My ten best insights Essay
What I loved about taking sociology was the ability to explore and understand the meaning of racism, oppression, stigma, stereotypes, and what creates a self- fulfilling prophecy. Every class was a safe haven where you were able to freely discuss thoughts and ideas that most wouldn’t dare discuss regularly. Sociology opens your mind and eyes to what’s really going on in our world. It gives you a whole new perspective, where one can clearly witness the injustices that occur in our daily lives. Being open about social justice issues is the only way changes are going to be made…and I believe sociology makes room for that change. There’s a lot going on in our world and the first step towards progress with any of it is recognizing the current situation in society and how it affects those involved. Sociology has brought a new sense of awareness regarding my outlook towards life. It has helped look more objectively at the society in which we live. Understanding how to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and upbringings has also benefited me greatly. Being able to distinguish between a personal level and societal level in sociology prepares me for change. Learning about sex and sexuality and society of religion has shaped ideas that were unclear to me before. Taking Sociology is an eye opening experience and valuable tool that will apply to my everyday life. After participating in my sociology class, I gained an insight into the inequalities that exist within our society today. Additionally, the intensive reading required by the class helped to improve my English comprehension skills.
Sociology identifies and analyzes what makes our society tick. It informs us about how institutions affect us and how we can enact change ourselves. Knowledge is power and sociology gives people the vocabulary and awareness to understand and talk about the big picture.
The value of sociology lies in the fact that it keeps us up-to-date on modern situations, it contributes to making good citizens, it contributes to the solution of community problems, it adds to the knowledge of society, it helps the individual find his relation to society, it identifies good Government with community, it helps one to understand causes of things and so on. Sociology has practical value for the individual as it assists him to understand himself, his resources and limitations, his potentialities and his role in society.
We would also not be able to understand the impact that various institutions have on society because we would not think about them. We would not be able to think about the impact of having lots of people going to church, or of having a high divorce rate. All of these things are things that sociology looks at more than any other social science. Sociology helps us understand the workings of social systems within which we live our lives. Sociologist put our interactions with others into a social context. This means they are not only looking at our behaviors and relationships but also how the larger world we live in influences these things. Social structure and social processes are at work shaping our lives ways that often go unrecognized. Because of this sociologist will often say that as individuals we are, social products.
On thing that I found to be interesting to read in my sociology book was when we discussed chapter 17 on Durkheim: Religion and Functionalism. In contrast to Marx, Durkheim extensively studied religion and connected religion not with social in equalities or power but with the overall nature of a society’s institutions. Durkheim defined religion in terms of a distinction between the sacred and profane. Sacred objects and symbols, he held, are treated as part routine aspects of day-day existence the realm profane. Durkheim’s theory of religion is a good example of functionalist tradition. To analyze the function of a social behavior or a social institution such as religion is to study its contribution to the continuation of a group, community, or society. According to Durkheim, religion promotes a stable society by ensuring that people meet regularly to affirm common beliefs and values.
Another reading I found to be interesting was on how Mills addressed dilemmas in the macro/micro divide in sociology. Although the scale of sociological studies and the methods of carrying them out are different, the sociologists involved in them all have something in common. Each of them looks at society using what pioneer sociologist C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination, sometimes also referred to as the “sociological lens” or “sociological perspective.” In a sense, this was Mills’ way of addressing the dilemmas of the macro/micro divide in sociology. Mills defined sociological imagination as how individuals understand their own and others’ pasts in relation to history and social structure. It is the capacity to see an individual’s private troubles in the context of the broader social processes that structure them. This enables the sociologist to examine what Mills called “personal troubles of milieu” as “public issues of social structure,” and vice versa.
Mills reasoned that private troubles like being overweight, being unemployed, having marital difficulties, or feeling purposeless or depressed can be purely personal in nature. It is possible for them to be addressed and understood in terms of personal, psychological, or moral attributes, either one’s own or those of the people in one’s immediate milieu. In an individualistic society like our own, this is in fact the most likely way that people will regard the issues they confront: “I have an addictive personality;” “I can’t get a break in the job market;” “My husband is unsupportive;” etc. However, if private troubles are widely shared with others, they indicate that there is a common social problem that has its source in the way social life is structured. At this level, the issues are not adequately understood as simply private troubles. They are best addressed as public issues that require a collective response to resolve.
The reading that I have found to be the most interesting in my sociology class was when we discussed the chapter on racism. Our Sociology book discusses how some people see racism as a system of domination operating in social processes and social institutions. Racism is one specific form of prejudice, focusing on physical variations among people. Racist attitudes became entrenched during the period of Western colonial expansion, but seem also to rest on mechanisms of prejudice and discrimination found in human societies today. The reason why I found this chapter to be interesting is because I am originally from South Africa. My parents are an interracial married couple (Mom white, Dad black). The time my parents had my older sister it was against the law for them to be together. I can remember how my mother would always tell us how when my sister was little she was not allowed to walk with her in public places because my sister is “colored” or “mixed” and walking with a colored child people would either think my sister was “the helps child” thus I can relate to the chapter in a way, because I grew up in a country where racism was very real.
In conclusion, sociology is useful because it gives us another way of understanding society and why people do what they do. If it were not for sociology, we would have only psychology for understanding why people act the way that they do. We would not be able to notice that poor people act differently from people who are not poor. We would only be able to look at individual reasons for behavior and not reasons having to do with group attributes.