. Such is the case primarily because, as women age, the society expects them to dedicate most of their time to their families. Such is strengthened by the fact that, the society has specific ways of socialising individuals of different sexes into its systems. Therefore, regardless of the amount of exposure got by individual as they interact with their immediate environment, the first ideas that the society taught them take preference. This is even evident in the social and games preferred by individuals of different sexes. For example, it is very rare to find women playing rugby ball, as it is rare to find men playing netball. It is not that these groups do not have the power to participate in such social activities, but it is because of the way the society has socialised them into its systems (pp. 2-4).
Epstein, S. J, 2002. Youth culture in the postmodern world. [E-Book]. Blackwell Publishing. Web.
Giddens, A., & Griffiths, S., 2006. Sociology. [E-Book]. Cambridge: Polity Press. Web.
Nagel, J., Dietz, T., & Broadbent, J, 2008. National Science Foundation, Sociological Perspectives on global climate change. 2009. Arlington, Virginia 30-31 2008. Web.
Oxford University Press, 2006. Crime and deviance. Web.
Schoefthaler, T., 2006. Understanding gender relations and culture relations. Web.