The Nature Of The Social Man

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Sociology deepens the social nature of man. Like the primates we come from, our species is incredibly social. The vast majority of us long for social interaction, to such an extent that psychologists consider living without any social interaction is a unhealthy lifestyle. 

To this end, society has developed, both conscious and subconsciously, sets of very complex rules to function together as a community, many of which we still cannot say that we fully understand them. Sociology is a relatively modern science. Before studying sociology, I had a naive and uncalkering vision of society, not very different from the one that used to be studied for thousands of years without any adequate systematic process. However, studying sociology requires seeing the world through a scientific lens. Theories cannot be accepted simply without critical thought;They have to be based. Because society is a complex phenomenon, it is impossible to understand and solve its numerous problems without the support of sociology. If we want to repair society, it cannot be done without any knowledge of its mechanisms. 

For me, the study of sociology has allowed me to see my own culture and society through a more objective lens. People generally judge the world using their own culture as a point of reference;It is the perspective through which other cultures must be judged. If one wants to change society for the better, it is much more productive to see cultures without any predefined point of view, as the concept of cultural relativism maintains. Only through a scientific vision of societies a more objective vision can be obtained, and through it you can reject harmful traditions and promote health. Sociology has also made me a more empathic person. We usually limit ourselves to the organization and culture that we can directly experience and it is difficult to know the people of another area intimately. Therefore, to understand and appreciate the reasons and conditions in which others live, the knowledge of sociology is essential. It is also important to realize that when people act in groups, their behavior manifests itself in an entity with characteristics of an organism. No individual alone dictates their behavior, but together they act as one. This is also important when individuals are judged, it may not be the individual who always is to blame, because their problems can be a symptom of a group that works badly. In a more individual note, I think that something that would benefit more people is to realize that a person judges himself for whom he believes that others see her. Realizing this helps you work to actively avoid this way of thinking and start focusing on the aspects of yourself that care, and not in what matters to others.

Herbert Spencer was an English author formed in social sciences, he was inspired by biology to form his perspective and concepts. Spencer exerted influence on structural functionalism (together with Comte). Spencer had the image of society as an organism, interested in the interrelation between the parties of society and the functions that each one fulfilled for others, and the system as a whole. He spoke of the General Law of Evolution, of an "incoherent homogeneity" to a "coherent heterogeneity". Charles Cooley talked about the "Glass Self Looking", the "I Espejo". Cooley said that people actively build compression of themselves imagining how others see him, through his behavior towards us;The anticipation of others’ judgments influences how we behave in particular situations. Cooley worried about the intersubjective dimensions of the subject, highlighting the interacting mutual influence between the individual and the group, spoke about the importance of the judgment of the other in the formation of himself. Cooley elaborated the concept of primary group and is the initiator of "symbolic interactionism". George h. Mead elaborated on the "the development of the self" (social origin of the self);He said that people interact with us through symbols, images, etc., that represent something else, and we are assuming the papers that others exert with respect to us;first the significant and later that of another generalized. Franz Boas proposes the cultural relativism that is the idea that the beliefs, values and practices of a person must be understood based on the person’s own culture, instead of being judged with the criteria of another.

As societies have become more complex, great changes have occurred;Societies began to raise specific categories of people above others, giving some parts of the population more wealth, power and prestige. With this, social stratification has arrived, a system by which a society classifies the categories of people in a hierarchy. It is based on four important principles: social stratification is a feature of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences;It is transmitted from generation to generation, although there is the possibility of social mobility in some cases;Social stratification is universal but variable;And not only implies inequality but also beliefs. An example of social stratification would be the caste system, which is a social stratification based on ascription or birth. An example of the caste system that is still manifested today is India, where the caste system continues to be part of everyday life. The traditional system of India identifies four main castes or varnas: Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra. The fact of being part of a caste limits its ability to marry people from other castes, and can even affect their job opportunities. Although the caste system remains very relevant in Indian society, its importance is slowly reduced as younger generations begin to reject it. Another more familiar social stratification example for westernized societies is the class system, which is a system based on both birth and individual achievements. The class system that is illustrated today exists in much of Western Europe and in much of the American continent (although it is not only limited to that part of the world). It is not uncommon to hear of the so -called ‘high’ classes, ‘high average’, ‘low medium’ and ‘low’;although the exact lines between these classes are not clear to most people and many of them move between classes over time. These constructions are almost completely based on the materialist wealth of a family or person and people are judged by their ‘success’ based on their materialistic wealth.

Social stratification has led to class conflicts throughout history. It is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society as a result of socioeconomic competence between social classes. Marx used the term class conflict (sometimes class struggle) to refer to the conflict between entire classes due to the distribution of wealth and the power of society. In modern times, this often manifests itself in peaceful protests of the affected groups, but also of other groups that feel empathy for them. It is not uncommon for these to become violent, since it is easy for a small subset of the protesters to break the peaceful manifestations, which leads to the police or the military being involved. This further motivates more protesters to become violent. A recent example of this can be seen in Chile’s protests that began in October and still continue. The reasons behind the conflict have been slowly brewing for years, but the protests finally exploded when the panel of public transport experts decided to increase the price of their rates by 4%. This caused high school students to protest on October 7, encouraging people to evade the price of the ticket in the Santiago Metro and finally led to large -scale protests that fought against the various injustices that had occurred in the working classof Chile over the years.

A common cause for class conflict is war and modernization. They are among the most powerful and penetrating forces that produce social change at all levels of social life. The war results in large -scale changes in the population and a rapid acceleration of economic changes. For example, the western areas of the United States and Canada experienced their rapid growth due to the mobilization for war during the first half of the twentieth century. New dams were built, new electric power plants and new factories to produce all types of goods. Many other social forces, especially technological innovation and the growth or mobility of the population, also cause social changes. One of the most significant social changes in Western societies in the last thirty years has been the changing definition of women’s roles. Women’s entry into the workforce, accelerated by the need for labor during World War II, is an indicator of this social change. Today, more than 70 percent of all married women with children work in offices, factories and other workplaces.

An important part of society, since history, has been the family. The family is a social institution that is found in all societies and that unites people in cooperative groups to take care of each other, including children. The family has many important functions in society. The first is socialization: parents help children to integrate well and contribute to society. They are taught the cultural norms of that society and everything related to survival in the world. The second is the regulation of sexual activity;It limits the uncontrolled reproduction of humans whose offspring is too weak to survive for itself during the first years of their life. The third is social placement: families are not necessary for people to produce, but help maintain social organization. Finally, families give material and emotional security: families offer physical protection, emotional support and financial assistance. These facts explain why in every cultural life today, the family concept is manifested in some way.

Equally frequent in human society is religion. Emile Durkheim declared that religion implies ‘things that exceed the limits of our knowledge’ (1915). Religion is a social institution that involves beliefs and practices based on the recognition of the sacred. As an example, Durkheim identified three main functions of religion that contribute to the functioning of society. The first is to establish social cohesion: religion unites people through a symbolism, values and norms shared. The second is to promote social control: every society uses religious ideas to promote conformity. The third is to provide meaning and purpose: religious belief offers the comforting feeling that our brief lives serve a greater purpose. It is not surprising, then, that the degree of religious practice of a person varies throughout his life, depending on his current situation and the circumstances of his life.

Another aspect, which has become more important now than ever before in history, is that of education. Education is the social institution through which society provides its members important knowledge, including basic facts, labor skills and cultural norms and values. As human beings depend more and more on technology, using their definition of ‘knowledge that is transmitted from generation to generation’, but also as social norms are highly appreciated in sophisticated societies, education provides invaluable contributionsTo society. First, socialization: as societies acquire a more complex technology, they resort to trained teachers to develop and transmit more specialized knowledge that adults will need to occupy their place in the workforce. Second is cultural innovation: the teachers of schools and universities create culture and transmits it to students;Research in science, humanities and beautiful arts leads to discovery and changes in our way of life. The third is social integration: schooling molds a diverse population in a society that shares norms and values. Finally, education works as a social placement: schools identify talent and combine instruction with skill. Other aspects that are of importance in modern society include the care of children for the growing number of families of one or two parents, brings together people of marriage and schools establish networks that serve as a valuable career resourcethroughout life.

Because we are sophisticated social beings with complex ambitions and emotions, the cultures that we have created and shaped throughout the millennia have become equally complex. On the subject of education and study, through sociology, we are able to slowly begin to understand this complicated network of human behavior, but there is still much that is not completely understood. 

Until now, sociology has helped people understand their own cultures, as well as understanding others and has led to an improvement in the conditions of our existence. Without a doubt, as we continue to develop our ideas about the complex behaviors of our societies, we can also find better ways to improve all our lives.

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