During the lesson we read through the theories bible and discussed how we might critique each theory. Critiquing the theories is important in this course. We need to be able to show that we understand that each of these theories has flaws, and no one theory perfectly explains socialisation and the society in which we live.
To really hit the message home, we summarised several parts of the resource:
50 words or less about the difference between structural and action theories.
50 words or less about functionalist theory in general
25 words or less about Durkheim
25 words or less about Parsons
50 words or less about conflict theory in general
25 words or less about Marx
Those who finished early read the section on interactionist theory and thought about how they might critique it.
Go and make yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea because I am about to reveal some exciting news…
On Tuesday 1st March we will be having a test. The test will be on the broad topic of socialisation. Next lesson (only two more sleeps) we will go over the three key theories again (interactionism, functionalism and conflict theory) and we will recap on the important concepts that you will need to learn by next Tuesday.
Make sure you check the blog before the weekend for further updates.
Today we looked at the Amish counterculture; a traditionalist Christian group who live in US, particularly in Pennsylvania and Indiana. This group is known for its strict adherence to the ‘will of Jesus’ and dedication to living a simple life. Living a simple life for the Amish means not using popular technologies, such as television, mobile phones or the internet.
To find out more about this group we looked at the following documentary from ABC program Compass:
We answered the following questions in relation to this documentary:
How is the Amish culture different to mainstream Australian culture?
Why might it be difficult for Amish people to leave the Amish community and thus stay in the “english” world?
Why did Faron start taking drugs? Why did the 16 year old Amish girl start to feel depressed and suicidal?
**rather than answering these questions using psychological explanations we focused on writing from a sociological point of view, so we tried to use the following sociological concepts: socialisation, resocialisation, norms, values, beliefs, sanctions, egoistic suicide and anomic suicide.
We also looked at two sociological theories: functionalism and conflict theory. We discussed the fact that both functionalism and conflict theory are different to interactionist theory, as they are what we call macro theories. Macro theories look at the larger social structures (which is also why we label functionalism and conflict theory as structural theories). Macro or structural theories believe that societal forces control individuals, whereas interactionism (which is a micro, action theory) sees the individual as being able to shape their own socialisation. In other words, interactionists recognise that individuals do have some free will (choice/agency) whereas functionalists and conflict theorists believe that we are essentially social robots (i.e. controlled by society).
Today we recapped on Interactionist theory – particularly Cooley’s “Looking-glass” self.
We also started talking about Australian culture, and the fact that we have a mainstream or ‘dominant’ culture which has certain norms, values and beliefs. For example, in Australia, some of the things we are thought to value include equality (e.g. a ‘fair go’), modesty (e.g. Tall poppy syndrome) and sport.
During the socialisation process, we are taught to adopt this culture. However, we are also members of various subcultures and sometimes countercultures.
What is a subculture?
Holmes, Hughes and Julian (2003, p. 319) define subculture as ‘A system of norms and values that is distinct from, but related to, the dominant culture.’
Some examples we talked about in class included ‘hipsters’, ‘goths’, ‘metrosexuals’ and ‘skaters’.
Membership to various subcultures will, of course, greatly affect our identity formation.
We will continue this discussion, and find out about countercultures, next lesson.